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Book Cover LauraJ’s review of The Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts
Paranormal Romance published by Brava 28 Sep 10

She’s written historical westerns, funny and sexy knitting stories, and has several Desire books to her name (and another one coming out soon. YAY!) and now she’s entering into the paranormal world with vampires. And not just any kind of vampires, she’s giving us funny, sexy, “sparkle” free vampires (another YAY!).

The first of the three stories features Conner Drake who just wants to have a normal, traditional Christmas, complete with all the decorations. Unfortunately, his two younger siblings can’t seem to get into the spirit of the holidays and seem to stop at nothing to ruin his mood.

Thanks to good friend and matchmaker, Angelina Ricci’s recommendation to hire event coordinator, Jillian Parker to spruce up Drake Manor for the holidays, Conner hopes to bring his brother and sister around so that can finally enjoy a traditional Christmas, something they haven’t done in a long time. Jillian is a bit nervous around vampires, but quickly becomes someone the Drake family needs to bring them back together.

I really enjoyed this story (my second favorite of the three). Ms. Betts not only delivers a funny and sexy story but also tackles (slightly) the idea of prejudices and also family dysfunction. Jillian has never spent time around vampires and is a little uneasy about working so closely with one, but from the story you get that Jillian, while knowing that she could really bring in some much needed income, she is also someone who wants to learn first hand if the prejudices are warranted.

Conner is a traditionalist when it comes to family and holidays, but his two younger siblings want no part of any of that. They rebel at every opportunity and flaunt they vampire status every where. It provides some moments of very funny battle of wits (if you are a parent of teenagers, you will be able to relate).

The second story (and my favorite) is about Vivian Harrison who is madly in love with her boss Sean Spice. When she learns some devastating news about Sean, things go from great working relationship to really great (as in HOT, HOT, HOT) but very inappropriate boss/employee relationship. Afterwards, Vivian spills her guts to Angelina who takes it upon herself to make all of Vivian’s dreams come true. Unfortunately for Sean, it’s going to take a lot of convincing by Vivian (who is not at all happy with Angelina’s meddling ways) that life is the best gift of all.

I LOVED this story and it’s my favorite of the three. This is the one that had me really laughing out loud in several places. Sean’s reaction to his “change” is absolutely hilarious. Vivian is put in a very tight spot with having to break the news to Sean and convincing him this really isn’t such a bad thing given the alternative. She goes through a whole range of emotions while dealing with Sean and with Angelina’s meddling, but she never comes across as anything but likable.

The third story features Angelina and her very hunky vampire, cop boyfriend of many, many years. Every year Angelina has hoped and wished for Ian Hart to come around and finally ask her to marry him. She knows that are meant to be together for eternity but thinks that Ian is just happy with the status quo. Another holiday season and no question popping, Angelina begins to wonder if things would be different if they weren’t vampires with an eternity to spend together. She falls asleep and when she wakes up things just don’t seem the same. For one, they aren’t vampires anymore.

Since I’m not a huge fan of suspense (and there is a little in this story), this was my least favorite of the three, but I still really enjoyed Angelina and Ian’s story. It still has several very funny parts, especially when Angelina realizes something weird is going on. Ian is definitely the strong, silent, sexy type. **grin** Through most of the story he comes across as the strong, silent type. Without giving anything away (at least I hope) I couldn’t help but love his soft, tender and romantic side.

We get to know Angelina throughout the book and other stories as a great friend who cares deeply about others finding happiness, especially her closest friends (Conner and Vivianne). She appears to be a very strong person in the first two stories so it was nice to see her more vulnerable.

The only thing I can say negative about this book/stories is they weren’t long enough (luckily we will be getting another vampire book from her next year!!)! I really, really loved it and if you have read other books by Ms. Betts and enjoyed her writing and characters, you will love this one too. If you have never picked up a book by her, then I highly recommend you try this one and then go back and pick up her other books as well. You won’t be disappointed.

LauraJGrade: A


“All I Vant For Christmas”

Millionaire vampire Connor Drake loves trimming the tree, baking gingerbread cookies, and hanging the mistletoe for Christmas, but his Goth and gloomy vampire siblings won’t have anything to do with it. Enter Angelina, who sends party planner Jillian Parker to the rescue. But when Jillian—who’s mortal–discovers that she’s decking the halls for a family of vampires, will she run…or will Connor have a beautiful woman to share the holidays with?

“A Vampire in Her Stocking”

When Vivian learns that her secret crush, Nick, is terminally ill, she is heartbroken. Confiding in Angelina, Vivian refuses to turn Nick into a vampire. Deciding to play Santa, Angelina changes Nick and leaves him wrapped in a red bow on Vivian’s doorstep…

“It’s A Wonderful Bite”

Although Angelina is happy with her longtime lover, Ian, she’s ready for a commitment. After drinking eggnog and watching It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve for the (literally) four millionth time, Angelina falls into a dream where she is mortal, and Ian is involved with someone else. Talk about the nightmare before Christmas! But Santa must have checked his list twice, because this Christmas Angelina’s wishes are about to come true…

Read an excerpt.