Dark Sins and Desert Sands by Stephanie Draven is romance novel that combines suspense and the paranormal in a contemporary setting. It is part of Draven’s Mythica series, but the only one that I have read. I enjoyed that the characters were flawed individuals and I appreciated the new twist on mythology and the gods. It was a quick read, with action and romance that moved at a fast pace.
In Dark Sins and Desert Sands, Ray Stavrakis is an American soldier that has endured the stresses of war and then torture. The result of the trials he has survived is that Ray is on the run, but now gifted with mind control powers. However, he also has to contend with the tolls of using those powers and violent rages. He is now a minotaur, and he is on the hunt for the woman that took part in his interrogation, the only person he believes can clear his name. The woman he is searching for, Layla Bahset, has problems of her own to contend with.
Layla can only remember the last two years of her life, and nothing much holds interest to her besides her work. Food, touch, and relationships hold no attraction to her. However, Layla does everything she can to act like everything is normal, that she is not missing a vital sense of who she is and the basic joys found in everyday life. All of her attention is set on helping her psychology clients and pretending that there is nothing broken within her. When Ray finds Layla and the two begin to uncover the past, everything the pair believes is proven false, and when the full truth comes to light the two will never be the same. Love, forgiveness, self sacrifice and steamy sex scenes keep readers eagerly turning pages.
I found Dark Sins and Desert Sands to be a quick, entertaining read. There are a lot of characters and plot twists packed into a small package. There are many references to the current cultural climate, with the fear and prejudice following the September 11th attacks and the ongoing war on terror, but there are also reference to ancient gods and a twist on how they would live in today’s world. I believe that that is the connecting factor between the books in Draven’s Mythica series, but since I have yet to read any others I cannot say for certain. I liked the fact that the characters remained true to the most important parts of their nature, something that often falls by the wayside in romance. I will gladly read any books by Draven that come my way, though she has not yet make her way onto my list of must read authors.