Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire (Love at Stake #16) by Kerrelyn Sparks

December 26, 2014 Review 3

Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire (Love at Stake #16) by Kerrelyn Sparks

New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks delivers the exciting conclusion in the Love at Stake series, where a Marine-turned-vampire finds love with the shifter princess forbidden to him...

Russell wakes from a coma to find he's become a vampire. Now he has a thirst for revenge. Determined to hunt down the master vampire who turned him, he's used to working alone . . . until he meets Jia. She is after the same vampire for murdering her parents and insists she can help Russell on this mission. Reluctantly, he agrees, and sets up some ground rules:

Rule #1: Their partnership is strictly business. If he holds her a little too close . . . if she looks at him with those exotic eyes . . . well, that has to stop.

Rule #2: He's in charge. Jia isn't used to taking orders and questions every move he makes. So he stops her the only way he knows how.

Rule #3: Don't fall in love. But the kiss that was supposed to quiet her awakens something else in him . . . something forbidden. Because Jia is engaged. To someone else.

Title: Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days
Published by Avon
Source: Publisher
Published: 30 December, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-stars
Flames: three-half-flames

So, I’m again, a latecomer to a series. The first that I have read in this series is the last of the series, and what a story it was.  I can’t possibly refer to the wrap-up of the entire series, but I did thoroughly enjoy this book, and now find my TBR pile has increased by several more titles.

In this story, Sparks is focused on Russell, an ex-marine with a huge chip on his shoulder and a taste for the one who turned him vampire.  I liked Russell – a bit gruff and grumpy, he had reasons that made sense for his anger, and he really wasn’t hard to understand or empathize with.

Jia is equally well-built, with her determination to eradicate the vampire that killed her family. A nice mix of tiger and woman, Sparks managed to incorporate the cat within the woman – giving her a feel of otherworldliness while holding her in human form. A difficult sense to explain unless you are a fan of shifters, that sense of something ‘beneath’ what is easily seen is not an easy task to convey to a reader.

But, jumping in late meant that some of the backstory was lost to me, a situation I remedied by reading blurbs and some selected reviews/excerpts from their earlier trajectory.  The cautious and almost begrudging agreement of Russell as he joined forces with Jai, and his obvious discomfort of suddenly being a ‘team’ rather than his preferred solo operator led to several clever interactions, and his general unrest about Jai was charming.  He really was so laser focused on Han and gaining his own revenge that the attraction and desire for her were foreign concepts.  Clever when it finally hits him, and as his focus changed to include and rely on Jai also softened his rough edges, and gave peeks into his heart.

Plenty of action in this installment: fights and tension as they track Han and find their revenge. A bit of a muddle with a “bad guy controlled by a demon”, which just felt as if another element was added to increase tension, but the characters and story, at least this installment, could have worked without it. Why can’t the bad guy just be despicable because he is?  In reading this when I did, it was difficult to catch and understand completely the other storylines that wove into this one, wrapping up (what I assume) is the other loose ends for characters that appeared earlier.

I met several other / earlier characters from the series, and found more than a few that I wanted to know more about.  Sparks has managed to pique my interest in this series with this story and the wonderful Russell and Jia.  I think faithful readers of this series will be content with this ‘placeholder’, as there is a note from the author that the series isn’t necessarily concluded, but on hiatus as she focuses on other stories.

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3 Responses to “Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire (Love at Stake #16) by Kerrelyn Sparks”

  1. Pansy Petal

    I loved the beginning of this series. Then life and lack of time showed up and I lost track a bit. But they are all on my tbr pile. I need to go read. I am falling so far behind!

  2. Lissa Garcia

    I discovered these towards the end of the series myself. Binge read them all and am looking forward to the release/ signing event on Tuesday. Would you like a copy signed?