Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dead If I Do by Tate Hallaway

Garnet, the Wiccan High Priestess who has the Goddess Lilith trapped inside her, is finally getting ready to marry her dream man, the Vampire Sebastian Von Traum. The Vatican Witch hunters are finally off her tail, and she's made her peace with the FBI.

But when she's introducing Sebastian to her folks, who should show up but Sebsatian's ex-wife, Teréza. She curses the two of them and attempts to strangle Sebastian, until Sebastian is forced to banish her. But needless to say, this doesn't give her parents a very good impression of Sebsatian. And when they finally get back to their home, they discover that Sebsatian and Teréza's son Mátyás has been continually releasing his mother from where Sebastian has been trying to lock her up for her own good.

But almost immediately, things start going wrong with the wedding, from the cook making the vegan cake quitting at the bakery, to the wrong bridesmaids dresses arriving, everything is just going wrong, wrong, wrong. And when Garnet gathers her Coven to try and break the curse, she discovers that Sebastian is off in the bushes. Following him by the thread of magic that ties them together, she discovers him in a liplock with Teréza, and while she manages to keep Lilith in check, she's emotionally devastated, even though Sebsatian apologizes.

If he can do this to her so close to her wedding, she wonders, what else doesn't she know about him? Were he and Teréza married? If not, why not? How could he just leave a woman he loved behind, and give his son to others to raise? As she worries over what this means to the future of her relationship, her former boyfriend, another Vampire named Parrish, has also shown up to try and get back into Garnet's good graces- and maybe restart their relationship. Add to that conflicts with her mother over her wedding dress, attacks by Vampire Hunters, and Sebastian and Teréza going missing in the midst of a blinding snowstorm- along with Mátyás, plus having to redo and replan almost the entire wedding at a moment's notice, and Garnet is not a happy camper. But with the help of her parents, friends and coven, can she fix it so that there is a happily ever after for her and Sebastian? Can she get the wedding of her dreams in the midst of a curse?

I love the Garnet books, and have since the first, Tall, Dark and Dead. While some of the bars to the marriage between Sebastian and Garnet were taken care of in the last book, this one removes others and brings back some obstacles to their complete and total happiness, and Garnet is to blame. Even though she faked her own death back before the first book, when she tries to send a dream to her friends so that they know she is getting married and to come to her wedding. she neglects to send it to *just* her friends, and the Vatican once again knows she is alive- which ends up being part of the curse that takes out her chosen wedding location.

She also runs into the problem of realizing how little she really knows about the man she is marrying, and her lack of knowledge is really what runs the risk of stopping the whole marriage dead. Sebastian is over 500 years old, and he's obviously reluctant to talk about what happened between Teréza and himself. But at some point he realizes that he has to in order to regain Garnet's trust. And he really is in love with her, and she with him, so once he tells her the truth, she forgives him his trespasses.

This almost seems like it could be the last book in the series: Garnet is married, Teréza is taken care of, and both of them seem to have found some measure of personal happiness. But even though this title verges more on Chick-Lit rather than romance, I hope I'll see more of Garnet and Sebastian in the future. Recommended.

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