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Shadowflame (Shadow World #2)

Shadowflame (Shadow World #2) - Dianne Sylvan Everyone who read [b:Queen of Shadows|7863163|Queen of Shadows (Shadow World, #1)|Dianne Sylvan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1304755965s/7863163.jpg|11017918] knows that this series is dark. Miranda's ability and what she experienced (in QoS) could have completely wrecked her. Instead, she overcame her fears, learned to control the powers that had her believing she was insane, and found a man to care for her while giving her the space she needed to heal. As it happened, that man was her Signet-chosen Mate. The darkness of the Shadow World, Miranda’s new world, doesn’t end there. ”Blood, chocolate, and a hot shower.” That’s how I felt after this rollercoaster ride. Well, okay, minus the blood. ;)Shadowflame picks up three months after [b:Queen of Shadows|7863163|Queen of Shadows (Shadow World, #1)|Dianne Sylvan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1304755965s/7863163.jpg|11017918]. Miranda is David’s mate and the ninth Queen of the Southern United States. She’s venturing out at night to make her presence known. David tries to reassure her by saying, ”Right now you’re being tested in the eyes of our kind. They want to see how you handle yourself, how tough you are. The longer we stay in power, the fewer fools will try to take us down.” She’s also learning how to deal Signet politics and the “Magnificent Bastard Parade” of Primes as they come to Austin to offer their congratulations and pay their respects to the new couple. Miranda … well, she wasn’t the type of woman to keep her mouth shut when angry. She spoke her mind, was smart and observant, and David knew that the very qualities he loved about her were going to get them in trouble if she didn’t learn quickly that these old, hidebound men of privilege were not all going to like the fact that David treated her as an equal. During the MB Parade, she’s able to learn from him. Watching his demeanor around the other Primes and learning how, no matter what, he sticks to his beliefs when it comes to what’s best for the vampire society as a whole. When Prime James Hart of the Northeast visits, things get ugly. Seems this Prime likes to travel with a harem of girls. Wouldn’t be a big deal except these girls aren’t with him of their own free will. Hart is a sick bastard and Miranda has been told she cannot interfere without having it turn into a declaration of war. But, when one of Hart's "girls" finds the strength to go to the Queen, well, that's something else entirely. While out one night, Miranda rushes to the rescue of a human woman. There she meets Prime Deven O’Donnell of the West and its adjacent territories. Before the official introductions, she witnesses a kiss between Deven and David. Needless to say, she’s taken a back. She doesn’t know what to think, so she asks Faith if they are always like that … the kissing. Faith initially shrugs off the question, but when Miranda says, ”It’s just strange seeing David acting affectionately toward anyone besides me. Is he like that with all his friends? “ It’s then that Faith realizes, ”You … didn’t know?” But, before Faith can fill her in, Miranda notices one of her body guards is missing. When the couple returns home, Miranda questions David about it. David had assumed, for some reason, that Faith had already told Miranda that he and Deven had been lovers. He goes on to tell her, ”…in California. We both served in Arrabicci’s Elite, as co-Seconds. We got together about ten years before the assassination. Then Deven took the Signet and we stayed together until Jonathan came along.” Hearing that her mate has been with Deven for ten years is a shock. He doesn’t necessarily consider himself to be bi-sexual, stating, ”If you add up all the people I’ve slept with in three hundred fifty years, men account for less than two percent.” But, he also wasn’t with any of those other lovers for a decade. SIDEBAR: Ok, I have several problems with this bit. First, why would David assume Faith had told her and equally as confusing, why would Faith NOT finish telling her when she realized Miranda didn’t know? Second, David’s been alive for 350 years. A measly 10 of those were spent with Deven. Granted, at this point, we don’t know just how strong their feelings remain for each other. Just seems like a really short amount of time to me in contrast to how long he’s lived. Lastly, I come back to David’s comment, ”I wish I’d realized you didn’t know. We could have talked about it before they got here. I’m sorry to have dropped it on you like this.” Uh, yeah, that would’ve been good. And … WHY did you assume Faith would have told her?? I do like how he points out that there is a lot she doesn’t know about him - 325 yrs worth. But, tells her he’ll honestly answer questions about anything she wants to know.Now, onto his unresolved feelings for Deven. He describes the “end” of their relationship by saying, ”Everyone in the Court thought that the Signet would choose me, but it didn’t, and within six months, it chose someone else that Deven had known for all of ten minutes. The two of them fell for each other instantly, as if they’d been struck by lightning, and I … I ceased to exist.” He goes on to explain, ”He was as confused by it as I was, I think. I pretended everything was all right between us and that I understood, but of course I was a wreck. Jonathan was the one who realized I was lying, but by the time Deven grasped how badly he’d hurt me, I had fled California, and I never went back.” She feels his grief over the loss. He continues, ”It took years to repair our friendship.” But, he says that once Jonathan saw, in a vision, that David would take the South (Signet) it helped. He had his own path and had his Queen to look forward to. He admits his heart was broken ”Worse than {he} ever had in {his} life …” Shortly after, the pair