Dead by Nightfall
by Beverly Barton
(Zebra, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-1-4201-1036-5
Beverly Barton fans have been waiting for this book a long time. Throughout the entire Protector series, since Griffin Powell and Nicole Baxter interacted as principle characters, this book has been foreshadowed. It finally answers all the questions about what really happened in Amara and to what extent Malcom York had gone in brutalizing his captives.

Griffin, Dr. Yvette Meng and Damar Sanders had been together in that place. Yvette as York's captive wife and Sanders and Griff as slaves whose purpose was to survive until nightfall when they were among the hunted in York's diabolical hunting games, when the playboy guest hunters shoot to kill.  Griffin had killed York when they escaped.

In the last few books, word began filtering back to Griffin that York was still alive in Europe and he, Yvette and Sanders became more isolated from Nicole in their attempt to discover the truth.  Nicole knows that Griffin has never revealed all to her about his relationship with Yvette while captive, although she does know that York made his wife Yvette have sex with the prisoners for his viewing pleasure.

The book opens as Griffin receives a letter from the so called York advising him that the child Yvette had, and that he had given away, was in a private school in England and provided her name. He taunts Griffin with the thought that the child belongs to him and to Yvette. Nicole can't handle this betrayal, and as she sees it, Griffin has never been totally honest with her.

She decides she needs time away from him and flees. She does so neglecting to tell him she has just discovered she is pregnant with the child they had been trying so hard to conceive. He does have a bodyguard follow her, one who is killed and Nicole is kidnapped by Anthony Linden, one of the so called York's most trusted thugs.

The psychological warfare begins between the new Malcolm York and Griffin as Griffin fights to recover Nicole. York has very clear ideas of the forms of sadistic torture he intends to put Nicole through, thus vicariously doing Griffin more psychological harm, than if he himself had been the victim. Griffin finds Rafe Byrne a young man he had helped to keep alive in Amara and strikes a deal for Rafe to help find Nicole. Rafe and Yvette have a history as well, and much foreshadowing is done in this novel hinting at their eventual love story.

. The fast paced and intricate plot plays out with the kinky twists of the evil York at every junction all the way to the climax. Beverly Barton fans, if they do not already know, should be aware that this is probably the last book in this series, as the author passed away recently. A great loss to her family, her friends, and her fans.

--Thea Davis

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