Once a Rogue Hunter, now turned rogue, Nicholas Argeneau (Lucian’s nephew, and brother to Thomas Argeneau) has been on the run from his family and ex-colleagues for over 50 years (since the accidental death of his life mate). Now he himself is being hunted for murdering a human. While he has no real memory of such, (but was discovered in quite a predicament), he has been avoiding capture, and helping ease his guilty conscience by continuing to hunt rogue (evil vampires) on his own time.
A character in recent installments (by having unwittingly helped Lucian’s crew in past dangerous escapades) he continues evading his own capture while mysteriously helping the crew from a distance. In this book, Nicholas pursues a Rogue right into the Hunters’ headquarters, and ends up saving a human female (Jo – Samantha’s sister, life mate of Mortimer). Discovering that he can’t read her, he realizes that this beauty is his life mate.
“What’s your name?”
Nicholas stiffened and glanced over his shoulder with surprise. The woman should be halfway to the house by now; he pushed the thought at her to go back inside. Instead, she was standing right behind him, peering over his shoulder at Ernie.
He saw her frown and squint to see better and then she asked, “What’s that in his chest?”
Cursing, Nicholas stood and caught her arm to urge her toward the house. This time he actually tried to slip into her thoughts rather than simply send out a general thought. However, his footsteps came to an abrupt halt when he came up against a blank wall in her mind.
“What is it?” She asked, peering up at him curiously.
“I can’t read you,” Nicholas admitted with bemusement.
“Read me?” She asked with confusion.
Nicholas merely shook his head and tried again to penetrate her thoughts, but again he came up against a blank wall… which could mean only one thing: She was his life mate.
Unable to resist each other (the love-nanos are at work) they share a very passionate moment, but he reluctantly realizes that he must let her go, as he is unwilling to have her live a dangerous life on the run with him.
He was in the middle of enemy territory with a temporarily disabled rogue just feet away and a party full of enforcers just inside the building behind him… and he was stopping to kiss a life mate he could never claim. Nicholas had never realized he was such a masochist. This was like tasting the frosting of the cake he could never eat, he thought unhappily, and slowly eased and then broke the kiss. When he lifted his head, Jo’s eyes were still closed and her lips still slightly parted and damp from his kiss. He was hard-pressed not to kiss her again, but resisted, and when she opened her eyes, he growled, “Consider me thanked.”
A small smile curved her lips, and then Joe reached up to caress his cheek, saying, “Surely saving my life is worth more than one little kiss?”
Mortimer and the crew find the two in an embrace, arrest Nicholas and place him in a holding cell, while erasing Jo’s memory of the Rogue attack on her, and meeting Nicholas. Jo, being somewhat strong willed, senses something isn’t right with her memory, and after overhearing the hunters discuss the issues at hand, forces herself to remember…
Jo stayed where she was for another moment, her mind spinning a little. Most of what had been said made no sense to her. Decker had wiped her memory and put it in her head that she was tired? She’d been attacked by a rogue, whatever that was, and some fellow named Nicholas, also a rogue, had saved her… apparently risking himself in some way to do so? And she’d been kissing him?
It was the bit about wiping her memory that bothered her most. What did that mean? And how could it have been done? Oddly enough, however, while she wondered about that, Jo was also having strange flashes of memory in her head, just bits of memory that were very disjointed and didn’t make a lot of sense. Mostly she just kept seeing the dark-haired man’s face.
…finds Nicholas, and helps him escape.
Realizing what Jo has done, the hunters decide to keep watch on her (in hopes that Nicholas will come back for her), so they can capture him. Due to certain events, everyone concludes that Jo continues to be the latest evil vampire/rogue’s target. Nicholas realizes he has been the only one who has consistently managed to save Jo from abduction attempts, and they both realize that she might simply be safest, hiding with him.
A quick excursion in hiding allow the two to discover love again, and while Nicholas expects that circumstances will force them to eventually part, Jo is insistent on getting to know him, understand his past, and release him from the virtual and eventual real prison he has relinquished himself to.
Unfortunately, that meant he couldn’t explain the situation to her. Not that Nicholas had it in him to tell her the truth anyway. He had no desire to see the horror and disgust in her eyes when she learned what he’d done 50 years ago. If she even believed him and didn’t simply decide he was on drugs or just plain crazy. After all, he didn’t look like he could have been around 50 years, and explaining the whole I’m-a-vampire bit wasn’t likely to be that believable to her.
Nicholas smiled faintly at the thought of her expression if he tried to explain that.
Really, I am a vampire, but a good vampire… except for that one time I murdered an innocent.
He grimaced. Yeah, except for that one inexplicable evil deed he performed while in the throes of grief, he was a swell guy.
This was a book that I found quite satisfying. A bit of action, danger, love and a nice bit of humor once the Argeneau clan convened for a meeting (loved that part!!). So many good parts to quote from the Lucian/Argeneau family encounter, but here’s one (where Jo was pleading to Lucian for Nicholas’s life) that had me laughing, and will give you an idea of the humorous side of the book:
“And you can’t let them shake and bake Nicholas.”
Thomas rolled his eyes. “Its stake and bake, Jo. We aren’t pork chops.”
The author is true to her books. Her dedication to her characters, their personalities, touching moments between family members, and the tone of the stories recounted is unfailing. I always finish her books, smiling!