Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Nearly a thousand years ago, Konstantine Varinski made a deal with the devil. In exchange, he and his sons gained the ability to transform into animals--wolves, hawks, panthers, and other predators. The family has terrorized the citizens of their country for the thousand years, raping and pillaging. Any offspring who are born, always boys, are delivered to the Varinski compound and left for these fierce, dangerous men to raise.

The current day Konstantine has broken off ties with the family, changed his name to Wilder and moved to America. He has three sons: Jasha, Rurik, and Adrik who has disappeared. He also has the only daughter that has been born into the family in a thousand years: Firebird. His wife, Zorana, has the Sight and has prophesied that she and Konstantine will be forever apart in the afterlife if the Wilder sons do not find the pieces of the Varinski family icon. Time is of the essence, as Konstantine is dying of a rare genetic heart condition.

Jasha is a prosperous vintner in California's Napa Valley. His assistant Ann, who is also in love with him, has followed him to Washington in order to bring him some paperwork to sign. Ann makes it safely to Jasha's house only to witness Jasha's transformation from wolf to human!

Ann runs and is hunted down by Jasha. In her flight, she uncovers a small ceramic tile with a painting of the Madonna. While she is still scared, she gives into Jasha's overwhelming passion. The two return to Jasha's house where Jasha manages to anger Ann with his apparent distrust of her. Ann jumps into his car and begins to drive away. Her flight is halted when she sees Jasha being shot by an arrow and must dodge bullets herself.

Ann and Jasha go on the run to get away from their persuers. It quickly becomes apparent that they are Varinskis and they are determined to hunt down and kill Jasha and the rest of the Wilders.

This is a great paranormal romance. Plenty of steam for those who like that in their books. The prophecy and its history make the change of the Varinskis and Wilders from men into animals quite convincing. The characters are endearing and believable. I liked the pacing of the book. There was plenty of action, without any noticeable slow parts. I was drawn through the book and this was another that I had a hard time putting down. I really enjoyed this book and the next in the series, the only ones I have read so far.

Be sure to check out the next books in this series, Touch of Darkness, Into the Shadow, and Into the Flame.

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