Stevie‘s review of Frostbitten (2016 Riptide Holiday Charity Bundle, Book 2) by Charlotte Stein
Bisexual Paranormal Holiday Romance published by Riptide Publishing 26 Nov 16
Anthologies and book bundles are a great way to test out new authors, as well as trying out genres that don’t usually appeal, and when a donation to charity is involved it seems pointless to only buy and read the parts of a collection that particularly appeal. Thus it was that I found myself reading a vampire menage by an author I’d not encountered before, as the shortest story in a bundle of three festive reads from Riptide. What could possibly go wrong?
Cora and Zeke have avoided acting on the attraction between them for months, barely even speaking to each other when they absolutely have to pass in the corridors at the hospital where they work. They’re finally managing to make polite conversation at a Christmas party – in spite of the open hostility from a man who appears to be Zeke’s date – when the hospital is destroyed by a gas main explosion. The next thing Cora knows, she’s waking up chained to the wall in a cellar, completely unscathed – as are, it seems, Zeke and his lover Merrick. Not have they all mysteriously survived, however; Cora also has a strange craving for blood.
Zeke and Merrick are, of course, vampires – and not the sparkly kind – though neither is happy with their status. If Cora can keep her hands off the pair of them for a week, and drink no blood other than her own, she will revert to being human – and not at all exploded, one hopes – which is why they’ve chained her up. It transpires that vampires share a particular special bond with one other person – or possibly two in the case of Cora, Zeke and Merrick – and that person will draw them irresistibly whether human or vampire. Being angsty types, Zeke and – particularly – Merrick don’t want to condemn Cora to an eternity as a blood-sucking monster, and so are determined to keep her locked up and away from the pair of them until her bloodlust has disappeared.
Cora, meanwhile, is quite keen on the idea of being a vampire if it means she gets to spend all of eternity with Zeke and Merrick, and she sets out to show them what a good time they can all have together. Honestly, I’m sure this is a great story for anyone who likes that kind of thing, but for me far too many questions are left unanswered as to what the trio will go on to do with themselves once Cora’s vampiric – or otherwise – fate has been decided. Merrick makes reference to vampires being parasites, but never really explains whether they feed on unsuspecting humans, on willing victims, or on blood-bags Zeke brings home from work with him (and even that presents an ethical issue in terms of any people who might actually need transfusions).
All in all, the least successful story in the bundle for me, though one that will doubtless appeal to fans of the genre.
Shy nurse Cora both dreads and lives for the moments she sees Zeke, an orderly at the hospital where she works. Zeke is too handsome, too compelling, too much, and seems totally unaware of Cora. But before she can bring herself to his attention, an explosion rips through the hospital Christmas party.
Zeke has noticed Cora — in fact, he’s so irresistibly drawn to her that he saves her from the explosion by turning her into a vampire, much to the jealousy and resentment of his partner, Merrick. Zeke hates being a vampire, and now that she’ll live, doesn’t want Cora to suffer his fate. If they can both resist the overwhelming instinct to bond, joining their bodies as Cora draws her maker’s blood, she might be able to return to her normal human life.
As Merrick uses every erotic trick to keep Zeke distracted from the blood passion, Cora becomes more and more drawn to both of her reluctant captors. And more and more happy to abandon her old life in exchange for an eternity with two hot immortal lovers. All she has to do is convince Merrick and Zeke that being a vampire isn’t all that bad.
Read an excerpt.