Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: creepy eye
For vampire Aidan Murphy, life has never been so desperate. The vaccine used to treat a global pandemic has rendered human blood deadly to his kind, leaving them on the brink of starvation and civil war. In tiny Penton, Alabama, Aidan establishes a peaceful community of vampires and unvaccinated human donors. He dares to hope that they can survive – until his estranged brother descends upon Penton and begins killing the humans. Determined to save his town, Aidan kidnaps an unsuspecting human doctor … and finds himself falling in love for the first time in nearly four centuries.
Dr. Krystal Harris thought she was coming to Penton for a job interview, but Aidan Murphy has other plans. Infuriated by his high handed scheme to imprison her in the small town, Krys can’t ignore the attraction between them. But is it love? Or does her dangerous, charismatic captor only want to bend her to his will?
I have had this book on my shelves for a while now, but I was hesitant to start reading it. First, I don’t like the scary eye on the covers of this series, and secondly, I was afraid there would be lots of medical details in it. But as I won the third book in the series recently, it was high time I started the book, especially as some of my blog friends really love this series. And I am very glad that I read the book, as I loved it! It won’t take me so long to read the rest, promise.
Aidan Murphy has built himself and his cadre of vampire friends a good life in the little town of Penton, Alabama. He has bought all the land in the forgotten little town, so no one can come live in it, without his permission, and discover their secrets. They have a host of willing human donors bonded to them, to feed them and to take care of daylight needs. Humans they have taken of the streets and helped put their lives back on track. They are kept safe from other vampires, as a bonded human can only feed the vampire he is bonded to, and is poisonous to other vampire. And one vampire does not need much to feed daily.
Ever since the pandemic, the vampire Tribunal has forbidden new vampires to be made, as there are not enough unvaccinated humans to feed them all as it is. And so vampires who recklessly kill their prey, are not tolerated either. This results in a death sentence for Owen Murphy for killing some ladies of the night in Dublin, and leaving them for the human police to find.
One of the vampires on the Tribunal has been searching for his son, William Ludlam. And a sleezy private investigator has tracked him down to Penton, Alabama. Ludlam wants his son back where he belongs, and thinks it will be an easy case of go in, abduct him, and have him delivered at his feet. But when he hears more about the place, and that Will has bonded to Aidan Murphy, things are different. Especially when he finds out that the Tribunal’s former executioner, whom they all presumed death for some years now, is living there as well. And so a diabolical plot hatches in his head, and he sends for Owen Murphy in vampire prison. If Owen wants to keep living, he will kill Aidan and bring Will and Mirren back to him. And so Owen collects a small cadre of vampires and homeless humans to feed them, and sets out for Penton, to screw up Aidan’s little paradise.
One of his first kills, is the town Doctor, and with the upcoming battle, they really need a new one. Will is a wizard at the computer, and he has researched a lot of potential applicants for the job. But Krystal Harris is the best so far, without any family or close friends, and she has not been vaccinated. She also has a huge debt and needs the fat salary they are providing. And Will was right, Krystal is coming over for a job interview.
But before there is time for a job interview, Krystal is stopped in the middle of the road by a man needing her help with a wounded person. This was not how she imagined meeting Aidan Murphy, the hospital administrator. And why has he not called for an ambulance, but insists on her treating the man?
It is all highly irregular, but Krystal cannot deny her assistance when needed, she does take her oath seriously. The clinic is much bigger than she expected, and supplied with the latest machines and such in medicine. She is convinced that Mark will live, but is still surprised that there is no ambulance or sheriff called about the attack.
Aidan is very attracted to this woman, and not just because he has not fed yet. Could she really be his mate? Whatever the case, he knows he cannot let her leave again, the town needs her. But enthralling her does not work for long, and does not last, and she does ask a lot of questions of him. She is certainly not happy to be locked up in the basement, no matter how luxurious the room is. Still, when she needs to do her job again, she cannot refuse. And when she finds out that she is living amongst vampires, she does not get hysterical, but merely curious and doubting it is real. And then there is that strange attraction to Aidan. Is it Stockholm’s syndrome? Or is it real?
After extracting a promise from Krystal that she will stay the month, she is given her freedom and a house of her own in town, just a few doors from Aidan’s. She is making friends with Jennifer, the resident nurse, and Aidan’s fam. The human who is bound to him, and feeds him when he rises for the night.
But the fight against Owen escalates, and no one is safe …
I really enjoyed this story. Krystal is a strong woman, who has been through a horrible childhood, and she does not intend to be commandeered by a man ever again. And now Aidan with his mindgames is trying to do just that, and she won’t have it. She came to Penton as she wanted to start a rural practice in a small village, to make some friends amongst the villagers, and to earn enough money to pay off her scholar debts. She does not believe she is beautiful, but Aidan thinks differently.
And then there is Aidan. Who is still feeling guilty about his wife’s death, 400 years ago. Although he was not the one who killed her, he could not safe her. He has really built a good life for himself and his followers and their humans, and he does what it takes to keep it that way. That the Tribunal has found out about it, is not good, they will feel threatened if they know the real amount of vampires bonded to him and his lieutenants. So he dares not kill Owen until he knows who is backing him in this. He does not intend to claim Krystal as his own, but circumstances make him act. And the mate bond is hard to fight.
The story is filled with action, but also gives Krystal (and the reader) the time to learn about this world, and Penton. Bits of Aidan’s history are explained throughout the story, not all in once, and I enjoyed that. How the humans really live their voluntarily, and feed the vampires, they are happy. The vampires are ruthless to each other, and the bad guys don’t care at all about the humans they are killing. This is kind of stupid as they are starving already. They should take better care of their food supply. I am looking forward to reading the stories of Mirren and Will in the future books. They are intriguing characters.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian