The Vampire and the Virgin
Yes, I am tired of vampires. Yes, the title The Vampire and the Virgin is silly, but yes, I sat up late happily reading it. Any romance fan who’s been reading the genre for any length of time knows that a very good book can hide behind a very silly title – and that’s exactly the case here.
The Vampire and the Virgin is the eighth in Kerrelyn Sparks’ series, but she fills in the background so deftly that a newbie won’t be lost at all. In this series, vampires are out and can mix with humans thanks to artificial blood. Vampire Roman Dragasesti’s invention has proved very popular with most vampires, but a small group of evil ones known as the Malcontents want to feed the old fashioned way. MacKay Security and Investigation – a firm composed mostly of vampires with a few shapeshifters and humans as well, opposes the Malcontents and fights them at every opportunity.
Malcontents captured and tortured vampire Robby MacKay, and he wants to hunt them down and kill them all right now. His boss (and great-great-grandfather) Angus tells him he is too weak and too angry to succeed and he needs to cool it for awhile. After some heated arguments, Angus eventually succeeds in persuading Robbie to take a vacation to rest and heal, and so off to the island of Patmos he goes.
Also on Patmos is FBI psychologist Olivia Sotiris. She has come to the island to visit her grandmother and take a break from her job. Like most of the women in her family, Olivia is an empath and her ability to read auras and sense emotions makes her perfect for her job. Olivia was instrumental in the conviction of serial killer Otis Crump, but unfortunately he has become obsessed with her. He has managed to mail her from a maximum security prison. Olivia she has no idea how he keeps tracking her down, and the stress is getting to her. On the island, she plans to rest, relax and gently dissuade her grandmother from matchmaking.
One night, Olivia sees a handsome man jogging along the beach. It is Robby, and when they meet there’s an instant attraction between them. Olivia is puzzled though, since she can’t read him at all. As they continue to meet, the attraction becomes stronger but Olivia is even more puzzled. Why can’t she meet Robby during the day? When they go back to their jobs, they continue to phone, e-mail and chat and find the bond between them is as deep as ever. However, Robby worries how to tell Olivia of his true nature and she is being harassed by Otis again.
The Vampire and the Virgin is funny without being silly for the most part, with a nicely suspenseful showdown between the good guys and the Malcontents (and Otis) at the end. The characters are all very endearing and likable, and I especially want to mention Olivia’s best friend at the bureau, linguist J.L. Wang. J.L. is a good guy with a sly sense of humor. He cares about Olivia in a platonic way and he’s straight – a refreshing change from the usual over the top gay BFF for the heroine. The rest of the supporting characters are all delightful as well – I wanted more of them after I closed the book.
As for Robby and Olivia, I was quite taken with them. He is an old-fashioned romantic with a strong protective streak – a paladin if you will. Olivia was a smart and a touch vulnerable, without any of that jaded brittleness that turns me off some contemporary heroines. The reason why she has remained a virgin makes perfect sense and she and Robby are a great pair. I may be tired of vampires, but I will make an exception for Robby McKay and the rest of the gang from this series.