Series: PALADIN WARRIORS
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V4; S4; H2
Publisher and Titles: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Deliver Me from Darkness (2012)
Deliver Me from Temptation (12/2012)
The hero of the second book is 295-year-old Logan Calhoun, the last pure-blooded Paladin and the future leader of the council, which is now headed by his narrow-minded, by-the-books father. Logan and his father do not get along, mostly because of his father's kill-them-now attitude toward all vampires, including Logan's fellow Paladin-turned-vampire, Roland, and Roland's mate, Karissa, who is Logan's half-sister and whose human mother was impregnated and then abandoned by Logan's bigoted and cold-hearted father.
One night when Logan, Alexander, and Valin are out chasing down a succubus, they are halted by a female police detective who believes that they are thugs chasing down a helpless female. That detective is Jessica Waters, a human whose life is guided by the hatred deep inside her for all killers, and particularly for men who attack women. Jessica's twin sister was murdered by gang bangers, and she has never gotten over that tragedy.
The main story line follows Jessica as she works on a cold case that, coincidentally, involves Roland. Jessica is so driven by her hate-filled emotions that she takes all kinds of risks, most of which involve going out alone on late-night stake-outs in extremely rough neighborhoods. Almost as soon as Logan meets Jessica, he realizes that she is his mate, and he is devastated that God has chosen a human for him because he knows that he will have to watch her die after a few decades. As Jessica keeps putting herself in dangerous situations, vampires and demons begin attacking her, and Logan has to rescue her time and time again. He can't let her know of the existence of the supernatural creatures, so he keeps erasing parts of her memory, but Jessica eventually realizes that there's something strange going on.
Naturally, there is a big climactic showdown scene with the hero and heroine in danger from the primary villains, but we all know from the beginning that Logan and Jessica will get their HEA. What is surprising is the twist at the end about how they achieve their happiness. The free e-story, "Deliver Me a Paladin for Christmas," is a follow-up to the Logan-Jessica story, so don't read it until after you read Deliver Me from Temptation.
A possible new character for the series is introduced in this book: Jessica's partner, Mike, who has a few Paladin genes somewhere in his ancestry. As part of Valin's continuing story, we see him trying to track down the vampire, Gabriel ("Gabby") after a group of human hybrid Paladins breaks into the Haven with a message from her about demon action in New York City. I'm sure that both Mike and the human hybrids will turn up in future books.
This is another formulaic paranormal romance, but it's a step above the usual SMR novel because the characters are more fully developed and the plot has more depth. This novel can be read as a stand-alone because the author provides plenty of background information on the Paladin world and its primary characters.
In this world, the immortal Paladin warriors were chosen by God from volunteers among the ranks of the angels. "They were given various gifts and sent to earth to protect His children from the evils seeping into the world." (Deliver Me from Darkness, p. 53). Their lives went smoothly until the eighth century, when jealousies arose over the leadership of the Paladins, and one of them (Ganelon) betrayed his brother warriors, causing many Paladin deaths. Since then, Ganelon has waged war on the Paladins, enlisting aid from Lucifer and his minions and from the vampires, who, in this world, are the dregs of supernatural society. An important part of the Paladin mythology is the mating process. Paladins believe that God promised each one of them a female soul that would perfectly match their own. Unfortunately, female offspring have become extremely rare, so most Paladins mate with humans, and there can be no true mate-bond between a Paladin and a human. The most common bonding in those cases is a marking followed by a ceremony that tests for compatibility. A true mate-bond is the dream of every Paladin warrior, and as you can imagine, we'll see a few in this series, beginning with book 1.
BOOK 1: Deliver Me from Darkness