If you like a heavy dose of humour with your vampires, yet still want heaps of romance, you may want to try Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau Vampire series, which documents the lives and loves of a family of vampires. Born to Bite is book 13 in the series. It can also be read as a stand alone. The Argeneau novels are set in the modern age and have a completely different take on vampires than what we are used to. In Lynsay Sands’ vampire mythology vampires are immortals who hail from the island of Atlantis. Scientists there developed nano technology to the extent that it healed bodies, making the inhabitants immortal. The only drawback being that for the nanos to work they had to live on blood. Thus the vampire myth was born!
In the past, although the immortals were compelled to take blood from humans ‘on the hoof’, today they mainly take it in the form of refrigerated blood bags. They tend to hide their existence from humans, unless they feel that they can be trusted and will not try and stake them or go into panic mode! As with many other vampire mythologies, they can read (most) minds and can wipe memories with the exception of older vampires, whose minds can be harder to read and those who are destined to be their life mate. In the previous books that I have read in the series the romantic pairings at the core of each have been vampire and human.
In Born to Bite, Eshe d’Aureus, an Enforcer, employed by Lucien Argeneau, is sent on an undercover mission to investigate Lucien’s brother Armand. Lucien tells Armand that Eshe needs to lie low for a few weeks as she is being hunted by an enemy. However, she is really investigating the deaths of Armand’s life mate Susanna and his subsequent wives, Althea and Rosamund, and his daughter-in-law Annie. Linked to the investigation is also the fate of Nicholas, Armand’s son, who unbeknown to Armand has been imprisoned by Lucien, suspected of killing a human.
Both Armand and Eshe are immortals and almost as soon as they clap eyes on each other they realise that they cannot read each others’ minds and that they are life mates! Now with these vampires when this happens things become very interesting. It means that they are wildly attracted to and cannot keep their hands off each other. They also start to regain their appetite for food, which wanes if they are without a life mate. These factors make for a number of hilarious scenes. Lucien, rightly concerned that Eshe will find it hard to concentrate on the investigation due to her preoccupation with earthly pursuits, sends a co-enforcer, Bricker, to assist her and keep her mind on the job. As she has been without a life mate for hundreds of years, Eshe is keen to prove that Armand and Nicholas are innocent. The team investigates not just Armand’s alibis, but those of other immortals who were around at the time of the deaths. However, it soon becomes clear that the killer or a killer is very much at large as both Armand and Eshe’s lives are threatened. The remaining investigation includes a great many plot twists, punctuated by passionate trysts between Eshe and Armand, as the team strives to discover who the murderer is before he or she gets to them first!
Armand’s character is sweet and sexy. Suspecting foul play, he has kept himself apart from his offspring for years to protect them. He makes a half-hearted attempt to resist succumbing to Eshe’s charms, to protect her too, but soon wants to keep her, his new life mate, close to protect her. Eshe is a motorbike riding Amazon, who in contrast with Armand, has a larger than life personality. She is very happy to embrace her new life mate from the outset, and is enjoying getting to grips with both sex and eating again.
There are a host of secondary characters, including Bricker, the co-enforcer, the rude and sarcastic Lucien, whom we have met in previous novels and is now himself mated, and other characters linked to Armand, who may have a bearing on the fate of his wives.
Lynsay Sands’ writing style is full of gentle humour, punctuated by comic and sweet sex scenes. However, the tale also has elements of romantic suspense, as the investigation seeks to reveal who committed the past murders and also who wants to kill Armand and Eshe.
I recommend this book to lovers of paranormal vampire romance who maybe want a break from the usual vampire fare of brooding/tortured hero and instead want to read a humorous romantic but suspenseful tale, with loveable characters.
Cover design by Patrick Knowles
Author’s website www.lynsaysands.net
Publisher website www.gollancz.co.uk www.orionbook.co.uk