by Laurell K. Hamilton, MaryJanice Davidson, Eileen Wilks, Rebecca York

July 2004
ISBN: 0-515-13815-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Do you get weak in the knees when Dracula’s lips touch his victim’s neck? Does the thought of an otherworldly lover make your pulse race? If so, then Cravings may be just the summer read you are looking for. From an Anita Blake novella to another were-tale from Rebecca York, this anthology offers something for everyone.

Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series introduced many readers to the erotic pleasures of paranormal romance. Of late however, the direction of the novels have taken a decidedly un-romantic turn, much to the dismay of her fans. In her novella, Blood Upon My Lips, she starts out well, promises much, and then once again, fails to deliver. I cannot understand why she continues to shy away from the real depth of emotion that was once her hallmark. Anita has become a shallow husk, at the mercy of her paranormal appetites. Where, oh where, as the kick-ass necromancer gone? Don’t let this first offering trick you into thinking that the rest of Cravings will be a disappointment.

MaryJanice Davidson has created a delightfully funny world with her Undead series. In Dead Girls Don’t Dance, she matches neophyte vampire Andrea with Daniel Harris, her high-school crush. He seems to take her “affliction” in stride, and finds that being her boy-toy may just be what he was looking for. The wit is sharp as a canine tooth, the humor laced with Andrea’s emotional teeter-totter as she continues to find her place in the cosmos. It was my first read in this series but it won’t be my last.

In what may be the most unusual novella in the anthology, Eileen Wilks brings us Originally Human. This is the story of Molly, a centuries-old succubus who takes power during intercourse, and Michael, something not quite human, who literally falls to Earth at her doorstep. The ensuing race to stay one step ahead of Michael’s pursuers leads them across the country in search of answers. Molly is a true original - strong, yet sensitive and yearns for real affection. Michael’s real beauty lies not in the spectacular physical body he inhabits, but inside is heart and soul. This story is filled with romance.

Rebecca York introduces readers to another Marshall werewolf in Burning Moon. Grant Marshall has come to Sea Gate searching for a killer. Racked with survivor’s guilt over the murder of his mate, Grant has arrived at the first spot where the serial killer left his mark. He is not prepared for the attraction he feels for Antonia Delarosa. He is equally unprepared for her calm acceptance of his alter-ego and her accuracy in reading his emotional state. She is not only a gifted Tarot reader, but has her own psychic gifts which allow her to “see” despite her blindness. As Grant and Antonia discover that love can come to the most wounded souls, the killer is close at hand, and has targeted her as his next victim. Ms. York delivers another fine romance, with danger lurking in the shadows. She gives us several possible suspects, and keeps the pace tight, even in this shorter format.

Cravings is not for the faint of heart, and anyone who is not familiar with the Anita Blake series should skip her story, but there is much to offer in the remaining three tales. I enjoyed the book immensely and have discovered more authors to add to my ever-growing list. As if I needed to “crave” more books!

Reviewed in July 2004 by Paula.