The Frostbite collection features four stories about vampires from Totally Bound Publishing. Each of the stories is available individually. We are reviewing two of those stories, Night Fall and Succulent Dark, here for you today.
Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance Length: Short Story
Vampire hedonist Teak has finally gone too far with that last drunken orgy and seduction of that priest. Now the council has given him two options. Be entombed in a coffin for over a 100 years or be banished to the wilderness of Canada, forbidden to feed on the locals, and ordered blend in by resuming his mortal profession, a physician, something he hasn’t done since 1923.
Teak has no intention of following orders in Canada until he meets pharmacist Marcus Kent who confounds him totally. Attracted to Marcus, Teak tries his tricks but nothing works! Marcus seems immune. Can a potential seducee become the seducer? Teak is about to find out.
I loved this story. In Teak, Manly has created the total unrepentant vampire who also happens to be the local vampire bad boy. Teak loves to party, love to drink blood and have sex, and if he can do all three together, than he will do it to the extremes. Manly’s Teak is over the top outrageous and absolutely charming, even when hanging from silver chains about to the sentenced by the Vampire Council. Teak is the shameless bad boy of rock, without the band of course, and I think the reader will fall for him immediately.
Banished to Canadian wilderness, Teak is a vampire out of water. It’s city boy vampire meets Northern Exposure and it works as Teak encounters one unknown after another, from curling, to an attractive mortal immune to vampire lures. The other main character, Marcus Kent, is not as fully fleshed out as Teak, but still he works as the tasty human morsel who turns into the first real love Teak has ever known. Their romance was charming and a tad old fashioned, just a lovely change of pace for Teak and the reader.
If I had a quibble about the story, it would be that it (and the character of Teak) turned a little overly gushy towards the end. With his love for Marcus hanging, Teak turns almost weepy, definitely not in keeping with the characterization Manly has established. I would also have loved to have seen more of Teak in his doctor’s office interacting with his patients, because another important part of the changeover for Teak is the reigniting of his love for his profession. He loves being a doctor again. It’s a wonderful element of the story and I would have enjoyed seeing Teak’s reaction to medical advancements.
Succulent Dark is a succulent little piece of supernatural fiction, highly enjoyable and leaving the reader wanting more of this couple and this universe. I definitely recommend this story; it’s the best of the Frostbite collection.
Rating: 2.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance Length: Short Story
South Side Chicago Detective Cullen Ryder lives for his job after a drunk driver killed his lover, leaving Ryder alone and grieving. In the past few weeks, the number of homicides has jumped dramatically. Someone is killing the homeless and prostitutes, leaving them drained of blood in the streets and alleys where they were found. The coroner laughingly suggests a vampire on the hunt, but why are they drained of all their blood?
Vampire Ethan Harte has returned home to Chicago after the last city he visited got too hot to stay. Even in winter, the poor seedy side of Chicago is full of victims for a hunting vampire. Then Ethan runs into his old high school friend, Cullen Ryder in a bar and things turn sexually and emotionally intense in just one night.
But Ryder is a Homicide Detective with 15 years of experience and he’s hunting a killer. A killer that just happens to be his old friend and newest love. Ethan knows it dangerous to stay in Chicago with Ryder on his trail, but he wants just a little more time before he has to leave. If Ryder discovers who and what Ethan is, can their newfound love survive the discover and Ryder’s sense of duty?
I loved the premise of this story, but found the author’s Night Fall lacking in quite a few ways. Cullen Ryder is the better of the two characters. He is a seasoned detective, still hurting over the death of his lover by a drunk driver. Byrnes gives this character a back history that rounds out his persona while letting us into his every day life to see the respect he has garnered as a detective on the force. Unfortunately, as the story progresses the author seems to forget about the character she has created as Ryder changes and his character adjusts to accommodate her storyline. Furthermore, her vampire, Ethan Harte enjoys being a predator while giving lip service (however, briefly) to the moment he was changed. Statements from Ethan to Ryder like “This relationship is over when I say it is over,” and the unpleasant actions that follow serve to derail the story and any sort of romance the author had intended.
The ending was, in my opinion, so off putting that I have no intention of reading the followup story, even though an excerpt is included at the end of Night Fall. Unless you are a diehard fan of Jenna Byrnes or must read every vampire story that comes along, I would give this a pass and head over to the other Frostbite tales instead.
The Frostbite Collection includes:
Gravedigger (Frostbite #1) by Aurelia T. Evans
Night Fall (Frostbite #2) by Jenna Byrnes
Succulent Dark (Frostbite #3) by D.J. Manly
The Study of Blood in Winter (Frostbite #4) by Catalina Dudka