In this paranormal romance, a man returns to his hometown, where he must learn truths about his family, join a battle against supernatural evil, and save the man he loves.
When Cooper Causey was an 8-year-old boy in Georgetown, South Carolina, he had a terrifying encounter at Warfield, an abandoned plantation, with the ghost of Blue, a slave who’d led a murderous revolt. Blue sent a jolt through Cooper that left a coiled energy in the boy—one that he still, 20 years later, deeply distrusts. Cooper left Georgetown and its uncomfortable memories behind long ago, but an alarming message from his beloved grandmother Lillie Mae sends him back. After he arrives, he discovers that Lillie Mae has disappeared and that someone has written the word “Warfield” in blood in the family Bible. He calls the cops, and Cooper’s boyhood crush RJ, now a police officer, responds; he now goes by the name Randy, and Cooper finds him more devastatingly attractive than ever. Later, Cooper investigates at the Warfield plantation, where he finds that two vampirelike creatures are holding his grandmother hostage. It turns out that his family history puts him at the center of an ageslong struggle between forces of light and darkness. To fight evil, he must learn to embrace his own powers, including the dark energy that Blue liberated in him. He and a team of vampire slayers join in several exciting battles in which Randy, too, has a role to play. In this debut novel, Howard handles the complicated plot nicely, building its dramatic events to a satisfying conclusion. His characters, including the supernatural ones, are varied and well-drawn. Although vampires, angels, and similar creatures are nothing new on the scene, Howard makes his concept fresh through good dialogue, a vivid setting, and Cooper’s personality, which combines brashness with sweetness. The relationship between Cooper and Randy, while slow to heat up, adds some welcome lightness to all the horror. The author also makes wonderful use of real-life Georgetown locations, such as the Rice Museum, to add realistic details that make it easier to suspend one’s disbelief. The ending suggests that Cooper and friends have more work to do—a good thing for readers.
An exciting, romantic tale anchored in a great sense of place.