It’s an exhilarating thrill ride for readers with this paranormal romance set in a unique world where good and bad blur. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Dark Desires by Aja James, along with my impressions of it, then learn even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour. In honor of this third installment in the Pure/Dark Ones series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $10 bookstore GC too!
Ryu Takamura is the Dark Ones’ Assassin. He has never missed his target…until now. Until her.
Ava Monroe is a talented geneticist who holds the key to the vampire race’s future…and perhaps her own as well.
Their attraction is explosive from the first. She would do anything to have him. He would sacrifice all to protect her.
But will their love triumph over seemingly impossible odds as they battle enemies new and old? Especially the demons from Ryu’s past? And deep within his heart?
She was not what he expected.
Not that he knew what Professors or Doctors (or whatever one called someone with both PhD and MD as a suffix to their name) in molecular genetics looked like on average, if there was such a stereotype to begin with.
But he thought they might be…older.
Gray-haired with glasses and a wizened, wrinkled visage reflecting self-sacrifice (for how else would they have had the time to concentrate on their studies?) and solemnity (for what humor was there in such an analytical, methodological subject?).
For Ryu Takamura, who had been raised for the first ten years of his life in a whorehouse and abandoned thereafter at a Shinto shrine, formal education—hell—any education seemed foreign and antithetical to his own upbringing.
Perhaps this was why he always dressed and spoke with meticulous care.
To any observer, he appeared to be the immensely wealthy heir to a Japanese or Korean conglomerate, living a life of privilege and idleness with armies of servants to tend to his every need. His clothes were of the finest quality and tailored to fit his long, lean body to perfection. His wavy black hair was tousled just so, fuller on top and in the back and shaved closely on the sides to emphasize his aristocratic bone structure, all angles and points liked a laser-cut diamond.
He was so blindingly elegant, in fact, he could never have been mistaken for a real Asian heir. He represented what their alter egos might aspire to if they could ever look as resplendent as he. Rather like how K-dramas represented the ridiculously good-looking and wealthy on TV with actors who had undergone countless surgeries to mimic perfection.
If only they knew the truth. Ryu’s lips tipped at one corner in dark amusement.
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
With this third book in the Pure/Dark Ones series Ms. James continues to entertain with this exotic and sensual thrill ride as two people from very different worlds find a connection. From familiar locations to a country far away readers get wrapped up in this enjoyable read, get introduced to new characters, and get a few smiles along the way.
Ava Monroe is one smart cookie, devoted to work and dedicated to helping her father. Despite her smarts though, she’s not your typical nerd. She’s strong-willed, snarky, outspoken, and is quick to stand up for herself and those she cares about. There’s also a bit of naïveté about her that, all together, made for an interesting dichotomy. On a trip to Japan where she’s been hired to work on important genetic testing she finds herself unexpectedly attracted to a serious-minded and mysterious man teeming with sensuality. There’s an instant connection between them that ultimately leads to complications when he’s hired to stop her research...as well as her. Ava’s a likable heroine who was a good match for Ryu despite their differences. I enjoyed her humor and found her easy to relate to when it came to her actions. When it came time for her to talk medical though, I sometimes felt overloaded and pulled out of the story, which was frustrating as it was an entertaining read for the most part.
Ryu Takamura is someone we’ve seen glimpses of before and his taking center stage here shows us a sexy and mysterious hero carrying heavy emotional baggage from his past. He’s a master assassin who’s never missed a target, but his attraction to a woman on a plane has him making an unexpected choice that will cause repercussions for his people. Ryu’s past is dark and his return to Japan shows readers why. In flashbacks, and in current time, readers get various pieces into the puzzle of what’s made Ryu who he is and it’s a tale that brought tears to my eyes. His connection to Ava was freeing, bringing joy and acceptance to a life riddled with shame and theirs was a cheer-worthy romance balanced with suspense and danger.
On a whole this was a good book, but not my favorite of the series. It felt more isolated and less-reliant on the world-building I’ve come to enjoy from Ms. James. It was more heavy on the action and suspense and a bit less on the paranormal/fantasy side. The romance between Ryu and Ava though was scorching. They were a crackling couple despite their differences with sensual interludes nicely spaced to leave readers wanting more. The culture of Japan was on vivid display in this book with dialogue that reflected the Asian ethnicity, the use of which added to the story’s feel, but which made the story flow a bit less smoothly. A few characters from previous books also make appearances, which I enjoyed, but their inclusion was more nostalgic than important to the overall storyline. Readers new to this series though will find this a book that stands strongly on its own. Not having read the previous installments won’t make this any less enjoyable as it’s exhilarating and sensual with a main couple you’ll be rooting for from the moment they meet. With the few threads left hanging by the turn of the final page, Ms. James has me agonizingly counting down the days until the next installment.
My rating for this is a B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Aja has been writing stories since the age of six, and novels since the age of thirteen. While she'd be the first to admit that those early efforts weren't particularly good, she sure loved putting them down on paper!
The best part of writing, according to Aja, is that it’s completely organic, the way the stories develop. When the inspiration hits, she writes just so she herself can learn where the characters are headed because oftentimes, they take her by surprise! It is her ultimate dream to share her stories with as many readers as she possibly can.
Her other loves include art, cooking, and old movies (anything with Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Clark Gable, and all the song and dance numbers because she can’t watch them and not be happy!).
She adores taking long walks with her husband and running after her two rambunctious kids. She has traveled extensively (all seven continents except Antarctica) and has a multi-cultural upbringing. She speaks two and a half languages and binge watch TV shows when the mood strikes.
Aja has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Comparative Literature and Economics and two Master’s degrees, one of which is in East Asian Studies.
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