The Bite Before Christmas, by Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost. Narrated by Paula Christensen and Tavia Gilbert. Published by Harper Audio.
For those who’ve grown weary of a certain Christmas story centering around the appearance of three ghosts, perhaps introducing vampires into your holiday festivities would help perk things up. The Bite Before Christmas intends to do just that, offering two short stories that give the song, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” new meaning.
In the first story, “The Gift,” Lynsay Sands dips into her Argeneau world of immortals as she tells the story of aging cop Teddy Brunswick and his efforts to avoid Christmas altogether by spending the holiday at an isolated cottage in the mountains. When a big snowstorm knocks out all electric power in the region, Teddy hopes the electric company will arrive soon.
When he goes outside to scout out the source of the power failure, he discovers that there’s another snowbound vacationer who is also outside trying to access the situation. He’s pleasantly surprised to see that the newcomer is a beautiful young woman who seems inexplicably attracted to him. But what he doesn’t know is that Katricia is a vampire and if the roads are impassable for too long, her scheduled delivery of blood supplies may be delayed.
Narrator Paula Christensen narrates this winter wonderland predicament and offers an impeccable performance, giving both Teddy and Katricia distinct voices that allow their personalities to shine through her voice.
The second story, “Home for the Holidays,” is by Jeaniene Frost and narrated by Tavia Gilbert. I’ll admit I’ve never thought about a group of vampires sitting around the Christmas dinner table ready to dig into a traditional holiday meal, but this is what Kat is planning for Bones and her other close vampire friends. But Frost would never let things be that simple for anyone in her Night Huntress series.
No one is prepared for a stranger who arrives, suggesting close kinship to Bones and making a claim to be part of the family. The stranger seems harmless enough, but that’s before Kat figures out there’s a demon involved and that demon is out to take Bones and the rest of her vampire “family” away from her. Needless to say, Kat isn’t prepared to accept this possibility and what she is willing to do to prevent it makes for an action-packed mini-adventure.
Tavia Gilbert delivers a flawless performance of this paranormal tale, her voice melding with each character to keep listeners fully engaged. Particularly notable is her portrayal of Kat, whose demeanor ranges anywhere between saucy and hellion, sometimes in a matter of seconds.
This collection offers a nice balance between two aspects of the holiday season. “The Gift” is rather relaxed, focusing on the romantic relationship between Teddy and Katricia, while “Home for the Holidays” takes on a frantic pace, as Kat races against time to save her beloved Bones from a horrible fate. This one is as much about the adventure as it is the romance.
Both stories give fans of the respective series a chance to learn a little more about some of their favorite characters. On the other hand, if you’re like me, who has never read a book in either of these series, it offers a chance to experience a bit of these two worlds and help me decide if I’d like to learn more. Either way, it makes a nice holiday treat for anyone who’d like to spice up their holidays with a little paranormal romance.