“Nicu (The Dark Shadows #5)” by Ariel Marie
The fifth and final installment of the Dark Shadows series delivers the action, suspense, and romance which made me a fan of the Olaru family and their crew.
Empath Samara Shamus hasn’t seen her twin brother, Stefan, in over a month, and even worse, she can’t sense him. Encouraged by their late mother to hide their abilities, the twins still communicated telepathically and sensed each other’s presence.
Law enforcement isn’t as concerned and is little help, believing Stefan left on his own. Samara continues to visit her brother’s apartment and hang posters in the neighborhood but feelings of hopelessness threaten to overwhelm her.
A mysterious phone call leads Samara to meet with the Rebels, a secret group who protect humans from the paranormal world. Stefan has been spotted with the versi, undead instruments of the evil Necromancers.
A reckless attempt by the Rebels and Samara to ‘rescue’ Stefan takes them into a Necromancer hideout where they find Nicu Olaru, taken captive during the last battle between the Dark Shadows and the Necromancers.
Nicu is head of the Dark Shadows, eldest of the five royal children, and future king of the vampires.
He’s also highly pissed off at being locked in a cage. Nicu is awaiting execution ordered by Sodan, king of the Necromancers, because Nicu killed his son, Xalak (early in the series – and he really, really, really needed to die—let’s be clear on that!)
Nicu knows his brothers and the Dark Shadows team will come for him and is annoyed when he sees the inept Rebels sneaking into the necromancer lair. After a heated exchange, the Rebels leave without trying to find Stefan. They also leave Samara behind… and Nicu still trapped in his cell.
Samara frees Nicu and they make it to safety where Nicu contacts his brothers. While they await the Dark Shadows, the vampire and the empath steam up the sheets. Samara doesn’t understand her attraction to Nicu—besides his being a huge tower of alpha awesomeness—but Nicu knows Samara is his destined mate.
Yet, when the team arrives, Nicu allows Samara to walk away. Even though his sister and brothers have found their fated mates, Nicu doesn’t think he has a choice in taking his mate (even though vampires…you know, eventually DIE if denied their mate). As future king and leader of the Dark Shadows, the safety, and future of all vampires rest on his shoulders—he cannot afford such a ‘distraction.’
Unable to stay away from Samara, Nicu does a bit of stalking, but it is Samara who seeks Nicu out to tell him of the result of their one night of passion.
Honestly, I am not a fan of secret/surprise baby stories and usually avoid them, but I’m giving a wink and a nod to Nicu because I’ve seriously enjoyed this series, and I already know Nicu and Samara are destined mates.
The conflict between Nicu and Samara, the ultimate showdown with Sodan and his legion (Hey, the witches show up!) and the near-tragic outcome all come together to make this a great read and a fitting conclusion to the series.
The Dark Shadows were fighting a war to save their race. But how could Nicu focus when he had more at stake to lose than just his race?
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