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REVIEW

"Sensual, and Suspenseful Stories of Shape-Shifters"

The Shadow Dwellers is a paranormal romance series in which the human world coexists with a preternatural one. The preternaturals consist of vampires, witches, and were-animals, who are governed by the Council of (five) Elders headed by the vampire Alexandre St. Juste. They are stories about friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, but most of all love.

Book I -- ONE WITH THE HUNGER
Also sold singly in electronic format.
ISBN Disk: 1-55316-070-3
ISBN Rocket: 1-55316-928-X

What do five women friends of eclectic interests and experience discuss when they gather together? Men? Sex? Fantasies? You guessed it! All of the above, and one of these ladies is about to have her fantasies come true in a most unexpected way.

Vivian, Jennifer, Melanie, Ehrin, and Shai have gathered in a New York City restaurant to celebrate Shai's birthday. Consensus has it that Shai's love life had been seriously lacking. The ladies have already gifted her with a sexy outfit and naughty lingerie, but that isn't enough. They've also decided that she needs a lover.

Shai Jordan isn't at all certain she needs one at all. Her limited experiences hadn't left her too impressed with sex. Her childhood hadn't given her any reason to trust men either. Her father had abandoned his family when she was small, leaving them destitute. Her mother had turned to prostitution, and the endless stream of men parading through their house had done nothing to improve her opinion of men. Her mother had died brutally at the hands of her clients. The only man who had ever done her a good turn was the police officer who had gotten her off the streets and turned her life around.

When prompted for a favorite fantasy though, Shai has her friends sitting on the edge of their seats. She paints a tale of a dark stranger who enters her home at night and promises to do her every bidding. Her friends approve, but is this what she'd really wish for?

As if her mind had been read, a dark and handsome stranger appears in her field of vision. Has she conjured him up? He is the embodiment of her fantasy lover. Their eyes meet, and shy Shai looks away only to hear him greet her friend Jennifer. Shai sits rapt as Jen introduces her to her old friend Valentin. Steamy visions run through her head as Val expresses his enchantment at the introduction. At home later that night Shai falls asleep with those visions still dancing in her head. Her life would never be the same.

Just outside a sinister presence watches over her as she sleeps. The vampire bides his time. Soon he would come for her, as he had come for her mother so many years ago.

The following day Shai returns to her office at the Times to find a dozen blood red roses with no card. As she ponders the identity of the sender, she learns that another call girl has been ritually murdered. As with the others, the woman's head had been nearly severed off, the body drained of blood. The strange serial murders resemble the manner of her mother's death all those years ago. A crime that had never been solved. Shai is determined to find the killer.

Val comes to her that night, determined to fulfill her every erotic fantasy. Though normal shy, Shai believing she is only dreaming, decides to go for broke. He is everything she'd dreamed he'd be and more. Later she receives a call from an anonymous male who claims to know both her and the identity of the serial killer. He wants to meet with her alone. With the evidence that her late night encounter was not a dream staring her in the face, she wonders if the caller could be her dark lover. Could she afford not to find out?

The murders continue. The latest victims all have two things in common - They've all been drained of blood, and they all bear a striking resemblance to Shai. Would she be next? Could the killer be the man who had made her darkest fantasies come true, the man who has stolen her heart?

ONE WITH THE HUNGER is highly erotic as such fantasies tend to be. Val is an extremely sexy and inventive lover, but never doubt for a moment that there's a romance happening here. It's love at first site for both Shai and Val, and that's saying something when you've been around the block as many years as vampire Val has. Ms. Wilder wisely knows that a fantasy such as Shai's can only be fulfilled by a man who loves her with all his heart. Only a man who loves a woman as much as Val loves Shai, would take such care to put her pleasure before his own. Bravo!

Mikhail, the villain, is as sinister as they come. The fact that he is still out there somewhere will disturb your sleep and make you crave the next installment, RETRIBUTION. I look forward to learn what is in store for Shai's good friend and fellow journalist, Jennifer Beaumont.

