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Monday, January 14, 2013

[Review] High Stakes (Vegas Vampires, #1) by Erin McCarthy

Cover Rating: ★★★☆☆
Title: High Stakes
Series: Vegas Vampires, #1
Author: Erin McCarthy
Pages: 291 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 1, 2006
Source: Purchased

He's a bloodsucking freak of nature. But, unlike other politicians, Ethan Carrick is actually a nice guy. Not to mention a very hot, wealthy, casino-owning vampire. It's an election year for vampires, which means he'll first have to escape his opponent's hit men. Then he'll have to find a suitable First Lady, preferably here in Vegas.

Brittany Baldizzi fits the bill. She's smart, pretty- and sweeter than a glass of diabetic O-Negative. But her protective sister Alexis steps in with a message for Ethan: Bite me. It's then that he realizes it's the sexy, no-nonsense Alexis who raises his stake. And as much as she denies it, Alexis wouldn't mind a romp in the coffin with him. But can a mere mortal, even one who risks her life for him, make a centuries-old, womanizing vampire feel something entirely new?

I read one of this author's contemporary romances several years ago and really liked it. Of course, when I discovered that she had a vampire series I had to check it out! Set in the bright lights of Las Vegas, High Stakes introduces to us Ethan, the president of the Vampire Council, and Alexis, a lawyer with way too much attitude for his own good. Ethan is running for re-election and his staff thinks it would be good for him to get married and project a more mature image (he is 900 years old!), so he chooses his bubbly dentist, Brittany. She happens to be Alexis' little sister, and she comes to "rescue" her from a kidnapper/brainwasher. Of course, her rescue attempt falters and she learns that vampires do exist, and this one is the target of multiple assassination attempts.

I thought that the plot was really fun, as it should be with Chick Lit. I really enjoyed the vampire politics, and the idea of Impures, which are half-vampires fighting for their rights within the vampire community. These vampires are not "out of the coffin" as in many series, so they have the Council to make sure that they remain a secret and can live normal lives along side humans. Obviously, there has to be some evil vampire politician out to get Ethan, and there is. There's no resolution to that plot thread this time, so I'm interested to see how it's carried out in the next books.

The characters took me a while to warm up to, especially Alexis. She's a bit too mouthy for my liking, and she spent a lot of book insulting Ethan and egging him on. I'm normally a fan of these kind of antagonistic to lover stories, but it was a little much in this case. I did like Brittany, but felt like she wasted on a lame side plot. Her whole "vampires are damn and must be saved" way of thinking was annoying at the beginning, but once Corbin arrives on the scene, things get much more interesting.

Overall, this was a fun read despite its flaws. There's some steamy sex scenes scattered through out, with plenty of biting! Ethan has some tricks up his sleeve! If it weren't for my slight dislike for the characters, I would have rated this higher. I am excited for what the next book has in store though.

Favorite Quotes

Apparently even after nine hundred years of life, men still needed their egos stroked. "Mothers are blinded by love. But you're not ugly, I'll give you that." (pg 99)

Vampire sex rocked. (pg 179)

"If you can stay long enough to have sex with me, you can damn well stay a little longer. This isn't a drive-through service." (pg 187)

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