All Things That Matter Press
Dark Moon, by Maggie Tideswell, takes the reader on a chilling ride from start to finish.
Elle has gone on a solo camping trip and during the middle of a midnight storm, she is raped and nearly killed. Her escape is emotionally charged and terror filled. When she gets home, she's intent on capturing her rapist who she believes is a serial killer who has stalked the area for a while. Unbelievably, she is contacted by a woman, her birth mother Sybil, who tells her she is a witch and her rapist is her brother. Sybil entreats Elle to join with her in her mystical pursuit of the killer.
Storm Fenton is a psychologist who has been dating Trevor Heardt for a year and hopes to 'seduce' him into proposing marriage. But before she does, she goes to a deserted beach to sunbath in the nude. While there, a mystery man appears and makes love to her. She doesn't know his name or what he does and subconsciously refers to him as the love of her life but she still wants that proposal from Trevor. Until she discovers she's pregnant with mystery man's child.
Trevor is both cold and controlling. He's livid when Storm tells him she's pregnant and storms out. But he soon returns telling her that he's sorry for his reaction and then surprisingly tells her she will never have the child. Storm is adamant that she won't have an abortion.
Jarred Walters, a Navy Captain, can't forget the beautiful woman he discovered on the beach. Even though she didn't object to his lovemaking, the fact that he seduced a virgin makes him want to find her and beg her forgiveness…as well as her hand in marriage. He's determined to locate her and when he does, he won't let her go. Ever.
I enjoyed this story with its twisty plot and edge of the seat danger for the protagonists. The paranormal elements were well done which is a bonus as far as I'm concerned. However, the use of multiple points of view (each character had a POV scene or two) was a trifle confusing. Since the story opens with Elle, I thought she was the principle protagonist only to discover later that it was Storm. But once I got into the rhythm of the story, this many points of view was less distracting than I first expected.
I was a little less enamored with Storm and Elle. Storm, as a psychologist, seemed far too fragile to deal with other people's emotional problems but that isn't my main complaint. She was too wishy washy when it came to choosing between Trevor and Jarred. I can see how she might want to be true to Trevor but, in my opinion, she allowed him to continue his cruel and punishing behavior, refusing to see how disturbed he really was. Some of that was due to a 'spell' cast on her but I don't want to spoil the plot by giving too many details. Jarred, her self-termed stalker, was a more romantic hero but also very controlling. Oddly, I didn't seem to mind his dominance since it centered on protecting Storm but perhaps that was because he was a far more sympathetic character (certainly more sympathetic than Trevor). Then there was Elle, who I liked for her bravery and determination to find and jail her rapist but her devious single-minded pursuit of Jarred when he had firmly announced his love of Storm…Well, that lost my sympathy very fast.
Obviously, I liked Jarred best of all the characters. Not surprising since I am a romance author and I almost always like the hero best. But he also seemed the most honest, with himself and with the reader, and that's a trait I value highly. For the same reason, I liked Sybil (Elle's mother). Sybil seemed to be a strong, honest character, the kind of person I would like to know.
All in all, I liked Dark Moon very much but it isn't a romance as traditionally defined. There are a few instances where hearts race and blood pounds but all the ,action, is off stage. That's okay but that isn't why I say it's not a traditional romance...at least as we define it here in the USA. While the romantic elements are strong, the main point of the story was the action/mystery plot (save the girl, capture the villain) and not the romance itself.
If you like plots that center on the action/adventure, that have a seat-of-your-pants edge of danger and a very good mystery, then I recommend Dark Moon. You'll enjoy it as much as I did.