Dáire Malone has been a vampire for 200 years. He recently moved to New Orleans, along with with his vampire daughter and her companion. When the trio are summoned to the rural home of a local vampire who deems herself their queen, Dáire knows it means trouble. He has no intention of pledging his loyalty to anyone and has no desire to get involved with her, but he knows he has little choice but to go when called.
When Dáire and his group arrive, it is clear the vampire queen has some sort of magic, giving her unusual powers and control over others. Dáire also meets Thomas Clifton, a pirate who has also been summoned to the home. Thomas has his own reasons for heeding the vampire queen’s call, as she has stolen something of his that he wants to retrieve. Dáire and Thomas recognize that the vampire queen is powerful and dangerous, and they may be the only ones who can stop her. They also realize that they have a strong attraction to one another. First, Dáire and Thomas must take on the queen, but if they are able to make it out of the house alive, the men hope for a chance to be together.
The Vampire’s Pirate is the first book in a new duology by Liv Rancourt. The story sets up an interesting world with a historical paranormal set in New Orleans. For a novella-length story, I think Rancourt manages to blend in a lot of different elements. We have lore for vampires primarily, but the story also touches on werewolves and the various magic users. There is also a nice sense of setting, and Rancourt’s writing really evokes that sultry, deep south atmosphere and time period. Upon arrival at the vampire queen’s home, the group all has to first figure out what is going on, as well as how to stop her, so there is a lot to untangle. I felt at times there is too much happening here for a shorter book, as there are so many moving parts and not a lot of time to really develop things fully. As a result, the storyline didn’t flow quite as smoothly as I would have liked.
The story is fairly short, so we only get the early stages of a connection between Dáire and Thomas. They have an instant attraction and want to act on it, but they are also pulled by their missions at the vampire queen’s home. We get a little tension as Thomas must decide whether he wants to protect his own needs or help Dáire stop the queen before she harms anyone else. We know there is sexual attraction between the men that they act upon, but this is just the very start of a connection between them and while the men clearly want to see each other again, things are left fairly open ended for their future. I think that it makes sense for the story, because really there is not time to develop anything more between them. However, we are mostly just told the guys are into each other, and I didn’t quite feel the connection between them as well as I wanted. Perhaps that is because we really don’t learn much about either man, particularly Thomas. We know he is a privateer/pirate, but that is really about it. So I think only having a basic foundation on the two men may have impacted how I felt about them together. However, there is enough here to get me interested in these characters and curious to see what might be next in store for the men. I particularly liked the little tidbit that vampires can’t cross water, yet Thomas is a ship captain, so I think there is some interesting issues to explore.
I think Rancourt does a nice job setting things up in this initial story in the duology and I found this one a nice quick read. The story didn’t fully settle for me, but I am definitely on board to see where things go with the second book.