After too many drinks with a hot guy in a bar, Detective Max Bowman finds himself the victim of a gay bashing in a dark alley. He is rescued by a mysterious stranger who brings Max to his home rather than to the hospital. Carter Gray is wealthy and gorgeous, but he is also trouble.
When the guys who attacked Max end up dead, they are immediately linked to Max’s investigation of a serial killer who has been draining his victims of blood. Max is shocked when Carter tells him these men are not the work of that killer, but that he himself murdered them after seeing them attack Max.
Carter is also up front that he is vampire, and that while his original intent was to kill Max, somehow he is strangely drawn to the man. Max knows he should be frightened of Carter, but instead he is falling hard for him, having feelings he never experienced. Carter knows he should be killing Max, not taking care of him. And he has no interest in a relationship, especially with a human. Though the men work to fight their attraction, their feelings for one another are too hard to deny. However, when the serial killer sets his sights on them, it may risk the future the men hope to have with one another.
So I was drawn to this story as an different spin on the usual vampire fare. I assumed (incorrectly) after reading the blurb that Carter was the killer Max was searching for, and I was looking forward to some dark and twisty angst as Max investigated the killer only to realize it was the man he was falling for. The story actually goes in a pretty different direction, however. Carter admits very early in the story that he is a vampire and it is clear that he is not the killer the men are hunting. So we don’t get that element of intrigue I was expecting. Instead the focus is more on these men working through their conflicts about being attracted to one another and then dealing with the bad guy who is after them. So not a bad premise by any means, but just not as much intensity as I was hoping for. The ending is exciting as the guys face danger from the killer and there are some unique world building elements here.
The real issue for me here is that I was so frustrated with Max that he lost all credibility for me, and thus I had no real investment in him or the relationship (and I wasn’t particularly fond of Carter either, to be honest). Max has been investigating this serial killer who is draining blood from the victims’ bodies. He is determined to catch this bad guy before it is too late, diligently investigating the case. But then Carter tells him that he murdered Max’s attackers and Max barely reacts. I mean, yes, I am sure he is pissed because these guys attacked him. But Max is a police officer and he just blows off their murders like it is nothing.
Then, Carter is very clear that he murders those he feeds from as well. He just does a better job of hiding the bodies than the killer the police are hunting. Yes, Carter is a cold blooded killer who murders roughly a person a day as he needs to feed around every 24 hours. Ok, can we just take a pause and process that? He has been a vampire for 84 years and feeds/kills about once a day. That is over 30,000 murders! First, how is even possible that all these people are disappearing and no one notices? (and he is not the only vampire out there killling) And even more importantly, how can Max just ignore that? It is unfathomable to me. They have this conversation at one point where Max wants Carter’s help catching the serial killer. He is all “but we have to hurry before he kills again!” Meanwhile, Carter is killing just as often, and even points out he will need to pause later to feed (i.e. kill) and still, Max is fine with that, apparently because Carter is hot.
Now I will say Max is clearly upset at the idea of Carter taking more victims once these guys end up together. But this guy is a cop, he knows Carter has killed thousands upon thousands, and that is fine? He can just overlook it because of their bond? Max also seems much more concerned that Carter not drink from anyone else because he only wants Carter to drink from him, rather than the fact that Carter kills the people he feeds from. I wanted to scream and, to be honest, this really spoiled the book for me. I just couldn’t move past this to have any fond feelings for Max no matter what he did at that point.
Things aren’t really helped by the fact that Carter is a killer and is very clear he has no respect for human life. He agrees to drink from Max, but again, it is about the heat between them, not because he thinks murder is bad. Things also aren’t helped by the fact that these guys are working on pure “bonded” attraction. I never saw much, if anything, to see what is drawing these men together beyond this compulsion for one another. A lot of the story is made up of these guys alternating between semi-hating one another and then all over each other. They fight and are angry with one another, then suddenly are in love and planning a life together. I just couldn’t believe in it at all and found it very frustrating.
So I think in the end your enjoyment of this book will come down to whether or not this all makes your blood boil like it does mine. I am a logical person and this story didn’t make logical sense to me. Or if it does, it just paints Max as a douche who is willing to forgo his morals (and his job) just because Carter is hot and he wants him. But I know sometimes things drive me crazy that no one else cares about, so if this doesn’t bother you, I think this story will work much better for you than it does for me. As it was, I found myself so distracted by these issues that it took away from the positive things about the story and the writing.
Note: This book was originally released by Silver Publishing.