ARC Review: Dancing With The Devil

Dancing With The Devil (Nikki & Michael 1)

Author: Keri Arthur
Publisher: Random House/Bantam Dell
Date of Publication: July 30, 2013

BEYOND THE SHADOWS Private Investigator Nikki James grew up on the tough streets of Lyndhurst and believes there’s nothing left to surprise her. But all that changes the night she follows a rich man’s daughter into the shadows and finds herself caught in a war between two very different men. One is a madman, intent on destruction. The other has his own heart of darkness. For three hundred years, Michael Kelly has existed in life’s shadows, gradually learning to control his vampire cravings. He is convinced that no one can breach his formidable barriers—until he meets Nikki. With her powerful psychic abilities, Nikki swiftly invades both his mind and his heart. Nikki knows how dangerous love can be . . . but if she wants to survive, she must place her trust in this man who could easily destroy her. For only together can they overcome the evil threatening to destroy them both.

 My Thoughts:

Nikki is a psychic who uses her gifts to give her certain advantages in her PI work. When her current assignment, as a bodyguard of sorts to a rich man’s daughter, goes terribly wrong and the daughter (Monica) is ensnared by the will of a vampire (Jasper). Michael, a 300-year old vampire, has been sent by his organization (somewhat shadowy and never fully explained) to protect Nikki and to eliminate Jasper (who has been his enemy for about 75 years).

This is typical Keri Arthur in many ways. This book is not a romance and there is no happily ever after, although it definitely has the undertone of romance to it. Like her Riley Jensen series, Nikki and Michael are attracted, but it looks like it will take several books for them to find their way home to each other. I like a slow moving romance, and there was definitely a lot of one step forward, two steps back, three steps forward movement in this book when it came to that particular thread.

I liked Nikki a lot. She’s smart, uses her head, and except when it comes to emotional vulnerability, willing to do what it takes to get the job done. I loved the exploration of her psychic gifts, and found it refreshing that she hadn’t been actively a member of the paranormal community (beyond the fact that she was herself psychic), but didn’t poo-poo the idea or go into denial either when faced with zombies and vampires.

Michael was a strong, male lead. He runs up against Nikki’s emotional barriers more than once, and even is willing to risk forever damaging her trust simply to keep her safe. He’d rather she live apart from him, than risk her dying. By the end of the book, the two find themselves irrevocably bound together, but yet Michael heads off for parts unknown to deal with a terrible addiction while Nikki denies that she might be in love, or at least have strong feelings, for Michael.

Jasper and Monica were both delightfully twisted. Yes, Jasper was your standard evil vampire, but Ms. Arthur played up his telepathic powers beyond what you see in your standard-issue vamp. I liked that a lot, the way she played into the psychic side of things.

Nikki’s boss/partner was a great character in his own right, and hopefully he’ll be kept in the series as it goes on.

A solid 4-star read. In reading reviews, apparently this is a re-release of Keri Arthur’s, and from the comments, I get the distinct impression that it was Americanized for this release. It definitely didn’t have the Australian feel that her Riley Jensen series did, which I find interesting (along with the switch from first-person to third).

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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