I have yet to read a book of Christine Feehans that i don't like. Dark secret was no exception. loved it.
This one would have been stuck on three stars if not for the awesome climax, probably the best so far in this series!
In this installment, Feehan finally addresses what we have all been wondering about... what if the strong, domineering, alpha male didn't care if the woman wanted to be his lifemate? Rafael De La Cruz, answers that question in spades. He is an ancient, super powerful and used to getting his way - always and without complaint. If there is any question, he just takes what he wants. That is how he handles the woman he discovers is his lifemate. It is of little consequence what she might want. If she disagrees - and she does - he compels her and takes it anyway. It makes him a very hard character to like but kudos goes to Feehan for exploring the side of the Carpathian male we all know is there.
Colby is the perfect foil for this plot-line. She is independent, incredibly headstrong - she has to be, as she has had the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings and running a ranch since she was seventeen years old. She is responsible yet loving and fiercely protective of her life and family. So, when Rafael enters the picture, demanding she submit to him, turn her siblings over to his care and follow him to his home country of Brazil, one can imagine the response. It results in great reading but not necessarily enjoyable reading. Rafael's character is never given enough depth to overcome our disdain of his actions. He never just sits down and explains things to Colby so she is able to understand and accept everything that is pummeling her world. The reader becomes as infuriated as Colby with this confusion, keeping those stars from climbing despite the great writing.
Things take a drastic turn for the better, however, as the climax hits. It comes out of nowhere and, again, explores an area that we often wonder about concerning those almost indestructible males but have never really experienced to this extreme (notice how hard I'm trying not to spoil?!?) It was the perfect twist needed to bring redemption to Rafael and acceptance to the reader.
*The steam factor in this book is high and somewhat uncomfortable. It is also hard to skip and keep the thread of the plot consistant.*
Rafael and Colby...
I loved Colby in this one! She is a strong heroine that has fought for years to keep her ranch and brother and sister together. Very admirable! Then along comes tall, dark, and steamy Rafael from Brazil wanting to take her family away...say the magic Carpathian ritual and it's over. Maybe after reading twelve books in this series, I have become a little bitter at the men feeling like the women owe them this right. I don't know...
All and all if you follow this series, you can't leave this one out. If you do not follow this series, don't start with this one first.
This book tells the story of Rafael de la Cruz and Colby Jansen, a mismatched pair who struggle with their relationship after Rafael, a Carpathian, binds them together in the manner of his people. Colby is a rancher, a tomboy, looking after her two younger siblings and struggling to keep her ranch afloat when Rafael barges into her life and up-ends everything, helping her out financially and saving her ranch but also introducing her to a world of vampires, Carpathians, and Dragonseekers that terrifies her. They have quite a struggle to get along, these two, and I admit theirs is my least favorite romance of the series. Rafael is too domineering jerk and Colby is all over the place, weepy one minute, rebellious the next. She's a bit of a dim-wit and appears incapable of thinking even five minutes ahead about the consequences of any action she takes. I had a hard time caring about her and Rafael the way I cared about Lara and Nicholas in "Dark Curse" or Natalya and Vikirnoff in "Dark Demon", one of my favorite of the "Dark" series, where you can actually see the couples slowly falling in love.
On the plus side, Christine Feehan explores the world around the Carpathians more deeply and has some interesting bits of history and back-story, and the climax of the book is excitingly written, with a really scary villain and some imaginative underground battles. If you like the "Dark" series then "Dark Secret" contains information you will want to know, even if the romance is, in my opinion, not the most satisfying of the series.