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Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

Dear Ms. Cole:

As soon as I finished Dark Desires After Dusk, I went back to track rage demon Cadeon Woede’s character in Wicked Deeds on a Winter Night and Dark Needs at Night’s Edge (am I the only one who’s starting to feel these titles are blending into one long tongue twister?), curious to see if I would regard him differently now that I’ve read his whole story. Happily, the answer is no: Cade is still the swaggering, demon brew-swilling rage demon who loves his big old truck and his pay per view porn almost as much as he regrets the youthful decision that lost his brother crown and kingdom. Cade is no suave intellectual, no ethically upstanding Lore citizen. He is a blunt instrument, and one sexy demon, with, as Nix likes to point out, seriously “lickable horns.”

Holly Ashwin is one great heroine, too, a mathematics genius with serious (medicated) OCD, who remains in complete emotional and physical control through punishing rituals of cleaning, counting, swimming, and designing computer code. She possesses one of the most original excuses for remaining a virgin I think I’ve ever seen in Romance: unaware of her true nature (Valkyrie and Fury), Holly is afraid of physically hurting any sexual partner, with two somewhat tragic incidents feeding the fear. She has a long-term boyfriend — the unbelievably enabling Tim — an impending Ph.D. degree, and a limited but apparently satisfying life within very constrained physical and emotional boundaries.

Until, that is, she is taken captive by rogue demons who are convinced that she is the Vessel, a woman fated to bear the Lore’s “ultimate warrior” of either good or evil, depending on the father’s nature. Terror and anger at being restrained as a virtual offering for these demons overrides Holly’s usual cool control, initiating the transformation into her true form of Valkyrie and Fury, giving Holly both incredible strength and an incredible thirst to massacre her attackers. When Cade rescues her, he makes her believe that the sorcerer Groot might be able to reverse this frightening transition, convincing her that he will take her there. Holly is eager to return to her limited but familiar existence, even as she feels drawn to Cade’s outgoing energy.

Unbeknownst to Holly, Cade has been entrusted with the task of delivering the Vessel to the evil Groot, who has fashioned a sword with which Cade and Rydstrom can kill Omort, the virtually un-killable sorcerer who stole Rydstrom’s crown. Omort was able to steal the crown because Cade had refused to come to the castle when Rydstrom rode out into battle, preferring to stay with his foster family, hurt by his banishment to begin with and unconvinced that his presence at the royal residence would be necessary. His mistake of judgment cost him his brother’s respect, his family’s kingdom, and the lives of his foster family, who were ultimately killed by Omort’s evil minions (the virtually un-killable reanimated corpses called Revenants), and now he has one chance to make it all up.   The only thing it will cost him is the female he has waited 900 years to meet and mate.

Although Cade tells himself that he can never have Holly, that the 900 years he has spent being an epic disappointment to his brother and to the rage demons will soon be over, he is so enamored of Holly, so impressed by her intellect, so fascinated by her OCD, so enraptured by the view of her behind in her favorite pencil skirts, that he cannot resist the urge to break down her defenses. Together, Cade and Holly are fabulously volatile and intense, a perfect linking of apparent opposites. Cade is incredibly focused and courageous but will never win a Nobel Prize, and Holly may very well win the Nobel but will probably never enjoy the reckless genius that makes Cade such a successful mercenary.

The incredible fun of this novel is found in the growing intimacy between Cade and Holly, and in the way their emotional meshing catalyzes their individual growth. The kind of loyalty that made Cade want to protect his foster siblings all those years ago drives his protective instincts toward Holly, as well, his need to teach her how to fight like a Valkyrie (to protect herself in his absence) and even his desire to see her let loose sexually (okay, there might be some selfishness there, too). Holly’s OCD is in full force as she finds herself without medication, immersed in a whole new universe of supernatural beings, and in the company of a male who is as disorganized as Holly is ordered. And then, of course, there is his naturally rough, earthy, chauvinistic demeanor, which serves as a persistent taunt to Holly, making her painfully aware of Cade and yet horrified at the possibility that she might lose complete control:

He hiked his broad shoulders. “My kind prefer tarts with a little more meat on their bones so they can take a demon’s lusts.”
“Tarts?” Her jaw slackened. “My God, you’re the most misogynistic man I’ve ever met. I bet you also like your tarts barefoot and pregnant.”
“Nah, I like them barefoot, on birth control, and always available in my bed.”

Dark Desires After Dusk is a road novel of staggering geographical breadth, beginning in New Orleans and ending in the Northwest Territory, as Cade and Holly venture through a series of mysterious checkpoints and partial directions, with Cade becoming more desperate about the choice he will have to make between Holly and his brother’s crown, and Holly becoming more fully Valkyrie (and thanks to a welcome meeting from “auntie Nix,” which included a brief family history and some books on the Lore and the Valkyrie, she can read about her real mother and adjust to the change) and more and more attracted to Cade.

What is refreshing about their relationship, though, is that neither is the cardboard cutout Romance ideal. Cade is incredibly strong and resourceful, but he is not a brilliant strategist. As Jane said to me during one of the conversations we had about the book, Cade doesn’t ever think about a backup plan, because he puts all his energy into the current strategy, whether or not it will be successful. So Cade doesn’t have all the answers going in to Groot’s lair, the one plan he was hatching having met with a fatal snag (and Rydstrom has been imprisoned by Groot and Omort’s sister, Sabine, so he is conveniently out of the picture). There is a great description of the difference between Rydstrom and Cade in Wicked Deeds on a Winter Night: if Rydstrom would take a scalpel to a problem to systematically cut through it, Cade would take a hammer and swing wildly. So Cade’s dilemma is real, even if we can see a way out that he has not envisioned. It is a fine line to make that myopia a property of the character and not the narrative, and for me it really works here, because Cade is so consistently brute in his orientation.

By contrast, Holly is used to being completely cerebral, sublimating and subverting her physicality through exercise and organization (she requires everything organized in groups of three), and so despite her newfound strength, she has not yet found her internal courage or coordinated that with the need she has to protect herself from the kind of harm that others wish to visit on her (as Valkyrie and as the Vessel). It is only once she makes some key discoveries about her boyfriend and about herself that she begins to embrace the part of her so long suppressed, and she is delighted to discover that she does not have to worry about her sexual instincts hurting Cade or about her OCD tendencies overtaking her sexual pleasure. At the same time, though, her neurotic need to count and control does not magically disappear, giving her just enough imperfection to be the perfect match for a similarly imperfect male like Cade. And her sexual awakening is not simply about “loosening” Holly up; it is part of a whole process in which she integrates the incredible passion she has for her intellectual work with other aspects of a healthy, high functioning life (and a rather bloodthirsty streak that comes from both the Valkyrie and Fury sides). The fact that she is a Valkyrie may give her inhuman physical strength, but it does not provide a substitute for real character growth.

Jane compared Cade to Rupert from Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, and I think that’s a very good call, because like Rupert, Cade has incredible respect for the heroine’s braininess. He may not know what she’s talking about all the time, but he is open to learning, often looking up the things he does not know. Holly, in turn, learns from Cade to recognize and trust her instincts, to live more fully in the physical present, and she gains much more independence as soon as she recognizes that a fully integrated life is not threatening. In many ways, this is a story about balance, about two characters who have embraced a certain extreme way of thinking during their life (Holly as isolated geek, Cade as ne’er do well mercenary) finding a middle ground, both with themselves and each other, without losing the core of who they are. In fact, there is a great exchange between Cade and Holly that expresses the sexual politics of the book and offers a key to the ultimate success of a relationship between these two characters. Cade has won a bet, and now Holly must watch one scene of porn, which she has never done before:

“You put it down, but you’ve never viewed it? The bra-burner’s a tad hypocritical, no?”
“Though I’ve not yet tried drinking acid, I still put it down. And don’t call me a bra-burner! There’s no need to make fun of my feminism.”
“First of all, I’m not making fun-I’m poking fun. And second of all, I’m doing it to your face.”
“What does that mean?”
“If we bandy the subject, at least you know where I stand and you get a chance to persuade me to your way of thinking. Can you say the same about the other men in your life? The yes men?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Meaning Tim.”
“He’s not as perfect as you like to think.” Naturally, Cade despised him with a deep and virulent hatred. But Cade had also gotten the feeling that Tim wasn’t the lap-dog he appeared to be.
“No, maybe he’s not perfect,” she said. “But I bet he doesn’t consider women to be tarts, who should be in a man’s bed twenty-four hours a day.”
“I was jesting about that. Mainly. Almost totally.”
She glared.
“For the record, male Lorekind have higher opinions of females than human males do. The playing field’s more equal in our world.”
“Ha! I find it hard to believe that men who’ve lived for centuries-and might even be medieval-believe in equality more than a human male raised in the Madonna era.”
“The Lore is home of the Valkyrie, Furiae, Witches, and Sirenae. You underestimate females, and you find your balls nailed to the wall.”

There are many wonderful and witty exchanges in the book, including the typical clever witticisms of Nix and company, as well as Cade’s own bawdy humor in the face of Holly’s insistent innocence. The conflicts between Holly and Cade also feel authentic, as do the trust issues she has with him (after all, he is a liar by career choice). The betrayal that Cade must serve Holly in order to get Groot’s sword is real, and it is not magically undone, making the resolution one achieved through personal work and not deus ex machina.

Unlike the last two novels in the series, I flew through Dark Desires After Dusk. I would have liked to see the ending less rushed, and I wondered several times why, if Holly had access to a primer on the Lore, she did certain things and failed to question other things, especially when it came to her own fertility and to anticipating Cade’s eventual betrayal. And what should have been the climactic scene in Groot’s lair was very difficult for me to visualize at times, especially when it came to where Holly and Cade were physically at key points. Consequently, the last few chapters of the book were not as strong for me as I wanted them to be, especially since I enjoyed everything leading up to them so much. Overall, though, I think this might be my favorite book in the series to date, in large part because I found equal strength and appeal in both Cade and Holly. Because of that, I end up somewhere between a B+ and an A- for this one.

~Janet

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format (although I couldn’t find a link for this.

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

41 Comments

  1. katiebabs
    May 20, 2008 @ 15:11:38

    My new favorite hero is a porn watching demon with horns. LOL
    An OCD virgin? Oh my.

  2. Janet
    May 20, 2008 @ 15:47:51

    And there aren’t, that I can remember, any corny jokes about how “horny” Cade always is, which won MAJOR points with me. In fact, I think it’s really evident how much Cole has grown as a writer with this book, how much tighter and sharper her characterization, plotting, and humor are.

  3. Lisa
    May 20, 2008 @ 16:28:16

    Now I can’t wait for this one to arrive by mail. I read Dark Needs at Night’s Edge last weekend and I was already itching to get my hands on this one. The humor in this series is what keeps me coming back. Nix is wonderful and who isn’t waiting to see what happens with Murdoch and Daniela or Lucia and Gareth.

  4. kristenmary
    May 20, 2008 @ 17:15:07

    Okay, I think I will break down and try these books. Do you have to start with the first in the series or can you start with this one?

  5. Janine
    May 20, 2008 @ 17:19:44

    Robin, how do you think this book would stand on its own? Of Cole’s books, I’ve only read A Hunger Like No Other, and that one was a C+ for me. IIRC, I found it kind of over the top and not as grounded in reality as I would have liked. But some things about it were charming, and I liked the way the heroine found her strength in the book. I’m wondering if I should try this book next or track back to the novella that kicked off the series (which I never read).

  6. Kirsten
    May 20, 2008 @ 17:41:31

    kristenmary:

    start with the beginning–Myst’s story in the anthology Playing Easy to Get. I loved it.

    Great review Robin (as usual); even though I finished the book last week in one sitting, reading the review was like re-reading all the things I enjoyed about this book.

  7. sula
    May 20, 2008 @ 17:46:38

    I reaaaallly want this book. Yum. Definitely looking for it this weekend at my Borders. But the story I can’t wait for? Rydstrom!

    Janine, I found AHLNO to be one of the weakest in the series. My favorite is still book 2, No Rest for the Wicked. I’d recommend you try that one and see if it works better for you.

  8. Wendy
    May 20, 2008 @ 18:06:03

    Ooooh, I can’t wait to read this one! I love Cade and his “lickable horns”

  9. Ann Aguirre
    May 20, 2008 @ 18:42:36

    Man, I want this one!

  10. GrowlyCub
    May 20, 2008 @ 19:43:25

    Cade has incredible respect for the heroine's braininess. He may not know what she's talking about all the time, but he is open to learning, often looking up the things he does not know. Holly, in turn, learns from Cade to recognize and trust her instincts, to live more fully in the physical present, and she gains much more independence as soon as she recognizes that a fully integrated life is not threatening. In many ways, this is a story about balance, about two characters who have embraced a certain extreme way of thinking during their life (Holly as isolated geek, Cade as ne'er do well mercenary) finding a middle ground, both with themselves and each other, without losing the core of who they are.

    If somebody can now write the story described above without all the woowoo, I’ll be the first to buy it!
    Sigh. I sounds great, but my suspension of disbelief threshold does not do paranormal of any kind. But any contemporary that can be described like that I’d read in a heartbeat.

    Any recommendations?

  11. Janet
    May 20, 2008 @ 21:00:16

    Lisa: I really hope Cole is planning on writing Nix’s story, because my impatience grows with every book, lol.

    kristenmary: I believe that each of these books can stand alone. Although you won’t get all the in jokes that have developed, I don’t think that will ruin anything for you, but you may have to read the little glossary Cole provides (it’s somewhat different for each book). I do highly recommend the novella that kicks off the series, though. Along with the second book, No Rest For the Wicked, and this book, it’s one of my favorites.

    Janine: As I said to kirstenmary, I think these books stand alone, but A Hunger Like No Other is actually my least favorite in the series. I’ve thought about going back and re-reading it now that I’ve read the other books, but I haven’t yet, and when I read it, I was somewhat ambivalent about it.

    Thanks, Kirsten.

    Sula: I also love NRFTW, and until I read this book it was my favorite!

    Wendy: I am really amazed at how much I loved Cade, especially since I’m not particularly gaga over Cole’s heroes. I think I was about as surprised by his appeal as Holly was, lol.

    Ann: I hope you like it half as much as I did.

    GrowlyCub: I don’t know about contemps, but Loretta Chase’s historical Mr. Impossible definitely fits the bill, I think. Rupert falls head over heels in love with scholar Daphne, talking excitedly about how big her brain is, lol. Maybe someone can recommend some comteps like this, too.

  12. Janine B
    May 20, 2008 @ 22:30:59

    Loved this book. Loved it. I think it would stand alone well (for those that don’t care to read the ones before.) This book is not as “dark” as the last one (which I liked also) and the hero and heroine are fresh, not cookie cutter copies of past ones. The dialogue between the two main characters alone makes this book worth buying… the OCD heroine kept me in stitches.

  13. Lorelie
    May 20, 2008 @ 22:44:30

    I really hope Cole is planning on writing Nix's story, because my impatience grows with every book, lol.

    I think she must be. Nix seems to get a teeny bit more lucid each book. Initially I read her as spacing to the point of either near catatonic state or lunacy. Now she seems to be more teasing — like she’s dialed into the answer the characters want but *won’t* give it to them, rather than can’t.

  14. Sarah
    May 20, 2008 @ 23:10:39

    Does anyone know how I can get access to DDAD in an ebook? Simonsays.com has it but “unavailable” and I am DYING to get my hands on it! Paperback is not an option for me because it’s not released in Aus until June.

    Thanks!

  15. Janet
    May 20, 2008 @ 23:36:47

    Janine B: I so agree with you that the humor in this book was fabulous. Holly’s whole Turn Away, Turn Away mantra whenever she saw something sexual was hysterical, IMO.

    Lorelie: Ooh, good point about Nix’s growing lucidity. The biggest tease, IMO, was Nix’s comment in the last book about Mike Rowe:

    “I’m Mike Rowe’s beloved.”
    “Is this Mike down there?”
    “Oh, no, Mikey’s playing hard to get at present.” Her golden eyes going vacant, she murmured, “But it will do you no good . . . you naughty little scamp.”

    Sarah: The last book was at Fictionwise very quickly, so I assume that this one will be, too (all Cole’s other books are there). Try ereader and Books on Board, too. I’m personally hoping for another 100% micropay rebate on this one, like Fictionwise had on the last one!

  16. katiebabs
    May 21, 2008 @ 07:49:03

    In the first few books Nix annoyed me like you wouldn’t believe, but now she is growing on me. Her crush on Mike Rowe had me chuckling. LOL He has a restraining order on her!

  17. Corrine
    May 21, 2008 @ 08:11:02

    This is, by far, the best book in the series. For some reason, I don’t care much for the Wroth brother books in this series, so I wind up enjoying every other book, roughly. When I saw this on the shelf, I hemmed and hawed and finally gave up my (never-firm) will power and bought it. Reading this reminded me why, even at 50/50 odds, I always purchase a Kresley Cole right away.

  18. RStewie
    May 21, 2008 @ 08:54:51

    I read it last night, and I have to agree with your review wholeheartedly. There were a few instances where I questioned Holly’s thought processes (mainly the eating/fertility thing), and the ending did feel a bit rushed, but I loved the story, and I respect Cole in extremis for not throwing the whole OCD thing out the window after Holly’s “alone time” at the end of the story.

    I’m off JR Ward forever, Kresley Cole is now my favorite author to complain about long wait times for. I would recommend reading the books in order, though, as the stories are so intertwined and build on each other to a great degree.

  19. Randi Thompson
    May 21, 2008 @ 11:37:26

    Thanks everyone for the Kresley Cole comments. I read A Hunger Like No Other and wasn’t impressed. It read like an 80’s bodice ripper for me (almost raped heronie finally falls for the hero whom almost raped her and is very controlling). But based on everyone’s comments that AHLNO is the weakest of the series, I will try the next one…I was so disappointed that I didn’t like AHLNO, because everyone RAVES about Kresley Cole…

  20. Janet
    May 21, 2008 @ 12:23:38

    Her crush on Mike Rowe had me chuckling. LOL He has a restraining order on her!

    “But it will do you no good . . . you naughty little scamp.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    For some reason, I don’t care much for the Wroth brother books in this series, so I wind up enjoying every other book, roughly.

    The Wroth books have been my favorite, primarily because of the heroines, I think. Because I don’t have any predilection for vampire heroes.

    I respect Cole in extremis for not throwing the whole OCD thing out the window after Holly’s “alone time” at the end of the story.

    And didn’t you love the estate Cade buys?! Including the pool, lol.

    It read like an 80’s bodice ripper for me (almost raped heronie finally falls for the hero whom almost raped her and is very controlling).

    I also had a difficult time with the hero’s cruelty. Ultimately I was willing to accept it, in large part because of Emma’s intrinsic strength, but I still struggled with it, and had it not been for a friend of mine who loved, loved, loved the series, I might not have read further, either. I’m glad I did, because this is now on of my favorite series.

  21. Corrine
    May 21, 2008 @ 13:33:17

    The Wroth books have been my favorite, primarily because of the heroines, I think. Because I don't have any predilection for vampire heroes.

    And, see, I think it’s the heroines that throw me off. I’ve never been able to pinpoint what it is about them, but I thought No Rest for the Wicked was weakest of the series. But come to think of it, it might have been because I didn’t really warm up to Kaderin.

  22. Wendy
    May 21, 2008 @ 16:31:26

    Janet, I love Cole’s heroes, sure they can sometimes be a pain in the butt but I still love them! lol.

    Katie, I love Nix! She’s so awesome with her comments about Cade’s horns and the Mike thing as well. She cracks me up!

  23. Josie
    May 21, 2008 @ 18:25:17

    I just bought a copy of this yesterday and am dying to get started! Damn study!

    Fellow Aussie Sarah: Galaxy Books (www.galaxybooks.com.au) had a bundle of these yesterday… They’re in Sydney city or otherwise you can order online. They usually get all paranormal releases in around the same time as the States.

  24. limecello
    May 21, 2008 @ 20:51:01

    Ahh I just have to say I’m so excited about this book and I can’t wait to read it! :P I’m also not reading any reviews until I have it, and finish it – that’s just how I am.

  25. Sarah
    May 22, 2008 @ 07:22:12

    Thanks Josie I’ll get right on to galaxybooks. Meanwhile, I spent all of yesterday creating new accounts at barnes&noble.com so I could keep on reading the “preview” they had up on their site – with the exception of a few “blocked” pages, I read the whole thing! I am officially pathetic.

    For the record, I love Kresley Cole (as my stalking of the barnes&noble website dictates), and AHLNO was my absolute favourite book of all time. I thought Lochlain was the perfect tormented hero, and both characters showed tremendous growth throughout the book. Kaderin’s book was my least favourite – haven’t even glanced at it since I finished it.

  26. Janet
    May 22, 2008 @ 11:36:36

    Corrine: But come to think of it, it might have been because I didn't really warm up to Kaderin.
    LOL! Clever pun aside, though, as the comments here indicate, there is varied appeal for Cole’s heroines and heroes, which is why, I suppose, they have such a sustained readership. We may not love every hero and heroine, but another couple is only as remote as the next book.

    Wendy: Cade is the first hero, I think, who I loved as much as the heroine. I don’t know what that says, lol, that my favorite is the raunchy, slobbish demon, but there it is.

    Josie: I hope you’re reading and liking it!

    limecello: I understand what you’re saying about not reading reviews. I don’t care about spoilers, so it’s not a biggie to me, but it is fun, after you’ve read a book, to see what others have said about it, IMO.

    Sarah: I would probably like AHLNO better now that I’ve gotten into the whole series, and I should probably go back and re-read it. I was talking to a friend of mine about it the other day, and the things that bothered me didn’t register with her at all. Thank goodness the series is so rich that not every hero and heroine are the same.

  27. Amy
    May 22, 2008 @ 12:58:17

    I just finished this book two nights ago. I agree with the review above and I must say I was so glad that the series continues to be good (unlike so many other paranormal series I had followed in the past like the Kenyon Dark Hunters). I’m puzzled by one point in this book, which no one here has mentioned. The point that bothered me was Holly’s parentage. I thought Nix told Holly that her dad was a HUMAN engineer (so I concluded the reference to part fury comes from her mom)? That point bothered me in subsequent passages whenever I read how a Valkyrie can only have sex with the likes of Demons. Of course, now that I’ve read everyone’s comments, the lack of such mention makes me wonder if I misread that passage; unfortunately, I’m in the office right now so I don’t have the book with me for reference. This is really bugging me now. Could someone do me a favor and look up the passage for me? TIA!

  28. Janet/Robin
    May 22, 2008 @ 13:40:49

    I thought Nix told Holly that her dad was a HUMAN engineer (so I concluded the reference to part fury comes from her mom)? That point bothered me in subsequent passages whenever I read how a Valkyrie can only have sex with the likes of Demons.

    Amy, here’s how I understand it: Holly’s father was a human engineer, but the Lore aspects of her, once released, take over and transform her into an immortal. She is also the Vessel, which requires her to be of the Lore, but not necessarily Valkyrie, IIRC. I don’t remember anything about Valkyrie being able only to mate with demons (Myst and Emma are mated with other Lore species), but it is true that only if Cade is Holly’s mate will he produce sperm when they have sex (so he can only impregnate her if they are mated, I guess). I *think* that’s correct, but I could be wrong. The longer the series goes on, the more rules we have to try to remember, lol.

  29. Janet/Robin
    May 22, 2008 @ 13:49:53

    Here’s Nix’s note, wherein she explains Holly’s origins:

    Dearest Niece,
    Welcome to the family at last!

    This letter will explain more that I didn’t have time to. Inside your welcome package you’ll find two books. One is the story of our origin and a record of the Valkyrie’s noblest warriors. Your mother’s history is among them.

    Your father was a human civil engineer, the great love of Greta’s life. He was killed in a revenge hit for one of her vampire raids before Greta even knew about you.

    Greta was heartbroken to give you up, but it’s the Valkyrie way to relinquish human offspring. And we all thought you were mortal. She did it with love in her heart for you. Never doubt that.

    The second book will explain some of the aspects of this new world you’ve found yourself thrust into. Read both tomes. There will be a quiz-Now, 1 know that you expressed some doubts about staying a Valkyrie…

    But 1 ask that you at least give Vdkyrism a sporting try. All the cool kids are doing it. And all you have to do is embrace everything you’ve ever feared and shunned for the last twenty years. Simple enough!

    Lick Cade’s horns for me, and, yes, you can treat him like a hireling if you wish, because that is certainly what he is-‘and what he’s used to.

    Two tips: If you need to be certain that your erstwhile guardian is telling you the truth about anything, make him “vow it to the Lore.” And if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t eat. Valkyrie are infertile if they don’t consume the fruits of the earth.

    Warmly,
    Nix, Proto-Valkyrie, Soothsayer without Equal,
    Demigoddess, your loving auntie

  30. Amy
    May 22, 2008 @ 14:21:52

    Yes, that is exactly it! Thank you for finding the passage for me. So, if one key point is how Holly is much stronger than humans, causing all the trauma in the past, how, then did Greta, a fully ancient Valkyrie who presumably was stronger than Holly was before her full strength was released, manage to have sex with the human “great love” of her life?? It bugged me that there was no explanation for that aspect when the whole Holly-and-human-men-history played such a big role in her repression of her sexual self. Maybe the explanation is that Greta had way better control (though I thought one point in these stories is how freeing the sexual experience may be when the super strong male and female are able to lose control during sex); maybe the explanation is that Greta did harm her human partner — she just didn’t kill him and he was willing to endure it. But right now the lack of any reference to this inconsistency (for lack of a better term) really annoys me. That said, I still enjoyed the story and look forward to the next one.

  31. Janet/Robin
    May 22, 2008 @ 14:56:08

    So, if one key point is how Holly is much stronger than humans, causing all the trauma in the past, how, then did Greta, a fully ancient Valkyrie who presumably was stronger than Holly was before her full strength was released, manage to have sex with the human “great love” of her life??

    My sense is that a Valkyrie doesn’t *have* to physically harm her partner, but Holly is so OCD, and so controlled, that she doesn’t seem to do anything in moderation. So because she suppressed every impulse and feeling, she would be, like totally out of control sexually (or at least be afraid of that). So when she’s finally with Cade, and totally let’s loose, there are a lot of years of control that are being unwound, whipping her up into a virtual frenzy.

    Maybe someone else has a better explanation, though.

  32. Devon
    May 22, 2008 @ 17:26:22

    I really want this now!

  33. JLFerg
    May 24, 2008 @ 11:26:29

    I was checking the eBook Store from Sony this morning and “Dark Desires After Dusk” was finally listed (for $6.64).

  34. Janet/Robin
    May 24, 2008 @ 11:54:24

    Devon: I know that Amazon was shipping this book several weeks ahead of its drop date, although the ebook just seems to be appearing. Hope you enjoy it!

    JLFerg: thanks for posting that; it’s still not on Fictionwise, but I assume it will be soon.

  35. Meljean
    May 24, 2008 @ 15:52:03

    Cade just made this book for me. I enjoyed it all, loved Holly (and I’m usually a more heroine-centric reader) but I was looking forward to every conversation between them — just to see what would come out of his mouth — and every scene from his POV.

    It’s definitely my favorite of them so far, with the novella close behind.

  36. Meljean
    May 24, 2008 @ 16:02:26

    Also, one thing I found really refreshing and different about Cade is his complete sexual confidence and comfort in his sexuality. Alpha heroes usually are, but more in the sense that they’re confident their attractiveness will overpower the heroine’s reluctance, and use it to dominate her either emotionally or physically.

    With Cade, it was just all out there, so it drew Holly out, I felt, in a way that was so much more emotionally satisfying to me, as the reader.

  37. Robin
    May 25, 2008 @ 10:53:08

    Also, one thing I found really refreshing and different about Cade is his complete sexual confidence and comfort in his sexuality. Alpha heroes usually are, but more in the sense that they're confident their attractiveness will overpower the heroine's reluctance, and use it to dominate her either emotionally or physically.

    With Cade, it was just all out there, so it drew Holly out, I felt, in a way that was so much more emotionally satisfying to me, as the reader.

    I wonder if that’s because most of those alphas who use their sexuality to dominate the heroine aren’t comfortable with the *heroine’s* sexuality, especially as it is present outside the hero’s experience.

    One of Cade’s most attractive qualities, IMO, is that he doesn’t take the guilt he feels about what happened with Rydstrom and his foster family out on Holly. Yeah, he’s trying to make things right, but that doesn’t become an excuse to be a complete a-hole to her every other page. And it’s not so much that Cade isn’t a complex character; it’s more, I think, that he’s not such a tormented person.

    One question, though, that I couldn’t remember the answer to as I read: why will Cade’s horns grow back, but Rydstrom’s remain damaged? Is that part of Omort’s curse (I seem to remember something from No Rest For the Wicked, but I can’t find the book right now)?

  38. Ann Aguirre
    May 26, 2008 @ 12:05:33

    It’s at Mobipocket! Woohoo!

    You won’t be hearing from me for a while.

  39. limecello
    May 26, 2008 @ 17:25:35

    Janet, yes, I do tend to check reviews after I read a book, especially if I’ve reviewed it too. Sometimes, spoilers don’t bother me. But sometimes, my lack of attention span can’t take it, and I just won’t be able to focus on a book if I know what happens.

  40. deputman
    Jun 07, 2008 @ 17:12:31

    RE: Greta and her engineer vs Holly’s two human partners…

    The way it played to me was that the minor tragedy of Holly’s past experiences (which I personally would consider worth it to build to the explosion that is sex with Cade) is that they didn’t have to be failures. It’s just that the two guys were totally unprepared for her. One was 16 and probably having his first sexual encounter; the other was a college freshman with not much more, if any more, experience. I don’t think it would be impossible to find more compatible human partners who could handle her level of sexuality and potential to be physically dominant. As it is, I’ve always figured that Regan’s reincarnated love is human in at least some of his lives. The likely differences with Greta and Regan would be that humans weren’t necessarily their first lovers, both were aware of their Valkyrie nature and knew what to expect and embrace about their sexuality, and neither was walking a razor’s edge of repression and disordered behavior to maintain their sanity.

    All that added up to some terrible, but not inevitable, sexual experiences for Holly. I still say they were worth it since they lead to the opportunity to release 10 years' (since that first time) worth of pent up Valkyrie passion with a man/demon like Cade.

  41. evilpride21
    Feb 10, 2009 @ 14:13:29

    @Robin:
    its because Rydstrom’s horn got broken before he reached his maturity and so turned into a full imortal and stopped aging. Scars, broken horns – they were all gotten before he turned fully imortal, he would heal but he would have a scar and the horn wouldnt grow back, if he got hurt now it would heal without a scar. just like if Kaderin had lost her foot a few days earlier then it wouldnt have regenerated and she would have been out a foot

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