October 2012, Paranormal Romance
Avon, $7.99, 372 pages, Amazon ASIN 0062078070 Part of a series
Under normal circumstances, abducting a vampire to achieve your goals probably is not the best idea. This is especially true if the vampire you kidnap happens to be a member of the Argeneau family. Unfortunately for Paul Jones the vampire he has chosen to abduct is an Argeneau and her family wants her back.
Paul, a single dad, works at Argeneau Enterprises with Jeanne Louise. He’s observed her, learned her habits, and knows she will be the perfect person to assist him. She has a big heart and once he explains his difficult situation to her, he just knows that she will want to help him.
Jeanne Louise never expected to find herself chained to a bed in the home of a coworker. She’s alarmed even as the virtual stranger treats her with care and concern. But she begins to understand why she has been taken when she meets Paul’s young daughter Olivia, who is obviously terminally ill. She realizes that Paul will want her to turn his daughter into a vampire so that she might become immortal and heal herself. Vampires only get to perform one “turn” though, which most use to turn their mortal mates. Jeanne Louise must decide whether she takes the risk to turn Olivia and bypass any hope of turning a mate, or save her turn and sentence Olivia to death. The situation becomes even further complicated as Jeanne Louise starts to suspect that Paul is her life mate.
I went into this book expecting fluff and received a surprising amount of depth. The characters are sympathetic, if not terribly nuanced and the romance is believable. Jeanne Louise faces a real dilemma and I felt for her as she confronted difficult choices. The climax of the story and resolution were unpredictable and inventive, yet still made sense within the context of the story and the world.
Olivia and her illness play a major role in the storyline. She was not the overly cutesy, precocious child typically found in romance fiction. She behaves like a sick child. She is alternately cranky, matter-of-fact, or wisely observant. She never annoyed me, which is saying quite a bit since children in romances tend to make me want to pull my hair out.
As the story unfolds, Paul, Jeanne Louise, and Olivia are forced to go on the run to avoid the Argeneau version of the cops who want to bring Jeanne Louise home. While this is an enjoyable cabin/road adventure, I felt like the development of the romance stalled a bit. With so much action, the search for a blood supply for Jeanne Louise, and Olivia’s condition worsening, the focus shifted from Paul and Jeanne Louise’s relationship. Olivia’s illness, while being the catalyst that brings Paul and Jeanne Louise together, eventually slightly overshadows the romance.
This book is part of the Argeneau series, but can be read as a standalone. There are cameo appearances by other characters from the series as well, which should make long-time readers of the series happy. Having read one previous Argeneau novel, I can say that the editing in this book was far superior to that one which I found distractingly riddled with errors. The author has a reputation for writing light-hearted vampire romances with wacky humor and I believe The Lady Is a Vamp with its serious theme of terminal cancer in children may be a departure from her usual fare. This may or may not please her regular series readers, but I found the theme to lend a depth and maturity to the characters and romance that I was not expecting. Overall this was an enjoyable romance between mature adults who are able to fall in love despite major obstacles.
-- Heather Stanton
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