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Raphael [Paperback]

D. B. Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 11 2013
Malibu, California-home to rock-and-roll gods and movie stars, the beautiful, the rich . . . and vampires. Powerful and charismatic, Raphael is a Vampire Lord, one of the few who hold the power of life and death over every vampire in existence. Thousands call him Master and have pledged absolute loyalty on their very lives. But when, in a brazen and deadly daylight attack, a gang of human killers kidnaps the one female vampire he'd give his life for, Raphael turns to a human investigator to find his enemies before it's too late. Cynthia Leighton is smart, tough and sexy, a private investigator and former cop who's tired of spying on cheating spouses and digging out old bank accounts. When Raphael asks for her help in tracking down the kidnappers, Cyn's happy to accept. But she soon realizes her greatest danger comes not from the humans, but from Raphael himself. Battling Russian mobsters and treacherous vampires, and betrayed by those they trusted, Cyn and Raphael find themselves fighting for their lives while caught up in a passion of blood and violence that is destined to destroy them both.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Raphael Review Jan. 23 2014
By Evampire TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The first book in the Vampires in America series is an action packed vampire romance.

A powerful Vampire Lord, Raphael holds the power of life and death over every vampire in existence but must turn to a human private investigator when someone kidnaps a female that he cares for in a brazen and deadly daylight attack. A private investigator and former cop, Cynthia Leighton, takes on the case, but soon realizes that the greatest danger to her comes from Raphael himself. Betrayed by those they trusted, Raphael and Cyn fight for the lives against Russian mobsters and treacherous vampires while caught up in a passion of blood and violence.

This fast paced plot keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with lots of action, suspense and romance. The story comes to life with vivid images that makes the reader feel as if they are part of the story and the bewitching characters have strong charismatic personalities that practically leap off the pages ensuring that the reader is totally caught up in the story.

The chemisty between Raphael and Cyn explodes from the pages and the sex scenes are hot and steamy leaving the reader’s sizzling with passion. The reader can easily relate to the characters and understand their motivations, while they resist the romance for their own personal reasons and issues, the tension builds and they can’t fight it indefinitely.

This vampire world captures the imagination with great characters and I love how the author has mixed the human and vampire worlds, yet kept them apart at the same time, which adds some interesting elements to the story. I wasn’t too happy with the ending of the book, such a cliffhanger, but of course I will certainly be reading the next book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Sept. 3 2009
Format:Paperback
I had high expectations for this book, and I was not disappointed!

Cyn and Raphael are great characters. They had me hooked after the first page. The story is fast paced, and kept me turning pages well into the night. A really great read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  206 reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vampire Heaven... Aug. 31 2010
By Parajunkee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Vampires! Who can resist a vampire, especially a powerful, sexy, rich, vampire god like Reynolds created with Raphael. Oh mamma, I was in vampire heaven with this one, it had it all: tough and gritty heroine, sexy and ridiculously manly hero, interesting back-drop, mystery, violence and steamy, wall-shaking romantic interludes. I need to simultaneously smoke a cigarette and punch something after finishing this novel. Vampire fans, run, don't walk --- and get this novel.

REVIEW:
The setting: Malibu, California.
The heroine: Tough cookie, private investigator, Cynthia Leighton. Former LAPD officer who does not play well with others.
The hero: Lord Master Vampire Raphael, enough power at his fingertips to crush mere mortals with a look and make women undress on command.
The situation: While Raphael is away on business, someone makes a power-play to shake things up. Alexandra, a vampire Raphael holds dear, is kidnapped and guards are murdered. Raphael's trust has been betrayed and there are traitors within his staff.

Raphael needs someone outside of his influence to solve this mystery, find out who kidnapped Alexandra and deal with the humans who have become pawns in this vampire power-grab. Cynthia Leighton is just what Raphael needs. She is used to working with vampires and she is smart enough to track down Alexandra and tough enough to bear witness to the vampire way of doing things. What neither one of them planned for was the attraction that is becoming much more than just a distraction.

Like I stated in the quickie above this novel had it all. A must-read for vampire fans. Strong characters, matched with an intensely hard-hitting plot and a whirl-wind and very lusty introduction to a society of vampires, made for an excellent book. One of the things that stands out the most about this novel was it was real. Far-fetched right for a paranormal novel? But the thing about PNR and UF is that the underlying factor in all of them is human emotion. You might be a vamp, but you were once a human - and here you are falling in love. The emotionally responses, the dialogue and even the sex scenes were real.

How many times have you read a sex scene in a book and went, "Well that was hot, but I don't see myself ever doing that particular move." These were nothing like that. It was real, completely believable character interaction.

Then, Reynolds also has a quirky way of writing that at first made me stop and reread a few sentences, but once it seeped in I really began to enjoy her voice. This doesn't happen often, but she actually introduced me to a few new words. Nothing high-brow or anything, just interesting descriptions and metaphors and a way of rearranging sentence structure that gave the tone a little more depth and a old-world feeling. Not a historical feeling, this is hard to describe, but a full-bodied, aged feeling. A good analogy would be that her book was like a good merlot. Very spicy, aged and with a full-body flavor.

The only bitter flavoring that I found with this book was just a small niggling at the back of my head that I had read this before, or at least similar story-lines. Hot over-powering male vamp hires prickly female PI, doesn't shine as the most original idea, but the setting, the characters and the excellent writing sets it a part from the rest.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Fans of authors such as J.R. Ward, Laurel K. Hamilton, Jeaninne Frost should really enjoy. Adults only, this book contains violence, explicit sex scenes and cursing. Not for anyone with a purity ring. ;)
44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only 3.5 stars - I expected a better story June 16 2009
By NoSleep2Nite4Me - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I do recommend this book (read to the end of the review) but to me, there was something off in the chemistry between the two main characters, Cyn and Raphael. I really liked Cyn's character most of the time but not when she was with Raphael. Some of her reaction to Raphael had me rolling my eyes. Maybe I missed something but I just did not understand why Cyn felt that Raphael was leading her on all the time. They have spontaneous sex and she expects a relationship? A vampire doesn't cuddle with her and she gets angry at him? And these reactions come from a woman who has no problem having casual sex with another man. I felt like giving her the 'He's just not that into you' book during these times.

