Format: .mobi (purchase)
Release Date: October 13, 2002
Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to be immortal? To journey through the night stalking the evil that preys on humans? To have unlimited wealth, unlimited power? That is my existence, and it is dark and dangerous. I play hero to thousands, but am known to none. And I love every minutes of it.
Or so I thought until one night when I woke up handcuffed to my worst nightmare: a conservative woman in a button-down shirt. Or in Amanda's case, one buttoned all the way up to her chin. She's smart, sexy, witty, and wants nothing to do with the paranormal--in other words, me.
My attraction to Amanda Devereaux goes against everything I stand for. Not to mention the last time I fell in love it cost me not only my human life, but also my very soul. Yet every time I look at her, I find myself wanting to try again. Wanting to believe that love and loyalty do exist.
Even more disturbing, I find myself wondering if there's any way a woman like Amanda can love a man whose battle scars run deep, and whose heart was damaged by a betrayal so savage that he's not sure it will ever beat again.
Kyrian of Thrace
Kyrian of Thrace was a prince and the commander of a great army in ancient Greece. He almost took down the powerful Roman Empire until an act of betrayal left him a victim of his enemies. Upon his death, Kyrain's soul made such a sound as to reach the goddess Artemis. In exchange for an act of vengeance, Kyrian gave his soul to Artemis and became a Dark-Hunter. A creature who patrols the night protecting unsuspecting humans from things that go bump in the night. He was content in his new after life for over two thousand years, never questioning his existence.
Until he meets Amanda Devereaux.
Amanda just wants a normal life. Having eight older sisters who lead "colorful" lives, including one who is a psychic and another, her twin Tabitha, a self proclaimed vampire slayer has left Amanda with a distaste for the paranormal. It's her family's eccentricities that have managed to drive away her latest boyfriend and when Amanda wakes up handcuffed to Kyrian, the total opposite of normal, she just knows her life is never going to be the same again.
I fell in love with the ironic concept of tragic characters who become creatures of the night in order to protect the world that betrayed them. I love tortured heroes and Kyrian is one of the best out there. Tall, blonde and badass, he has every reason to despise humans and women in general, yet he is every inch the defender of the helpless. He is the type of hero who would willingly walk into a trap if there's the slightest chance he could save a life. He's a serious warrior with a subtle sense of humor and a thorough understanding of sarcastic remarks. He was one of my first book boyfriends and until this day remains in my top five.
Physically Amanda isn't your typical heroine. She's very tall, in fact, one of the first things she notices about Kyrian is that he's one of the few men that she could wear high heels around and not offend his male ego by being taller than him. Amanda is also curvy. I love a heroine who has a normal body but I hate it when the author constantly reminds readers of her size. Author Sherrilyn Kenyon thankfully doesn't feel the need to remind me every 15 pages that Amanda isn't skinny. She also made Amanda powerful in her own right, even though Amanda denies it, she's one of the most powerful members of her family. This makes her a real power player in my book and balances out her budding relationship with Kyrian nicely. The one complaint I do have about Amanda is that she's a bit of a complainer. While she doesn't have "Such a hysterical female you want to slap her" moments, she does whine a lot about how she just wanted a normal life and gives off an overall sense of "Why me? Woe is me, I just wanted a normal life" that got on my nerves.
Then there's her twin Tabitha. If I hadn't read most of the series and had to judge Tabitha based on her appearance in JUST this book I would say I hated her. She annoyed me to no end with her "I know more about the paranormal world than you do so get out of my way" behavior. She was impulsive in the worst way, pushy and at times I forgot she was an adult and not a 13 year old brat with a bad attitude. However, she's one of those characters that kind of grows on you as she tones down that attitude. She definitely takes some getting used to.
Tabitha isn't the only supporting character in Night Pleasures. There's Talon, a Celtic Dark Hunter, Nick the Squire (fan favorite and star of Kenyon's YA series) and the enigmatic Acheron, leader of the Dark-Hunters. If you're barely starting this series, brace yourself, Acheron only gets more mysterious as the series goes on and by the time you reach his book, you're dying to know about him.
Night Pleasures sets up what is proving to be one of the longest paranormal romance series I've ever seen. In my opinion, it's one of the best out there. Is it cheesy at times? Yes, all romance novels are at one point or another, but Night Pleasures doesn't overdo it on the cheesiness OR in the paranormal aspect. There's just enough of everything to hook a readers' attention and entice them to keep reading not only this book, but the next book in the series.
Before you ask, technically Night Pleasures is the official first book of the Dark-Hunter series, however, Fantasy Lover is often listed as "Dark-Hunter book 1" because it is a bit of a primer on the series and the hero has a close connection to not only the Dark Hunter world but to Kyrian himself.