learn that Miranda’s body guard, Jake, is missing … well, his body is missing, but Faith and her team have found his hand. Leaving a hand behind is the trademark of the Red Shadow, a secret group of vampire assassins. The couple quickly realizes the group is targeting them. But, why?Miranda’s singing career continues to prosper. Her best friend, Kat, who helped Miranda through her human-vamp transition in QoS, is her much-needed sounding board, allowing her a safe haven where she can vent about the dramas of Signet life. Kat’s life is about to take a change. Seems she’s proof that birth control pills aren’t 100% effective against pregnancy. She hasn’t yet told Drew, the father, because she hasn’t decided what she wants to do. I like Kat & Drew. I was happy for them when she decided to keep the baby, after almost losing it – and her life – and I was heartbroken right along with her when Drew died. Over the last three months, it’s clear these two have truly bonded. Miranda is well and truly in love. He alone could touch her. In all of eternity, all the world, there would never be another man – she didn’t even feed on them. Her time in hell had made sure of it, and the amulet around her neck sealed it. He alone … he alone… Forever. Will this fated mated pair manage to survive the "powerful force from David's past"? Will he "{leave} a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair's fledgling relationship"? More importantly, will they be able to survive the assassin targeting them and those they hold dear?The storyline about the Red Shadow was very interesting. The "Wizard" (of Oz - behind the curtain) was a surprise. So was the last line of the book. Definitely piqued my interest further.And now, onto what reviewers have termed "The Event"...** FLASHBACK ** In QoS, David mentions, talks to or thinks about Deven quite a bit. When he’s remembering the day Deven’s Signet recognized Jonathan, Sylvan writes, David had spent his remaining years in California happy for his friend and yet insanely, poisonously jealous. Leaving had been a relief. (At that point in the story, his jealousy appears to be from wishing his Signet would recognize Miranda.) During a phone call with Deven, he tells David, ”I want your rule to last at least as long as mine – I’ve seen too many friends die, and you … I’ve always thought of you as if you were my own.” To which David replies, ”I practically am.” And, near the end of the book, when Deven comes to motivate David, there’s a scene where Dev’s hand moved up to his face. It had been a long, long time since David had felt that touch.While I did not rate this book low because of David's infidelity, I did not rate it 5 stars because of a few issues I do have with the story. [On a personal note ~ My husband and I have been together for 23 years and married for 20. I can't (and don't want to) begin to imagine what I would do if faced with my husband's infidelity. If someone (male or female) from his past; someone he deeply loved and broke his heart (through no fault of their own); someone who, after all the years passed, still loved him, came back into his life ... I would hope to be observant enough to see the sexual tension that existed and keep them from having quality alone time.] In Miranda's case, she cannot be physically distant from her mate. So, she did the best she could under the terrible circumstances. Deven is dedicated to Jonathan and they have an open relationship, albeit previously one-sided. (I love Jonathan! I knew it would break his heart as well, no matter what he told himself.) David's feelings, which he tried to bottle up and ignore (never a good idea), bubbled over like Mt. Vesuvius leading him down a road best left untraveled. Then, a life and death situation makes her realize just how much she loves the one she thought she might lose. I am able to separate what happens to the characters I love to read about and real-life events. It is fiction after all. While I do not approve of infidelity in my life, I can read about a character's infidelity and not hate him/her for it. The problems I did have with this storyline are: (1) Why did Faith assume David had told Miranda about D&D?(2) Why did David assume Faith had told Miranda?(3) If a 10-year relationship between D&D was so intense and unresolved that it lead to David breaking Miranda's heart ... just how intense was it? David's 350-ish and Deven's 700 AND their relationship lasted 10 (TEN) years. Seems like a blip in such a long life. And, I'm supposed to believe that neither one of them wanted to explore their unresolved feelings PRIOR to Miranda and David's pairing? Even with Jonathon and Deven's open relationship? I guess the saying "with age comes wisdom" doesn't apply to vampires. LOL! Okay, I know the pair had only just recently started to rebuild a friendship. So, I guess that's why they hadn't explored the sexual aspect sooner. But, damn, men (vampire or not) can be dense, stubborn mules. I'll just have to leave it up to Dianne and see where she takes the characters in [b:Shadow's Fall|11547894|Shadow's Fall (Shadow World, #3)|Dianne Sylvan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1314915998s/11547894.jpg|16487679]. Please, please don't have Faith acknowledge her (I'm guessing) long-time crush on David. But if you must, for the love of Pete, please leave it at that -- an acknowledgment PERIOD. With that, I come back to my original thought ... Everyone who read [b:Queen of Shadows|7863163|Queen of Shadows (Shadow World, #1)|Dianne Sylvan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1304755965s/7863163.jpg|11017918] knows that this series is dark. So, who knows what to expect. Either way, I am looking forward to reading it.Note to those who stuck with this ramble all the way to the end: You ROCK! I'm sorry for ramblin' on and on and on. But, I had a lot to share. Thanks for stickin' with me. And, lookie there, still have 8,100+ characters left. LOL!