Title: Dark Needs at Night’s Edge
Author: Kresley Cole
Review Number: 46
Genre: Parnormal Romance
Stand Alone/Series: Book 4 of Immortals After Dark Series
To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Wroth’s brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. There only Conrad can see the dancer with wild raven hair–who seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature inflames him with desire, leaving his body racked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own.
Yet even if Conrad can win Néomi and claim her completely, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?
Why did I read the book: Because I love this series! Plus, I won my copy in a contest at Dear Author’s website (not that wouldn’t buy it anyway).
Conrad Wroth is a mad bounty-hunter vampire, lost to bloodlust, insane with countless hallucinations and memories he has from his victims, bent on revenge against his brothers who turned him into a bloodsucker, the thing he hated the most back when he was a human. If that wasn’t enough, he is also being chased by several casts of Demons and one of them has cursed him with losing what he wants the most the minute he gets it. By all means and purposes, Conrad is a bomb waiting to explode, ready to die, ready to be killed. But his brothers Murdoch, Sebastian (from No Rest for the Wicked) and Nikolai have a plan to bring him back. They manage to capture him and with the help of magically enhanced chains they entrap him to an old mansion in New Orleans. They think that if they keep away from killing, his bloodlust will subside and with a clear mind, it will be enough for him to be able to find his Bride. A Vampire’s Bride is the one woman destined to be his mate, the only one who can bring him back to life (his heart starts beating again, he breaths and he can have sex) by the process of blooding and the one to bring him peace of mind. According to the brothers there is one thing that is stronger than the need to kill and that is the need to protect.
As soon as they bring Conrad to the mansion though, he starts to have a whole new set of hallucinations, he keeps seeing the ghost of a woman taunting him. Except that she is far from being a hallucination – she is real, at least as real as a ghost can be. Neomi Laress, was a famous ballerina back in the twenties murdered in a fit of possessiveness by her ex-fiancée. In life she was an accomplished, independent, rich woman who had a joie de vivre which was what probably kept her around, trapped to her adored house for the past 80 years, lonely, waiting for new tenants to keep her amused. She hasn’t been properly heard or seen in all of this time and if at first she is furious at Conrad for trashing her house in fits of madness, she soon realises that for the first time, someone can actually see her. And when Conrad comprehends that she is not something out of his imagination, they start to talk to each other.
At first, Conrad’s mind is nothing but fragments of thoughts – this is clear by the way the narration of his point of view is nothing but disjointed sentences at first. But from the moment he starts to talk to Neomi, he becomes saner and saner. Her presence soothes him and makes him less frantic and with a clear mind things become easier. And the more time they spend together, the more certain he is that if she was corporeal, she would be His Bride.
There is a whole new rhythm to the development of the love story in this instalment – instead of jumping right at the physical aspects of a Mated connection, Conrad and Neomi truly learn to respect and admire each other. The tender feelings that they develop for each other come before the certainty that she is his Bride (of course she becomes corporeal, this is a romance novel) and as with Wicked Deeds in a Winter’s Night, their interactions are sweet and cute – albeit also at times, explosive and hot. They have a deep connection from the get go and they know it:
– When we talk, I like how our words ebb and flow. There doesn’t seem to be a need to remark on each comment, no need to clarify – it’s as if we both understand that we understand each other. It’s like dancing.
– Or sex?
She’d smiled: Only if it’s great
He’d given her a confident nod: then we would have great sex.
So far in the series, my favourite pair of protagonists is Bowen and Mariketa (and yay, they make quite a few appearances – I heart Bowen) but Conrad and Neomi come easily as a close second – he has reinvested me with respect for Kresley Cole’s Vampires and Neomi is an incredibly strong and independent heroine willing to get her own destiny in her own hands – not waiting around for her male to solve her problems. Power to the women folk! And talking about powerful female, my adored Valkyrie also have some cameos.
I guess that if one tries hard enough one could find some gaps and holes in the world building and in the plotting here and there and maybe even gasp at how easily things got solved in the end, magically (pun intended). But honestly, I do not even care to look –to me the utter delight I get from reading Kresley Cole’s novels come from spending time with her characters – be it the main couple or all of the secondary ones as well. I just really love those glorious, crazed Alpha heroes who are so protective of their women that the mere thought of them getting in harm’s way is enough to make them go apeshit – even a splinter in their finger or a bump into a piece of furniture makes them wince.
This series is getting better and better with each instalment and all the teasers for Cade’s story (Dark Desires at Dusk, coming out at the end of the month) just left my mouth watering for more. Now.
And how can I not mention all the times the Valkyrie showed up, being crazy as always, causing havoc. The girls night out? So jealous. Wanted to be there.
Rating: 8 – Very Good.
Reading next: Undead and Unwed / Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson.