Friday, August 26, 2011

The Vampire's Madam by L. Rosario

TITLE: The Vampire’s Madam
AUTHOR: L. Rosario
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 8k)
GENRE: Paranormal erotic romance
COST: $2.00

A madam of a high-end brothel in London, Janna has been infatuated with one of her regulars for the entire two-and-a-half years he’s been coming to her business. Not once in all that time has she offered to service him herself, but after she witnesses a particularly torrid night with one of her girls, she decides that she’ll allow no other girl in her employ to give him what he needs – her blood…

Finding an excellent short story in the romance genre is difficult, mostly because authors usually prove too ambitious within the story’s parameters. This one is yet another that falls woefully short.

The story takes place in Victorian London, in a high-end brothel run by the half-Welsh/half-Indian beauty, Janna. Janna has been shunned by society her entire life because of the color of her skin, and takes great pride in running one of the most successful establishments in the city. The only thing keeping her from true satisfaction is seeing the man she lusts after come into her business every Wednesday night and going off with one of her girls instead of her. After two and a half years, she gives in to the voyeuristic desire to see what’s going on and discovers that the gorgeous Hugh de Troyes is actually a vampire. She decides then and there that no other woman in her employ will see to his needs. She can give him everything he desires.

If this story had stuck to being erotica, it just might have worked. The set-up is a little trite, but the heat in the voyeuristic first third was sufficient to hint at how explosive the rest of it could be. However, it doesn’t settle for that. Instead, it attempts to be a meaningful historical/paranormal/romance on top of the erotica, and in the space of just less than eight thousand words, it just didn’t succeed. What’s meant to be romantic declarations of unending love come across as just silly. Hugh is a six-hundred year old vampire who claims to have been alone all this time, and that Janna is the one for him. Seriously. They’re making vows to spend eternity together with barely any time at all to get to know either one of them, let alone the fact that Janna really knows very little about the vampire’s current life, only what she’s gleaned from history books. History we’re told about toward the end of the story as if it actually has time to mean anything by that point. It’s one big information dump that feels irrelevant to the rest of the story except to justify expecting readers to buy into the “romance” part of it.

It didn’t work. It pulled me even further out of the story. The sex ends up mired in all this melodrama and clumsy writing, Hugh and Janna become little more than flat figures trying to fit into the niches the author has created, and the story itself is uninspiring.


7/10 – Hot when it had to be, but mostly just inoffensive


4/10 – Hints of appeal before the story derailed


4/10 – Mostly just really horny

Entertainment value

3/10 – It can’t decide what it wants to be and ends up being schizophrenic as a result

World building

5/10 – Some details are described, but most of it’s either relayed in conversation or glossed over completely



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