Author: Sharon Ashwood
Copyright: 2009 (Signet); pgs. 334
Series: 1st in the Dark Forgotten
From the Back: Holly Carver is a small-time witch who busts ghosts for tuition money, but she ends up wrangling a demon when a haunted house job goes bad. Her Undead business associate, Alessandro Caravelli, suspects the demon is somebody’s not-so-secret weapon. The supernatural community is at war, and Holly’s unpredictable magic holds the key to the doorway to the demon realms. Soon Holly is on everyone’s must-have list, and not in a good way…
Comments: I first discovered this book when Kmont featured it on her blog. I’m glad that I picked it up. I’ve discovered another new series to follow. The author created a world that has several potential story lines to follow.
In Holly’s world, supernatural beings have come out of the shadows and joined society. They own businesses. The attend college. They even teach. However, like anything else where human prejudices are involved, integration hasn’t been smooth and there are many who are not open-minded. For the most part, Holly lives a normal life. She’s about to start taking college courses, encouraged by her boyfriend, Ben Elliot — an economics professor at the local community college. But Holly’s also a witch — descended from a long line of witches. A childhood accident has handicapped her powers, so she sticks to the “little m” magics — ghost busting — to pay the bills. Anything major — “big M” Magic — leaves her in agonizing pain.
One aspect of Holly’s life that’s far from normal — even for a practicing witch — is her business partner. When Alessandro was human, in Florence, the Medicis were still an up-and-coming banking family. Though he has his own business and works with Holly, Alessandro’s official vampire role is the queen’s champion — enforcing vampire law and carrying out any necessary executions. He’s very protective of Holly — in fact, he loves her. For the most part, this — coupled with the presence of Ben in her life — has kept his feelings unrequited. Being with Holly would endanger her. Vampires are predators and it would only be a matter of time before Alessandro would lose control and take Holly’s blood. He’d rather leave her than risk hurting her. Complicating the situation is the queen, Omara. She’s in town and her presence puts Alessardro’s loyalty to the test. Omara needs Holly’s help; however, she’s not too concerned with Holly’s safety. Omara is manipulative and uses Alessandro’s feelings for Holly to get what she wants.
There is secondary story line concerning Detective Conall Macmillan, who unwittingly gets tangled up with some pretty nasty supernatural things. From the sneak peak provided at the end of the book, it looks as if the second book will focus on him.
I really loved this book. I liked the author’s style and I loved the characters. Holly is just your average girl next door (almost) — the woman on the cover can’t possibly be her. Alessandro is strong, but not over-the-top alpha. I’m looking forward to the next book.
“Interrogation is my job. I know how to do it properly.”
“You always get to question the prisoners.”
“Apparently I’m better at it.”
“Boys, I’m glad you’re both in touch with your respective inner children, but skip the tantrums.”
— Alessandro and Pierce (another vampire); Omara
“You boys come up with all the fun activities, don’t you?”
— Holly, to Alessandro, regarding his and Mac’s plan to visit the cemetery
“Will you people stop trying to eat me? It’s pissing me off! I can’t take one more goddess-damned thing trying to chew on me!”
— Holly, yelling at the demon leader
Started: 12 February 2009
Finished: 18 February 2009