Phantom Shadows

Dianne Duvall
Phantom Shadows
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Release Date
October 2012
Book 3 of Immortal Guardians
Paranormal Romance

Dr. Melanie Lipton is no stranger to the supernatural. She knows immortals better than they know themselves, right down to their stubborn little genes. So although a handsome rogue immortal seems suspicious to her colleagues, Sebastien Newcombe intrigues Melanie. His history is checkered, his scars are impressive, and his ideas are daring. But it's not his ideas that have Melanie fighting off surges of desire . . .

Bastien is used to being the bad guy. In fact, he can't remember the last time he had an ally he could trust. But Melanie is different - and under her calm, professional exterior he senses a passion beyond anything in his centuries of experience. Giving in to temptation is out of the question - he can't put her in danger. But she isn't asking him . . .

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Oct 02, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
151 people found the following review helpful
Dianne Duvall has outdone herself this time. Not only my favorite of the Immortal Guardians series to date, this is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. With a deeply emotional love story, two beautiful, complex main characters and a pulse-pounding adventure that won't let up, this book was haunting and addictive and I loved every page.

Following the revelations that the war between the Immortal Guardians and their vampire enemies has escalated to involve several humans and their vicious experimentations, the Immortals are hell-bent on vengeance. But doing so means further involving the rogue elements of their organization—vampires who have chosen to fight on the side of the Guardians. Their leader, Bastien, an Immortal and an Empath, fought with the vampires for years until agreeing to join the Immortals—but only after he was responsible for the death of one of their own earned the lasting ire of his new colleagues. Unfortunately, he is also the one man they need to infiltrate the vampire's plans with their human accomplices.

Only one person other than the Immortals' leader shows any faith in Bastien's honesty. Dr. Melanie Lipton has worked closely with Bastien and his loyal vampires, and has not only come closer to understanding their biological makeup, but has also earned their respect and loyalty. For Bastien, that trust means everything. He already does everything he can in order to spend time in her presence, to talk with her, and to find an excuse to inadvertently touch her—because in doing so, he can tell that she harbors similar feelings for him. Melanie's respect and growing desire is a heady promise, but Bastien harbors little hope that those feelings will ever come to anything—until he is called on to protect Melanie's life.

Now, thrown together in an escalating war, Bastien and Melanie have a chance to explore the desire simmering between them, if only briefly. But though he is willing to do anything to protect Melanie, Bastien isn't prepared for the lengths she will go to protect him—and her courage may have devastating consequences, for Bastien and the Guardians alike.

I've carried a torch for Bastien for some time, so just hearing that he was the lead in this book had me on pins and needles. But this book, this character, completely surpassed all my expectations. Bastien has spent so long convinced he is the villain of his own story that he accepts no one could actually want him around, let alone love him. Granted, his own behavior doesn't always help repair his reputation, but just below the surface, he wants desperately to find a place to belong. When Melanie offers a chance, he turns into the hero I always knew he could be. His pain is palpable throughout the story, but so is his joy around Melanie and growing hope that he might have found a place he can stay, and I felt every one along with him.

Much to my joy, Melanie was the perfect heroine for Bastien. I was thrilled by her honesty and her willingness to take the lead in the relationship when Bastien was too hesitant to make a move. Similarly, I loved that Bastien let Melanie fight by his side and let her make her own choices. Their confidence in each other made the book for me, because it highlighted the fact that they were evenly matched in every respect. That equality and honesty were striking, and each of their scenes are so much more intense because they feed off each other's strengths, making each other better with each and every interaction. It also makes their romance unforgettable and left me thrilled and thoroughly satisfied and desperate for more.

Fair warning: newcomers to the series are going to have a very tough time starting the series here. Bastien and Melanie's story is absolutely not to be missed, but the events of this book follow very close on the heels of last year's Night Reigns, and there were times I found myself wishing I had re-read it before starting this book so I had a clearer grasp on all the characters and their goals. This is as much Ami's story, continuing from the previous book, and its emotional impact was just as strong this time around. Her fate is intimately bound with the rest of the Guardians, and I am fascinated to see what happens in this plot line next.

If it isn't already clear, I cannot wait for the next book in this series. Some genuinely fascinating developments toward the end of the book have me jittery with anticipation, and the promise of more time with Bastien and Melanie will bring me back anytime. But don't take my word for it—go read and enjoy!
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