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Charleston Past Midnight

Charleston Past Midnight, November 2014
Past Midnight #1
by Christine Edwards

Fanny Press
Featuring: Severin Beauvais; Calla Hart
208 pages
ISBN: 1603815562
EAN: 9781603815567
Kindle: B00OU0GCKS
Paperback / e-Book
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"Super sexy old-school vampires and an intriguing love story!"

Fresh Fiction Review

Charleston Past Midnight
Christine Edwards

Reviewed by Miranda Owen
Posted December 25, 2014

Romance | Romance Paranormal

CHARLESTON PAST MIDNIGHT is Book one in the Past Midnight series by Christine Edwards. The book is set in the present but employs many flashbacks to previous time periods. I didn't find this too jarring because Christine Edwards does a good job of defining the chapter's time period by noting it clearly at the start of the chapter with the date and location. I ended up reading the present day scenes and then going back and reading the scenes set in the past. Some narratives set in the past describe how Severin became a vampire and are great background info.

Severin Beauvais is a classic vampire -- old-world, alpha, tall, dark and handsome. At first, his way of speaking might appear a little stilted, but he just talks and acts like a man born hundreds of years ago. He enjoys some light dominance and submission play with the heroine, but nothing too wild for the average paranormal romance fan. Calla, while only human, is a strong enough woman to handle Severin and they fit well together. I love that CHARLESTON PAST MIDNIGHT has a few strong gothic elements and is very atmospheric.

The vampire villain in CHARLESTON PAST MIDNIGHT serves a purpose and is a worthy opponent for the hero. I really liked that, while helping to drive the story and provide extra excitement, the villain's evil plot wasn't the entire focus of the story. The love story between Severin and Calla remains the focus. Throughout the story, they do a lot of talking and getting to know each other in addition to all the very steamy love scenes.

CHARLESTON PAST MIDNIGHT has some super sexy old-school vampires and an intriguing love story. I loved the supporting characters -- Case, Kiana, Ambrose, and Alina. I would love to read stories with them as main characters in the future. I liked the support system that Severin and his family of vampires have -- it helped lighten the mood at times. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Learn more about Charleston Past Midnight

SUMMARY

How much fight does one woman have inside? Calla Hart has never relied on anyone. The fierce West Virginian learned the hard way to be self-sufficient, that is until she is viciously attacked late one night by two thugs. Her luck turns when, still fighting for her life, she is rescued from her attackers by a preternaturally strong stranger. She is stunned to discover that Severin Beauvais is not your typical alpha male hero. Although her pre-med student mind vehemently resists the notion, Calla must soon accept that he is a vampire, one who has stalked the historic grounds of Charleston, South Carolina, since the mid- eighteenth century. Their desire for each other is intense, yet as much as she'd like to envision happily ever after with Severin, too much stands in their way. Aside from her fragile mortality, there is Severin’s extremely dominant personality coupled with his unending feud with the ancient Russian vampire Valdon, who has so far proved invincible. And Valdon has set his sights on Calla .... When it comes down to the wire, what would you sacrifice for the love of your life?

Excerpt

“Damn, girlfriend! This place is absolutely heaving!”

I step off the elevator alongside Kiana and we begin to make our way through the sea of glamorous people. She glances over at me and says, “Let’s go ahead and get our drinks. Looks like it’s already three deep at the bar.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

I take in the wild scene. Mixture is the hottest rooftop club in Charleston. If you’re not dressed to the hilt and up here before midnight, you don’t stand a chance of getting in. Period. The doormen who reign supreme down on the street level are very particular about who they let in. No flip flops or casual wear. I’ve seen them turn people away for simply having a bad attitude. When Kiana suggested that we go out dancing on our rare Saturday night off together, I was hesitant, fearful of running into those two hicks again. But we both agreed that there is no way they would ever go to a place like this. Besides, we vowed to stick together all night. Afrojack’s “Take Over Control” is thumping hard from several enormous speakers set up on either side of the elevated DJ station. The glistening bodies sway and grind against one another in reckless abandon as the beat pumps through the June air.

“Here you go, Calla.” Kiana struggles to shimmy sideways through the dense crowd impatiently trying to place their drink orders. She hands over one of two frosty lavendertinis, my absolute favorite drink.

I grin at her, leaning in to shout over the throbbing bass, “Thanks. Next round is on me. I just spied a place for us over by the railing. Let’s head on over.”

It’s a feat of balance to cut our way through the chaos without spilling our cocktails yet somehow we manage. Our hips sway with the sexy rhythm as we sip on our martinis and observe the eye candy that abounds tonight.

Kiana’s eyes gleam as she leans into me and says, “Wonder when they’ll start falling into the pool tonight.”

I barely stifle a laugh as I glance over for a glimpse of the long, zero edge pool that’s now almost blocked out by hundreds of legs. It’s inevitable. Someone always gets completely blitzed and falls in. The doorman usually has to wade in and haul their drunken asses out before escorting them to the exit. Normally it happens several times as the liquor begins to flow. I think the idea of jumping into a cool pool of illuminated water is just too irresistible for some intoxicated brains to resist.

