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Embraced by the Shadows
cover design 2011 Ardy M. Scott.



Against the exotic backdrop of Istanbul and San Juan, Alana is a young woman torn between a vampire she cannot resist, loyalties to old friends and a confusing new life. Despite these complications, endowed with her new preternatural powers, she sets out to hunt the truth regarding her mother's tragic death...



Chapter Excerpt




Embraced by the Shadows

paranormal suspense


Mayra Calvani





Istanbul, twelve years ago

The Grand Bazaar was bustling with locals and tourists, as it had always been on warm summer nights for the past few centuries. The glitter of gold and copper and brass, lavishly displayed behind dozens of shop windows, could dazzle anybody's eyes. Heavy spices, Ottoman sweets of grape and nut pastes with the promise of aphrodisiac qualities, sacks filled with Arab coffees and the best teas from the northeastern little city of Rize, almond oils and musks, hennas, hundreds of hand-made silk carpets, their bright colors and details blinding. And the leather…endless rows of leather shops, filled with the soft yet pungent scent of animal skins. A very loud, wildly exotic belly-dancing melody came out of one of the shops, and an oddly pleasing smell, that of cigarette smoke mixed with incense and raki—the local alcoholic drink made from anise—hovered in the air.

The girl with long red curls stood in front of one of the many shops which swarmed this ancient place. She gazed intently at an oil painting of angels displayed in the window. Dramatic and disturbing, the painting depicted in painful detail an auburn-haired angel being cast out of Heaven.

From afar, the vampire watched.

Same profile, same hair. Uncanny, the resemblance. Just like...

For a bitter second the vampire closed his eyes and commanded himself to forget. Then everything was fine again, and his eyes opened and the ghost of a smile crossed his face.

Three centuries ago he would have drunk from her. No man, woman or child could be safe from him during those first dark days. His hunger insatiable, he would have been lost in the rapture of the draught. But that was three centuries ago. Nowadays he preferred men with cold murder in their past, and he liked to take them completely, loving the gush of warm blood in his mouth, until he ceased to hear the haunting, drum-like beat of the heart.

The girl seemed mesmerized by the painting of the fallen angel. The virulent clouds; the agonizing faces of the good angels surrounding the "fallen" one; the almost palpable sadness and rage, all stroke a deep cord within her.

The vampire could see through her artistic soul; unbeknown to herself, she had fallen in love with the beauty of the colors, the purity of the lines, and the tragic fatalism of it.

He read her thoughts…

She loved the painting. She wanted her mom to buy it for her, but she knew her mom wouldn't. It looked way too expensive…

And then something happened. She seemed to sense his presence, turned around, and stared right into his direction.

She frowned, uncertain. Something about him had caught her attention. His tall frame dressed in black, a flash of white teeth.

The vampire retreated into the shadows of the alley. He felt a twinge of guilt. He had not meant to frighten her.

The girl's mother and uncle, carrying bags of goods and souvenirs in their hands, stepped out of the shop. The girl pointed to the painting and pleaded with her mother to get it for her. Her mother took one look at it and shook her head. "That's morbid!" she said, then went on to argue that she had already bought her many gifts and her unreasonable requests would make them bankrupt. Nevertheless, she went inside the shop to ask for the price. A moment later she came back, looking incredulous and muttering in disbelief, "Ridiculous! A thousand dollars for that thing. Sorry, mi amor, but I can't afford it."

As they headed toward the exit of the bazaar, the girl glanced over her shoulder to the alley. But this time she didn't see him.

After the girl was out of sight, the vampire walked into one of the many ill-reputed, dark narrow streets near the bazaar and finished off a couple of shabby, despicable-looking mortals in two intense short draughts.

Then he walked back to the shop to purchase the painting.



Chapter 1

Alana woke with a start. She lifted herself on her elbows and glanced quickly about the room.


A bit panicky, she fumbled for the night lamp by her bed and switched it on. She could hear herself breathing. Her heart pounded hard inside her chest, and a sticky film of perspiration covered her skin. She felt confused, even mortified, and yet secretly excited, fascinated.

It had happened again.

The dream. Or was it a nightmare? But nightmares are supposed to frighten, and she had not been frightened. She had been… but no, it was too weird.

She rose from the bed. She walked over to the dressing table and, leaning on it, stared at herself in the mirror. Her dark almond-shaped eyes looked huge under the dim yellow light. Her long lashes cast eerie shadows on her cheeks and gave her a spooky appearance. Her hair tumbled in wild tousled waves to either side almost to her waist. Annoyed, she shoved one strand away from her face.

Morbid. That's what you are.

She walked over to the sliding glass door and opened the curtain. The clear Puerto Rican night sky spread out before her like an enormous luminescent tapestry. At seventeen stories high, she couldn't ask for a better view. Unlike many people she knew, she didn't mind the height at all. In fact, she loved it. A few months ago, when she had been looking for an apartment to rent, she had told the real estate agent that she wanted a really high place, that she wanted to live high up in the skies, that she wished to have the feeling of being able to fly off one night if she wanted to. Fly off? Why had she said such a silly thing?

Morbid and strange.

She opened the sliding glass door and stepped out into the balcony. There was no moon tonight, no breeze, only a bold and disturbing stillness. Closing her eyes, she massaged her temples with the tips of her fingers in soft, circular motions. She tried to go back to her dreams, submerge herself into the murky waters of her subconscious. She tried to force herself to remember the whole thing from beginning to end. But it was no use. As usual, everything came to her in little fragments.

The creature.

Or was it a man? The strength and safety of the powerful arms that could have crushed her in a second. And the face, a face she couldn't remember but which she knew—somehow she knew—to be wise and magnificent and ancient. The hypnotic way the fingers had touched her, caressing the line of her jaw ever so lightly, yet sending such powerful shivers into her body she had almost convulsed. The finger had traced little circles on her, it had been a long nail, she could recall that distinctly. A long nail like storybook witches have. Yet she had not been afraid nor repulsed by it. On the contrary, it had sent her into a delicious trance from which she had not wanted to escape. The cold lips had kissed the soft curve of her throat, the nape of her neck, leaving her defenseless, swooning.

And the teeth...yes, the evil teeth! Pointy, razor-sharp.

"Oh, my God," she whispered, opening her eyes and shaking her head. "I'm going crazy."

She had always been an unusual child, perpetually fascinated with the occult, ghosts, werewolves, witches. A consummate bookworm, she always had her nose in a book, the kind of book that wasn't suitable for an innocent girl of her age in a Catholic convent school—crime mysteries, the paranormal, the psychology of criminals, famous murders in history. She had a little game in junior high: she would pretend she was possessed by the devil and frighten some of the girls. She would stare at them with a demonic-looking expression on her face. It had been a way to fight boredom. Plus, she secretly loved the attention she got, whether it was positive or negative.

One day Alana drew on the blackboard a picture of a woman, a large knife in hand, stabbing a man. It was a very detailed picture—droplets of blood dripping from the wounds and the knife. Of course, the nuns were horrified. The news reached Mother Superior, who summoned Alana into her office. But Alana, with her sweet nature and good grades, told her that it had all been a joke, a bad joke to scare her classmates. The nuns were patient and forgiving for the most part, attributing Alana's attention-seeking antics to the recent loss of her mother.

Apart from this fierce curiosity for the supernatural, Alana had been a perfectly normal child—with all the good and bad that goes with it. That's why she couldn't understand this darker side she had. She felt it had always been part of her, though it had intensified after her mother's death.

And the dreams...

"All because of that ridiculous club," she muttered, turning back into her bedroom. Who had thought of opening that silly place, anyway? La Cueva del Vampiro—what a cliché. If she were the owner of the place, she would have been more original than that. Perhaps she would tell the owner. But she didn't even know the owner, had never met the person, didn't even know if it was a man or a woman. Wait a minute. She knew it was a businessman. The old man who gave her the job had said so.

