Zebra, Oct 2009, $6.99
Every night after work Karinna Adams visits the Underwood Art gallery as she is drawn to a painting “Man Walking in the Moonlight” by renowned artist Josef Vilinus. During every visit the man seems to be somewhere else in the picture as if he walks around the landscape. This time she hears him speak “help me”; frightened she flees.
Jason Rourke has roamed the landscape of the Vilinus painting for three centuries. Three hundred years ago Vilinus the wizard cursed him for taking his virgin daughter Ana; he also sent Ana inside another painting. Jason knows there are two ways he can be freed: a mortal female calling him to come to her or the wizard’s death.
Kari takes the painting home with her to see if she might want to buy it. The next night Kari dreams of the man in the picture making love to her; Jason dreams of his fangs dining on her throat as he is a vampire who looks forward to tasting the sweetness of her blood. When she wishes he was real, the painting falls and the glass shatters. Jason is freed and Vilinus knows it. Jason tells her he is a vampire who was cursed and about Ana still trapped. Jason explains to Kari he needs her help to rescue Ana who is trapped in a Romanian museum. She agrees to help him although she struggles with falling in love with a vampire.
The lead couple is a strong pairing and the support cast is solid while the heroine’s doubts about crossing over to become a vampire add tension between them especially enhanced by another coupling. Jason adapts nice and slow to the modern age. Although the confrontation is not quite as dramatic as the rest of this super urban romantic fantasy, fans will enjoy the vampire who fell from the painting into love.