A Dark-Hunter Christmas – novella in Dark Bites – Dark-Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Wow! This story was short. I think I read it in under an hour.

I think the definitions and terms will take me longer to explain than the actual story.

I had mixed emotions about this story. It was sad and reminiscent but also had that joyful Christmas feel. Man, Sherrilyn Kenyon messes with my emotionometer!

James Gallagher grew up in poverty in the Irish slums of New York. His father was a mean and lazy alcoholic while his mother worked in the work houses to support them. By the time his father had died when James was fifteen, he had eight younger siblings. That year, 1916, he went to work for a renowned gangster and worked his way up in the gang to where he was supporting his mother and siblings in style. But when his mother learned how he was earning his money, she disowned him. He got one of his brother’s a good job and through him, continued supporting his mother and siblings.

Then he met a Rosalie, fell in love and married her. On the day that Rosalie was giving birth to their son, James was murdered. He was on his way to Rosalie when an enemy killed him. He cried out for revenge and became a Dark-Hunter. A Dark-Hunter is a warrior or badass who, upon death, cries out for revenge. The goddess Artemis takes the person’s soul and makes them immortal. The drawbacks are the immortal has to work for Artemis hunting and killing Daimons (a race that sucks the souls and life out of people), never go out in the sun and relinquish any family they ever had and never be married or be in love. James had to watch Rosalie and his son grow old from afar.

Just recently, Rosalie died from old age. She had remarried many years after he thought James had died and James has lost track of any of his decedents.

James is in New Orleans for the holidays for work. He is staying with the Peltier family while he is in town but he just doesn’t feel comfortable there because he is lonely without Rosalie. Then he meets Simi, Acheron’s adopted Charante demon daughter, and learns that he can have a new family even if they are really strange. Simi always cracks me up with the way she talks and overshares. James didn’t know what to think of her and kept thinking, “this is the strangest conversation I’ve ever had” or something similar.

I think this story highlights the loss that Dark-Hunters go through when they become Dark-Hunters; how they lose their family and loved ones along with the life they knew. But it also shows how the Dark-Hunters along with the Were-Hunters, demons, gods, humans and even a monkey (yeah, I’m not even going to go into that one) are one big family, albeit a lot dysfunctional.

This story was 4th in the Dark Bites book but would be 3.75 in the Dark-Hunter reading order. I say 3.75 because there is another novella between books #3 and #4. Plus this book was really short.

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