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Violins and Vampires (Vampires of the Daemonverse, #1) by Cee Bee 

This story had so much to enjoy: great world-building, a sexy Scottish vampire king with a broken heart, and an incredibly savvy and sassy kick-ass heroine! 

1000 A.D.: When the vampire king of Clan MacGregor discovers his beloved queen, Elisava, has contracted the deadly plague that kills only bloodkin women, he races her to the cave of a healer, a water elemental known as The Gray Woman. Although she has no cure, she vows to somehow save King Caelin’s clan. 

In their own country, the young princesses, Alexa and Sash, accompanied by a human woman, Anya, make the difficult and harrowing climb up the side of a mountain to the hidden cave where the magical healer, Zhenshchina Vody (The Gray Woman), can be summoned and asked for help. Sash, half-human and half-bloodkin, is ill with the same plague that has wiped out the women of Clan MacGregor but with her mixed heritage, the plague is progressing much more slowly. The Gray Woman makes the three sleep and freezes their bodies, preserving them for a future time when she has devised a cure. 

Current times: The princesses awaken in a hospital with no memory of their former lives. However, Anya is there, a familiar face, and she claims to be the girls’ mother and her companion, Mikhail, their father. From then on, the girls experience as normal a childhood as possible while their father supports them working for the local crime family headed by Konstantin King, none other than King Caelin’s former brother-in-law, now his partner in grief and business. But when Lexa is in her senior year of high school, Mikhail abandons the family, on the run from his boss, for embezzling huge amounts of money, and vanishes without a trace. To keep Konstantin from killing the rest of the family, Anya bargains for Lexa to pay back her father’s massive debt. 

Lexa is a clever girl and becomes Konstantin’s most valuable asset. Working undercover, she secretly susses out opportunities for Konstantin’s criminal activities. But during one such operation, she discovers she has a bounty on her head and is the target of a deadly assassin. 

Violins and Vampires is the riveting first book in author Cee Bee’s adult paranormal romance series, Vampires of the Daemonverse, and it is a hands-down fantastic debut! I was captured by the story from the very start (with naked mud-wrestling!), and now I’m anxiously awaiting the availability of book two (which I wished I could have had in my hands YESTERDAY.) This story had so much to enjoy: a sexy Scottish vampire king with a broken heart, an incredibly savvy and sassy kick-ass heroine, and intriguing world-building with bloodkin, nightlings, daemons, and elementals. 

Lexa is a strong female protagonist with some unusual abilities that even she doesn’t understand yet. I loved how she met and accepted the responsibility for her family head-on and did an amazing job keeping things on track and together. She deserves a worthy mate and a happily ever after. 

Caelin, the long-lived bloodkin king, truly loves his queen, and keeps himself under tight control around other women, accepting what he needs but not wanting to cause a human woman to succumb to “the red madness.” He still feels the pain and guilt of being helpless against the bloodkin plague. 

I liked that Konstantin had made it into the modern world as well. He and Caelin have a millennia-long alliance born of their shared grief over his sister Elisava’s death. And the story would not be complete without the modern iteration of The Gray Woman, now reinvented as a doctor, doing her utmost to keep her promise to Caelin while indulging in her affinity for chaos. Prudence and Vice are suitably creepy and menacing from the start, but then the author really turns it up a notch for them. 

The story is fast-paced throughout, with never a slow moment where you would want to put the book down. So, take care of your needs before reading that first page, and be prepared to stay up late to get to the last. With characters you’ll really root for, an intriguing world of paranormals, and a riveting plot, I recommend VIOLINS AND VAMPIRES to readers who enjoy paranormal romance and suspense, especially those with fresh and new vampire lore. 

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Xpresso Book Tours.

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