From Goodreads: Dimitri, the Earl of Corvindale, should be delighted that the headstrong Maia Woodmore is getting married. His mortal ward and houseguest has annoyed – and bewitched – the Dracule nobleman too long, and denying his animal cravings grows more excruciating by the day.
Miss Woodmore's family has a rather...complicated history with the immortals and she herself possesses a keen sensibility far beyond mere women's intuition. Marriage will give her safety, respectability, and everything else a proper young lady could wish for. Everything, that is, except for passion.
In the looming battle between Dracule factions, all pretenses will shatter as Maia and Dimitri come together in an unholy union of danger, desperation, and fiercest desire.
My Thoughts: See my earlier review of Book One - The Vampire Voss, for other thoughts on the Dracule. Book Two takes place in large part during the EXACT same time frame as Book One. So there is a lot of background information that is repeated as to the setting, the battle between Cezar and the other Dracule, Cezar's desire to use the Woodmere sisters to get back at their brother, etc., etc.
This book focuses on the eldest sister, Maia, who is for the most part a very strong, likable heroine, who takes on a lot of responsibility for her family, sometimes unnecessarily I think. As a result, she tends to be a bit managing, a bit bossy, and a bit domineering. These are not necessarily bad traits though. Dimitri, the sisters' reluctant guardian, is desperate to break Lucifer's curse and has dedicated his life to finding a way. In the meantime, he avoids society, human contact and anything smacking of a relationship whenever possible.
I did enjoy seeing the relationship between her and Dimitri grow, and seeing her move out of her comfort zone even faster than Dimitri would take a risk. The idea of love being scary rings true, and the fear of taking that risk and being hurt, let to a lot of drama and angst in the relationship, but it played out well and I like Maia and Dimitri as a couple (even if Dimitri came across as an arrogant jerk 1/2 the time--it somehow worked and you didn't dislike him because I think you could see it was his way of protecting himself). I sort of felt like Maia's former beau got short shrift after being portrayed as such a kind guy all the way up to the point where he's not, but it definitely added a twist to the story the way that issue was taken care of. Overall, I liked the relationship aspect of this book better than the first. This one felt like it was one that we actually saw develop from start to finish, seeing each of them grow and evolve into what we end up with.
This book saved itself for me in the last 1/2 to 1/3 of the pages. The first 1/3 I essentially skimmed because I felt it was nothing new...it was essentially the same as parts of the 1st book in the series, The Vampire Voss. It wasn't even, for the most part, the same scenes from a different perspective so as a reader you were finding out something new, it felt like pages were just cut and pasted. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but for the 1st 1/3 of the book, I was not engaged. Part of my problem might have been reading them back-to-back, and if I'd stepped away for a few weeks before diving into book 2, I may not have felt that the repetitiveness was an issue.
That changed though, once we moved past the point in time where book one ended, and the story picked up. I think the problem was that books one and two have two sisters as the heroines...and their stories were simply too intertwined in time and space and events. I don't have these same fears for book 3 - the Vampire Narcise. We've only seen Narcise a few times in the previous books and there's more to her story than the brief snippets we've seen. I've actually already started Narcise's story, and I'm so far about 1/3 of the way in and liking it the best of the 3 so far!