A Gift of the Darkest Magic by Ashlynn Monroe
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (64 pgs)
Other: M/F, Bondage, Anal sex, Infidelity
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Verbena
Would you be willing to betray the person you love in order to save their life?
Clarissa's husband Matt is dying of cancer. They've tried everything that medicine has to offer, both traditional and experimental, and nothing's worked. Clarissa spends her days in the hospital, watching the man she loves slip closer and closer to certain death.
When her sister tells her she knows a way to save Matt, but it involves visiting a local club run by vampires, Clarissa is outraged that her sister would believe something so insane. But then she learns the truth.
Braden, the sexy and mysterious vampire who runs the club, does indeed have the means to save Matt, but he demands a high payment in return. He doesn't want money, her blood, or even her life…he wants something she never expected. Clarissa has a choice—spend twenty-four hours in Braden's bed or let her husband die.
But what she never foresaw was how much more the vampire would truly want after he'd given her the gift of the darkest magic.
Clarissa is desperate…
The man she loves is dying, their daughters will soon be fatherless, and she just can’t accept a life without her husband. But how far is she willing to go? When her sister waltzes into the hospital and starts spouting ridiculous tales of vampires and miracle blood, Clarissa is tempted to toss Caren out the door. And who could blame her? She sounded ridiculous.
Clarissa had spent thousands of dollars on supposed cures, only to watch her husband, Matt, continue to wither away. She certainly has just cause to doubt her sister’s declaration of a new-found miracle. Clarissa doesn’t believe in vampires. Her sister—God love her—has to be talking nonsense. Right?
Despite her misgivings, Clarissa allows herself to hope. One last shot. Surely Matt deserves that much. But if it worked, would he forgive her for what she’d have to do to get this miracle cure? Better yet, would she even survive entering the lair of a killer? Decisions, decisions, decisions. Clarissa embarks on an emotional roller-coaster that’s bound to spark the passions of any reader.
We don’t get to know much about Matt. Most of his interaction is limited to a hospital room where he relinquishes his grasp on life a little more with each passing moment. It’s not until closer to the end that we get a small glimpse of what kind of person he is. With what his wife does to save his life, you’d certainly expect any man to be upset, to say the least. But Matt handles things with reason and an admirable amount of understanding.
The character I’d liked to have seen develop a little more is Lord Drago. From the beginning, he certainly fits the bill of a cold-hearted killer with little to no humanity, and even less mercy. We get a slight glimpse of change in him, but there’s really very little time in the story to see a thorough character transformation.
What I liked about the story is the length to which Clarissa went to save the man she truly loved. I have to admire her for that. It would be a difficult decision for anyone. What I didn’t like about the story is that the character interactions just didn’t feel realistic to me. There were times when she was sarcastic or short tempered with Lord Drago, and then she’d go back to being afraid of him. I just had a hard time believing it at some points. Allowing for the context of her situation though, I was able to overlook those inconsistencies and did enjoy the story as a whole.
Overall, reading A Gift of the Darkest Magic was certainly worth my time. It made me ask myself questions like, “Would I have done the same thing in her shoes?”. I can’t say I was happy about the ending. But that’s my own short-coming. I have a love for vampires and would like to have seen Lord Drago make a different choice than he did.
If you’re looking for a touching, albeit short, story about one woman’s determination, one man’s ability to forgive, and a dark vampire with an overwhelming need to control, then been sure to pick up Ashlynn Monroe’s A Gift of the Darkest Magic. The sex is exciting; the vampires are dark, brooding, and intense; and the love of one woman for her man is heart-warming.