Danube in Candlelight
Morgan Duma has always known she's different. Her eyes have unusual gold rings around her irises, a trait she's inherited from her father. She's faster and stronger than most. Her endurance and stamina allow her to complete tasks in a quick and efficient fashion. Since she was a little girl, she knew there was only one man for her -- Adam Varga.
Morgan learned to dance in Adam's arms. They grew up playing the piano together. Adam's calm, soothing presence was the perfect compliment to her restless soul. Not only that, he shared her differences down to his feral eyes.
Enter Zoltan Kristos, Hungary's Minister of Reconstruction. He shares those same golden eyes that Morgan possesses. After Zoltan carries her mother out of a blazing fire, Morgan's life takes a turn she doesn't expect. She discovers the reasons for her differences, and questions her very identity. Is Adam strong enough to be the man she needs him to be?
A steady story with intriguing characters and storyline. Danube in Candlelight offers a bit of the paranormal along with a sweet romance. Werewolves can somehow seem a bit cheesy to me, with the transformations and hairiness. It might be because I’ve watched so many B horror movies. This is a different take on that. Yes, there are transformations, bites, superstitions (i.e. silver being poisonous), but I could not find fault with that. It focused more on the human aspect of it all. The fact that once transformations were complete, the character was aware of his/her surroundings and that not all werewolves were out for blood. Conscience was involved and it was not a gory story. Which is refreshing.
Since this is book 3 in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Morgan and Adam’s love story had the sweetness and steaminess that is great in any romance. Morgan is the one with the insecurities and that leads to the strife within the relationship. She knows she’s different, a common trait she shares with Adam, who has the same eerie looking eyes as she does. Morgan has to come to terms with her self and her family. Her stubbornness and sometimes selfishness is a major obstacle.
Adam is more easy going, accepts change without too much struggle and is basically the foundation for stability that Morgan needs.
The one character I really found interesting was Zoltan. First of all, his name is cool, and secondly his inner demons are the most intriguing. If anything, I want to read his story and see what makes him tick. We only get a glimpse of that in this story. Is he friend or foe?
Overall, just forget about your preconceived notions about werewolves and just go along for the ride.
*I received a copy of the story in exchange for an honest review*
Morgan drew in a deep breath as the knot in her shoulder tensed. Adam had a point. How could she be so self-centered, dwelling on her high-strung emotions? Perhaps it was a cover. Perhaps she couldn’t face the real issue because it mortified her. She didn’t want to think about it now. Morgan turned her head away and reached over her shoulder to massage that tension-filled knot.
“Turn around.” Adam’s voice brooked no debate. She liked a man who commanded authority. Morgan turned, and he massaged both her shoulders. Heat from his hands trailed down her back. Her core warmed. Her body relaxed, reacting instinctively and with a desire she couldn’t hide.
“Did I hit a nerve?” he asked.
“A nerve? In my neck?” She took a step backward to be closer to him.
“No. About your father. Is your real fear about what will happen to your mother once he turns her?” Adam kept his voice low and leaned close to her ear.
She closed her eyes briefly and faced her anxiety. “Yes.”
“Morgan, our fathers’ condition has a host of positive traits — heightened senses, for example, but the best trait is the healing factor.”
“I understand, Adam. That healing factor will help my mother recover from her awful injuries, but it comes with a tradeoff — she’s going to become a werewolf.”
“Is it better she become addicted to morphine? That addiction is a beast in itself. Which would you prefer she’d become? The soldiers hooked on morphine have vacant eyes, and their hands tremble for their next fix. Do you want that for your mother? Fighting something she can’t win against, or do you want her dealing with a manageable condition? Both our fathers are good men. They’ve managed it.”
Morgan pursed her lips. Adam’s tone was laced in objectivity and confidence, offering her a plausible reason for her father’s actions. Morgan didn’t want a shell of skin and bones that resembled her mother — she wanted her mother well, both emotionally and physically. Why had she been so selfish not to see that?
“It doesn’t bother you that you have these traits?”
“I’m comfortable with who I am.”
Morgan spun around, pressing the length of her body against Adam, curving her hand around the nape of his neck, and bringing his lips to hers. Their mouths met in a searing kiss full of desire. Want. Warmth. Pleasure replaced Morgan’s emotional pain, and she deepened the kiss between them by sweeping her tongue into his mouth. Adam groaned, wrapped his hands around her waist, and tugged her closer. Morgan continued the kiss, nipping his lower lip with her teeth. A blast of heat from his body washed over her like an ocean wave, sending pleasure spiraling through her. God, she had never felt so wonderful.
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children’s books published with 4RV Publishing.
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