Dark Needs at Night’s Edge
I read this one (Book #4) while “watching” the Superbowl (“watching” is used loosely, here). Yup, I’m that behind in my reviews again. I’m tellin’ ya…this series is really good, and quite hard to put down.
So my question was…how in the world was an entire story about a vampire falling in love with a ghost going to work? No biting? No touching? Nooooo…well, you know 😉
As I expected, this book did not contain a ton of that, but one thing it did do is recount a beautiful tale of two completely different beings overcoming their physical issues, to ease each other’s suffering and forge an unbreakable bond.
Conrad Wroth, the evil “other” vampire brother, is captured by his siblings; Sebastian, Nicolai and Murdoch, and brought to a newly acquired, empty manor. Strapped down for his own good, the brothers intend to reverse Conrad’s bloodlust and avoid his potential execution.
He fights them with everything he has. Full of contempt for his brothers, and all beings, he hates his undead life, and loves to hate. But his brothers are optimistic that he might come around, and join them once again.
He soon realizes he is not alone when he catches glimpses of a beautiful female ghost (Néomi, a famous ballerina murdered at the height of her career). He’s curious but fears he might be going crazy, and she is thrilled that finally, someone can see her.
I don’t want to be alone. Not tonight…
At twilight, she found herself making her way to him as if pulled by an invisible string. When she hesitated just outside his door, he said, “Ghost, come to me!”
Enjoy the interaction, she commanded herself. Just don’t get used to it.
“I know you’re there.” His voice sounded weary. “Are you frightened of me now?’
Despite her inexperience with communicating as a ghost (she has never had anyone see her, or talk with her in the past), she tries to speak to him, and keeps him company. As they forge a friendship she gets stronger and better at interacting, and his hatred dissolves into compassion and hope.
While she helps ease him back into sanity, he fears his brother’s (who don’t see her) might not interpret his interaction with this “ghost” as sane:
Nikolai exhaled wearily to find him moving about freely. “How did you get loose?”
“Dislocated my shoulder.”
Almost at the exact same time, all three raised their brows at the collection of papers. “You dislocated your shoulder to get to the newspapers on the road? You could have asked one of us if you wanted to read-”
“No. that’s not it.” Why not tell them? They already thought him mad. What if one of them encountered a ghost? What if they believed him? “I got them for a female who lives here.” He was sane enough to recognize how this sounded. “She likes to read them.”
“The house is abandoned, Conrad.” Nikolai pinched the bridge of his nose. “You know this.”
He ran his palms over his pants. “I’m the only one who can see her. She’s lying on this bed right now.”
To a man, they got that anxious expression as though they were wondering whether madness was catching.
“If there is truly a ghost there, get her to move something,” Murdoch said. “Can she make a door slam? Or rattle something in the attic?”
“Yes, she can move things with her mind.”
Sebastian waved him on. “Then by all means…”
Conrad glanced from them to her, and back again. “She’s…asleep.” And he couldn’t shake her to get her to wake.
“Of course she is,” Sebastian muttered. He’d always been the most skeptical of the brothers. Conrad figured that after three centuries, that hadn’t changed.
“Damn it, I’m telling the truth.”
“Yet you can’t rouse her?”
Conrad considered explaining why she was so exhausted, but thought that would only make things worse.
Murdoch asked, “Why would we believe your seeing a ghost rather than another hallucination? You’re supposed to be bombarded with delusions.”
“I was. Constantly. I’m not anymore. She’s real.” Right at her ear, he said, “Néomi, wake up!” No response. “Wake up!” he said louder, aware that he appeared to be yelling at a sheet.
Murdoch had a look on his face as if he couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry over Conrad’s actions.
While there are many sweet moments, they even manage to have a few “steamy” situations, somewhat akin to…ohhh i dunno…phone sex? A “tamer” moment during their exchange…
“Would you want to bite me?”
“Yes,” he hissed. “Would you let me?”
If he needed, she would give. “I’d deny you nothing.”
“Then I’d take your neck and your breasts. I’d bite your white thighs right above your stockings.”
Intense male. She stifled a whimper. “We’re doing it again, exchanging comments, bandying.”
She shook her head and whispered, “Like sex.”
He stared down into her eyes, making her feel like she was drowning in fire. “Néomi, you make me want to be blooded. But only by you.”
Their situation proves to be a tough one as Conrad suspects Néomi would have been his mate had she been alive.
“Would you want to be with me? If you could? For more than sex?”
She gave him a sad smile. “You have a destined Bride out there awaiting you.”
“Néomi, you might be…mine.”
The benefit of Néomi as a ghost, is that she is safe from Conrad’s enemies, but could it be possible to have a fulfilling future with a someone that has no physical form?
Néomi, headstrong and passionate about life, love and Conrad, is determined to make something of her undead self. Tired of being alone and restricted to her manor, she makes a decision, taking this story on an exciting turn. Forever or for just a moment in time…she is determined to experience Conrad for real.
I liked it! While it wasn’t my favorite in the series (Sebastian and Bowen’s, and even Cade’s stories are hard to beat) I did enjoy all the turmoil, angst and sexy moments, and well, I’ll be honest…the cover model portraying “Conrad” sure didn’t hurt either… 🙂