Love Bleeds

Maggie James
Love Bleeds
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Release Date
March 2011
Book 1 of Only After Dark
Paranormal Romance

There's no such thing as vampires…

Straight-laced Katarina Renót is well educated, logical and doesn't believe vampires truly exist. But when a well deserved holiday in Europe turns into a torrid game of cat and mouse with a handsome stranger and her best friend is exhibiting signs of being allergic to daylight-Kat doesn't think her life can get any stranger.

Every man has a weakness…Even an immortal…

Joseph Markus is an arrogant, wealthy entrepreneur who spends his free time as the raspy lead singer for the rock band "Slang" and seducing beautiful women. After decades of mourning the tragic death of the only woman he ever loved, vying to save his best friend from an unrelenting death wish- now he is accused of being a murderer.

An undeniable twist of fate…

Kat learns her Prince Charming is actually the "Prince of Darkness" and though she can't resist falling for this sultry vampire, she still lives in denial. But when the lines are drawn, and Kat finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly plot for revenge she has only one choice--trust the seductive vampire who has captured her heart.

Despite his own arrogance, Joe finds himself inexplicably drawn to Kat. Her stubborn will to resist his seductive charms coupled with her endearing naiveté prove to be more than he bargained for and Joe soon realizes he is in way over his head.

But will love be enough to save their immortal souls from the grips of a twisted obsession?

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Jun 08, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
192 people found the following review helpful
Dark, sinfully seductive and utterly ruthless, get ready for a new breed of vampire in this promising new series!

Katarina Renót, a literature and mythology professor, is taking her first real vacation after what feels like a lifetime of hard work. Taking a sabbatical from the London University where she teaches, she and her best friend Nina embark on an adventure to Dublin, eager to see the sights and take in the well-advertised nightlife. And after a single visit to the notorious ‘Graphica', Kat knows that all that advertising was nothing compared to the real deal.

It wasn't enough that she ran into Joe, the club's co-owner, and lead singer of the headline band, who happens also to be the most devastatingly handsome and mysterious man that Kat has ever encountered. On top of that, Nina is immediately captivated by Philip, the band's tortured blonde guitarist, to the point where she is incapable of being anywhere but near him.

Kat cannot bring herself to admit to the existence of creatures that stalk the night in search of blood, but she is certain that there is something in each of these men that is not quite…human. And as her attraction to Joe grows, it would appear the danger around her is increasing, until she finds herself caught in the middle of a blood feud, and forced to face the possibility that the world is indeed a much darker place than she had ever dreamed.

Joe is proud, arrogant and cold, having lost everything in a war with the evil master Malachi. Now he is simply and absolutely accustomed to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to help him forget all the things he can no longer have. So when he first sees the lovely young lady at the club, he is drawn as much to her determination to resist him as to her beauty—and her blood.

But his time is also devoted to saving Philip, a reluctant vampire who is tortured by his inner demons and consumed by his dreams of a young woman who he believes to be his only key to salvation. Is it fate that the woman of Philip's dreams is the best friend of the woman that Joe cannot forget? As the four pursue an intricate game of cat-and-mouse, Joe's past inexorably closes down on them, bringing them all to the brink of a war that will pit Joe against an ancient evil to save the woman he has grown to love.

I have to say that some parts of the story rubbed me the wrong way when I first encountered them, but on second reading, I can understand and respect why they were the way they were. These are not cuddly vampires by any stretch of the imagination, and they often acted like the utterly amoral beings that they are. In some senses, it was nice to see my favorite breed of immortals return to the cold and usually ruthless beings that they have been for so long and move away from the angst and the cashmere sweaters and the simpering.

These vampires are creatures of blood and rage and passion and finding their soft side—that human part of them that could still feel love—was sometimes very difficult, though when their pasts are explained, it's easy to understand why. I usually disagreed much more strongly with Kat and Nina's decisions than with their fanged counterparts. The motivations for their actions wasn't very clear and I wondered at times if their feelings were genuine or a result of ‘glamoring' by the vampires. Because I couldn't get in their heads and understand their feelings, it was tough to relate to them throughout the course of their adventures, which made the non-romantic scenes tricky. It was also sometimes a little difficult to tell whether we were in Kat's head or Nina's but it grew easier as the story progress. When the connections between the characters were made and their relationships to each other confirmed, the writing sped up—and heated up—and sparks began to fly.

So while I did have my misgivings, I think that there is great potential in this book. It's very firmly grounded in the best vampire literature, with some very well-placed references to Anne Rice's series—references to ‘the true death', the gorgeously gothic atmosphere, not to mention Philip himself, who could give Lestat's friend Louis a run for his money any night.

And Kat and Nina did remind me in a lot of ways of Mina and Lucy, respectively. Their reactions to their vampire seducers were certainly similar, with one girl hesitant, both in what her mind sees and her heart feels, and the other so completely spellbound she can't think straight and begins to lose herself in her lover. I liked noticing these little references and similarities, and it gave me a lot of faith in the future of the series.

The atmosphere of the book as well—the darkness of the book was tangible, and the constant promise of danger and violence made for a few really suspenseful scenes that were a treat to read. When they were together, the chemistry between the characters, especially between Joe and Kat, was spot on, and the power play between the vampires was an interesting side story. I'm interested in seeing how the storyline progresses, and hopeful that this is the promising start for a new kind of vampire series.
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