In "Ancient Blood", the sequel to "Ancient Awakening", author Barbara Edwards follows her typical, clan-themed formula into the Other community of Rhodes End to varying results. Lily, the newest town resident and animal control worker, has escaped to Rhodes End after surviving a stalker's violent attack with an unexpected side-effect. Cole, the long-time resident botanist and Protector for his werewolf pack, still mourns the death of his mate. When the two meet, there is definite chemistry, but over the course of the novel, the chase for a rapist, a stalker, an answer, and a cure rather divert the focus from our protagonists.
The main laud for this tale is that the world the author builds is very real; not just a tale of two people but of an entire town, platonic, romantic, and familial relationships all included and interwoven into the fabric of the story. The secondary characters are all very much involved and have their own threads throughout and the characters, so far, show continuation from one book to the next. The problems, however, are just as apparent. The first, of course was the fact that despite Lily's ability to see auras and Cole's extra senses and skills, neither seemed able to use or appreciate them until the end of the book. This influenced all sorts of things throughout the book, from how they relate to one another to their pursuit of suspects. This reminds me of the set-up where a genius acts like an idiot until the final scene of a play. Or a detective acts like a mundane until the "big" breakthrough at the climax. Not to say that you can immediately guess who the criminals are, but it does make you somewhat frustrated with our heroes by the end of the book.
The second big issue was, as implied above, there really isn't a lot of overt romance between the protagonists after the first third or so of the book. Instead, the focus turns to one of two other storylines- one involving the couple from the first book in the series- and the first person points of view of the criminal (or is it criminals?). While appreciated in a mystery-suspense, as this was labeled a paranormal romance, the fact that both the paranormal and romance were understated was something of a let-down for this reader hence the mild rating. Still, while not as compulsive a read as some of her others, it does keep your interest. Overall, a worthy addition for a Barbara Edwards...
After narrowly escaping a stalker’s vicious attack, Lily Alban is left with the ability to see human auras. After moving to the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End, she finally feels safe, and against her better judgment, falls in love. But she soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all. As a botanist, werewolf Cole Benedict has dedicated his life to researching healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy. He resists his attraction to Lily to protect her from the beast inside him. But when Lily’s stalker threatens her again, he’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Even if that means embracing the instincts of his wolf. Together they must use extraordinary gifts to catch Lily's stalker before he attacks again. But will revealing their inner-most secrets to one another destroy their growing love or save them both?