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Byte Marks by Mardi BallouLaura J’s review of Byte Marks by Mardi Ballou
Contemporary paranormal romance eBook novella released by Samhain Publishing 13 May 08

I like paranormal romances but I prefer that they are on the lighter side.  I love Mary Janice Davidson and Kimberly Raye’s vampires and even though Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires are a little darker and more suspenseful, I still find the humor and mystery outweighs the suspense you find in most paranormals.  This book was definitely for book for those who are like me, the ones who want sexy vampire heroes, some good vampire loving and a good storyline to go along with that.

In this story, Dominique is a witch who has renounced her heritage.  She believes she can get everything she wants by working hard, not by using witchcraft.  She is basically a workaholic with no time for a serious relationship especially after her last one ended badly.  She’s on vacation in San Francisco after being talked into it by her best friend Lilith, a half human-half ghoul.  Lilith takes Dominique out to see the nightlife of San Francisco ending up a bar owned by vampire Antoine Thierry.  A powerful vampire community leader, Antoine likes to keep relationships very simple, in other words, no more than one night and no witches.

Lilith introduces Antoine and Dominique and immediately Antoine finds her appealing, but something is differant about her and he can’t quite figure out what it is.   Dominique can feel Antoine’s vampire gaze try to pull her, but she is able to resist, barely.  When he enters her dreams later, Dominique wonders if the intimate actions were real or a dream.  Antoine knows there is something differant about Dominique, but everytime he comes close to finding out her secret she is able to shut him out.

Later, Dominique, with the help of Lilith comes up with an idea for a new business venture.  A dating service that will match couples with the most up to date computer technology from every background.  They are able to get all the groups on board for this with the exception of the vampires.  Antoine claims that vampires are not in need of a service like this, but Dominique and Lilith still need his support because they know that there are probably some vampires that would like a service like this.  When the woman approach Antoine with their business plan he refuses to help in any way.

When Antoine discovers Dominique’s secret, he is unsure of what to do.  He is so attracted to her and it’s a feeling that despite her being a witch he wants to persue.  Fortunately Antoine is not alone in his feelings.  Dominque knows she is only in town for a short while but with this new business venture she may be staying longer than planned.  She has to decide if she can include Antoine in her plans too.

Antoine was definately the sexy vampire hero that I like in my paranormals.  Dominique is a likeable heroine.  I liked her need to want to make it on her own without the help of her magic, although I would think she could have found a balance for both.  I’m hoping that the next book mentioned as “coming soon” at the end of this book is Lilith’s story.  I’m thinking that some of the secondary characters can be quite interesting giving her background.

Ms. Ballou has written a very good story, with fun and sexy characters and lots of room for more stories from this paranormal world (at least I’m hoping there’s more).

LauraJGrade: C+


She’s his match—but he’s not in her business plan.

A Fangly, My Dear story.

Hereditary witch Dominique LaPierre has always refused to use her powers, especially when it comes to business. Until now. Her new company, a computer dating service that hooks up the San Fransisco human and para communities, thrives on crossing that boundary. Business is great despite opposition from the arrogant and conceited Antoine Thierry, a leader in the vampire community. And, to her irritation, she finds she’s got the hots for him.

Antoine doesn’t like or trust witches. Nor does he like the growing power of technology; real vampires, in his view, don’t need it to have a social life. Besides, if he can’t control the game, he doesn’t want to play—except with Dominique. The heat between them could melt down any hard drive. She pushes his buttons on every level, from the board room to the bedroom. But he’s holding out, especially when she looks to him to support her new business.

Antoine wants it all. His way—and his woman.

Warning: This title contains hot sex and lots of it!

     Read an excerpt.