Much More Than Blood by Kate Hill
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Dandelion
For years Rosa Ferrer has indulged her every whim, no matter how violent or debauched. What’s a spoiled vampiress to do when she’s run out of fun? Seek an unsuspecting mortal and create the perfect mate for herself.
Royal Marine Commando Alik Lennox faces his ultimate test of courage against an enemy for which there is no defense. He cannot escape his fate, or can he? In a Scottish pub he meets a beautiful woman with whom he expects to have a one-night stand, a farewell gift to himself. Instead, he finds the impossible.
Rosa, the feisty independent manager of an underground vampire fighting ring, decides she needs to make herself a "hybrid" - turn a mortal into a vampire to keep her company the rest of her immortal days. She finds Alik, a perfect specimen - except for the fact that he's dying. Changing him makes sense, but she finds herself falling in love with him, which messes things up considerably. I really liked the believable characater development in both hero and heroine. These two are equally strong and well-matched in love. They don't easily give in to the other, which I liked. However, the sex scenes are hot and many, which adds to the complexity of their relationship.
The conflicts in the storyline make sense for the most part, though in a couple of spots the story jumps ahead a few months without a lot of consequence other than some "fill in" discussion by the author. That is my chief complaint about this book: too much author explanation and backstory, from the beginning to the end. While I did enjoy the story itself, including the ways in which the vampire world are described and the differences between "hybrids" (mortals turned into vampires) and "Immaculates" (vampires that are born rather than turned), I would have liked to see less narrative and more action and dialogue.
When the action and dialogue are in full swing, then the story moves along well. We see the mighty Rosa fall in love for the first time and question her own upbringing and lack of integrity, which Alik brings into sharp contrast for her. He is an equally admirable character, a man of strength and devotion and wisdom and amazing pecs. His reaction to becoming a vampire is understandable because we feel his confusion, his bloodlust, and his love for Rosa all in conflict with his commitment to his army unit. Overall this is an enjoyable story, especially for those paranormal romance lovers out there!