When I first started reading Everything Anise by Natalie Nicole-Bates, it seemed like it was going to be a pretty straightforward “vampire woman meets cute human woman, cue the sexual attraction, insert sex scene, boom” type of piece, but when the sex scene starts going wrong, I realized it was more complicated.
That was actually a nice surprise, although the love interest’s behavior in that scene was jarringly insulting (and a little implausible? I guess a drunk woman might start encouraging mutual masturbation while maintaining plausible deniability to herself that she’s still just “being friends”, but I don’t have enough personal experience with alcohol or drunk people to really know. Anyway, I gave it four stars on Goodreads instead of five because I just had a hard time reconciling the inevitable explanation with the initial behavior, but again, that might be my unfamiliarity with being that drunk.)
Anyway, instead of straightforward erotica we get an actual plot and actual story, so that’s why I was pleased at the surprise conflict. After all, I knew I was guaranteed a happy ending no matter what due to the publisher’s submission requirements (I, too, am published with this house), and to me, happy endings mean more when they are earned after hardship.
The main character eventually reveals the tragic story of how she became a vampire, and of her vampire family-of-choice (the story almost sets you up to think he’s an ex-lover but he’s not — she’s not bi, she’s a lesbian, and he was her brother-in-arms who just left to get married but still very close emotionally. I actually really enjoyed the setup for how they became so close.) She and the human interest have their misunderstandings to overcome, but it’s hot and sweet watching them go through it.