Emma Wallace is an MI6 agent on loan to the CIA's elite Stake-Out team, which is responsible for monitoring vampire activity. Her parents were brutally murdered by vampires, so in her mind, all of these creatures are evil and must be eliminated. Frustrated by the slow pace of bureaucracy when she hears of vampire attacks in Central Park, she secretly goes out at night, hunting the creatures of the night on her own. With four kills to her credit, she feels like she's protecting all of mankind from the evil bloodsuckers. That is until she meets Angus MacKay who calls into question everything she's always believed about what vampires are and are not.
Angus is a centuries old vampire who is also the owner of MacKay Security and Investigations. He provides his services to those in the vampire world, including the North American coven master, Roman Draganesti. Angus hasn't lost much sleep over the mysterious slayer, considering that only Malcontents have been offed so far, but when the slayer's actions have the new Russian coven master about to declare war on Roman over her vamps being killed, Angus must step in and try to put a stop to it. He didn't expect the slayer to be a beautiful warrior woman who stirs his heart and desires in ways he hasn't felt in a long time. Trying to convince Emma that not all vamps are bad turns out to be a challenging proposition, but one that Angus whole-heartedly embraces.
So far, I've really been enjoying Kerrelyn Sparks' Love at Stake series. She has created some lovable heroes and heroines engaged in fun and exciting stories, and Be Still My Vampire Heart is no exception. In fact, it is, in my opinion, the best book in the series to this point, owing in large part to its to-die-for hero. Normally, I'm not a big fan of romantic comedy, especially in paranormal romance, but Ms. Sparks really knows how to do it right. I'm able to love her books, because she knows how to balance humor, romance and emotional angst into the perfect blend to make an engaging story that doesn't feel silly or contrived. Every time I pick up one her stories, I know I'm going to get a great read.
Angus is just too scrumptious for words. He's a kilted Highlander, with that sexy brogue, and a vampire to boot. What an awesome combination! I don't think I've run across a Highland hero that has made me fall this hard for him since Outlander's Jamie Fraser. Much like Jamie, Angus's honor means everything to him and his word is his solemn bond. From the very beginning, he vowed to protect Emma and convince her to stop slaying. Everything he does throughout the entire story is to those ends. When it comes down to a choice between her life and keeping his vow, he knows he must break it, but it doesn't stop him from feeling extreme guilt about it to the point that he nearly lets the best thing that ever happened to him get away. I loved how chivalrous Angus was. Even when Emma was trying her level best to kill him at first, he still protected her. I adored his peaceful, diplomatic side too and how he tried to get Emma to stop slaying by taking a gentle, reasoned approach. In the end, it worked wonders and showed that violence isn't always the answer. Angus has a humorous side too. Emma and some of the other characters love to needle him about his kilt and sporran, and when they do, his growly, "It's no' a skirt" and "It's no' a purse" responses cracked me up. The impassioned speech he gave Emma about how it was a man's duty and privilege to pleasure a woman was totally smokin' hot. Angus is quite simply the absolute perfect gentleman. He truly is the honorable hero of Emma's dreams (and mine too;-)).
Emma is an MI6 agent on loan to the CIA and working for the elite Stake-Out team. She wanted the assignment, because her parents were murdered by vampires, leaving her all alone in the world. She has a major bone to pick with the vampires, and thinking they're all evil, she has been slaying in Central Park nearly every night. Emma is one of my favorite types of heroines. She's a tough, no-nonsense girl, who's a very skilled fighter, but at the same time, she has a soft heart. Like Angus, she has a funny side too. Her scene with the flasher in Central Park was LOL hilarious. When Emma first meets Angus, she can barely resist his charms even though she strongly suspects him to be a vampire. She knows she should hate him, but even when she finds out the truth, she can't quite bring herself to. Angus, quite simply, isn't anything like she thought vampires were, and he challenges her preconceived notions at every turn. Surprisingly, she came to terms with all that a little quicker than I thought she might, so her constant insistence that she and Angus couldn't have a future together made her seem a tad too stubborn at times. In those moments, I couldn't help wishing she'd lighten up a little and just give in, but overall, she was a well-drawn heroine who I liked.
Together, Angus and Emma have some great chemistry. These two have delicious sexual tension right in the opening chapter, and it only builds from there. They also share wickedly witty banter that I loved. It was sharp and clever, showing just how intelligent both characters are. Their first date at the top of the Eiffel Tower was very romantic, and their first "almost" love scene was very sensual. I loved Angus's sexy talk. The man definitely has a way with words. The psychic vampire sex is as hot as ever (one of my favorite elements in this series), and when they finally made it all the way, it was even better. The only thing that might have improved the story for me would have been, perhaps, one more sexy encounter after they reunited at the end instead of a cut scene.
Be Still My Vampire Heart is loaded with fun secondary characters too. We get a decent helping of Roman and Shanna (How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire) along with updates on how her pregnancy is progressing. Some characters have questions as to what exactly the baby will be, and I have to say I loved how this part of the story played out. Austin and Darcy (Vamps and the City), who are hunting the evil Casimir in Eastern Europe, come to Angus and Emma's rescue when they're abducted by the bad guy vamps. Several characters who were previously introduced and will be getting their own books in the future get some more page time: Jean-Luc (The Undead Next Door), the dashing French fashion designer; Connor (Vampire Mine), Angus's always reliable right-hand man; Phil (Forbidden Night with a Vampire), Angus's mortal daytime guard; Gregori (Sexiest Vampire Alive), Roman's charming and funny right-hand man; and last, but certainly not least, is the adorable Ian (All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire), the centuries old vampire who looks like a teenage boy. I was wondering how the author was going to turn this guy into a hero without it being kind of weird, and she lets us in on that secret in this book. Dougal (The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo), another Highland vamp, and Howard (Wild About You), another day-time guard receive mentions. Then we're introduced to some new characters: Robby (The Vampire and the Virgin), Angus's several greats grandson; Giacomo (Secret Life of a Vampire), the smooth-talking Italian Casanova; and Phineas (Wanted: Undead or Alive), a newborn African American vamp who turns out to be some good comic relief, but whose libido gets himself into a heap of trouble. Luckily, Angus is a very forgiving man.:-)
The main villains are the Russian coven led by the utterly evil Katya who has a history with Angus. However, Shanna father, Sean, is still at it with his Stake-Out team. At first, he won't give up on his vendetta against the vampires or believe that Shanna isn't being held against her will, but some unexpected new depth is added to his character as we finally learn what drives him in his quest. He ends up making a reluctant alliance in order to help Emma, and with a new grandchild on the way, he starts to soften some.
Overall, Be Still My Vampire Heart was a great read. The early parts of the story were some of the funniest I've read in this series, while the climax was edge-of-your-seat suspenseful as Angus and Emma fight for survival against the evil vamps. One of the things I love so much about this series is the multi-ethnic, international cast. They really add a lot of variety and flavor to the stories, and I'm very much looking forward to getting to know each of them better as I continue the series.
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