The Crimson and the Black (Hidden Empire #2) by Nicola M. Cameron
#Historical, #Paranormal, #Romance,
Beware of dragons…
Being a beautiful bon vivant vampire isn't all it's cracked up to be—in fact, it can get lonely, not to mention boring. So when Countess Fyodora Korelev is asked to find a group of kidnapped selkie girls, she jumps at the chance ... only to get the shock of her undead life when a huge, gorgeous Scottish dragon shifter shows up and announces that she's his fated mate.
Dragon shifter Callum Brown has been alone for centuries, so he's in a foul mood as he's tracking down the Sassenachs who stole his selkie niece. But when he runs into a stunning vampiress who sets his blood on fire, he knows he has to claim her even though she refuses to admit she's his mate. Now Callum must use all of his skills to find his niece and seduce his stubborn, beautiful countess.
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5 out of 5 (exceptional)
THE CRIMSON AND THE BLACK is the second book in the Hidden Empire series, which starts with Shadow of the Swan, which originally was a standalone novel set in Victorian England. I can't tell you how happy I was to see the author had turned this into a series.
Still set in the same timeline, this time we find out more at Henry's Maker, Fyodora. She has a long and, sometimes tragic, backstory that we learn as we go along. Nearing one thousand years old, she finds herself getting bored easily so readily agrees to help with a nasty kidnapping and sex slave/wife ring. On the hunt for his lost cousin, Callum is one of the few dragon shifters left. When they meet, sparks fly with an instant attraction that is not acted upon due to circumstances. Delayed gratification, anyone?
As always, this was a brilliant story that held my attention from beginning to end. I loved how Fee and Callum worked together. They were honest and communicated well - even going so far as to apologise when they were in the wrong! *gasps with shock!*
Whilst hot in places, this is more about the connection between the two of them, and the lost selkies. There are a multitude of characters I want to know more about, so I'm hoping for many more books in this series.
A fantastic addition to the series that I have no hesitation in recommending. Just one question though - why was Callum black, not red?!
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Nicola Cameron is a married woman of a certain age who really likes writing about science fiction, fantasy, and romance. When not writing about those things, she likes to make Stuff™. And she may be rather fond of absinthe.
While possessing a healthy interest in romance (and sex) since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to write about it. The skills picked up during her SF writing career transferred quite nicely to speculative romance. Her To Be Written work queue currently stands at around nineteen books, and her mojito-sodden Muse swans in from Bali every so often to add to the list, cackling to herself all the while.
When not working, she’s usually making Stuff™, kissing her husband, or entertaining her cats.