This book gave me Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes right off the bat. Though the book is mainly told from a guy’s POV (Greg’s), the times we get a look into Caroline’s head just scream Buffy to me, but in Lauryn’s own unique way. I enjoyed the moments we got to see Greg and Caroline interact with each other because we got to experience that tension filled air that hovers between them. I really got into the book towards the end when they got to spend a lot more time together because they make sparks fly and we really see their true character.
I have to say I liked Caroline’s character more than Greg, which was a bummer because we get more of the story from Greg’s POV. Greg definitely gave me Angel vibes too (aka Buffy’s vampire boyfriend). He was a very morally confused character in the beginning, which I liked, but his relationship with Lila threw me off. Anyway, other than that, the story was very interesting. The ending left us with a cliff hanger, but it also felt like a conclusion to me. It was a very unique feeling to still have questions that needed answering, but to have the ending also feel like a closed book. But the story will continue, and it will be interesting to see where it goes because a lot of things happened in the end, which could blow the story wide open in the next book.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a vampire/vampire hunter story not focused on romance, but on character development and mysterious plots. It’s also unique because it is mainly told from a guy’s POV, which is hard to find in paranormal genres. I don’t usually read books from a guy’s POV because I can’t place myself in his shoes, but if that is what you are looking for, this book is for you. I give this book three out of five stars.
Unearthed After Sunset is the first novel in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles. This dark tale follows college student Greg on his journey to discover a world he never knew existed where he quickly learns that beauty can be deadly as. Filled with action, adventure and a bit of romance Unearthed After Sunset will keep you on your toes. Continue on to read an exclusive excerpt from Lauryn April’s gripping new Urban Fantasy novel.
When I got close, however, I found I wasn’t the only one interested in visiting my stone that night. A woman stood before my grave. Dark hair lay loose over her shoulders, and she set a rose atop my stone. Sarah. She wore a navy dress and I remembered there was a bar a few blocks from here she and her friends liked to go to. Sarah kneeled in the grass and wiped a tear away from her cheek. I watched her from a distance. I wanted to go to her, but Santo’s rules played in my mind as if the sight of her had triggered a warning in my head.
“I know this wasn’t my fault,” she said to the empty casket below. “At least that’s what everyone keeps telling me, but I can’t help but wonder if…if I hadn’t broken up with you, if I had just given you more time, you never would have been out that night and….” She sniffled. “I never wanted this.”
I felt weight on my arm. I turned to see Santo standing beside me, his hand on my shoulder.
“She’s a pretty one, not your intended recruit I hope.”
A nervous laugh passed my lips. “No.” I handed Santo Carter’s wallet. He pulled out his ID, looked it over, nodded, then handed it back.
“Good,” he said. “Turning your ex novia would have been a bad idea.”
“How do you know—”
“That she’s your ex? She’s leaving roses on your grave, amigo. Is not so hard to figure out.”
I shook my head. “Right.”
“Don’ worry about her. She will move on.”
“Why would it be a bad idea to turn her?”
Santo stared at me for a long moment. “Is best to leave todos behind when you become a vampire. If you bring someone from your old life into your new one…problemas every time.”
“I wasn’t going to, I was just—”
“Do not worry, you are new, you have questions, I get it.”
Santo started to walk away. I cast Sarah one last glance before following him.
“I didn’t like you much at first, you know,” he said, then glanced at me over his shoulder.
“Yeah, I figured that.”
Santo paused until I caught up to him. “You’ve grown on me since then.”
A moment of silence passed. “Can I ask you something?”
“You’ve been around a long time, how do you…differentiate between us and them?”
Santo smiled. “It gets easier as you get older. When you can walk among them and have no fear of finding a familiar face, it’s easier to see them as they are.”
“And what are they?”
Santo was quiet for a moment. “Do you know how I became a vampire, Archer?”
“It was 1521. I was an officer in the Spanish Army, under Cortez. We were in Tenochtitlan, fighting Aztecs. For eight months, we battled them, slaughtered them, starved them by cutting off their supplies of food and water, but they were relentless. I remember hearing that Cortez ordered the siege to stop, but they would not rest. They would not surrender, and we were forced to continue. That is when I remember first thinking there is no God.
“A group of my men were captured, but I managed to escape into the jungle. Lost and frightened, I wandered until the heat and exhaustion overcame me. I passed out, knowing I would soon die.”
Santo laughed. “I died. But first I woke; it was night and a woman stood before me. She wore a red dress, and her hair hung loose around her face, muy bonita. Not one of the natives, a Spaniard like me. Later, she told me she’d hidden away on our ship. Her skin was so white and her eyes…I thought she was an angel. She helped me up, and I was lost in her beauty. I remember, she asked me one question.
“She asked, ’¿Desea ser libre?’ Do you want to be free? And I said yes. Then she pulled me to her, and she killed me. She buried me in the dirt, and I dug my way free nights later. I couldn’t comprehend what any of it meant at first. She would try to explain, but it wasn’t until she showed me that I understood.” Santo got this faraway look in his eyes. “She took me back to Tenochtitlan, and I tried to tell her the Aztecs would kill us. She wouldn’t listen. I tried to stop her, but she pushed on. She walked straight into their city unharmed. The people of Tenochtitlan looked at her and they bowed. They fell to their knees! Cihuateteo, they called her.
“The next day I slept in one of their temples when I heard a commotion outside. I walked to the edge of the shadows and watched as they gathered. I saw my men, in the crowd. One by one they were brought to the top of the temple, and the Aztecs cut out their hearts. Sixty, seventy some men were murdered and they left their hearts at my feet. And you know what I felt like?”
I shook my head. “What?”
“I felt like a god!” Santo laughed. “That is the difference between us and them. They are human, mortal. They exist in the blink of an eye, temporary. We are eternal, we are gods, and as such their lives bend to our will.”
I laughed. “You don’t really think…I mean, gods?”
“We have the power to take lives and to make men immortal; what more to being a god is there?”
I thought that over for a long moment. Santo was quiet. Then he slapped my shoulder again. “Come, amigo. Let’s go home.”
We walked out of the graveyard. All the while I wondered if maybe he were right. Maybe I wasn’t a demon, like all the movies liked to suggest.
Maybe I was a god?
Lauryn April has always been fascinated by the paranormal, picking up a healthy Stephen King habit by the age of thirteen. Her favorite TV show growing up was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and she's always preferred bands like The Rolling Stones, and The Doors over whatever they're playing on the radio.
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