Reviewed by Helyce
Divine has been on the run her whole adult life. Having been kidnapped as a child, she’d been compelled by her abductors to believe certain things that ultimately were not true. Things she never questioned. When she was able to get away, she did-but had been forced to run believing that her true family would never take her back; her family being the very well known Argeneau clan. The head of the family, her Uncle Lucian, had never stopped looking for her. Unfortunately, when she is caught on surveillance video helping a known rogue, it becomes a different kind of hunt.
Marcus Notte has spent his life taking care of others. He never minded, always took it seriously, and formed wonderful, long lasting relationships because of it. But as his charges find their lifemates, Marcus finds himself a bit of an “empty nester”. Out of sorts, he begins working for Lucian Argeneau. His first task, locate the long lost niece of Lucien, Basha Argeneau. After much research, he narrows down the search and finds a woman fitting the description of Basha/Divine at a traveling carnival.
When Marcus joins the carnival Divine is suspicious of him. She knows he’s an immortal, but she can’t read him and figures he must be pretty old too. As Marcus makes his presence known, Divine does everything she can to avoid him, but to no avail. Marcus also cannot read Divine, so dipping into her memories to confirm who she is, is not possible. He’ll have to just do it the hard way. As he gets to know her, he starts to suspect she is his lifemate and begins to hope that she is not the rogue known as Basha. But when Divine’s life is threatened not once, but twice-Marcus whisks her away to protect her and get to the bottom of it all.
This book started out quite strong for me. I really liked Basha, or Divine, as she’s referred to for most of the book. At over 2,000 years old, Divine had lived through many time periods and gone through many incarnations of herself. As a gypsy, telling fortunes in a traveling carnival, she’s used her ability for nothing but good; sorting out broken hearts and thwarting would be murder victims. When Marcus joins the carnival, she avoids him. All her life she’s been in hiding, and having another immortal around, especially one she can’t read, worries her. She cannot afford to have her cover found out.
But after an event where Marcus is seriously injured, she takes him to a safe place to care for him. Finding donors for him to feed on to speed up the healing process. It is following this that they begin to realize that they could possibly be lifemates. Marcus learns that though Divine is quite old, her perceptions of who she is and what she is and the “rules” that immortals are supposed to live by were never taught to her. When they enlist some friends of Marcus in order to get to the bottom of it all, they learn some really horrific things about Divine’s childhood.
I’ve enjoyed this series because of it’s tendency toward being paranormal on the lighter side. The last few books have seemed somewhat formulaic. The supposed lifemates meet up, they can’t read each other, much sex ensues, they start eating real food again, etc. etc. etc. In Vampire Most Wanted, however, the whole “are you my lifemate?” issue is kind of glossed over. Yes they can’t read each other. Yes, they begin to crave food. Yes, there is attraction. But, it’s really subtle and when they finally get together, it seriously understated as compared to previous books. So understated I was unsure if they’d even gotten to the good part before passing out-also a sign of being lifemates.
I must note that there is a slice of darkness in this particular story. It goes back to the no-fanger Leonius I, who we met many books ago. It’s part of Divine’s backstory, and important because it explains her state of mind and why she continued to run rather than approach her family when she finally was free. There is kidnapping, rape, children born of rape-all things we relate to Leonius I. Additionally, Basha/Divine was only 11 years old when she was taken-so child rape as well. The author includes a slight twist with this, but it’s still harsh. If rape is a trigger, you’ve been warned.
So, while this story started out well for me, and included some of the trademark humor I enjoy in this series, the romance was really disappointing and quite weak in comparison to what I’ve come to expect from this author. Though Marcus and Divine are front and center, it’s Basha’s kidnapping and her kidnappers that seem to get a lot of focus and while it becomes clear who the bad guys are, this issue is left open which was also disappointing.