Publisher: Lakehouse Press
Publication Date: September 30, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Kismet Blog Tour
Luca Minaldi is powerful, rich and mesmerizing. But he is also a reclusive enigma. He lives in Malta, a fairytale-like place filled with sunshine and sea, beauty and secrets. And Luca’s darkest of secrets is the best kept of them all.
Eva Talbot is spending the summer in Malta to finish up her doctoral dissertation. When she meets Luca, a mysterious and handsome shipping magnate, there is an instant attraction. He has a disturbing and beautiful energy that she has never felt before. But she senses the darkness that lives within him.
Eva is hired to care for his mother, a woman who suffers from dementia, but it is Luca who Eva will eventually risk everything to save. She desperately wants to reach inside of him and fix what is broken, while at the same time, she knows that she is falling for him. Her life becomes a swirling chaos of darkness and romance, of secrets and mystery. And the question that emerges will become the most important answer of all.
Can she save Luca from the darkness that plagues him without losing herself?
The answer is a matter of life or death.
Of Blood and Bone is a hazy gothic romance that reminded me of a 1950s movie when it wasn’t trying to convince me it was an erotic thriller. I’m sure at least part of the story had to take part during the daytime, but something about the way it was written just felt like it was always night and there were probably convenient patches of dense fog waiting to trap unsuspecting victims. The atmosphere was deliciously drawn and by the mid-point in the book, every time Eva headed to her room, all I kept thinking was, “you’re in danger, girl! Why don’t I get you a nice lap throw and you can get settled in the living room chair?”
Eva has come to Malta to gather sociological research for her final paper before achieving her doctorate in psychiatry. Standing in her way – a giant, hairy spider. Jogging down the beach at night, Luca hears Eva’s hysterical screaming and checks to see if he can help. He gets rid of the spider but gains her fascination. Luca is just as attracted to the beautiful doctor, but he’s hiding something that will keep him from a relationship with her. Women start disappearing from Malta only to turn up dead, savagely attacked. He fears he may be responsible because he has violent blackouts. Eva isn’t so easily set aside and Luca can’t put her out of his mind so he ends up inviting her to live with him and his insane mother (makes perfect sense, right?). His beast is never far away from the surface, he just has to make sure Eva never knows.
The plot is more of an emotional journey than a long physical story, although there are a few incidents that push the story along. Mostly though, it’s the story of Eva and Luca falling in love, Luca fighting his beast, Eva and Luca fighting to stay together, Luca fighting his beast and Eva fighting for Luca. They have a dark, sometimes violent chemistry (there are a couple of scenes of dubious consent) whether they’re together or not. I thought it was clever of the author to not reveal too much information about what the nature of Luca’s beast was until the end of the story. My imagination was running wild.
Eva seems to be an obsessive sort of woman. Once she found out Luca was in trouble, she barely even ate and was researching continually. She talks a lot about being chatty with the residents of Malta for material to finish up her thesis but I wondered if she’d really be that sort of person. I do believe that she attached to Luca from the start – there was palpable chemistry from them right away and he was just the right blend of gorgeous and scary that would intrigue her professional mind.
Luka was a little easier to read but I’m not sure that the information ever did me much good in liking or not liking him. He had a troubled past with his mother and once a week he visits her even though it’s not good for either her dementia or his nerves. He’s nearly a complete recluse, doesn’t date and his best friend is Adrian, the guy who takes care of him and whose father took care of his father and so on back through history. He thinks he has something filthy and evil buried inside of his psyche that comes out without warning, turning him into a murderous beast. When he meets Eva, for the first time he wants someone enough to forget he’s supposed to be afraid of himself and he can’t stay away.
Despite being in their heads and knowing a lot of facts about them, I never got the feeling that I knew Eva or Luca very well. I knew their situations, their emotions in the moment and what pieces of past they shared with each other, but it all felt disconnected. To me, their relationship seemed based on a hypnotic sort of lust for the other, a desperate need to get under the other person’s skin. Love? I don’t know.
My Summary: I just love moody, broody stories sometimes and this definitely fit the bill. It left me a little unsettled, which I think was the point. Lucas isn’t the most angsty hero I’ve ever read, but having the story in his alternating POV helped to establish that he’s a guilt-ridden one. This ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, but I’m so invested in this dark story, I’d pick up the second book.