In Darkness: The Vampire by L. Diane Wolfe

In Darkness: The Vampire by L. Diane Wolfe
In Darkness series
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Souls shrouded in darkness…

Stuck working as a barmaid for her demanding father, Anna dreams of adventure. When mysterious strangers enter the bar, she overhears they seek Zancrela, an ancient fortress filled with treasure and a magical library. Taking her chance, she offers to guide them. The conditions: deliver Zancrela or die.

As they journey through the wilderness, she discovers their secret: they are vampires. And most view her as food. One takes interest in her and her heart dares to hope, but it might not be enough to change her fate. Will Anna find Zancrela or become a vampire morsel?

I’ve been looking for a different kind of vampire romance story and I’ve found it in The Vampire.

It starts off with an angle that reminds me of Cinderella and her wicked stepmother, except in this story, Anna’s own father is the heavy, and she’s the hardest worker in his pub. The story alludes to her being mistreated and perhaps even being beaten if she displeases her parent. It makes it quite believable that the heroine would grasp at any opportunity to escape even when it’s made very clear that if she didn’t succeed in her promise to deliver, the result is her death. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Anna has incentive.

The author focuses on Anna’s struggles to keep up with the group of very tall, dark and broody people who set a furious pace on their quest. Anna has a hard time keeping up because she’s only human. Everyone else is not. She finds out that fact in a very dramatic fashion. I liked the heroine’s spunk, determination and pragmatism in the face of the fact that most of her companions not only don’t like her but would like nothing more than to eat her. She’s food after all. That fact gives the story an edginess that keeps the tension high and the book’s pages flipping. The pacing of the story is brisk, informative, fascinating and well told. The part with the bear was a bit gory, but everyone has to eat, right?

Victor was the surprise. He’s the hero but I initially didn’t see him that way. He was the vampires’ leader – gruff, forbidding, commanding and no nonsense. He saw in Anna a truth he was willing to take a chance on. He believed her when she said she knew the way to their quest’s goal. He championed her quite a few times and I figured it’s because she proved she had the knowledge, and she was an asset to protect. It was the little things as the journey continued that showed me Victor was seeing Anna as more than just a human with knowledge they needed. He started seeing her as a woman. And he was torn and in a quandary because of it. Would the others still respect him if he chose a human female? That was a tough call and caused some emotional drama between Anna and himself.

Of course, they reach their goal but what happens in the palace was shocking, action-packed and pivotal. I definitely didn’t expect that to happen. That was a nice piece of drama.

What I appreciated greatly is that this slow-to-build romance was sweet to sensual. I feel ‘sensual’ can be applied because there was a heat-building moment that fanned the flames of Victor’s desire, but it’s sweet because in the end, it’s banked and implied in favor of action, storytelling and the resolving of the plot. It is also a happy ever after because the ending leaves no doubt that Victor and Anna are going to succeed in being together as man and wife. That made me very happy. But wow, what an arduous journey to get there!

The Vampire is an awesome, well-told story, and was a treat to read. I really liked it and if paranormal romance readers are tired of the in-your-face bedroom scenes that seem to be inherent in most paranormal novels these days, this book is refreshing, fascinating and entertaining because it delivers a solid plot with classic elements and ends with a satisfying conclusion. I’m so glad I read this novella that reads like a novel, and I hope other readers will enjoy it as much as I did.