Zebra, Mar 2009, $6.99
In 1814 Anna Randal as the poor relation watches her cousin Morganna to keep her out of trouble. When her cousin vanishes, she follows only to be yanked into a room by the handsome Conde Cezar.
Attorney Anna Randal leaves Los Angeles for Chicago to attend a charity event where she plans to confront Conde Cezar. Over the almost two centuries since they met and he vanished without a trace, she waited for him to surface.
Conde knows Anna is in town as he can sense it and it feels good. His vampire pack leader Styx wants to know why the Oracle Commission is interested in Conde. He explains he is a guard to Anna, who is a potential commission member though there have been fewer than 12 in 10 millennia. When they meet Conde tells Anna he misses her blood. They both think back to 195 years ago when he grabbed her, they made love, and he bit her only to vanish. He hides from her that the Commission angrily grabbed him and only recently has he resurfaced. Anna tells him soon after he left, her aunt’s house burned down killing her aunt and cousin. She also says she is an immortal but not a vampire demon like he is. She wants to know what she is. He says he does not know as he did not change her. However, a powerful magical practitioner wants her dead; Conde vows to keep his beloved safe while Anna falls in love with him but distrusts him.
The lead couple is a strong pairing as they have a one night history almost two centuries old and he knows information about her that he cannot reveal to her. The return of characters from previous Guardians of Eternity romantic fantasies (see WHEN DARKNESS COMES and EMBRACE THE DARKNESS) adds depth. However, it is the clever tie to King Arthur and Camelot that makes the tale although the final confrontation contains too much chatter especially from the villainess.