Night’s Caress by Mary Hughes
Series:The Sons of Gregor MacLeod, #1
Released: September 25, 2017
Entangled Publishing (Select Otherworld)
Reviewed by Sheena
When artist Brie Lark left her vampire ex and her straitjacket of a hometown to breathe free in New York City, she promised herself two things: she’d never go back to Meiers Corner, and no more vampires. The last thing she expected—or wanted—was to be sent back home on an assignment. But her boss at the FBI needs her undercover on a murder case, working with a black-haired, black-eyed giant god of a man who’s her idea of perfection, except for one thing—he’s a vampire.
FBI Special Agent Seb Rikare is an ancient vampire hardened by loss. He’s cut all emotions to protect himself and leads a deliberately steady, almost sterile life. The brash young woman forced to pose as his lover irritates him, with her jangling bracelets and colorful hair. But as much as she irritates him, he finds himself drawn to her lively spirit and he’s tempted to make fantasy a reality.
Favorite Quote: Master vampires had an even shorter fuse. What was the old vampire saying? Behead first, talk later
Night’s Caress is apparently a spin off of another book series. It’s book one of it’s kind, but it might as well be book seventy-five for as confusing as things kicked off. Paranormal novels must world build. Even if its woven into the plot, I didn’t like feeling so lost and unsure of what the rules were for this world. Sure, it’s vamps- but what kind of vamps, what are their limitations and powers? Do humans know about them, how do they maintain their cover if they are in the shadows? I love paranormal romance and embrace every opportunity to suspend reality- but even with reality flung by the waistside, I spent more time than I like a little confused about the goings on which prevented me from settling in and enjoying the novel- which is a bummer, because the premise had promise.
Seb is a FBI special agent and is all things tall, dark and vampy! He’s on the trail of a serial killer and enlists the help of a colleague, Brie, who has local ties to the small town where the crimes are believed to have origins. Meiers Corner is a unique, sleepy and creepy small town where the townsfolk are aware that vampires exist, though the paranormal beings aren’t widely known to humans. So some humans know and some don’t. Oookay.
Seb and Brie have a mutual attraction, however, both fear a deeper connection would be their ruin. Brie is put off from vampires after being put through the emotional wringer by an ex vampire lover she’d been ready to give her heart to. She is thoughtful and passionnate and I enjoyed being in her head. Seb is carrying around his own cache of deeply rooted emotional scars dating back to the centuries before his making. They work well as a team and find common ground in and out of the bedroom as they race against time to save the town from the ancient threat that stalks them all.
What I liked: The emotional trappings of falling for someone when you think they might not fall for you; It is exhilarating and scary and Brie’s inner thoughts and acts of self-preservation were written with a naked honesty that I was into.
“I grabbed the small locket at my throat. Inside were my grandparents’ pictures, one on each side. When the locket was closed, they kissed. Two become one. I yearned for that kind of love and completion.
Memory of Derek’s hands roaming over my breasts hit me with a shudder. Vampires couldn’t compel me, but I wasn’t immune to their enhanced abilities. Derek made me love him, literally. I thought we’d had what my grandparents had. The agony of him pushing me away still woke me up at night. My fingers automatically sought the locket at my throat. Rikare caught my reaction, though not the reason.
“You want to tell me why you don’t like me?” “I said I dated a v-guy.” I dropped my hand from my locket. “I didn’t say I had a good time of it.”
Seb was broody and ramrod straight-laced. Principled and stoic- one of my fav hero types that I like to watch come undone and fall in love. He balanced Brie well, who is all heart, wit and emotion. My favorite scene was Brie deciding to take a chance and not ask Seb to change and be less than what he truly was in order to be with her. All of the big scenes were done extremely well. The big action, the big reveals and the big fights and love declarations were page turners…which brings me to…
What I didn’t like: Only the big action, fights and love declarations were page turners. Everything in-between was rather boring. Afraid to miss something good, I fought valiantly not to constantly skip ahead several pages (chapters) which made reading Night’s Caress feel like work. Seb and Brie were great characters who were cheated out of a great plot. They were all dressed up, with nowhere to go.
I also disliked this world. A lot. Specifically, I disliked the paranormal rules that comprise the world and I disliked the convoluted climax. I spent the last few chapters in a daze- and not the good kind. The what-the-hell-is-going-on-why-is-this-so-bizzare kind. I also disliked the choices with regard to POV. Some chapters were Brie’s POV but others were third person Seb centric- it bugged me the whole while that it wasn’t split between Seb and Brie POV’s.
I don’t really have plans to continue this series, especially if its set within this paranormal world, following the same patterns as Night’s Caress. I’m a little torn because the author created nicely layered and authentic characters, and their emotional scenes are written extremely well.
Two long-legged strides brought him to me. Seizing me, he planted a fiery kiss on my mouth. Flames immediately engulfed me, my heart pounding harder. This wasn’t the human man and vanilla love. This was the master vampire kissing me. His embrace brooked no escape, his tongue demanded entry. His lips commanded my response. And, oh, did I respond. I clung to him, pressing my body into his as if I could glue every inch together, and I kissed him back with all the hunger in me… Demand became beguilement; his driving tongue became many light, small kisses. Teasing, coaxing. As if he’d half expected me to have second thoughts. As if his demand for response had been born out of fear I wouldn’t, or couldn’t, really accept him, not the real him. As if learning that I wanted him as badly as he wanted me had made him happy. Stunning revelation.
Alas, absent a solid, coherent plot and appealing world building, there isn’t enough to keep me hooked.
The author has several other novels set in this world, perhaps give one of those a try first. Night’s Caress does not stand alone despite kicking off The Ancient’s series. You should probably read something first to prepare…not sure what that would be…but something…anything.