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REVIEW

"Well-crafted collection of short stories"

In PANTHER, the pressure is on for 25-yo Danielle De Mauris to get married -- mostly from her worldly-wise seer Gran with witch-blood who insists that Dani will be meeting her soul mate in a tall, dark handsome stranger. Of course, Gran has been making this prediction for her granddaughter for as long as Dani can remember and it hasn't yet come true. Not unless you count the large black stray that Dani finds at death's door near her shop cellar one dark and stormy night and which Gran nurses back to health.

After experiencing a weird and vivid hallucination and Dani's cat, Pan, has a violent convulsive reaction, Dani takes to letting the animal sleep across her chest at night, a sad commentary on her non-existent love-life to be sure, that she has resorted to "sleeping with" her cat.

But what Dani thinks are hallucinations are actually her own witch blood awakening and harbingers of her destiny. Things escalate once she brings a mirror (a birthday present and family heirloom) up from the cellar to polish. What she sees in the mirror is too fantastic to believe, but Dani soon discovers that the mirror does not lie, and Pan is not the innocent pet that he first seemed.

In SHADOW MAN, Sereia is hot to trot and on the prowl at The Den. Clad in black mini and bustier, blatantly sexual and trying to lure one special man who can provide her with the nectar she seeks, Sereia is unapologetic of her sexuality and only mildly repentant of the consequences.

Clad all in black and as unique and enigmatic as he is arousing and dangerous, Zac Delany immediately catches Sereia's attention when he struts into the bar. Initially, he is immune to her telepathic bait, a fact that makes him an excellent choice and even more alluring than his dark hair and dark smoldering eyes, the possibility strong that he has what she seeks.

Sereia barely completes the process of merging with Zac and eliciting his godhood before she and her lover are violently interrupted. What follows will force difficult choices on both Sereia and Zac.

In BOUQUET, Torquen, eldest of his Blood-kind brothers at a costume party celebrating Bram Stoker's birthday, has the tables turned on him by a young woman who is not quite what she seems.

Alluring and innocent, Natalie possesses Bouquet, that rarest of human blood coveted by all vampires. It is for this very reason that Torquen is inexorably drawn to her. But getting Natalie and having her may prove to be much more than Torquen ever bargained for in this sensual game of cat and mouse.

In TIGER! TIGER!, Sir Julian Wentworth is one of the wealthiest Lords in the Ton, as pompous and self-centered as he is rich. He has deflowered young women and pleasured himself with more of the sophisticated women of the Ton than he can count or remember. A woman is but a warm body to him, created for his amusement and nothing more. When his carriage is set upon by two masked robbers, Julian is suddenly forced to reconsider this mindset as one of the highwaymen is actually a highwaywoman with a mean score to settle.

Six months after his ravishment, Julian is not himself. He doesn't indulge in any of his usual pastimes, a haunted man in the midst of a fruitless search far and wide for the mysterious woman responsible for his quandary.

Lady Desdemona MacLeod is a rich widow living in seclusion in the Scottish Highlands. Enigmatic and unconventional, she thumbs her nose at London society while throwing soirees for which many of the Ton would give their eye- teeth for an invitation. Lady MacLeod has her reasons for being private and secretive, and when Julian receives a most sought-after proposal to attend an affair at her mansion he will find out exactly what they are, his past sins rising up to slap him firmly in the face.

In LA PETIT MORT, Tess, a dancer and Robert, a violinist in the orchestra, discover that "little death" has more than one meaning as they reunite on the stage to enact an impassioned flamenco, and later, a more intimate dance after the performance. This tale of timeless everlasting love quickly unfolds as Robert teases Tess with visions of their past together and regales her with hopes of the future they will inevitably share.

In FLIGHT NIGHT, orphaned after her father's death one year previously, Melisande lives a life of drudgery and vassalage at her uncle's castle and beneath the cruel hand of her cousin Lythia.

When Lythia's betrothed, Hadan, arrives with his companion, Roheel, in tow, Melisande's recent mysterious dreams take on new meaning, beginning to make sense to her.

Roheel is from the "east" as was Melisande's father. Strange and different, there is an aura about him to which Melisande is drawn. It is also an aura she fears, and when Roheel comes to her bedchamber one evening with information about their shared history, she realizes her fear is not unwarranted.

In RESURRECTION, at the camp site of an archeological dig in Egypt, Simone Beauris has been having trouble sleeping due in no small part to the graphically erotic frescoes depicted upon the walls of Prince Re-Nefru's secret tomb.

Simone accidentally drops and breaks open an alabaster box that holds the Re-Nefru's vow of revenge against those who ruined him, pretty standard stuff. What isn't standard, however, is the sudden appearance of Prince Re-Nefru himself, summoned by Simone's reading of the box's parchment. But is the man another product of Simon'e horny imagination or flesh-and-blood real?

A collection of short stories all linked by one common theme -- that nothing is as it seems and no one is what or who they seem -- FORBIDDEN NIGHTS is inhabited by an assortment of shapeshifters and other mythological beings who all have two basic things in common with the humans whose space they share: the need to touch and be touched; to love and be loved.

Astrid creates several fully-realized worlds of wyres, vamps, succubi and ghosts in a minimal amount of space, the stories as varied as the methods their inhabitants use to attract the opposite sex; as engaging and well-crafted as each protagonist. A well-done anthology, worth the read!

Posted December 13, 2005

Reviewed by Gracie McKeever
Posted November 20, 2006

SUMMARY

Take a walk on the wild side: Do YOU dare enter the realms of the Wyre, the Lilan, the vampire; mortal and immortal lovers whose dark dreams and forbidden nights incite passion and stir the soul?

Feel the thrill of the blood-lust, experience the silken texture of a dream-lover's caress. Join in the quest where desire and fear are but the rhythm of the chase.

Award-winning, best-selling author, Astrid Cooper, presents a powerful combination of mythic-fantasy and stunning eroticism, where hunter becomes the hunted in the ancient game of seduction.

Featuring the stories: Panther: Bouquet: Flight Night: Shadow Man: Tiger! Tiger!; Le Petit Mort: Resurrection.

Touch not the cat!
Danielle's lover is relentless -- he offers forbidden nights of passion and desire. But is he a dream, or a man? She discovers that he is more than he seems. How can a human woman satisfy the passionate cravings of a creature who walks in the shadow of many worlds and many guises? Panther awakens Lauren's deepest, darkest desires, but when Panther's past catches up with him, she must confront the reality of who and what her lover truly is!

 

Forbidden Nights
by Astrid Cooper

eXtasy Books
October 1, 2005
ISBN #1554106540
EAN #9781554106547
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Other Books by
Astrid Cooper

Starlight Seduction
Starlight Passion
Starlight Desire
Starlight Rapture
Crystal Dreams
Shadow's Embrace
Crystal Dreams


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