I liked this one too! It is the 2nd book in the series, and even though Ryder (the vampire of the story) is not the main focus (this book concentrates on Melissa – Ryder’s human caretaker), this story captured me just as much.
We find out more about Melissa’s family history, and her slight resentment at being next in line in having to answer “the call” (helping care for Ryder, and keep his secret). The job has been passed down many generations in her family, and is now her responsibility. Due to the strange hours and dangerous circumstances involved in caring for and living with a vampire, she is tormented at the prospect of never having her own personal life.
She also resents her parents for distancing themselves from her life. Her parents, having been deeply in love, and desperate to find a cure for her mother’s illness, centered most of their energies on each other, leaving Melissa to lead a solitary childhood, slowly reinforcing her impression that her life was one of responsibilities without affection.
The action begins when Melissa’s office is broken into, and one of her father’s journals is stolen (a journal, amongst many, that detail his life & experiments while caring for Ryder). While these journals are important in helping Melissa continue where her father left off, she realizes that someone specifically targeted this journal, which means the secret might have been breached. Keeping the remaining journals locked up, along with discovering who is snooping into their secret, and why, is crucial.
Melissa enlists Sebastian (Diana’s hot, bad-boy brother) who is a computer programmer to digitize and encrypt the remaining journals. Problem is, they have a slight *history* of their own, and her raging crush proves to be more difficult to handle then she originally thought.
“I don’t think there will be much together, Sebastian.”
She doth protest too much, he thought. She was building defenses right before his eyes.
He knew the price to be paid for erecting such barriers. He’d kept his father away with the walls created by his defiance. Behind those walls, he’d avoided hurting people who expected more of him than he was able to give.
“Understood Melissa. Just business.” He held up one hand as if in surrender, although giving up was the last thing on his mind.
Sebastian’s too-quick acquiescence surprised her because of the disappointment that came again, much as it had at the coffeehouse the other day. Disappointment implied that she’d hoped he’d take this opportunity to rekindle…
Melissa thoroughly reads each journal as Sebastian scans them in, and soon uncovers secrets about her parents that capsize everything she ever believed about them. Diana and her FBI staff begin piecing together past evidence that suggests her parents may have actually been murdered. Secret experiments, new medical discoveries, and, once trusted colleagues that could actually be enemies, unravel a world that no one had suspected.
Ryder also gets a lot of air-time in this story, (along with some sweet moments between him and Diana).
He released her and dragged a hand through his hair. “And what of my life? Or should I say, my lack of life? Tell me what’s right about it Diana? Tell me what I did wrong to merit the life I have?”
Diana’s heart ached with his pain. She embraced him and held him close for long seconds. Cradling his head to her, she said, “Did you ever think the reason you’re here now-that you’re the way you are-is because you were good?”
A harsh laugh escaped his lips. “And this,” he said, transforming into vampire mode, “is my reward?”
Standing on tiptoe, she brought her lips to his and cupped the back of his head to keep him there where he would have pulled away. “If not for this, we’d never have met.”
He answered her with a kiss so demanding, she wasn’t sure whether it was the vampire or human in control. Frankly, at that moment, she didn’t care.
Remember how in the first review, I commented on how Ryder was not the typical powerful vampire. In this installment, his human half appears to be conceding to his vampire half, and his powers are emerging at an alarming rate. Now THIS could get interesting! While Ryder is unable to explain the changes, simply describing them as almost “instinctual”, the humans around him are finding themselves somewhat unnerved at his obviously less-than-human responses.
Here’s an example. Melissa is napping in the home office, while Sebastian is busy working next to her, and she screams due to a nightmare;
The door to the office flew open.
Ryder stood in the doorway, naked except for a pair of boxers, his hands clenched at his sides. “Melissa, are you okay?
His question was followed by the sound of hurried footsteps. Diana came to the doorway in a robe that had been hastily tossed on and her Glock drawn for defense. She glanced uneasily at Ryder. “How’d you do that? One second you were there and the next…”
Ryder shrugged. ” I don’t know. I just heard Melissa and reacted.”
“Like the Flash?” Sebastian prompted.
While the mystery is abundant, the love story remains front and center. While each of the characters have their own demons to battle, they find themselves becoming stronger, with each tenderly shared moment.
Here is one of my favorite moments of the book (between Sebastian and Melissa), that I felt most definitely needed to be highlighted here.
Closing the distance between them, he embraced her tightly, but what could he say?
“Will you stay tonight?” she asked, the side of her face buried against the spot directly above his heart.
Did she hear the way the beat stopped, then started once more, faster than before? Did she know that with those few words, she had made him hers?
Very touching, and sweet, and while Sebastian may not be a vampire, he is incredibly sexy, nonetheless!
Well, onto book three. One of Diana’s colleagues appears to have a vampire interaction of his own, and I’m off to be swept away 😉