So, you should read these books. I don't even know where to start with the gushing. I do know that I needed a tissue in the third, and a half dozen tissues in the fourth. Really.
It's a rare book that makes me cry.
First, these are adult books. 18+; there is descriptive sex.
Now, let's address the books.
They are the Elemental Mysteries by Elizabeth Hunter:
The Hidden Fire
This Same Earth
The Force of Wind
A Fall of Water
They are worth every.stinking.penny. you have to spend on them.
The characters are stunning. Beatrice and Giovanni are magnificent and the way she developed them and their stories. Tensin is marvelous, Carwyn is fun and funny. The vampires are believable, and don't sparkle. Beatrice has fast become one of my favorite characters of all time; she's an ass kicker!
The story really does need the four books to develop-- if you do pick these up to read, please take your time. Keep track of the characters. It's all important. Every single character that Ms. Hunter uses. All the stories intertwine with each other, and no character is introduced that doesn't have a purpose.
Some ways I gauge how invested I am in the book is my reaction to the character's actions. I slammed the cover on my nook at one point and walked away screaming that Beatrice didn't deserve something (won't tell you what), and then I was crying at the end.
Honestly-- go get these books. They are amazing. I don't cry at just anything. The last thing I cried at was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows... that had to be 7 years ago!
Trust me, read these. They are amazing.