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The Trouble With Vampires
Series Book #
Santo & Pet
Apr 23, 2019
Irresistible desire and thrilling suspense combine in this electrifying new Argeneau novel from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands.
For close to three thousand years the imposing, impossibly handsome Santo Notte has fought in armies across the world and battled his own, more personal enemies. Of all the places he might expect to encounter his life mate, a quiet corner of upstate New York doesn’t seem likely. But as soon as he makes contact with history professor Petronella Stone, while hunting down a suspected rogue immortal, he knows that she will be the greatest adventure of his eternal life.
He expects her to be surprised, confused, even overwhelmed. What he doesn’t expect is that Pet has a secret history of her own. There’s no mistaking the mind-blowing, mutual pleasure they share. But as Pet struggles to protect her nephew from a danger lurking too close to home, Santo realizes there’s another threat to her safety—him. And claiming their passionate future will be impossible until he leaves his past behind, forever…
The Trouble With Vampires
Prologue “911, what’s your emergency?” “Hi . . . um . . . I’m not sure if I should be calling you or the police.” “Is this an emergency?” “It might be. I’m not sure . . .” “Just tell me what’s happening, son. Is someone there sick or injured?” When the boy didn’t respond at once, the operator asked, “Are your parents arguing and it’s scaring you? Are they getting violent?” “No! No. It’s our neighbor. Well, not really our neighbor, but his cousin who’s visiting. He . . . er . . . he’s sick . . . I think.” “You think?” “No. He is. He’s sick. And I think he may be dangerous. I’m afraid he’ll hurt Mr. Purdy.” “Mr. Purdy?” “My neighbor.” “Right. And you think this cousin who is visiting him is sick and dangerous?” the operator asked, doubt obvious in her voice. “If so, why hasn’t this Mr. Purdy called instead of you?” “I’m worried maybe his cousin won’t let him.” There was a long pause, and then the operator sighed and asked, “What kind of sick is dangerous, son?” “He . . . er . . . I think he might be suffering from Renfield syndrome.” “From what?” “Renfield syndrome,” the young voice repeated reluctantly. “What’s that?” “It’s . . . er . . .” The boy paused, and when he continued, there was a grimace in his voice. “It’s a sort of vampire personality disorder. The—” “Vampire!” the 911 operator squawked. “You think your neighbor’s a vampire?” “No! No, I think his visiting cousin thinks he’s a vampire. That’s what Renfield syndrome is and—” “Honey, there is no such thing as vampires,” the 911 operator said over the boy’s explanation. “But he—” “There’re no buts here, kiddo. You need to cut the nonsense and get off the phone. You can get in a lot of trouble for crank calling 911. There are real people out there who need help and calls like this might prevent them getting through. Someone could be dying while you’re wasting our time with this prank.” “This isn’t a prank,” the boy said earnestly. “I really think he thinks he’s a vampire. He has fangs and—” “And I really think you need to stop watching horror movies and take yourself to bed. I’m writing down your number, boy, and if you call again, the police will be dispatched to your house and they could arrest you for this. Don’t call again.” A sharp click sounded. It was followed by a dial tone. Chapter One “You shot me!” “Yeahhh.” Pet drew out the word on a wince. “Sorry about that, kiddo. It was an accident. I was shooting at the mutants and your big butt got in my way.” “Yeah? Well, this is an accident too,” Parker snapped, turning his gun on her character. “Oh, come on!” Pet squawked, quickly moving her character behind the cover of some trees to avoid the rapid-fire spray of bullets. “It was an accident,” she protested. “Jeez. I thought we were on the same side.” “You shot me first,” Parker pointed out, making his character rush after hers. “Friendly fire. You’ll never make it out of the next level without me, Parker. Just—” A shriek from downstairs caught her ear, and Pet lowered her game controller and glanced toward the bedroom door. “Is Oksana watching TV or some—?” she began, but stopped when the shriek ended and the housekeeper began shouting, “Home invasion! Home invasion!” “Crap!” Dropping her game controller, Pet jumped up from the floor and rushed to the door. Once there, she hesitated, though, and then cracked it open to listen. A frown claimed her lips when she heard the deep rumble of an unfamiliar male voice below and then silence. Reaching for her cell phone, Pet glanced around for Parker and scowled when she saw that her nephew hadn’t moved. The eight-year-old was busily shooting her video game character