Blood and Sex vol. 1: Michael by Angela Cameron

Blurb from Ravenous Romance: Detective Victoria Tyler is investigating Collins Bay’s new serial killer, one of the city’s vampires. Since they have marked her as a human to be killed or conquered, Tori knows that Michael is her only hope for survival. But she hasn’t spoken to him since the night she tried to kill him.
As the enforcer for the Italian vampiro cosca, Michael expects a certain amount of cooperation from his boss. That amount has been shrinking ever since their leader took a new sadist lover. So when the detective requests his help, it’s just the excuse he needs to take control of the city and the delicious human.
Risking it all, Tori agrees to let Michael take her neck and lead her on a journey through a world of bondage, domination and blood to stop the killer. But can she resist the dark lusts he sparks? Or will her weakness get someone else killed?

Reason I bought this book: I got it for a book discussion on Shelfari. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have. The title is too obvious even for me, :-).

Review: After about 10 pages it dawned on me that this is a re-telling of "Guilty Pleasures" with sex. There are so many similarities between these two stories, it is not funny.

Tori is a tough police detective in search of a serial killer. She is acquainted with Michael, a high ranking vampire who runs the nightclub "The Fallen". She once tried to kill him, she doesn’t trust him, he’s mad about her. Sound familiar? Tori is not quite as bitchy and aggravating as Anita Blake, but she’s almost there. She’s attracted to Michael – has been from the start, – in fact the real reason she tried to kill him was jealousy -, but guilt, qualms and self-denial have kept her at bay. This is one of my pet peeves, and more than half the book Tori oscillated between sleeping with Michael and loving it and rejecting him later, because "she can’t do this". So not for me. This "I love him, but I can’t let myself do this" device is a major plot key in a lot of romance books, and I hate it every time.

The evil vampire master of the city/clan/family is the next thing. It says "Nikolaos" all over. Michael later defeating him and becoming the new master/padrone? I’m not saying any more.

The bond between Tori and Michael, that he forced on her without her knowledge in order to save her life?  The master/servant thing? Been there, done that.

Once I got over those obvious similarities the story took off into a slightly different direction since there had to be some justification for the sex. Because of  Tori not owning up up to her attraction to Michael, there obviously couldn’t be a sex scene right at the start. How to solve this? Easy! Dreaming of sex with Michael, of course. Another thing I don’t like. Later on Tori did  comply and have sex with Michael and submitted to him (something she always wanted to do and Michael knew this from the get go), but, of course, this wasn’t the end of it. Right after, there was the inevitable rejection scene. This "I like you, I like you not" game went on for an eternity until all of a sudden Tori changed her tune and decided to love Michael after all. Huh?

All over the story Italian words were scattered about. I don’t really mind this, but at least they should be understandable. The Italian word for slave is not shiavo/shiava, but schiavo/schiava. The word "inamorato" is spelled "innamorato". Innamorato means "in love", and if it can be used to address a woman as "sweetheart" at all, which I doubt very much, it would be innamorata, since we are speaking about a woman. Just small details, but those just annoyed me.

If I hadn’t read "Guilty Pleasures" I probably would have liked the story a bit better than I have. As it is I didn’t like it at all, because even the concept wasn’t new to me. If you have never read Laurell K. Hamilton and enjoy reading about women who can’t make up their minds and won’t stick to their decisions, men who know exactly how submissive women are without even knowing them and with immediate sex scenes, you might enjoy this book.

Foot note: The customer service at Ravenous Romance is far from stellar. I got this book taking advantage of a "buy one gift certificate, get one free" deal. Three days after my purchase I inquired for the second time about when I’d get the second GC. Then I finally got an answer that consisted of exactly one sentence: "I will get to them tomorrow". Hello? No form of address, no "sorry about the delay", nothing. I’m the customer here and I’d expect a bit more than a snippy phrase. Anyway, the tomorrow turned out to be the day after tomorrow. Thanks a lot for it. After redeeming it, I won’t shop there again. There are plenty of shops out there who offer excellent customer service. In that respect I highly recommend Dreamspinner Press. They answer customer emails very fast and are extremely helpful.

[rating: 1.5] Because I did finish it for the discussion’s sake it gets a rating of 1.5. Otherwise it would have gotten a rating of 1

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