Dana reviews Vespers (Hours of the Night series Book 1) by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt (Published by Prescourt Books, September 13, 2016, 295 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…
The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.
Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…
The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.
Falling in love is hard at any age…
The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.
Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.
Add to Goodreads
Later in the afternoon, they kicked back in the den while they waited for Dupont to wake up. Nohea had showered and changed into clean clothes from one of the other spare bedrooms. She flicked absently through the channels on the TV while Sara made up fun anecdotes about his new job to email to his mom. He really does want me to set up his Facebook page, he finished up. Tonight we’re meeting a client at a local historic church, so stop worrying. What could be safer than a church? (And don’t worry, I’m not converting.)
Okay. He’d have to remember to set up some kind of Facebook page to show Ma. He hit Send.
“Hey, does Mr. Dupont show up on camera?” Because Ma would want to see a profile picture.
“Yes, he shows up on camera. You can ignore most of what you think you know about vampires. Most of that Hollywood stuff is bogus.”
“But he can’t go in the sun. That’s real?”
“He doesn’t burst into flames or anything, but he starts turning red pretty quick, and it hurts him. I’m not sure how long he could last before he got to a point he couldn’t heal. And it’s almost impossible to wake him up during full daylight.”
“Ha! See—this is the kind of thing I expected from my Renfield training.”
Nohea choked on her Coke mid-swallow. “Renfield training? Jesus, Sara.”
“Yeah, I mean, one-year contract. Seems like it would be easier to just have a manual to get us up to speed. You ought to be used to all the…” He trailed off as something she had said earlier came back to him. “Wait a minute. Why don’t assistants need training?”
Nohea evaded his eyes. “What did Mr. Dupont tell you?”
“Dupont hasn’t told me diddly. He just… Oh. My. God. He does the whammy on them, doesn’t he?”
Nohea remained silent, which was answer enough.
“That’s just…” He shook his head. “So not cool.”
“Look, Sara, he’s trying to protect them. For the most part, the less they knew, the safer they were.”
“Yeah, but…” It sounded good, but something about the explanation was off. “If they don’t know anything, how can they, you know, assist him?” Vampire Assistant seemed like a job requiring full knowledge of…vampires.
“Well, he doesn’t have them do much. I mean, they take his daytime messages and…stuff.”
“Because he can’t work voice mail?”
And the salary. No one paid eighty grand for someone to take messages. Not even a vampire.
His heart started pounding. Not racing, not yet. Just pounding until it was the only sound he could hear.
He was an idiot. Because vampire.
“How often does he need to eat?”
Nohea didn’t answer.
“I’m not his assistant, am I?”
Pound. Pound. Pound.
A rush of saliva.
He turned to Dupont, who had appeared in the doorway as though summoned by his thoughts.
Pound-pound. Pound-pound. Pound-pound.
He was hungry again. And, and… He shook his head, trying to clear the rush of sensation. He pointed a finger at his boss, pleased when it didn’t shake.
“I. Am. Not. Food.”
The cover of this book has a really dark feel to it. The shadowed face superimposed over the leafless trees and iron fence gives a sense of foreboding for the story inside. The blurb reinforces the paranormal vibes with talk of vampires and demons. So when I opened the book to Sarasija, or Sara for short, I was surprised by the lightness he brought to the story immediately.
Sara is on his way to a live-in assistant job with a mysterious employer in New Orleans. His mother is worried about him going so far away without having met his boss, but Sara is pretty optimistic about it. Until he has to ride in a boat through alligator infested swamps to get to his new home. He arrives late to find his contact missing and learns that his boss was expecting a female – had only wanted a female- to be his assistant. Thaddeus Dupont wants Sara to leave in the morning, but Sara decides to stay and fight for his job. Sara’s gender temporarily becomes a non-issue when Thaddeus realizes his associate, Nohea is still missing the next evening. Sara is immediately plunged into Thaddeus’s strange and dangerous world. There is little break in the action after that.
Thaddeus Dupont is a vampire living a monastic life until Sara shows up at his door. His past “assistants” were merely a food source that Thaddeus was able to control mentally. They did their time working for him, without much memory of that year. He doesn’t seem to be able to do that with Sara. I kind of feel like Thaddeus is a gay Edward Cullen. Raised with a strong devotion to God, Thaddeus fears for his immortal soul. He is a member of a secret Vatican black ops group fighting demons hoping that he can still restore his soul. As far as I’m concerned the care he feels for humanity, his protectiveness of his employees, and his deep faith would insinuate that his soul is intact. But it isn’t just his vampirism that he is trying to atone for, he is also attracted to the same sex, which makes Sara a big problem.
Sara was raised Hindu but identifies more as an Atheist. The crucifixes around the house are disturbing to him and Thaddeus’s guilt over things he can’t control are just confusing. I really enjoyed the religious undertones of the story. It is neither negative nor positive and the authors do not try to impose any belief of theirs or the characters onto the reader. It is more informative and also a viewpoint of what Thaddeus’s vigilance to his faith looks like to someone who doesn’t share in it.
Most of the book deals with demons who seem to be singling out Thaddeus with increasing attacks. Thaddeus, Sara, and Nohea must find out who is raising the demons and controlling them, and why they seem to want to hurt Thaddeus. Sara is often frustrated by being kept to the sidelines while Thaddeus does the fighting, and also by being held back despite the mutual attraction they feel for each other. There is definite chemistry between them, even though the romance is not the main point of the story.
Vespers is the first book of a new series. I am excited to read more about what happens to them as they work together more. What will they face in the future, and whether Thaddeus can get over the guilt of loving another man or if it will be an obstruction to their future relationship. I definitely recommend this book. It’s great for the Halloween season or any time you want a dose of sexy vampire with good intentions.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
$10 Gift Card (B&N, ARe or Amazon) Giveaway will open be thru 11/1/2016
About Irene Preston
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
Where to find Irene
About Liv Rancourt
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
Where to find Liv