The second book in the H & W Investigations series, published January 2011.
Once, New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest's most pressing problem was keeping her agency afloat. Now she's dealing with two dangerous, seductive vampires who have been enemies for centuries. The only thing Max Carlyle and Alec Royce agree on is that they both want Shia - for very different reasons. Max is determined to destroy Shia for killing his progeny, while Royce's interest is a lot more personal. That's not sitting well with Shia's werewolf boyfriend, Chaz. As the feud between Max and Royce gets ever more deadly, a powerful vampire-hunting faction is urging Shia to join their side. Shia has always believed vamps were the bad guys, but she's discovering unexpected shades of grey that are about to redefine her friends, her loyalties - and even her desires.
A bad vampire has come to town, and he is after Shiarra. Max believes by taking her, he will hurt Alex Royce, who is the most powerful vampire in New York, and has his eyes on her himself. But Shiarra is smart, and rightly so, very afraid of getting closer to him. Unfortunately, Max will leave her no choice.
Jack, the local leader of the White Hats, tries to sway her to his cause again, at gunpoint this time. Which doesn’t work either. But he does warn her about Max, although he won’t tell her why, who or what he is. So Shiarra calls Alec Royce, to find out. Alec is very pleased to hear from her, and wants to meet in person to discuss this. When he comes to her apartment, he is just in time to remove another vampire from her front door, where he is trying to break through the wards guarding her apartment. Peter is a newly turned vampire, send by Max to take her to him.
The next day, even while under police escort, she is not so lucky. Shiarra is captured by human flunkies and a mage, and taken to Max’s hideout. And what Alec Royce only threatened to do, happens. Both Peter and Max drink from her, leaving her sick and exhausted and still imprisoned. Lucky for Shiarra, the White Hats have been following her as well, and have come to her rescue. They kill a whole bunch of Max’s flurries, but he himself manages to escape. And just when they get outside, there is Alec with his own flock of vampires, also to the rescue, but a little late. Shiarra barely manages to keep both groups from attacking each other, and against Alec’s wishes, she leaves with her rescuers, the White Hats.
While captured Max told her what he has planned for her, and how much he hates Alec, and why. So for now, she wants nothing to do with both of them.
But there are more things happening. Max is strategically taking over Royce’s businesses, corrupting or killing his vampires. And Shiarra and her friends decide to join the fight, as Shiarra never wants to be a victim again.
Again, I can’t shake the feeling of “this is a clone of Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton” off of me. The same thing has happened in those books. And as I really love that series, this one is just a weaker copy. Like Shiarra is a weaker heroine than Anita, and Alec cannot compare to Jean-Claude at all.
Still, it is a very high paced action filled book, and an enjoyable read. I even cried a little in the end for Shiarra. When everything has come to an end, she has to pick up the tatters of her normal life, and start over again. And I really get the feeling Chas is cheating on her, it is not only pack business keeping him from their dates.