A FIRE IN THE BLOOD by Amanda Ashley is a standalone
paranormal romance novel, so it's ideal for readers who
may not be familiar with this author. This book is
classic Amanda Ashley -- tall, dark, enigmatic stranger
with fangs, and a heroine who faces the choice to either
embrace immortality or enjoy her immortal lover for a
brief time before she dies a human death. Andrei Dinescu
is an example of the kind of well-crafted, broody vampire
hero Amanda Ashley has been creating before Buffy's Angel
graced the small screen, and Stephanie Meyer's Edward set
hearts aflame on the big screen. As a fan who has enjoyed
Amanda Ashley's recent books that were part of a series,
I enjoy this change of pace. Tessa Blackburn is the girl-
next-door, working in a bank with her BFF, and completely
unaware of the danger headed her way.
Unbeknownst to Tessa, vampires are flocking to her in
droves over tales that her blood is like ambrosia for
young vampires, and will increase their strength. Enter
sinfully sexy vampire Andrei, his evil vampire wife
Katerina, and good guy vampire hunter Luke. A FIRE IN THE
BLOOD is a fairly straightforward tale of good versus
evil with one or two paranormal twists. Andrei intrigued
me from the beginning because he initially struck me as
being a little bit morally ambiguous, and I was unable to
guess his next move. Andrei's vengeful ex Katerina makes
a convincing villainess and is a wonderful contrast to
the strong heroic female characters in A FIRE IN THE
BLOOD. I think Tessa differs from some of Amanda Ashley's
previous human heroines because, although Andrei's
vampire nature initially creeps her out, she is quick to
see the bigger picture and be pragmatic about her
A FIRE IN THE BLOOD is an exciting vampire romance with a
slew of fascinating paranormal characters -- the good, the
bad, and the unequivocally evil. There is a fair amount
of excitement and suspense in A FIRE IN THE BLOOD, but
the romance remains paramount. Amanda Ashley builds the
sexual tension between Tessa and Andrei as the story
progresses. There are several weddings in A FIRE IN THE
BLOOD -- ranging from the sweet, the unusual yet poignant,
and the bloody. Shape-shifters make appearance in A FIRE
IN THE BLOOD, and I'd love to see more Amanda Ashley
stories with these types of characters.
“I see a man. He is old. Very old. He will come into your
life in a moment of danger. He will watch over you and
protect you.” The gypsy’s hand gripped Tessa’s tighter.
“He will bring you death,” she whispered, her voice like
the rustle of dry leaves. “And life.”
Ten years later, when Andrei Dinescu saves Tessa from a
vicious attacker, she has no idea that the handsome
stranger the gypsy fortune teller predicted is not a
hunter but a seven-hundred-year-old vampire. Darkly
powerful, unbelievably compelling, he is obviously
pursuing Tessa, but is it her love he's after or her
Vampire! The word rang like thunder in her mind. I’m
She was trying to accept the fact that her life was over
when, suddenly, the vampire was no longer holding her,
but sprawled face down at her feet, a thick wooden stake
protruding from its back.
Tessa slumped against the wall, one hand at her throat,
unable to take her gaze from the dead vampire.
“Are you all right?”
Her rescuer’s voice, low and oddly compelling, reminded
her that she wasn’t alone.
Tessa looked up slowly, a shiver skating down her spine.
Like the vampire, this man was dressed all in black. Was
he here to help, she wondered morbidly, or was he another
vampire, come to finish what the dead one had started?
“Are you all right?” he asked again.
When she didn’t answer, he took a step toward her,
stopped when she cringed against the wall.
“I mean you no harm.” His voice moved over her like dark
velvet, warm and comforting. “You’re safe now.”
Safe? She felt a hysterical bubble of laughter rise in
her throat. Safe, with a dead vampire at her feet and a
stranger blocking the stairway?
He lifted one brow. “Can you speak?”
She blinked at him, and then she did laugh. Laughed until
tears ran down her cheeks.
The stranger muttered something in a language Tessa
didn’t understand and then, between one breath and the
next, he drew her into his arms. She struggled at first
but then, realizing he truly didn’t intend to hurt her,
she sagged against him, her whole body trembling in the
aftermath of the attack.
Gradually, she grew aware of him, of the strength of his
arms around her, of the odd scent that clung to him. She
spent a moment trying to determine what it was, but other
sensations flooded her senses. The cloth of his jacket
was soft beneath her cheek, probably expensive. He was
tall, his chest solid as granite, yet his hand was gentle
-- almost a caress -- as he stroked her back.
He held her until her trembling ceased. When her tears
subsided, he offered her his handkerchief – fine linen
embroidered with the initials A.D. It seemed a shame to
use it, she thought as she dried her eyes and blew her