Samuel Seecombe is far too well-bred to turn down an invitation to a wedding, particularly when he knows it will help solidify inter-country relationships between the Seekers. That doesn’t mean, however, he relishes leaving London for New York, nor that he has any inclination of doing more than remaining polite through all the cultural differences. Violet’s sister might be getting married, but Violet is determined to be welcoming and polite to their visitor. But when work clashes with the festivities Violet and Samuel need to come together to so what they both excel at – hunt vampires. I found this to be a surprising and interesting story, rather steam-punk-ish in that it was clearly historical, but also rather strongly paranormal and almost urban-fantasy-ish. With travel on airbuses and vampire hunters abounding I was sucked into the storyline very quickly and although I struggled a little to catch-up with the different world and settings I was intrigued enough to not be daunted by the fact I clearly would be getting a lot more out of it had I read the previous two books in the series. While I feel technically this can be read as a stand alone – certainly Samuel and Violet’s romance was central to this book and holds well on its own, I must admit I spent a lot of time feeling like I was playing catch-up, not having a clue about the world, setting or scene that this book was placed in. I feel I definitely would have found it even more compelling had I read the previous installments. I quite enjoyed the fact there was a faint rivalry between America and England. While not crass or overt I did like the small discrepancies between the countries and the fact they each expected some stereotypes that weren’t precisely true. I found this both realistic for the historical/steam-punk type of setting and also highly amusing in a fun way. It added a lovely bit of tension without being over the top or feeling too heavy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It also highlighted the fact that neither Violet nor Samuel were as easy to understand as one would expect. Definitely no cookie-cutter characters here and that was both delightful and refreshing to my mind. The hunter aspect of the story came forward pretty promptly and was complicated enough to keep my attention glued to turning more pages. This added a delicious element of mystery to the whole story and I found myself having difficulty trying to fit this book into a single genre – part steam-punk, part historical, part mystery, part vampire-hunter, this story really does have an element for everyone and a lovely slow-blossoming romance between Samuel and Violet to boot. While the romance moves at a lovely sedate pace, there is an intimate scene towards the end of the book. I felt it was tastefully written, although possibly too explicit for some more traditional readers. I thought the scene was both romantic and realistic for the historical (ish) setting. With interesting and complicated characters, a great plot and a well-developed alternative world I feel this book has a whole lot of appeal for a very wide range of readers. Fun and intense, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Searchers, 3
Samuel Seecombe hasn’t been the same since a routine vampire hunt turned into a tragedy, and a trip across the ocean to New York City for an acquaintance’s wedding might be just what he needs to feel like himself again. What he doesn’t anticipate is meeting his beautiful vampire hunting counterpart in Violet Singer.
Violet wants a change of scenery. News of a vampire infestation at the Canadian border has her packing her stake, mallet, and holy water to take care of her wanderlust and the bloodsuckers at the same time. Samuel—a quiet, mysterious Englishman who can wield a stake like no one—accompanying her is an unexpected gift.
But Niagara Falls isn’t just for lovers and newlyweds. Vampires are increasing their ranks, and Violet and Samuel may find themselves outnumbered before they can sort out their feelings for each other.
He looked a little alarmed when he saw what she was doing. “Sam,” she said, “It isn’t as though you haven’t seen me undressed before. You want to do an examination, you can do an examination.” She shrugged out of her blouse and draped it over the back of the room’s straight-backed chair.
He sucked in a harsh breath, and at first she thought it was due to nervousness or her being bold enough to take off her blouse in front of him, until she saw her reflection in the looking glass on the wall. Her arm and shoulder were a map of deep blue and purple bruises. “Oh, damn,” she said, turning to the side so she could see the full extent of the damage.
“Indeed.” Samuel’s voice was dry. “Let me check you for sprains.”
“I didn’t know English lawyers studied medicine,” she said, but she let him gingerly prod around her shoulder. She cringed as his fingers poked a particularly tender area, but his touch was still gentle.
A shiver coursed through her. Even if it hurt a little, she liked having his hands on her.
“We don’t, but I have a basic understanding of field medicine thanks to the Searcher physicians. I assume American ones do, as well.” His voice had an oddly husky quality to it, and when their eyes met in the looking glass’s reflection, she thought she saw desire there.
Or she could be imagining things. He seemed strangely discomfited over their kiss on the boat.
She tried to keep their conversation professional, at least for his sake. “You’re assuming correctly, and I’d be doing the same thing if our roles were reversed. Ow!” That was right over her shoulder blade. His hand stilled but didn’t move from her skin. It prickled with awareness, something she was sure he picked up. She hastily continued. “But I think I’m just sore and bruised. Nothing’s broken or won’t heal over a few days.”
His fingers drifted down her bare arm, and her breath stuttered at the contact. This time, when their gazes met in the looking glass, she could definitely see a spark of interest there, and knew hers had to be giving her own away.
She remembered that kiss. He’d been good at it. She wanted to experience that again, this time without the threat of vampires or freezing water pouring down around them. Her eyes flicked to the bed, and any exhaustion she thought she was feeling before evaporated.
She wanted to show him that life was still worth living, that what happened in London wasn’t his fault. That people and organizations could change and adapt, that he wasn’t a bad person. She wanted to kiss away those fears, and more.
“Breakfast,” he said, snapping her out of her daydream. There was a rasp to his voice that hadn’t been there before.
He’s just as affected as I am.
“Beg your pardon?”
“We haven’t eaten a proper meal since yesterday. Shall I have something delivered to our room?”
He was right, of course. “Yes,” she said. “Just let me—”
He shook his head. “I’ll handle it. I’m still presentable.” He let her go, and she already missed the contact. Her skin still tingled where he’d touched her.
“Samuel, are you suggesting I’m not presentable?”
He’d already crossed the room and had his hand on the doorknob. His gaze perused her, slow and lazy, and Violet’s belly clenched in anticipation. “No,” he said. “In fact, Violet, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look more … presentable.”