Title: Shades of Gray
Author: Amanda Ashley
Published in January, 1998 by Love Spell
Genre: Paranormal / Vampire
Related Books: (1) After Sundown (2) After Midnight ~sequels~
Marissa Richards is drawn to this seedy and very sorry excuse of a carnival, and she has no idea why. Its only claim to fame is the supposed "body" of a real vampire...yeah, right! She definitely does not believe in those kinds of things. They are only myths and legends, but, curiosity being what it is, she is there. The shabby surroundings and the obvious fakery around her almost make her change her mind. In the large main tent, there is a smaller tent, and settled on the dais inside is an old-fashioned box that looks a lot like a coffin. Nice touch for the wax figure that lay within, she supposes. Minutes later, she finds herself looking at a very life-like person at repose in the old coffin. Surely this is a fake! Reaching out, she gently lays her fingers on the clenched fist of the figure, feeling it warm beneath her touch. As she watches, the fingers slowly uncurl. She turns, stumbles, bangs against something and feels the wet trickle of blood. Feeling very foolish, she cleans off the small cut, discards the hankie, and flees the tent. She has no idea what events she has triggered this night, nor of the long-range changes she is about to experience.
Tall, dark, handsome, and enigmatic, Grigori Chiavari has roamed the earth seeking vengeance for his murdered family. He has been drawn to the seedy carnival because of the hope that his nemesis is truly there. Although he has seen and experienced much in his life, he has never given a thought to the fact another woman could replace his lost wife, Antoinette, that he could find love again. The woman that flees the tent draws him like no other, and her survival becomes of paramount importance. He has to protect her for this frail human doesn't know what she has inadvertently unleashed: a vampire of inordinate strength and age that will do anything to possess her body and soul, willingly or not. The feelings that she has awakened in him are strange to him, and disturbing to say the least. He is not a fledgling, he has power and strength...he just hopes it is enough. The only problem is that she may not accept his help if she knows what he is, might not accept him. That in and of itself is an irksome thought. Why does that matter?
Edward Ramsey is a vampire hunter. He comes from a long line of those who hunted the undead, and has been following Chiavari for some time now. His goal is to destroy him but first he has to warn Marissa Richards of the danger she is in, has to make her understand. He also has a quandary: he needs Chiavari's help.
Count Alexi Kristov is evil incarnate. Ancient and strong in his power, he thinks himself invincible. He knows that Grigori and Ramsey hunt him, and now the stakes are very high indeed. He is confident the woman will be his. The scent of her blood has awakened him. They cannot protect her. They will be destroyed.
In Shades of Gray, Amanda Ashley has set the stage once again for a riveting story of love, revenge, and seduction by vampire. Marissa, Grigori, and Edward must join forces, but it is an uneasy alliance. The unlikely allies are pitted against Alexi, an ancient creature of power and strength. A creature who has never given a thought to others, only his own wants, he is bloated with his own sense of invincibility. Once again Amanda leads us willingly into the night and shows us the wonder and beauty to be found, and also the shadows. Shades of Gray is another of the poignant and beautiful stories which erupt from her pen with a dark and compelling sensuality underlying all. The richness and depth of character makes her a leader in the field.
To those not familiar with her work, Amanda shows us that some of what lurks in the shadows of the night is evil, but there is also the good, the beautiful, and there can be a satisfaction in knowing that they co-exist. She shows us how sworn enemies can be brought to reconsider unseen truths, and how love can, in truth, conquer the dark. Shades Of Gray brings together a wonderful cast of characters who have to deal with issues of trust, love, and the differences between perceived and real truth, for all is not as it seems. A definite must-buy for those who love the genre. If you have already added this to your collection, and if your haven't already heard, Amanda has now given us Edward's story in February. After Sundown continues the story, and tells of Edward Ramsey’s life. I know that I greatly enjoyed this book as well! Amanda Ashley is a definite fixture on my Favourites Shelf.
Yours in good reading,