The Dark Vampire by Kate Baxter
Series: The Last True Vampire Series, #3
Paranormal Erotic Romance
Released: May 3, 2016
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Reviewed by Sheena
Centuries ago, the vampire race was almost destroyed. Now, salvation rests upon one – the last true vampire.
For centuries, Jenner has been plagued by the shadows of his past. Now, a newly-turned vampire, he stalks the night like a wild predator, unable to satisfy his insatiable desires. Until a beautiful vampire sets his soul on fire…
Bria is pure innocence, hidden her whole life from a merciless enemy determined to hunt her down. When things become perilous, safety comes in the form of a fearsome bodyguard – Jenner.
One fateful night, Bria is saved by her vampire protector and a blazing connection is sparked. But surrendering to the powerful call of passion means breaking free from the shackles of their pasts. And with the war against the slayers more savage than ever, they must fight to survive. For the vampire race depends on it.
Favorite Quote: It was hot as a hookers crotch in the secret back room at Onyx. Not a lick of ventilation, and the watered-down whiskey tasted like piss.
I have been in such a groove with my dystopian erotic fantasies and sweeping historical novels that I was pleased as punch to settle in with The Dark Vampire. Paranormal creatures, sexy vamps and the women that love them. *Sigh* Feels like home…only, well there is a stranger in my house! This novel hit all the erotic paranormal romance notes but there was something a little off-key that kept me from completely loving being back at home with one of my all time fav genres.
I just needed to know more. While I am no fan of painstaking rehashing and overwrought world building- you can’t just plop me in mid-series and barely tell me whats going on. What is this world? What are its rules? Too many questions clamoring for clarification interrupted my flow big time. I even grew a little resentful of the author. I loved what I was reading but without the proper context, I was but a fish, flapping about on the mainland, the back story was the knowledge, the air I so desperately needed! I mean tuh! How dare Baxter write all this cool shat and not bother to explain it.
Right off the bat, be warned- this is so not a stand alone. It is deeply and fully entrenched and reading the preceding books is a must.
Or you could end up like me… caught up in the vortex!
On paper, this is paranormal catnip. The Dark Vampire fits a familiar, winning formula – brooding, dangerous male is tasked to protect innocent but strong female and they fall in love amidst the danger and drama. In The Last True Vampire series, vamps are effectively a dying breed- their sole hope the Vampire King’s slow rebuilding of the species by selectively turning dhampir’s who are worthy of becoming true vampires. Dhampirs are surviving by living in clans and using their combined strength to fight off slayers, who would see them dead. Why? Shrugs, beats me. There were so many holes in the plot and back story that the only real working knowledge I can pass on is that these are dangerous times and heroine Bria is a linchpin in her clans and family line’s eradication. Hidden and protected by her uncle, Bria is on borrowed time as she is hunted by a ruthless necromancer who is hell bent on collecting a blood debt, denied to her for hundreds of years- Bria’s life is forfeit if she cannot be protected and the necromancer killed. And Jenner is just the vampire to take on the job!
Jenner is ideal. Brooding. Perpetually a hairbreadth from succumbing to blood lust and self-loathing. I wanted to save him! Thank goodness for Bria. Sweet, innocent and brave Bria survives an attack on her life, only to unexpectedly be tethered to Jenner! Tethering is a sort of mating bond where a vampire’s soul recognizes its true mate. Vampires are soulless- their souls the price they pay for immortality, keener senses, superior healing and strength. Tethering is the only way their souls return to their bodies, reawakening their ability to love true.
Romantic is it not?
Bria has been sheltered in her uncle’s clan all her life, scarcely able to steal a kiss here and there, let alone fall in love. So she’s not so interested in men. She has a sort of suitor, but she is much more interested in escaping her (well-intentioned) oppression and seeing what the outside world has to offer. After her attack, she is turned into a Vampire and its tethering on first sight, when she meets Jenner for the first time. Their attraction is mutual and electric, he holds himself away from her, yet cannot get enough of her. He has a dark past that renders him supremely reluctant to bond with- or have sex with Bria. Their mated celibacy is a huge bone of contention and insanely interesting to read. Bria and Jenner’s romance trumps the “danger” subplot so decidedly that once they finally (FINALLY!!!! Swoon-pant-swoon!) consummate their mating- I lost a lot of interest in the subplot. Sure, I knew that the threat of Bria’s homicidal stalker needed to be neutralized and one other plot too disjointed to relay, needed to progress, however, for me, The Dark Vampire was all about Jenner and Bria’s HEA journey. Bria’s determination to be respected and seen for the strong vampire female that she’d become. Jenner’s absolution, vulnerability and willingness to forgive himself for mistakes in his youth were all central themes that carried the novel quite well. Oh and this:
“Her fangs punctured the delicate skin and Jenner groaned against her sex, his thirst obviously awakened by the scent of her blood. It was a cruel game, but rather than allow the wounds to close, Bria bit down again. Harder. Jenner’s actions became more frantic. He lapped at her with the same vigor with which he fed from her. Bria’s inner thighs twitched and her body felt as though it coiled in on itself. Tighter and tighter until she couldn’t stand another moment of the building tension. Jenner turned to nestle the inside of Bria’s thigh and she inhaled a sharp gasp as his fangs broke the skin.”
Despite my struggles reconciling things that didn’t quite fit in this world, I totally recommend it for its romance and sensuality and character development. In these aspects, The Dark Vampire is all aces. I got all kinds of feels from Bria and Jenner. Especially when he gets all alpha-bossy and she gets all obstinate and he gets all growly and she goes all claws and I-Am-Female-Hear-Me-Roar and he gets all, MINE and she gets all mewling and I go all gahhhhh gahhhhh drooly. Yes. Yes I do recommend. The Vampire King and his second in command, Ronan, are books one and two in the series and have dutifully been added to my TBR pile. No sugar coating, there are some real issues with continuity and world grasping, however, if you resist the urge to go hyper critical and can lose yourself to the good romantic story telling than The Dark Vampire is well, well worth your time.