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CABOT #2

Setting: London, England, 1826

Julian Kane is back in town.

Once, as a girl of seventeen, beautiful, headstrong Portia Cabot saved the cursed life of the dashing vampire Julian Kane–who marked her forever, then left to go in search of his soul. He returns five years later to find the enchanting young girl he left behind grown into a bewitching woman with a woman’s heart . . . and a woman’s desires.

Portia quickly discovers that Julian’s seductive and forbidden kiss can still make her crave the night . . . and his touch. But the Julian who has returned to London is not the vampire she remembers. His fruitless pursuit of his stolen mortality has reduced him to drunken debauchery. And a recent spate of murders makes Portia fear that the man she has always adored may truly be a monster.

Julian knows he must drive Portia away–but his passion and hunger for her grow more irresistible every time they touch. For years he has fought the temptation to embrace his dark gifts, never realizing that Portia’s love may give him the most dangerous gift of all . . . a reason to live.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩

Note: This is the sequel to After Midnight and I would strongly recommend reading that book first. Events taking place in After Midnight are important to understanding the relationship between Portia and Julian in this story.

I just love this book!

Having read how much Teresa Medeiros loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wouldn’t be surprised if that series wasn’t the inspiration for her two Cabot books!

Julian is one gorgeous, brooding, cynical, sexy, vampire and there’s something about a tormented hero that I just love. He has to struggle against his inner demons, always haunted by Duvalier’s taunts to fully embrace his vampire nature. Although he loves Portia, his past actions make him feel totally unworthy of her. It’s wonderful to see how protective he is towards her and the sacrifices he is willing to make to keep her safe. I absolutely love his rapier wit as in this scene after Portia shoots him:

“You know it’s one thing to threaten to drive a stake through a man’s heart, but ruining a perfectly fine waistcoat is bloody rude!”

Portia is a beautiful, spirited and courageous heroine who has matured from the enchanting young girl Julian remembers into a formidable woman who isn’t afraid to stand up to him:

”Your growling and posturing might impress the sort of women you’re accustomed to consorting with, but quite frankly, I find them a bit of a bore.”

I love the fact that, no matter what, Portia never gives up on Julian and her faith in him remains constant even when the rest of the family doubts him.

Their chemistry is totally sizzling with great sexual tension. It’s Portia who initiates the big love scene and we finally learn exactly what transpired in the crypt all those years ago; how Julian can ever forgive himself for what happened.  It’s a truly heart-wrenching scene because, for the first time, we see the depths of Julian’s despair. I loved Portia in this scene because she is the strong one. When Julian doesn’t trust himself to be able to control his unnatural hungers, Portia simply says:

”You don’t have to trust yourself. I trust you enough for both of us.”

What a delicious blend of the sensual, the romantic and the playful this whole scene is!

There is a wonderful core of secondary characters; Cuthbert (Cubby), Julian’s bumbling best friend ; Wilbury, Adrian’s ancient, staunchly loyal, family butler; Valentine Cardew, the villainess (anyone notice a striking similarity to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Druscilla?). I enjoyed seeing Adrian and Caroline and Vivienne and Larkin with their respective families as well.

Ms Medeiros combines the regency historical and paranormal so well. There are moments of tension, suspense and menace but they are always tempered with moments of laugh-out-loud humour. Here is one of my favourite scenes in the book, albeit a rather long one!

In this scene Caroline asks Wilbury to take the children out so the adults can talk.

”Wilbury, my dear,” Caroline said, “would you mind taking the children and keeping them occupied for a bit?”

“Twould be the high point of my golden years, my lady,” he replied with frigid politeness. “The culmination of a lifelong dream I had nearly abandoned in favour of waiting peacefully for the Grim Reaper to come and relieve me of my earthly duties.”
Immune to his sarcasm, Caroline beamed fondly at him. “Thank you, Wilbury. I thought that’s what you would say.”
Shuffling toward the hearth, the butler muttered under his breath, “I just love children, you know.  I simply dote upon the overindulged little darlings with their grasping little hands and their sticky little fingers that foul up every freshly polished surface in the house”. As he leaned toward the hearth, the twins paused in play to gape at him. Baring his pointed yellowing teeth in a grimace of a smile, he rasped, “Come now, lads. I’ll take you to the kitchen for some nice hot chocolate.”
Eyes widening in terror, the two boys leapt to their feet and ran shrieking from the room. Wilbury straightened as much as his hunched back would allow, rolling his eyes.
“Wilbuwy!” Eloisa crowed, scrambling from her mother’s lap and toddling across the room. Wrapping her arms around one of the butler’s scrawny legs, she looked up and batted her long eyelashes at him. “Me want cocoa!”
With a long-suffering sigh, he scooped the plump child into his arms, every one of his ancient bones creaking in protest. She joyfully tugged at his misshapen ears as he carried her toward the door. His curdled expression never varied, but as he passed Portia he gave her a nearly imperceptible wink.

What can I say to sum up this book other than – ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!

RATING : STELLAR ★★★★★

SENSUALITY RATING:HOT

Read February 2012

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CABOT #1

Setting: London, England, 1820

“Our sister is marrying a vampire.”

When the ever practical Caroline Cabot first hears those words from the lips of her fanciful youngest sister, she accuses Portia of having a wild imagination.

But when she discovers their sister Vivienne is actually being courted by Adrian Kane, the mysterious viscount rumored to be a vampire, she decides to accept his invitation to a midnight supper and do some sleuthing of her own. To both her delight and her dismay, she soon finds herself falling under Kane’s bewitching spell.

After all, what’s a proper young lady to do when her sister’s suitor arouses more than just her suspicions?

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

After Midnight, the first book in the Cabot series, is a tongue-in-cheek mix of vampire story and historical romance. It’s a delightful blend of surprise plot twists, charming characters, sparkling dialogue and humour.

Enigmatic, charming, seductive and passionate, Adrian is definitely a hero to make your heart beat faster. I couldn’t help adoring him for his unwavering love for his brother, Julian. It’s wonderful to see how protective he is towards Caroline and the sacrifices he is willing to make to keep her safe. I smiled at his obvious jealousy when he finds Caroline and Constable Larkin chatting:

“I must say, Constable Larkin that you are in dire need of either a valet or a wife”.
“Which position are you applying for, Miss Cabot.”
At that resonant growl, Caroline glanced over her shoulder to find Adrian Kane looming over the chaise. He was glowering down at them with little evidence of his “notorious charm”.

Caroline is smart, practical and outspoken and it’s obvious she loves her sisters and would do anything to see them happy, even forfeit her own happiness. She feels guilty over her attraction to the man her sister loves but Ms Medeiros resolves this obstacle in a surprising but satisfying way.

I did figure out the truth about Adrian before the big revelation. If you read the dialogue between the characters carefully, then as David Frost used to say on the TV series ‘Through the Keyhole’ – “The clues are there”. What I did enjoy was watching the other characters’ reactions when the true situation is revealed.

If I have one criticism, it’s that I found the sexual tension between Adrian and Caroline somewhat lacking but the love scenes are deliciously sensual, particularly the mirror scene.

Ms Medeiros’s books always have a rich array of secondary characters. There’s brooding Julian, fond of spouting Byron; spirited Portia, with the overactive imagination; beautiful, serene Vivienne; Constable Larkin with the abominable fashion sense and Duvalier, the suitably menacing villain.

There is lots of humour in this story as well and here’s one of my favourites…

She (Caroline) was unknotting the scarf, fighting the urge to strangle her sister with it, when a pungent aroma drifted to her nose. She leaned forward sniffing at Portia’s skin. “What on earth is that stench? Is it garlic?”
Portia stiffened. “I should say not. It’s simply my new perfume.” Sticking her nose in the air, she swept past Caroline, trailing the earthy scent behind her.

This is another well-written, engaging and funny historical romance from one of my favourite authors.

RATING: ★★★★½

SENSUALITY RATING : HOT

Read January 2012

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