Rating: 4 stars
Date begun: January 15th, 2012
Date finished: January 16th, 2012
This is the 12th book in Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series, and hence will make very little sense to anyone who hasn't read the earlier books in the series. While each book centers around a new couple, by now the paranormal soap opera that is these books has become so complicated, that it won't make a lot of sense or be half as much fun to read, unless you have the requisite back story. So go check out one of the earliest books, like A Hunger Like No Other or No Rest for the Wicked instead.
Lothaire, the titular "hero" of this book is known as the Enemy of Old to creatures of the paranormal Lore in the Immortals After Dark, and has been an antagonist to several of the previous heroes and heroines in the series. Feared and hated by pretty much every faction of the Lore, due to his ruthlessness and the huge amounts of bargains he's struck through the millennia. As one of the oldest vampires alive, all that drives him is his quest for revenge. Before she died, he promised his mother he would become king over the two main vampire factions, and avenge her. He finally has the means within his grasp.
Elizabeth Pierce finds herself on death row after a demonic goddess possessed her and made her commit brutal murders. Lothaire springs her from prison as she is about to be executed, as he needs the aid of the vampire deity inside her to fulfill his plans. While he finds Elizabeth's form pleasing, he needs the brutal goddess to take up permanent residence inside her, and that means that she has very little time left to live. At first she fears the vicious vampire, but she finds herself fascinated and drawn to him, and as she is only 24, Ellie doesn't really want to die. She'll have to use the only thing available to her, her looks and sensuality, to try to sway Lothaire into sparing her.
Lothaire has a lot of Old School romance tropes, and I can see that a lot of people might be bothered by how quickly Elizabeth falls for Lothaire, who is a ruthless killer and borderline insane. Having spent five years on death row, she is then trapped in a luxurious apartment, being taunted and belittled by him for her background, lack of refinement and general weakness as a puny human, constantly compared to the murderous deity that possesses her and falling short. Lothaire can't harm her, as he needs her body as a vessel for Soroya (the disembodied vamp goddess), but he threatens the lives of her mother, brother and extended family, and is generally an autocratic, condescending asshole. Yet she finds him deeply fascinating and devastatingly sexually attractive, snuggling up to him one minute and screaming "I hate you!" the next.
Still, as always, I found this installment by Kresley Cole incredibly entertaining, and had no trouble suspending my disbelief and just going along for the ride. The fated mates always work out in the end, no matter how impossible the journey to the HEA seems. She writes highly enjoyable banter, steamy sex scenes and it's fun that she's now working her way through some of the darker, more dislikable characters in her extended universe. Wonder what will be next?