|By Candice Gilmer|
Can love be found on the unholiest night of the year? There are some things Marissa Van Dyke won't do - celebrate Halloween is one of them. When she's guilted into attending a Halloween party, a flamboyant woman dressed as a gypsy claims Marissa will be saved three times before she's finally free. Foolish Halloween games, according to Marissa. Her life is fine; not perfect, but good enough, and nothing could save her anyway. All she wants is to leave the party until a man named Neil Drigan materializes at her side, making her forget everything but his hauntingly familiar green eyes. His animal magnetism is a dangerous temptation on a night she's always reserved for mourning. Can there be salvation under his powerful presence - even on such an unholy night?
Unholy Night is the first book in Candice Gilmer's Moonlight and Shadows series. She introduces readers to a world where mythicals live secretly in society, and guardians known as the Knights Templar are always watching the paranormal beings and protecting humans from them if needed. The story focuses on Marissa, a young woman still grieving the loss of her family after three years. All this time she has been merely existing, not living. One night after leaving a bar, Marissa has a bizarre encounter - she is attacked by a man with superhuman strength and ability, only to be saved by a wolf with vibrant green eyes. A wolf? Marissa doesn't know if the attack really happened or if it was a dream.
For weeks Neil Drigan has been dreaming of a woman with a floral scent mixed with death, which can only mean she is someone in grave danger. As a werewolf, these recurring dreams also signify that she is his destined mate. When he meets Marissa at a Halloween party, he realizes that she is the woman from his dreams - the one he already saved once. With the help of the Knights Templar, Sir Liam and Sir Adrian, he must save her from her attacker again and also convince her of the unbelieveable: that he is a werewolf and the man who can help her know joy and pleasure once more instead of sorrow.
Unholy Night was a quick and enjoyable read though it didn't grab my attention as much as I'd hoped. The plot was interesting and moved quickly, but I felt like a lot of information was left out that would have added more depth to the story. Who are the Knights Templar? We're told that they are guardians who protect humans from mythicals, but otherwise they remain a mystery. I am assuming that they're introduced now to build the foundation for future books. My favorite part of the story was the relationship between Marissa and Neil. Marissa brings some heavy emotional baggage with her, and Neil has to work to convince her she's worthy of love and joy in her life. And, of course, he is faced with the challenge of revealing his true werewolf nature to her. His greatest fear is that his mate will reject him because he is as a monster. The next book in the series is A Darker Trinity followed by Broken Shine, and I'm looking foward to seeing where the author takes the story.