"Congratulations, Señorita Piovanetti. The job is yours." A soft voice, nearly caressing.

She stared at him, surprised. "Really?"

"I don't see why not. A degree in philosophy from the University of Boston, magna cum laude, and from what I can tell from the interview: hardworking, responsible, and enthusiastic. These are important qualities in a manager. It's true that you don't have any working experience, but that's not very important."

"No?" This was crazy. She didn't know anything about business.

"Not at all. It's always better to hire somebody young, with fresh you." He smiled vaguely. Had there been a strange shimmer in his eyes? A tall thin man in his late sixties, he'd been clad in an expensive-looking grey suit, with an oddly alluring smell emanating from him, redolent of pines and humid earth. He explained how he was not the owner of the club, no, not at all. The owner was an important businessman who traveled a lot. No, not Puerto Rican, not American, why was she so interested in his origin? He had smiled, condescending. He represented the owner's business interests here in San Juan. Whatever problems she might have she should contact him....

So, even though she was only a twenty-two-year-old Nietzsche freak fresh out of college, she had gotten the job as the restaurant manager of La Cueva del Vampiro, the new nightclub everybody in San Juan was talking about.

She would get an excellent salary, ridiculously so, and she needed the money to pay her share of the apartment. Later, after having acquired some working experience, she would look for another job, maybe go for her master's. Restaurant management wasn't really her type of thing, but the truth was, as soon as she had read the job opening in the newspaper, she had been instantly and magnetically drawn to it. The idea of dressing up as a vampire, of pretending to be a vampire quickly became an obsession.

It was a great opportunity, yet she had a bizarre feeling, as if the job had somehow been waiting for her. For her.

Her friends, who knew all about her eternal attraction to the supernatural, had been happy for her, congratulated her, joked about how at last she had fulfilled her dreams and become a vampire. A vampire! And she had laughed, they had celebrated, drinking champagne until two in the morning.

And then that night she had had the first dream. The creature or whatever it was. Taking her in its arms, doing terrible yet wonderful things to her, taking her away, far, far away, somewhere….

She glanced at the clock on the night table, a Mickey Mouse mechanical clock she had bought in Disney World when she was a little girl. It said 3:05 a.m.

It looked out of place, the Mickey Mouse clock. Smiling Mickey, with his thin arms and white-gloved hands pointing at the numbers. It looked too innocent, contrasting sharply with the sober, modern furnishings. She had walked into the shop with her mother, who pointed out to her that the Snow White clock was much nicer. But no, just to go against her mother, Alana had chosen the Mickey Mouse clock. Even after all these years, the memory still made her wince.

Taking a long deep breath, she went back to bed, trying to clear her mind, to shove away the thoughts about her dead mother. She knew from experience how damaging they could be.

And the creature…

She closed her eyes tightly, as if by doing so, she could push away the haunting memory of that long nail at her throat, of the gooseflesh the mere recollection of its proximity gave her.

Go away, damn you, go away, leave me alone, let me sleep!

She needed sleep.

Tomorrow was the opening night at La Cueva del Vampiro.

"What would you like?" Valeria Acosta said, her big brown eyes scanning the menu with childish relish.

"I'm not very hungry," Alana said. "I'll just have a salad and a glass of wine."

"You're not hungry? I'm starving! I'll have...I'll have the T-bone steak with French fries. I'll have wine, too."

They were sitting at their favorite corner table at El Metropol, a lively Cuban restaurant with low prices, friendly waiters, and generous portions. As usual at lunch time, the place was filled with voices and laughter and the clinking of forks and plates and glasses. Lots of noise, lots of cigarette smoke. Frantic waiters rushing trays from one end of the place to another.

