Releases July 1, 2010
Even vampires should never sleep with the enemy.
Vampire princess Alexia Feodorovna has been undead for 125 years, so it's been a while since any man has made her pulse race. Until Declan Black. One look at his bronzed body and a fire like no other consumes her. Then she discovers that he's a dragon lord come to take revenge on the vamps who killed his parents. And claim a crystal said to imbue its owner with incredible powers.
Alexia is ordered to torture and kill the dragon lord. Yet with each reckless encounter, she finds herself consumed by his fiery passion. A passion Declan battles, as well. Will he be able to resist the fire of lust she kindles within him and keep revenge in his heart? Or will he risk everything to quench the burning desire and claim the vampire as his own?
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Single Title/Series: SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE is a stand alone novel but from the information available on Ms. Hatfield's site, it looks as though there will be some spin-off novellas featuring secondary characters.
Cover Thoughts: Love it! Its what first drew my attention. My favorite aspect is the cover's accurate portrayal of the hero's and heroine's inherent natures via their erotic pose. Her submission and his dominance are conveyed to perfection. Its all beautifully striking.
Why I Read It: I requested a review galley from the publisher via NetGalley.
Alexia Feodorovna is just two days away from ascending the throne as Queen of her vampire horde but the occasion is destined to be a somber one. Mercilessly abused by her mother's lover and first in command, Lotharus, Alexia's ascension hangs in the balance as he strives to overthrow not only her upcoming rule but their entire way of life as well. What Alexia needs to facilitate and secure her position within the horde as Queen is the Crystal of the Draco, a rock prophesized to grant its owner pure undiluted power. Unfortunately, only her millennium-long rival knows where the stone is hidden for after all, it is he that stole it. Luckily, Alexia's successfully captured the thief, Dragon Lord Declan Black, and she'll use all means necessary to retrieve the intelligence she so desperately requires.
After the recent torture and murder of his parents - the dragon King and Queen - whilst in the hands of the vampires, Declan hopes to decimate his enemies once and for all with the Crystal of the Draco but he never planned on getting caught himself. Now, as the last remaining full-blooded dragon heir, Declan is needed desperately by his flock. Instead, he's shackled deep within the Horde's dungeons plagued by pondering thoughts that involve nothing of escape but rather of the lithe blond vampire who captured him. While he strives to hate the little female, her sadness reaches deep within his battered soul igniting a fiercely primal need to possess and protect. Together, he and Alexia form a forbidden bond within the darkly oppressive catacombs of her home, soothing each others aches and fears. When it becomes obvious that Lotharus has horrifically abused Alexia, Declan can only see a haze of red rage at the mention of the detested vampire's name. Confused, Declan grapples with the fact that where he once sought to destroy the vampires for revenge, he now only burns to avenge Alexia and the foul treatment she's bravely endured.
Pulsing with a dark menace, Lotharus is an evil villain of the worst kind, one with a dangerous strategy as well as all the patience in the world. Working to eradicate the vampires horde's current matriarchal society, Lotharus's evil intelligence has succeeded in isolating both the Queen and Alexia, allowing him complete control. Once his carefully laid plans reach fruition, both of the hated females will be dead and he'll reign as King - the first King of the Vampires to rule in over a millennium. But the Dragon Lord Declan poses a problem. Like Alexia, Lotharus must have the crystal to secure control over the horde as well as granting him the means to destroy the Queen and Alexia. Everything has been running in Lotharus's favor until Alexia befriends Declan. Wary of the potentially dangerous alliance, Lotharus is quick to punish Alexia but he needs Declan to locate the crystal before he can put the detested dragon down.
Torn between her destiny and her heart, Alexia's awaiting loneliness once Queen is unbearable to even contemplate. Knowing that in two days time she'll never be able to touch Declan again, Alexia relishes in their stolen moments of passion for they'll have to sustain her soul for a lifetime. Still determined to save her horde from the ruthless Lotharus despite Decaln's wish that she become his Queen, Alexia grasps what's left of her tattered strength and prepares to fight for her birthright, leaving Declan behind with the gift of her heart. Hoping for a miracle, Alexia resolves to take back what's hers and end the Dragon/Vampire War forever.
SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE is a dark and dangerous tale of forbidden love. Penning gruesome torture and soaring love with an awe inspiring balance, Ms. Hatfield fearlessly guides her characters along a journey that's destined to shred and reshape the very fabric of their souls.
Declan, a strong and virulent character who's absolutely fearless, follows his heart while questioning little over its strange direction. I really enjoyed this about him. He doesn't fight his feelings too hard and soon he's grasping hold of Alexia with all his might. This of course makes his inability to protect Alexia from Lotharus while in captivity all the more frustrating and just a little bit terrifying.
Just as strong as her hero, Alexia refuses in any way to shirk her duty even though it means she'll be giving up Declan forever. With Lotharus at the helm of her horde, Alexia must severe his position for to not would mean entrusting her people to a madman. Her decisions aren't easy and I empathized greatly with Alexia's plight.
Finally, the worldbuilding was just enough to be interesting but never overwhelming. SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE is very much a character driven plot with the focus being nearly entirely upon Declan's and Alexia's relationship. Overall, a lovely balance with no plot holes to plunge into or head scratching questions at the end. A nice read, not the best, but entertaining with an added touch of anxious excitement for what's hopefully soon to come.
For paranormal romance lovers that enjoy minimal worldbuilding, a character driven plot, and a strong can-take-anything-that-comes-at-'em hero and heroine, then SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE is the read you've been hungering for. Enjoy!
Girls in The Stacks: 3/5
Diva's Bookcase: 5/5
Jadore Happy Endings: 5/5
Bitten by Paranormal Romance
Paranormal Haven: 4/5