Okay, give me a moment to put myself back together.
Rebekah Weatherspoon, you nearly killed me with those last dozen pages.
Sorry. Breathing in. Breathing out.
Right. So, if you're just joining in with Blacker Than Blue, I'm going to hold up a hand and tell you to halt, do not pass "Go" and head on back to the first book in the vampire sorority sisters books, Better Off Red: Vampire Sorority Sisters Book 1. Not because you couldn't read this one as a stand alone, but because you owe it to yourself to have read the first book first, and quite frankly I think the variance between the two books is a thing of freaking beauty.
In the first book, Benny and Cleo are secondary characters, but here in Blacker Than Blue they come to centre stage. Their relationship is - to give no spoilers away, since this is page-one material - a complete and utter mess. They've broken up, they have some nasty feelings for each other, and both of them are pig-headed fools that make you want to reach through the pages and strangle the both of them.
It's a credit to Rebekah Weatherspoon that the situation is so tangled, and the characters so stubborn, and yet I could not look away. You want things to work out for these two, and the ride is not a pleasant one for them.
Now here's that variance I was talking about. Ginger, in Better Off Red: Vampire Sorority Sisters Book 1, had a fun and bratty vibe to her, and the vampire who had caught her eye brought a darker and deeper pain to the story, but together the overall book was fun and upbeat. That's not to say there weren't dark periods - there were - but that the overall lightness of the tale was definitely present.
Blacker Than Blue, on the other hand, has an overall tone that is much more often tangled and worrying. The choices that Benny and Cleo make are harsher, and the realities of their lives - and the fallout of their decisions - are much more likely to leave you terrified for them. The last twenty pages or so alone had me cringing with hope that it would work out, but unsure precisely because of the path the story had taken. This was incredibly deft writing in that regard: you are unsure if there are happy endings to be had in this book, and you are so invested in wanting one that you can't look away the entire time.
Oh, and the sex! Oh holy heck did I already know Rebekah Weatherspoon could do some scorching prose (see also: The Fling), but add in some demon shapeshifting, some dom/sub personalities, and some inventive toy use, and stir? That's a recipe for smoke and fire, folks.
I loved this (in case that wasn't clear), and I loved this because of how the same shared world as the first book remained consistent alongside this second book that had such a different tone. That is not easy to pull off. I look forward to more of these tales, and if I may have a selfish moment, I'm also crossing fingers for some of the frat brothers to pop up, too. Maybe a short story? Please, Rebekah Weatherspoon?