I finally stopped dithering around about picking a book and went with another Cole.
Cindy Blurb: There's this ghost see, and well, that would normally have stopped me cold in my tracks but I know that Cole writes books about 'the Lore' so I figured it's not like one of those ghost stories where everyone is human and something weird happens at the end of the book for a convoluted HEA.
Okay, right, a ghost named Neomi who died in the 1920's on what was supposed to be the best night of her life. Neomi wanted to live so badly and fought her death so much that she was stunned when she came too and no one could see or hear her. For 80 years she lives in her dream home, wearing her gorgeous dress without anyone knowing she exists.
Meanwhile, three vampire brothers are trying everything they can to save their 'rogue' brother from being killed. In the Lore, there are good and evil vampires and the ones with red eyes are those who have killed while taking blood and are deemed evil. These vampires are tormented by the memories of those they have killed and end up not knowing their own thoughts from those that end up there from others. In the end, most of these vampires go insane and become nothing more than killing machines.
Conrad Wroth is considered a prime example of this. Add to this he wants to kill his own brothers and things get complicated. In order to save Conrad, his brothers lock him in an old gothic house where he sees a beautiful woman who enchants him and makes him wonder if he has finally gone completely mad.
I love lost causes.
Conrad is almost completely lost and the early parts from his point of view show us how disjointed his thoughts are. Conrad is clinging to his sanity or the parts he recognizes for no other reason than to kill his own brothers for cursing him to the ghastly immortal life he is forced to live. The good news is that he doesn't seem bitter as much as just determined and with good reason which you find out over the course of the story.
(note to readers: I just took a gravol so things might get dicey)
Conrad's brothers Sebastian, Murdock and _________ refuse to give up on Conrad and after 300 years of separation they have finally figured out a way to save him. They need him to stop drinking blood from the vein (you know, I'm not sure how it's different from drinking blood from a glass but I think they mentioned that taking from the vein is 'live' blood so the victim's memories come with it). Conrad, not being rational and believing his time is almost up anyways wants nothing to do with this 'cure' and so the brothers kidnap him, have some witches put a spell on an old gothic mansion to keep him from escaping and begin his treatment.
He sees a ghostly woman the night they capture him. Is she a fragmented memory, his final stages of insanity or could she really exist.
I really liked Neomi and even though she is innocent when it comes to the Lore, in life she lived to extremes. She is surprised to discover the men in her house are vampires, that there are such things as witches and others called Valkyrie and the like. She is moved the most by the 'crazy' man the brothers have brought to cure. He is savage, covered in blood and filth and yet, she wonders as he sleeps if he can really see her. She longs to be seen and acknowledged and if this be her only way then so be it.
I have to admit there are some weird otherworldly things at work through the later half of the book. At one point you're thinking 'really!? Again!!' But hey, it's a Cole and I enjoy her stories and I liked the crazed Conrad and his ghost Neomi much better than I've liked some of her other characters.