I’ll be honest. I picked up Dark Desire by Christine Feehan for two reasons:
1. It was the shortest book on the shelf
2. There is a wolf and a rose on the cover. Clearly, Mrs. Feehan knows her shit.
A few things you should know from the jump:
1. The main macho man in the story is named Jacques – This is strike 1.
2. Mrs. Feehan dedicates the story to her father, and gives special thanks to her daughter and son for their help with the characters. I am confused as I am expecting more smut than literature family can bond over. Maybe I don’t understand Paranormal Romance?
Jacques, a Carpathian (is that vampire?) is buried alive in a coffin after experiencing pain no mortal could survived. Shea, a young, beautiful, painfully petite, yet dangerously buxom, prodigy is studying for her residency. Transcending space and every known scientific possibility, Jacques locks minds with Shea, knocking Shea unconscious because she can not bear the pain Jacques feels as a result of being tortured.
Over several years, Jacques, still trapped, finds Shea and taps into her consciousness. She is his only lifeline to the world and he comes to believe she is responsible for his suffering. Shea must pay. Jacques, and Jacques alone, will decide her fate (really? That’s where we are headed? Awesome). Jacques WILLS Shea to the Carpathian mountains where he is trapped. Shea, now an accomplished surgeon, feels she is simply following her research to help cure her blood disorder that requires she receive oral blood transfusions, avoid sunlight, and makes her senses supernaturally keen (seems legit).
Chapter 1 ends (finally) with Shea at the entrance to Jacques’ earthy tomb.
After Shea frees Jacques, he thanks her by ripping out her throat and nearly drinking her dry (Carpathian definitely = vampire). Have no fear, Tubbers! Shea lives! She wakes up weak and with a terribly sore throat. She staves off a second Jacques Attack by telling him she can’t help him if she is dead. She is a doctor and Jacques is in bad shape. Jacques concedes, but attacks Shea twice more when she tries to leave to get supplies. Way to go Jacques, you ladykiller, you. You surely know the way to a lady’s heart – Stockholm Syndrome her to near death.
Shea, the brilliant surgeon, concludes Jacques must have the same blood disorder as her. Shea, a healer, can’t bear to leave Jacques in such a state and so commits herself to his recovery, no matter how abusive and uncommunicative he is. Shea also realizes this is the man “from her dreams” – the man who has seized her mind here and there over the years. It is fate she help him.
Jacques, seeing the compassion Shea displays for him decides she couldn’t have been in on his capture and torture. She was too petite (yet dangerously buxom), too fragile, to do harm. He decides he must bind her to him as a lifemate (more on this later). This means they must exchange blood and consummate their lifemateness. Blood exchange – check! Jacques mangled Shea’s throat earlier, and she is so weak from it, she has no choice but to drink of Jacques in a moment of passion. No sex, though. Shea has unresolved daddy issues and so, Jacques must wait to complete the ritual.
Jacques and Shea can now communicate telepathically. And every time they touch, even to change a bandage, the forest around them nearly burns to the ground from the sparks. Jacques can’t remember his past and Shea is a sucker for tall, handsome and psychopathic. Jacques names Shea his lifemate. This means they can’t lie to one another, they can’t keep their thoughts from one another, and each other permanently takes up residence in the other’s mind and consciousness. They must exist to please each other. Side note: This sounds like a horribly codependent and unhealthy start to a relationship. I do not find this even remotely romantic, Mrs. Feehan. Also, still no sex.
Their blood exchange has made Shea Carpathian. It has also made Jacques incredibly controlling, but in a totally sexy way (according to Shea). Shea, a once brilliant and independent woman and surgeon, is now reduced to hair flips and foot stomping when frustrated.
Remember when Bella Swan-Cullen experienced the world as a vampire for the first time? So many sights, smells, colors, like the best acid trip ever. That’s chapter 4. At this point, Jacques really needs to seal this lifemate deal and starts throwing around lines like, “I need a dream to rid myself of nightmares [wink, wink].” Oh Jacques, no one is falling for that old line…
Also, Jacques’ memory is coming back. He informs Shea that Carpathians are immortal and pure and only become vampires when they lose the will to live, love, and follow the moral code of drinking from humans. Vampires are vile, and Carpathians hunt them.
Jacques also lets it slip that when he took Shea as his lifemate, his first instinct was to punish her for not coming to him sooner. His second instinct was then to bind her to him for eternity. Side note: I want to throw this book and myself into a fire. PLEASE don’t make me continue…
Shea decides to leave Jacques once he is healthy. His possessiveness is creepy, right? He calls her Little Red Hair, for fuck’s sake.
Jacques continues his attempts at seduction, but 7 years in a coffin has thrown him off his game. Jacques nearly seals the deal when he lets it slip that he knows Shea’s father (a man Shea never met). I’m not sure why you would bring this up right before sex, but what do I know?
Pop quiz: How old is Jacques?
A: 175 B: 87 C: over 800 D: over 1500
The answer is C.
No word on Shea’s age, though clues suggest mid-twenties.
Oh, and Shea’s plans to leave? Jacques squashes those with, “I am more powerful than a vampire…I hunt them down and destroy them. I will have no trouble keeping you at my side.” How romantical.
Enter Jacques creepy Carpathian “family”: Brother Mikhail, sister-in-law Raven, frienemy of the family Gregori, and Jacques can’t-quite-recall-if-friend-or-foe Byron. They all believe Jacques is dead after his 7 year disappearance. Since Jacques can’t really remember any of them, they are concerned he may have turned vampire. An uneasy standoff takes place, but Shea saves the day with her growing love for Jacques and her sheer will. The family knows Jacques claims Shea as his lifemate, but they also know they haven’t made their love promise to one another just yet… awkward.
The family fills Shea in on their history. Shea befriends Raven, who was also human before love made her do crazy Carpathian things. All this information has exhausted Shea, and Jacques forces her to sleep.
Fun fact: The lifemate connection allows the male to force the woman to sleep, and also allows him to dictate when the woman wakes. No word on if said lifemate connection forces women to make sandwiches, do laundry, or rear children.
Still no sex.
We meet the humans who tortured and buried Jacques alive. They don’t know the difference between the virtuous Carpathians and the vile vampires. All they see is red. Except they have help from a vampire, one knows as The Vulture. The Vulture has brought the men to the Carpathian mountains for blood.
While the men plot, Jacques orders that Shea wake up. He also demands that she wake up NEEDING him.
Finally, the sex!
Though, I’m disturbed as the mental compulsion makes it more rapey than romantic…
Lifemate process complete! Post-coital pillow talk consists of Jacques informing Little Red Hair that she needn’t be a doctor anymore. Being a lifemate trumps everything you once valued and worked hard for. Shea sighs and sinks into Jacques perfectly chiseled chest.
Side Note: This is the halfway point in the book. It was here that I decided to finish this book in one last sitting, with the help of whisky.
Jacques is stronger and remembering more. Shea doesn’t want to repeat her mother’s mistake (fall in love with a Carpathian, Carpathian leaves, heartbroken woman commits suicide). Shea refuses to feed, the family joins forces with Jacques to ensure Shea receives blood. And, by join forces, I mean more mental compulsion. How can Shea ever forgive Jacques? No woman can ever stay mad at her lifemate, silly!
Carpathians shape-shift. This explains the wolf on the front cover. I now wait for kinky Carpathian shape-shifting sex.
Carpathians also control the weather. I get earth-shattering, life-changing, sex with an encore performance in the middle of a forest, as lightning bolts dance and thunder booms. I would have preferred the shape-shifting sex… thanks again, Mrs. Feehan.
Byron emerges from the storm to announce publicly he is tired and will go to ground to rest for awhile. Unbeknownst to Byron, Jacques and Shea, The Vulture is watching and follows Byron, taking him prisoner.
Operation Rally the Troops to Save Byron. The group formulates a plan!
Raven is pregnant with a baby girl that will become centuries-old Gregorian’s lifemate (swoon). This means Shea must protect Raven and only the men can go to save Byron and kill The Vulture. While the boys go off to save the day, Shea and Raven bond over the wily, abusive Carpathian men they love so much and Raven fills Shea in on more of Shea’s family history.
The boys embark on Operation Save Byron. They feel so uneasy! This rescue is too simple! Alas, it is a trap!
The humans ambush the cabin where Shea and Raven are kept. Raven is shot, Shea can only cry out telepathically to Jacques for help. Their omnipotent lifemate connection allows Jacques to kill the humans simply by looking through Shea’s eyes.
Wait, what? I read this portion a few times, unsure if it really made as little sense as it seemed, or if my whisky was playing tricks with me. I’m pretty sure it is just a ridiculous plot trick Mrs. Feehan used to wrap this love story up.
Gregori and Shea use their healing powers to save Raven and the baby. Turns out Shea didn’t need all those years of med school. Nope, she just needed a Carpathian male to unleash her psychokinetic healing light.
Poor petite (yet buxom) Shea has worn herself out again! She excuses herself for some fresh air and is greeted by none other than The Vulture, who is also… are you ready for this jelly? HER FATHER! I can not be sarcastic enough when I blog that I never saw that one coming…
No sex, shape-shifting or otherwise, to ease the blow of that plot twist.
Shea tries to help heal Byron, but Jacques jealousy knows no limits and he forbids it. Shea, obedient as ever, abandons her Hippocratic Oath for love (or something not even resembling it). Jacques rewards her with sex. And, because they are lifemates, every time is like the first time. Stars explode, planets collide, vampire fathers weep and vow death to Carpathians everywhere.
Daddy Who Abandoned You vs. I’ll Make You Call Me Daddy And You Will Learn To Love It
I’m not sure how old Mrs. Feehan’s son is (he helped her with the action sequences), but from the level of skill and effort put into the final battle, I’m going to guess he is 10-14. Worst climax ever.
The Vulture dies. Quickly. Jacques suffers a flesh wound and hobbles back to his beloved.
To the victor goes the spoils. Sex. Shea is Jacques’ for all eternity and she thinks she’s happy about it.
There you have it, Tubbers. The worst book I have ever read. I still don’t know what the rose on the cover was about, and that pisses me off. I find it beyond depressing and disturbing that Mrs. Feehan is a New York Times Bestselling Author.
I can’t leave you all like this. Here is another book I would not normally read. The commentary is pretty similar to my commentary while reading Dark Desire:
http://youtu.be/U85CXYJg2lc – sensitive? Don’t watch this. No, really. This is most certainly not safe for work, children, or anyone else for that matter.