Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick
Bestseller Jayne Ann Krentz, writing under her historical fantasy nom de plume, turns in a top-notch performance in the second Dreamlight novel. Crime lord Griffin Winters rules a vast underworld empire in Victorian London, but he fears the descent of a familial curse of madness brought on by an ancestor's alchemical experiments. Only a powerful magical artifact, controlled by a woman of rare power, can save him. Magically gifted orphan Adelaide Pyne, recently embarked on a crusade to save women from prostitution, could be that woman, and a psychic connection soon draws Adelaide and Griffin into a dangerous partnership. Fast-paced and cleverly constructed, the tale perfectly balances lively adventure, passionate romance, and the paranormal against an elaborate and refreshingly original background. Arcane Society fans will be thrilled, and new readers will find this stand-alone story very accessible.
Dark Prince: Author's Cut Special Edition by Christine Feehan
First published in 1999, launching the author's number one bestselling Dark series about the Carpathians, a dying race of vampires, this special hardcover edition offers over 100 pages of new material. Now the Carpathians find new hope when their leader discovers that his life mate is a telepathic American woman visiting their remote mountain region. The paranormal romance's appeal stands the test of time, with its sensual and absorbing story of an independent beauty taming a terrifying but smitten beast, while his people face annihilation from vampire hunters, hidden enemies, and their own failure to procreate. At nearly 500 pages, however, the pacing often lags, with long scenes between hero and heroine that replay the same issues in repetitive detail. Still, fans will likely enjoy seeing the love story plumbed in every nuance, and there's enough power to draw new enthusiasts. Toward the end, Feehan creates a complex and compelling future hero in a secondary vampire leader, and her climax picks up much-needed steam.
The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter
Showalter's seventh Lords of the Underworld novel (after 2010's The Darkest Lie) focuses on Amun, one of the dozen immortal warriors who absorbed evil demons from Pandora's box. The demon of Defeat captures Haidee, a part-demon Hunter whose relatives were slain by the Lords in ancient Greece, and takes her to the warriors' fortress, where Amun is recovering from a journey to hell. Everyone is surprised when Haidee and her icy touch soothe the tormenting demons that burn within Amun. Their roles as Lord and Hunter create obstacles to their growing attraction, as does Haidee's plan to find closure with her boyfriend before committing herself to a relationship with Amun, and another quest in hell tests their skills and commitment. A complicated backstory, dozens of recurring characters, throwaway references to rape, and graphic sex and violence may limit the book's appeal to new readers.