Bound By Blood
by Evie Byrne, paranormal (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-518-4

Bound By Blood is the second entry to Evie Byrne's paranormal series about the Faustin brothers, vampire siblings with a common problem: their mother is seeing their future mates in her dreams and she's sending them off one by one to look for those women. Of course, once they meet the women in question, they realize that the problem really isn't a problem at all, if you know what I mean.

In this one, Gregor Ivanovich Faustin is given the name of his mate by her mother. Our nightclub owner and debonair man-around-town hero - after all, is there any vampire around who doesn't own a fashionable night club nowadays? - is not keen on marrying at all, however.

In ye olde tymes, Gregor would have taken the slip of paper with his intended's name on it, sought her out that night, carried her to his castle, fucked her senseless and drained her half dry. The next night he and his new bride would have celebrated by eating their own serfs or something.

Thankfully the dark ages were over. Marriage and breeding were fine for some, but he had better things to do. Gregor ignored the paper and all the imperative that came along with it. If this woman his mother had dreamed about, this Madelena López de Victoria, was his perfect mate, then he figured she'd wait for him.

Fate wouldn't wait, however, so it isn't long before Gregor crashes his BMW into her one fine day while he's on the road and answering the phone at the same time, sending the poor woman flying. Among her first words to him are, "You motherfucker! You could have killed me!" This can only be love, I tell you. He doesn't know at first that she's the woman his mother was pestering him about, while she certainly has no clue that she's destined to be the mate of a reluctant Harlequin Blaze hero who also happens to have fangs. But bad first impression isn't the only thing Gregor has to overcome in order to get his mate - Maddy has a medical condition that makes her being vampire food a complicated and maybe even life-threatening situation.

Like the previous story Called By Blood (which takes place after this story, by the way), Bound By Blood is a humorous romp that sees the author happily taking on familiar and even clichéd tropes of vampire romance and cheerfully putting a playful spin on them. This isn't a parody or satire, not completely - there is a romance here that is pretty sweet. Admittedly, it isn't particularly deep and the characters could be better developed, but this story is a very entertaining read nonetheless. The two characters are plenty of fun together. Even if their romance is determined by destiny, dream, or whatever, I think I have seen enough to believe that these two enjoy being in each other's company well enough to give it a go for the long haul.

Called By Blood therefore may not be the deepest story around, but as prime entertainment go, this one offers plenty of romantic comedy to smile and even laugh over. If I have one complaint, it's the presence of some sex scenes that feel more gratuitous and even jarringly out of place compared to the rest of the story. Still, I doubt many readers will find that issue problematic, heh.

Rating: 83

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