It is widely accepted that there is a section of readers who, having found a genre they like, demand more of the same. It is part of reason why Mills & Boon has been and still is such a success. Not all their novels have coy, virginal and idealistic heroines as the books have been brought up-to-date with steamier, more erotic lines. Lynsay Sands would fit right in.
For those readers who have already discovered this ‘Argeneau Family’ series, they will know what to expect and will not be disappointed. They would not be picking up this, the 4th in the series if it wasn’t to their taste? At the end of the previous book in the sequence, ‘Single, White Vampire’, Lucern Argeneau had found his life mate and as this book, ‘Tall, Dark And Hungry’, opens, he and Kate are preparing for their wedding.
Terri Simpson is a young widow and Kate’s cousin. She lives in England and has come to New York two weeks before the event to help with last minute details. Bastien is Lucern’s younger brother by two hundred years and is the only one of the family with enough acumen and interest to run the family business. He lives in the penthouse apartment of the Argeneau Building, which is where Terri will be staying.
Everything should be straightforward, except that Kate’s co-editor, Chris, has the toilet from the apartment upstairs fall through the ceiling and break his leg. He was about to go off to a week’s conference and now Kate has to go in his stead and Lucern goes with her. That leaves Bastien entertaining Terri and Chris, who is staying in the penthouse while his bathroom is fixed. To add to the mix, Bastien’s cousin Vincent arrives, having just won himself the lead role in ‘Dracula, The Musical’. At this point, the situation develops into farce.
To understand all the finer points, the reader has to know that the Argeneaus are vampires. The issue for newcomers to the series is that the explanation of why they need copious amounts of blood, normally from a blood bank, is not given until the last twenty pages of this volume. Bastien and Vincent go to lengths to conceal their nature from Terri and Chris.
Not easy when Vincent has already bitten the housekeeper and Chris, who has a medical problem that means he can only feed from live donors. Then the wedding plans begin to fall apart and Bastien and Terri have to sort the problems before Lucern and Kate get back.
From the start, it is obvious which two are going to end up together but, as in good romance tradition, there has to be misunderstandings before they can accept each other.
There are two things which bother me about this series. First is that Marguerite Argeneau’s four children, born at least a hundred years apart, have only found their life-mates in the last couple of years. The other is that the nanos in their blood which keep them healthy and unageing are designed to repair tissues and destroy invasive cells such as bacteria. How do the female vampires become pregnant as the embryo should be regarded as an invader?
These books are written for a niche and popular market as aficionados of it will enjoy this offering.
(pub: Gollancz, 2010. 372 page paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-575-09384-3)