I guess you could say I was a vampire romance virgin because Blood Red was my first. I will also admit that I have enjoyed many of Heather Graham/Shannon Drake’s historicals and I basically liked the story told in this novel. However, I couldn’t give it a higher score simply because of questions and quibbles that constantly popped into my head as I read.
The story told here involves heroine Lauren Crow and two friends who are visiting New Orleans as a bachelorette retreat. The fun, however, drastically declines after a visit to a local psychic where Lauren sees a disturbing scene in a crystal ball. The girls dismiss the warnings of the psychic and go about their merry way, but things grow more troubling. Feelings of unease, of being watched, and of being followed continue, along with a series of gruesome murders involving other females in the area.
While at a local bar, Lauren crosses paths with a dark and mysterious stranger who she is magnetically drawn to, yet wary of at the same time. She believes he is stalking her, and, in truth, Mark Davidson, her magnetic stranger, is. From the moment Mark sees Lauren, he is spellbound; she is practically an exact replica of his fiancee who was killed on their wedding day in a horrific bloodbath as a result of actions taken by evil vampire Stephen Delansky. Mark knows that if he briefly thought Lauren was Katie, then Stephen will as well, and will want her for his own. Mark makes it his mission to protect Lauren and her friends at all costs.
What ensues is a basic war between good and evil in which Lauren and all the other innocents of New Orleans are caught in the middle. Lauren meets Mark and believes he is insane. This, combined with all the other strange happenings (including the deranged serial killer on the loose), make them uneasy in New Orleans, but not quite enough to leave. Additionally, one of Lauren’s friends meets a man (or men) and begins to behave suspiciously. Eventually, Lauren is convinced that vampires are real, but she still doesn’t know if she can trust Mark, even though she agrees to his protection.
I liked the story well enough, but as things moved along, I had far more questions than answers and I couldn’t suspend reality enough to buy into the events. While I liked the hero, he was simply too good to be true and could seemingly do everything: He played football in college, was once a Marine, then a vampire-slayer, writer, musician…Just too good. Next, the heroine. She goes off by herself on several occasions, after being warned not to – and not just by the hero – all the while knowing that a dangerous, evil vampire is after her and wants to claim her. I began to believe that she and her friends needed to be bitten, yet that wouldn’t be fair to all the vampires. And, though I know this is silly and personal, when Lauren’s friend is on the verge of death and in the hospital, there is no mention of calling family or friends. A girls’ weekend on the town is great, but friends, if most of my blood is ever drained from my body, please call my Momma or at least my husband. As for the HEA, I was left with many questions regarding this couple’s future. I just wasn’t satisfied.
All in all, I liked the story told in Blood Red. The plot had potential, yet the details distracted me from the underlying good story because they required me to suspend too much reality. While I will continue to pick up Graham’s historicals, I believe I’m done with her vampire romances.