Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: This delightful anthology delivers romance, plenty of interesting characters, and will leave readers wanting more.
This is my first story by all three of these authors, at least that I can recall. Each of these stories features a paranormal lead male of the "vampire" variety and a not so vampire-ish leading lady. All of the stories are set in the Highlands of Scotland in the time of kings and lairds...
"Dark Embrace" by Hannah Howell (MacNachton Vampires series)
A touching tale of an innocent maiden, on the run from a psychotic madman, who is saved by knight on a black horse instead of a white horse and without the shine. You catch the drift. However, Una Dunn is not your typical damsel in distress. This girl can kick butt and take the pursuant names, all without breaking a nail. A genetic mix between ordinary human and the clan MacNachton, Una has always been stronger and faster than the average bad guy. While being held captive with eight others like her, Una escapes to search for help. But, after being starved and bled for weeks, she finds herself surrounded by henchmen and in danger of being recaptured. Then, just at the right moment, in marches, or rides as the case may be, Sir Raibeart MacNachton, resident hot guy on a horse and, it turns out, he's pretty good with his sword too...ahem. After hearing her story, he offers his and his fellow clansmen's aid in rescuing her fellow captives. The bad guys are defeated, the captives recovered, and in the end Una realizes that Raibeart has not only rescued her friends, but also her heart as well.
"A Knight Beyond Black" by Jackie Ivie
Just looking back through my notes for this story, my first reaction is "Ummmmm" shortly followed by "Huh?" I will say that this story starts off a tad bit.... randomly. It took me a full three chapters to understand fully the premise of the story. And in a story with only sixteen chapters, that kind of seems like a long time. Anyway, this story starts off at a ball in London, where the almost beautiful Miss Tira Coombs is scandalously swept off her very feet by the enigmatic and very fan worthy Iain Duncan Evan James Alexander MacAvee. The IV. Duke of MacAvee, Earl of blah blah blah, chieftain of clans so on and so forth. She then finds out that Iain is her arranged betrothed, her parental unit having kept this news from her for the entirety of her 21 years. Love those good old days. Imagine on his part, waiting 21 years for his bride to mature, that's a long wait. Especially when, on the day of her birth, the very earth whispered to him that his soul mate had arrived. Eventually, Iain wears Tira down and the couple is married. So the "happy" couple leaves London after their nuptials and they board a ship to his homeland. While on the ship she finds out her new husband is a... *gasp* ...a vampire and on top of that bad news he has turned her into one as well.
This is the one thing that I dislike the most when I see it in any historical or paranormal romance. I know it's the way things were, and I get it, but I hate when a characters free will is taken from them. Really! Aside from that point, the story is a good one, and I liked it. And they do eventually find their HEA.
"The Guardian" by Michele Sinclair (McTiernay Brothers series)
This novella tells the story of Dorian, a centuries old nosferatu who is bored with life and searching for something. We are also introduced to Moirae Deincourt, enigmatic social outcast who runs around at night protecting the innocent, a la Bruce Wayne. After an attack and subsequent fire leave her physically damaged at age seventeen, Moirae vows to find those responsible. Dorian, a mystery himself, takes up residence in a nearby castle, and also takes over the role of Batman, or in this case, "The Guardian." When the new guardian repeatedly out performs her, and saves her life, once or twice, Moirae decides to use Dorian as an asset and she bribes him into training her in physical combat. Dorian, on the other hand, is aiming for another type of physical training altogether. By the end of the story it is revealed that not only does Dorian have a touch of the paranormal within his chromosomes, but Moirae is also special within her own right. And that ensures a rather long HEA in their future.
FTC Advisory: Kensington Books provided me with a copy of Highland Hunger. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.