Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4022-7450-3
Historical Paranormal Romance, 2015
While Bite at First Sight can stand alone, it wastes little time throwing the hero and the heroine together. Rafael Villar, the new Lord Vampire of London, is the big boss who makes sure that his people follow the rules and let the humans remain ignorant of the existence of vampires. He has met Cassandra Burton, Dowager Countess of Rosslyn, before and there is some degree of attraction/vexation between the two of them.
When this story opens, Cassandra is trying to dig up some corpses for her experiments (she wants to be a doctor, you see, and the grave diggers she hired did not show up) when she is pounced upon by Rafe. He is under the assumption that she is up to no good, deliberately befriending the heroine of a previous book to get close to him and his kind. In this story, Lord Vampires can discern the truth by sticking their fangs into someone’s throat and taking a suck or two, and Rafe does just that with Cassandra, only to realize, oops, that she’s just looking for dead bodies to play with. Never mind, he can do that “You will now forget that I stuck my fangs inside you… ooh!” trick on her. Oh wait, it doesn’t work – for some reason, Cassandra is immune to that trick. It is only natural, therefore, that he drags her to his lair and keeps her there until he figures out what to do with her.
Well, he doesn’t have long before the two of them are embroiled in all kinds of drama involving his second-in-command wanting to pull a coup and take over as Lord Vampire.
Just like previous books in this series, Bite at First Sight is frothy and amusing, and much of the fun is due to the author’s sense of humor. Some authors try harder than others when it comes to comedy, but I feel that this author’s humor seems to come about pretty effortlessly. It’s quite unnerving, come to think of it. However, this is also a story where, for a long time, nothing interesting really happens until the bad guy makes his move in the second half or so of the story. Until then, it’s basically everyone going through the motions. Rafe is enjoyably non-whiny and non-broody for a vampire boss, but much of his feelings is of the same old vampire-boss-wants-love variety. Cassandra would discover how Rafe makes her feel things that she never experienced with her late husband. He wonders whether he can Change her. She wonders whether she wants to be Changed or be free. And so forth. I like both characters just fine, but they are not the most memorable couple I’ve come across.
As a result, Bite at First Sight can be put down way too easily than I’d have liked it to be. The villain’s plan isn’t the most exciting, but at least something is happening then, but even then, I wonder whether it’s a bit too late. This is one story where the party kicks into gear only in the second half, and even then, the whole thing feels like a party because everything else up to that point feels slow in comparison.
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