Raphael

D. B. Reynolds
Raphael
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Publisher
ImaJinn Books
Release Date
April 2009
ISBN
1933417471
Series
Book 1 of Vampires in America
Genre
Action/Adventure Romance, Horror Romance, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vamps & Shifters Romance

SUMMARY
Malibu, California-home to rock-and-roll gods and movie stars, the beautiful, the rich . . . and vampires.

Powerful and charismatic, Raphael is a Vampire Lord, one of the few who hold the power of life and death over every vampire in existence. Thousands call him Master and have pledged absolute loyalty on their very lives. But when, in a brazen and deadly daylight attack, a gang of human killers kidnaps the one female vampire he'd give his life for, Raphael turns to a human investigator to find his enemies before it's too late.

Cynthia Leighton is smart, tough and sexy, a private investigator and former cop who's tired of spying on cheating spouses and digging out old bank accounts. When Raphael asks for her help in tracking down the kidnappers, Cyn's happy to accept. But she soon realizes her greatest danger comes not from the humans, but from Raphael himself.

Battling Russian mobsters and treacherous vampires, and betrayed by those they trusted, Cyn and Raphael find themselves fighting for their lives while caught up in a passion of blood and violence that is destined to destroy them both.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Jul 26, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
259 people found the following review helpful
It isn't too often that an author has managed to surprise me on as many levels as this book. An unconventional romance (to put it mildly!), glamorous locales, shady gangsters, lust, betrayal and some of the most extraordinary, powerful vampires you'll ever hope to meet.

Cynthia Leighton was an excellent cop, and it's those same talents that make her an excellent private investigator. A loner and a night-owl, Cyn has also established quite a reputation for herself within the vampire community as a discreet, reliable employee for daylight investigations. This is precisely why she is hired by Raphael, the most powerful of the eight vampire lords who control the vampire populations of the United States, to aid in a very delicate search.

While he was attending a council of the vampire lords (isn't it nice to know that immortal lords have to sit through meetings, too?), Raphael's estate was invaded during a shocking daylight raid, during which Alexandra, the one vampire Raphael would give everything to protect, was kidnapped. Unable to pursue Alexandra's captors during the day, Raphael and his second-in-command, Duncan, look to Cyn. And when Raphael asks, there is no turning him down.

But finding Alexandra means not only associating with Russian mobsters and murderers, but also that Cyn must also learn to live within Raphael's world, at his beck and call, an honorary member of his household. And that might be the most dangerous place to be, because no matter how hard she fights, how long she runs, Cyn cannot escape Raphael's gaze, can't push him out of her thoughts and her dreams, and can't forget the fact that he wants her just as much as she wants him. But with a vampire as powerful and as unemotional as Raphael, Cyn can't imagine she could ever be more than another one of his minions. But as the case—and the tension—heats up, Cyn and Raphael are ruthlessly betrayed, and what started out as a struggle for revenge has now become a fight for survival.

Cyn is a tough, gutsy, no-frills attached heroine that intimidated me no end before some of the softer angles of her personality began to show through. The daughter of an impossibly rich and nearly-absent father, she has all that money can buy, but also carries the scars of a childhood without love. Though Cyn can be very warm and is deeply protective of those she cares about (especially Alexandra), she is also abrasive and tremendously stubborn, willing to go toe-to-toe with the vampire lord himself, much to his staff's shock; and to refuse his advances, which might very well be the first time that Raphael has ever been turned down.

If you thought you knew what an Alpha Male was all about, I promise you that until you have met Raphael, your definition will be incomplete. Even when we first see him, bored to tears in a California conference room, Raphael is the be all and end all. There is absolutely no doubt he is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain control over his household and his area, as he demonstrates fairly quickly upon learning of Alexandra's disappearance. He is big, he is strong, he is thoroughly dominant, and ruthlessly possessive. And while all that was delicious, I have to admit that it was tough to learn to like a man who seemed to have no chinks in his armor at all. There is no doubt at all that Raphael is wants Cyn, but there were only a few flashes were I considered the possibility that he might want more than simply to possess her.

And this doubt made the ending of the book all that much more fascinating. While the rescue-mission to save Alexandra seemed over before it had actually begun, the way we leave Cyn and Raphael came as a genuine surprise, and made me realize just how complex a character Raphael really is, and how much I really had come to care for him over the course of the story. The description of his turning, which comes up earlier in the plot, is a brilliant piece of writing that might just be my favorite part of the book (which is saying something, considering the number of memorable moments in the story).

While I thought the mystery-aspect was lacking at times, I found the characters and the world of the vampire lords so fascinating that it was easy to overlook. This is one intense story, filled with fierce, passionate characters and set in a beautiful dark world. Each book in the series deals will deal with a different vampire lord and that lord's specific area, but let me assure you now, we haven't seen the last of Cyn and Raphael, and I for one can't wait for what will happen next!
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