It's always fun when you find clearance books at Barnes & Noble. This was one of my more recent finds, totally buried underneath lame yoga books. So it pays to dig, folks.
Pleasures of the Night (Dream Guardians #1), Sylvia Day
There are sensuous pleasures that can only be tasted in the night . . .
He comes to her in the twilight between sleep and consciousness to fulfill her secret desires. Lyssa Bates has never experienced such ecstasy, brought to her by a man whose deep, soul-penetrating blue eyes hold the promise of tempting intimacies and decadent pleasures. But this stranger, this lover, this immortal seducer is only a dream—a phantom of her nocturnal fantasies—until he appears, inexplicably, at her door in the flesh!
Lyssa aches for the reality of him, but there is grave danger in surrender. Because Captain Aidan Cross is on a mission, and the passion that consumes them both, body and soul, could have dire consequences in a world of dreams . . . and in the waking one as well.
I didn't even realize this was going to be a series until I was maybe 50 pages from the end and I realized there wasn't a chance in hell the author was going to finish this story up in those few pages. Which, can I just say? I'm getting tired of. Does EVERY book need to be a series? What ever happened to crafting a story to fit into one volume? I keep complaining of this and nobody listens. Jerks.
Basically, this is about Aiden, who is a Dream Guardian. He comes to people in their dreams, usually engages in a sexual fantasy, in pursuit of keeping the Nightmares away. And the Nightmares, for me, are basically like demons from other paranormal novels. At least that's how I pictured them as being. But Aiden meets his match when he is sent to Lyssa, who has built a formidable door that most Guardians can't get to. Something about Aiden's voice convinces Lyssa to reluctantly open the door, and in walks in a hunk. He's walking sex and she doesn't give a second thought to the fact that she's going to indulge in a sexual fantasy with a stranger. But Aiden soon realizes something about Lyssa is different, and that's alarming.
Once back "home", Aiden is starting to think Lyssa might be The Key, someone the Elite (a team kind of like Special Op's in modern military terms) was created to kill. They believe whoever The Key is, they would be the ones to unlock the door that lets in the Nightmares and it would end the world as they know it. So though Aiden is trained to locate and kill The Key, he's skeptical of the entire premise, even more so when his gut tells him Lyssa is The Key. So he basically risks his life keeping her alive when it becomes apparent that everything is not as it seems and there's an ulterior motive going on. I can't even give you any hints on the ending because there really wasn't one. We have no real conclusion in this book, we just know that both Aiden and Lyssa are willing to risk their lives for the other in the name of love.
But let's talk about two things that I took away from this book, in comparison to other Sylvia Day books. First, she writes a damn good sex scene. She just does. I liked Aiden and Lyssa as characters and I liked how she doesn't paint Lyssa as a totally helpless heroine with no personality. She's funny, she's sarcastic, she's mindful, and she seems like a totally normal person. And Aiden is walking sex, which I believe I've covered. Secondly, this is the first book outside of Sylvia Day's Crossfire Series that I've read and I have to be honest, I see why she is riding the coat tails of Fifty Shades of Grey there. Nobody can say that Fifty Shades and Crossfire share no similarities when the stories are nearly identical, which is a huge issue I have with the Crossfire series, though I love Gideon. But this book is a paranormal romance, no getting around that, and maybe she's gotten better since (this was published in 2007), but you can tell this is out of her comfort zone and she really struggled. I think she tried to get on the paranormal romance bandwagon as it became hugely popular. I honestly don't know how interested I am in reading the others in this series, but I suppose if I found them in the discount bin at Barnes & Noble, I'm not going to skip it completely. I just don't know that I'll go out of my way to find book two.
Overall? It was a good book. It's a fast read, and it's pretty solid if you are looking for a paranormal romance with solid sex scenes in it, along with a budding relationship. So don't dismiss it entirely.