"A delightful 2 in 1 Vampire collection"
"Twilight Vows" by Maggie Shayne (Book 6 -- Wings in
the Night series)
Donovan O'Roark was dying, although he didn't yet know it.
He'd been unwell, having unexpected bouts of weakness,
dizziness, and blackouts. As often happens when someone's
life is nearing its end, he'd felt an unexpected burst of
energy on that day. To prove he'd fully recovered, he'd
worked extra hard in his Da's fields, remaining long after
the rest of his family. His strength had deserted him on
the walk home that night. Dante had come to him then, and
had given him the dark gift. I was then that he learned the
Donovan didn't feel much different. He'd gone home to his
family, but they'd all known what he was even if he didn't.
His own flesh and blood refused to recognize him. His own
father had tried to kill him, with his mother, and Alicia
Sullivan, the woman he'd hoped to marry, egging him on.
He'd fled. Dante had always watched over him. He'd taken
him in, and for a while they'd spent a quiet existence
together in Dante's castle, enjoying each other's
companionship. But then Dante had made the fatal mistake of
trusting a mortal woman, a Sullivan, Laura. He'd fallen
in love with her, and she with him, he'd thought. But when
he revealed his nature to her, she'd fled in terror and had
brought the villagers back to destroy them. The villager's
had arrived at dawn to burn down the castle, leaving its
inhabitants to face death by fire, or from the approaching
sunlight. Donavan had survived. Burned and injured he'd
taken cover inside a haystack. He'd never heard from Dante
again. He could only assume that his friend had died a
terrible death. He learned a valuable lesson that day. He
would never trust his secrets to a mortal, and never allow
himself to care for anyone again.
That was the story that Rachel Sullivan had been raised on.
That was the reason she'd returned home, after eight years
of college in America, to complete her thesis on the legend
surrounding Dante's castle. In nearly two centuries the
village had not changed. The villagers were a superstitious
lot, and still didn't take kindly to strangers. But she was
one of their own, and they'd welcomed her back gladly.
She'd taken up her old job at the tavern during her stay.
The castle had always fascinated Rachel. It had been
rebuilt sometime after the fire, and had since belonged to
an O'Roark. Rachel was unique in that she had always viewed
the two supposed vampires as victims, rather than monsters.
Twice in her life she'd been saved by a mysterious man,
once when she'd nearly drowned, and later he'd brought
comfort when she was grieving for the loss of her parents.
He'd told her that he was her guardian angel, who would
always watch over her and keep her safe. She'd imagined him
to be Donovan O'Roark, or perhaps his ghost. Athough she'd
later concluded that this memory had only been a dream,
she'd loved the man all of her life.
The local's in the tavern were plying her with warnings the
night that HE returned. She'd laughed, for even if Donovan
truly lived, she would not have feared him. The door of the
tavern stood open when the stranger passed by on the track
to the castle. Noticing the patrons' wary attitudes, Rachel
invites the man inside to make a mockery of their foolish
superstitions. The man surprises her however, leaving his
name behind as he departs -- Donovan O'Roark.
He'd hoped he'd put her off with that, but Rachel is not so
faint of heart. She is determined to get material from him
to support her thesis. He feels a strong connection to her.
The same connection that Dante had felt for him.
She is One of the chosen, the rare humans who carried the
belladonna antigen. Those who bore it died young, unless
they accepted the gift of immortality reserved only for
their kind. His kind had a bond with these Chosen, often
being drawn to one in particular. Rachel is Donovan's
special one. He would not allow himself to admit that there
was more to it than that, that he might desire or even love
her. She was mortal, a woman, and a Sullivan.
Rachel is determined to have her answers, but deep down
there is something more to her visit to the castle than
that. She is drawn to Donovan as well. A storm forces him
to have her to spend the night in the castle, with the
stipulation that she leave first thing in the morning. She
does not. Bound to have her story, and with Donovan nowhere
in evidence, she decides to explore. She becomes lost, and
panics, knowing that Donavan will rise at nightfall. Hoping
a nearby door is a way out, she discovers Donovan's resting
place. Donovan can no longer allow her to leave. She knows
the truth. He cannot trust her. But does she really want to
go? Can he resist temptation if she stays?