After they had ordered and the waiter served them their wine, Valeria lifted her glass to Alana and said solemnly, "To my twin soul. May you have unlimited success in your first job. Or should I say, in your first immortal job?"

Alana smiled, raising her glass.

They had been inseparable friends since they first met in primary school, maybe because in many ways they shared the same thoughts, had the same fantasies, liked and disliked the same things. Twin souls. Ever since they were little, they had agreed on that. In their minds there existed no other explanation for such closeness. They would read the same books, play the same games. Always together, the redhead and the blonde. That's how Mother Superior referred to them, the redhead and the blonde. Who pulled Karen's braids? The redhead and the blonde. Who escaped from the dining hall to avoid lunch? The redhead and the blonde. Who sneaked into the library to read books about ghosts and witches? The redhead and the blonde.

Everybody who saw them was touched by their charm. How could they not be, with their respectively red and blonde locks, their creamy white complexions? In an island where most children were dark-haired and brown-skinned, Alana and Valeria possessed unusual traits.

But the teachers knew about them and would always separate them, so they wouldn't speak in class. It was strange, this closeness, this intimacy. Sometimes one would look at the other, and understanding would follow. Valeria always claimed their minds were telepathically linked. But Alana, a bit more skeptical, thought there was nothing magical about it. Only they were so close, knew each other so well, that often they sensed one another's thoughts.

Rebellious and stubborn, they both considered themselves utter pessimists. But as much as they resembled one another, in some aspects they differed completely. Valeria acted cooler, more pragmatic and unscrupulous, while Alana tended to be more impulsive, temperamental, moody. Sometimes they had awful fights, even fist fights when they were little, but they always came back together, kissing and hugging. Oddly, this difference in their personalities only served to bind them stronger together.

Going to college in Boston turned out to be a hard decision for Alana. That night they got totally drunk. They talked and cried and laughed. They would miss each other terribly, but Valeria seemed happy for her. They had a genuinely beautiful friendship, and no distance would ever keep them apart.

Untouchable, the two musketeers. The twin souls.

So while Alana had gotten a degree in Philosophy from the University of Boston, Valeria, whose family didn't have the financial means to send her abroad, had gotten hers in Architecture from the University of Puerto Rico. After graduation, Alana was glad to say goodbye to the cruel Boston winters and come back to her sticky hot island and to her best friend.

Then they did what they had always planned on doing together since junior high: looked for jobs, searched for a cozy apartment, and shared the rent.

They clinked glasses.

Alana took the red wine to her lips and took a sip, watching Valeria as she did the same.

"Delicious," Alana said. She began fiddling with the fork, her favorite pastime while waiting for her food at restaurants.


"Don't look at me like that. I'm nervous enough as it is. I can't shake this weird feeling I have. I'm still wondering why I got the job."

Valeria rolled her eyes. "Here we go again. You'll be terrific! I couldn't think of a job that would suit you better. It's great. And anyway, like you said, it would just be temporary. I'd be having fun if I were you."

"But why did I get the job? I don't know anything about restaurant management. We're talking about a first-rate nightclub. You wouldn't believe the amount of money invested in this place. You would think they would have hired a professional."

"If you say that again, I'm going to kill you. You have a college degree from a prestigious school, you're beautiful, you don't need anything else."

"Thank you," Alana said with amused sarcasm.

"You're welcome," Valeria said in the same tone. "Anyway, you didn't know anything about restaurant management. You do now, don't you, after all Victor's training? How many weeks has it been now?"

In spite herself, Alana nodded. "Okay, okay." True. Victor had been there with her, training her, helping her, advising her. He was thirty-five, and all of his adult life he had worked in restaurants and nightclubs. During the last three weeks, they had worked together from morning till evening, going over the decoration, the lighting, the menus, the costumes. Talking with the waiters, telling them how they should apply their make-up, wear their costumes, showing them how they should speak and walk. Not only for the restaurant but also the nightclub. He had behaved with the care and patience of an older brother and she would always be grateful to him.

