LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 0-505-52552-6
Fantasy Romance, 2003
Single White Vampire may actually break new grounds in that it features a vampire romance hero that for once doesn’t brood or act like a castrated pansy. There is a refreshing lack of italicized mindspeak, soulmate babbling, and pure innocent little girl Heroines running around gasping at shadows in the night. The heroine often drives me crazy, but having accepted that romance heroines in romance novels are often too dumb by default, I can easily accept Kate C Leever’s actions, even if I have to use up two huge bottles of Vicks VapoRub in the process.
Also, this book features indiscreet shameless fanwank elements I’ve never encountered so blatantly since Kristin Hannah decided to appoint Maudeen Wachsmith as her heroine’s receptionist to the stars (haw, haw). Lynsay Sands makes her editor Chris Keeslar one of the major secondary characters in this book that nearly runs away with the story. There’s also Kathryn Falk running around, and let me put it a little diplomatically: I sincerely hope the self-appointed Lady of Barrow behaves nothing like that nitwit namesake of hers in this book.
Our vampire Lucern Argeneau is a writer. In his centuries of writing, he’s been a historian and what-not, but today, he writes the love stories of his siblings and their wives as “paranormal romances” under the pseudonym Luke Amirault. Kate, his new editor, writes some letters begging him to come down from Canada for some book tours, but when Luke refuses, she comes all the way down to his Big Scary House and stays put and annoys the bejeebies out of me.
Kate is a heroine whose overperkiness and disdain for personal boundaries annoy me completely. And that’s not just because she’s rude but also because she’s dumber than doorknobs. If horror movies have screaming heroines running deeper into the woods, Kate is their nutcase sister prancing deeper into the woods with a big smile on her face as she plans to dress up the monster in a pretty tutu. Just because she says so. When she realizes that Lucern is a vampire, her actions become even more stupid, my favorite being that she is willing to be his dinner but she will never be his true love.
Lucern is a better character in that he is at least consistent in his behavior and he doesn’t have to do that “I’m Stupid and My Stupidity Is Running Amok” routine romance heroines are often forced to do in romance novels. Even later in the story when Single White Vampire shifts from the big house setting to the Romantic Times conventions and Lucern is playing placeholder to Ms Sands’s Mary Sue fantasies, that man is still fun to read. He and his vampire family are complete antithesis to the broody and miserable Spike wannabes out there. Then there’s Chris Keyes running around stealing the show and having so much chemistry with Lucern that it’s all round hoyay for everyone. When it comes to slashy subtext, Ms Sands is already on her way to getting that right.
Single White Vampire is an uneven book. It’s very funny when it’s being spontaneous, but when it relies on that idiot Kate to bring on the funnies, it falls flat on its face. I end up wishing that Lucern will run off with Chris instead. But never mind. For all its faults and virtues, this one has a very appealing hero, plenty of sexy love scenes, lots of sass and attitude, and doesn’t try too hard to take itself too seriously. As a worthy experiment in a different kind of vampire romance, this book is worth a look.