Hidden from mortals for all eternity, Annwyn, the Otherworld, is home to shapeshifters, wraiths and dragons. But in a nightclub called Velvet Haven, desire brings humans and immortals together…Publisher: NAL Trade, February 2011
As the owner of Velvet Haven—and the mortal great-grandson of a Sidhe prince banished from Annwyn—Rhys MacDonald spends his time mingling with both mortals and immortals. But when his ancient homeland is threatened by a dangerous Dark Magick, he races to Annwyn to offer his help—even though mortals are forbidden in the Otherworld.
It’s in Annwyn that a young goddess and shapeshifter named Bronwnn finds Rhys—attacked and left for dead. Nursing him back to health, Bronwnn knows he’s the man who’s been appearing in her dreams—and that their fates are deeply intertwined. But even as they’re bound together by the flames of desire, they may discover that destiny—and the Dark Magick—has other plans for them…
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Single Title/Series: MISTS OF VELVET is Book Two in The Immortals of Annwyn Series and it's absolutely imperative that you read this series in order.
Cover Thoughts: I'm in love with this cover and the more I look the more heavily I fall. I'm especially enamored with the lush detail pulled directly from the book. It's obvious that the NAL art department considered and applied much of the plot to the creation of this beautiful cover.
Why I Read It: I received an Advanced Review Copy from the author.
Rhys MacDonald is a mere mortal amongst a cache of extremely powerful immortals. Treated with disdain by most and as a nuisance by everyone else, Rhys is tired of being handled with kid gloves. Mostly he's pissed about being left out of the fight against the seeping evil that's spreading its oily tentacles into not only the otherworld of Annwyn but within the mortal realm as well. To top off Rhys's growing aggravation is the sudden and perplexing distance his Shadow Wraith has slammed between them.
As the cursed great-grandson of Daegan, once co-ruler of Annwyn who fell in love with a mortal and earned the eternal wrath of the Supreme Goddess, Rhys, like every son born before him is protected by a Shadow Wraith. There's only one hiccup, Rhys's protector is male while all of his forefathers have had females. Sharing what's for them a bond as natural as breathing, the immortals of Annwyn are disgusted by what Rhys and Keir, his Shadow Wraith, share. An almost symbiotic relationship, Rhys needs Keir's protection as Keir needs to "feed" from Rhys's emotional energy, sexual energy more specifically, to survive. Their connection transcends that of lovers or brothers. It has no definition. It just is and its integral to their way of life but right now its breaking. For once this mortal and immortal pairing are being torn in two different directions, fated to be separated.
However, there is light within the darkness that Rhys finds himself. Rhys dreams of a woman. A woman that he would never share with Keir. She's a being that embodies the alluring combination of both innocence and worldliness and her presence means something vital. Dreams are incredibly significant in Annwyn and highly respected as fated truth. To dream of another in the erotic and soul defying ways that Rhys dreams can only mean one thing: Rhys's luscious dream woman is his mate.
Bronwnn, Goddess and handmaiden to Cailleach the Supreme Goddess and co-ruler of Annwyn, is caught in a tumultuous restlessness as her body awakens with sexual maturity. Yet she senses that more than her own body is awakening, Annwyn stirs as the Dark Mage gets closer and closer to seizing the power to take over the mortal realm and Annwyn herself. Fearing that her gift of sight will chain her forever to Cailleach's side, forever denied the pleasure of touch as she desires, Bronwnn indulges in the dreams of the dark haired man that makes her body come alive as its never been. And when that man falls in a bloody heap at the feet of her wolf, she doesn't think twice about saving her mate.
Having decided to take matters into his own hands and prove that he has what it takes to be apart of the nine warriors his Sidhe uncle and King of Annwyn seeks to defeat the Dark Mage, Rhys breaks into Annwyn despite his being told not to and worse, despite the fact that his great-grandfather's curse makes him prime prey for the Supreme Goddess to kill. But he soon falls not into the hands of the Supreme Goddess but the Dark Mage when it's discovered that his cave of evil lies beneath Rhys's mortal club, Velvet Haven. Chained and carved, Rhys escapes before the Dark Mage can claim his soul. Death still seems imminent though with his life's blood seeping out but when a wolf and a snake lead him to safety, his trust is rewarded as his mate awaits.
Ensconced in a cabin deep within Annwyn, Rhys and Bronwnn delve into the passion that their dreams started, claiming one another's souls. However, Happily Ever After doesn't come that easy for this pair. When a soul-shattering connection between Bronwnn and the Dark Mage is revealed and Rhys's trespassing within Annwyn is discovered, sacrifices will be made that threaten to tear apart the fragile bloom of the love they share.
Terribly lonely and isolated, Bronwnn longs for love but her ability to have visions chains her to the side of Cailleach, the Supreme Goddess and co-ruler with King Bran of Annwyn. Never understanding why she's been isolated from the other Goddess's of Caillieach's court, Bronwnn has valid fears of forever remaining in chaste service for Bronwnn shares an awful but integral connection to the Dark Mage and the truth of that connection is earth-shattering. The only solace Bronwnn feels is when she can finally fall within the arms of her mate but even that comes with a host of difficulties. The revealing of Rhys's mortality is startling as well as the fact that he's the descendant of Daegan and on Cailleach's Kill List. Incredibly brave and determined, Bronwnn risks everything even her very life's happiness to save the mortal man she's given her heart to.
Rhys's early anger and frustration is palpable as well as his later determination to protect his mate and claim her as his forever. Embodying a heroic fearlessness, Rhys will utilize all he has to help his immortal brethren defeat the Dark Mage even if that help is unwanted. Completely mortal with no power, it's this very courage that propels him into the fight he long desires to be a part of.
In addition, Rhys's fierce love for Bronwnn is quite a ride. He's a man that knew he was always destined to grasp something from Annwyn and when his mate is presented, he grabs hold of her with both hands that become unshakable. And while Rhys's mortality is frustrating, he never treats it as liability feeling always that he has something of value to contribute just as the immortals around him do.
My Final Thoughts:
A dark and thrilling read, MISTS OF VELVET unveils more than one eye-popping secret. Picking up short weeks after VELVET HAVEN ended, the prophecy takes on a whole new personal turn for our friends, the Immortals of Annwyn. Told with lyrical prose and a haunting portrayal of this mystical otherworld of Annwyn, Renwick is as fearless as her characters and she shows little mercy to each of their destines.
While this review focused upon Rhys and Bronwnn, MoV embodies many other character threads with the most important being that of Rhys's Shadow Wraith, Keir. With an ending as heartbreaking as it is beautiful, this vibrant immortal's tale is steeped in darkness that will surely leave readers such as I clamoring for more. Then there's a naughty fallen angel that dances the line between good and evil with a jester's practice. These are multi-layered characters with their story being told upon multi-layered plots with a deft hand.
Remarkably, Renwick manages to blend a lovely balance between the naked eroticism and plot of MISTS OF VELVET. Bold and blunt, the erotic core of this novel is never lost amongst the complex plot arcs showing that Renwick can deliver on both accounts in spades.
Not to be read as a stand alone, MISTS OF VELVET demands that you read its predecessor. These are magical tales that can easily appease Paranormal Romance readers craving complex world building with a decidedly erotic edge for those readers wanting passion in abundance. Enjoy!