while she was distracted. “Parker!” she whispered anxiously as she punched in 911 on her phone. “Stop that! We have a situation here. Didn’t you hear Oksana yelling home invasion?” “She always yells home invasion,” Parker said with a shrug. “Oksana forgets to close the front door after checking the mail, grabbing the newspaper, or sweeping the front porch. Everyone from neighbors to delivery guys have come in afraid something was wrong cause the door is open. When they do, she shrieks home invasion every time. She even yelled home invasion when Mr. Purdy’s cat came in yesterday. It’s her thing.” “Oh,” Pet breathed, relaxing a little. She didn’t hit the call button on her phone, but she didn’t delete the numbers she’d entered on the keypad either. Oksana still hadn’t spoken again. Pet was debating whether she should call out and ask if everything was okay, or keep their presence in the house a secret and tiptoe to the end of the hall to get a look at who was in the entry, when she heard a soft whisper and then a deep male voice boomed, “Hello? Neighbor!” “That’s not a neighbor.” Pet jumped a good foot in the air when Parker spoke those solemn words right next to her. Clutching her chest, she briefly closed her eyes before letting out a slow breath and asking, “How do you know?” “Because no one in the neighborhood has an accent like that. At least I don’t think anyone does,” he added with a frown. Pet hadn’t noticed an accent. It had only been two words for heaven’s sake. How had he picked up an accent in two words? She gave her head a slight shake. The kid was just . . . different. Super smart and different. Letting her hand drop from her chest, she said, “Well, could it be a new neighbor then?” “I guess,” Parker agreed dubiously. “But,” Pet added, debating the matter aloud, “it’s hard to imagine Oksana mistaking a neighbor for someone committing a home invasion.” Parker arched his eyebrows. “You heard the part about Mr. Purdy’s cat, right?” Pet merely scowled and shifted her feet as she listened anxiously for Oksana to say something. When there was nothing but silence, she glanced to her phone and then hesitated. She didn’t want to call the police only to find out that it really was a new neighbor just checking on them. Sighing, she asked, “Do you have a phone in here?” “Yeah. I got a cell phone for Christmas.” “A cell phone?” she squawked. “You’re like eight. Who the hell buys an eight-year-old a cell phone?” “Mom and Dad,” he said with a grin. “Right,” she said with disgust, and then added, “Fine. Then grab your cell phone and stay here. I’m going to go downstairs and see what’s happening. But if I say ‘Spidey, come on down,’ lock your door, hide, and call 911. Okay?” “Spidey?” he asked, wincing slightly. “Seriously?” Pet rolled her eyes at the complaint. “If they know your name is Parker Peters, they’ll just think it’s a nickname. Get it? Parker Peters? Peter Parker? Spiderman?” “I got it before you explained it,” he said with derision. “But it’s just so juvenile and lame.” “Are you calling me lame? An hour ago I was your favorite aunt, and now I’m lame?” she asked with amazement, and then realizing this wasn’t the moment for such a discussion, muttered, “Whatever. Look, sweetie, this is serious. Just call 911 if I call you Peter then, okay?” She waited for him to nod, and then turned and eased the door open, pausing only to hiss “stay here” before easing out of the room. The hallway was surprisingly dim for seven o’clock in early June when the sun stayed up until nine or so, but it was light enough to see still. Pet had crept about halfway to the stairs at the opposite end of the hall when a voice called out, “Hello?” The voice this time was female . . . but not Oksana’s. Pet paused to snatch up a crystal vase from a side table, hid it behind her back, and moved to the railing that overlooked the front door entry. Her eyes widened slightly when she saw the group of people crowding the large entry. Four men and a woman surrounded Oksana, and every one of them was dwarfing the housekeeper, who was a few inches taller than Pet’s own five foot two. They were also all staring up at her, she noted, and then her gaze settled on the couple next to Oksana. Pet felt her shoulders relax as she recognized the pair; Marguerite and Julius Notte. They’d been on the front porch talking to Pet’s sister, Quinn, when she’d arrived that afternoon, and had stuck around long enough for introductions before heading back to the Caprellis’, where they were staying for a couple of weeks. They were house-sitting while the older couple visited their daughter in Texas. Pet’s gaze slid to the other three men now, and her eyebrows rose slightly. All of them were big, but while two were just tall and muscular, the third was a complete behemoth, taking up twice as much space as