In Christine Feehan's Dark Series, there is a race of people known as the Carpathians. They look like humans and have existed since humans have. They were thought to be known as gypsies living in the mountains but actually, they grew more sophisticated.
For those who have not heard of Dark Series, it is a set of Paranormal Romance novels about the Carpathian Race. The Carpathians are similar to but not vampires. They can't exist in the day, they can only thrive at sun down. Blood is an essential part of living but sex with your food is taboo. Young Carpathians do take animal blood but that makes them weaker and unable to use their powers to the fullest.
They do have magic to a certain degree and have strong psychic abilities. Shape-shifting is also part of their abilities. They need soil to rest and heal. Psychic human females can be turned into Carpathians with ritual binding words and three blood exchanges.
Vampires are Carpathians who go over to the dark side. They turn ugly, bad and deranged. That is because a male Carpathian cannot survive so long without a life mate. A Life mate will bring color and emotions into their world and call them from the dark side. An instinctively, they will do everything to protect their life mates.
I first encountered the Dark Series with Dark Secret. Modern day California, Colby never expected to get to know, much less sleep with a Carpathian Hunter. There is just something wicked but irresistible about the De La Cruz Brothers. The De La Cruz are supposedly from Brazil. They are protectors of the Chevez family and in turn, the Chevez protect their finances. Arrogant rich men huh? Colby Jansen is bastard but her mother's husband was fond of her. Just before she was 18, Armando Chevez died and left the ranch to Colby. None of the other Chevez family responded to her cry of help. So for 5 years, she ran her mother's ranch and took care of Paul and Ginny, her sibling (legitimate offspring of Armando and her moder). The head of the Chevez family didn't like Colby because of what she is. Now that the old Chevez is dead, Armando's brothers go to California to locate Paul and Ginny but Colby will not give them up.
Rafael's black and white world is suddenly invaded by colors and he is confused. Nicolas tells him that it means his life mate is near. It could only be Colby. so starts Rafael's seduction of Colby to try to take her with him.
Unknown to him, she was no ordinary psychic chick. She was from an ancient line called the Dragonseekers. now that Rafael won her heart and body, he wasn't going to contain her spirit especially if Rafael, Paul and Ginny were endangered by a vampire in the region.
At first I thought the rest of the Dark Series book will be about Carpathians finding their life mates then finds out they all have spunk and it would be a contest of wills between Carpathians wanting their women submissive so they can be easily protected and huge male ego blah, blah...
Well, it partly is.
Next on the Dark Series I read was Dark Demon, the Sequel to Dark Secret. Vikirnoff von Shrieder gets a surprise to find his life mate is a Vampire Hunting mage named Natalya. Natalya was introduced in Dark Secret already. She has a smart-ass mouth and has major weapon issues. She actually ends up saving the day so Vikirnoff lets her do what she wants.
Then I read Dark Prince. This is the first in the series. It is set about 50 years before Dark Demon. Mikhail Dubrinsky is the Prince of the Carpathian people. He has to protect the few people he has and the humans attached to them. He is a sad character in the beginning of the book but suddenly finds himself talking to a woman. Suddenly color floods in his vision. He had to find this voice.
Raven Whitney works for the FBI as a sort of consultant. With her psychic powers, she tracks down killers. Of course it takes up too much of her strength and energy so she thought a vacation int he Carpathian mountains, away from civilization, will do her good.
Until Mikhail sweeps her off her feet and into his antique palatial home, into his bedroom, into his heart then into his life.
Think she's tough. Yeah she is. She offers everything to Mikhail though because of her powerful abilities that shames the Carpathian men. Mikhail on the other hand wants to keep her in his house and away from danger. She soon lets him find out just what she can do!
Of course when she gets converted, she still has major issues human face; like drinking blood and sleeping buried under ground.
It is actually a lively series about not just a group of people or a species separate from humans. The Carpathians, their life mates and the humans attached to them are a society. They have norms, code of honors and daily struggles.