Claire Stroughton is a tough, no-nonsense attorney for a big New York law firm who is happily married to her job and has no plans for romance. She inherited a partnership in the firm from her father along with an eccentric old lady who is her only estate planning client. When the lady calls Claire to her sprawling mansion to make changes to her will, Claire believes it will be just another of many routine visits. Her house call turns frightening though when she is drugged and thrown into a dungeon with a huge, gorgeous man who hides in the shadows and believes himself to be a monster. As it becomes clear that he poses no real threat to Claire, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to his tortured soul. They have only three days to share enough love and tenderness to last a lifetime, but Claire is determined to find a way to release this unexpected man of her dreams and make it last forever.
The Story of Son is an absolutely amazing story of a deeply misunderstood vampire who has been imprisoned for over fifty years. This little novella turns romance on its proverbial ear by having the feisty heroine come to the rescue of her captive hero. Claire is a take-no-prisoners attorney who is married to her career and has never felt the need for romance and family until one fateful day when she is thrown into a dungeon with a gorgeous vampire. I like that the author had Claire be extremely frightened in the beginning of her ordeal which made it seem more realistic. She's a very perceptive person though, and once she realizes that Michael (I think it's neat how she gave him his name) is a prisoner as well, she quickly begins to warm up and trust him and then hatch a plan for their escape. Normally, I'm not a big fan of alpha heroines, but I really liked Claire. She managed to be an assertive take-charge kind of person without being irritating. I love how she is so kind and caring with Michael, and how she is willing to do anything to be with him.
I didn't even realize until I was nearly finished with the story that it was told entirely from Claire's point of view, but I honestly didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having Michael's perspective. J. R. Ward is masterful at making the reader feel everything that Michael is feeling through his body language, facial expressions, and actions, and also through Claire's observations of him. Michael is an incredibly gentle soul who has been tortured by those who don't understand and fear his differences. He has learned to live within the pages of his books which he treasures and the beautiful pictures that haunt his mind. Michael is mostly a sweet, tenderhearted beta hero with a streak of alpha protectiveness, a deep sense of honor and an instinct for insatiable passion which was an absolutely heady combination. In my opinion, virgin heroes are highly undervalued by romance authors and publishers, and underrated by many romance readers as well. I found Michael's innocence to be utterly intoxicating, and think I was probably walking around with a giddy, drunken smile on my face for hours after reading this novella.;-) I can hardly express how much I adored Michael. There just aren't many romance heroes out there who are as perfect as he was for me.
The Story of Son takes place in Caldwell, NY, home of J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and is also rooted within the same mythos, but it is a stand-alone novella with no connecting plots or characters in common with the Brotherhood...at least not yet. It is certainly possible that they could meet up at some point in the future and I would love to see that happen if Ms. Ward deigns to write it. There were a few questions about Michael that were left unanswered and could perhaps lead to a sequel, but the story was perfectly fine as is too. I wasn't sure I would find anything that could live up to the Black Dagger Brotherhood for me, but The Story of Son was equally as good if not better in some ways. It isn't often that I finish a story with a sense of sheer perfection, but that's exactly how I felt after reading this one which will now promptly be placed on my keeper shelf to be enjoyed again and again in the future. The Story of Son can be found in the anthology Dead After Dark.
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