27 October 2008

Review: Shayla Black - Tempt Me With Darkness:

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket (August 26, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416558586
ISBN-13: 978-1416558583

He's an immortal knight hungering for satisfaction....

As soon as Marrok sees Olivia Gray's dark windswept hair and burning violet eyes, he's sure they've met in eons past. He's felt her soft gentle curves writhing in pleasure beneath his own hard powerful body...Morganna! For centuries, towering Marrok, once the mightiest of King Arthur's warriors, has endured a terrible curse cast upon him when he spurned the witch.

She's a modern woman about to discover ancient magic....

Olivia shares a mystical -- and irresistible -- connection with brooding Marrok. Soon after the sexy warrior appears in her erotic dreams, he abducts her, demanding she uncurse him. Their intense passion is more powerful -- and intimate -- than either of them has ever known. Olivia may be the key to unlocking the diary that will break Morganna's hold on his life. But in the wrong hands, the book also holds the power to destroy all magickind. As they search for answers, a ruthless wizard returned from exile is building an army of evil. When he discovers Marrok and Olivia have the diary, only their love -- with the help of a powerful group of magical Brethren -- can save them.

A few paranormal romance series have started this year that immediately grabbed my attention with a solid and highly entertaining first novel. Shayla Black succeeded in joining the ranks with TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS (Pocket/ Sept. 2008), the first novel in her Doomsday Brethren series.

There are a few characters from legends that speak to my imagination among them are Merlin, Morganna le Fay and King Arthur with his knights. Though they don’t actually appear, their magic and actions still have an effect on many people in this story. Marrok of Cadbury is the lead hero and he has firsthand knowledge of what a woman scorned can do infused with a bit of her magic. Morganna le Fay has cursed Marrok and by writing it in the Doomsday diary it is nearly impossible to lift. After Morganna le Fay died no one managed to open the diary so Marrok must endure the curse of immortality and lack of carnal satisfaction. When Marrok is introduced to a gallery owner, Olivia Gray, who is interested in his carvings, he meets a woman with the same violet eyes and dark hair as Morganna. This is not a coincidence in Marrok’s book and all he wants is for the curse to be lifted so he can die in peace.

Fate however can be tricky and has other things in store for him!

Shayla Black swiftly eases into a story where the connection between the lead hero and heroine is a hot and tangible one and flares to life with vivid emotions. Marrok is so tired of his centuries old life which radiates from him in waves. I just loved Marrok, who was a knight in the Dark Ages and he still acts like one. As he would say:’ You can get the man out of the Dark Ages, but you can’t get the Dark Ages out of the man.’ Marrok is blunt, invasive and a ‘me Tarzan you Jane’ type of man. Yet he’s also willing to fight for those he comes to care for and he is loyal to the core. What can I say, he had me at hello!

Olivia Gray is a woman, who will find her inner strength in due time and not let a man make all the decisions for her since she wants to make up her own mind. I just loved the connection and interaction between Olivia and Marrok. Their very natures make their dialogue snappy and strong, providing more than enough verbal fireworks! With Olivia’s lineage unknown to her, she feels an instant strong attraction to Marrok. She never expected the complications that could arise with a few uttered words in the throes of passion. Their love story speaks of trust. Trust that no one will hurt you, trust that no one will betray you, and trust that one’s heart is the single most valuable thing that they can possess. I was swept away with their doubts and feelings and the plot holds more than a few obstacles for them as a couple.

Another thing that is fleshed out well in TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS is the beginning of evil, the forming of the Doomsday Brethren, and the introduction of the wizards. Though the romance is the primary plot, the Doomsday wizards’ secondary plot was an exhilarating one with Shock Denzell, Simon Northam a.k.a Duke, Isdernus Rykard a.k.a Ice, the mated couple Anka and Lucan, Bram Rion and his sister Sabella. They each will guarantee to capture your heart and are fascinating characters to get to know. There are even heart tugging moments in the story that had my eyes brimming with tears. Bram Zion is a major secondary character, who is a walking database of knowledge concerning all things magic. With Bram’s vision of rising evil, he is the relentless force behind the Doomsday Brethren. He took me into the magical world with his knowledge explaining things that are necessary to understand the complete picture. Bram is the kind of character that has ulterior motives behind his actions that are not completely revealed until the very end. I wasn’t sure what to think about Bram but he kept me turning the pages in anticipation!

I just love it when an author can create a villain, who I can fiercely dislike, with no apologies made for his personality or decisions. I can root for the good guys, have a sense of good versus evil and a new time is dawning when the Anarki resurrect their leader. All the elements fall into place in TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS. And while the romance is at an all time high - lush and steeped with sensual emotions - the plot and secondary characters are of equal importance. It creates a magical suspense-laden read I know will satisfy many who love the Paranormal Romance genre!

Shayla Black enriches the Paranormal Romance genre with her Doomsday Brethren and TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS is just a first taste in what will turn out to be a fantastic series that pulls you in the magical world she created!

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