VRC: Vampire Related Crimes: How To Elude A Vampire by Alice Winters
When the vampire stalking me sent me a letter, I was prepared for my new life with the man I love to get thrown into chaos. But as the days stretch on and nothing happens, I become determined not to allow that monster to rule my life, and decide that Marcus and I will move on. We can’t always allow the past to haunt us. If that includes pestering Marcus and harassing my fellow detectives, they’d better learn to love it, because I’m not going anywhere even if they like to remind me I’m the only human working in a department filled with vampires. But Marcus loves me for who I am, even if he’s not crazy about the cute pet names I call him like McBitey. Being with him is more than I could have dreamed, and even with the trials thrown in our way, he never fails to make me smile.
When Finn joined the VRC, I never expected how everything would change. Now that he’s the brightest part of my days, I’m unsure of how I existed without him. Before Finn and I can settle into our new life together, we’re called in as lead detectives when a body is found in the river, and the case soon hits closer to home than we anticipated. I want to be by Finn’s side to keep him safe, but at the same time, Finn’s fighting for the freedom he’s always wanted after being forced to live a life of fear. What I do know is that my future is with Finn, no matter what happens.
How to Elude a Vampire is the second in the VRC series and contains a display of manly prowess that doesn’t go as desired, reluctant bonding with a new pet, interfering with a snarky Russian’s love life, misuse of office supplies, a vampire with a killer fashion sense but very little game, a total lack of ancient kung fu powers, a feisty human who almost always gets his way and the possessive vampire who adores him.
How To Vex A Vampire left us with a huge cliffhanger. As I mentioned in my review of the first book, I got too excited about the second book and read the reviews. I learned the name of Finn’s stalker is Dollmaker.
HUGE clue right there.
So I spent the sequel anticipating the big reveal because I knew I was right.
Far from feeling that the book was predictable, I was actually enjoying it more because knowing this guy was close to Finn most of his life only made it more sinister. Mostly, I wanted to see how it would play out.
How To Elude A Vampire picks up six months after the events in the first book. Marcus and Finn are happy and have everything they need excerpt for that looming threat. They are now staying with Finn’s father, Orin, because his house is the most secure. Or so they thought.
A series of murders connected to the Dollmaker, attacks right inside Orin’s house, more warnings from the stalker to quit the VRC, and overly protective vampires drove Finn up the wall. He’s tired of living in fear and feeling controlled.
Nightmares that were actually memories revealed past events that led to Finn losing his arm and leg. We finally learn about Finn’s past as well as the history of vampires.
I loved how the vampires rally to protect Finn. My boy Karsyn grumps his way through the book but you could tell he’ll die for his human friend if needed. There’s a great addition of Claude, Marcus’s outrageously dressed, outrageously flirty, surprisingly smart brother, who latched on to a certain snarky Russian vampire. These two!!!
And we have Marcus. I have a better appreciation of Marcus here because six month earlier, he would have wrinkled his nose at the mere thought of interacting with humans. Now, this big bad vampire is so completely head over heels over his tiny human that he’s willing to make a fool of himself just to make him laugh. Witness another Date. Also, a lot of adorable mushy stuff.
Marcus trying to impress Finn ♡ (≧◡≦) !!!
With Finn and Marcus as an establish couple, the primary focus was the mystery. There were several nicely deployed plot twists that I didn’t see coming. There’s still a lot of snark and gags that were sometimes repetitive. There were many scenes where they completely ignored the pressing issue at hand just to exchange snarks. However, the plot moved at a fast pace and laid out Finn’s troubles in a way that kept me consistently engaged.
The build-up, the showdown and the comeuppance played out quick but intensely suspenseful. All throughout the scene, I was at the edge of my seat wondering how Finn is going make it out of there alive. But the man is smart and resourceful and resilient as fuck. That and Marcus.
How To Elude A Vampire gives us a happy end to Finn’s stalker woes. I kind of wish Finn was turned into a vampire just so he wouldn’t be injured so easily (and spare Marcus the agony of seeing the love of his life live die of old age while he gets to live forever <– my main issue with human + vampire couples) but that epilogue was super sweet.
I’m glad the author did not drag this stalker business out for several more books. I felt as relieved as Finn and just as ready to move on to happier matters.
Namely, Karsyn and Claude.
The VRC books are not standalones and should be read in order. Witness how a short, sassy human charmed a grumpy, confident, 300-year old vampire into the best worst date ever in How To Vex A Vampire. Review here.
Posts on Alice Winters books here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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Secret Admirer – D.J. Jamison
You deserve all the kisses you want …
I want you to know how amazing you are. You won’t believe me, because I’m just your brother’s best friend, but it’s true. Each day my feelings for you grow, confusing but undeniable.
With a few anonymous love tokens, I finally have an outlet for all the things I can’t say. And with each gift and note, you smile. For me. Not your brother’s straight friend, but something new. Something more. Something that will change everything if we can both find the courage to believe.
All I have to do is confess who I really am:
Your Secret Admirer
Secret Admirer is a super cute, feel-good offering from D.J. Jamison. She’s one of the more enjoyable MM romance authors out there. I said this about her before, she can make me read and like pure contemporary romance, a genre I typically struggle with.
This is an opposites attract, nerd + frat boy, brother’s bestfriend romance. It’s not really breaking new grounds but it makes up for it by all the adorkable moments.
First off, I really liked that the identity of the secret admirer was known to the reader right off the bat. I don’t have to drive myself crazy trying to figure it out. This is dual POV.
Benji is out and proud. He’s been secretly crushing on Ace, the best friend of his older brother, Jeremy, since forever. He knows it’s hopeless because the guy is straight. Ace has always been kind to him. Now that he is in college, Ace looks out for him on behalf of Jeremy. Ace treats him like a lil’ brother. Or so Benji thought.
Normally, I’m all over the shy, nerdy types and I was so ready to love Benji. But as the story progressed, his insecurities got the better of him. He gradually lost his charm.
Ace was the better guy here for being genuinely nice, caring, sweet and selfless. He had to reflect on his attraction to Benji a bit, especially in relation to his bi-curiosity and his best friend who might not think too highly about Ace hooking up with his baby brother. Eventually, he became honest with himself and took a chance to see where his feelings would lead.
There is the spectre of Jeremy hanging over most of the story with the guys holding off from telling him. He made his grand entrance, surprising both Ace and Benji. Then it tapered off to a blessedly drama-free but yeah, also anti-climatic, ending.
Secret Admirer falls somewhere between like and love. While there were many scenes that gave me warm fuzzies, these were mostly because of Ace’s efforts. The Benji issue could be a ME thing because many other GR reviewers were okay with him. I could still say the romance developed nicely despite Benji not appealing to me as a character. The story is low-angst and humorous, ideal for days when you’re in the mood for light, fluffy college boys shenanigans.
Posts on D.J. Jamison’s works here.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Secret Admirer. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.