Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Romantic
Published by Swell Cat on October 1, 2011
Reviewed by: Julia
Explicit sex scenes.
This collection of novellas features paranormal pairings romance readers will pine for. Vampires, demons, werewolves, faeries and even a mermaid will satisfy the darkest of cravings. ENEMY EMBRACE by Patti O'Shea When vampire hunter Nicole Ruiz nearly loses her life to a powerful vampire, she offers an alliance to her rescuer, a demon name Daktan. Demons might be an enemy, but she'd make a deal with the devil himself if that's what it took to avenge her family. ONE SOUL TO SHARE by Lori Devoti Mermaid, Sarina Neri, is desperate to regain her sister's soul. The sea spirit who has it wants a man who can survive in her realm, underwater, in exchange. Fortunately, Sarina has found such a man, vampire Nolan Moore. Unfortunately, Nolan wants the soul too, for himself. CRUEL ENCHANTMENT by Michele Hauf Investigating the vicious werewolf blood games, vampire Revin Parker struggles with his attraction to the faery informant, Sabrina Kriss. Six months earlier she had cursed him with an addiction to faery dust. Can they risk the desire that demands they fall in love with the one who could become their worst nightmare? HIDDEN by Sharon Ashwood Rafe returns to the Devries werewolf pack to rescue his people from a scheming fey beauty. Pitting his will against her wits, he plans to seduce his way free of the ice queen's trap. But surrender means death for the fey, and little does Rafe know that he's gambling with more than hearts...
CRAVE THE NIGHT gives us four stories of star-crossed lovers kept apart by politics, physiology, or just plain stubbornness. A short, sweet anthology that I devoured in one sitting; though none of the stories were good enough to prompt re-reading, I felt like I got a favorable introduction to all of the authors in general and will seek out two of them in the future.
The two stories that fell below my “active interest” threshold were Sharon Ashwood’s Hidden and Michele Hauf’s Cruel Enchantment. Ashwood’s story had some high points in terms of dialog, but neither the relationship nor the plot ever managed to come together for me. Lila was just too “everyone will hate me once they find out the truth” to win me over as a heroine and the mechanics of Fay oath vacillated too much between “iron clad” and “completely situational” to be an effective plot fulcrum for me. Hauf’s Cruel Enchantment did much better in the relationship front, if only from a pure interest standpoint. As any fan of Chess and Terrible can attest, reading a love story where one half is an addict can be an emotional roller-coaster and Hauf handled much of the relationship between Bree and Rev perfectly. I loved that “love doesn’t conquer all” initially and that an actual physical antidote to Rev’s addiction is needed for them to finally come together, though ultimately, well... love conquers all. As much as I liked Bree and Rev, however, they couldn’t entirely compensate from a plot that was difficult to follow and two end scenes that sucked all of the climactic drama right out of the story.
While those two offerings were more in the Two/Three Bat range for me, Lori Devoti’s One Soul to Share and Patti O’Shea’s Enemy Embrace raise the anthology’s average over all. Devoti’s heroine starts off in much the same boat as Ashwood’s (both women became villains for the sake of their family) and despite the fact that Sarina actually killed several men in her quest (where as Lila only roofied a few), I still liked Sarina better in the end. One Soul to Share was a sexy, modern take on mermaid mythology, and everyone down to the villain was a character I’d like to read more about. And if One Soul to Share breaths new life into a familiar myth, O’Shea’s Enemy Embrace revives a familiar trope, “paranormal soul mates”. Rather than spending too much time fighting their attraction, Nicole and Dak managed to shift the focus to the much more relatable business of being a part of a new couple. To spice things up, this new couple has more exotic concerns than picking restaurants or meeting mutual friends, they’re out to kill an ancient vampire before she kills them. Enemy Embrace feels like a perfect fit for the story length while still piquing my interest in the rest of O’Shea’s catalog.
I ultimately gave this anthology Three Bats, though both Devoti and O’Shea have been added to my author watch list as a result of their contribution. Even better, all four stories managed to introduce new and interesting mythologies for the universe of fae, werewolves, vampires, demons and mermaids, by no means an easy feat, which makes CRAVE THE NIGHT worth picking up.