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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Michele Hauf: HAWKES ASSOCIATES (not an official series name)

Author: Michele Hauf
Series: HAWKES ASSOCIATES (not an official series name)
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings:  V-4; S-4; H-1
Publisher and Titles: Harlequin
      Seducing the Vampire (2011)
      Forever Vampire (5-2011) 

     Hauf has moved from Harlequin Nocturne to Harlequin Paranormal, and she carries on her BEWITCHING THE DARK and WICKED GAMES series with the first book in this new mini-series, which tells an interesting SMR story that includes a lot of vampire and werewolf carnage. You could call it Snow White with a bite!

     The connection to Hauf's other series is a passing reference to the lone werewolf Severo and the fact that the villain heads the Nava vampire tribe in Paris. Seducing the Vampire tells an ill-fated love story that begins in 1785 and ends in the 21st century, with scenes alternating between past and present. In pre-Revolutionary Paris, the bloodborn vampire Viviane LaMourette accidentally kills a werewolf and sets off the plot. Soon after, when Viviane's patron (i.e., her maker) is murdered (by a werewolf), she reluctantly finds herself in need of a new patron. Viviane is a rarityan independent vampire female  who is not sexually bound to her patron; she only visited him twice a year for a few pints of blood.

     In this world, a female vampire must take blood from her patron periodically to stay aliveor at least, that's what the males tell the females. The leader of the local vamps, Constantine de Salignac, wants Viviane to marry him and produce a bloodborn heir, but instead, Viviane falls for Constantine's brother (Rhyss Hawke), who is half-vampire and half werewolf (and his vamp/were sides have a very complicated co-existence).

     So...we have a beautiful female vampire and two feuding brothers who have hated each other for decades. Things can only end badly. Rhyss is led to believe that Viviane is dead, only to hear (centuries later) of an urban legend about a beautiful black-haired, red-lipped women locked in a glass casket in the tunnels below Paris. What's a guy to do?  He must, of course, follow his bliss and get his girl back. 
     The story is compelling, but there is a LOT of angst (from both Viviane and Rhyss) on his whole werewolf/vampire problemthe same worries, over and over again. One other nit to pick: After two centuries of incarceration, Viviane can suddenly speak perfect English. Whassup with that? Still, it's a good SMR story. 

     The second book of the series (Forever Vampire) carries on the story to the next generation, specifically to one of Viviane's sons: Vaillant (aka Vail). Vail was sent to the land of Faerie just a few days after he was born as payment for a favor done for Rhyss by Cressida, Mistress of Winter's Edgea spell that allows Rhyss to control his inner werewolf. Three months before the story begins, Vail (now 30-something) was banished from Faery for interfering with a traditional right of the Unseelie Dark Prince (aka Zett). In Faerie, Vail was taught that vampires are wicked and unclean because they consume the blood of mortals, so Vail hates all vamps even though he is one himself. Vail subsists on faery blood, to which he is now addicted. Vail has also rejected his family in the mortal worldRhyss, Viviane, and Trystan (Vail's brother). 

     Vail does have minimal contact with Rhyss by doing some occasional work for Hawkes Associates, and that is where the plot focuses. A magical faery gown has disappeared from the Hawkes warehouse, and it is Vail's job to retrieve the gown by tracking down the young vampire female who last had it in her possession. Well, you know what happens next, don't you? Tall, dark, and handsome Vail meets blond, blue-eyed, gorgeous Lyric, and the fireworks never stop. Consequently, the sensuality rating of this book is higher than for book 1almost a level 5. Soon, Vail and Lyric are on the run from all manner of murderous faery folk who want to kill Lyric and retrieve the gown. Other plot threads involve a faery mark placed on Lyric when she was a teenager and Vail's quest to confront his biological father. It is sad to see the pitiful condition of Viviane in this book after following her adventures as a vibrant young woman in the previous book.

     Except for a bit of melodrama near the end, Forever Vampire is a great SMR story, with plenty of passion and loads of angst. Both the hero and the heroine have monumental mommy and daddy issues that have been unresolved for decades, so they spend a great deal of time beating themselves up in inner monologues and mutual commiseration sessions—always a highlight in a paranormal romance. Hauf provides enough background information to allow this book to be read as a stand-alone, but why would you? You're better off starting right at the beginning with Seducing the Vampire so that you get the full back story with all of its nuances.

This blog entry was last updated on 7/17/2011. 


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