Dark Desires After Dusk, by Kresley Cole

>> Friday, April 30, 2010

TITLE: Dark Desires After Dusk
AUTHOR: Kresley Cole

COPYRIGHT: 2008
PAGES: 384
PUBLISHER: Pocket

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Paranormal romance
SERIES: 6th in the Immortals After Dark series.

REASON FOR READING: I've enjoyed all the previous books in the series.

A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can't resist...

Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

A tormented warrior she should fear, but can't deny...

Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon's wicked touch.

Surrender to dark desires...

Yet just when he earns Holly's trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs -- and claim his heart?
Many years ago, rage demon Cadeon Woede made a mistake that cost his brother his kingdom. It was a mistake his brother has never forgiven him for, and Cadeon would do anything to atone for it. When an opportunity arises to get his brother a sword that will enable him to recover his kingdom, Cadeon feels he must take it, whatever the price.

Holly Ashwin is a maths professor who knows nothing about her Valkyrie and Fury background. As far as she's concerned, she's just a normal human. Having to deal on her own with the manifestations of her heritage (which includes inexplicable freakish strength -something that has left her afraid of hurting her partner if she ever has sex) has meant that Holly's efforts to repress and control all those impulses have developed into full-blown OCD.

Holly is plunged feet-first into the Immortals' world when a group of masked weirdos kidnap her on her way to class, and she wakes up naked, tied to an altar. Even scarier than that is the way her anger at them makes her go scarily berserk and murderous. When Cade rescues her and explains what's going on, she's not a happy camper. She doesn't like this rude, uncouth, uncontrolled savage, but if there's really a chance that going with him to visit a certain evil sorcerer will allow her to reverse the changes in herself, she feels she must take it.

If you've read previous books in the series, you'll know how Kresley Cole's heroes feel about their fated mates. We're talking utter, overwhelming need here. These men only really come alive when they've found their mate, and that's the case for Cadeon as well, as he knows well. He's been waiting for his mate for 900 years. So when he realises in exchange for the sword he'll need to hand over the woman he's quickly realised is his mate to the evil sorcerer, well, he's not a happy camper, either. But the need to do right by his brother is bigger than his need for Holly... or so he tells himself.

DDAD was thoroughly delicious. I didn't expect I would enjoy Cade as much as I did (I don't tend to go for chaotic brutes), but he grew on me. Cole didn't change his nature and make him all sophisticated and gentle, but she did succeeded in showing that there was more to him than brute strength. I think what I most appreciated about him was his appreciation of Holly, including of her brilliant brain. Cade knows very well Holly's smarter than him, but that doesn't bother him. In fact, he finds it sexy. He finds everything about Holly sexy, and I was charmed by that.

Holly's a fun character as well. She so easily could have been portrayed as the typical frigid romance heroine, who only needs some good shagging, but Cole wrote it a lot better and more subtle than that. It's not about letting go, it's about understanding and accepting herself and who she really is, and realising that now that she understands her nature, she can deal with it in healthier ways.

DDAD is fast-moving, but with plenty of quiet moments to let our protagonists spend time together. I liked the plot, and liked that I didn't know how things were going to turn out. There are some suggestions about what's going to happen in the next book, and I'm planning to read that one very soon.

MY GRADE: A B+.

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