My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Four stories about vampires in this anthology.
Susan Sizemore’s Cave Canem was rather cute. It explains the origin of hellhounds—not that believably as I would have thought hellhounds were a lot older than Roman times. Nor did I like all the different names Sizemore was using for a couple characters. I had to keep going back to figure out that they were all the same person. To be honest, it read more like a job Sizemore wanted to check off a list. ALTHOUGH, to be fair, I am interested in checking out the series as I rather liked her characters.
Enforcer Dan Conover’s (a.k.a., Corvei) current hellhound Baby has just had a litter of puppies and now someone has kidnapped two of them! It’s much too dangerous for untrained hellhound pups to be set loose on the world and Dan must get them back. From the language used in the spell, he knows just who it was…the bitch! Since hellhounds were bred by an ancestor of Tess Sirella’s, her line is charged with protecting the hellhounds as well the world from them. And now, the psychic alarm on the current Litter is going off…with a vampire involved. Only…that vampire has messed up the psychic stench of it all!
Erin McCarthy’s Russian Roulette finds the now-dead Gregor Chechikov’s widow Sasha fleeing from Vegas to her childhood friend Ivan in New Orleans who promptly sells her to Cassandra for torturing and selling on to slayers. A move interrupted by Cassandra’s ex Alistair Kirk. At first, Alistair simply wants to screw Cassandra over but he soon finds himself falling in love. It’s cute.
Chris Marie Green’s Double the Bite provides an ending for Gin and Geneva, vampire twins who left Sorin and his Underground in Los Angeles to get out from under his influence and see something of the world.
Meljean Brook’s Thicker Than Blood was excellent although I had a difficult time connecting it with the Guardian series until Brook finally brought Lilith, a.k.a., Agent Milton, into the storyline. I also suspect this story picks up where an earlier story left off and, even though Brook finished the immediate story, it was still rather irritating to not know what happens to Jack Harrington III and Annie Gallagher. I’m hoping I’ll find out in the next in the series, Demon Bound.
Anyway, Annie “died” six years ago before Jack got the nerve up to propose. Now he caught her about to drink his blood after breaking into his apartment. It’s a delicate dance of Annie admitting to her new status in “life” even as Jack is determined he won’t lose her again while the two of them search Philadelphia for a human child, Cricket, the only survivor of a Nephilim attack that wiped out the vampires in the city.
The cover is all red and black. A red fossilized background with a woman standing, legs spread wide, left hand cocked on her hip and turning back to taunt us while dressed in a low-backed, black mini-dress and casting a definite shadow.
The title is a misnomer as there it’s only the last two stories that could possibly have a point about First Blood.