How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire
Avon seems to be marketing this one as a “vampire comedy”, but despite the book’s slapstick-y first few chapters, I’d argue with that designation – a good thing, believe it or not, because the book’s humor is undeniably lame. But, thankfully, there’s more here than just bad comedy, including a sexy vampire hero, a likable heroine, an interesting cast of secondary characters, and the author’s own spin on vampire mythology that all make it worth the read.
The millionaire vampire of the title is just that. 500-year old Roman Draganesti made his fortune by inventing a synthetic blood substitute that has aided humans in more ways than one. The world knows, of course, the obvious benefits of Roman’s invention since there is no longer any need to rely on donated blood, but what we don’t know is just as beneficial – thanks to Roman, vampires no longer need to feed from humans in order to survive. Unfortunately, not all vampires are in agreement with Roman’s benign approach to humanity and a vampire war could be in the offing.
When one of Roman’s fangs accidentally comes out in a bizarre accident, he needs a dentist pronto. Why the rush? It seems that if he sleeps with the fang still missing, his super vampire healing powers will close the socket and he’ll be left permanently . . . well, one-fanged. Clearly, that won’t do.
Of course, in a story like this you know that dentist Shanna Whelan isn’t an ordinary tooth-smith. As the witness to the brutal murder of a close friend, she’s in the Witness Protection Program and working as a dentist in a small New York clinic. When sexy one-fanged Roman arrives, he just happens to do so at the moment when the bad guys find her and all heck breaks loose.
When Roman realizes that said bad guys are also his own vampire enemies, he sweeps Shannon into protective custody in the luxury of his Upper East Side Townhouse guarded by an elite group of kilt-wearing vampire Highlanders. But while Roman is drawn to Shanna, he’s equally fearful of her eventual rejection should she learn what he is.
Okay, so this book is just not very funny. Well, not to me, anyway. But, happily, while it’s decidedly not a laugh-a-minute, How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire (and isn’t that a great title?) is a fast-moving, highly readable story. I liked Roman. I liked Shanna. And, God help me, I liked those stereotypical Highlanders, too.
While the author’s mythology isn’t too complicated, it is often too cute-sy – something perfectly exemplified by the many (many, many, many) references to the Digital Vampire Network, the vamps’ own super secret cable channel. Just about every time I came across one, a mental eye-rolling immediately followed. But, heck, when the evil vamps are plotting, Roman is counter-plotting, and Shanna is oh-so-effectively dis-ing Roman’s snotty harem, I just couldn’t bring myself to care.
My best advice if you’re thinking about reading this one, is to manage your expectations. No, How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire doesn’t compare favorably to Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books or even to MaryJanice Davidson’s lesser Undead series. Still, considering everything the book has going for it, there just might be enough here to keep you turning the pages. There certainly was for me.