Given I was madly obsessed with the predecessor to this book, Gothic Blue, I couldn't wait to get my grubby hands on the sequel. So much so, that I devoured its deliciousness in less than 24 hours. How's that for dedication? With Gothic Heat you really need to have read the previous novel, to fully understand the plot and the characters.
This book is a continuation of the story but from the angle of another character - the errant Paula who was meant to have met the characters from the other book at Sedgwick Priory, but never arrived. Gothic Heat explains why. It appears Paula has been possessed by another magical persona, Countess Isidora, who was banished from her physical body. Furious and unwilling to disappear into nothingness, Isidora takes possession of Paula's body by putting a marker on it, which effectively means the two women are sharing the physical form.
The only thing Paula remembers is her friends Belinda and Jonathan visiting her in hospital and telling her about their adventures in the Priory. However, their tale sounded so ludicrous that she didn't believe a word of it, and told them in no uncertain terms to "Go away!" Soon enough, though, Paula starts noticing that she doesn't have full control over her body, and it slowly sinks in that they may well have been telling the truth.
Countess Isidora is an incredibly bad influence on Paula, coaxing the normally sexless girl into clubs to pick up random men. One night, though, Paula meets Rafe and they have an instant connection, as well as mind-blowing sex. Rafe works at Inner Light, a 'relaxation' parlour which has a number of treatments, some more unorthodox than others. He also has some psychic powers, which he and Paula deduce may be able to help her plight. This unlikely couple are thrown together with a mutual goal in mind. Or so it seems. Paula simply wants rid of the evil presence lurking inside her. Rafe, however, is transfixed by Isidora and her powers, believing she may be able to extend his life. He is lured by the possibility of immortality. However, just to complicate matters, he does have feelings for Paula. So Rafe is having an internal battle of his own - which woman does he choose?
Paula and Rafe find their way to Sedgwick Priory, where they believe they may find the answers, and hopefully; Jonathan and Belinda. The other couple are indeed still on the premises and they all pull together to rid Paula of the Countess Isidora, but things get more complicated before they get easier...
A truly excellent follow up to Gothic Blue. I felt the sex scenes were different - in the previous novel there was more group sex and exchanging of partners, whereas in the novel the action centres very much on Paula and Rafe. However, this definitely doesn't make it any less sexy! The couple have incredibly steamy encounters, and plenty of them! Although their meeting was unorthodox, their emotional relationship grows just as much as their physical one, and they find themselves falling in love. But their fledging relationship is almost immediately put to the test. The question is... will they survive it?
If you've not read Gothic Blue I'd definitely recommend buying both of these books together. If you're a Black Lace fan and never sure which ones to buy out of the dozens - these two are great. Supernatural thrillers set in the here and now with sprinklings of history make for a rollercoaster ride of a story. As expected of Ms da Costa, this new title is very well written and the perfect closure to the tales of Sedgwick Priory.