Friday, February 20, 2015

Merrick & William by Claire Cray

Merrick #1
New York, 1799: the future looks bright for the charming young book dealer William Lacy, until a raucous night of drinking lands him in shackles. He narrowly avoids the brutal prison system thanks to his mother, who negotiates with the judge to secure him a five year apprenticeship in lieu of a prison sentence. And so William finds himself in a carriage bound for the remote woods upstate, where he'll spend the next years of his life learning a new trade under some old master.

When he first sees Merrick, William thinks he's been dropped into a medieval horror story. Tall and gruff, dressed in a hooded robe that completely conceals his features, and riding a black mare, Merrick might as well be the Grim Reaper.

But appearances are deceiving. A skilled apothecary and healer, Merrick proves to be a generous host and a gentle teacher, and William soon finds himself surprisingly comfortable in his new surroundings. And yet troubling mysteries abound: Why does Merrick never show his face or hands? Why do his movements seem so young and sure beneath his robes? What lies within the cave behind the stone cottage?

Something unnatural is afoot. But most alarming by far is William's own reaction to his new keeper. For Merrick's strange charms are bewitching enough by day; but by night, in the darkness of the room and the bed they share, William finds himself entirely overwhelmed by desires he never imagined...

This was such a great find.  I wasn't looking for a vampire or supernatural story, I was actually searching for historical fiction when I saw "New York, 1799" in the summary and went and "1-clicked" it.  So glad I did.  I'll start by saying there is, in my honest opinion, a bit of an over abundance of exclamation points in William's inner monologues.  I only mention it because I know for some that can be an issue, but for me it wasn't.  Not once did those exclamation points or lack of inner thoughts in italics a distraction from the ride the author was taking us on.  I found the story to be beautifully told and the characters very intriguing.  From William being faced with a five year court appointed apprenticeship to his acceptance of who and what Merrick is, this book had me completely enthralled.


William #2
The story of William and Merrick continues in this sequel to the spellbinding bestseller Merrick.

In the summer of 1799, young William Lacy watched his carefree life go up in smoke when a night of mischief landed him in shackles. Beaten, jailed, and sentenced to a long apprenticeship in the dreary woods of upstate New York, William was braced for the worst.

But he wasn’t prepared to fall in love with his master, a renowned and reclusive apothecary — a man — by the name of Silas Merrick. And he damn well never expected Merrick to be a blasted vampire.

Now, nearly one year after that summer of mystery, longing and unspeakable pleasure, William is still waiting to begin the future with Merrick he was promised. But it’s not easy becoming a vampire. Not only has Merrick become more secretive than ever about his nature and his past, but his feud with the beautiful and ruthless vampire Theo raises ever more troubling questions about the dark world William is about to enter.

William is determined to unravel the mysteries and find his happily ever after. But to do it, he must resolve Merrick’s doubts for himself. Can there be love and joy in this life of death and darkness? And will Merrick ever learn to open his heart?

Set in New York and Boston several months after the events of Claire Cray’s bestseller Merrick, William is another haunting, sensual story of love and desire in the shadows…and the adaptability of the human spirit.

Once again we find ourselves in the world of Merrick and William and vampires.  At first, I thought this was going to be mostly about why Merrick wouldn't turn William but it's so much more than that.  We learn Merrick's history, we get to see Theo working his magic to see his friend happy, but we also get to see William going from the human he was to the vampire he's been waiting to become.  This is a great sequel to Merrick.  Seeing them as individuals as well as a pair is intriguing.  Sometimes, characters lose their individuality when they finally become the couple that the story builds up to but I found that not only do they keep some of themselves they also blossom and find a new part of their individuality.  I don't know if there are any plans for further tales of this vampire couple but for this reader, I wouldn't mind seeing how they are when 1900 comes around.


God’s sakes.

I wasn’t even fighting it anymore.

When he touched me like that, even with just his gloved fingers on my head, it felt like every molecule in my body was drawn to the point of contact.

Was it loneliness? Was I lonely? Was that made me want to press against his broad chest and breathe in the warm, male scent of him? Was it loneliness that made me dream of his lips on my skin?

Merrick turned back to me, and I realized I’d fallen several paces behind. “Are you all right, William?”

“Yes, sir. Pardon me.”

He waited for me to catch up. “Are you unwell? You’re flushed.”

“No, sir.” Lord, I could feel it. I was flaming red. “It must be the air I’m unaccustomed to.”

His dark hood stayed fixed on me for a moment.

I fumbled. “Don’t you suppose that um…living in the city all that time, the lack of fresh air and all…maybe when a man gets out into nature, he feels so much more for the first time, say…that is, his body might experience a whole new spectrum of…”

Oh, for the love of... That wasn’t where I’d meant to head. “That is,” I tried again. “Of taste, and scent…senses, little parts of his body he’s never used, suddenly waking up, now that there’s something to stimulate them…”

I cursed myself silently.

“I think you’re right,” Merrick said simply, and turned away to continue on.

I grabbed my own face, scowling fiercely before I shook my limbs out and rushed to catch up to him.

Author Bio:
Claire Cray specializes in M/M romance and stories of an offbeat nature. Her tales feature intelligent characters, a vivid sense of atmosphere, and a (sometimes twisted) sense of humor. Born in a strange little village in the Pacific Northwest, Claire was raised on rain, trees, and spooky stories. An addiction to misadventure has carried her from the backwoods of Oregon to Portland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, where she currently resides.




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