11 September 2008

Review: Cynthia Eden - Hotter After Midnight

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Brava (May 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758226020
ISBN-13: 978-0758226020

Dr. Emily Drake's patients tend to be a little unusual. Instead of the typical therapist's caseload of midlife crises and mother fixations, Emily treats vampires with blood phobias and sex-demons looking for meaningful relationships. But her gift for recognizing and healing the Other--those creatures of the night that most humans don't even know exist--requires a few house rules. First: Never trust a shifter. Especially not one like Detective Colin Gyth whose gold-flecked eyes and predatory air make Emily realize how much she's been longing to lose control...

Colin can't believe the doctor he's been assigned to work with on the Night Butcher murder investigation is the one person who could expose his true identity as a wolf shifter. Smart, sexy, and stubborn as hell, Emily brings out the alpha male in Colin, unleashing a wild, heady desire that takes them both over the edge.

But in the shadows, the Night Butcher waits...eager to spill Emily's blood and taste her terror. And he'll use any means to destroy her, including the one person she has grown to trust.

With a shrink, a cop, a medical examiner, a police department on the hunt of a serial killer and a whole “Other” world to discover Cynthia Eden gives plenty for me to sink my teeth in! Dr. Emily’s ability is making her a bit of an outcast but is perfect for the population of the “Other” world. She’s a psychiatrist who has a vampire with a serious case of blood phobia on the couch, a succubus who wants more than sex and many more that fill her day. In those first pages it is the compelling writing style that made me ease into reading this novel.

When a killer leaves a body with a slashed throat Captain McNeal sends Colin to Dr. Emily so she can profile this murderer. With Emily’s talent to recognize “Others” she immediately perceives something about Colin he desperately tries to hide. The last person that knew what he was ended up attempting to kill him. So he wasn’t all that eager to share his most inner secrets or thoughts. Together they have to reveal the identity of a very disturbed person but get so much more than they both bargained for…

Cynthia Eden knows how to engage the reader in an all out delicious paranormal suspense read! I smoothed into this story so easily that before I knew it I had read one third of this book. Emily and Colin instantaneously create a scorching vibe which is more the result of Colin’s nature than anything else. It felt like infusing the story with liquid desire and I just happen to have a weak spot for this! It makes me feel the romance more, it makes the interaction snappy and laced with ‘under-the-surface’ emotions and I flipped the pages in anticipation of what would happen.

Emily is, due to her ability, a woman that bears a past but I couldn’t help to laugh as I “saw” her in a conversation with a succubus that has serious intimacy issues. The contradiction of it just appealed to my humor. Emily is all business as a psychiatrist, sure of herself and very competent. Putting her opposite of Colin was a master move by the author, though I felt his secret was a bit predictable. For me Colin is the kind of male character that brings the spice to the story, all hot and flammable joined with, all possessive and wild. Colin is a man that with his nature steps into the personal space of a woman and never leaves. Moreover challenges her to push him out of it. Along with the raw energy that he radiates results in a friction with Emily nerves, hence the snappy interactions where they are both equal and together they deliver an incredible scorching romance story.

There is a tight circle of secondary characters that play a vibrant part. I only have to think about Brooks, the partner of Colin, who with his own thought pattern is trying to solve the mystery. Or another is Smith, the medical examiner, who joins the group with her expertise. Of course the bad guys are present with demon Niol leading the group and he’s one you don’t want to mess with. They all create the world and background for the serial killer to spread a vengeance and death. The plot has a subtle but irrefutable effect on the overall story and while midway I had my suspicions it isn’t until the very end it got confirmed and Cynthia Eden definitely threw my off the wagon a few times. She ups the stakes and the tension, mixed with the thoughts of the killer which Emily caught a few times and it all spirals to a conclusion that made me rapidly read the pages.

HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT definitely raised my temperature with a read that once started will demand to be finished. Romance and plot infused with a hefty dose of sensuous undertones lets me nurture all that I love in a good paranormal suspense.

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