An immortal living in the public eye must occasionally disappear for a decade or three. Even with modern-day advancements such as plastic surgery to explain away an eternally youthful appearance, a vampire must periodically leave the life he has built to prevent rousing suspicion amongst the human populace.
Ultra-famous fashion designer Jean-Luc Echarpe has stretched the limits of his current existence and is preparing to sequester himself away in a small Texas town for a time before re-emerging to the world with a new identity. It promises to be a long, lonely life - until he meets the inimitable Heather Westfield.
The single mother, schoolteacher, and budding designer shows Jean-Luc a world such as he has never known for himself. A world of love, hope, and family. But once again, he unwittingly puts a woman he cares for at unacceptable risk as his centuries-long enemy resurfaces to destroy everything Jean-Luc cherishes.
Last year, I reviewed the third book in Kerrelyn Sparks LOVE AT STAKE series, read the first two, and loved each so much that I have purchased all three for several friends as `just because you have to read these' gifts. Needless to say, I was more than eager for the new release in this saga, THE UNDEAD NEXT DOOR!
As her fans have come to expect, Ms. Sparks does not disappoint readers with the new edition to this addictive paranormal romance series. Infusing the stories with a heavy dose of humor, balanced with the darker side of the paranormal world her characters inhabit. See, just as with humans, you have good Vampires and you have evil Vampires. The good Vamps drink synthetic blood and co-exist peacefully with the human population, protecting them from the threat of the Malcontents.
The Malcontents are the evil vampires, who thrive on taking human blood and life whenever possible, and work overtime to destroy the good Vamps. We don't like the Malcontents, obviously. No big news or spoilers here, this is just part of the series premise.
But what is new is Jean-Luc. While we've seen the handsome French designer in previous stories, he remained somewhat of a mystery, appropriate until his own book, of course. I was intrigued by him before, but what we learn of his past and his personality in THE UNDEAD NEXT DOOR shows us a somewhat tragic hero who is undeniably fascinating. His sense of honor is only rivaled by his utter loneliness, having lived a life devoid of true commitment due to the constant threat posed by his nameless, faceless foe.
Leave it to a heroine as bright and quirky as Heather to shake up Jean-Luc's world to the 'nth' degree! Heather is a breath of fresh air for both Jean-Luc and for the reader - completely guileless, this woman has a capacity for love and understanding that surpasses most. But will that extend to the Vampire who loves her when she discovers his true nature?
Readers new to the LOVE AT STAKE books will be glad to hear that Kerrelyn Sparks writes each of these stories so that they work admirably well as standalone stories, making it easy to jump right in with the title that most interests you. Of course, each book introduces the main characters of future books, so reading them in order certainly enhances the experience.
For a wonderfully romantic and thoroughly entertaining read that will make you alternately laugh with delight and sigh with romantic longing, pick up your own copy of LOVE AT STAKE, BOOK 4: THE UNDEAD NEXT DOOR!
How To Marry a Millionaire Vampire (Love at Stake, Book 1)
Vamps and the City (Love at Stake, Book 2)
Be Still My Vampire Heart (Love at Stake, Book 3)
The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake, Book 4)
All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire
Sugarplums and Scandal