Title: Night's Honor
Series: Elder Races #7
Author: Thea Harrison
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 282 pages
Published: September 2nd 2014 by Berkley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | B&N
In USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison's latest Novel of the Elder Races, a woman finds herself in need of protection—and seduced by honor…
On the run from her former employer, Tess knows that she’s vulnerable on her own amongst the Elder Races. That’s why she decides to audition to become the human attendant of a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind demesne. But while her position affords her the safety she seeks, her protector turns out to be more than she bargained for.
The right-hand man of the Nightkind King, Xavier del Torro is both terrifying and alluring. While his true nature frightens Tess, she can’t ignore the appeal of his innate sense of integrity and self-restraint. Thrown into Xavier’s world, Tess must quickly learn to navigate the dangers—both to her life and to her heart. But the biggest threat comes from her own past….
"I was a young man with a completely normal sex drive, who was encouraged to study the scriptures," he said. "I memorized all of it." He stroked her lips. ""Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet...Thou hast ravished my heart.""
Something stricken banished the laughter from her gaze. "Yes," she whispered. "That's what it feels like."
All the words burned away, and he stood silent, without language or barriers, holding on to her bare, warm waist. He felt like he might drown if he let go. He might drown anyway, but if he did, he needed to bring her with him.
NIGHT'S HONOR by Thea Harrison is the seventh book in the Elder Races series. Previous Elder Races books have involved Dragos and his lieutenants. This book is almost wholly cut off from the Wyr plotline, so Dragos and other familiar faces are absent. NIGHT'S HONOR goes in a different direction capitalizing on Vampyre history and their twisted politics. It also divulges quite a bit more about the functions of humans and Vampyres. Therefore, this book would actually serve as a great entry point for a new reader to the series. Thus, I am quite comfortable asserting that it can be easily enjoyed as a standalone.
NIGHT'S HONOR is the story of human Tess Graham and her Vampyre love interest Xavier del Torro. Isn't Xavier a great name? I really like the way it rolls off my tongue. LOL! Since Xavier attends the Sentinel Games during this book, it would be safe to assume that the timeline for this story runs parallel to that of the LORD'S FALL, Elder Races #5.
As the story opens, Tess is on the run from her former employer, a Pariah Djinn. Knowing a patron Vampyre would protect what is his, and determined to survive, she puts herself up for bid at an auction where Vampyres select human attendants. She is selected by Xavier, and even though she's terrified of him, she's even more terrified of the Djinn. She begins a rigorous training regimen that I could only describe as a modern hard core version of My Fair Lady while Xavier is kept busy with Vampyre and Light Fae politics. Because Tess is aware of the history of Xavier's turning and that it involved a lot of blood and violence, every time she's in his proximity, she's on edge. If she wants to continue as his attendant, she must find a way to conquer her fear.
Xavier is the progeny of the Vampyre King and was in Carling's and Rune's book, SERPENT'S KISS, Elder Races #3. Xavier is a complex character. Formerly pledged to the Church, he has a strong moral and ethical core yet he isn't afraid to kill his enemies. He maintains a calm facade but there's always more beneath the surface. He's a strange mix of benevolence and savagery. In his relationship with Tess, Xavier is the one that goes the extra mile to make it work. He's also responsible for giving her the courage to stop running and face her fears. I loved him! I liked Tess also - but she had a tendency to be ornery at times just for the heck of it. Thankfully, she matured as the story progressed. :-)
Even though our hero is centuries old and our heroine is only 24, they have a chemistry that cannot be denied - not that Tess doesn't fight it for over half the book! Their romance was a slow burn. While I was glad that there wasn't an instant attraction between the two as that would have been implausible, the book's pace certainly picked up once the romance kicked in.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes:
A sense of peace and contentment filled him. He loved music, and he loved to dance. Teaching Tess to waltz was going to be a pleasure.
A half an hour later, he had revised his opinion drastically, as she stepped on his foot again. Instantly, they both stopped moving and glared at each other.
"Young lady, you are not an elephant," he told her. "Kindly refrain from imitating one."
Sliding his fingers lightly down her arm, he took her hand.
"Come make love with me," he said.
After all of that - after taking the time to create an understanding that was filled with respect and that gave her a sense of safety - how like him to make everything so classic and direct, and simple.
She tightened her hand in his. "Yes."
"What's she like?" Gavin's tone was elaborately non-chalant.
Defiant. Devious. Delicious.
He didn't say any of those adjectives aloud. Instead, as his silence grew too long and Gavin lifted up his head to look at him curiously, he finally settled on "Unforgettable."
The author's writing is first rate, as always. The characters are well-defined and relatable and the story is well-plotted. While it's a very good story on its own, NIGHT'S HONOR does seem to serve as a conduit - transitioning the series. Aside from an action-packed scene at the end when Xavier demonstrates what an incredibly badass fighter he is, there isn't a lot of action in the book.
As with the previous books in this series, NIGHT'S HONOR is a fun, steamy read. The ending couldn't have been more perfect.
Be warned: The epilogue contains a brutal cliffhanger which serves as a humongous set-up for the next book, MIDNIGHT KISS. Now I can't wait until the next Vampyre book which will focus on Xavier's maker, Julian, the Vampyre King, his rambunctious association with the Light Fae princess, and a possible cataclysm in the Nightkind demesne. Bring it on!