As a huge fan of both vampires and the sexy Black Lace novels - putting the two together seemed like a match made in heaven. And indeed it is. Lust Bites is a collection of three novellas by three best-selling authors; Kristina Lloyd, Portia da Costa and Mathilde Madden.
The first tale, Vampire's Heart tells the story of vamp Billy, who has yearned for many years for his lost love. Centuries ago he met the love of his life, and in loving her, he accidentally brought about her death. Knowing that there was a chance the soul could be reborn into another, there was always a glimmer of hope. But also a glimmer of fear, because Billy knew if his beloved's soul was reborn into another, there was a chance the same thing could happen again. So when Esther is brought into the world, Billy knows his soulmate is back and hastily retreats to the Arctic thinking he can bury his love and lust for the girl, to stop the tragedy occuring a second time.
However, fate means Esther grows up and becomes a brave explorer, venturing to the Arctic herself. As she draws nearer, Billy's pain and lust increase, and he does not know how much longer he will be able to control himself. Is she deliberately taunting him?
A very bloody and sexy read, this tale is packed full of hot sex scenes, both homoerotic and heterosexual. This is a great novella; both creepy and erotic at the same time.
Buddies Don't Bite by Portia da Costa is a beautiful yet steamy tale of suppressed love and lust. The two main characters, human Teresa, and her vampire landlord, Zack have lived alongside one another for months, holding back their true feelings, neither believing anything could ever happen between them. But one day, Teresa is in a vulnerable state and Zack comforts her, as any good friend would, but one kiss leads to another, and Zack is forced to use his powers to cover up the true events. However, it may be too late. Teresa suspects something, and igniting the spark between them has led Zack to realise he is deeply in love with her. Distraught, he knows they can never be together and so tries to avoid the inevitable. But eventually, their feelings catch up with them...
I adored the character of Zack. Incredibly sexy and handsome (aren't most vampires?!), it is no small wonder Teresa is attracted to him. But it is his strong identification with humanity that makes him such a wonderful character. The struggle between his vampiric instincts and the remnants of his humanity is clear, and you really feel pity for him in this situation. Especially since, for a vampire, he's a really good guy!
Overall, Buddies Don't Bite is damn hot! I felt myself wanting to crawl into the story and snog Zack myself! The characters are very vivid and real, and the plot has enough tension and struggles to keep you hooked right until the end. You won't want to leave these two characters until you know what their resolution is. Fang-tastic!
Under Her Skin is the final tension-building tale in Lust Bites. Ms. Madden's tale begins with the plight of Merle Cobalt. Her father is desperately ill after being poisoned by a renegade vampire. Her mother has tried unsuccessfully to find an antidote, but the only true option is for Merle to accept the terms of the vampire's bribe to get hold of the real antidote. But his price is high - Merle must spend 25 days in his castle, then she will be given the vial which will save her father's life. Leaving him free to stake the vampire.
But things are never that simple. To begin, Merle is terrified for her life. Darius Cole is one of the most famous vampires in history - and one of the most dangerous. She has been brought up both hating and fearing him. So when she starts having strange erotic dreams - Merle is confused. Surely if Cole was going to kill her, he'd have done it by now? It appears that he has had an ulterior motive all along...
Merle lives out her days in the castle, learning new bits of information relevant to her life along the way, and soon she realises that Darius is not the dangerous, cold-hearted bloodsucker she'd been led to believe. In fact, she has been betrayed by those she thought closest to her...
You could cut the tension in this novella with a knife. You're drip-fed (pardon the pun) information throughout, until you're desperate to find out the truth. But it's not plain sailing, and you'll find yourself more than a little aroused along the way.
Truly putting paid to the tales of old, where vampires were ugly, creepy, monstrous things that slept in coffins, Lust Bites really sexes up the creatures but also makes them more human. Each tale has a vampire falling in love with a mortal woman; and because the stories are so beautifully told, you'll find yourself wanting to be that woman. Dependent on what you find attractive in a man, you'll probably favour one of the stories over the others... but they're all incredibly erotic, and I sincerely hope Black Lace continue to commission books in this vein (sorry again). I'd buy them!