The Undead Next Door – Love at Stake Series – Kerrelyn Sparks

Book #4

The list of reasons why Heather Westfield would never date famous fashion designer Jean-Luc Echarpe;

#1 Stubborn as a mule

#2 Over Inflated Ego

#3 Overbearing

#4 Too Handsome

#5 Ambiguity

She has just gone through a nasty divorce from a man who was controlling and overbearing. Fear ruled her life until she decided that she was at war with fear and made the decision to divorce her husband and live her life to the fullest even though her small town is anything but exciting. She’s a history teacher at the local high school but has always wanted to be a fashion designer. She attends the grand opening of Jean-Luc Echarpe’s new store.

Heather loves the designs of the dresses on display but they are made for anorexic models and would be way too revealing for someone who is a size 12 like herself so she decides to make some changes to the design. She gets out her sketch pad and starts drawing.

Jean-Luc Echarpe who is a vampire is going into exile for a long while because people are beginning to be suspicious of why he has not aged. He plans on reappearing after 20 or 25 years as his son. He has opened this new store in a remote area of Texas with plans to make it fail and then use the building as his hide-out. He is peeking out over the crowd of people who have shown up for his grand opening when he spots Heather sketching and he thinks she is stealing his designs. My thought while reading this was, “Yeah, because it would be so much less sneaky to just snap a picture of the dress with a cell phone.”

He escorts her to the back room and confronts her. They end up flirting and he offers her a short term job but then a mad man shows up and tries to kill Jean-Luc with a sword. Heather, who is at war with fear, grabs some belts and whips the mad man with them. Because some of the belts are made of silver, the silver burns the mad man who she later learns is named Lui and she saves Jean-Luc from being murdered. Lui believes that Heather and Jean-Luc are lovers and tells Jean-Luc that he will kill Heather like he killed his other girlfriends. Jean-Luc then explains to Heather that he will have to protect her now. She tells him she can protect herself at first because she doesn’t want a man guarding her and her four year-old little girl but reluctantly accepts help because he agrees to send a woman to guard her.

This is where the believability of the situation went haywire for me. Heather is a down-to-earth smart woman. She witnesses a man trying to kill another man and is told that he has killed at least two other women yet she does not call the police and lets these strangers take over her life but after meeting the sheriff of the town, I understood her decision. When she looks up some of the aliases that Jean-Luc told her Lui went by in the past, she discovers the names were attached to villains from centuries past. She starts to think that Jean-Luc and his friends might be immortal like from the show Highlander.

Not once in the following days does she think they may be vampires which I really don’t get because of all the hype about vampires in movies, shows and books lately. Jean-Luc always disappears before dawn and only reappears after dark.

Heather and Jean-Luc start to get along great and she basically forgets about the list of reasons why she didn’t like him. He is great with her little girl, Bethany and goes out of his way to please Heather.

I really liked her gun toting, psychic live-in babysitter, Fidelia. She cracked me up especially when Jean-Luc caught her looking up one of the Scottish men’s kilts.

It was a pretty good story but I think it has been my least favorite of all, not because I didn’t connect with Heather. I did. In fact, I have a lot in common with her. I like to design and sew my own clothes just like her because anything over a size 9 in clothes is made like a tent or has hideous gigantic flower prints all over the fabric. I liked Jean-Luc also but I’m not usually attracted to French men because they seem too effeminate to me. I know. That is being prejudice but the movies always portray French men as slender and snobby wearing ruffled shirts and wigs.
Like this guy from Rob Roy
french man

I kept trying to get that out of my head while reading this book.

Some of the side stories that were happening were exciting but I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t list them here.

As usual, Kerrelyn Sparks had me cracking up throughout the entire book. The small town Texan characters were hilarious. I was rolling when the coach brought cheerleaders to a high fashion runway show. The author just knows where to tickle me. I’ve already started on the 5th book, All I want for Christmas is a Vampire.

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