Author: Michelle Rowen
Rating: 3.85 Stars
Release Date: February 1, 2011
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Michelle Rowen starts off strong out of the gate and with thoroughbred speed for her new Nightshade series with a phenomenal opening scene. Jillian Conrad, a temp for a finance firm is taken hostage, an unlikely bystander in a war between vamps and a secret government agency. With a syringe at her neck, and the lunatic holding it facing down a gun from a thug with an eye-patch, things can’t get any stickier for her. Little does she know that her life will end in the mere seconds it takes for the psycho to press the plunger.
Within that precious syringe lies the fate of all bloodsuckers. The deadly Nightshade serum, destined to tip the balance in favor of humans, has become a priceless commodity…if it gets in the right hands. But when it ends up in the body of Jill, all bets are off.
Nightshade dug its sexy claws into me and didn’t let go…after that amazing opening scene, Rowen doesn’t let up for a second. It’s an easy read but with a well-conceived plot. Jill ends up kidnapped by vampire hunter Declan Reyes (aka eye-patch dude) and together they try to fend off blood servants, the Amarantos Society, hybrid dhampyrs, King Matthias, traitors and each other. All Jill wants is to survive, and the only way she can succeed at it is sticking with Declan. But it’s an uneasy truce between them, one that will be tested over and over again.
The biggest enticement to Nightshade (personally speaking) is Declan. As a dhampyr, he must fight his bloodlust with a serum. It turns him into an emotionless fighting machine. But when Jill and Dec end up in the boondocks with no serum, their victim/captor relationship takes an interesting turn. The Nightshade compound is intended to make Jill irresistible to vamps…her smell, her body, everything about her is a delicious lure for their species-and Dec is not immune. He’d love to be immune but without his serum he’s vulnerable and wanting. All the things he has denied himself as a hunter, and the life he’s chosen comes spinning out of control and to the surface. He has to have Jill one way or another. What woman wouldn’t want to break down his resistance and conquer him?
Rowen manages to insert a big romantic taboo with Matthias, the current leader of the vampires with whom the hunters and scientists at Silver Ridge have aligned against. This is a coup for Rowen…because the ambivalence that Jill feels for her enemy becomes an intriguing emotional triangle for her. Is Matthias guilty of the charges brought against him? Does he deserve to be exterminated? Jill is plagued with this moral plight as well as a healthy dose of desire for him. And when Dec is permanently “fixed” by a new serum to eradicate all emotion from him and keep him a killing machine, who will Jill turn to? How can she break through that wall? Will she turn to Matthias? Rowen has left us quite the cliffhanger.
All I have to say is that Bloodlust is out in July and I’m hoping it’s going to wrap up a few of these issues for us. No doubt, at the top of her To Do List, Rowen has marked” “Tease Fans Further.” I’m betting we’ll be thrown over some craggy ledge as soon as we reach the last page. If so…then Rowen is doing her job well.
And lastly, I cannot wait to see if Matthias’ prophetic words come to pass…”I promise you one thing, Jillian. One day soon, you will come to me again.” It just makes me shiver…
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat).