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I’ll read anything in the Lords of the Underworld Universe (Gena Showalter), and the LOTUW short in the anthology Heart of Darkness (Gena Showalter, Maggie Shayne, & Susan Krinard) didn’t disappoint.  Lysander was wonderful, and Bianka was mischievous yet vulnerable.  I really enjoyed the themes of sin versus virtue and good versus evil.  I read on in the series and then came back to this story.  It was fine reading it our of order.  I highly recommend The Darkest Angel.

But for me, the star of the Heart of Darkness anthology was Love me to Death.  This short story was the first thing I’ve ever read by Maggie Shayne, and let me tell you, I am hooked.  I loved her voice.  Spooky, haunting, witty, sweet.  Love me to Death combines everything I love about the paranormal romance genre with the down and dirty believable horror of Stephen King.  It opens with 5 teenage boys who make a mistake together, the kind of mistake that puts a permanent bruise on their lives and binds them forever to each other for better or worse.  The camaraderie of these 5 boys as they grow up and do their best to move on with their lives was as compelling as the romance between the one featured boy when he is grown and meets a woman who might or might not be a ghost reminding him of his past.  I haven’t read many ghost story/romances–mainly because I haven’t seen a ton of them out there–but this one is my favorite.  I’m looking forward to checking out more of Maggie Shayne.

I am a fan of Susan Krinard’s for her beautifully descriptive voice and her intriguing plots, but I haven’t yet read Lady of the Nile.  It didn’t get wonderful reviews on Amazon, and so I’m sticking with the Fane series by Krinard that I love, which starts with The Forest Lord, and is very good in my opinion.

Please enjoy these lines from Maggie Shayne’s Love Me to Death and pick up Heart of Darkness for yourself!

  “It’s the old Muller House,” she said.
     Sara felt her body shudder in involuntary reaction. The ripple of it rushed up her spine at the words, but she didn’t know why. “It’s not a real place, Nik. It’s just made up.”
     Nikki turned to her. “You’re kidding, right?”
     “No.”–p. 170

And she knew she had to go to Port Lucinda. She had to see that place, uncover the story, for herself. She had to prove to herself that it wasn’t the same house, that this was all just coincidence.
     Because if it wasn’t, then she didn’t know what it was. She didn’t know what it could mean. She didn’t know why it gave her a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.–pp. 171-172

she stood there, staring at him, with something happening inside of her that she had never felt before.–p.187

  But she ran. She ran, and the rocks were slippery and she had to take care not to fall. She ran, and the tree limbs tried to smack her, so she weaved and bobbed and avoided them with the skill of a boxer in the ring. She ran, and the road was nearly in sight, just around the next bend in the trail. She ran, and then she heard a siren.
     And she stopped running.–p. 191

    IT WAS, SARA THOUGHT, utterly ridiculous that, with her life falling apart at the seams and her very sanity in question, she couldn’t seem to think about anything else but David. David’s hands. David’s mouth. David’s eyes.
     She’d only just met the man, but it felt to her very core as if she would die if he didn’t touch her. Kiss her. Soon.–p. 200

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About Jessi Gage

Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, faeries...you name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she's sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). A career student (aka indecisive and inquisitive bookworm), Jessi brings her love of research to her worlds and characters. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good always trumps evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
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