Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire
by Michele Bardsley
(Signet, 6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0451221704
****
This isn't my usual kind of book.  Granted, I am definitely gung-ho about the current trend for paranormal and supernatural fiction.  However, soccer-mom romances kind of turn my stomach.  Usually they're sappy and lame; for that kind of thing, I'll turn on Guiding Light or Passions.  I had this thought in my head when I picked up the first in the Broken Heart, Oklahoma, series, I'm the Vampire, That's Why.  It was a big surprise to enjoy that one, and another surprise that the trend continued in Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire.

Let's be honest and say it wasn't the edgy plot that kept me going; although there is a very clear plot, it just isn't all that well-developed.  This isn't an uncommon occurrence in books that are heavy on the romance.  Evangeline LaRue is a single recently-turned vampire who is the local librarian (housed in the family homestead where Eva lives) and the mother of a fairly easy-going teenage daughter.  Since Eva was turned - along with nearly a dozen other single parents in town by an ancient vampire suffering from what they call the taint - into a vampire, animals are drawn to her.  So, Eva and her daughter feed all of the stray squirrels, deer, dogs ... wolves ... werewolves ... that wander into her yard.  

Unfortunately for Eva, she follows the disembodied voice of a distressed animal into the woods behind her house one night and is attacked by what she later finds out are more werewolves with the taint.  This means more than just danger to Eva and her daughter; it means that a problem which Broken Heart and the Consortium (the ruling body of supernatural beings, newly relocated to town) thought they had taken care of has redeveloped, or perhaps just been lurking in the shadows in the ensuing months.

At the center of all of this is Lorcan, the only vampire to ever be cured of the taint, and the wild one who turned so many not too long before.  Eva should be mad at him, but she's not. She's really not.  In fact, she's majorly in lust with him.

He can read Eva's thoughts, which she finds a little disconcerting, but which also comes in handy whenever she's in trouble.  However, acting on said lust if the two of them happen to drink any of the other's blood during the act, will bind them for a hundred years.  That's not something the mother of a teenage girl (who - eek! - has a new boyfriend) takes lightly.  It's also not something that a former monk with a tortured soul - who's spent four thousand years scouring the world for his perfect mate leaps into, especially when he isn't sure if he can contaminate her with his formerly-tainted blood.

Then Eva's kidnapped and infected with the taint anyway, and life as she, Lorcan, and Broken Heart know it changes altogether.

Written in first person for the most part, Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire is fun and witty.  It's a light, light read; no hidden meanings or tricky mysteries here.  You have your tortured hero and a thankfully not-so-helpless heroine.  Eva makes a more interesting character than Lorcan, but that's to be expected due to the point of view.  Characters from the previous novel make a reappearance and round out the story well.  If you're looking for meaningful reading, this ain't it, but it is good summer fun.

--Sarrah Knight


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