anyone else in the entry. He was the biggest man Pet had ever seen, and that was saying something. She dealt with a lot of jocks in her work, but not one of them could have measured up to this guy. The shoulders on him! Good Lord! She’d heard black was supposed to be slimming, but the black T-shirt he wore just seemed to emphasize the width and muscle it was stretching to cover. His black jeans, on the other hand, were making his hips look tiny, or maybe they just were tiny in comparison to his shoulders. She followed the line of the jeans down to the black Doc Martens he wore and then ran her gaze back up again, taking in his shaved head and the fact that he wore rings on every one of his fingers. They could have been mistaken for brass knuckles except that they were silver. All told, the guy definitely didn’t look too safe to be around. “Hello, Petronella. How nice to see you again.” Pet forced her gaze back to Marguerite and almost sighed aloud with depression. Honestly, the woman was everything she wasn’t but had always longed to be—tall, curvaceous, and beautiful with long, wavy auburn hair and perfect pale skin. Marguerite was wearing a pretty summer dress and sandals that just emphasized her femininity and made Pet feel like a slob in her T-shirt and shorts. Realizing they were all waiting for her response, Pet forced a smile and murmured, “Hello again.” “We just came by to introduce you to our nephews and their friend. The boys stopped by on their way back from the East Coast and have decided to stay awhile. We didn’t want you to be concerned if you saw them coming and going,” she explained, and then smiled wryly and added, “But we got here to find the front door wide open. When we didn’t see anyone around, we thought we’d better make sure everything was all right. I fear we startled your sister’s poor housekeeper.” “Oh,” Pet breathed, glancing back to Oksana. A frown curved her lips downward when she noted that the woman was just standing there, staring straight ahead at nothing. Although, she could be watching out the side window for her husband, Pet supposed. Oksana’s husband was supposed to pick her up at seven. Pet shifted her attention back to Marguerite, stilling slightly as she noted her eyes. Marguerite and Julius had both been wearing sunglasses when she’d met them that afternoon. They weren’t wearing them now, though, and she could see that Marguerite’s eyes were blue while Julius’s were black, but both had silver flecks in them. It was as if someone had blown glowing silver glitter into— “You know these people?” Pet turned in surprise to see Parker at her side. The boy was frowning down at the people in the entry with Oksana. Taking her nephew by the arm, she gave him a push, trying to send him back the way he’d come. “You were supposed to wait in your room.” Ignoring her urging, Parker held his ground and said, “They don’t live on this street.” “Your mother introduced me to them when I got here. They’re house-sitting for the Cabellies,” she explained, still trying to urge him back toward his room. “Caprellis,” he corrected even as Marguerite did. “Jinx,” the woman said lightly, her smile widening. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Parker. Your mother and aunt were bragging about you this afternoon. Were your ears ringing?” Parker shook his head, and then asked, “Who are you?” “Marguerite Argeneau Notte,” she announced, and then began introducing the others. “And this is my nephew, Zanipolo Notte—” She gestured to the man on her right who was tall and slender with lean muscle and long black hair pulled back into a ponytail. Pointing to the man just past Zanipolo, she continued, “A family friend, Justin Bricker.” Pet noted his short dark brown hair, handsome face, and laughing green eyes . . . again with silver flecks. “And our nephew Santo Notte,” Marguerite added, smiling at the bald behemoth. Pet slid her gaze over the taller man’s eyes. They were as black as Julius Notte’s, but there was much more silver in his eyes, and the lighter color seemed to be growing, she noted grimly. “And of course my husband, Julius.” Marguerite turned and placed a hand on the arm of the man on her left. He was the only man not wearing black. The other three were decked out in black jeans, black T-shirts, and black Doc Martens. It was almost as if it were some sort of uniform. Julius, however, wore the same blue jeans and white T-shirt he’d had on when Pet had met him earlier. Every one of the men were over six feet tall, but Justin Bricker and Zanipolo were closer to six feet, while Santo and Julius were at least six foot six or better. The two shorter men were also lacking a lot of the muscle Santo had. They were still muscular, but with a leanness to them rather than the solid bulk he had. Julius was somewhere in the middle.
The Trouble With Vampires
Goodreads review are in at 4.49 stars! Sands continues her popular Argeneau series with a Chinese heroine who mates with a Notte and opens the door to yet another band of heroes and villains readers might anticipate in future titles. The romance between Santo and Pet is compelling, but their individual backstories are horrifying. The rest is the usual combination of Argeneau vampire mythology, incendiary sex, touches of humor, and generally interesting storytelling. Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews. This latest adventure in the Argeneau extended family is pure romance with a little conflict to spice things up and challenge their burgeoning relationship. There are also two extremely effective, nail-biting, don’t-bother-me-I’m-reading scenes that had my emotions in a vice grip. When you get to those parts, go somewhere quiet so you can FOCUS. I wish I had. Right in the middle of both of them, my family decided (how do they DO that?) to need this or that, or want to talk to me, or talk about supper. Noooo! I want to read! But they just don’t get it. When Ms. Sands writes drama and gritty scenes, they are so good, people who interrupt should be growled at. The happy ever after is like nothing you’d expect. It starts off like a lot of dream sequences do, but there’s a significant twist that’s adorable and genius at the same time. The Zodiac comment just slayed me. I really, really like Pet. Given 4.5 stars by Xeranthemum at Long And Short Reviews. Bottom line – I love Lynsay Sands writing and the Argeneau series is the bomb! Santo and Pet are a riot together, not to mention the interactions you get with Parker’s innocent observations! Love the kid! The fans of this series are going to love this latest entry. And may I say, it’s never too late to read any of this series as most are stand-alone and always bring recurring characters back and forth! Given 4 stars by ColorMeRead. THE TROUBLE WITH VAMPIRES starts out so very smoothly; I was swept away in Pet's seemingly ordinary world, that is until the danger next door becomes a reality. Very early on, Lynsay Sands throws in some delicious little twists as she introduces a previously unknown factor, which gives a fresh new spin on the immortals' mythology. Big, brawny Santo has resolved his anger issues but his PTSD is not entirely under control, and in spite of the attraction that simmers between him and Pet, he has his work cut out for him in order to woo his lady, because he's sort of rusty, let's say. I have always loved the international flavor of the Argeneau series; here we have Santo, who is Italian - and more, as we learn along the way. Pet is Chinese, and her and Santo's backstories constitute most definitely some of the highlights of this book. The dialogues are particularly brilliant, and the story progresses at a nice, steady pace until all hell breaks loose. After all the years and so many books, we still never know what Ms. Sands will think of next, but with some of the new elements introduced in THE TROUBLE WITH VAMPIRES, it makes my head spin when I think of the endless possibilities for the future of this series. Reviewed by Monique Daoust at Fresh Fiction. In the Argeneau series, it’s always interesting to see the heroine’s (and sometimes the hero if he is the mortal one) reaction to the reality of immortals and life mates. This time around she knew about immortals, but the life mate part came as quite a bit of a surprise. To say their first interactions went a bit rocky is a hilarious understatement. Meanwhile while all of the romance hijinks were going on, there was a larger plot and threat against them making for a balanced and engrossing read. I really enjoy books that balance a strong romance, but don’t forget to add decent focus to a strong plot. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance just as much as the next gal, but when I’m in the mood for more, adding a great plot sells it for me. And THE TROUBLE WITH VAMPIRES more than delivered. If you enjoy paranormal romance, and a long running series that is guaranteed to entertain, the Argeneau series is a perfect choice. Twenty six books in and this series is still going incredibly strong. I really look forward to each new release and THE TROUBLE WITH VAMPIRES was no exception. All in all, a fantastically entertaining read, fans of the series will be more than pleased. Review by Kt Clapsadl at ABookObsession. For me, The Trouble With Vampires is part paranormal romance and part cozy horror story. While this is a later book in a lengthy series, Lynsay Sands brings readers up to speed on the basics of the main characters and the vampire world they inhabit. Petronella "Pet" Stone is undertaking what she believes to be a simple job babysitting her beloved and precocious nephew Parker while his parents are out of town. The events that follow are alternately terrifying and full of unexpectedly passionate encounters with a burly fanged hero, but "simple" doesn't begin to cover it. The Trouble With Vampires is a fascinating tale of love, death, and vampires in suburbia. Lynsay Sands creates two characters who are flawed but have an inner strength that is rare. This romance develops in stages and readers get to see the main characters fall for each other. I look forward to more Lynsay Sands books full of vampires and unconventional romances. Reviewed by Miranda Owen at Fresh Fiction. For close to three centuries Santo Notte has fought in battles with armies across the world and with his own personal demons. When he is sent to upstate New York to hunt down a rogue immortal, he never expected he would encounter his life mate, especially in the tiny history professor Petronella Stone. Can they both overcome their secret pasts to be able to live happily ever after? First, I read a lot of paranormal romances and especially featuring vampires, but this is one of the most unique ones I have read. The take on what is commonly known as vampirism is one I have never read before and the history/ science of vampirism that the author places in the story is just down-right fascinating. That alone makes this book highly recommendable, but it offers so much more. One part is the amazing character development. I loved Petronella, known as Pet; she is super feisty with hilarious internal monologue, but more, her backstory is as a heartbreaking survivor. I could not get enough of her story. Santos is a complex character, initially very caveman, then once his layers are illuminated, he becomes a character with a torturous past seeking his heart’s desires, and you’ll root for him. There is great romance with pretty steamy intimate scenes and including both suspense and action. This is one great read where the pages just fly by. I highly recommend this book, especially to fans of paranormal romance. Reviewed by the Book Review Crew. This time around, I liked that Lynsay Sands gives us a mortal that is already familiar with the Immortal world. What I liked even better, though, was that this didn’t just make the whole life mate process go any easier for Santo as they suffer some miscommunication when they begin to learn about one another. Review by VampireBookClub.
Family Tree For
Santo & Pet
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