Jennifer Rardin's name - and it always eluded me, for reasons I can't explain.
I'd read great reviews of Once Bitten, Twice Shy on Amazon and the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website. I'd friended Jennifer Rardin on Facebook and added myself to her author fan site.
And still, I drew a blank when I walked into the bookstore.
Some authors are worth the wait.
At first blush, the description of protagonist Jaz Parks reminded me of the heroine in my current WIP, Heartless. Both ladies have flaming red hair, a sarcastic nature, and a pension for action.
But the similarities end there. Whew :-)
Jaz is a kick-ass vampire assassin with a heartbreaking past. Plagued by frequent blackouts and a strained relationship with her father, Jaz is (unwillingly, at first) paired with Vayl, an undercover vampire working for the C.I.A. Together they must get close to a Miami plastic surgeon to uncover a terrorist plot...
And yeah, it kind of gets confusing from there.
Rardin had me from the first page. Enraptured by the flow of her words, and in awe of her amazing metaphor skill, I expected to breeze through the book and hardly take a breath before moving on to the second in the series. But somewhere in the middle, the story got away from me and while I remain in awe of the author's craft, I wasn't compelled to reach for Another One Bites the Dust. Yet.
Don't get me wrong. I liked Jaz - and it's clear her character has much room to grow. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better. I'm also interested in seeing how her relationship with her boss, Vayl develops. Despite a few moments of sexual tension, I didn't feel the "heat" between them I thought I might - and to be honest, I didn't fall in love with him, either.
What I did fall for was the non-stop action, almost from the get-go. Rardin has a flair for writing heart-thumping scenes. The pacing is amazing. The dialogue crisp. And the description just enough to paint the picture without going overboard.
At just over 300 pages, Rardin doesn't have room for fluff. And there isn't any. Once Bitten, Twice Shy is a tight read, and I defy anyone to not be impressed by Rardin's ability to avoid the cliche.
The Book In My Bag Today: Industrial Magic, Kelley Armstrong