Book five of the series expands on Ricardo and Sara’s story. Both of these characters were introduced in previous books (remember, Sara the nurse who was Melissa’s best friend? Sara was offering bags of blood to a Santero (Ricardo) in hopes that he could heal her mother). While Sara had her doubts about his “abilities”, and was suspicious as to what he was doing with the blood he was requesting, she was willing to try anything to reverse her mother’s prognosis.
In this book, we realize that Ricardo is not a true “santero” but is acting under the guise of such.
Ricardo didn’t like living a lie, but posing as a santero– a priest of the Afro-Caribbean religious Santeria – was the only way he could use his healing gifts. Many of the people who sought him out might not have come to him if they realized his abilities were earthly. They preferred to think the powers came from rituals beseeching their gods.
Ricardo has always had a true gift to heal with his touch and, while he does not venture into darkness, he knows his powers could also take life just as easily. His abilities allow him to channel energy from the atmosphere around him (even drawing on people in his vicinity) and focus the energies into the person he is trying to heal.
We are also reminded that Ricardo is one of Samantha’s best friends, and he is her “keeper” of sorts. The blood bags he has been requesting from Sara (as payment for her mother’s therapy), were actually to feed Samantha (the vampire from a previous book).
As Sara learns to get past her suspicions of Ricardo, she befriends him, and they find themselves spending much time together. Their attraction to one another is undeniable, and they slowly explore the possibility of something deeper.
Ricardo has been sensing a strange foul darkness that hovers around his “light” (energy), and Samantha confirms that, she too, senses a dark being has moved into their area. Soon, local pets are going missing, and being found drained of their blood, and witnesses are claiming that a chupacabra is on the loose.
We are granted access to the demons thoughts, and we discover that the dark being (somewhat closely related to vampires) used to be a handsome and preening human. He was cursed into this new life due to his past greed and indiscretions. He now lives in sewers, smells of rotting flesh, and has a monstrous appearance. He feels Ricardo’s radiant healing energy (the light), and is determined to approach Ricardo (carefully) in hopes that he can be reverted back to his human self. He is lonely, appears to have remorse, and craves to live in the light once more.
He had displeased the light by being there uninvited, he told himself. That is why it had left him so suddenly.
A gentleman didn’t rudely come unannounced. It may have been decades since he had been totally human, but some civilities still needed to be followed.
He rose, brushing off the spittle and blood from his hands and body as he did so.
He had to make amends. To show the light he was sorry for intruding.
Here is a part that made me giggle. Sara unexpectedly discovered Ricardo and Samantha privately discussing the new predator in their entourage, and their close proximity had her jealous streak racing!
She wouldn’t run. That would be embarrassing.
Okay, she admitted, she was running, but her short strides were no match for those incredibly long and well-muscled legs she had admired recently. No match at all, she thought when his hand wrapped around her upper arm to stop her.
Unable to escape him without doing him bodily harm – a possibility that did occur to her now that the shock of seeing him with the other woman made her want retribution – she faced him. ” Did you want something?”
“It’s not what you think,” he said.
Over his shoulder, Sara saw that Samantha still stood on the landing, watching them. Sara lifted her chin a notch in challenge, and the other woman stepped back into the doorway.
Sara finally faced Ricardo. His dark gaze feigned concern. Or maybe it was real concern – concern about being caught. “I was wrong about you. So wrong,” she said.
When she turned away from him and he grasped her again, her years of army training took over. She grabbed his arm, slipped back and, using his momentum, propelled him over her shoulder and onto the ground.
He landed with a solid thud and lay there, staring up at her. Surprisingly, a smile quirked his lips. “I’m not sure I deserved that.”
Tee hee! I could envision that scene perfectly in my head, and Ricardo’s reaction was priceless!
While the crew (our favorite vampires and humans alike) attempt to capture this dark being, Sara, realizes that there is much more to life than what she has always been lead to believe. Can she handle the truth of vampires, Ricardo’s powers, and the dark force that seems to be hunting them all?
Good read and very romantic, but the danger is always prevalent. You will be curious to the very end to see if this dark being can ever truly be redeemed.