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One with the Night (The Companion Series, Book 4) (edition 2007)

by Susan Squires

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855141,824 (3.87)2
Member:moppety
Title:One with the Night (The Companion Series, Book 4)
Authors:Susan Squires
Info:St. Martin's Paperbacks (2007), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:No longer owned
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Tags:Fiction, Fantasy, Regency, Paranormal Romance, Vampires

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One with the Night by Susan Squires

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One with the Night was another great read in Susan Squire's Companion series. Once again, I'm rather shocked by the somewhat lower ratings for this series. Then again, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she has a penchant for seriously torturing her heroes, sexually and physically. Said heroes are also typically more docile and submissive than most vampire heroes, though I hesitate to call some of them betas. However, for the most part, none of this bothers me. Overall, I enjoy the juxtaposition of the heroine essentially saving the hero. I also love how Ms. Squires takes her characters on an emotional and psychological journey that always culminates in them not only finding true and lasting love, but also finding some peace with their companion which up to that point has usually tormented them. I thoroughly enjoy watching them learn about themselves and each other and grow throughout the story to a place where I can believe in their rightness for one another and the power of their love.

Like nearly all of the heroes in this series to date, Callan is a deeply tortured man who was another of the evil Asharti's victims. She put him through hell as her own personal plaything, repeatedly raping and physically tormenting him throughout his time with her. At first it was via compulsion, but eventually, he submitted to her tortures which only left him further psychologically confused about whether he was a warped man who truly enjoyed her “attentions.” She coerced him into committing other atrocities for her as well, and when she was finally dead, he tried to create a vampire haven where others of his kind could find solace. Unfortunately, that plan backfired to the point that he became known as a traitor both to humans and vampires. Because of all this, he believes himself evil and unredeemable, but it doesn't stop the good in him from coming out in small ways. I loved how his part of the story opened with him “cleaning house” in a brothel and throwing the cruel manager and customers out while offering a new life to the prostitutes. Little good deeds like this are his way of trying to atone for the wrongs he committed in the past, but in reality, he doesn't believe he's doing much good. Callan is so tormented, he has tried several times to kill himself, but his companion won't allow it. Therefore, when he hears of a possible cure for vampirism, he's all too eager to find the doctor who is trying to discover it. Callan thinks that if he can become human again, he might finally be able to return to a normal life, and if not, then at least he'd be able to commit suicide. He just didn't expect to find love in the process. Not surprisingly, since escaping Asharti, Callan has chosen a celibate life for the past two years and doesn't really want to have anything to do with women or sex, but he can't resist the way Jane draws him. She's innocent, good, generous, and shockingly positive even in the face of her own vampirism. Although he desires her deeply, he believes it's only his companion driving him to the call of life, and he also believes himself not even close to good enough for her. Callan loathes himself so much for the things Asharti made him do that he eventually allows Jane to believe some things about himself that, while technically true, have more nuance to them than he's willing to admit. He even lets her think he's willingly having sex with the villainess, Elyta, when in reality she is compelling him in one way or another. Poor Callan has been raped so many times, first by Asharti and then Elyta, that he has trouble differentiating between a loving, healthy sexual relationship and abuse, but luckily through Jane's gentleness and their love for one another, he is finally able to experience and recognize the distinction.

Jane has always lived in the shadow of her father but is a very talented scientist and healer in her own right. She learned a great deal about doctoring by simply watching her father and reading anatomy books. In fact, she's a very bookish young lady in general, which was something I loved about her. She also taught herself midwifery by lying to her father about where she was and going into the slums to help pregnant woman. Despite all this, her father has little faith in her abilities, mainly because she's a woman, which has left her with some psychological scars of her own to overcome. Because of how she was turned vampire in a laboratory accident, Jane is still innocently unaware of the full extent of her condition and powers. She only knows what she and her father have been able to deduce scientifically. Because his only child has this “disease,” her father is working tirelessly to find a cure. It's very cute how Jane tries to comport herself like a proper lady, drinking her blood from a teacup, not allowing her "affliction" to turn her into a beast. This measure of control she exhibits over her companion definitely comes in handy in convincing Callan that not every vampire is a slave to the creature that shares their blood. She's definitely a scientist through and through. The fact that she treated her one and only sexual experience years ago as a science experiment was amusing, yet it was sad that she thought of herself as not attractive enough and too much of a bluestocking to be marriageable. This is what led to her wanting to experience sex outside of marriage, but her experiment definitely didn't produce the results she was looking for. She'd been told it would be a transforming experience, but hers was anything but until she meets Callan. However, Jane leans so far toward being a liberated woman that her first love-making experience with Callan leaves her feeling frightened that she might lose herself and her ambitions in her feelings for him. She also thinks it's just her companion producing a heightened sexual response, and that makes her feel warped for wanting sex with him so badly. Luckily, she finally comes to terms with all of this and eventually embraces every part of her new self. I also couldn't have been prouder of her when she showed her intelligence by deducing (with a little help) what was actually going on between Callan and Elyta and putting stop to it.

This is the first book in the series in which both characters begin the story as vampires, so the dynamic between them is a little different. Because of the companion in their blood, they experience an intense, raw sexual attraction from the moment they meet. It even provokes a sexual response when Callan is gravely wounded and unconscious. Events that occur later in the story change this dynamic, as they experience their attraction for each other in a different way. Always though, Callan is thinking of Jane first and foremost in everything he does which I found very romantic. They each also see things in the other that they can't see in themselves. Callan recognizes Jane's talents, creativity and femininity all of which she tries to hide or deny, because of how her father treated her as the son he never had. Jane intuitively senses the pain in Callan's past, because she can see it mirrored in his eyes. She also sees the goodness in him when he thinks of himself as nothing but evil. Both of them admit their love for one another to themselves, but each think the other can't love them back, which delays their verbal declarations until the very end. A part of me wished that they could have had a little more faith in each other and their ability to love, but it all ended well anyway.

For the first time in this series, I have to admit that the sexual abuse of the hero was a little harder for me to take. I think it was because a large part of it was happening in real time with Elyta, interspersed with some flashbacks to his time with Asharti as well, which made it all a little too overwhelming. It got to the point that Callan was spending so much time engaged in torturous sex acts with the villainess that I felt it was taking something away from his and Jane's burgeoning love. Of course, none of this is his fault, because Elyta first compelled him with her vampire powers, and later, by hanging Jane's safety over his head. At the time, he had little else with which to bargain except his body, so I did admire him for putting himself on the line like that to protect Jane. It was just difficult to read about him being abused over and over when he was already deeply damaged from his time with Asharti. It also didn't allow for a lot of time for Callan and Jane to develop a healthy sexual relationship, so that part seemed slightly rushed. Having Callan and Jane finally rekindle their intimacy right on the heels of the abuse seemed a little too soon as well. However, I will admit though, that their interactions were very sweet and romantic, and the author did a great job of differentiating between the two experiences for Callan.

There were a few common characters from past books who appear in One with the Night. Jane's father was first seen in The Companion as the doctor who Ian turned to, looking for a cure, and it is through his blood sample that Jane was infected. Stephan Sincai's mentor, the monk, Brother Flavio, arrives with Elyta and her maid, Clara. Although Flavio seems to have a guilty conscience for not doing more to help Stephan and is obviously not evil like Elyta, he is largely passive throughout the story. I thought it was sweet that Clara had been in love with Flavio for a long time and unable to express her feelings inside the confines of Mirso Monastery. She finally finds her voice, but sadly, we don't get to see much of what happens between these two. Perhaps they will appear again as supporting characters in future books of the series. There is also the vampire, Khalenberg, who is out to prevent anyone from discovering a cure. Although I don't distinctly recall him from the previous books, he may have appeared before, because he seemed to have knowledge of the other now-happy couples. I also thought the inclusion of the Loch Ness monster was clever.

Overall, I enjoyed reading One with the Night and thought that it was another worthy effort in the Companion series. The only reason I marked off the half-star was for the somewhat excessive sexual abuse, but in the grand scheme of things, it didn't take too much away from the rest of the story for me. I liked the journey to finding a cure and how that all turned out. I also admire the author for her talent with character studies and how she was able to bring Callan and Jane full-circle in both their relationship with each other and their individual relationships with their companions. Although the main characters for the next book of the series look like they are going to be brand new, I look forward to meeting them when I continue the series soon.

Note: The sexual tension and love scenes between the hero and heroine are fairly steamy but not really what I would term erotic. However, there are multiple scenes of the hero being raped both in the present and in flashbacks that are pretty intense and contain some BDSM style interactions (including a D/S “relationship”, bondage, flogging, and intimate piercing) between him and his female abusers, which are not for the faint of heart. ( )
  mom2lnb | Mar 3, 2014 |
**Courtesy of CK2S Kwips & Kritiques**

Callan Kilkenny longs for a release from the vampire curse that plagues him. Upon learning of a scientist who is researching a cure for vampirism, he presents himself to the good doctor as a test subject, willing to suffer the experiments until a remedy is discovered.

Dr. Blundell is only too keen to accept this unexpected offer, as his only child has contracted this mysterious condition. Infected through a cut after an accident in her father’s laboratory, Jane has received no guidance for her newfound powers, her strange cravings, and the disturbing sexual urges she has begun experiencing – urges that increase in volume when she sets eyes on the ruggedly handsome Callan.

But not everyone is happy with Dr. Blundell’s research. There are factions that would destroy his work and others who would own it all costs. Soon all hell will break loose at the little farmhouse that houses Dr. Blundell’s laboratory – and Callan and Jane will find themselves right in the middle of it!

Susan Squires is a new author to me, but her blurb for One With the Night intrigued me, since I enjoy both historicals and paranormal romances – especially those with vampires. I have read many vampire tales over the years, many in the romance genre and even more that are not. I never tire of the theme, but I always appreciate a new spin on the phenomena, which is one of the attributes about this book which attracted me.

Squires’ main characters treat vampirism as a disease, and while this may not be the first time this theory has been broached, it is less prevalent than others. She combines an old legend with a new concept regarding the origin of vampires, a little scientific research, and a non-traditional love story set in the Regency period.

Callan is certainly an atypical hero – he has long been subjected to continuous torture and subjugation at the hands of his Vampire Mistress. Freed upon her death, he sets out to find a way to remove his vampire companion and redeem himself of the evils he was forced to perpetrate while a slave. Make no mistake, however, Callan is far from a natural submissive. Indeed, he is very alpha male – strong, heroic, with a spirit not easily controlled. Yet when he falls for Jane and her life is subsequently threatened, he is willing to do anything, even sacrifice his freedom and his life, in order to protect her.

Jane is a woman out of place in her own time. She is an intelligent, independent woman, whose desires lean more to the cerebral than the matrimonial. For all her intelligence and spirit, she is still stifled by the time period she lives in, and to a degree by her own father. Although love has never been high on her list of priorities before, that changes rapidly when she meets Callan, and we see her woman’s heart begin to blossom and come to terms with her scientific mind.

One With the Night is the fourth in Susan Squires’ Companion series, a fact which is not at all apparent from the book cover – something which always irks me. I prefer to read series books in order, and appreciate it when both the series name and the reading order are easy to find within the book – either on the cover or in the first pages of information. That said, this book worked very well as a standalone novel, and I had no issue slipping easily into Squires’ world. Even when I had completed the story, I had no clue this was part of a series until I recently visited Ms. Squires’ website, which clearly identifies its place in her Companion series.

One With the Night will be enjoyed by anyone who likes a Regency Romance with Paranormal aspects, even if they have not previously read any of this series.

( )
  nashjar | Feb 11, 2008 |
One with the Night is a historical romance, but also a vampire book. I wasn't sure about this combination, but she had a great heroine in Jane Blundell who, as the daughter of a scientist, was looking for scientific explanations to living with and hopefully curing the 'parasite' in her blood. She and the dreadfully tortured hero Callen Kilkenny (and who doesn't love a tortured hero, but he really was close to broken. He was looking to be cured of his vampirism to commit suicide - no spoiler, that's revealed in the first few pages - but what is revealed is what was done to him to put him in that space. Bad things indeed.) Anyways, Jane and Callen have to fight off bad vampires, difficult pasts, come to terms with all sorts of things and find true love. A very enjoyable quest. Though if you are at all sqeamish, maybe you shouldn't go here, because of Callen's past, which is brought into the book via flash back. You can always skim those passages. Still this is one I would reread so it's keeper status for me. ( )
  amf0001 | Jun 14, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312941021, Mass Market Paperback)

Jane Blundell's keen intellect and wit have always set her apart from her marriage-minded peers. But such differences are nothing compared to the change that comes upon her when she is infected by a blood sample in her father's laboratory. Suddenly, her veins resonate with a terrifying, exhilarating power. Dr. Blundell takes Jane to the Scottish highlands where she collides with the only man who can understand her hunger--and slake her unending desire…
 
Callan Kilkenny has returned to England from Marrakech, still filled with self-loathing at the deeds he committed in the name of a beautiful, depraved vampire. Now that he has tracked down Dr. Blundell in hopes of a cure he has also found a kindred spirit in Jane. Her passion and her blood calls to Callan, fueling a carnal need that shocks them both with its intensity. But others have come in search of the cure, too…for reasons that are sinister and deadly. And to save Jane and the rest of their kind, Callan must risk everything--even his last chance at redemption…

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Jane Blundell?s keen intellect and wit have always set her apart from her marriage-minded peers. But such differences are nothing compared to the change that comes upon her when she is infected by a blood sample in her father?s laboratory. Suddenly, her veins resonate with a terrifying, exhilarating power. Dr. Blundell takes Jane to the Scottish highlands where she collides with the only man who can understand her hunger - and slake her unending desire . . . Callan Kilkenny has returned to England from Marrakech, still filled with self-loathing at the deeds he committed in the name of a beautiful, depraved vampire. Now that he has tracked down Dr. Blundell in hopes of a cure he has also found a kindred spirit in Jane. Her passion and her blood calls to Callan, fueling a carnal need that shocks them both with its intensity. But others have come in search of the cure, too?for reasons that are sinister and deadly. And to save Jane and the rest of their kind, Callan must risk everything - even his last chance at redemption . . . ?When it comes to combining extreme sensuality with dangerous drama, no one does it better than Squires? Romantic Times BOOKreviews.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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