Asheville Arcana #3, Dreamspun Desires #32
Will love mean rebirth… or death?
Vampire Julian Schaden has been warning the Asheville Paranormal Council of an impending demonic incursion for more than two decades. Over the past two years, he and his friends have fought as hard as they can with little help, since Micah Carter, the demon hunter who should have led them, shirked his responsibility and then perished.
Desperate for anything that might aid the fight, Julian enters the Carter property and finds something he never dared hope for: young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters.
Thomas knows nothing about the supernatural world. But the prospect of a real life, outside the sheltered, isolated farm where he grew up, calls to him, and the idea of fighting the Unholy feels right.
Julian agrees to train Thomas, but he struggles against an unexpected, unwanted attraction. Thomas is too young and innocent to get involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian seems fated to lose. But a prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: the upcoming battle will claim Thomas’s life. To keep his home and friends safe, Julian may have to sacrifice the only love he’s ever known.
Since I’m a big fan of vampires in my paranormal romances, I was eagerly awaiting Julian’s story. I really liked that he wound up being paired with someone so innocent and unaware of the paranormal world—it gives this book a touch of opposites attracting (of which I’m also a big fan). And after following this series, I of course was very ready to see where things would sit by the end of this story.
Julian has so far seemed aloof and cool in his attitude in the first two books, but now that the focus has shifted to him we get to see him more closely. He’s not one to quickly give his heart away, so it’s understandable that he tries to keep Thomas in the ‘off-limits’ box even though he feels a pull to him. Thomas has an innocence about him thanks to the protected life he’s lived up to this point courtesy of his grandfather. Once he finds out there’s more—a LOT more—out in the world than he knows, that naïveté quickly dissolves as he embraces his lineage.
I’m also a huge fan of relationship development in any book I read, something I would have liked to have seen more of here. It felt like some of that was glossed over due to the length of the story and the need to get the series arc of the demon incursion resolved. It’s easy to see Julian and Thomas’s physical chemistry, and their first fully intimate scene where one aspect of Thomas’s innocence is lost is both tender and steamy at the same time.
There are several really good scenes regarding the escalation of the evildoings that were quite well laid out, and the major fight scene near the end was riveting. With such excitement, what happens after that felt a bit anti-climactic. But the end of the story does still leave the possibility of more in the series, so I’m hoping that will be the case since I really like the characters and world the authors have built.
Quenched in Blood was a 4.5-star read for me. While it is the third book in the series and I would advise reading the stories in order for the most enjoyment (especially since there is an ongoing arc through all the books), you could probably read it on its own since it does give a good base of information to facilitate understanding of what’s going on. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.