A collection of 3 stories from 3 different authors, so now 3 different reviews...Dark Decent (Carpathians - Dark series, book 11) by Christine Feehan Wounded and trapped by the undead, Traian Trigovise gained strength and hope with the knowledge that he had finally found his lifemate, all he had to do was survive and find her. After suffering her own wounds, Joie Sanders was drawn to the man she had only seen in her dreams, for some reason the mountainous caves were calling and she had to follow even though the voice she found so alluring was telling her to run in the opposite direction, she never ran from anything and she would prove it to him.(***** 5) Book 11 ….. For a short story, it really packed everything in it. The action of the vampire hunt was great, fast paced and kept moving. The discovery of the wizards artifacts was another notch in the on-going story about the changes all the hunters have seen. Joie was hilarious, she handled fear and stress with a wonderful sense of humor and Traians compassion and acceptance of her being so strong was uncharacteristic of a Carpathian (maybe it’s his age). The only thing that is missing is getting to watch the ’Meeting of the parents’ that sounded like it would be fun. I really liked Gary Jansen showing up and his interaction with Gabrielle (he could use another human around in the lab), I hope she and Jubal stick around.The Star Queen (Star series prequel) by Susan GrantHe (Romjha B’kah) became the raider commander because of her inspiring words on the day, she (Taj Sai) became the bomb maker of their people. Together they worked to come up with munitions that would protect their people and hopefully put an end to the overlords control. To protect all of the people was Romjha’s main goal, but personally he wanted to prove himself to Taj, make her believe in him and what he promised for the future. The future was something Taj never really let herself dream about until she thought she would lose it all.(**** 4) Prequel ….. Very interesting story, set in the distant future. I enjoyed the conflict, both the planets (with it’s 2 moons) and the love connection. The characters were great, Romjha determined and Taj always covering her emotions with anger. The general concept of the story was something exciting and even plausible, I did have a problem (occasionally) following along. The descriptions were good, I felt some of the sentences were redundant simply to make a word count, it didn’t always add to or enhance the picture. Overall, I liked it and if I overlooked some of the ‘nit - pick’, it was a very enjoyable short story. Sacrilege (The Companion series, novella) by Susan SquiresIt had been nearly two centuries, now Magda Ravel was not sure that leaving Mirso Monastery for the home of the one that made her was the best course for her. She would have to keep the nine precepts close to her if she would succeed in keeping control of her addiction this time, at least that is what Brother Pietr Vladamiroff had always told her. As she was leaving, Pietr hoped for her success in the outside world, and at that moment, he was not sure of his own success in surviving without her. As her mentor, he had held his feelings at bay, now that she was gone he could not hide from them anymore. Hearing from Rubius that the Harrier would be sent after Magda because of him, made the decision to renounce his Vows for him.(**** 4) .....This was a fast paced, fun and exciting, short story (130 pages) with a lot of information that needed more explanations in some parts. A very different take on the Vampire myth. The characters could have used a little more, Pietr seemed to change his feelings on the nine precepts too fast after following them for thousands of years. As with others, the short story format is a hard one to find a balance between the action or plot with basic background information. Overall, a very good story, by a good author that I would be interested in reading more of.