“And all along I believed I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me. I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.” ~ Christina Perry- A Thousand Years
When Alec MacAiden, in 'Cronin's Key' by N.R. Walker, isliterally swept away by a stranger, whose name he inexplicably knows, he ends up in an unknown location in a room with three people he doesn't know but soon finds out are vampires. Alec is understandably disconcerted, but what surprises him most, is that he's not afraid of them, particularly Cronin, the sexy vampire who brought him there. Alec has dealt with a lot of unusual circumstances in his life, but as mystifying as past occurrences have been, they only represent the tip of the iceberg compared to what the future holds for Alec.
Alec is an extraordinary young man, who is successful in many endeavors. His photographic memory, extraordinary physical strength, and deductive reasoning make him an excellent NYPD detective. Alec can be caustic and crude sometimes, but he's also fiercely loyal to those he loves; and his father is on the top of that list. Alec is happy with his life, which makes it doubly hard when Cronin tells him that he can't go back to it. When Cronin explains that he and Alec are fated to be lovers, Alec loses it; he screams and swears and demands answers explaining all the weirdness he's been dropped into against his will. He's not a man who is forced into anything, even if the anything is as handsome and appealing as Cronin. Needless to say, Alec has never met anyone like Cronin. He can't, for the life of him, understand why he's so sexually attracted to Cronin and his need for blood. Why would this turn him on! Alec has a thousand questions for Cronin which he patiently tries to answer, but not all at once. Alec needs time to process the answers. The new truths are overwhelming at best; and contradict most of the knowledge he has learned in the past.
Cronin is very wise, powerful, sophisticated, tall, dark, and handsome. He's not opposed to being Alec's lover, but, in all fairness, he's had one thousand years to consider it, where Alec has only had a couple of days. Cronin can be quite charming when he needs to be and seriously intimidating as well. Cronin is fiercely protective of Alec. It's taken him a long time to find Alec and he's not losing him to anyone or anything, if he can possibly help it. Cronin is furious when he learns that his best friend, Eiji, knew that Alec had been born and didn't tell him; Eiji knew Cronin would interfere too much in Alec's, life trying to keep him safe. Alec needed to learn his own lessons and gain the experience necessary to fulfill his destiny. However, Eiji has also spent the last twenty-nine years protecting him and Alec's father, Kole, keeping him safe for Cronin. Cronin exercises extraordinary willpower and patience when it comes to his dealings with Alec. He desperately wants to make love to him, but knows what is at stake if he does. Cronin is not happy about the risks Alec must take in order to conquer the evil forces which threaten to destroy not only Cronin's coven, but the entire world; but he knows that Alec is the only one who can do it.
This is N.R. Walker's first venture into the paranormal world of vampires and other preternatural creatures. After reading this story, it makes me wonder what took her so long. The story is certainly different from her usual writing, but it's every bit as impressive. The book is well-written, with a marvelous cast of main and supporting characters, an extraordinarily complex plot, and is filled with brilliant world building. N.R. has included novel concepts in her world, i.e., raising mummies, who also happen to be vampires, from the dead. Although a different type of story, N.R. still manages to weave in some of the passion and tenderness which make her writing so special. These happier elements add a much needed respite from the darker happenings going on around them. If you enjoy vampires, soul mates, destiny, prophecies, good against evil, and love conquering all, then you may like this book. Thank you, N.R., for spreading your wings and providing me with this awesome epic to savor. I look forward to the stories to come.