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REVIEW – Scorched by Sharon Ashwood

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Scorched

Scorched

Title: Scorched
Author: Sharon Ashwood
Copyright: 2009 (Signet); 366 pgs.
ISBN: 978-0-451-22864-2
Series: The Dark Forgotten #2
Sensuality: Warm
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Spoilers for the 1st Book!

Previously — Holly Carver, along with her vampire business partner-turned lover Alessandro Caravelli, prevented the demon Geneva from wrecking havoc in Fairview, and in the process unveiled the entrance to the Castle. The Castle is a supernatural prison, existing on another dimensional plane.

One year later. . .

The Cop and His Innocent Vampire Milkmaid (or, The Two Unluckiest Irish Persons Ever) —  Conall “Mac” MacMillian got involved with the wrong woman — Geneva, got a reprieve of sorts via Holly, and has tried to maintained his humanity and calling in life as a cop. However, a certain vampire champion isn’t so sure he’s all cured. Alessandro spares his life, but tosses him into the Castle where he meets . . .

Constance Moore. Thanks to a newbie vampire, Constance’s Turning was incomplete. She was hauled off by the Guards before taking human blood. She has long been the servant to the once-powerful sorcerer Atreus. In the meantime, she has raised a foundling incubus,Sylvius, as if he were her own son and adopts stray shifters as pets. Her unlife could almost be described as ordinary. But Atreus is going insane and he didn’t stop Captain Reynard of the Guards from imprisoning Sylvius. Constance is distraught. Without the strength of a full vampire, she is not strong enough to fight the Guards. Constance is tired of being helpless and having others fight her battles for her. She is determined to find a human to bite, so that she can become a full vampire and save Sylvius herself.

It’s A Mystery, too! — Ever the cop, Mac can’t pass up helping a mother looking for her missing boy. His mission to rescue Sylvius is hampered by his own worries about what’s happening to him. His demon side is manifesting and he’s worried that he’ll lose the part of himself that makes him a cop. The good news is that he’s not a soul-eater anymore, but still — why is it happening now? Does it have something to do with the Castle? Mac learns that parts of the Castle are disappearing — is the magic breaking down? What will happen to the “residents” if it fails completely? Is Sylvius’s imprisonment a clue to the mystery or just a coincidence?

Catching Up With Caravelli and Carver — Though Mac and Constance are the main characters, Holly and Alessandro are still major players. Holly is the only witch with the power to close the portal to the Castle — meaning she’s more or less responsible for keeping an eye on it. Holly is busy with classes — exams!! — so Alessandro and the hellhounds are keeping tabs on it for her. Holly and Alessandro are genuinely happy with their life. However, Holly’s sister, Ashe, comes to Fairview with sharpened stake in hand to dust Alessandro. As much as she loves her sister, Holly is distressed by Ashe’s attitude and behavior.

Family, Family, Family — One of the themes of this book is family, whether it’s the one you are born into or the one you make. There are a couple of spoilerific ones that I won’t touch on, but many of the major players have family issues:

** Constance — came from a large family. She makes her own little family in the Castle. She falls in love with Mac, and everything would be perfect if Sylvius wasn’t a prisoner and the Castle wasn’t disappearing in chunks.

** Mac — Neither family nor friend wants anything to do with a recovering demon. Though he doesn’t want to be a demon, he eventually reconciles himself to his fate, gains  family and a new purpose in life.

** Holly — The sister she loves is back in town. Unfortunately, big sis thinks she knows best and tries to dust Alessandro. Holly has chosen to be with Alessandro of her own free will, knowing the pros and cons of their union, and she’s not afraid of telling big sis off.

** Alessandro — Holly has given him something beyond price and there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for her. Ashe’s comments, however, cast doubts on his decision to be with her. He eventually takes Constance under his wing and has the beginning of Clan Caravelli — and it remains to be seen if he’ll mentor more vampires.

** Ashe Carver — Ashe has many issues, not the least of which is the guilt she bears for her parents’ death. She cares about her sister, but sincerely believes that she’s protecting Holly.

** Lore — His actions in the book are motivated by the needs of his family, his hellhound pack.

Ah, Romance — I liked the fact that Mac and Constance’s romance didn’t have major plot-related obstacles that would prevent them from being together. Meaning, with everything else that’s going on, they had a relatively smooth “path” to a relationship: being part demon allows Mac to be with her without all the angst about the vampire venom and talk of another “Chosen”. There’s no big misunderstanding or miscommunication.

What I Liked: I continue to like the author’s writing style and world-building. I also loved that, even though he wasn’t the main hero of the story, we still got to see how Alessandro is adjusting to domestic bliss. Then there’s Holly’ doodling at the emergency council meeting (“Blah, Blah, Blah”) and Mac turning Constance into an avid reader.

What I Didn’t Like: Nothing really stands out.

Recommend to: People who enjoyed the first book. I would recommend reading the first book to get the whole story about Mac, Holly, Alessandro, and Ashe.

Started: 1 December 2009
Finished: 9 January 2010

Liked A Lot

Disclaimer: I purchased this book.

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