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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Vampire Heaven...Aug. 31 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
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. ;)
54 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Only 3.5 stars - I expected a better storyJune 16 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Not for romance, but good mystery and action with a smart female human PI helping vampires solve a kidnapping.April 17 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The first Vampires of America urban romantic fantasy, RAPHAEL, is a terrific taleApril 23 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Like My Last Car --Starts Great and Then StallsOct. 5 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Who do you read when you have exhausted everything by Jeaniene Frost, J. R. Ward, and Karen-Marie Morning?
Like many readers, I am always on the lookout for a new author who rises above the mundane and creates stories that pull you in.
Based on the reviews and the first couple chapters in the book, I thought I had found a treasure. With a strong female lead and interesting premise, I was hooked.
Then the storyline seemed to go sideways. A lot if energy was put into creating the bitter half-sister and some major damage could have been done to our heroine's reputation with the vampire community. Instead the incident was solved with something akin to "shoo". So why bother?
There could have been a lot more interaction between our heroine and alpha vamp. We have only a partial explanation of why he keeps pulling back emotionally and then the ending fizzles with a cliff hanger.
I like the book enough to see what the second installment will be Luke, but can't help feeling a little disappointed.