After the harrowing experience of being held captive by the queen of the vampires, Major Vernon Davis Ware has finally returned to England from Morocco. All he wants is to marry Emma, the woman he loves, and settle down into a normal life, but duty calls again. It seems that Davie's old colleague, who was turned vampire himself, is struggling in his war against the evil vampires and needs someone who can resupply him and plan strategies during the daylight hours when he can't. He has specifically requested Davie. With no other choice but to return to Casablanca and help in the fight, Davie releases Emma to find happiness elsewhere, but leaving her behind, breaks his heart in two.
Emma Fairfield has loved Davie for years and has eagerly awaited his proposal. She wants no other man, if she can't have him. Emma has always been a bit of a tomboy and longs for adventure, so rather than sitting idly by hoping for Davie's safe return, she throws caution to the wind and travels to Casablanca in search of him. When she finally finds Davie, he has changed in ways she never could have imagined and is embroiled in a war he might not survive. Emma must decide if her love for Davie outweighs the risks and how far she is willing to go to be his wife.
The Gift turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me. I hadn't heard much in paranormal romance circles about Susan Squires' Companion series, so I can't say that it ever really caught my eye as something I'd like to read. That's why I decided to go ahead with this novella without having read the previous books in the series. Now that I've given it a try, I'm very interested in backtracking and learning more about this interesting new vampire world. This is the first time I've read a historical vampire romance and to make it even more unique, the story is primarily set in Morocco, Casablanca to be exact. I don't think I've ever read any story, much less a romance, set in Africa before.
I really liked both the hero and heroine of this novella. Davie is an honorable man who is an officer in the British army. He's been looking forward to finally proposing to the woman he loves, but when duty calls and he doesn't know if he'll come back alive, he does the noble thing and releases Emma even though it breaks his heart to do so. He was also previously held captive, raped and tortured by the queen of the vampires which made him incredibly sympathetic. It just made me want to wrap him up in my arms and love him tenderly like Emma does. Because of his experiences with vampires, Davie would rather die than become one, but fate may have other plans in store for him. Emma is a vivacious and adventurous young lady who would rather risk her life in a dangerous place than to live without the man she loves. I had to admire her spunk in following Davie to Casablanca and her willingness to love him no matter what. She was a very brave woman who fought valiantly by his side in more ways than one. In my opinion, the author did a great job of conveying the deep sense of longing between these two when they couldn't be together, as well as the incredible love and tenderness they shared when they finally did reunite.
From what I can tell, The Gift falls between The Burning and One with the Night, books #3 and #4 of the Companion series. When I first started reading it, I was slightly confused. It took me a chapter or so to sort everything out. In this respect, I think it would have been better to have read the series in order. Also, some characters from previous books appeared, including Ian Rufford, the hero of The Companion, who had a strong secondary role and Beatrix, the heroine of The Hunger, who showed up briefly near the end. I also got the feeling that Davie and Emma were probably introduced in a previous book, because it was mentioned that they stood up for Ian and his wife at their wedding. Once I figured out who everyone was, the story was pretty easy to follow. I feel like I only got a taste of the vampire mythology here, and would love to know more. That, the exotic historical setting, and wanting to read more about Ian, who seems like he would make a great romantic hero, makes me very interested in continuing with this series, only this time I'll start at the beginning.:-)
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