Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead

Nicole Brugger-Dethmers, Elizabeth Ireland, K. Stoddard Hayes, Kelly Wisdom, Noree Cosper, L.K. Below, Rebecca Rhielle, M.C. DeMarco, Evelyn Welle, Kevin Hosey
Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead
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Publisher
Cliffhanger Books
Release Date
October 2010
ISBN
1453824383
Genre
Fantasy Romance, Horror Romance, Paranormal Romance, Vamps & Shifters Romance

SUMMARY
Paramourtal is a collection of spellbinding new paranormal romance stories by some of the most talented writers today. Suspenseful, dangerous, humorous, heartwarming and just plain scary as hell, these varied dark tales will grip your heart and haunt you for days. This anthology includes:
A TOUCH OF SAND: The Sandman is forbidden to love humans. Then he gazes upon the enchanting face of Angeline and wonders why she stirs his cold heart.
DARK LEGACY: As a teen, Katherine was saved by a mysterious lake spirit. Now she returns to that lake to face a dark family pact that may end her life.
THE FISHERMAN'S WIFE: In an Irish fishing village, Sean has the perfect life with his loving wife, Muireen. But then she discovers a very dark secret he's hidden for years.
THE PRINCE AND THE SPOON: Walking in the park, Summer is attacked by strange fairy tale creatures who seem to know her. And then things really get weird.
THE FLOWER OF HELL: When Gabriella, a demon hunter, meets the handsome Dimitri, it rekindles long forgotten desires. But those desires may get them killed.
HIS FAMILIAR TOUCH: Unable to shift into her natural cougar form, Rikkita seeks the help of Derek, a mystifying man who may have the cure -- for a price.
OF FATE AND FIRE: As a child, Eleia lost her family and village to savage marauders. Now, she falls in love with a beguiling stranger whose past is even darker than hers.
SYMPATHY FROM THE DEVIL: While protecting a soul from temptation, angel Ariel faces Forcas, a charming demon. And she soon learns her own soul may be at stake.
THE UNDERLYING BEAT: After meeting the reclusive music composer Lee, Megan soon encounters mystifying forces that test both her sanity--and her heart.
RAIN: When his wife leaves him, Kyle escapes to a mountain cabin. There he meets the beautiful Reanna, a mysterious woman who can only appear when it rains.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Dec 09, 2010   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
190 people found the following review helpful
I usually turn to my romance shelf in order to escape, and let my mind unwind and wander a bit. Hence, the premise of these stories—romance and adventure that blended fairytale characters and themes—seemed ideal. I wasn't in the least disappointed, but I still was in for a tremendous surprise. These stories snagged me from the first few sentences and haven't let me go quite yet. While not ‘romances' in the strict sense of the word, I found each story touching, deeply imaginative and, in a word, spellbinding.

While none of these stories are fairytales in a strict sense, each featured characters from fantasy or folklore. In "A Touch of Sand", for example, the Sandman carries off a heartsick young woman in the hopes of understanding the nature of love; another is brought by a fairy prince from the world of pixies and gnomes beneath a North Carolina park to the wilds of local access television in "The Prince and The Spoon".

Other inspirations come from the pages of literature and mythology, whether they be the fallen angels in "Sympathy From the Devil" or the progeny of the Van Helsing family in "The Flower of Hell", a story which deserves to become the first in a long series. The worlds here are familiar, but grow far more fantastical and complex as the narrative progresses, forcing their characters to adapt and grow in fascinating ways.

Many stories also deal with the supernatural power of love and loss. In "Dark Legacy", a young woman learns her family's troubling legacy as guardians of a lake, and realizes the possibility that she may have to abandon life with her true love to fulfill her destiny; a man mourning the death of his love realizes he can glimpse her during storms but cannot bring her back in "Rain". "The Fisherman's Wife" deals with a man married to a selkie who must learn to share his wife with the sea and trust in her love to bring her home to him again. These more dramatic tales do focus on romantic love, but they also deal with the complexities of family relationships and self-discovery. They are bittersweet, but no less enjoyable than the stories with joyful happy endings.

Perhaps it is because I like to think there is more to the world than meets the eye, but I loved these stories. Each one was not only entertaining and often touching but they put my imagination to work and made the world outside the book seem that much more magical once I had put it down. The humor in some stories, most notably the opening of "The Prince and the Spoon", had me giggling out loud. The characters were real and multi-dimensional and I want to hear more about their experiences and get lost for longer in their magical realities.

If I had an overarching criticism about these stories, it would be that they were all a bit too short. Many of them felt a bit rushed, and certain aspects of various plots were often underdeveloped. A few extra pages might have helped to flesh out the worlds and the legends that made up each story without taking away from the pacing. It would also have helped to be given a greater background in the folklore that influenced each story, especially for readers unfamiliar with certain legends or works of literature.

However, this is a compliment as much as a critique, because I found each tale so interesting that I wanted to wander farther with each character and discover more about each author's chosen fantasy. While this collection is not perfect and there are definitely some weak points, I highly recommend these stories both for their heartwarming characters and for the intensely imaginative escape they offer. In a word, this book is enchanting.
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