"You know, this isn't like you," Valeria said. "You're always sure of yourself. Too sure of yourself, if you ask me. But these past few weeks you seem different."

Alana had told Valeria she'd had trouble sleeping. She had told her she had been having dreams, strange dreams. But she had not told her what the dreams were about. They were used to telling each other everything. But these dreams...were somehow too personal. They were her secret. Of course, Valeria had questioned her about them, but Alana had averted her eyes and said she could never remember their content, which at least was partially true.

As if reading her thoughts, Valeria asked, "Does this have anything to do with the dreams?"

Alana's pulse quickened. "No, I don't think so. I told you, I don't remember the dreams. I'm just not getting enough sleep lately. That's all."

"That's strange for someone who usually has such vivid dreams." Just a hint of suspicion in her voice.

Alana shrugged and reached for her glass of wine.

"You were making noises last night," Valeria said.

Alana almost choked on the wine. "What?"

"I heard you making noises, moaning. Also talking, I think. I was too sleepy to get up and take a look, but I heard you."

"What do you mean, I was moaning?"

"Moaning. You know. Moaning." She dramatized it a bit too loudly, and the people sitting at the next table turned their heads to look at them.

Alana felt heat rising to her cheeks. She stirred uncomfortably in her seat.

"You should see your face. All red."

"You're making this up."

"Are you referring to your red face or the moaning?" Valeria teased. "Why should I make this up? It's the truth. I suppose you had one of those dreams last night, the ones you can't remember?"

"No, I didn't," Alana lied. "Stop with the patronizing tone. I hate when you do that." Her voice came out harsher than she intended.

"Gosh, you're so moody! My last intention is to get you upset. Today of all days. I brought you here to celebrate. But I can sense your transformation in the air. It's like poison gas. When you get in a bad mood I can smell it, I swear."

"You know what your problem is? You swear too much," Alana said. She took a deep breath. "I'm not upset, okay?"

"Maybe a little edgy?" Valeria suggested.

"Yeah." After a pause, she added, "Maybe it was the TV you heard last night. Now that I remember, I fell asleep without turning it off. That must have been it."

Valeria looked at her thoughtfully. "Yeah...That must have been it." She patted Alana's hand. "Try to relax, will you? Don't you remember when they first hired me at the firm? I couldn't eat or sleep for a week. Everything will go great tonight, you'll see. Do you want to make a bet?"

"No, I don't want to make any bet. I just want tonight to be over." But in fact she wasn't thinking about tonight. She was thinking about what Valeria had said about the moaning. And about how aroused she had awoken this morning, her throat parched, her pulse throbbing in her temples.

"Valeria," Alana's voice turned lower, more confidential. "Was I really… What's wrong?"

"Don't turn your head now, but there are two guys over there staring at us."


"Behind you, the last table. And they're not that bad-looking either."

Alana turned her head to glance at them. One of them smiled, lifting his wine glass to her. They were handsome in an office-executive kind of way.

Alana scowled, then she turned to Valeria. "I hate when they do that. Why don't they let us eat in peace?"

"I know. They're cute, though." Valeria looked at them and smiled. She was enjoying this. She always did.

"Stop it," Alana urged, suddenly panicked. "They're going to come over to our table, like last time. And you remember how that ended. They were a couple of arrogant jerks."

"Maybe these aren't arrogant jerks."

"I'm not in the mood."

"You know what your problem is? You're never in the mood," Valeria said.

"Oh, shut up."

Valeria pouted. She was clad in an elegant navy-blue suit, her face expertly made up, her thick blond hair falling sleek and straight down her shoulders. Perfectly even bangs covered her forehead and brows.

Wherever they went they always got attention from men.

The redhead and the blonde.

Are you sisters? No, twin souls....

