Holy hotstuff! Under a Vampire Moon is the 16th book in the Argeneau and Rogue Hunter series by prolific novelist Lynsay Sands and is like a mini-vacation in book form.
At the behest of her old college girlfriends, Carolyn Connor heads to St. Lucia for a much-needed getaway with the girls. After going through a complicated and contentious two-year divorce ordeal that isn’t quite over yet, the last thing on Carolyn’s mind is meeting anyone new. However, newlyweds Marguerite Arganeau-Notte and Julius Notte have much grander designs for her besides tourist activities and fruity umbrella drinks.
When Carolyn’s friend Bethany gets sick and her other friend Genie’s resort job keeps her too busy to have dinner with her on her first night in St. Lucia, Carolyn finds herself in the company of the young, good looking couple. Genie makes a brief appearance at their table apologizing for not being able to join them because she’s frantic to find a replacement band for the resort bar for the rest of the week. Without missing a beat, Marguerite makes a quick phone call that solves Genie’s problem and saves her job.
Enter Christian Notte, a young, hot musician and the newlywed couple’s son. The attraction between Carolyn and Christian is instant and undeniable, but Carolyn tries her best to deny it, believing she’s way too old for him. She tries like mad to resist and fails miserably. Probably their shared erotic dreams aren’t helping much, as Christian is able to do that since Carolyn is his life mate, chosen by his mother who is known for her extraordinary matchmaking skills.
Of course, Carolyn has no idea that the Argeneau-Notte clan is plotting to make her Christian’s lover for life. For all she knows, he’s just some hot 25-year-old band boy and she’s a 42-year-old just getting out of a bad marriage to a scheming gold-digging loser – hardly a practical match and yet, her attraction to him is so much stronger than anything she’s ever felt in her entire life, not that she’s had much experience with the opposite sex. She’s wary of starting up anything even remotely resembling a romance or, gulp, s-e-x.
Afraid the truth might scare Carolyn off, Christian’s band-mate and cousin, Gia, concocts a lie about Christian being a closeted gay man who’s worried that his big brother Julius (who is really his father, though they appear to be around the same age) will find out. Gia asks Carolyn to be his “˜beard’ (i.e., a woman who pretends to be the girlfriend of a gay man) so that Christian is not found out before he’s ready to come out. Having had ample beard experience, Carolyn agrees and they proceed to hang out and get to know each other. Without the possibility of having sex, Carolyn is able to relax around Christian, sowing the seeds of true friendship, though it does nothing to quell her secret desire for him. It isn’t until a certain Captain Jack (complete with “piratey hair”) puts the moves on Carolyn that this budding friendship is put to the test and the truth about their mutual attraction threatens to come out of its own closet.
Speaking of friendships tested, Bethany is stuck inside with a stomach flu for most of their vacation, while Genie is too busy working to spend time with Carolyn, which leaves her with too much dismal alone time surrounded by happy honeymooners. Christian is more than happy to keep her company, of course, and Carolyn’s resolve to keep all men at a safe distance begins to crumble. She blames that on the sudden onset of hypoglycemia, which leaves her dizzy, nauseas, and not thinking too clearly.
The BIG TWIST at the end almost made me fall off my chair. I mean, as far as paranormal romances are concerned, this one is pretty standard (read: well-paced, hot and not overly complex) and I was enjoying my pleasant stay in Sands’ world of heart-stopping, body tingling, overwhelming passion hot enough to leave the prissiest prude breathless and sweaty – then WHAMMO! It’s like getting goosed hard after finishing a giant silky ice cream cone, which is to say I liked it immensely.
While Under a Vampire Moon is part of a huge series, you don’t need to read all the books to understand who the Argeneaus and Nottes are or what’s going on; this novel stands straight up on its own (pun intended). Look for the 17th Argeneau book by Lynsay Sands, Lady is a Vamp, due out July 31, 2012. You can read all about it here.