Ecstasy in Darkness
Ecstasy in Darkness – Gena Showalter
Growing up poor on New Chicago’s meanest streets, Ava Sans had two options: be the predator or be the prey. No contest. Now, working for Alien Investigation and Removal, she’s been ordered to capture the biggest, baddest warrior of all—a vampire too beautiful to be real, with the abilityto manipulate time.
Once the leader of the entire vampire army, McKell has been deemed savage and unstable, spurned even by his own kind.To McKell, humans should be nothing more than sustenance. Yet the petite, golden-skinned Ava is a fascinating contradiction—vicious yet witty, strong yet vulnerable, lethal but fiercely loyal. Against his better judgment, McKell craves that loyalty, and much more.
When the chase leads to seduction, McKell and Ava will race to discover the truth about his past. But the answers will come at a price, even for a woman who thought she had nothing left to lose. . . .
I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of Gena Showalter’s Ecstasy in Darkness, the fifth book in her Alien Huntress series. It is the first Alien Huntress book that I have read but it absolutely won’t be the last. It had me literally laughing out loud by the third paragraph and I was hooked. Any time that a book has me laughing on the very first page I just know that it is going to be good and Ecstasy didn’t disappoint.
At its heart it is a classic love story; you know the drill – Girl (Ava) goes looking for trouble in the woods and meets Boy, (well in this case vampire, Victor McKell). Said vampire just happens to be one of the most powerful of his kind, completely wild and untameable, much like the girl herself. Oh, and of course he’s smoking hot. They are immediately attracted to each other but there are complications in the way – he’s a vampire and she is an Alien Investigation and Removal trainee (a.k.a. hunter). She has a job to do and a deep seated need to prove herself. McKell just so happens to be one of her targets and may be the key to literally saving the world but he has his own agenda to attend to and has proven himself to be notoriously uncooperative with AIR agents in the past.
He’s been exiled by his own people and has a reputation as a ruthless torturer who views humans as little more than sustenance. It’s a reputation that he intends to keep. Ava has felt marginalized by society her entire life and has a chip on her shoulder as a result. She has developed her own well-earned reputation for kicking ass and taking names. She uses her wits to trick McKell and he is momentarily stunned before regaining the upper hand and putting her in her place. He escapes capture but allows her to escape as well and from then on it’s Game On for both of them.
Ava and her partner-in-crime Noelle regroup back at AIR headquarters the next day and are given a pep talk by their boss before being sent back in for round two with McKell. AIR needs a sample of the vampire’s blood to test as a possible cure for an alien disease that is turning humans into cannibals before ultimately killing them. Undaunted and determined to get her man, Ava returns to the woods with Noelle, much to McKell’s delight. The two engage in a round of playful banter before Ava gives into her slightly unstable (read – crazy) side and attacks McKell, stabbing him and thus obtaining her blood sample.
The following day McKell shows up on Ava’s doorstep, not healing from the stab wound and determined to find out why. Ava actually feels some remorse for her actions but as she doctors the wound she can’t stop herself from baiting McKell and starting a conversation that eventually leads McKell to agree to help AIR with their quest to cure the alien disease. In return Ava agrees to help McKell with a quest of his own and they seal the deal with a kiss that leads to one of the most smoking hot make-out scenes that I have ever read.
Once they manage to regain their self-control the pair embark on a multi-pronged adventure that left me loathe to lay the book down. I kept promising myself that I’d read just one more page, one more chapter before calling it quits for the night but instead found myself reading well into the early hours of the next morning. I looked and felt like hell that day but didn’t regret a single moment spent reading this book.
Despite not having read the previous books in the series I had absolutely no difficulty whatsoever emerging myself into the Alien Huntress world. Ecstasy in Darkness is a fast paced, action packed adventure that just happens to be filled with some of the most steamy sexual tension that I have ever read between two characters.
Both Ava and McKell are spirited, witty, entirely likeable individuals. He is exactly the kind of alpha character that I love – fierce, loyal, sexy and intelligent, and Ava is his spunky female counterpart. If they were real people I’d want to be Ava and if I couldn’t be her then I would want to be her best friend Noelle, just so I could hang out with her. And it absolutely goes without saying that I’d want to be Victor McKell’s lover! It’s difficult for me to even articulate how attracted I am to this character but he is definitely on par with Kresley Cole’s Malkom Slaine and in the running for Paranormal Bites’ Male of the Year 2010 award.
I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the Alien Huntress series and would highly recommend Ecstasy in Darkness to paranormal romance / urban fantasy fans. I give Ecstasy 5 1/2 out of 5 Bites.
Oct 26th, 2010 at 6:53 pm