by December Quinn, paranormal (2008)
Ellora's Cave, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-4199-1844-5
Accustomed To His Fangs is a most amusing vampire romance with a plot that is different from most of the vampire romances out there. The hero, Sebastian Blodenska is, of course, looking for a mate, but he behaves more like a bemused Colonel Von Trapp than an overpowering alpha male. The heroine certainly is able to stand up to the hero, although I suspect that some readers will find Rebecca Fowler unlikable because she starts out with issues about love and commitment and it takes a while for her to stop behaving like a fool.
Becky may be divorced from her now ex-husband William but they still sleep together when the mood hits them. It is a good thing that they get along so well since she is still working for his grand event management company. She runs the makeover department. Her expertise comes in useful when she has what she believes to be a one night stand with Stephen, only to learn that Stephen has been asleep for the last 98 years and therefore is pretty unfamiliar with the way things are today. Since he is looking for a mate, she will help make him over into a hot hunk. The first to go will be his mullet. To spice things up, she bets with her ex-husband that she will succeed in her task.
Stephen isn't a vampire, as he will let you know. He is a rotagosja from the remote European country of Robitsvia. What is a rotagosja? Well, the only information relevant to the whole "mate mate mate" culture of paranormal romances nowadays is that a rotagosja can only change one person, their mate, into their kind in their entire lifespan. Stephen is convinced that he will find his mate in Becky, but Becky isn't so sure as she has self-esteem issues where men are concerned.
Becky becomes increasingly obtuse as the story progresses to the point that she's the last person to be aware of the upcoming figurative train wreck that her actions will cause. The story here is actually a predictable one, but Ms Quinn manages to make it a most entertaining story nonetheless. Ms Quinn manages to poke a few sly fun at the expense of the more familiar submissive heroines of this kind of stories by having Becky deliberately not wanting to do what those heroines would have done without a second thought. For example, Becky refuses to give up her life to move to a moldy isolated country that only ten people or so have heard of. Indeed, the story ends with a most delightful compromise where the heroine gets to keep her own life and career instead of having her entire existence dominated by the alpha male hero. I really like this story. The comedy is great and there are plenty of credible emotions to add substance to the story.
The internal conflicts that dominate the late quarter or so of the story make it quite tedious to read compared to the lighter early parts of the story. On one hand, I appreciate how Ms Quinn has her characters confronting the right issues in the appropriate manner - the fact that her characters end up communicating and compromising bodes well for the longevity of the romance. But Becky's issues are very familiar and even predictable, which can be quite puzzling given how there are many other things about this story that go out of their way to be a refreshing twist on the same old stuff. At any rate, reading about her coming to the obvious conclusions has me missing the humor in the earlier parts of the story.
And why is that amusing manservant Jonas so underused in this story? He's adorable! I think he needs a sequel of his own.
Accustomed To His Fangs on the whole is a cute and most entertaining fresh twist on the whole vampire romance thing.
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