“Oh, from the looks of it, any minute.”

My attention shifts as several partiers make space for a group of massive men. There are five of them, all dressed in very fashionable dark clothing. Without trying, they radiate dangerous sex appeal, and even well on their way to being drunk, people are giving them ample space.

Intrigued, I scan the men, who all look like hired killers. The tallest one’s arctic eyes ensnare mine, nearly stopping my heart cold. In an instant and without warning, the vision takes over me and I see myself being held high in the air. His strong hand is locked around my throat, my legs dangling and kicking desperately below me as my terrified screams ring through the night. He smiles at me and squeezes harder, silencing my cries as malice burns in his spine-chilling eyes. Vampire.

My glass drops to the ground, shattering the vision in an instant as my eyes focus once again on the light haired Russian looking vampire who is now staring at me with a completely different expression on his face. It’s one of total surprise swiftly replaced by calculated intensity, so powerful that I begin to tremble. Oh God, he knows!

“Jesus, Calla! What the hell. Are you all right?” Kiana is jostling my shoulder in concern but my eyes never deviate from his petrifying gaze.

It’s crystal clear to me that he knows the vision I just had because he read my mind. Severin said that he couldn’t but this one can and did. My visions are rare but unfailingly predict what is coming. I watch in horror as he quickly says something to the vampire to his right and they begin heading straight toward us. Oh f**k, f**k!

“Kiana, we gotta get outta here, now!”

“Are you feeling sick or something? Hey, let’s go to the bathroom for a second.”

I scan wildly for the most direct path back to that elevator, knowing that it will take a miracle to get past these guys. I’ve already witnessed their inhuman speed. A Jamaican Sprinter wouldn’t stand a chance dodging them.

“No, Kiana, there’s about to be trouble—”

Before I can finish my sentence, a long arm falls across my shoulders and begins moving me swiftly through the crowd. As we wind through the sea of bodies, I look up into Severin’s eyes, which are narrowed and laser- focused.

I hear Kiana’s voice behind me purr loudly, “It’s a good thing you’re super hot. Otherwise we’d have a big issue with each other.”

Who is she talking to?

I try to look back to see that she’s all right and also to determine if the scary dudes are giving chase, but Severin is pulling me so fast that I’m nearly jogging in my stilettos to keep up the pace. Finally we stop at a flight of emergency stairs in the back that I never knew existed. I watch him press on the metal bar of the door and it flies open into a narrow, brightly lit stairwell.

As we start the descent, an impossibly deep male voice calls out from behind us, “Take the girls down with you. I’ll stall them here and trace down to the alley beside the hotel. They wouldn’t be dumb enough to bust the door in with the bouncers watching. Pick me up down there.”

“Done.” Severin answers the huge man with the shaved head.

He’s incredibly intimidating, but I’ve yet to cross paths with one of them who isn’t. In comparison to Severin’s deadly assassin appearance, this one is more like a grizzly bear on a short chain, a very unhappy one.

I decide to hold off on the questions on the tip of my tongue until we make it to the safety of his SUV. I shudder to think what would have went down had they not shown up to save us. The malice in that vampire’s gaze made my blood turn to icy slush in my veins.

Kiana is smart. She has a built-in radar for trouble and knows to roll with it and not balk when things are going down. She’s quiet as we stop at the steel door that leads out into the lobby.

Still not looking at me, Severin instructs us, “Wait here a moment.”

Before I can answer, he steps out into the posh lobby and scans the premises. Then he steps back and grabs each of us by the hand and pulls us out alongside him. I hear him say just under his breath, “They can’t trace down here without the risk of being seen.”

We hustle across the marble black and white checkerboard floor. The uniformed doorman barely has a chance to wish us a nice evening before we are outside, and Severin is demanding the keys for his vehicle from the clearly intimidated valet. He hands the teenager a fistful of cash and swiftly ushers us into the darkness of the backseat. I watch through the tinted windows as he rounds the back of the gleaming silver SUV before jumping in.

The engine roars to life. He whips out into the heavy traffic that’s lining East Bay Street. We haven’t gone five car lengths before he makes a sharp right turn down a narrow alley that runs alongside the hotel. I lean forward, looking for his friend. I see him step out from the shadows of a brick wall. The Mercedes’ headlights illuminate the man, making him appear impossibly more frightening.

“How did he beat us down here?” Kiana’s question goes unanswered and she seems like she couldn’t care less, obviously now distracted and in visual wonderland, “Mmmm … mmmm.” The sexy, appreciative purr comes from deep in her throat as he crosses to open the passenger door. As he hauls his big frame into the SUV I stare at the thick, swirling tattoos that are prominent around the collarless, skintight Under Armour shirt he’s wearing. I look over at my normally cool, unaffected roommate and watch a blatant mask of lust transform her sexy features. He has exactly what she wants, pure and simple. I know that aching feeling all too well.

Oh God, what have I gotten us into?


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