rating: 5 of 5 stars
Rafael is something else. He's definitely a 'I want, I take' kind of hero. This book plays out like a tug of war. He sees Colby and knows he has to have her as his lifemate, and then proceeds and taking control of her life. But Colby isn't down with that. She's attracted to him, quite fiercely in fact. That makes the physical part easy for Rafael, but there is not a more stubborn woman on earth, at least in this book. Colby has had to be stubborn to survive her life, and keep a roof over the heads of her brother and sister and herself. She works from dawn and past dusk doing so, running the ranch, and training other people's horses. She doesn't even allow herself to think about a life for herself and meeting her own needs.
She's scared to death when the De La Cruz brothers arrive with the Chevez brothers who are the uncles of her half-sister and half-brother. They are going to take her family away to Brazil, and she'll never see them again. So her defenses are up against the admittedly gorgeous and unbelieveably attractive Rafael, despite the pull he has on her.
Rafael is pretty underhanded in his seduction of Colby. In his mind, having her as his lifemate is a foregone conclusion, so he proceeds full-steam ahead. He seduces Cobly while she is dreaming, and when she realizes what happens, she is devastated. At this point, had Rafael not been remorseful, I would have thought he was a complete jerk. He really does feel sorry for taking away her choices, yet at the same time, he's not going to give her up.
As a Carpathian, Rafael doesn't have the same understanding of man/woman rules that a human male would follow. All he understands is that she is his other half and he can do nothing else but claim her. Yes, he's pretty arrogant, but he also shows genuine caring and love for Colby and her half-sister and half-brother, protecting her from the menace terrorizing her, and helping them to shoulder their burdens.
I couldn't help but like Rafael, despite his flaws. I liked him because his heart was in the right place. I think that CF did a good job of fleshing him out and giving him all the vulnerabilities that put his arrogance into perspective.
I really liked Colby. She's a tough, strong woman. She doesn't back down. I admired that she managed to keep the ranch going and to deal with macho guys and put them in their place when they tried to get into her business. She could have walked away from her siblings and lived her own life, but she stuck it out of love. I liked the way Colby handled Rafael and was honest with him about how she didn't like the way he had manipulated her. And when his life is in jeopardy, she does all that she can to save him. In my mind, they are a great couple.
The menace of the vampire was very apparent and creepy. CF showed it in various ways, and makes each book feel different, although it's a similar basic storyline. This book straddles the line between paranormal and horror, in my opinion. There are some moments are very thrilling and have the ick factor of a full-on horror novel. The action scenes were awesome, and the descriptions of Rafael and Virkinoff, another Carpathian, hunting and fighting the vampire Kirja were exciting. I think that Christine Feehan is a fantastic author. Yes, she tends to have her favorite words and motifs, but what author doesn't. I have to say that this is another one of my favorites in this series, and I am so glad that I discovered Christine Feehan this year, and for the recommendations to read this series.
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