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Book II: RETRIBUTION
Also sold singly in electronic format.
ISBN Disk: 1-55316-072-X
ISBN Rocket: 1-55316-930-1

A decade has passed since Val had rescued his lover, Shai, and Mikhail's last victim's twin sister, Maeve, from his evil clutches. Now Mikhail has struck again, taking an elder vampire, Miranda of Glencoe, hostage. It appears he is seeking retribution against Val, as Miranda had been Val's dearest friend and companion for many years. But is that his real goal? The abduction is a violation of the laws that govern the Shadow Dwellers. It is sure to create a stir and bring Val running.

Jennifer Beaumont is the first to brave the vampire's lair in search of her friend. Centuries ago Miranda had rescued the newly created revenant from Mikhail's obsessive grip. Loyalty and friendship compel Jen to return the favor, though she has no wish to see her creator ever again.

In the years after her escape from Mikhail, Jen had found a man she'd loved with all her heart, but when Mikhail had learned of their relationship, he'd threatened her lover's life. Though it had broken her heart, she'd left Mac, rather than lose him to death. If she had anything to do with it, she would not lose Miranda that way either. Jennifer is shocked at the deplorable condition in which she finds her friend and does what Mikhail bids her to do.

Val, Mikhail's creator, knows better than anyone how unbalanced the elder vampire has become. When Jennifer informs him of Miranda's kidnapping, he knows that his loved ones will never be safe until Mikhail is dead. He calls upon his good friend Conor MacNaughten to liberate Miranda, while he meets with the Council of Elders with the hope of a legitimate means of sealing Mikhail's fate. Should the council refuse his plea, Val will be forced to take the matter into his own hands. This would mean his own death at the hands of the Council.

Jennifer's involvement creates conflicting emotions in her former lover. Mac has no memory of his life before that time when he was discovered by Renault, unconscious in a niche in Hadrian's wall a millennium ago. He has no country, no recollection of family or friends. His later life had been filled with the pursuit of pleasure. Only Jennifer had touched his heart, and she'd betrayed him. Though the pain she'd caused him had not faded with time, he'd do virtually anything to keep her from being harmed. It is clear that even after a century apart, she is not indifferent to him. Yes, Mac has unfinished business with Jen.

He has unfinished business with Mikhail as well. More than even he is aware of. Mikhail has been ordered to produce Miranda unharmed. But Jennifer knows he will not. Her vision triggers long buried memories in Mac, memories so horrible that his mind had refused to allow him access to them. Now Mac is about to come face to face with his history and...his destiny. Doing so will give him the key to his power, and a second chance at eternal love - If he survives.

RETRIBUTION is a gripping tale of betrayal and of love. J. C. Wilder gives us major insight into the villain Mikhail whose sanity was long gone, well before he joined the ranks of the undead. One will shudder at the lengths he will go to, to gain power for himself. He is bent on revenge, but his plans for retribution go far beyond Val's supposed misdeeds.

This installment will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Conor's tale is compelling, suspenseful, and everyone's worst nightmare all rolled into one. Yet he carries on untainted by it, which reveals a great deal about his character. Ms. Wilder also reveals an intriguing bit about the reclusive Renault, but that is a story for another day.

Mikhail is badly damaged, and the council is in shambles, but this is not the end. Evil will raise its ugly head once more, and this time Fayne will be called upon to stop it. Romance writer Erihn Spencer is about to learn that reality can be better than anything she could possibly imagine! Her story is SHAMELESS, Shadow Dweller's Series - Book III. Stay tuned.

Copyright 2001

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted December 12, 2001

SUMMARY

Contains Book 1 "One With the Hunger" and Book 2 "Retribution"
These titles have been revised and rereleased by Ellora's Cave

 

The Shadow Dweller Series Volume I
(Shadow Dwellers - Books 1 and 2)
by J. C. Wilder

LTDBooks
October 1, 2001
Available: November 6, 2006
ISBN #1553164903
EAN #9781553164906
223 pages
Trade Size (reprint)
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Other Books by
J. C. Wilder

Winter's Daughter
Stone Hearts
Deep Waters
Sacrifice
The Power of Love
In the Gloaming
Winter's Daughter
Thief of Hearts
Paradox I
Paradox II
Paradox III
Temptation
Sins Of The Flesh
Atonement
Tempt not the Cat
Retribution
One With the Hunger
In Moonlight
Ellora's Cavemen: Tales from the Temple II
Dreamquest
The Shadow Dweller Series Volume III
The Shadow Dweller Series Volume II
Redemption


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