Author: Margaret L. Carter
Genre: Anthology, Dark Romance, Vampire, Horror
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Available at: Amazon, Amber Quill Press, and Barnes & Noble
Price: Kindle at $7.00; Paperback at $13.50; 172 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
I enjoyed all the tales in Heart’s Desires and Dark Embraces; Carter knows how to make her characters come to life in a way that lingers in my mind long after I’ve closed the book. Part I: Vampires features tales based on “Vanishing Breed,” which suggests that the creatures we consider vampires belong to an alien race living among us. Carter’s novel Dark Changeling will familiarize you more with this race and help you appreciate these short stories. “Voice from the Void” features Claude, a major player from this breed in Tall, Dark, and Deadly and other novels; he attempts to rescue a young woman from a domineering uncle. One of my favorites included “The Pale Hill’s Side,” which features a vampire breed that protag Judith mistakes for elves. They bring her to their underground home to “nurse” an injured child, but with a nefarious agenda. Judith’s choice is to escape or die, but she’s bewitched by the child. In “Technical Advisor,” a real vampire confronts author Charlotte about her inaccuracies in the portrayal of his breed. This one had me smiling.
Part II: Elves and other Heart’s Desires starts off with “Heart’s Desire,” one of my favorites in this collection. Carter’s flawless characterization enabled me to relate to protag Rachel because my husband has coped with Parkinson’s disease. Rachel visits a witch in a quest to restore her husband’s health to the way it was before his accident. It’s up to you, dear reader, to buy the book and find out if she realizes her heart’s desire. “Nursemaid” touched my heart, for the death of a child is the worst pain a mother can endure. Carter portrays this grief well in protag Carleen whose baby dies in Intensive Care; Carleen finds a unique way to get through her grief.
In Amazon’s blurb, Carter promises at least “one human-monster hybrid.” She keeps her promise in “The Crystal Tesseract,” delivering an adventure tale laced with romance that kept me turning the pages. Finally, what would you expect a character to do if a male ghost shows up naked in her bedroom? We’ll find out in “Storm of Passion,” a delightful romance. All of the other tales made worthy reads as well. I strongly recommend Heart’s Desires and Dark Embraces for your must-read list.