07 Oct '11

Dark Sins and Desert Sands by Stephanie Draven

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Ray Stavrakis is a man on a mission. After escaping from the prison where he was tortured for being an enemy spy, he now is on a race to clear his name. Ray is no ordinary man; he has the ability to walk into others dreams as a legendary Minotaur and to control their actions with the power of his mind. All this power is now channelled on finding the one person who can clear his name, the therapist that his captors used to interrogate him and who allowed them to hurt him more when he didn’t break; Layla Bahset.

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Layla is now working in Las Vegas as a therapist. She knows that someone is tracking her but has no idea who. Layla is an amnesiac who has no memories of her life before she took over the practice in Vegas. When Ray tracks her down, she can’t believe that she could have done the evil things that he describes. When their attraction starts to heat up, his touches and kisses start to awaken memories she wishes had stayed buried. As flashes of Gods and other mythical beings start to merge with the ones of blood and pain, can Layla stop the evil forces that have already focused their attentions towards both herself and Ray? And is she powerful enough to stop Seth, her evil ex, in his quest to use both of their powers to do his bidding?

This book was an enjoyable mix of Romantic Suspense and mythology. I had a minor problem for the first few couple of chapters as I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. Once the concept of Gods was introduced, I realised that I was looking at this book from the wrong angle. This is not a Romantic suspense, it is a PNR with suspense elements.


Ray is a broken man. Tortured to the point of death, branded a traitor and having every sense of normality snatched away from him, he has become a hard and angry man. The Minotaur power isn’t something that he has put a name on; it is something that occurred during his detention and it now something to be utilised. He has found that he can enter the dreamscapes of peoples subconscious and extract information. Layla is the person that stands out from his time in captivity. He feels she alone is the person that he can use to find out what evidence the Government had to arrest him with. I liked Ray’s character and understood it to a point. He was a man on a mission to clear his name so he could return to his family and live again as a free man. I just couldn’t understand his feelings towards Layla at first. He believes she had him tortured to break him, that she enjoyed the pain and suffering of others. To then start to have feelings for her, before actually knowing her, felt a little odd to me. I couldn’t quite get my head around the fact that a man would start to fall for the woman who helped torture him (in some pretty distasteful ways, I may add) without attributing it to Stockholm syndrome. It was the only issue I had, but I will add that this started to fade the more I knew about the characters.  They have a lot in common, more so than first meets the eye, and I did feel that they were suited to each other by the end of the story.





Our Hero is Syrian, this is as close to a Syrian male model as I
could get….nice no? 😀


Layla is a fully functioning amnesiac. She feels she is a much more efficient therapist like this as she has no emotional baggage to tie to anyone case, but keeps her condition secret. I liked her character. It isn’t the strong female personality that I usually prefer, but she had a certain strength of will that I enjoyed. I liked that she kept working even though she could have been a wailing wreck, I liked that she didn’t shy away from the possibility that she could have done all these awful things and I enjoyed the fact that she was willing to try to help Ray even though he was pretty awful to her (although I understood why he was that way!). All in all she was the character I enjoyed the most. The fact that she couldn’t get her rocks off without being “forced” by Ray’s ability was a pretty interesting twist; it wasn’t disturbing as I knew that she wanted it, but it was pretty erotic! The sex scenes were pretty hot all in all and they were very sensual, rather than full on erotic.

The dream-scape scenes were weird but incredibly interesting. The book was very well written and the memories unearthed within these dreams allowed more of the pieces to fit into the puzzle which was the plot. The memories unearthed from both sides allowed us to delve further into the characters of the main players and their lives before this book. I liked Layla more when I found out more about her and my heart bled for Ray when I heard the disturbing things that he had been put through. The God’s, Goddesses and other beasts were all very familiar to me from previous reading, but this book has such an interesting twist to the mythology that it was hard to compare it to other books in the same genre. I can’t say anymore on this book without giving things away, but I will say that it is worth a read.


An interesting twist on ancient legends, this book mixes fast paced romantic suspense with the surrealism of the supernatural. A sexy book with tortured characters and evil Gods, it’s definitely a good addition to anyone’s book case.


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