A pirate tangles with a vampire over the fate of a young Irish woman in this historical fantasy debut.
In 1773, Ian Shannon fears for his daughter’s life in Kilrane, Ireland. He hands Gabriella an important scrap of parchment with Latin written on it, then puts her in a hatch beneath his workroom floor. A mob soon arrives, demanding the young woman sacrifice her life so that a demonic “plague” might cease terrorizing the village. After a murderous confrontation with her parents, the mob drags Gabriella from her home, ties her to a crude raft, and drops her in the Irish Sea. Elsewhere in local waters, the ruggedly handsome Capt. James Delacroix—also known as El Lobo del Mar (The Sea Wolf)—struggles during a storm to keep his ship, the Marie Elena, afloat. But in the raging clouds, he sees the face of a beautiful woman. Once the storm’s passed, the crew finds Gabriella adrift and brings her aboard. She eventually reveals that a vampire hunts her—Lord Draven Valentin—who slays all in his path. The creature of darkness operates from his Keep on the Isle of Skye, and spies on the object of his desire through her dreams. When Gabriella begins dreaming about James, Valentin grows more viciously determined to claim his chaste prize intact. In this series opener, Rae fuses two fun genres while overlaying both with a dazzling erotic sheen. James and Gabriella seem irritated by each other initially, though he can't deny she’s “like a juicy peach ripe for the picking.” The author often depicts their interactions with camp, but the pirate is a true gentleman. In one of many steamy, detailed scenes, Gabriella responds to his polite questioning with “No Captain, I do not want you to take me...I need you to.” On the phantasmagorical side, Rae employs the vampire basics, including Valentin’s transport in a coffin full of dirt from his homeland, his control over rats, and his querulous human servant, Lucian. Overall, the adventure should produce hunger pangs for a sequel.
Scalding touches of erotica prove the most memorable in this genre mashup.