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Crimson Romance
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Embraced by the Shadows by Mayra Calvani

Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Pages: 242

(Revised Release: October 5, 2011)

From the Cover:

In a bazaar in Istanbul one evening, ten-year-old Alana Piovanetti sees a man standing in the shadows. He smiles, and over time she convinces herself that it was just her imagination that placed sharp fangs amongst those flashing teeth.

Twelve years later, Alana is surprised when she is chosen to manage a new restaurant opening in her home city of San Juan. She has neither training nor experience to justify her success. But La Cueva del Vampiro has the kind of ambience she adores, for Alana has always had a penchant for horror and the dark side of life. Yet she is also plagued with dreams of dark sensuality, dreams that take on shattering reality when she meets the stunningly handsome, charismatic Sadash.

For Sadash is the man she saw in the shadows so many years before… and Sadash isn’t human…

Alana is head strong, morbidly fascinated with death and monsters, a virginal ice princess. It isn't that she doesn't like sex or men, but more like she waiting for a promised lover, and when he arrives, the ice princess will melt. She will either love him or hate him, with her hot spicy flavor. She isn't the storybook Latina, she has hair to match her fiery temper and pale flesh.

Valeria, Alana's best friend and twin soul, is also the opposite of the storybook Latina as well, which is one of the reasons they're twin soul. She has blazing blonde hair, pale skin with dark brown eyes. But, she's secretive, has a tendency towards viciousness (but so does Alana), hiding things from Alana while expecting her to expose all of her secrets, jealous of anything that comes between them. Valeria is an orphan, while Alana loses her father very young and her mother as a teen.

Humberto is best friend to both, the three musketeers. All three are motherless, though Humberto's father remains. Antonio's secrets nearly cost him his life.

Sadash walks into the picture at a time when Alana is most vulnerable. She hasn't been feeling herself, dreams have been plaguing her, and Valeria discovers her sleep walking. She puts it all down as nerves, starting a new job she's barely qualified for as manager of La Cueva del Vampiro. But, no sooner does she start her new job that she meets the sexy, strange, overwhelming Sadash. But, he wants to whisk her away, and keep her all to himself, regardless of her feelings. And he's something more than human.... and maybe he's the beast haunting Alana's dreams.

Embraced by the Shadows by Mayra Calvani is the story of a vampire with a longing for what he can never have. Back before the years of vampirism, he was a Turkish Ottoman prince and soldier, sure to be the next ruler of his people, when he loses his ten year old daughter to a mysterious disease (the plague? is my assumption). A noble woman sees his suffering and wants to alleviate it, leave him at peace, so she takes him, drinks him, leaving him vampire. Some three hundred years later, Sadash find himself in a Turkish market, staring at the image of his long dead daughter in the form of Alana. It begins his quest from a distance until need becomes desire, and he decides to take Alana, much like he was taken. Even though Alana wants Sadash, and might, one day, choose to become like Sadash, he seduces her, drinks her, turns her, without really getting her any choice. Now, she both hates and loves the dark vampire. She has much to learn, and Sadash is a great teacher, but she grows weary and wants the comfort of the only friends she has known, Valeria and Humberto. But, Valeria's jealously comes into play, she can't stand the thought of Alana separating herself or the fact that she'll grow old and die as Alana stays young and beautiful. Valeria is also hiding a secret, one about the day when Alana's mother died, and Alana must know how she died or possibly who killed her.

Embraced by the Shadows is a different kind of vampire world, it is a paranormal romance without sex involved, and honestly, there's the romance of seduction and touching, but it's a love/hate relationship, on both Sadash and Alana's part. Not that the vampiric bite doesn't cause ecstasy. But in Mayra Calvani's world, vampires can't have sex. They are, after all, dead. The young must take their prey completely to feel satisfied, instead of the delicate bites that leave their human prey alive. This is how Valeria discovers the truth of Alana's life. The niggles I had with the book are few. I didn't like the idea of Sadash being draw to the young Alana as he might have been to his daughter. Then fantasizing about about how he'll take her and change her. It seemed a little incestuous, though Sadash denies it repeatedly in the book. Then, after Alana's is changed, her blood lust for Valeria is overpowering, it's almost too much for her to bear, almost costing Valeria her life, who demands Alana to change her. But, it's Valeria's jealousy for what she can't have on display over and over again throughout the story. All in all, I liked and enjoyed the story, and the niggles were probably just my point of view (and besides, I like my vampires hot, which Sadash is, and ready to perform, which Sadash is not....disappointing). Urban fantasy lovers might want to give this one a peek, it's definitely a different world for the vampire genre. 4 out of 5 fairy kisses for this reader.

If you'd like to try Ms. Calvani writing style, she's giving away her first two books, here's the blurb from her website:

The FREE ebooks I’m giving away are: Dark Lullaby and Cat Cellar and Other Stories and they’re available in various formats on Smashwords:

The Cat Cellar and Other Stories

Dark Lullaby

Enjoy! Happy reading and happy Halloween!


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