Yes, I suppose I've broken my own golden rule. "Thou shalt not read a series out of order." But to my defense, when I picked it up I was too lazy to notice it was a series before I was into it.
It's always easier to discuss the characters first, isn't it? And really, they're the most important. I found Maxie cutely ambitious chasing her love-interest Lou, her general personality amusing and cushy, while the same went for her friend and semi-sidekick Stormy. I hold no real qualms with the characters in general, with the potential exception of Lou, who seemed too unrealistic and sappy for my taste. His situation of not being in a relationship is too worn by now, and the reasoning - while awful when it's revealed - nearly seems thrown in for shock value alone.
I didn't sense genuine romance that warmed my heart between the two, and while I love romantic sub-plots as much as the next Harlequin hound, it just 'ain't here.' The couple got on my nerves more than once, an unforgivable sin for main characters. In fact, the majority of the story was of them alone. It was predictable how it would end, and I wasn't in the mood for a sappy romance that didn't follow the back cover's promised premise.
The vampire himself could have been interesting, I really have no idea. From one moment he seems determined never to kill, and the next he thinks he must do what he has to and not care because it's forced on him. He's in a smidge of scenes, and the end is a cliffhanger just revealing a small portion of his life. Come on, that should have been in THIS book. It was only a ploy to have the reader curious enough to read the next. It almost works, but not quite as this didn't hold enough punch for my taste. Instead we never get the pay off of endurance by learning about him, what makes him tick, what's up with Stormy, and ...well, nothing. Nada. The character vampire changes personality merely to fit the next plot point, with the bone continuously dangled over the dog's mouth never delivered.
The sisters of the supposed friend were not amiable, either. Instead the giggling valley girl types irritated me further; I'm happy to say the author didn't dwell on them much. The atmosphere wasn't dark as anticipated, nor erotic. Frankly I didn't find anything sinfully sexy about any of the relationships - the vampire and his old love, nor Maxie and Lou. I can get the attraction of a darkish vamp, but have no earthly idea how Maxie is so into Lou. What does he have to offer? Not much from his personality.
What we end up with are stereotypical characters with the exception of Stormy and Maxie. Those two are cute to a degree (although their too bad-ass approach annoyed me) but the rest are grating and over the top. There are layers of cheese to be found in certain situations, and most definitely some dialogue spoken especially between Maxie and the vamp at the end. Ugh. It gets even worse when her 'assistants' burst into the door like a bad remake of the Matrix. And, to make matters worse, all was for naught, for at the end it shows us all wrap-up on the vampire story won't even be in this book!
I'm not going to jump on this series bandwagon. Perhaps I'll give it another chance if another book fell into my lap for free and I was out of other books, but it's doubtful. For fans of the series, I fear you either will be disappointed, or else are into the characters enough to enjoy this mildly. For virgins of the series, I'd wager an earlier book would earn more brownie points with you.