INTO THE SHADOW is the fabulously exciting 3rd book in Christina Dodd's--Oh-So-Thrilling!--The Darkness Chosen paranormal romance series.
The story first takes place in the Himalayan Mountains, somewhere on the border between Tibet and Nepal, high on top of Mt. Anaya; a place that area natives believe is cursed. Twenty-eight year old Karen Sonnet is on the mountain to oversea the building of a "boutique hotel" for trekkers and climbers looking for the ultimate challenge. She is the on site supervisor representing her extremely wealthy--extremely difficult and demanding--father, Jackson Sonnet. He's the owner of a chain of resort hotels that specialized in extreme adventure vacations, and though Mt. Anaya had a reputation for being "un-climbable" Mr. Sonnet felt that was what made it a very attractive area to build.
After three months of working on the mountain Karen has encountered many frustrating problems during construction; some because she's a woman doing what's considered a man's job. And others because the workers are afraid--they say she seeks to build the hotel on the "Heart of Evil"--and they believe the mountain will destroy anyone who tries to conquer it because it hides the "Evil One's" treasure.
Karen's not happy with the situation, but she's a brave, tough, and disciplined workaholic that won't run from a challenge so easily, or worse, be chased away by local superstitions... even though she's starting to believe them herself. So by day Karen fears the mountain she works on, and now also, the nights that are plagued by the mysterious "midnight lover" who haunts her sleep...
Unfortunately, she's not sure which she should fear more.
This story was extraordinary--I highly recommend it! If asked, I'd describe INTO THE SHADOW as a fantasy-action-adventure-story--and an example of paranormal romance at its finest.
I was completely captivated by the fast pace and wildly intense atmosphere; every action-packed, suspenseful, and deeply emotional twist and turn the author took me on, coupled with the considerable degree of steamy sensuality and--blazing--sexual tension between the characters... left me feeling breathless. The chemistry and passion between Warlord and Karen was extraordinary, and their wickedly sensual loves scenes practically burned up the pages.
And I felt the story worked so well because it was a paranormal romance and that really allowed Ms. Dodd to explore far darker, far edgier subject matter--with a much darker, grittier hero. A hero who takes the term "HOT-blooded" to a whole new level, and was in dire need of redemption--which honestly is something I might not have accepted in a straight contemporary or historical romance.
Yes, Adrik Wilder -aka- "Warlord" was killer-for-hire mercenary fighter and basically a "demon" because his ancestor made a deal with the devil a thousand years ago. And, like all the males in his family, he has the ability to shapeshift at will and turn into a sleek, powerful--and predatory--panther. And yes, he was a truly dark, domineering, possessive and unrepentantly alpha character, who had done many terrible things, and yet I came to care for him a lot--and shed more than a few tears for all he had gone through. I could readily accept all his faults and his extremely passionate--and lusciously so--wild side for what it undeniably was--the inner demon and the predatory male beast in him trying to break free. (Hey, it's my fantasy and I like cats! <G>) I liked him, though I'll admit there were times I was thinking he was just another bossy, controlling jerk of a man in need of a serious smackdown--from Karen.
But by accepting his demon and animal nature, it made his internal struggle--the battle between being/doing Good vs. being/doing Evil--completely understandable. I could sympathize with his plight because I think it would be quite thrilling to be able to turn into a panther or any animal, and after all, it wasn't Adrik that had made the bargain with the Devil in the first place. He was just a bi-product. Also, I felt Adrik tried to change for the better during the course of the story. I really came to love his character, and I believed his love for Karen was sincere. She was his light; and it was his love for her that pulled him back from of falling into the deepest, darkest pit of despair--and the brink of hell. It's her love that gives him courage to fight the evil in himself--and change--swearing to live the rest of his life as a virtuous man.
And truly, I'm in love with the whole Wilder family. Ms. Dodd did a fantastic job creating these engaging, lovable and realistic characters... they're loud, affectionately teasing, warm, caring, loving and so welcoming--exactly the way a happy close-knit family should be. They're "good" people; you can't help but want them to succeed in breaking the pack their ancestors made with the Devil. I want Konstantine to live a long happy life with his love, Zorana, and his family by his side--and I don't even care that they're half demon shapeshifters--I want them to adopt me!
Christina Dodd is indisputably a talented writer and a gifted storyteller; with INTO THE SHADOW she's confirmed once again that she has the ability, expertise and creativity necessary to write first-rate stories in ANY genre that piques her imagination... and also explains why her readers enthusiastically clamor for ANY book with her name on it. I've been a long time fan of Ms. Dodd's historical romances, and though I genuinely miss them and hope she'll write in that genre again, I have to say I heartily loved The Darkness Chosen series. And, needless to say, I can hardly wait to read the fourth installment of this terrific series--Into the Flame (Darkness Chosen, Book 4)--to be released on August 5, 08.
Also recommended - Ms. Dodd's Scent of Darkness (Darkness Chosen, Book 1) and Touch of Darkness (Darkness Chosen, Book 2)