Series: Love at Stake #14
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Avon on 28 August 2013
I can’t believe we are up to #14 now in this series. We head off to Asia in this instalment which combined with a bit of reincarnation, introduced a freshness that was desperately needed to compensate for the lack of Malcontent fighting. Our vamps are worried about killing the demon Darafer’s human army. They hire Dr Leah Chin, a genius geneticist to help them remove Darafer’s influence. When Dougal Kincaid, head of security, sees her he feels and immediate connection – she’s just like his long lost love Li Lei. His dragon tattoo seems to recognise her too.
Dougal is a verra complicated man with a mysterious past and a massive dragon tattoo. His pre-vamp life was one of the most interesting I have read in this series. He made it all the way from Scotland to China and back whereas others barely made it 10 miles away from home. We do have a really positive representation of him and his disability. Dougal may have lost his hand but no one isolates him or ridicules him and there is no suggestion he can no longer do his job. Over the course of the novel he realises that he still has a lot to offer and a prosthesis doesn’t automatically make him incompetent. The prosthesis only functions when he uses mind control on it and when that control evaporates (usually around Leah) it leads to some very amusing situations.
Leah undergoes a massive transformation from a lonely geek that was used solely for her intelligence, to someone surrounded by friends and being involved in a relationship. Her entire family is full of geniuses and she’s considered the dumbest of the lot because she didn’t become a doctor until she hit her 20s. She broke out of her shell fairly quickly although the self-doubt remained, especially when she found out the similarities between her and Li Lei. She’s brave however especially when confronted by all manner of paranormal activity that is completely at odds with her scientific understanding of life. The vamps’ success against Darafer rested heavily on Leah’s shoulders and although she didn’t have super powers, she made a massive difference to the lives of thousands of people.
There is an undercurrent of Christian values in this series that has really ramped up in the last few novels. It was present from the start as the first vamp we met (Roman) was a former monk and the vamps regularly attend church. Sparks seems to be expanding on this theme however with God’s Warrior Angels the only beings that can defeat demons and angels healing suffering etc. The morality of our vamps is also emphasised as they don’t want to harm Darafer’s human army because they have no way of knowing if the soldiers actually wanted to fight for Darafer or if they were tricked into it. I’m not sure whether this is a plus for you or not but it is an interesting development in a series about the un-dead.
I love curling up with a Love at Stake novel and this one was no different. Romance, fighting and kilts abound. This can be read as a standalone and is perfect for those interested in a fun and flirty paranormal romance.