Well, I can imagine the vampire purists might be up in arms about this fresh take on the hot vampire/swooning chick trope. Sienna is one bold woman. After exploring the dungeon in the castle she has bought (with a fortune from a dead relative) she discovers a shrivelled carcass behind a previously locked door. After the initial, "aargh, a dead thing! And it's talking!" shock horror, Sienna makes the leap from running and hiding, to talking to the dead thing and finding out more about it.
Turns out, the "dead thing," is Enzo, thirsty and desiccated after centuries of being locked away in the dungeon. Naturally, Sienna offers a little of her blood to make him feel better. Sweet! (Don't try this at home.)
After that, Enzo basically becomes Mr. Hotness, a man out of time, with courtly manners and old-fashioned attitudes which Sienna quickly puts him right on. This is kind of hilarious, a slow-burn romance which explodes into something sensual and gorgeous at the end. Until the sexy times, we see Enzo transforming, befriending Sienna's friends and neighbours, learning about diversity and slowly but surely sweeping Sienna off her feet.
It seems death really is the best place to start a romance, as the thoroughly modern Sienna gradually educates Enzo and their feelings for each other grow, helped by him feeding from her when she allows it. This is a witty and funny take on a genre that can take itself WAY too seriously, with a lovely Christmassy ending full of sparkle and romance. I love how Tirza's books take you on journeys you don't expect. There's a subplot involving a gay friend and his wastrel husband, which is told rather than shown, and I'm not sure it was really needed, but it doesn't matter in the end. This is a feel good story about a couple who are proof that those who feed together and bleed together really are #couplegoals.
Sienna has inherited a large fortune from an elderly aunt overseas and fulfils her lifelong dream of buying a manor house in the English countryside to live in. When she finds the perfect property, it needs a lot of renovating and structural work for which she hires architect Albert and interior designer Sammy. During the building works in the basement, some heavy equipment crashes into a wall. A stone becomes loose and falls down, revealing a hidden passageway beyond. The workers refuse to stay after sunset to explore because locals have been telling stories about a man-eating monster that comes out at night and devours everyone who comes too close to the ancient castle grounds. Because of this, Sienna must explore alone. When she finds a fortified wooden door and the key to open it, she doesn't expect her life to never be the same again. What she finds makes her blood run cold in her veins. But she can't go on screaming forever. And on second thought, she may have just unearthed the answer to the question of how to bring more energy into her life. Death is a good way to start, it seems. This short, sweet adult romance book is Book 4 of the series titled Tirza's Christmas Tales. As a standalone, it can be read independently of the other books in this series whose common threat is the seasonal theme of Christmas.