I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vampire's Accidental Wife by Kristen Painter
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Published by Sugar Skull Books on May 8, 2017
Source: my own shelves
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Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, City of Eternal Night, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, All Fired Up, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Vampire's Mail Order Bride, The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Dragon Finds Forever, The Reaper Rescues the Genie, The Detective Wins The Witch, The Vampire's Priceless Treasure, The Werewolf Dates the Deputy, "When Birdie Babysat Spider", Miss Frost Ices the Imp, Miss Frost Saves the Sandman, Miss Frost Cracks a Caper, "The Werewolf's Christmas Wish", The Vampire's Cursed Kiss
Eighth in the Nocturne Falls magical realism fantasy series and revolving around a town that celebrates their supernatural citizens. The couple focus is on Julian Ellingham and Desdemona Valentine.
Painter uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Desi’s and Julian’s perspectives, so we learn their thoughts, emotions, and actions. It’s how I know that Desdemona is a terrified whiner. Sure she likes Julian, but not that much. Not marrying much.
Painter does drag out the reasons why Desdemona doesn’t want to get involved with anyone, and while it makes a kind of sense, jeez, not everyone is the same. It seems a rather lame reason for jumping onto that “never again” truck.
I enjoyed Julian’s conundrum, but Desi’s whinging drove me nuts. Sure it was a horrible experience . . . even more horrible than you can know, but oy. That whole “woe” thing and equating everyone with her first husband. Jeez. I think Painter would have done better if she’d emphasized more about what Alonso had done to her at the end. Instead, after all the pages of whining, Painter drops his actions into a few paragraphs and then leaves it.
Julian keeps proving what a great guy he is, and . . . well, oh woe. That’s not his brothers’ reactions though, lol. More proof comes through Desdemona’s experiences with him. And those secret candy stashes she finds, *more laughter*.
This is so unlike everything we’ve been led to think about Julian…okay, yes, Painter had started dropping minimal clues in previous stories, but in The Vampire’s Accidental Wife, Julian goes nuts with his honor. It’s so cute, lol. We also learn a truth about his flirtatious ways. Who’d’ve thunk?
It’s an emotional story with a very depressed Julian. He’s not liking that bargain he’s made with Desi, and he is making his plans to change her mind. Only, he is an honorable vampire, and he will honor Desdemona’s wishes. However much his heart is breaking.
Hmm, I am envious of their metabolisms . . . sigh . . . That Jean Lafitte sounds like a nice guy . . . from what Remy says.
Pace-wise, I’d have to split it in half. The story does move along until we get bogged down by the whiny Desi, which falls into that character aspect of the story. I gotta say that the town and its citizens are part of the character side too. It’s such a supportive and caring group of people. There’s also a good bit of action what with stalkers, threats, that clever bit of emotional torture, and kidnapping.
It’s the damaged who really know how to survive.
Las Vegas headliner and vampire Desdemona Valentine is one cool, collected diva on the outside. On the inside, she’s petrified of falling in love after her last relationship nearly killed her…literally. Protecting her wounded heart makes for a lonely life, but she has her fame and fortune to keep her company. Who needs anything more?
Julian Ellingham does. One look at Desdemona on stage, and the vampire is smitten. She initially ignores him, but his relentless pursuit pays off when a wild night ends in a Vegas wedding. Finally, Julian has everything he wants while all Desdemona wants is . . . a divorce.
Julian sweet-talks Desdemona into letting him prove his love, but his time is running out. Especially after someone repeatedly tries to turn his bride to ash. When Desdemona flees Vegas for the spooky streets of Nocturne Falls and Julian’s protection, he’s more than willing to help out. But can he convince Desdemona to trust him, or will “death do us part” become a reality?
The almost two hundred-year-old Desdemona Valentine, a.k.a. Mary Clarke, is a vampire who was never going to get involved again. A diva and the star of Vamp, she’s a vampire playing a vampire, who lives in the Skye Towers in Las Vegas. Samantha “Sam” Arnett, a skinwalker, is her daytime body.
Julian Ellingham is the third brother (and grandson) of the vampiric Ellinghams. He lives in the penthouse of the Excelsior in Nocturne Falls. His “day” job is as VOD, the Vampire of the Day; his real job is business development for Nocturne Falls.
Nocturne Falls, Georgia, is . . .
