“Christian Notte’s story, the sixteenth book in the Argeneau series is set on an island paradise called St. Lucia. After a bad relationship and an even worse divorce, Carolyn decides to go on a long overdue and much needed vacation with the ‘girls’.” –from lynsaysands.net
For those of you a little behind on the series, I warn you now I’m gonna end up giving you some spoilers. That being said, let’s dig in!
While Marguerite and her husband, Julius Notte, are on their honeymoon in St. Lucia, they meet Carolyn Connor. Once they meet, Marguerite is once again in her role as matchmaker and she makes sure that her son, Christian, is called to St. Lucia where he can get to know Carolyn. However, since the entire Argeneau-Notte clan is made up of immortals – or vampires – they all look quite young. This is an obstacle we’ve seen couples run into in earlier books in the series and in this case since Carolyn is recently divorced and sees herself as older than Christian…she’s understandably reluctant to be cast in the role of…mmm… “cougar”, shall we say?
To help Christian overcome that obstacle and pair with his lifemate, one of his cousins has a great idea… They ask Carolyn to be Christian’s beard in front of his family to hide the fact that he’s gay. Understandably, there’s an issue with telling your prospective honey that you bat for the other team, so to speak, but Christian is convinced to go along with the plan when he realizes that the ruse allows him the chance to get to know Carolyn without being seen as a threat.
Carolyn is disappointed to find out that Christian isn’t interested in women, but she understands the position he is in and wants to help. After all, she had a gay friend in college and as one of her closest friends she saw firsthand the struggles he faced until he was able to relax and be himself without fear of judgements. So, she tries hard to ignore her attraction to Christian (and he’s too young anyway, right?) and not overexamine the feelings she gets when they cuddle so they can sell the fake relationship to his family.
By the time the truth finally comes out, Chrisitan and Carolyn are head-over-heels and Carolyn, having had the experience of a failed marriage and the maturity of her years, is readily accepting of the real secret: that her hot young boytoy is actually a pretty well-aged vampire!
Now, I’m skipping over part of the plot to get to this point: It didn’t quite have that zing for me that the other books had. I enjoyed the characters, but they still read a little flat to me. I wanted to see a little more comedy, a little more depth, and while Carolyn was having unexplained “accidents” the explanation ended up being pretty mundane, read a little like a daytime soap, and – not that I wanted the characters to be all angsty – things wrapped up a little to tidily to suit me. Still, a middling Lynsay Sands book is still pretty stellar compared to most popular literature out there and I enjoy that her books can be paranormal romance without the macabre Anne-Rice-like scenes that get brought to mind with the word “vampire” appearing in a book nowadays. I was just hoping when it came to Christian’s story we’d get something a little more riveting.