Will Stone, a US military special agent captured by Islamist militants and being tortured, finds his mind slipping away from the pain being caused him to a place where he can see and feel a beautiful gypsy girl, Sarafina. He can only watch and try to warn her as she is betrayed by her younger sister and her lover, taken as a sacrifice to a waiting vampire - who doesn't kill her, but turns her into a vampire.
Back in hospital in the US, Will is still haunted by the dreams he's had of Sarafina. He still believes that they were no more than dreams, until one day he startles a man called Jameson Bryant who is stealing blood. Bryant reminds Will of the vampire Bartrone he had seen in his dreams... and when Bryant confirms that he is indeed a vampire, Will begins to wonder whether Sarafina might actually exist. And when, a few weeks later, Bryant hires Will to `babysit' his daughter, Amber Lily, the first child born to vampires, on her trip to New York, Will seizes the opportunity to ask for help to find Sarafina.
She exists, but is now an embittered, cruel woman, having been betrayed or abandoned by anyone she ever cared for: her sister, her lover, the vampire Bartrone who ended his existence by walking out into the sun, and later her great-nephew Dante, who rejected her in favour of Morgan. Now, Sarafina creates human slaves who do her bidding unquestioningly, including feeding her on demand. She also selects mortals whom she considers unworthy and feeds from them. When Sarafina discovers that Will, whom she'd thought of as some godlike or supernatural creature who loved her, is a mere mortal man - and not even one of the Chosen, at that, so he cannot possibly be with her for eternity - she turns vicious, threatening to kill him unless he leaves her alone.
Later, when she sees Will tailing two young women, one of whom is a vampire, she suspects him of being either a pervert or with the DPI, and she kidnaps him, attempting to turn him into another mindless slave. And, while Will is thus distracted, Amber Lily is kidnapped...
I hadn't expected to like this book. I hated Sarafina in Twilight Hunger, and it took a long time for me to warm to her in this book, though I did (mostly) in the end. What really made this book for me, apart from Will, whom I liked very much, was the role played by characters from previous Shayne novellas, principally Jameson and Angelica and Roland and Rhiannon. The story is still quite dark, made more so by Sarafina's behaviour, hence four stars rather than five, but the scenes with other vampire characters made up for a lot of that.
There are several unresolved threads in this book, which I hope will be resolved in Shayne's next, Edge of Twilight, which is principally about Amber Lily. Certainly, with Embrace the Twilight, Shayne seems at last to have discovered how to write a full-length novel about her characters without boring readers!