I love anthologies for two reasons. One, they give us more of the characters we enjoy. Two, they’re a wonderful way to get to know new authors. Fromm this anthology I was really, truly looking forward to reading Yuri’s story by Dianne Duvall, but I’ve also read other series by Rebecca Zanetti who I know is a wonderful author. I’ve never read anything by Alexandra Ivy or Hanna Jayne, but as I mentioned before, this is a good opportunity to get to know their writing style and creations.
In Phantom Embrace, Dianne Duvall gives us the bittersweet story of Immortal Guardian Yuri Sokolov and Catherine Seddon. Don’t misunderstand, it’s a great story told like only Dianne can and it does have a happy ending. It’s just that loving a ghost has its drawbacks. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Yuri’s immortal existence can be summed up in three words: “hunt, sleep, repeat.” For centuries he’s had his kindred and duties as a guardian. He’s also felt a deep loneliness. But since he was transferred from New York to David’s house in North Carolina he’s felt a companionship that’s hard to explain, because he’s the only one who can see the lovely ghost he’s been spending time with.
Since he was a boy he could see and talk to phantoms. He also understood that relating with them wasn’t a good idea. But this particular ghost who had been following him on his hunts and to his room didn’t feel threatening at all. Once he decides to interact with Cat, he quickly bonds with her deeper than with any other living person he’s known. But as he knew, there’s always a downside when it comes to the phantoms that roam the Earth. Could mere companionship be enough? Can love persevere between Cat and Yuri?
I fell in love with these Immortal Guardians right from the start and have eagerly followed each of their tales. Enjoying Dianne’s wonderful story telling and relishing the ties she creates between the main characters from each book while bringing back the rest of the gang. Each character is different but they have common denominators like loyalty, fierce protectiveness and a gooey center that make them very appealing.
The story about Yuri was slightly different though. Not because he isn’t all these things, on the contrary. But because of how things ended in Night Unbound, the previous book in the series. I was more eager than usual to get to know further about him. And albeit not a full length novel, we get everything from backstories, explosive confrontations and fight scenes, to the sweet and sexy development of the main characters’ relationship, more of the overall plot and of the Immortal Guardians we’ve met in the past. So every component needed for a great paranormal romance packed in this great novella.
I liked getting to know about Cat’s past, which was interesting and surprising. I loved Cat and Yuri’s relationship, though unusual, bloomed. It made me smile with its tender and sultry moments, thrilled me with its action and excitement and even though bittersweet, it also gave me a satisfying and happy ending for Yuri and Cat.
I can’t wait to be introduced to the rest of these authors and their work. The complete list of novellas and authors:
ON THE HUNT by Alexandra Ivy
SCORPIUS RISING by Rebecca Zanetti
PHANTOM EMBRACE by Dianne Duvall
STAKE OUT by Hannah Jayne
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *