Review: Dark Sins and Desert Sands by Stephanie Draven

Dark Sins and Desert Sands
by Stephanie Draven;
Editions: paperback, ebook
Published October 18th 2011 by Harlequin
Source: review copy
Escaping a hellish Syrian prison, U.S. serviceman Ray Stavrakis emerged with uncanny mind-control powers and an eerie ability to morph into a mythical Minotaur. As a half man, half bull, Ray had legendary power, but only one woman could prove his innocence. The woman who’d driven him to the brink of insanity with her cool-eyed interrogation and her hot-blooded sensuality.But Vegas psychologist Layla Bahset had no memory of Ray or her past. Only a feeling of being stalked by a nonhuman predator. Was it Ray…whose eyes condemned her soul even as his hands ignited her body? Or was another evil force at work? But nothing could stop Layla from remembering what she was…and what her evil creator had planned for her and her soldier lover…~ Goodreads Blurb

Wow. That cover is just…epic! Really loved that cover, I gotta say. Now on to the rest of the book, lol.

I don’t usually read stories about military/ex-military and PTSD, I don’t have the strength to go through it with them. But this being a Harlequin, I was betting on that part of the story being more like a setting then a significant matter – I was wrong. Sort of. The ex-military and PTSD does come into play, but since we have other elements like mythology, old Egyptian gods, Aztec goddesses, a sphinx, a Minotaur, you see why I could deal with it. Plus, obviously, the smutty awesomeness that’s expected and always delivered.

The plot was sort of awesome, actually, minus the whole Syrian dungeon and torture thing, that I didn’t like at all. But other then that, wow, great plotting! It was also a very original mix, in my opinion, I mean I totally didn’t see the next events coming, I was wondering and getting surprised all over the place. I did get the sense of what the main couple will be pretty early on, but it wasn’t one of those lover lost/lover found or childhood crush turned lover sort of scenarios, this one was a bit darker and slightly twisted and man, I’m a sucker for that!

The characters were really interesting and original, Ray had a lot of magnetism and Layla’s evolution was very well rendered, I could actually feel her turn from something of a machine into a woman. The Ray/Layla couple had a special kind of chemistry, a sort of love/hate to begin with, that developed into intense chemistry and ended up becoming love. I was with it all the way, I believed every second of it.
I also got my personal flavor of fun with Seth, though there wasn’t nearly enough focus on him. Well, there was, he wasn’t a main character, but he was the villain of all villains so I wanted more, lol. I’m hoping for more, to be clearer, because Seth needs to unleash his inner beast, go on rampage and make that Aztec goddess shake from roots to tips of her branches, fu~fu.

Good writing, interesting plot, charismatic characters and originality – to sum it all up, if smutty is for you, you should totally give this a try.

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