Night's Edge - Barbara Hambly, Maggie Shayne, Charlaine Harris Maggie Shayne use to be my favorite paranormal romance author way back when she was writing for Silhouette Shadows but she lost me when she started writing the books with the witchy heroines who annoyed the heck out of me. Her story here is a haunted house tale but the hot dog swilling heroine (Kiley, is it?) is a bit abrasive. Who blows smoke in a guy's face when he was nice enough to hand over a light for her cig? What's up with that? Though I did enjoy this haunted house bits of the story it took quite a while before the irritating heroine chilled a bit and grew on me. The plot was just creepy enough to hold my attention and have me anxiously turning the pages but, alas, the romance was a bit of a flop for me. The pair went from complete dislike, to overwhelming lust, to deep forever love in a blink. I can't see them shacking up together for any longer than a month before boredom sets in, tempers begin to flare and Kylie storms out in a huff. Hmmm, this all sounds mighty negative but, really, I did enjoy the story and never found myself bored so there's that . . .

The Barbara Hambly story was rough going. There was far too much navel gazing going on and the story just didn't seem to move. Maddie has way too much internal dialogue going on and over analyzes everything and everyone near to her. One night Maddie goes out in search of her roomie Tessa, who spends long nights alone practicing ballet in a creepy studio. While searching for Tessa a smelly man lurking in the shadows whispers something along the lines of "little sluts are alike" before disappearing. Maddie is justifiably creeped out and when Tessa introduces her to Phil, a temporarily homeless man living at the studio, she fears he was the one whispering those not-so-sweet-nothings in her ear. But she's confused because Phil isn't stinky and the erotic dreams she has about Phil after the fact have her hoping he isn't the foul-mouthed, foul-smelling psychopath hanging out in the shadows.

She goes over and over (and over)all of this in her head, does a tarot reading filled with danger signs that adds fuel to the fire, then worries some more about her roomie, her past, her mother and well you can see the pattern here. If I wanted to hear a worry wart yammer on I could any number of people. I'm just not patient enough for a character like this.

This story was unfocused and meandering and though it got a little better it just wasn't my thing. All in all this was an okay ghost story and a so/so romance but not a story I'd ever read again.

The Charlaine Harris story turned out to be the best of the three. Rue is a dancer, haunted by a tragic past that is only revealed in bits and pieces. She needs money and agrees to sign on with a copy of dubious origins called "Blue Moon" where she is paired up with a sexily accented, very secretive centuries old vampire named Sean. The pair hit it off as only two kindred and very damaged souls can but trouble surfaces when a nut from Rue's past comes back to haunt her. This story was tender and suspenseful and never made me think "awww, stop feeling sorry for yourselves and get over it already" as so many angst-filled vampire tales have a tendency to do. I liked both of these characters and their chemistry was a very powerful thing.

Two stories get 2 stars, the other a 4.