Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ARC Review: Heart of Darkness by Lauren Dane

Title: Heart of Darkness (A Bound By Magick Novel)
Author: Lauren Dane
Release Date: November 1, 2011 COMING SOON!
Publisher: Berkley
Category: Paranormal Romance
Type: Paperback/Kindle
Click Here To Buy!  PRE-ORDER TODAY!

Book Blurb:

Meriel Owen, next in line to control the largest organization of witches in the country, is asked to investigate the owner of a notorious club reportedly siphoning magic from the font of the Clan. It's a direct violation of the Clan Code of Conduct, but one look at Dominic Bright and Meriel's willing to make a deal. One taste of the sexually feral outlaw witch, and she's eager to go further: he's her bond mate, a legal conduit into the world of Clan witches and their magic.

Playing by the rules isn't Dominic's style, but bonding with Meriel--night after explosive night--is. However, Meriel has unwittingly invited someone else into her world: Dominic's mother, a dangerous and poisonously influential magic addict whose lust for death and power corrupts all she touches. Now her shadow is closing in on Meriel, her Clan, and the man Meriel loves, and it's casting them all into the inescapable heart of darkness.

Book Excerpt:

“Please, have a seat,” he said as they entered and he closed his door.

“I’m Dominic Bright, I didn’t properly introduce myself out there.” He bowed slightly, remembering he had some manners.

She waved a casual hand. “I know who you are. I’m Meriel Owen. We both know who the other is. Now, care to explain why you’re drawing from our font without permission?”

Up-front, this witch. He should just get it over with. He knew it. He needed to pay his dues or whatever. But the flavor of her magick all around him made him crave more. He wanted to spar, to whet his appetite for her.

“The wards here are for the good of all. I can’t see why you’d begrudge me that tiny bit of power.” He shrugged, spreading his hands out to appear reasonable.

She exhaled, clearly annoyed. It only spurred him on.

“Begrudging.” She rolled her eyes. “Really, Mr. Bright. If we begrudged you, we’d be teenage girls.” She shrugged. “Certainly we wouldn’t be powerful enough for you to be concerned when you shoplift from our font.” When she cocked her head, her hair slid forward, red, burgundy, threads of gold glinting in the light. He wondered what it would feel like. Before he reached to find out, he busied his hands with a pen.

“You’re using our magick and you haven’t asked. Clearly the nature of this place mandates strong wards to prevent exposure. And you know our position on exposure. So while Clan Owen is certainly sympathetic to your problem, the bigger issue remains.”

Yes, he knew the prevention of exposure was paramount to their people. And yes, he tended to agree that keeping what they were on the down low was a very good thing.

“Lastly, you’re a businessman, Mr. Bright. If I had a drink here, I’d have to ask for it and offer some sort of payment for it.”

“Or be so f***ing sexy a Lycian prince buys you one.”

She smiled and he felt a corresponding tug in his groin. She shrugged and went on, “We all have our little bonuses in life. But in any case, you get my point. The font exists to be used by all witches within this clan. We don’t quibble with another witch using it. But there are rules and even an outclan witch knows to ask.”

He didn’t like asking any more than he liked rules. Damned witches and their rule obsession. Plus, he knew he’d have to give them information about himself, an in to his own magickal signature. He didn’t like anyone having knowledge about him that they could use.

Perceptive brown eyes looked into his. Reading him. Knowing. Saw through the outer fa├žade, right into his soul. He didn’t like that she got him so well, much less the fact that he’d known her all of twenty minutes.

Favorite Dialogue:

“I got her number. She’s a f***ing amateur wearing a costume of a powerful witch. She will not get in because you are mine and that is that. She can’t best me. Not ever. I am badass, Dominic. I know most people don’t know it, but you better believe it. I will tear her apart when I find her. You can bet on that. I. Am. Not. Having. This.”

He exhaled long and hard and took her in.




“I am stupid in love with you.” He moved to her, putting his arms around her. Their magick flared and flowed into the room again. It felt good to be back in synch.


Heart of Darkness was the first Lauren Dane book I have had the pleasure of reading. This book is a paranormal romance filled with mystery, suspense, romance, and numerous magickal components. The story primarily follows witches Meriel Owen and Dominic Bright. Meriel has been groomed practically since birth to take over her mother’s position as head of the Owen clan. Dominic has been raised outside of clan affiliation and harbors a deep distrust of anything remotely smelling like an invitation to clan membership … until he meets Meriel.

The two meet up when Meriel is instructed by her mother to investigate a drain from an outside source on the clan’s power source, the font. Attraction is instant for both, but Meriel discovers that Dominic is much more than a potential fling. Ever cautious, Dominic is not exactly receptive toward Meriel’s announcement … Dominic and Meriel are bond-mates. Understanding Dominic’s difficulty, Meriel allows Dominic to adjust to her revelation without pressure.

The couple slowly progresses until another unexpected danger looms over their future. Secrets are divulged, lives are endangered and through it all, the Owen clan must take a stand against the threat. But will Dominic be able to set aside his distrust of clan affiliation to aid Meriel and her clan … a woman he has come to care for? Guess you will have to read this fascinating novel to find out. J

Dane does an outstanding job of world building with Heart of Darkness. Oftentimes the first novel (especially in a planned series) can become cluttered with information, leaving the reader in a haze of confusion. Also marvelous is the task of not only introducing characters, but including back stories that enhance the reader’s ability to get to know the secondary cast on a deeper level than merely “supporting character”. The story successfully flows from beginning to end, never letting up on the suspense, romance, and depth of character.

I really enjoyed that Meriel and Dominic’s characters have a chance to evolve past the level they begin at in their magickal confidence. Another fascinating aspect was Meriel’s growth in roles from support within the clan, to leadership. Her personality comes across initially as intelligent, resourceful, and dedicated toward work and the clan. But underneath the cool exterior of Meriel the lawyer, lurks Meriel the badass witch who will do everything within her magickal power to fiercely protect anything or anyone who belongs to her. And Dominic belongs to her. Together they are an unstoppable force. Dane well and truly sucked me into this fascinating escape into the world of the Owen clan.

Heart of Darkness is the first of the Bound By Magick Novel series. Readers are treated to a glimpse of the next installment of the series giving Simon a much needed nudge to leading role from secondary character in Heart of Darkness. I for one am looking forward to reading more about the Owen clan and learning more about the uber-sexy Lycian, Simon. Heart of Darkness releases on November 1, but can be pre-ordered now by clicking the link at the top.

(ARC Book received from a Goodreads Giveaway)


  1. I have been looking for a really good PNR series. Some are just so generic and others have trouble with the balance between PNR and Urban Fantasy. I will be putting this on my TBR.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Jay! I believe that Ms. Dane succeeded in creating such a balance. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and am very much looking forward to the next one. Check it out and let me know what you thought.

  3. I've never read any of Lauren's books, but so many of my peeps have highly recommended her that I have to.

    Very interesting review. I love magic and witches, but haven't found a series that grabbed me other than Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. This one looks like it has the potential. I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR list.

  4. Hey Lou! Thanks so much for the comments. This was my first Lauren Dane book. I wasn't sure about it at first, but I had been following Lauren on Twitter for a while and really enjoy her personality. She is snarky and to the point. You know where you stand with nary a hint of pussyfooting around. Anyone who is a brutal, snarky, and honest as she is has to have promise right? LOL Well, I was right. She sucked me in from the very beginning and I can't wait until the next book releases! You really must give her a try!


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