And unlike Alana, Valeria loved the attention. With her angelic big brown eyes and mischievous smile, she was a natural flirt. During her four years at the university she'd had a long line of boyfriends. She would jump from one relationship to another with no regrets, in a very pragmatic, cold-blooded manner. Now Valeria was seeing someone at her firm, a married man she referred to as "The Pirate." Just as Alana had her ghosts and witches and demons, Valeria had her pirates.

On the other hand, Alana had never had much success with men. She'd had a few boyfriends, but there was always something missing in the relationships. She was easily bored, annoyed by them. In the end she always drove them off before the relationship could progress beyond a few kisses and caresses. She knew she was unrealistic and demanding, waiting for the perfect kind of man to sweep her off her feet. But she couldn't help feeling old-fashioned about it. She wanted to fall in love, and she wanted the first time to be perfect.

Over lunch the conversation turned to safer subjects. Alana talked about the restaurant, giving Valeria a preview of what to expect that night. It was going to be an event, and members of the press had been invited. The menu would offer dishes like Dracula's Steak and Virgin Sacrifice Potatoes.

Valeria laughed. "Virgin Sacrifice Potatoes?"

"Ridiculous, isn't it? My idea."

"I know." She gave Alana a knowing look.

Alana raised a brow. "And I suppose you're the expert of experts?"

"A lot more than you, that's for sure. I'll be happy to give you a few theoretical lessons."

"It's not theoretical lessons that I need." Alana popped a little carrot stick into her mouth. Then, to change the subject, she added, "How's your Pirate doing?"

"He's fine. We haven't been together for more than a week. It's so hard seeing him every day at the office, and not being able to touch him. We just look at each other, eat each other with our eyes. We'll be together tonight. He'll come with me to the opening." Valeria sighed.

"Don't look at me with those sad puppy eyes."

"I'm not doing anything."

"I'm not going to tell you anything anymore. You know what you're getting into."

Valeria shrugged, a wan smile playing on her lips. "I'm only trying to enjoy life, make the best of it. We're pain and pleasure machines…" she began tauntingly, mimicking Alana and her fervent philosophical arguments.

"Don't give me Nietzsche. I know about Nietzsche. He was a madman." Then her expression turned softer, her voice gentler. "What's going to happen when his wife finds out? She will find out. They all eventually do. What's going to happen to the kids? To you? I don't want you to get hurt. And you will get hurt."

"I'm a survivor. Besides, I'm in control of the situation."

"Stop the cool act. This is not like your past conquests. This time you're more involved than you think you are. And I'm going to tell you something else. Those kids will get hurt most of all."

Valeria rolled her eyes, obviously mortified. She looked like a stubborn child being reprimanded by a parent. "Don't go into ‘Cosmic Justice' again. It bores me to hell. Things like this have been happening since the beginning of time, and they will continue to happen." She paused to wipe her mouth with a napkin. "I'm not saying I'm proud of it. I feel guilty, too, for the kids."

"I know you do."

"But what do you want me to do? Maybe my guilt isn't strong enough. Maybe I don't have morals. I'm selfish, I know I'm selfish." She threw Alana a piercing look, then gulped down the rest of her wine.

"No, you're not. You're giving yourself completely to him. You wait for him. You see him only on those occasions when he sees fit. He's a lucky bastard, with a young and beautiful mistress falling head over heels for him, and a family who doesn't suspect a thing. Every man's fantasy. He doesn't make you any promises. He cannot offer you any plans for the future."

"I take what I want from him. And I'm not head over heels for him. Far from it. The least I want is complications in my life. I don't ask for any future with him. I don't want a future with him. I told you, I'm in complete control of the situation."

Alana nodded, weighing Valeria's words in her mind. She sighed, suddenly overcome by a keen urge to smoke.

"It's just so physical," Valeria said. "I just…I can't control myself. The passion is so strong, so totally commanding. You know what I mean."

In spite of herself, Alana had to laugh. It amazed her, the way Valeria was. At times so cool and down-to-earth, at other times such a slave of the senses, lecherous. Alana couldn't help feeling a twinge of jealousy.