Also, I really like stories of paranormal alpha males so I expected to like Raphael's character a lot but I just felt so-so about him. He did not impress me at all. And at least in this book, Cyn and Raphael together were not a good couple.

Then there was Cyn's sister, Holly. I mean, come on! Sisters or not, feeling sorry for them or not, if anyone behaved like Holly, they deserve no pity. Because Cyn did not tell Holly off like Holly deserved the first time Holly behaved like a bitter, little, bratty, girl, I lost a bit of respect for Cyn's character. And Cyn even admits that she doesn't really like her sister!

I suppose my disappointment could be from reading all the perfect 5.0 stars reviews for this story. I do like the writing, action and mystery of the story and the pace really flowed well so I'll probably buy the next book. I'm just hoping I'll like the main characters in the next story a lot better.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Vampires of America urban romantic fantasy, RAPHAEL, is a terrific tale April 23 2009
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although the government and the people know that vampires exist, for the most part mortals prefer not to acknowledge the nocturnal species and the bloodsuckers concur keeping a low profile. There are eight vampire lords, each controlling a jurisdiction while respecting boundaries to avoid a lethal vampire war. Raphael is the most powerful of the octet with thousands of loyalists calling him Master throughout his domain, the Western states in America.

Two human traitors from within storm his Malibu estate in daylight while he is away; they kidnap Alexandria, a vamp he vowed to protect with his life. To deal with mortals, Raphael hires human private investigator Cynthia Leighton, who works vampire cases. From the moment the client and the sleuth meet they are attracted to one another, but Cyn learned early in life not to believe in love, passion, or trust as they will be used as a weapon of mental destruction. Still she is determined to help the vampire lord rescue his sister.

The first Vampires of America urban romantic fantasy, RAPHAEL, is a terrific tale that if it is an indication of the series, sub-genre fans are in for a treat. The protagonist is tough yet vulnerable as she uses psychological defense mechanisms to conceal her weaknesses behind a kick butt façade. The title hero is more aligned towards typical vampire behavior as an arrogant haughty alpha leader used to obedience until his dependant is abducted showing a rare weakness and then meeting the sleuth showing that rarity is a little more common than his minion thought. The investigation enhances the fine story line as star-crossed lovers try to mount the rescue.

Harriet Klausner
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for romance, but good mystery and action with a smart female human PI helping vampires solve a kidnapping. April 17 2010
By Jane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
STORY BRIEF:
Cyn is a former Los Angeles cop, now working as a private investigator. She's tough, cool, smart, and rich (inherited). When she was a cop, she saved a vampire's life, so now they hire her when they need human help. Alexandra is a vampire who lives with Raphael, lord of the vampires in the western U.S. She is kidnapped by a group of vampires and humans. Raphael hires Cyn to help find Alexandra.

REVIEWER'S OPINION:
This was labeled paranormal romance which implies a couple gets together at the end. But the couple was not together at the end. Also, there was no romance. Raphael's actions were those of a guy making booty calls. There was lust, but he never indicated any feelings for Cyn. After sex he coldly left her without a word. At the end of the book, she was hurting. The last words in the book are "To be continued." On the author's website in the description about the sequel (Book 2), is the following. "Running from L.A. and its seductive Vampire Lord, Raphael, Cyn sees the Houston job as a welcome refuge, a place to get away and heal her broken heart." In Book 2, Cyn interacts with Jabril, an evil Houston vampire. My frustration is wondering how many books will there be before I can see Cyn end up with Raphael? Then I find a mini story on the author's website about Cyn and Raphael spending Valentines Day together - written as if they have been a couple for awhile. This scene occurs after Book 2 which I have not read. I wonder if they get together in Book 2, but I don't know. Too many other series have frustrated me with the guy and girl still not together after several books. So I'm going to pass on this series. If you want to read the mini story, go to DBReynolds Wordpress Com, Vampire Vignettes #2.

An example of Raphael's emotional distance was when Cyn says to him "You're right, I do want you. But there's a difference between wanting and having. And I won't have anyone who doesn't want me." Raphael says nothing. Another time Cyn says to Raphael "You don't want me. You just want to f___ me." Again, Raphael says nothing. That's no fun.

Now, if I can forget about expecting romance, I will say that the story and characters were good. Cyn is a neat character and does some smart things which I enjoyed. We don't see Raphael being smart, but he doesn't need to be since he is so powerful. He simply exudes his power to control others. There is good action, mystery, and storytelling about solving a mystery, hurting the bad guys, and saving the victim.

I had a problem with one scene. Raphael tortures and kills a human in such a way that another human soils himself and is in such fear that he is willing to confess everything. But the author didn't show or give any details as to what Raphael did to the first guy. I wanted to know. I'd prefer showing not telling in this case.

DATA:
Story length: 240 pages. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: 4. Total number of sex scene pages: 6. Setting: current day primarily southern California with some back stories in Russia and France. Copyright: 2009. Genre: paranormal mystery with sex.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love This Book!!! July 26 2012
By Nancy W - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent writing, story line is great, Raphael is the ultimate vamp lord. Vamp's and their mates are fantastic!!! Their mates are very strong, they have to be!!! This is the first of the series. I have read all 5. This week I have started re-reading them!!!! One of the best series around. Please keep writing more!!!!
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