I spent a couple years of my early twenties reading every romance novel I could get my hands on. I had a fondness for historical romance: I’ve read everything Julia Quinn has ever written, I read a lot of Eloisa James, Victoria Alexander, and Elizabeth Boyle. I have almost completely given up on the genre – there’s no edge, everyone is unrealistic, and the heroines are as pure as the driven snow. I am most especially tired of writers pretending masturbation isn’t a thing almost everyone on the planet has done.
Back when I was mostly okay with the trappings of the romance genre, I read a lot of paranormal romance (though it’s often hard to say where paranormal romance ends, and romantic fantasy begins). I still read every Dark-Hunter book Sherrilyn Kenyon writes. And I will always want to read the latest Argeneau, by Lynsay Sands.
In New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new Argeneau novel, a vampire accustomed to seducing every woman he meets finds the one determined to resist him…
With immortal good looks and scorching charisma, Justin Bricker has yet to meet a woman he can’t win over. His potential life mate should be no different. But instead of falling into his bed, Holly Bosley runs away and ends up mortally wounded. To save her, he has to turn her. And then Bricker learns the shocking truth: Holly’s already married.
Holly wakes up with a bump on her head, a craving for blood, and a sexy stranger who insists they belong together. She needs Bricker’s help to control her new abilities, even as she tries to resist his relentless seduction. Choosing between the world she knows and the eternity he offers is impossible. But Justin is fighting for his life mate—maybe even his life—and he’ll break every rule to do it.
This is the twenty-second (yes, you read that right!) entry in this sprawling series, and it can certainly be read as the first. A lot of authors do this, with varying degrees of success: they try to make each novel a successful entry-point to the series. Sometimes they fail, or it’s done in such a way that it feels like an insult to the fans who read it from the beginning. Justin Bricker’s story is a success.
Bricker’s been a fan favorite since the sixth book in the series. He’s not related to the main family, but he’s been their helper, their instigator, their cheerleader, and their saboteur since the sixth book. It shows in how the secondary characters interact with him, and how they make things very difficult as he tries to woo his (married) lifemate. It’s in these interactions that Sands’s writing really shines.
Bricker and Holly’s story takes place over a longer period of time than most of her other books, and it is set in California. We finally get to meet Bricker’s parents, and spend time with some of the Notte cousins. But the most important aspect of Bricker’s story is Holly, his lifemate, who happens to be married to another man. This is a highly unusual set-up for a romance novel, and Sands executed it perfectly. James, Holly’s husband, was her first love, first kiss, and first everything – Holly loved him, and she did not immediately fall into Bricker’s arms (even though he wished her to). Their love story unfolded slowly, and Holly’s diminishing relationship with James feels real. Anything more would be a spoiler, but it’s very well done.
Some tidbits we gleaned:
1. Bricker’s parents live in California on a heavily wooded lot – possibly these are Basha’s friends mentioned in Vampire Most Wanted.
2. He is one of six, and the youngest is seven years old.
About a Vampire will be followed by Runaway Vampire in February 2016.