Review: Dead After Dark Anthology - Story of Son by J.R. Ward
Back Cover Blurb:
Claire Stroughton is a beautiful lawyer who would rather spend the night with a legal brief than the man of her dreams. Then a routine client meeting turns dangerous—and deeply sensual—when she is held captive by a gorgeous man with an unworldly hunger…
'Story of Son', while set in Ward's fictional Caldwell, NY may or may not be part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood world. While some characteristics of her vampire, Michael, embody the same ones as her Brothers, there are some definitely new developments that resonate more with Lara Adrian's vamps. This thought will be continued later on.
Claire's life revolves around her work as a Mergers & Acquisitions lawyer in New York City. She neither has nor wants a man in her life and is totally content to spend the holidays alone. Her past is not filled with ugly secrets of abuse from either any boyfriends or male family members. She simply does not want anything to interfere with her career.
In addition to her M&A clients, Claire has one trust client, Ms. Leeds. An elderly woman on her death bed, Ms. Leeds retains personal financial holdings in the billions. Claire, given her clients long standing relationship and fortune, agrees to make the two hour drive to Caldwell to personally meet and amend her Will.
Chalking it up to an old school childhood, Claire doesn't mind Ms. Leeds curiosity over her never having married nor having any children but when she begins foisting her son onto her during tea time, Claire begins to object but is soon stopped short. Ironically, Claire never knew her client even had a son because for one nothing in the older woman's Will was given to anyone of her blood. Thinking that Ms. Leeds's son to not be in residence, Claire finally acquiesces to meeting him and is shocked to discover that he's already there and waiting for her. After taking a final sip of tea, the room before her suddenly spins and Claire's last thought is that Fletcher, the butler, is exceptionally strong as the ancient man lifts her from her chair and carries her through a hidden door and then there was nothing.
Waking up with a screaming headache, Claire finds herself laying upon a lush bed with nary a robe and her underwear for clothes. Obviously terrified, Claire begins to search for a door with the hopes to escape. Suddenly she becomes engulfed by a towering man with an angel's voice telling her that she's safe and he means her no harm but he must take from her what his body needs. Two pin pricks in her throat and Claire is swept on a wave ecstasy and promptly faints.
When next she wakes Claire is determined to receive some answers. She demands that her captor show himself in the light. After some cajoling, the huge man steps free of the shadows and proves that his voice is not his only trait that's angelic. Towering well above six feet, the hulking man before her wears the complexion of the Gods and possess the longest most luxurious black and red strands of silky hair that falls thickly to his lean waist. His azure eyes blaze back at her and Claire can't help but think of the archangel Michael.
Claire soon learns that the angel before her is not her captor but her fellow captee. Together they are locked within the basement of the mansion above. While luxurious in it's own right complete with a large bathroom, the beauty of it is soon swept aside when Claire learns that the man is shackled by his wrists and ankles with long thick chain links bolted to the stone wall. To add insult to injury, the beauty before him has no name. His horrid mother not only imprisoned him since the day he turned twelve, but she also robbed him of an identity. With the beautiful archangel image fresh in her mind, Claire takes to calling the man Michael.
It doesn't take long for Claire to make the decision that when she is released, which is scheduled for three days hence, she's busting Michael out with her.
In my opinion, Claire accepted Michael's vampire nature a bit too easily. The first time he overtakes her to drink it's during the height of her terror but when next she wakes she's given her answers and promptly exposes her neck for his drink. I suppose this blind acceptance could be attributed to her strong personality but still I thought it was a bit too easy. I also felt that Claire's 180 from abstinence to femme fatal was a bit comical. In the beginning she is described for pages on how she doesn't want nor need a man but lock her a cellar with an angelic stud and she's ripe and ready for the taking. In fact she's not only ready, Claire actually seduces the poor Michael who is a 68 year old virgin! Needless to say it was a bit ridiculous.
The love scenes were great though and very trademark Ward. We never see anything from Michael's point of view which is a bit disappointing especially given that he's a virgin. I for one enjoy when the virgin's POV is described during their first time but we are not allowed to view his thoughts.
The romance began very well but about two thirds through the novella I was in a complete state of disbelief that interfered with my enjoyment of the story. Not the best effort by Ward especially when I know she can do so much better. See my review of 'Father Mine' here.
SPOILERS . . . . . Ward has confirmed on her message boards that Michael is half vampire given that his mother was most definitely human. But, there is one trait that completely conflicts with Ward's BDB world. Michael can stop and in fact regresses Claire's age (wouldn't this have worked wonderful for Butch, Mary, and Jane?) and this is why I brought up Lara Adrian earlier because it reminds me of the Breed and their Breedmates. There is only one difference. Claire was never asked to accept her mate in the way that the Breed must to complete the Breedmate bond. Other than this difference the rest seems to be exactly the same.