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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Lady is a Vamp by Lynsay Sands

The Lady is a Vamp by Lynsay Sands
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (210 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

One late night leads to . . .

Kidnapped! When Jeanne Louise Argeneau left work, she never thought she'd end up tied down by a good-looking mortal. More attracted than annoyed, she quickly realizes there is more to her abductor than meets the eye.

One desperate act leads to . . .

Love? Paul Jones has need of a vampire, and only Jeanne Louise will do. He just has to convince this beauty of a Vamp to help him . . . never imagining that he would fall in love. But with the immortal world's answer to law enforcement hunting them, their time together is running out . . . and Paul and Jeanne Louise will need to risk everything to spend an eternity together.

It’s not too often that an Argeneau gets kidnapped. Usually it’s done by bad guys and the result is never good. This time around it’s for a higher purpose and the lines between good and bad are blurred. Two wrongs usually don’t make a right but in this case they did; it also made for a great read and a fascinating story.

The conflict is powerful in this latest romance from Ms. Sands. It’s about making a choice and living with the consequences. The author did a masterful job of navigating all the emotional ups and downs between Paul, the hero and Jeanne Louise, the heroine. What started off hopeful and promising turned tragic on a dime and the fallout is what propelled the plot for a good chunk of the novel.

Paul was a desperate man. He was basically a good person, smart, sexy and highly intelligent. He was faced with an untenable situation and was doing everything he could to avoid it, to no avail. His last attempt before time ran out reaped unexpected benefits as well as unforeseen complications. He tried his best and he mostly kept his sense of humor but one realization too many left him with an uncertain and lonely future. I really felt for him. All the hero wanted to do was save someone’s life and it ended up costing him his happiness. I liked that he tried to brave it out because he knew if he didn’t, he’d lose everything. He was tender, understanding, loving and supportive to Jeanne Louise, but it wasn’t enough. Paul was a very easy character to have sympathy and empathy for. I liked his protective streak, his ability for commitment and the way he expressed his love to the heroine. He was a great guy.

Jeanne Louise fell in love twice in this story. It would have been the perfect fairy tale had everything that she planned and counted on worked out. Such was not too be. Watching her deal with her pain was a sad thing but I respected the heroine because not only did she deal with her pain, she tried to mitigate someone else’s. That takes a lot of heart and deep emotional strength to be willing to put oneself in that position.

Because the blurb didn’t mention the other main character, I’m not going to either. I made the discovery the same time as Jeanne Louise did and it made an indelible impact on me. I had no idea that this kind of conflict was going to carry the story and it alternates between sadness, happiness, awe and delight. This person is strong enough to bring two people together or rip them apart, so it was a very effective addition to the book. The love emanating from the pages whenever this character was on scene is unmistakable. It made the plot believable and added a layer of emotional depth that was hard to resist. It also created most of the light drama and suspense, unless Lucien Argeneau was on scene. That man brings instant paranoia and tension wherever he goes.

Speaking of Lucien, he’s not the only Argeneau family member to show up. Whenever they are around a reader can expect the unexpected as well as fun, laughter, great dialogue and interesting character interaction. It’s not all fun because the Enforcers have to play their role and in this book, one of them messed up. That being said, I am giving serious thought that one might, just might, have met his future life mate in this story. If so, that will be so awesome!

This wouldn’t be a complete story without some scenes of that shared loving that is intrinsic to new life mates and Ms. Sands didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed how the author managed to put humor into such passionate scenes because when she does that, it makes her heroes and heroines easier to relate to. Regular people experience learning curves when they have sex with a new partner, but it’s extra special between Immortal lovers.

Although I mentioned that previous Argeneau characters are in this novel, this book is a standalone read. It’s no hardship to follow the plot thread because it’s strictly focused on Paul and Jeanne Louise. However, readers of the series will understand the extent of the worry that Lucien’s very presence always inspires. Imagine Darth Vader with a fluffy marshmallow center. That would be Lucien. It’s very rare to see the fluffy side of Lucien Argeneau. Readers almost get to see it in this story. Watch for it.

The Lady is a Vamp is as touching and sentimental a story as it is sexy and exciting. Like real life, there is a smorgasbord of situations that draw forth a variety of feelings from a reader. Not the least of which is the sense of satisfaction that comes from a well written and complete happy ever after.

Ms. Sands has the reputation for writing wonderful and entertaining stories with characters that draw a reader in. The Lady is a Vamp continues the trend and is a keeper.

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