All of a sudden the image of that long pointed nail flashed into her mind. Just the memory of it was enough to make her pulse race.

"I just get so restless sometimes," Valeria went on. "I feel like grabbing whatever life offers me. In a few years we'll be old ladies, no one will look at us. And we'll be sick, and we'll suffer. These are the best years of our lives, and I don't intend to throw them away. And you should understand that, better than anybody else." She held Alana's gaze for a moment.

"Yes...I do," Alana said, wincing at the allusion to her mother's death.

"That's why I hate to see you alone. You hate socializing. You look at men as if they were the plague. The only thing which seems to make you happy is your books and Vivaldi. You're turning into a hermit—and at your age! And don't tell me that to be alone is better than to be in bad company. You don't deserve to be alone. God, Alana, you're missing a hell of a lot." Valeria placed her knife and fork on the plate and shifted in her seat. The wine, the passion in her voice had flushed her cheeks. "But the problem is you don't want to do anything about it. That's why I'm so glad you took this job. It'll force you to socialize whether you like it or not."

Alana snorted, somewhat hurt by Valeria's words. But she had to accept Valeria was right. She wasn't going to admit it, though. Instead she remained stubbornly quiet, her hand fiddling with the fork, her eyes cast down.

Valeria sighed. "Now I truly did it, didn't I?"

"Are you finished with that steak?" Alana asked coolly, looking up at her. "Victor must be waiting for me at the restaurant. We still have a million things to do before the opening." She signalled to the waiter.

"Always good at changing the subject." Valeria threw her napkin onto the table and leaned back against the chair, folding her arms across her chest. "Sometimes I wonder… What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for?"



Embraced by the Shadows Copyright © 2002. Mayra Calvani. Revised 2011 edition. All rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission.




Author Bio

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer's Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.

Connect with the author on the Web:
Facebook Fan Page

TTB titles: Embraced by the Shadows
How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event
The Luthier's Apprentice
The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing with Anne K. Edwards

Author web site.






"Mysterious, intriguing and somewhat unsettling at times, this novel is a must for all vampire reading fans. A rich, twisting plot and a surprising ending awaits you."

The Midwest Book Review

"...a superbly written, deftly balanced story of love and death and twisted loyalties that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end. More importantly, it will make you think and perhaps take a closer look at the shadowed corners of your own psyche."

The Blue Iris Journal

"...This is a must read for all fans of vampire romance novels."

Murder & Mayhem Book Club

Alana Piovanetti always enjoyed horror tales in books (not just fiction) or film especially when supernatural creatures starred. So her best friend Valeria is not surprised when Alana accepts employment as a vampiress at the Puerto Rican restaurant La Cueva del Vampiro. Alana considers Valeria her best buddy who knows the surface of her dreams, though she hides the depth of the nightmares that were always there, but seem more prevalent now than ever before.

From the first time Sadash saw her face, when Alana was nearing adulthood, he knew he found his cherished soul mate. He waited for her to mature and feels the time is now to make her his. At the first night opening of the restaurant, Alana spots Sadash, the man who has haunted her dreams. She feels the attraction immediately, but though compelled to become a vampire like him and with an opportunity to learn the truth about her past, will she take the step? Sadash also worries if he can keep her safe from the secrets in her past.

On the surface, [Embraced by the Shadows] appears like many recent vampire romance novels. However, Alana lifts the novel high above the current level of similar books because readers feel he protagonist's inner torment between a love that borders on obsession and a past that she obsesses over. Sadash is somewhat more typical of the sub-genre though his human like conscience brought about by his love for Alana will surprise readers yet feels true to his character. Even with the threat to their existence as a couple taking a back seat to the love story, sub-genre fans will fully hunger for more dark supernatural romances from Mayra Calvani.

Reviewed by Harriet Klausner for Blether Book Review.





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