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Embrace the Mystery (Blood Rose, Book 3) by Caris Roane

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Synopsis: This third look into the world of the Nine Realms follows hunky Mastyr Quinlan and his unwilling blood rose, Batya, as together they must save Lorelei from the ancient fae.  Lorelei is an anomaly in Grochaire Realm and a key to winning the war against the dreaded enemy, The Invictus.

Mastyr Quinlan pursues the artist, Batya, with only one thing in mind but soon discovers that his desire for her is just the beginning of an earth-shattering affair…

 He doesn’t want a woman in his life…

Quinlan must keep Grochaire Realm safe from the enemy at all costs.  As ruler of his realm, a woman has no permanent place in his day-to-day existence. But when his lust takes him to Batya’s bedroom, he soon discovers he’s deep into a powerful experience that threatens to blow his life apart.  He wants Batya with a feverish desire that makes no sense in his logical, warrior world.  But when an ancient fae attacks Batya’s gallery, he launches into protector mode and soon finds himself embroiled — body, soul, and fangs — with a woman he’d only meant to bed a couple of times.

She has no desire to get involved with a mastyr vampire…

 Batya’s intense desire for Mastyr Quinlan stuns and baffles her.  She doesn’t want to be involved with the vampire on any level.  His sole focus of ruling Grochaire Realm has kept him from staying with one woman longer than the proud length of his fangs.  Besides, she’s built a life for herself in Lebanon, Tennessee as an artist and healer to the realm ex-patriot community. But when the ancient fae attacks Quinlan at her gallery, then attempts to kidnap her assistant, Batya finds herself catapulted into an astonishing adventure.  Even so, she works steadily to get back to her free-clinic and her painting, but how can she leave Quinlan behind when he’s commanded her like no other man ever has?

Review: I liked Book 3 in the Blood Rose series better than Book 2, Embrace the Magic. I found the characters in Book 2, wishy-washy in their wants and views, but in Book 3 the characters are strong and carry the story smoothly.  Both Quinlan (and BTW, I love that name for a male character) and Batya do not want a relationship and are upfront about it.  Quinlan is the quintessential bachelor, he has a reputation with the ladies and his dislike for long-term relationships. Batya knows of his reputation and she doesn’t only want to be in a long-term relationship with anyone, because she loves her independence, she definitely doesn’t want a relationship with Quinlan. At the beginning she fights off his advances, but she is upfront with the fact that she is attracted to him. The fact that she tells him no appeals to Quinlan so he sets out to win her, for a short amount of time. They look each other in the eyes, early on, and both say they didn’t want a relationship, but they do decide to enjoy each other’s company for the moment, once they are thrust into their adventure to save Lorelei.  I thought that was refreshing.  We either have characters who deny their attraction or pursue one another without being open and clear that they didn’t want a relationship beyond the short-term. I enjoyed the fact that they gave in to their attraction rather than playing cat and mouse.

I also found Batya refreshing because there are a few times when Quinlan says something hurtful and insultive towards her.  He accuses her of putting a spell on him, and he resents her for his attraction towards her. I expected her the react in the classic romance novel fashion, pulling back and building walls up, but she instead sees why he says it and doesn’t judge him because of it.  Throughout their adventure to get Lorelei safely to Ferrenden Peace, they explore their attraction.  The conflict and plot moves smoothly forward, there are no dry or dull spots.  Things move quickly throughout the story.  The villain, the Ancient Fae, is formidable and she continues to develop as a character.  Batya and Quinlan come to realize they love each other at the exact same moment, which I enjoyed reading.  They are forced to acknowledge their feelings and they don’t hold back their words of love.  After that moment, the whole story takes on a sweet and enjoyable reading experience.  I loved the resolution, and how Quinlan embraces his feelings and relationship with Batya.  The ending was utterly perfect.

I know my review has been a bit wordy, so here is a quick summary:  I enjoyed this installment the best. I enjoyed the characters and Roane’s ability to tell a beautiful story comes clearly through the characters and plot.  I loved reading this story.

Favorite Quote: This is an intense, passionate moment between Batya and Quinlan early on in their relationship. ***This quote does have some sexual references, so this is only for people 18 and older***

The damn vampire was magnificent.

His brows drew together as he turned in her direction. “Batya?”

She stepped forward, leaving the shadows reluctantly.

One side of his lips curved. “Were you spying on us?”

Then his nostrils flared and his mouth opened as he dragged in a big gulp of air.  She knew he’d caught her scent as well as the level of her sudden desire. He looked at Henry. “Would you excuse us for a minute?”

“Yes, mastyr.”

Henry moved on his swift troll feet, grinning as he passed by Batya. He even offered her a salute of two fingers, then hurried from the room.  Maybe he sensed what was coming and that he shouldn’t be present for what would happen next.

But if Batya was in any doubt that she wasn’t alone in her experience, Quinlan covered the distance in a few long strides and gathered her up in his arms.  He held her tight against him as he kissed her and not even his snug leathers could conceal what her appearance in the room had one to him.

His tongue drove deep and moved swiftly in and out. She suckled his tongue, struggling to catch her breath. What’s happening?

The hell if I know, but damn I want you and when your scent poured over me I thought I’d come apart, run you down, flatten you on the floor. Sweet Goddess I didn’t think I’d feel this way just seeing you again.

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