Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 196 Pages
At a Glance: Not my favorite of Z.A. Maxfield’s books, but has me looking forward to Book Two in the series.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: There’s no leverage like seduction…until love takes a bite of his plans.
As the Indiana Jones of historical erotica, there is no document existing—or just rumored to exist—Adin Tredeger can’t unearth. Why he would risk the biggest coup of his career to join the mile-high club is beyond him. But the disarming, dark-eyed man who somehow enters Adin’s locked airplane washroom has him completely nude and coming apart. All without a whimper of protest.
From that moment, Adin and Donte Fedelta engage in an international battle of wit and cunning. The prize—a priceless, 500-year-old journal with illustrations so erotic it could make the Marquis de Sade blush.
Yet Donte’s desire for the journal goes far beyond simple possession. The undead nobleman wrote it. And he’s not above using every trick in his otherworldly arsenal—including seduction—to get it back.
Chemistry draws them together even as fortune tugs them apart. But when a third party joins the chase, they must unite to fight an enemy with a deadly goal—to erase Donte from history.
Review: One of the hallmarks of a good book for me is memorable characters. Considering I read Notturno, which is the original version of Deep Desire, back in 2010, and remembered not only the characters but the plot too, says something for the book. I’ve read a lot of books in the last five years, and let’s be honest, some aren’t always so memorable. So, was Notturno memorable for good or not so good reasons?
My honest answer would be more for the good than the not so good. Is this my favorite Z.A. Maxfield book? Not even close. If you read Notturno, is it worth reading Deep Desire? I have to be honest and say, no, not if you’re expecting a significantly altered story. If you didn’t read Notturno, is Deep Desire a good investment of time? That’s a subjective question, but I can say I made it through its near 200 pages in a day, so that may say something for how it drew me in and kept me on the hook until I’d finished.
One of the things that bothered me the first time I read this novel wasn’t that Dr. Adin Tredeger fell in love with Donte Fedelta with nearly no relationship exposition. It’s easy for the romantic in me to understand how Adin could fall for Donte after reading the vampire’s private journal. How many of us have fallen madly in love with a character after reading a book, after all? But if you don’t enjoy epistolary storytelling, you might put a check in the minus column for Deep Desire because much of the story is told this way. In Donte’s diary, he waxes poetic, and passionately, chronicling a forbidden love affair that began and ended five-hundred years before Adin had unearthed the long-lost text. The love Donte had found centuries ago wasn’t diminished in his memories or soul by the passage of time, but like a Shakespearean tragedy, when Donte’s secret passion for Auselmo was discovered by his shrewish wife, well, to mix centuries, playwrights and poets, “nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” and both men paid a steep price for that fury.
What bothered me in Notturno, and still does in Deep Desire, is the start of the novel and the beginning of Adin and Donte’s association. I feel there’s a leap of logic Adin makes in identifying Donte and then accepting him as a vampire. It’s done with few questions and what seems to be little difficulty. Why is this true, if Adin’s never met a vampire before? It ends up reading like an easy means to bring Adin and Donte together quickly, only to then have Adin backpedal in fits and starts. It’s not until later, once Adin begins to realize the full consequences of having Donte’s journal in his possession, and being awakened to the fact vampires—plural—exist, that his feelings and behavior are more aligned with the supernatural and the danger it represents, specifically for him, as a sudden magnet to every vampire in the city.
Reading my way past what I felt was that hiccup in construction of the storyline, however, I will say Maxfield then leads readers along to the end of this sexy and sensual urban fantasy with some exciting twists and turns. Her immortal undead don’t detour overmuch from the Stoker archetype—they’re top of the food chain, dangerous predators who glamour their human prey when it suits, taunt and torment and abuse them at will—and Donte in particular is a contrast of passion and ennui, as the vampire who swears he’s lost his humanity yet still succumbs, with a great deal of reluctance, to Adin’s charms. Adin bewitches Donte, flipping their predator/prey roles. Add to that the van Helsing-esque overtones peppered into the latter part of the story in Adin’s friends Tuan and Edward, and you’ve got yourself a contemporary vampire tale, with characters who generate a little heat together.
Having already read the sequel to Notturno, I’m looking forward to reading it in its reincarnation. As I recall, I liked Vigil a lot, more than Notturno, and I’m looking forward to seeing if my memory serves me well.
You can buy Deep Desire here: