Reviewed by Donna
SERIES: Hours of the Night #1.5
AUTHOR: Irene Preston & Liv Rancourt
PUBLISHER: Prescourt Books
LENGTH: 122 Pages
RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2016
Silent night, holy hell.
Thaddeus and Sarasija are spending the holidays on the bayou, and while the vampire’s idea of Christmas cheer doesn’t quite match his assistant’s, they’re working on a compromise. Before they can get the tree trimmed, they’re interrupted by the appearance of the feu follet. The ghostly lights appear in the swamp at random and lead even the locals astray.
When the townsfolk link the phenomenon to the return of their most reclusive neighbor, suspicion falls on Thaddeus. These lights aren’t bringing glad tidings, and if Thad and Sara can’t find their source, the feu follet might herald a holiday tragedy for the whole town.
The Christmas stories have begun! And this was one hell of a tale to kick off the season with.
Sara and Thaddeus are back, fully recovered from the events of book #1 and preparing to celebrate the holidays. Well, Sara is preparing for the holidays and Thaddeus is wondering what they’re going to do with all of the lights that Sara ordered online. The two men have settled into a somewhat awkward relationship. While there’s no denying their connection or desire to be in a relationship, Thaddeus is still not comfortable in giving in to his feelings for another man. In fact, it kind of kills the mood for Sara when after each sexual encounter Thaddeus feel the need to spend hours confessing to a priest. But there’s no denying that the two have some serious feelings for each other, so when people begin getting lost in the swamp and the locals point the finger at Thaddeus, Sara is determined that they solve the mystery of the feu follet.
I think that I might have enjoyed this novella even more than the original story. The tone was decidedly more upbeat, which you expect from a holiday story, and while our two MCs might not be completely comfortable in their relationship, I did like reading the dynamics that come with the stage that they’re at. I don’t know why, but the fact that Thaddeus is a devout vampire monk who has reluctantly given in to his attraction to Sara, makes the sex scenes so much sexier.
I also really appreciated the time the authors put into building the mystery part of the plot. Instead of being a cutesy Christmas story with a nod to something slightly creepy, the authors used the swampy setting and paranormal element well to continue the theme of the series while still giving us some holiday sweetness.
Could this actually be read as a standalone? I’m not sure. It’s always hard to say if you’ve already read the previous book, but I don’t think you should attempt this story without reading Vespers first. I think that the awkwardness and uncertainty in Sara and Thaddeus’s relationship will be a little off putting if you don’t know what they’ve come from. And honestly, you’re going to want to read it once you read this novella anyway, so why not just begin in the correct order.