Series: Shadow #1
Also by this author: Leopard's Fury, Shadow Reaper, Leopard's Blood
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo
The #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance”* is back with a sexy new series starring a Chicago crime family that hides a dark, mystical secret...
Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.
While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…
With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...
“It wasn’t her looks that caught his interest or made him stand utterly still. It was her shadow. The sun was throwing light perfectly to create tall, full shadows. Hers leaked long tentacles. Thin. Like streaks reaching out toward the shadows around her. Everywhere there was a shadow, hers connected to it with the long feelers-with long tubes. His breath hitched. His lungs seized.”
The Plot: In this urban fantasy Stefano Ferraro is the head of a crime family based in Chicago. His family is not your typical “mafia style” family. They are set up like the mafia, they have a neighborhood that they claim and protect but they do not make the residents pay for “protection,” the family just believes in protecting what is theirs. Their true profession is delivering justice to criminals. Someone will approach the family through contacts when they have exhausted all avenues of conventional justice and need more of a vigilante justice (oh heck yeah!). They are shadow riders, people with the special ability to use shadows to travel from location to location. Through the use of their skills they are able to find anyone in need of a quick end. I love this concept; it is well defined and well written.
The Romance: As this is written by Christine Feehan you should already expect hot and heavy sexy times. Shadow riders are only able to pass on their heritage through a coupling with another shadow rider. Since shadow riders are very rare outside of the family you can expect that Stefano will go all alpha male about finding a female that has the ability. Mix that with the storyline that this is a crime family and that alpha-male behavior does not rub me the wrong way. I would expect that. Even though he is possessive of Francesca ultimately all of his concerns are for her and not about what his “ego” desires and I appreciate that.
Everything Else: Francesca Cappello has just relocated to the Chicago area after living through years of complete hell. She is literally on her last leg and taking a helping hand from her friend Joanna. Her story is heart breaking and her desire to not be indebted to anyone is admirable. Even though she is not aware that she is a shadow rider I think her insta-lust reaction to Stefano is appropriate. She is not entirely human so her underlying paranormal creature is drawn to another, like to like. So that part of the story I felt was appropriate. Ha ha ha of course she fights it and reacts like a baby from time to time but I really enjoyed the romance/friendship building between these two characters.
The supporting characters are all believable and some more developed than others. I enjoyed that the Ferraro family was large and included brothers and a kick-butt sister as well as introduction to extended family. I liked that Stefano’s brothers and sister all have their own uniqueness and their personal “demons” were brushed upon. It made me want to know more and I am definitely onboard for the next installment in this series.
This story includes violence, crime, perverts, rapists (although no actual rape), justice, family, friendship, love, and many, many sexy times. The pace was good from scene to scene and the ending was absolutely one of the coolest I have read in awhile! I highly recommend this novel to all adults.