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Afterimage    by Jaye Roycraft order for
by Jaye Roycraft
Order:  USA  Can
ImaJinn, 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Marya Jaks' entire life changes the moment centuries old Alek Dragovich, the most powerful 'enforcer' within the ranks of the Undead's Directorate, invades her bedroom and announces he's come to pass judgment. As the daughter of a 'dhampir' (the offspring of a vampire and a mortal woman), vampires consider Marya an 'aberration', for she has the ability to sense their presence where others cannot. Rather than risk her becoming a deadly adversary, the Paris-based Directorate has sent l'enforcier to access her situation and her intentions. Ultimately Drago spares her life and then disappears into the night as mysteriously as he appeared, Marya's only memory of him the eerie afterimage of his intense blue eyes.

Marya's reprieve is short-lived -- she learns that Drago has reneged on his judgment, his new ruling proclaiming that she has one week to get her affairs in order before she's terminated. Furious at l'enforcier's life-and-death games, Marya plots to kill him before he comes for her. Drago survives the beautiful aberration's assassination attempt and is not a little taken aback by her bravado. His interest in Marya, not only as an adversary but as a woman, is heightened as well as his renewed suspicions that someone within the power hungry Brotherhood has hatched yet another elaborate scheme to go after him and his high-ranking position. Taking Marya under his personal protection, Alek Dragovich sets out to unmask those within the Brotherhood who would dare challenge his authority and see him overthrown.

Jaye Roycraft has created another imaginative and highly readable story in Afterimage. Her tweaking of basic vampire mythology makes for an interesting premise, one that is sure to create numerous spin-offs. The plot and action breeze along and the romance that develops between Drago and Marya is satisfying as well as sensuous. Fans of vampire romance will enjoy Afterimage and keep a sharp lookout for Ms. Roycraft's next exciting book.

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