"a fast-paced tale of dark mystery and vampire romance"

Angie McCaffrey works as an assistant account executive at a super-competitive San Francisco ad agency. With her boss, Lucy, gone missing, she and her colleague/roommate, Kimberley, must lead the campaign for Macabre Factor, a cosmetics and accessories company for "those who live the vampire lifestyle." Angie's Macabre files have disappeared, too, leaving the ever-ambitious Kimberley to head the presentation. Unsatisfied, the clients invite them both to visit their goth club to experience the lifestyle, which turns out to be loud music, cocktails and secret blood ceremonies in underground chambers.

And that's where Angie meets her uber-sexy vampire lover, who she thinks really should have a more exotic name than Eric Taylor. Eric draws Angie to him like a bee to honey, but she doesn't know what happened after she passed out. Strange things begin to happen: she doesn't appear to want food and she's suddenly much more sensitive to light. Meanwhile, a search for drawings for another account takes her to her boss' house where she finds Lucy's dead body instead. Then one of her colleagues who has apparently been having an affair with Lucy turns up, too, but skedaddles quickly before the police arrive. It makes him seem guilty, but Lucy's death from blood loss appears to be the work of a vampire. Angie plans to find the killer, but she might find answers she doesn't like. It all depends on if Lucy's killer is a real or wannabe vampire and where Eric fits into the vampire reality spectrum.

Clare Willis has created a fast-paced tale of dark mystery and vampire romance. Willis balances the novel well so neither the romance nor the mystery dominates, but instead interweave together to form a cohesive whole. She also puts a new spin on how vampires are created that differs from the more conventional "turning" in many of the novels out today. While not New Orleans, my favorite place for vampire stories, San Francisco has enough history and culture to serve as a terrific setting for vamp tales. I liked Angie's character a lot because she is so normal and empathize with her questions and confusion about what's happening to her and her relationship with Eric, which is decidedly not normal. We do get a peek into Eric's mind as well that might make one think twice about the"glamorous" vampire lifestyle. Willis' novel with its unique take on vampire legends and culture will appeal to paranormal romance and mystery fans alike. Overall, Once Bitten is a terrific debut from a new writer, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Posted December 1, 2009


Is it more than just a one-bite stand?

Angie McCaffrey has endured her share of liquid lunches and boardroom schmoozefests to win new advertising clients. But her latest account-a cosmetics line for wannabe vampires-involves some unusual customer research at San Francisco's hippest private nightclub. The "undead" patrons are about as genuine as Macabre Factor's press-on fangs, but one thing is very real-the skin-tingling connection Angie feels with her clients' mysterious friend, Eric Taylor.

Still, there are a few problems with this hot new romance. 1) Eric is rumored to have dated Angie's scheming boss, Lucy. 2) Lucy, missing for days, just turned up dead and bloodless. And, oh yeah, 3) Angie has suddenly developed a teeny aversion to sunlight. Is Eric a real vampire, a killer, or both? Angie's got a lot riding on the answer-her life, her heart, and maybe even her soul...

Genre: Paranormal Romance,Vampire

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Once Bitten
by Clare Willis

Kensington Publishing (Zebra)
December 1, 2009
Available: December 1, 2009
ISBN #1420108719
EAN #9781420108712
352 pages
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