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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sherrilyn Kenyon: "Dark Bites: A Short Story Collection"

Author:  Sherrilyn Kenyon
Title:  Dark Bites: A Short Story Collection
Plot Type:  Soul-Mate Romance (SMR)     
Ratings:  Violence4; Sensuality4; Humor—2-3 
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press (1/2014)   

     Sorry to be so very late in reviewing this book. It somehow slipped through the cracks. 

     This is a collection of mostly DARK-HUNTER/DREAM-HUNTER novellas and short stories that were written over the past decade. Most have been published previously, but the first one is new. The final entry is a bonus scene from Kenyon's novel, The Guardian. Having read most of the stories previously, I'm glad that I borrowed this book from the library instead of purchasing it. The stories are O.K. for the most part, with the earliest being the best. 

     Click HERE to read my reviews of some of the later books in the DARK-HUNTER series.
               PUBLISHER'S COVER BLURB               
     "For years, eager fans have been clamoring for an all-in-one collection of #1 bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon’s novellas. At their enthusiastic behest, we have delivered this brand-new short story collection, including stories previously exclusive to Sherrilyn’s website, as well as an all-new, never-before seen story!"
     "Sherrilyn Kenyon takes readers from the Dark-Hunters to the demigods, from Dream-Hunters to demons, and everything in between. Dangerous and exciting, each story is one thrill ride after the next, proving time and again how Sherrilyn has captivated millions of readers worldwide. Now, readers are invited to go deep into Kenyon’s rich and imaginative world and experience the heart-racing moments that never stop coming!"

In the story descriptions below, the names of the heroes, heroines, and/or lead characters are highlighted in blue.



"House of the Rising Son": First time in print (novella, 87 pages)
Aricles is a skilled human soldier who fights for and falls in love with the goddess of justice, only to lose her through the trickery of the villainous mother-son team of Leto and Apollo. The goddess Bathymaas believes herself to be emotionless, but falls hard for Aricles, despite the ban against romance between gods and humans.

"Phantom Lover": first published in 2003 in Midnight Pleasures (novella, 70 pages)
V'Aiden, a cold and lethal Dream-Hunter, saves the life of a human female and finally finds love with her. Erin is a beautiful woman who finds herself in a scary nightmare world only to be rescued by a sexy immortal man.

"Winter Born": First published in 2004 in Stroke of Midnight (novella, 62 pages)
Dante is a Were-Hunter, a Katagaria were-panther who owns the New Orleans Goth Club, Dante's Inferno. He avoids mating at all costs until he encounters  the lovely Pandora. Pandora is a lavender-eyed were-panther who changes Dante's mind about mating when she meets him at a Dragon Con science fiction convention while on an errand for her sister.

"A Dark-Hunter Christmas": First published online in 2003; also included in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter: An Inside Guide (e-book with audio/video, 2010) (short story, 20 pages)
Gallagher is a Dark-Hunter who finally makes peace with his tragic human past as he spends Christmas with the Hunters in New Orleans.

"Until Death We Do Part": First published in 2006 in Love at First Bite; also included in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter: An Inside Guide (e-book with audio/video, 2010) (novella, 62 pages)
Velkan is a Transylvanian Dark-Hunter/Sorcerer who is a warrior prince. He vows that no one will ever enslave or tame himright up until the day he saves a young woman's life and falls deeply in love. Esperetta is the human daughter of Vlad Dracula. She falls for Velkan and marries him, but later regrets her choice when she learns about his trickery and his brutal dark side. The Prologue sets the stage for their estrangement, and the story itself begins centuries later when they run into each other in Chicago.

"A Hard Day's Night Searcher": First published in 2006 in My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (short story, 40 pages)
Rafael is a Dark-Hunter and former pirate whose young and naive Squire writes a story about the Hunters and gets it published in a magazine, thus exposing the Hunters' world to public scrutinya major no-no that carries a death sentence. Celena is a by-the-books Squire (8th generation) who enforces every law of the Hunters, without exception. When she is sent to kill Rafael's Squire for his misdeeds, she and Rafael are soon overcome by mutual lust. Naturally, an HEA is in their immediate future.

"Shadow of the Moon": First published in 2008 in Dead After Dark (novella, 68 pages)
Arcadians are humans who can shift to animal form, while the Katagaria are wolves who can shift to human form. Arcadians consider the Katagaria to be animals with no humanity, while the Katagaria view the Arcadians as greedy, violent human scum. Fury is a Were-Hunter (wolf) who was born of an Arcadian mother and a Kattagarian father and raised by his mother as an Arcadian. When Fury reached puberty and turned into a Katagarian, he had to keep this a secret from his family and his clan. When his secret was inadvertently revealed, his entire clan beat him nearly to death and cast him out. Now he lives with the Katagaria, where he is a respected warrior. Angelia is a Were-Hunter (wolf) who was Fury's closest childhood friend and who pledged total support for him, no matter what. When his Katagaria secret was revealed to the Arcadian clan, she renounced her pledge and turned against him just like everyone else. Now, she is an Arcadian Sentinel who comes to Fury's world with his estranged brother to experiment with a new weapon that has the power to destroy the entire Katagaria race. Angelia still believes that all Katagaria, including Fury, are murderous beasts with no human intelligence or emotions. As a heroine, she comes across as naive, insensitive, and not very bright. But even with the surly heroine and her implausible, lightning-quick switch from disgust to lust, this is one of the best of the stories. With its mix of sardonic humor, lust-filled romance, and mild action, it's a nice example of Kenyon's early writing with none of the preaching, long monologues about morality and faith, and gratuitous violence that characterize her more recent works.

"Fear the Darkness": originally a digital download (2007); also included in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter: An Inside Guide (e-book with audio/video, 2010) (short story, 18 pages)
Nick Gautier is a Dark-Hunter who was formerly Kyrian's Squire. He has a very complicated genetic heritage. Nick was loyal to the Hunters until they failed to prevent his mother's death at the hands of a daimon, at which time Acheron refused to bring her back from the dead. The story chronicles Nick's visceral need for revenge against Acheron and the Dark-Hunters when he returns to New Orleans for the first time since his mother diedsoon after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

"Where Angels Fear to Tread": First published in 2008 in Blood Lite; also included in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter: An Inside Guide (e-book with audio/video, 2010) (short story, 16 pages)
Zeke is a Hellchaser who is classified as a Seraph and a Necrodemian (demon executioner). This Dream-Hunters short, short story explains how Zeke first got his powers and met Ravenna, who is a Hellchaser assigned to be Zeke's protector. Half human and half Kalios demon, she is a skilled warrior who can shapeshift into a raven.


"Redemption": A bonus scene from The Guardian (10 pages)
Seth is a Demigod—the illegitimate offspring of Set and a human woman. He was abandoned and sold into slavery as a child and was trained to repress all signs of humanity. He hides his face behind war paint. Lydia is a Were-Hunter/Dream-Hunter who is sent to the Nether Realm on a mission and is then captured by Seth. Lust and love ensue.


"Love Bytes": First published in 2001 in Naughty or Nice? (short story, 58 pages)
Adrian Cole is a workaholic computer genius, and Samantha Parker is his skilled web designer. They fall in love after she gives him a makeover that changes him from a nerdy geek to a sexy hunk.

"Santa Wears Spurs": First published in 2000 in All I Want for Christmas under the pseudonym Kinley MacGregor (short story, 50 pages)
In this story set in the Old West, Michael O'Connell is an outlaw who was dragged into a life of crime by his brother, Pete. When Pete steals money from a small-town orphanage just before Christmas, O'Connell attempts to return it, only to find that the boarding house in which the orphans live is run by Catherine, his estranged wife, a beautiful woman he deserted five years ago. So…bad brother, orphans, Christmas Eve, long-lost lovers…what do you think happens?

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