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Friday, November 10, 2006

****½ Bond of Blood by Diane Whiteside. Contemporary paranormal erotic romance.

Disclaimer: I'm behind in writing reviews, and I'm fatigued, so chalk up any weakness in the review to me, and not to the books.

This is, if I'm not mistaken, the first in a trilogy featuring the Texas vampires we met in
The Hunter's Prey (#15). And boy, did it make me homesick.

It has the same sensuality of the anthology, but this time there's a romance as well. Grania is a wildlife veterinarian at the Texas Hill Country Raptor Center, and Don Rafael Perez is a 700-year-old vampire who controls the Texas territory.

Rafael and his territory are being threatened by old enemies, so when Grania shows up in the woods when he's feeding, his initial response is suspicion. All too soon, though, it seems that they have a rare connection, and his suspicion is replaced by a desire to possess and protect her.

Grania is no less surprised, because Rafael is the man who's been in her dreams since she was a child.

I really enjoy this series (I'm including the erotica anthology here) because it's sensual and well-written, but also in large part because it's unusual. Most vampires in fiction come from northern or eastern Europe. Don Rafael and his oldest compatriots come from Spain. There are Spanish terms for all the positions in his territory--his military commander-in-chief, for example, is the alferez mayor, and a vampire sire is a creador. He also uses Spanish words sprinkled here and there. There's a glossary at the back of the book, but I only referred to it on occasion. It was interesting to get the exact translations, but the terms were easily understandable from the context.

The conflict with the old enemy was tense, and I appreciated the concept that Don Rafael had learned over the course of two centuries of torture at his hands, to lose to him. It added a nice psychological edge to the final battle.

The only quibble I have is that in the beginning of the book, an owl speaks to Grania, and that thread isn't followed up on.

I'm looking forward to more books in this series.


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