Darkest Hours

Ebony White has just received horrible news. The headaches she’s been having are killing her, literally. She has terminal cancer at 27. As she walks from the doctor’s office to her empty Victorian home, she decides to take a shortcut. She’s not up to talking to any of her friends and neighbors yet. She doesn’t really like the alley shortcut but it’s the middle of the day so it should be okay. As she hurries along, not watching where she is going, Ebony bumps into a tall, very good-looking man. With a mumbled apology, she continues on her way.
Ashe Aleksandrov is a vampire. He hunts shadow drifters and when he’s hunting he cloaks himself so humans as well as shadow drifters can’t see him. So, how did Ebony see him? If you meet your life mate, they are suppose to be able to see you but Ashe has already meet his and she turned him down. Concerned that the shadow drifter he was after may follow Ebony, Ashe makes sure she gets home okay and it’s a good thing he does!
Ebony isn’t in her house long when she’s attacked. Ashe hears her struggles and come to her rescue. In order to keep her safe, he insists that she return to his mansion with him. There Ashe and his two younger brothers will be able to watch over Ebony. Ebony takes some convincing as she’s use to being on her own and making her own decisions. 
Can Ashe and his brothers keep her safe while they try to figure out exactly who attacked her? And what does it mean, if anything, that Ebony was able to see Ashe? With limited time left, can Ebony get her happy ending or just an end?
This book in so many ways reminded me of Diana Palmer’s books. Our heroine is a naïve virgin that is looking for the love of her life while she lives alone just above poverty. She works at the local library and is loved by all. Ashe is a strong male. He is a warrior who has to protect those that are weaker than him. He always knows what is best for everyone and is a fantastic lover. Typical Diana Palmer main characters. The differences are the paranormal element and there are actually sex scenes!
I found that the timing of things was off. Ashe’s sister is planning a large ball. She invited several hundred guests. So, why was she still deciding on a caterer 3 days prior to the ball? That would have been done weeks prior, not days before! When Ebony opens a bookstore, not only is a building completely renovated and the business a major success but this happens within days. Usually it takes a few days for a planning board to give you an okay and months for a business to be declared a major success. There are several other instances of this happening throughout the story.
Occasionally the writing has you wondering if an editor edited. “The small town of Plainview was only one of the many towns near his home in St Louis. The many small towns surrounding his home….” I got the idea the first time that there are a lot of small towns. Also, periodically, there is an awkward usage of what seems to be young slang. It sounded stilted and unnatural.
Now, with all the complaints, I bet you think I disliked this book. Well, I didn’t. Of course, I like Diana Palmer’s books too. 
This is a sweet romance with some fairly water-downed vampires. There’s lots of stereotypic behavior such as a girls night with pizza, a chick flick and chocolate. The women worry about fashion, hair dos and nail polish while the men plot strategies and play video games. You know that there is going to be a happy ending some how. By the end, Ashe and Ebony are happy, the bad person is no more and we’re set up for another book with one of Ashe’s siblings in the starring role. I’m sure that one will be just as sweet as this one which is fine by me. I kind of like sweet every now and then.

Book Blurb for Darkest Hours

Imagine if you can living for hundreds of years with only one mate destined for you and the chances of finding that mate small.  Ashe Alexandrov was lucky enough to find his. . . or so he thought.  He had loved Shara and she had betrayed him.  She had nearly gotten him executed.  Now, years later Ashe has sworn to never love another woman.

Ebony is a small town girl and like normal humans never believed in vampires.  Then in one short day her entire life and reality are turned upside down.  She learns of a terminal illness, meets a very intriguing man in the alley and is attacked only to be saved by the same man with the turquoise eyes from the alley.  She thinks that he must be crazy when he tells her he is a vampire and that he will be taking her to his home to protect her until her attacker, a slave of another vampire, is caught.

Ebony finds herself attracted to Ashe and knows he must be attracted to her from their heated encounters.  Yet, he seems to go out of his away to avoid her.  While fate has thrown Ebony and Ashe on a wild journey together, Ashe’s siblings can only hope he realizes that Ebony is in fact his lifemate and that he has been given a second chance at love before it is too late for both of them.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2009 3.25