You’d better get comfy because you won’t want to stop once you begin reading Jenna Barwin’s Dark Wine at Sunrise. It’s Book II of A Hill Vampire Novel series, and it begins where the first book left off. (If you haven’t read Dark Wine at Midnight, don’t cheat yourself of story delight – start there.)
Dr. Cerissa Patel has fallen passionately in love with Henry Bautista, and he’s just as besotted with her. All they want is to be able to pursue their sexy romance unbridled.
Cerissa is a research scientist who’s asked permission to build a lab at the Hill. Secretive because her research is being conducted at the behest of a covert business group with murky intentions, and also because The Hill is secure ground for a vampire community. Cerissa is a Lux, a creature of peculiar heritage with paranormal powers she can’t always control.
Henry Bautista is a vampire with a conflicted moral background and as many jealous enemies as admirers. He owns a thriving vineyard and wine making business and a beautiful home which is the envy of the enclave. He’s also beholden to a female vampire who subverts his desires despite living thousands of miles away.
Did I mention they’re also gorgeous? And very sexy? And the things they say to each other will pierce your heart with longing? That too.
However, Henry is brought to trial by the founding council for breaking a Hill rule. The members impose a violent medieval punishment, threatening his physical sanctity and his burgeoning relationship with Cerissa.
If this stress isn’t enough to dampen their ardor, a murderer is loose within the enclave, picking off vampires with no obvious clue about who’s next. Everyone’s safety appears at risk until they can identify the culprit. All that occurs in just the first couple of chapters.
The story continues to unfold in one thrilling episode after another. Can these two not-quite-human creatures find a way to make the permanent connection they seek? Will Henry give Cerissa the bite she desperately wants to accept? Will the council grant them their freedom so they may fulfill their romantic destiny? Will one or both of them be murdered or forbidden to remain on the Hill? Or will one of them give up everything for the well being of the other?
Barwin writes with passion and a masterful hand at physical and visual description. She manages a complex plot, believable characters (of all ilk,) and credible political underpinnings, creating intrigue within the story. Her world-building is exotic, the personalities are larger than life, but the experiences are grounded in the common human endeavors we all recognize. We want to be seen for who we are, we want fair opportunities, we want to be loved.
I can’t wait until Book III is published. You’ll be pacing as well. Write faster, Ms. Barwin, please write faster.
Dark Wine at Sunrise by Jenna Barwin