Author: Keri Arthur
Series: Nikki & Michael #1
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Private Investigator Nikki James grew up on the tough streets of Lyndhurst and believes there's nothing left to surprise her. All that changes the night she follows teenager Monica Trevgard into the shadows and becomes a pawn caught in a war between two very different men. One fills her mind with his madness, the other pushes his way into her life and her heart. Nikki knows how dangerous love can be, but if she wants to survive, she must place her heart in a man who could easily destroy her.
Michael Kelly has come to Lyndhurst determined to end the war between himself and another brother of the night. For 300 years he has existed in life's shadows, gradually learning to control the life from death cravings of a vampire. Nikki not only breaches his formidable barriers with her psychic abilities, but makes Michael believe he may finally have found a woman strong enough to walk by his side and ease the loneliness in his heart. But will his love be enough to protect her from a madman hell-bent on revenge? Or will it drive her into his enemy's deadly trap?
Only together can they overcome the evil threatening to destroy them both. But the secrets they keep from each other might prove to be the greatest threat of all.
I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I had read several of Keri Arthur's other book series and this one was nothing like any of them. While her Riley Jensen series was centered around a werewolf and had more risque sex scenes in than actual action, this book, Dancing with the Devil, lacked detailed sex scenes and focused more on the overall action of the characters.
The focus on the story and the supernatual aspects of the story was something of a bittersweet surprise. I was expecting much of the same from the author as seen in previous book series, but instead this one was fraught with danger and the perplexities of the mind. While this both intrigued me and made the book more of a story focused on the complexities of a world filled with unknown paranormal creatures and metaphysical abilities, I did find myself missing the more "hot and heavy" aspects.
Don't misunderstand me. There was a romance in this story. A very good one at that. There was the token instant, confusing connection, followed closely by the dance of insecurities over whether a blooming relationship was wise, and finally the climatic realization of love between the two thoroughly smitten protagonists. However, the reasons for the couple's strife over their budding romance were more deep-seeded and complicated than most paranormal romance literature. Instead of it simply being a question of whether the feelings were true, it was instead painful past events that hindered Nikki and Michael. This was new, unexpected, and a delight to someone who's college major is delving into the inner-workings of the human mind.
Nikki entered the story bent on doing her job and overcoming guilt from her past by doing so. She did not much care how this goal was achieved, even at the risk of her own life. One character in the story claimed Nikki had a "death wish", to which I couldn't agree more. She bumbled along with her heart in the right place as she fought to save the unsaveable and escape the clutches of an evil who has found her to be too intriguing not to claim as his own.
Michael was the white knight of the story several times. Nikki would sacrifice herself or risk it all to do what she believed was right and Michael was forced to keep her from perishing from her reckless antics. Michael has the patience of a saint, to be quite frank. Dark, handsome, self-loathing Michael. Such a perfect protagonist match for wounded daredevil Nikki.
My overall impression of the story was that it was much the same as many paranormal romance books out today. However, Nikki and Michael were a different sort of character type all around. It was refreshing to see protagonists who were not 100% together. They were scarred and they had issues to overcome which left it wide open for the rest of the series to try to mend their battered hearts and bring them together. Not a bad read by any stretch of the imagination.