Sacrament
by Susan Squires, historical/paranormal (2002)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52472-4


I sometimes don't understand why romance authors and some of their readers seem to hate women so much. Whatever the reasons - lazy plotting or shoddy characterization or worse - they end up looking like complete fools when they rip apart women for having sex while making romance heroes out of brothel-groupie men.

Then again, I can understand the proliferation of evil women and their love for sex (in too many romance novels, evil women and libido come hand in hand) in Sacrament. Without the skanks, the heroine Sarah Ashton's complete absence of charisma or even a personality will be as obvious as the sun in the sky. No doubt Ms Squires wants Sarah come off smelling like roses compared to Vampire Sluts and That Slut Best Friend Who Wipes Her Feet On Our Heroine's Back, but with this reader, she gets a complete opposite reaction.

See, I like the skanks. The heroine can get brainsucked by the vampire hero Julien Davinoff for all I care. Let them stare into each other's eyes like a pair of sedated moo-moo fangirl Amidala and fanboy Anakin, I want more of Corina's skank sex with that gigolo.

I mean, how sad is it that Sarah's best moments are when she is under the influence?

Sarah is a sad woman because our stereotypical Frenchie-sounding vampire hero is contesting her claim to her house. We all know what happens to homeless heroines. They try to cross the street and get run over by carriages, so we can't have these unhousebroken nitwits loose in the streets of London, right? Best leave them locked up in their countrified houses to do their healing/charity/Daddy-adora thing.

She is best friends with Corina, our sex-loving and hence evil woman. Corina is so skanky, but Sarah is so oblivious to the fact until it hits her in the face long after even the family dog has known it, it's pathetic, that Sarah. Her path and our pansy vampire Julien's cross when Corina stakes a claim on Julien (she'll have to bitchslap Julien's skank mistress first for that) and Sarah has to fight Julien to keep her house.

Meanwhile, dead bodies are popping up on the streets. No, it's not that there are more homeless romance heroines in England at that moment, it's just that some evil skanky vampires and their minions are out to suck dry the menfolk. Or something. Can Julien brood long enough to stop them? Will Sarah give up her charity work once she got poked for the first time in her life? How sad that even when drugged, she still can't get laid?

There's an embryo of a dark and interesting vampire romance in Sacrament, it's just too bad that the hero is the boring archetype of silent, broody vampire (think Amanda Ashley and Maggie Shayne), the heroine is so colorless that she doesn't even register, and the evil skanky Corina is so fun that I wish this is her story.

Rating: 72


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