Donovan had been alone even longer than she. She knows that
there is something between them, something stronger than
desire. She is not shocked by his nature, but somewhere
in the village is a another man who will not relinquish her
to the "monster" in the castle. Will history repeat itself?
Has Donovan's heart betrayed him as Dante's' had? Will he
too lose his life for trusting a treacherous Sullivan woman?
"Twilight Vows" is the only one of Ms.
Shayne's "Wings" tales not currently in print. Hopefully it
will be in the near future. It provides details of Dante's
background, only briefly touched upon in his own story,
TWILIGHT HUNGER (Mira; March 2002). It is a nice connecting
piece, and I thoroughly enjoyed the romance. It did drive
home the point that, even today, folks continue to fear
that which they don't understand, and how easy it is for
one person to take those fears and shape it into a mob
mentality. This is a concept far more frightening that of
any creature of the night. If you can get your hands on a
copy, I recommend the read.
"Married by Dawn" by Marilyn Tracy
Gavin Deveroux had been sent on a mission by the High
Council of the Society. A dangerous challenge had been
issued by a foolish mortal. His mission was to destroy her.
The mission itself posed no danger, mortals were so
ineffective against his kind. But the diary in her
possession would make the immortals extremely vulnerable,
if the information it contained were to become common
Tara Michaels had waited a year to have a memorial service
for her younger sister, Charlene. It had taken that long to
be able to focus on happier times, rather than the brutal
manner in which she'd been murdered. She had invited all of
the people who's lives had been touched by her sister, and
she had invited her sister's killer. She'd known that the
contents of her sister's diary would draw him to her, so
she had issued the challenge to the Council. She had
promised Charlene's fiancé that she would use whatever
means necessary to keep the man by her side until dawn,
when he would be vulnerable. Then it would be a life for a
life. She would feel no guilt for, if what Charlene had
written was true, he was not a man but a monster.
Outside the service, Gavin hears the sound of a woman's
laugh, pure and joyous, as none such as he could create
after the Crossing. He was drawn to the sound, mesmerized
by it. He promised himself that the woman who possessed it
would be his reward for fulfilling his obligation. Even on
the other side of the door, he could pinpoint her location.
Upon entering he realizes that his victim, and his prize,
are one and the same. He immediately realizes that he
cannot destroy her without first possessing her. However
the Council will soon come after them if he doesn't
complete the mission with all speed. Time is of the
essence. Gavin's solution is a desperate one. He asks Tara
Michaels, a woman he's never before met, to marry him. She
accepts. He should have been suspicious of that, however he
is much too concerned about the feelings she's
aroused in him, feelings that his kind no longer possessed.
Was he becoming a rogue? It was a frightening thought.
Alone together, it soon becomes clear that neither will be
able to complete their initial mission. Gavin knows that he
was not Charlene's killer, nor had he been the vampire
lover she'd written about in the diary. The diary is
revealing however. Jonathan had trusted Charlene with all
of his secrets, he'd even loved her enough to keep her by
his side while he slept the vulnerable sleep of his kind.
She'd protected him by using the name of his friend in her
recordings of their time together. Had Charlene been like
Tara? Had she brought out in Jonathan the strange and
wonderful emotions that Gavin was feeling for her sister?
He had thought Jonathan mad when he'd discovered him
desperately trying to perform the Exchange on his slain
lover. Even if the Exchange had been more than just a myth,
it had been far too late. He'd helped to have Jonathan
banished from the Society, a fate worse than death for his
kind. Now he wondered, and if the words in the diary were
true, Jonathan could not have been Charlene's killer, which
only one person -- Tom, Charlene's fiancé, the man who had
used Tara to set him up. The man was more of a danger to
Tara than to himself. He would have to go to the Council,
tell them the truth about Jonathan, the truth about
himself, and hope that they would understand, that they
would allow Tara to live, and stand behind him. He has not
fathomed that the danger to his kind, revealed in
diary, is not what it would reveal to the human's about the
nature of vampires, but what it would reveal to themselves
about their own emotions. No longer would they be impassive
killers, taking from mortals without regret, in order to
survive. The truth would shake the very foundations of
their world. Can one man change the beliefs of an entire
society? BRIDES OF THE NIGHT is a delightful 2 in 1
romance that was well worth the search.
Copyright © 2002
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 12, 2002