Thursday, August 3, 2017

Even Vampires Get the Blues - Sandra Hill (Avon - Aug 2015)

Series: Deadly Angels (Book 6)

A Viking vangel's otherworldly mission teams him with a Navy SEAL who's more than his match -- she's his predestined mate . . .

The fact that vampire angel Harek Sigurdsson was a Norseman in his mortal life doesn't make thawing out after exile in Siberia any easier. But things heat up when his search for evil Lucipires connects him with Camille Dumaine, a human who thrums with sensual energy that can mean only one thing: she's the mate Harek's been seeking for centuries . . .

The SEALs call her "Camo" for her ability to blend into a crowd -- yet Harek's intense blue gaze singles Camille out like a white-hot spotlight. The security wiz was hired to help bring down a ruthless band of international kidnappers, but Camille senses an unspoken agenda -- besides Harek's bold declaration that she's his "destiny." Just Camille's luck that the sexiest man she's ever met may also be . . . a vampire!

 A fun addition to the series. It opens with Harek in his own time of 850 AD. One of seven Viking brothers, Harek is the merchant of the family, whose greatest pleasure is accumulating wealth in any way that he can. It doesn't matter how much he has, it is never enough. He has just dipped his toes in the business of buying and selling people when he gets a visit from Archangel Michael who lets him know that he's finally crossed the line. All is not lost when he is given the option of repenting and going to work for Michael as a Viking vampire angel, or vangel.

I liked Harek. He's super-smart, confident, with a bit of rebel that remains a part of him. He has adapted pretty well to modern day and is quite the wiz with computers. He still likes the better things in life, which regularly gets him into trouble with Michael, and banished to Siberia while he contemplates his mistakes. He is called out of his banishment when his talents are needed in a joint mission to stop terrorists and Lucipires (Satan's vampires) from kidnapping young girls into slavery. He is sent to work with a joint force, including a female SEAL named Camille.

Camille is a young woman from a prominent New Orleans family. She has chosen to take a different path than her parents and brother, who are highly regarded academics, instead devoting her life to her military career. She has made her place in the teams with her ability to go undercover. She's tough and scrappy on the outside but has a well-hidden center that would like to be loved.

The initial meeting between Harek and Camille doesn't go particularly well. He thinks she's unattractive and pushy, she thinks he's vain and over-moussed. But there is also an unexpected and unwanted zing of attraction that hits them both as soon as they shake hands. It's the kind of zing that tells Harek that Camille is his life-mate, something that completely freaks him out. It also messes with his mind, and he finds himself offering to go with her to her brother's wedding in New Orleans. It was great fun to see the two of them trying so hard to resist each other and failing miserably. The chemistry between them was explosive when they finally gave in to it. It's not an easy relationship, as Camille has a couple issues that could bring everything to a screeching halt. First, she has some trust issues thanks to a cheating ex-fiancé. Second, because of her heritage, she has some very strong opinions on slavery. Harek knows that if she finds out about his past it could mean trouble.

I really enjoyed the development of their relationship. Once they got past the first impressions stage, their chemistry took over. It was fun to see the push and pull as they got to know each other. I laughed out loud when Camille changed her clothes before they got to the rehearsal dinner and totally blew Harak's mind. Harek could be very charming when he wanted to be and he used that charm to get closer to Camille. When his past comes back to bite him, it takes all the charm and determination he can muster to get past her fury. Harek is still reluctant to fully commit to his feelings and it takes some forced contemplation and some unexpected interference from Michael for him to see the light.

The mission that brought the vangels and the SEALs together was taken right out of the headlines. Their job was to stop a band of terrorists from kidnapping a school full of young girls. These terrorists are aided and abetted by lucipires, which is what brings the vangels into the mission. Things get really intense when Camille goes undercover as one of the schoolgirls. The rescue scene had me on the edge of my seat as Harek went charging off to save Camille. I loved the battle scenes, both between the vangels and the lucipires and then the SEALs and the terrorists. I liked that they didn't have a fairytale ending, in that there were injuries and not a 100% success rate. In spite of the fantasy aspect of the book, it lent a note of realism.

I also enjoyed seeing characters from other books, not just the Deadly Angels series, but also the Viking series and Cajun series. Even Tante Lulu made an appearance and a prediction. I love the way that the seven brothers tease each other but are also there when one of them needs the support. I also enjoy the relationships with Michael. Though he frequently displays disappointment in them, I get the feeling that he really has quite a soft spot for them. I also suspect that he has had a hand in the finding of their mates. One of the most fascinating of the secondary characters is Zeb, the lucipire double agent. I am really looking forward to his story. 

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