Demon Night, the fifth installment in The Guardians series (and third full length novel) features the interesting characters, complex plotting and wonderful relationship development I have quickly come to associate with Ms Brook. If you enjoy any of the above elements in your romance (and who doesn’t), I definitely recommend the story of recovering alcoholic turned bartender, Charlotte “Charlie” Newcomb, and wild west outlaw turned Guardian Angel, Ethan “Drifter” McCabe.
The hero and heroine are great, flawed yet heroic, and vivid. Ethan McCabe, a.k.a. Drifter, is a well-bred Boston boy turned outlaw, who has done a lot of good and bad in his lifetime. He is huge and gorgeous and has this “aw shucks, Ma’am” demeanor, while being tough as nails. He’s the best kind of alpha, wanting to do everything for his heroine, yet always respectful of what she wants. I just loved his quiet strength and deliberate manner of speaking.
His heroine, Charlie, is a former opera singer whose career ended when she drunkenly drove her car through a restaurant window. She works as a bartender now, a tough job for a recovering alcoholic, but that’s the kind of person she is. Charlie is a very needy person, craving love and affirmation, as well as alcohol and cigarettes, but she fights those needs by facing them head-on. I wasn’t sure if I would like such a flawed heroine, but she won me over with her strength, dignity and ability to tell tall tales.
There is crazy hot chemistry and sexual tension between Charlie and Drifter. They are instantly attracted to each other even when they’ve only heard each others’ voices. They both fall hard, but Ethan is uncomfortable with the neediness he senses in Charlie, and Charlie doesn’t want to need him. Then all sorts of other crazy crap happens. And when they finally get together, hot!
The world of the Guardians is fully developed and interesting. There are a number of characters, races, and factions to follow, and sometimes it is confusing. I did find it less so in Demon Night. Information about the world was woven in well, and I think you could read it without having read the others. There was one development (trying not to be spoilery, but it has to do with a new ability of Charlie’s) that I just didn’t get. The plot kept moving and definitely kept my interest. [Ed.: read Meljean’s Guardian Primer here.]
I did feel that some of the stuff at the end was unneeded. Not to be spoilery but I feel that Charlie was kind of tormenting Ethan a bit unnecessarily. However, the final resolution was very satisfying. Sigh.
In the three novels I have read by Meljean Brook the heroes and heroines have all been very vivid, and also very different from each other, which I like. She doesn’t stick to type. Demon Night also features some great secondary characters—Old Matthew, Jake, and my favorite (weirdly) Sammael. After three books, I have quickly become a Meljean Brook fangirl. She has created an engrossing world full of real “characters.” Worth a try by any paranormal fan.
From the backcover.
Charlie Newcomb worked hard to get her life back together. But all that is shaken when she’s set upon by three vampires desperate to transform her beauty into something evil. Because Charlie is the vital link to something they want-and need. It’s Charlie’s flesh and blood sister, a medical scientist whose knowledge could be invaluable to the predators.
But to get to her, they must first get to Charlie, now under the intimate protection of Ethan McCabe. As her Guardian, Ethan is attracted to her vulnerabilities-as well as her strengths. The closer he gets, the more protecting her becomes not just his duty, but his desire. But will it be enough to save Charlie when the demon night falls?
Read Lawson’s review here.
And read more from Devon at Is That a Stake in Your Pocket?