Author: Susan Squires
Published in March 2002 by Love Spell
The ruined villa was deserted, an abandoned place from long ago that Sarah Ashton, Lady Clevancy loved in spite of its rundown and decayed state. It was a place of solitude, secrets, and it was hers. She had hopes and dreams of uncovering it, and the secrets that may possibly lie within. That dream, is a living thing for Sarah, that and bringing the Manor back. The graceful manor house had been destroyed by fire, and all that is left on the property is the rather small but quaint Dower house. Sarah has worked hard to manage the property as well as possible, substituting crops and finally clearing the last of the mortgages, the last of her fatherís debts. The property of Clershing, and the house in Bath, Laura Place, is all she has left. However, all this, even meager as it is, is being threatened by the adjacent propertyís owner, a man named Davinoff. He is threatening her property of Clershing, with a deed from the time of Henry VIII that supercedes her own, and not only that, but now the deed to Clershing itself is missing. If Clershing falls to the intruder, then she will loose the house in Bath as well, because Clershing and its fertile lands are now the sole support for Sarah, and those few left that depend on her for their support.
Sarah goes to London, to try and track down the deed, to see if she can get a sense of what is happening. She discovers a series of grizzly murders has been plaguing the capital, but canít let that deter her from her goals. She must protect Clershing if it is the last thing she does, but fate is not dealing kindly with her. Lady Belding, who has accompanied Sarah, insists that she return home. Sarah turns to a childhood friend, Corina, but she too, goes back to Bath in an insane flurry, claiming that if she returns, her Mr. Davinoff will follow. She is obsessed with this man, and it disturbs Sarah greatly. She has reason, to be upset, for the man in question is tall, dark, sinfully handsome, and wears an air of arrogance that would cause even kings to quail in his presence. Pure Anarchy is what springs to Sarahís mind when she first meets him, and although curiously drawn to him, she find herself sniping and arguing with him at every turn. She has decided to avoid him, but that becomes impossible when she takes the mail coach back home. Pestered to distraction by another passenger, Sarah doesnít know whether to be grateful or angry when Davinoff shows up on his way to bath, and takes her on board his curricle, saving her from the unwanted attentions. What Sarah doesnít know is this on only the beginningÖ
The English miss is a puzzle to Davinoff. Undeterred by her, he proceeds with his plans to purchase the estate of Clershing adjacent to his property of Thornbury Abby. He figures that sooner or later, Sarah Ashton will see that his offer is a very generous price, and will come around to his way of thinking. What he fails to see is the perfidy surrounding Sarah, and the unscrupulous son of her solicitor. Unknowingly, Davinoff figures in a get rich quick plan that the young man has to clear his personal debts, and retain a goodly amount of wealth unknown to his father. The coolness of Lady Clevancy to his proposition has Davinoff puzzled, and her hostility seems totally out of proportion to his offer. He is totally foxed until he discovers the reasons for her actions and behavior, and even then, it takes an act of lunacy on her friend Corinaís part, and his own existence to be put in danger before the lady comes around. Her acts of unselfish bravery and kindness are odd for one such as Davinoff, and he finds himself reevaluating his opinion of Sarah Ashton.
Julien Davinoff is a man of the world, cynical, arrogant, experienced in life and educated no only in its arts, literature and science, but in its ultimate horrors and misconceptions. He has seen it all in his life, the horrors of war, the corruption of governments, the killing of innocents, but what brings him to England is far more than history past. One of his own kind has been murdering, killing wantonly, and he has come to stop her. There is also a matter of a family grant, land that has been his since Henry the VIII that holds a secret, and some of his personal treasure. Sarahís dream to excavate the old Roman villaís ruins brought him to Bath with haste, dealing with Magda Ravel along the way. Now Julien is faced with something he hasnít known before, feelings that his cynical, long-lived self never thought to have, feelings that are thought to be unknown by his kind. His quandary is in knowing what to do. The decision can make the difference between his life being serene and secure, or being a living hell, and this time only he can decide his fate.
Welcome to the world of Susan Squires and her dark heroes. Sacrament is but the first book in a line of stories that will take you to a dark, edgy place where love is unknown, and sex is used for power. It is a place where knowledge is greatly missing where it matters, in the ways of the heart, and the rebels are forced to fight to win their places and their loves. Davinoff is one of these heroes, a vampire of long life, born to the Companion, and schooled in the solitary ways of his kind. On his finding Sarah, Davinoff is smitten, but has no idea of how to handle things. The teachings of the ancient ones tell him that they are solitary creatures who cannot love in a human sense, and cannot survive without ultimately returning to the Monastery at Mirso. For Sarah, Julien is an enigma, and she really has no desire to understand him until a warped and sadistic plan by her childhood friend Corina, breaks their bond, and puts her into Julienís path and uncovers his well-hidden secret. From there, she must find her own way into Julienís life, his world, and his heart.
Sacrament is story you do not want to pass on if you are a lover of a great story, or of just the paranormal genre of romances. Susan takes all the elements of a wonderful tale, sprinkles it with a cup of darkness, blends well, and then adds the erotic and edgy sensuality that will become a hallmark of this line. Like Christine Feehan, Susan has a handle on the readerís pulse, and brings to us an exciting if dark tale of love, lust, and secrets that must been uncovered before love can truly bloom. Sacrament is such a story, and promises the reader more like it to come. The Regency setting is a gilding over the dark tones and even darker characters. There are secrets that both harbor, secrets that will have to see the light before their mutual destiny can be reached if they are to remain together. Available from Dorchester books, it is a must buy, and a must read. It can be found at your local bookstore, or online from Dorchester, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. Get a copy of Sacrament today and discover the secrets shared by Julien and Sarah, their love, and their destiny.
Yours in good reading,