Pride, Passion and Paranormal Fiction
Gather round, younger readers, and pay close attention because there was a time, back when I first started submitting manuscripts, when paranormal stories barely featured on the wish lists of those who published erotic fiction. Looking at today’s best-seller lists, packed with tales of hot alpha werewolves and brooding vampires who are literally to die for, it’s hard to conceive. But in those days, most editors concentrated on commissioning contemporary and historical titles, forgetting that the Gothic and the supernatural have long been a theme of classic romance fiction. Thanks to the soaring number of e-publishers over the past decade or so, however, the market has broadened, adapting to readers’ tastes. Now paranormal romance has taken its rightful place as one of the most popular of all genres.
I’ve dabbled in the paranormal in before now, mostly submitting short stories to various anthologies, but The Pride of Amsterdam is my first full-length novel in the genre. It’s one I had a great deal of fun writing, partly because I was able to set it in one of my favourite cities and partly because I’m fascinated by the idea that things could happen which are beyond any kind of rational explanation. I’ve never had what I’d consider to be a ghostly encounter, and though I’ve been dragged along to see a few people who claim to have psychic powers, most of their predictions have been less than accurate – most notably the one who told me I’d have five children…
But walking around Amsterdam late at night, out of the main tourist season, and seeing moonlight reflected in the canals, it’s all too easy to imagine that there’s another world where paranormal beings are a fact of life and strange creatures prowl the streets. Creatures who are part-man, part-lion, able to live and work alongside humans while never quite losing their distrust of them.
The lion shifter at the heart of The Pride of Amsterdam, Arjan de Wit, is faced with a dilemma none of his pride has ever had to deal with. All shifters have a destined mate, and the fact Arjan is gay hasn’t dented his belief that the right one is waiting for him somewhere. What does cause him problems is the fact when he meets his mate at a party thrown by squatters out in Amsterdam’s Eastern Docks it isn’t another shifter, but a human, Kees van der Veer. Kees is everything Arjan has ever wanted in a lover, rousing him to the fiercest of passion, but how will Arjan cope with the knowledge he’s essentially sleeping with the enemy? Never mind that at the same time the Amsterdam pride is under attack from the modern embodiment of a centuries-old enemy who is determined that, this time, the shifters will finally be hunted to extinction.
Paranormal fiction enables us to explore worlds that don’t exist but could – worlds that may hold magic and wonder but are also more threatening than our own, where people must battle unimaginable evil to protect their way of life and the people they love. And that’s why the genre has taken such a hold on our imagination, because we all believe we know how we’d react if faced with those same dangers, and the steps we’d take to secure our own happy ever after.
The Pride of Amsterdam - Elizabeth Coldwell
Title ~ The Pride of Amsterdam
Author ~ Elizabeth Caldwell
Publisher ~ Totally Bound
Published ~ 16th January 2015
Genre ~ M/M Paranormal Romance
When an ancient enemy is summoned to destroy his pride, a lion shifter must fight to protect the man he loves.
Kees van der Veer has never forgotten the mysterious stranger who seduced him on Millennium Eve and who promised that when the time was right, they would be together again. Returning to Amsterdam after fifteen years away, he is reunited with that stranger, entering into a world of love and danger he could never have imagined.
Arjan is a lion shifter, part of a pride who has lived in Amsterdam since its Golden Age. He has spent fifteen years regretting the need to drive his destined mate away after one night of blissful passion. But only once they meet again can he reveal to Kees the truth of his heritage. When an old enemy is summoned to destroy the pride, Arjan must act to protect not only his family but also the man he loves.
Kees - eighteen in 1999, on the night the world was supposed to end, has the night of his life. He loses his virginity to a man he doesn't even know the name of, and then the man leaves as mysteriously as he came. Leaving him with nothing more than a promise that one day they would be together.
Arjan de Wit is a difficult man to understand in this book. We know he wanted Kees for the fifteen years they were apart, and we know that he claims Kees is his mate. Yet, this author has created a different type of shifter, where it is possible to claim ones mate, and yet still be apart. Although Arjan apologizes to Kees when they meet up again after so much time apart, for me as a reader, I would have liked to have seen him do more to regain Kee's trust and affection.
Of course Arjan does have a lot on his mind. His pride is under threat from a hunter, and someone is selling secrets from his company - the reason why Kees was bought back to Amsterdam in the first place. But for me, even after reading the book twice, I couldn't see the connection. Not one that was powerful enough to cause a man to give up his life and career in the United States, to join his lover in Amsterdam.
Love interest aside, this was a thrilling who-dunnit type of book. The author left little clues as to who was sabotaging Arjan's company. The hunter was harder to pick and I was honestly surprised when I learned who it was. The actions scenes were good, and Kee's friendship with Johnny was one of the highlights of the book.
Action packed, and an intriguing setting this book will be a great read for someone who loves their stories set in the old cities of Europe.
Buy It Here
About Elizabeth Coldwell
Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author whose stories have appeared in the best-selling ‘Best Women’s Erotica’ series and Black Lace’s popular ‘Wicked Words’ collections. Formerly the editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine, she also contributed a spicy monthly column, ‘The Cougar Chronicles’, to its pages. She has worked as a senior editor for Xcite Books. When she is not busy writing, she is an avid supporter of Rotherham United Football Club and can be regularly found on the terraces at weekends, cheering her boys to victory (hopefully!).
Find Elizabeth at The (Really) Naughty Corner