The world of vampires is, by nature, one of darkness, secrecy, and covertness. Vampires are invincible. No one can hurt them. Except vampire hunters.
Delphine Bouchard is a celebrity chef and owner of a world-renowned restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, where the chic and elite crowd mingle with neighborhood denizens. She enjoys fame, money, and women, and lives life by her own rules. She also happens to be a vampire.
Del’s life and the local vampire community are rocked when a vampire hunter begins picking them off, and Del has reason to believe that she might be next. Del is also being watched and criticized by the vampire hive council and persecuted by a coven of witches, who are the enforcers of behavior for the supernatural set. In the midst of all this turmoil, Del meets and unexpectedly falls hard for Jocelyn, who she soon discovers is holding back a disturbing secret. Del must decide whether or not to put aside her feelings of betrayal and pursue the relationship.
Meanwhile, when a food critic with a grudge sets out to ruin her business and reputation, Del has to protect her staff and restaurant. But the situation spirals out of control when a human shows up dead, her restaurant is sabotaged, and Jocelyn is threatened. Del must save her business, protect her loved ones, and find out who the vampire killer is before she is the next victim.
Set against a backdrop of elaborate meals and passionate cooking, Have a Bite is book one in the novella series The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles. The world of vampires and hunters meets the world of restaurants, foodies, and celebrity chefs—a recipe for paranormal mystery seasoned with suspense, peppered with romance, and flavored with a dash of humor.
I’m going to come right out and say that one of the big reasons I signed up to review this book was because of the title. Have a Bite is a rather clever play on the fact that the main character, Delphine Bouchard, is a well-known chef and a vampire (which is not known as supernatural beings are in the “closet” in Emanuelle’s world). So I couldn’t say no to it, and I’m really glad I didn’t as I found it to be an enjoyable read.
In the world that Emanuelle has created, the supernatural world goes out of its way to stay out of the scrutiny of the public eye, with the witches serving as the rule makers and enforcers. The fact that Delphine has chosen to live amongst humans, work with them, operate a business that serves them, and have the gall to be successful enough at it that she garners attention for her restaurant, makes the witches rather unhappy. But it is the food critic who seems to have a personal vendetta against her that is really worrying Del. It’s not that she thinks he can actually hurt her or her restaurant, but because she doesn’t understand the grudge he has against her, she’s not sure what to make of it. A recent series of accidents has her worried that someone is out to get her and, even worse, that her staff might get caught in the crossfire. Add to all that, an attraction to another vampire that is deeper than she has felt in decades, and strong enough that she’s considering an actual relationship when she swore them off after losing the love of her life, well that really has her worried. It certainly seems that Delphine’s heart is at risk one way or another and she’s not sure which is the worst option – a stake through her heart or a broken heart.
Emanuelle has created a rather interesting world here and Have a Bite barely scratches the surface of it. It becomes clear that Del’s refusal to live in the shadows is met with mixed feelings among the supernatural community, especially among the vampires we encounter in this installment. While she isn’t living an extravagant lifestyle, she’s made a name for herself as a chef and that she receives publicity online and in newspapers is what concerns the council. But given what little I know about chefs, living a life hidden away from others and never sharing her cooking with the world is not an option. So her refusal to kowtow to the council felt right for her character. I enjoyed watching her with her staff because it was clear that those relationships were forged with strong bonds of loyalty and that they were family to Del, not just people who worked for her. The mystery regarding the sabotages at the restaurant played out well, and once the questions were answered, the unanswered questions left me yearning for book two. My only quasi complaint is that I didn’t feel the connection between Del and Jocelyn. I understood that Jocelyn elicited feelings from Del that Del never thought she’d feel again, but I never felt a return of feelings from Jocelyn. It was apparent that Jocelyn was attracted to Del, but I didn’t feel that stronger connection between them that she professed to feel. It will be interesting to see where book two takes us and whether or not we’ll get to see that connection strengthened. Have a Bite is a strong start for The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles and I’m looking forward to next one.