. . . run and mostly owned by the Ellinghams. The very secretive Elenora Ellingham, a.k.a. Didi, is the matriarch, the boys’ grandmother, and the vampire who turned them. Hugh is the middle brother who recently married Delaney (The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, 1) who runs a sweets shop in town, Delaney’s Delectables. She’s recently had her baby, George. Stanhill is Hugh’s rook. The grumpy Sebastian is the oldest brother engaged to Tessa Blythe, a valkyrie and librarian (The Vampire’s Fake Fiancée, 5; “The Vampire’s True Love Trials“, 06.5). Duncan is Tessa’s cat. The dour Alice Bishop is a very powerful witch whom Elenora saved a few hundred years ago. It’s Alice’s abilities that prevents the truth about the town from coming out. Frauke is Grandmamma’s cook. Wentworth is her special occasion butler.
Sheriff Hank Merrow is a werewolf. He’s married to Ivy (The Werewolf Meets His Match, 2), and they have a new baby girl, Hannah Rose. His deputies include Remy Lafitte, a vampire who had to leave New Orleans; Birdie Caruthers, Hank’s aunt and a werewolf, is the police receptionist; Cruz (The Shifter Romances the Writer, 6); and, Jenna Blythe, a valkyrie and Tessa’s sister.
Willa Iscove is a fae jeweler who owns Illusions and whipped up a little charm for Julian. She’s hooked up with Nick Hardwin, a gargoyle who works the night shift (The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, 3). Jasper is her cat. Ramona Rabine, a brownie, works for Willa. Ivan “Van” Tsvetkov is a dragon shifter and former MMA fighter (The Dragon Finds Forever, 7). Monalisa Devlin, a Will-o’-the-Wisp, is Van’s fiancée who works as a receptionist for Pandora. Monalisa’s father, Padraig, is a powerful and dangerous leprechaun king in Vegas. Pandora Williams is the reigning real estate witch; Professor Cole Van Zant is her fiancé (The Professor Woos the Witch, 4). Marigold Williams, a green witch and Pandora’s sister, owns the Enchanted Garden, the local florist shop where Joe works as a delivery guy. Corette Williams is Pandora and Marigold’s mother and a witch herself. She runs Ever After, a bridal shop. She’s engaged to Stanhill (“The Witch’s Halloween Hero“, 4.5). Zombie Donuts is new. I Scream is the local ice cream shop. Insomnia is the local supernaturals-only bar owned by Lucien, a retired grim reaper. Chet is one of the bouncers. Elmira is one of the servers. Salvatore’s, owned by Mr Brunetti, makes the best pizza. Tim is one of their waiters. Greyson Garrett is a local jack-of-all-trades vampire who also works as one of the VODs. Pete is a fae pharmacist. Imari Zephara is a masseuse as well as a retired jinn. Norma Turnbuckle is a hobbit. Jayne Frost is a winter elf and the Winter Princess. Undrea Seely is a mermaid.
Freddy and Lou Kovac (half-ogre and bits of Sasquatch on his mother’s side; Rella is his wife) are doormen at the Excelsior. Ryde is the Nocturne Falls version of Uber. Trevor, an avian shifter, is one of their drivers. Dr Navarro treats Desi; Cara Willis is a nurse. The Basement is an employees-only area for the town. The Pinehurst Inn is a great place for a shady rendezvous. Harmswood Academy is a private school for supernaturals. Pumpkin Point is a new suburb.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Harlan is a gargoyle recommended by Van. Desert Blooms is a florist shop. Heather Cross runs a Facebook fan page about Desdemona. More fans include Brian Brennan, Vera Mears, and Abigail Helmsman.
The Talisman Club is a club for vampire hunters. Harker Enterprises sent Desi black roses. It was started by Arnold Helsing, Abigail’s father. Arnold Helsing Jr is/was Abigail’s step-brother. Brighton Pharmaceuticals sells dangerous drugs.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Alonso Mora had been a vampire privateer; his ship was the Night’s Mistress. Jean Lafitte had been a pirate and was Remy’s grandfather. Pierre had been Jean’s brother.
The Cover and Title
The cover is fuchsia with a gradient sky, a quarter moon on the right, and bats flying in the background above the Las Vegas skyline. Sandwiched between the title in a white gothic font with a thick black outline at the top and an info blurb followed by the author’s name below it in a serif in white with that thick black outline is a deep fuchsia sofa with the Black Desdemona (in a tight fitting black tank, blue jeans, and knee-high leopardskin stiletto boots, one leg crossed over her knee) giving the gray besuited Julian (facing us but looking at his love and holding out a goblet of blood) the side-eye. The ubiquitous carved jack-o-lantern is on the left above the brown sign providing the series information in a pale yellow.
The title just makes it under the wire, for in a way, Desdemona is The Vampire’s Accidental Wife.