Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Recent Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (218 Pages)
Other: M/F, M/M, Anal Sex/Play, Light BDSM
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Holly
A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie's Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn't experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn't long before craving gives in to need.
In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She's scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She's convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she's not one of the O-positive set, and can't believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.
When the witch who's been plaguing Parker's life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie's Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?
The title of this book was a puzzle to me, at least until I met the main characters in the book. Then Blood of the Maple made perfect sense.
The Sixties: a time for peace, laughter and freedom. A wide-open feast for vampire Parker Hollis, until he runs afoul of Terri, a powerful and possessive witch who wants Parker all to herself. When she catches him with another woman, she curses him to a life of drinking only plant blood, making him the only known vegetarian vampire.
Parker runs as far from Terri as he can, and with the help of his witch friend Greg, learns to create the plant drinks he needs to survive, while avoiding Terri for the next fifty years. When Greg dies of cancer, he stays with Parker in spirit form, and they move to Maggie’s Grove, where, unbeknownst to them, the whole town is filled with supernatural beings.
As they settle in, they learn about the town, and Parker is assigned a ‘Renfield’, a protector of vampires during daylight hours. When Parker meets his new neighbor, Amara, he is drawn to her like no one before. But Amara believes him to be a normal vampire, and expects him to turn from her as others have, because she is far from normal. Amara is a hamadryad, the only known one, but even she doesn’t know this about herself, only that she is different.
Once Parker realizes he can have a relationship and life with Amara, he claims her for himself. Can Amara and Parker find the happiness together that they deserve? When Terri targets the whole town to get Parker, can they mount a successful defense and defeat Terri once and for all? And what are the odds that a gay ghost will meet the only ‘physical psychic’ in the town, and be able to have a relationship too?
Dana Marie Bell has created a new and intriguing community, filled with delightful and fascinating characters, danger, romance and humor. The trip through time, from the Sixties when Parker becomes cursed, to the Eighties when he discovers his calling to present day, having lost the physical presence of best friend Greg, is a delight. I enjoyed the conversations between Parker and Greg in modern time, when Greg is a ghost, as they are filled with humor and the obvious caring these two had.
Parker Hollis is strong, handsome and ready to get on with his life. He never expected to meet a woman he could love. He also doesn’t want to cause any more deaths by Terri’s hand. He has kept on the move, but finally, something draws him to Maggie’s Grove, Maryland, and the house on Ghost Haven Lane. I found Parker to be wonderfully loyal, and the pain he went through as he watched his best friend Greg slowly fade from cancer is well portrayed. I enjoyed the sarcastic banter between them, even though Greg is now a ghost.
Amara is a hamadryad, and a fantastic match for Parker. She is the strongest character in this book. I loved watching her discover love for the first time, and learning to care and be cared for by Parker. In many ways, Amara is an innocent, but there is a strength and passion in her, just waiting for the right trigger. That trigger turns out to be Parker, and I loved the heat that grew between them.
The secondary characters are wonderful, and I sincerely hope Ms. Bell continues with more in this world. Brian, the ‘Renfield’, is a delight, and proves to be Greg’s mate in all ways. There are weres, witches, elementals and many other supernatural beings in Maggie’s Grove, and each has a part to play in this book.
There are several episodes of peril, when Terri tries to get back at Parker and Amara, and I love the ways they handled her each time. And when Parker and Amara finally get together, the sex between them goes way beyond scorching. There are many humorous scenes here as well, and I will never forget the image brought to mind of a half naked Brian bent over the couch arm with his ghostly, and invisible, mate Greg.
There are several happy ever afters here, and one thread left open, so I am hoping for a solution in another book in the future. This one was a ‘can’t put it down’ book and I give it the highest of recommendations.