This book kept me company today while I couch-surfed with a congested head cold. Thank goodness I started it in the early afternoon, or I wouldn't have gotten a wink of sleep. Ravenous is that good. It burst out of the gate like a greyhound, the romance burned like a gasoline fed fire, and it finished with an armageddon style battle. I think my only criticism is with the title; I don't think it does the story justice. I'm actually sorry I got this one from the library, because Ashwood deserves to be paid for such an entertaining intro book.
Our heroine, Holly, runs a business called the Three Sisters Agency that specializes in hauntings and poltergeists, which only requires small-m magic, as she calls it. Holly avoids doing jobs that require big-M magic, because the backwash of pain is more than she can handle. Her dreams for the future are pretty modest; she'd like to get a college degree, build up her business, and find a boyfriend who is marriage material. That train is thrown off the tracks when Holly is forced to use big-M magic to save her life, and something lurking in the dark wants to take her power.
Alessandro, Holly's undead friend and partner, treats her like there's a `look but don't touch' sign on her back. In this world, a vampire's bite has venom that turns the human into a mindless slave. The lust for food and sex literally drains the slave dry over time, and Alessandro refuses to harm Holly, or remove her free will. He is noble, but far from perfect, and I had to wipe the drool away after he appeared in a scene.
I would very much like to know the true identity of the author. According to one professional reviewer, Sharon Ashwood is a pseudonym for a previously published romance novelist, and this book is way too good to be a first try by a greenhorn. Now the only bummer is, we've got to wait until December 09 for the next book in the series (Scorched). And I will definitely pay for my copy next time around.