Cassie Palmer isn't your average kick-ass Urban Fantasy heroine. Maybe because she doesn't kick ass. She's not especially tough. She's not even snarky. But I think it's the fact that the series feels so unique that I enjoyed it so much.
Cassie is a clairvoyant. She also sees and communicates with ghosts. In fact, one serves as something like a guardian angel... or as close to a guardian angel as the ghost of a gambling, alcohol and lady-loving cowboy can be.
She grew up surrounded by vampires, and was raised by a horrible vamp named Tony. He had her parents killed and then used her gifts as a seer for his own gains. She got away from him and has been living her life in hiding, until now. She's been found and targeted. But the vampire senate steps in to save her. They realize there is more to her power than even Cassie recognized. And they want to nurture her gifts in the hope that she will be loyal to them.
Cassie's powers are growing, even in the short time she is with the senate. She must deal with that, the growing threats to her life, and the distinct attentions of two vampires who want her for themselves. Frankly, for much of the book, I didn't know who I was rooting for. One minute, I figured it had to be Tomas... then I was drooling for Mircea. The sexual tension is fantastic in the second half of the book and there are two really hot scenes that give us some payoff as well.
There is a lot of world-building to be done. And there are times that it intrudes on the flow. For me, this was more true in the first half. What gave me a little more pause was the time-travel element. Whenever you start talking about changing history, things can get really hairy. I think it worked out ok, but it slowed down the wheels in my brain once or twice.
But for the most part, I really enjoyed it. The ending isn't exactly a cliffhanger, but there is clearly more story to tell. And I want to read it! A dark, sexy start to the series. 4 stars.