When Raffaele Notte pulls a barely dressed, disoriented woman from the ocean, the last thing he expects is for her to utter that word. The immortal has come to the island resort to help his cousin, but now, it seems, there are rogue vampires dining on unsuspecting tourists. And he soon realizes that not only is Jess a target, she’s also the life mate he’s been waiting for…
Vampires are real. Jess would’ve never believed it until she saw them with her own eyes. She knows she has to get off the island, and her gallant rescuer has offered to help. There’s something about Raffaele that’s unlike any man she has ever met, and his touch sends pleasure through her that is beyond all imagining. But when Jess discovers who he really is, will she risk life as she knows it for a chance of forever by his side?
Comment: This is installment #28 in the Argeneau series. I must have said before, this is a series best read in order so, if a new reader wants to try one of the books, my advice is to try at least one of the earlier books.
In this installment, heroine Jess is spending some less than pleasant time in Punta Cana, for a cousin's wedding. However, her roommate cousin Allison, the family's disagreeable member and the terrible humidity and heat everywhere outside of the hotel make for a really tiring experience. Things get worse when Allison convinces her to go see sharks being fed but the boat just keeps on putting distance and something shady has to be going on, especially when a crew member attacks a tourist. At the same time, the boat's captain has this weird but unstoppable magnetism and she sees herself somehow unable to resist him. With some effort, after she sees another weird scene, Jess decides to escape and is eventually rescued by Raffaele Notte, whose holidays with Zanipolo and Santo aren't really that fun, because of the heat. Finding Jess and realizing she is his life mate changes this but what about the other immortal who made Jess feel so attracted?
I must applaud the author for her dedication to the series and the imaginative ways she has found to keep adding family members to the cast of characters, so that the series is still titled Argeneau... however, it is also true the stories are often repetitive and as the series goes on, the less impact they have. I mean this in the sense that, since the comedy aspect has become less and less from several books ago, now the focus is on how quick the life mates can be together and the fun part of the romance also seems to have been lost for that. Besides, there are only so many ways the human life mates can know about/interact with immortals...
This book was also a little stressful at first! The situations Jess goes through felt rather horrific before we got to have the big picture and I can't tell if this is just artistic creativity or the author might be tired too, of having the same things happening all the time? I just know it felt Jess went through a not so fun/cute experience by discovering the truth about immortals...
I believe this is one reason why this is yet another installment where some readers have been disappointed. The comedy factor isn't what it used to be, this is more than obvious, but the stories could still be light and cute even if the humor wouldn't feel the same, but it seems the idea was to turn things into simple PNR romance. I don't really mind this, to be honest, but I think the execution shouldn't have to be affected wither and the truth is that, sometimes, the characters aren't that likable or their romances not great.
Jess seems to be a responsible woman but she is put under a lot of stress. Although I liked her, I also felt a little frustrated by her decisions, but if such a thing were to happen to me, how realistically would one not react in a crazy manner? I just think that the plot, the whole idea of life mates has taken over the series so much that Jess has to be placed in close proximity to Raffaele, so they can become aware of their connection. The effort to make this happen makes the plot feel rushed and too silly, too focused on how quickly they can be intimate. I feel there's a lack of romance, of anticipation, of natural situations which would make the romance feel better or authentic.
I also felt Raffaele wasn't characterized that good. I don't think we actually got to know much about him, he was certainly one of the heroes I'll remember the least. I mean, he is a good guy, within what one can expect from them in the series, but he was very two dimensional and I feel that were he to be any other character, nothing would be lost, because he isn't that memorable. I suppose that in part, this is the negative of too many characters, they start blending and becoming too similar, but it still felt like a wasted or misused opportunity.
It is true there are some details which aren't seen much, like the fact Jess could be a life mate to Raffaele and Vasco, a secondary character. This did offer a few scenes which make one think about the life mate issues, but I don't think this was enough to "elevate" this story. There were also things which were left off too easily and some scenes jumped from one situation to another too quickly.