James, Poppy’s soulmate from Secret Vampire. James is a vampire, one of the lamia. He was in love with Poppy for years but afraid to tell her, afraid to show it, because it would have been against Night World law. But, when Poppy is in the hospital dying from cancer, James finally reveals his secret to her, and changes her into a vampire as well. James shows up, joking with Poppy for a few minutes in Soulmate.
James is considered something of a tough guy. He dated a lot before he and Poppy got together, going out with “long-legged girls with salon fingernails and Italian pumps.” Poppy has been his best friend since Kindergarten. James has a reputation for being, as Poppy puts it “tough and dangerous.” He’s never like that around Poppy. Around Poppy he’s caring and concerned, and humorous. Can you forget the way he teased Poppy about needles, miming an injection? We do get to see the reason for the tough reputation though. For instance, the confrontations between James and Poppy's brother Phil. James certainly knows how to hold his own. He threw Phil into a dresser. And James can get mad, furious. He said he was going to kill Ash, and meant it. But James isn’t bad. There’s a part of him that’s very vulnerable, still the child vampire who’s parents starved him so that he’d attack his nanny, because they thought he was getting too close to her. Part of him is still hating himself for it, despite the fact that it wasn’t his fault, that he was just a kid. James’ outlook on life is extremely realistic. He’s always known that things in life can be cruel. Being a vampire, he doesn't view death the same way humans would. Of course, there's the way he speaks about Poppy’s disease, the way he plans her transformation so carefully, deciding the details so meticulously. He approaches it with the appearance of calmness, though you know he can’t be so calm inside. You get the feeling that James rarely acts on impulse, allowing his feelings to get the best of him. Most of the time he seems very much in control. During the events of Secret Vampire James learns that he doesn’t always have to hold himself in such tight restriction. Sometime’s it’s all right to let it out. Sometimes it’s okay to be vulnerable.
Secret Vampire by L.J. Smith
Reflections on LJ Smith