Formats available: ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency #4
Length: 146 pages
Publisher: Entangled Ever After
Date Released: October 28, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance
She’s seen the past…
OWEA Agent Beatrice Davis is haunted by the death visions that help her solve crimes. When Detective Claude Desmairis, her vampire ex-lover, asks for her assistance on a case, she’d rather help him than take the mandated leave to stave off her burn-out.
The truth won’t stay buried…
Pressed to solve a series of crimes before the perpetrator blows the vampire world apart, Claude turns to a woman he thought he’d been able to leave behind. But he was wrong, and his feelings for her will only bring trouble in an investigation this dangerous.
As their passions reignite, they see a possible future together. Until her visions show her the face of the murderer—a man Claude can never betray.
In my review of Lycan Unleashed, the previous entry in the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, I asked for Claude Desmarais’ story. I wanted to know exactly where, or at least why, the vampire kept having to leave his OWEA partner behind while he got dragged off for “vampire business”.
I certainly got my wish fulfilled in Vampire Games. The vampire business that Claude has been messed up in turned out to be not so much vampire business as monkey business, but he hasn’t been the instigator.
While Claude has been investigating a vampire gone wrong, someone else has been protecting that same vamp from the consequences of his evil ways. And it’s been some pretty high level influential protection. Claude knows that someone in the OWEA and in the Chicago Police Department’s Paranormal Unit is keeping his investigation from bearing fruit, so he isn’t sure who he really can trust.
So he goes off the reservation to the one person he knows won’t betray him, at least in an official sense. OWEA Agent Beatrice Davis may be the best psychometrist in the world. She can tell where any object has been and who last handled it. The problem with psychometry is that when you’re investigating murder, you handle a lot of objects that have been to a lot of bad places and been handled by a lot of evil people. It wears you down.
Bea Davis is on leave recovering from her last several cases. Claude shouldn’t be asking her to handle another job. Or another item used for ritual murder. He also shouldn’t be near her after he broke her heart years ago and stomped it into pieces. But he needs her help.
And he’s finally willing to admit that he just plain needs her. That he only let her go so abruptly because he didn’t want all the enemies he’d accumulated in his very long life to start going after her.
The first vision Bea gets from the object he shows her proves it’s much, much too late. His enemies have been screwing up her life long before she ever met him. Now they just need to face them together. But only if Claude can manage to look at all the evidence in front of him, instead of thinking that his old friend can’t possibly be a criminal just because he’s a friend.
That sort of thinking can get someone killed.
Escape Rating B : If you like urban fantasy with a heaping helping of paranormal romance, or the other way around, get yourself a copy of the first book in this series, Banshee Charmer (see review for details), and start now. This series has great worldbuilding and while each book has its own self-contained story, it is very cool to see the overall picture put together.
Vampire Games is a “second chance at love” story. Bea and Claude, but especially Bea, have a hell of a lot of damage to overcome from that first try, and the author does an excellent job of making sure that the reader feels just how much pain Claude left her in when he stomped on her heart. She shouldn’t take him back, but we understand why she wants to. At the same time, we get a sense of why he left; loving him made them both vulnerable, and not just emotionally. Distance was both easier and safer.
It just also turned out to be stupid.
Because this is also an urban fantasy, there is a criminal case to be solved as well. Claude has been chasing down Nicolas Chevalier for years, trying to put together a case that will stick. The problem is that Nic is the son of a vampire Magister, and his father won’t accept anything less than an iron-clad case. So even though everyone knows that Nic is a sadistic psychopath, proving it is another matter. Especially since Nic usually strikes whenever his father sends Claude away from town on “vampire business”.
Claude is loyal to Luc, one of his oldest and dearest friends. He refuses to believe that Luc is the one making the evidence against Nic disappear, even as he manages to collect untainted evidence from outside the system. The depth of his loyalty was touching, but also reached the point of straining the imagination a bit. Or the lengths that Luc was willing to go to in order to protect his sociopathic killer of a son.
Somewhere between those two extremes, something was a bit off-kilter for me in the break-neck speed of the investigation.
But I loved the way the relationship teetered and swung and built between Bea and Claude. The way they both quickly and hesitantly reached toward something both new and old was marvelous.
I hope that more Files will be extracted from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency.