I Thirst For You
by Susan Sizemore, paranormal (2004)
Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-7434-6743-4

I Thirst For You is set in the same world and follows the same canon as the previous vampire romance by Susan Sizemore, I Burn For You. However, I Thirst For You is an even more straightforward by-the-book vampire romance. This means, the main characters are tortured, there are plenty of soulmate yammering, a psychic heroine, more yammering about mental bonds, erotic dreams, erotic sex... if there is a vampire romance cliché here that Ms Sizemore misses out on, it's probably because Christine Feehan has it patented already.

Marcus Cage, our hero, has been an unwilling guinea pig in a secret facility and now he's finally broken free. But thirsty and weak, he stumbles upon our heroine Josephine Elliot whom he attacks and holds hostage. During the feeding, he realizes that she's his soulmate, whoopee, and now he's never letting her go. Even though the psychic Jo has a mental bond with him and they soon swap or share all sorts of body fluids between them, she nonetheless doesn't know whether to trust or fear Marcus. She will have to decide fast because she will soon be forced to make a stand and decide whose side she is on - Marcus' or the enemy's.

The characters are stock tortured sorts. On her part, Jo was a pilot that once lost four passengers in a crash and she still feels acute guilt over that incident. But the characters are quite upbeat for all the things they have been through - Jo has her sense of humor intact - so they provide some moments of levity to make their gloomy baggage bearable. Marcus is also a nice kind of vampire hero in that he doesn't whine too much about being what he is. He and she make a great couple with decent chemistry, although I wish the author has concentrated more on their interactions and less on that dream/soulmate fait accompli thing.

But the plot is still a formulaic vampire romance routine and there is even less vampiric canon this time around as the main characters spend too much time hiding or rutting. The emphasis on sex and destiny-ordained love as opposed to credible development of feelings between the main characters may be the reason why I find Jo's actions at a crucial point of the story rather hard to believe. I understand that she is confused and still afraid of Marcus, but at the same time that pivotal moment still feels too much like a big fat plot contrivance.

Anyway, there is a great couple in here that deserves a story that is a little less predictable and painted-by-numbers than I Thirst For You. Fans that enjoy comfort reads of vampire stories that don't deviate too much from the soulmate/dream/forever formula won't have much problems sinking their fangs deep into this story, but I can't help feeling that the author is capable of delivering something a little more innovative than this.

Rating: 60

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