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book coverSandy M’s review of Rapture (The Shadowdwellers, Book 2) by Jacquelyn Frank
Paranormal Romance published by Zebra Jul 1 09

I am so glad I started this series now and didn’t wait like I’ve done with Ms. Frank’s Nightwalkers series, which I’ve yet to start. This second book in the series captivated me just as much as the first, but in a whole different way. Ecstasy, the first book, dealt with the three ‘scapes for the Shadowdwellers as the hero and heroine find each other and fight for a life together and it was as intriguing, adventurous, and romantic as could be. This book, however, deals more with the betrayal that drove Ecstasy, the awakening of both the hero and heroine in several ways, and still gives us a look at those ‘scapes but in more narrow window.

Magnus is the head priest and founder of Sanctuary, the religious haven for the twin monarchs of his people, the other penance priests who teach their children, and the handmaidens who serve side by side with those priests. He is still trying to come to terms with the betrayal of his previous handmaiden who was lured by those wanting to take over Sanctuary and nearly killing both Magnus and Ashla, his new daughter-in-law. Trust is something he now harbors close to the vest and gives to no one without merit.

His goddess has led him to a new handmaiden, Daenaira, whom he finds out is a former slave, a fact that horrifies him. Slavery is against their law, and seeing what it has done to this young woman pushes him even more to gain her trust. He learns very quickly Dae herself can also push his buttons more than anyone has ever done. His patience is put to the test time and time again, along with his temper, and finally everything between combusts. And those are some of the best scenes in the book.

Daenaira is at first skeptical that freedom is now hers. But after learning who Magnus is and where she is to serve with him, she tries to conform to what is expected of her, but Magnus himself is the one who creates such fury and burning in her she can’t help but lash out. As she comes to know and care for the people of Sanctuary, however, she begins to feel that this peaceful and beautiful place can actually be her home. Only after the traitors who are killing the priests one by one are stopped, however, and she’s going to be part of that no matter what Magnus thinks.

Magnus and Dae are fun to read, though most of the time their situation is dire. But once they turn that corner and become lovers, they are a pair to be reckoned with. Getting there, though, is where the great reading comes in. Magnus has not had sex in at least 200 years. He chose to keep things platonic, so to speak, with his previous handmaiden. Dae, of course, being a slave has never had the experience of sex at all. Watching these two come alive in each other’s arms is full of sizzle, charm, and romance.

They both have to learn how to trust and are put to the test very thoroughly throughout the hunt for traitors. Their need for control is also tested, and they must learn to give both trust and control to each other. We get to know more of the priests in Sanctuary a little better this time around, along with a number of other secondary characters, all of whom I hope eventually get their own books. The villains running around this place wanting more of anything and everything they don’t deserve finally get what’s coming to them, and I really enjoyed a couple of those endings. The fight scene at the end in Dreamscape is quite compelling and happens at the same time another betrayal is happening in Realscape, but things are not always what they seem to be.

This is one terrific series, and Pleasure, the third book, is out next month. I can’t wait.

SandyMGrade: A+

The Shadowdwellers live in a realm of darkness and sensuality, where order is prized and sin must be punished. Yet for Magnus, the head priest of Sanctuary, salvation rests with the one woman who will entice him into breaking his every rule…
Magnus is a man of contradictions—a spiritual leader in a deadly warrior’s body. Rules and order are for enforcing and visions must be followed—even if that means freeing a beautiful slave and making her his reluctant handmaiden. But she isn’t the only unenthusiastic partner. Betrayed once before, Magnus can barely bring himself to trust another woman.
Yet everything about Daenaira’s fiery innocence compels him time and again to cross every line he’s ever drawn for himself.
Daenaira grew up hearing tales of the fearsome priest named Magnus. But no one can convince her that men of honor truly exist. She soon learns that Magnus is very real—every inch of him—and so is the treachery that surrounds them. Beneath Sanctuary’s calm surface, an enemy is scheming to unleash havoc on the Shadowdwellers, unless Magnus trusts in a union ordained by fate, and sealed by unending bliss…
Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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