Firefighter Mason James has just gotten off a double shift and is beyond tired when he sees an old, and very naked, man in the middle of the road. Mace stops to help, and chalks up the old man’s weird behavior, his snarling and blown pupils, to some kind of chemical imbalance. He wants to take the man, Fabron, to the hospital, but Fabron insists on going home. Mace takes him, and when he pulls onto the property, he encounters a whole host of people in various states of undress. Mace is unnerved by it all, but he just wants to see Fabron safely inside. Everyone is very grateful and tries to get Mace to stay, but he just wants to go home as he’s ready to pass out from exhaustion. When Mace falls asleep at the wheel on his way off the property, he agrees to come back and sleep.
That’s when Mace meets Luc Toussaint. Luc is the most beautiful man that Mace has ever seen, and he wants nothing more than to touch, kiss, and sleep with the sexy man. Luc, at first, doesn’t even register Mace, but when he does, Luc is just as happy to have Mace with him. Their connection is instant, and when they kiss, the sparks fly. But Mace is in no shape for anything more and he falls asleep, only to wake up to being attacked by a feral man. Mace is able to get away, and he makes a beeline for his truck and takes off.
Mason is trying to put the whole thing behind him, even though his friends gently tease him about being a freak magnet. When he’s out to get a few missing things for the party his roommates are having, Mace runs into Luc again. Everything about Luc pushes his buttons, and when the beautiful man tells Mace that he just wants to spend some time with him, Mace agrees. But their encounter quickly turns heated, and the sex between them is explosive. Mace wants more, to keep dating Luc, even after he learns the truth about the beautiful man. Luc is a gargoyle, and Mason carries gargoyle blood in him, which is why he is the Romanus. Mace is able to take that news in stride. But there are those in the clan that don’t want the change that Mace will bring about, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to stop him. Luc might lose Mace before he ever really has him, and Mason may lose his life over something he only just found out existed.
This is a rerelease of this story, and I liked it just as much the second time around. Calmes has this ability to create characters I just adore. That, coupled with an interesting twist on shifters, and Romanus is an enjoyable read.
Mason is the big hearted, caring guy we all want to know. From the very first moment we meet him, he’s showing us his heart. I loved that this guy stopped to help an old man clearly in trouble, and that he was willing to take that as far as he needed to. I also love how laid back and easy going Mace is. Sure, when he was being attacked he fought back and then ran. But for the rest of the time, he’s a “go with the flow” kind of guy. I loved this about him, and because of it, the parts of the story that might have been hard to believe were actually easy to accept. Mace has no trouble accepting that gargoyles exist and that he has the same blood in his veins, and while this could have been something that made the story troublesome, because of who Mace is, it’s just as easy to accept for the reader.
We don’t get to know Luc quite as well, and I found that a little lacking. The surface stuff we got, and even a little bit in depth. But I would have liked to know him better. He was well written, for what he was, but without the deeper introspection, I found I couldn’t connect to him as well. I wouldn’t say he’s flat in any way, because he definitely has personality. He’s just a bit underdeveloped. That being said, the chemistry between the characters was palpable and leapt off the page. I had no trouble believing these two men were completely drawn to one another and that they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
What I really enjoyed here was a little bit of a twist on the shifter theme. Gargoyles are so very rarely done, and I liked the little things that the author threw in to attempt to explain the world. But this was the aspect where I had the most trouble. I felt this story lacked world building. I would have liked to see more of these characters because I enjoyed them, but I would have really liked to see more in depth explanation of the world and how things worked. I definitely felt the loss here and it brought things down for me a little bit.
Overall, I liked the story a whole lot though. As I said, this is a rerelease. I’ve read the first edition a couple of times since its release, and that says something. The characters, especially Mason, really drive this story. I couldn’t discern any notable differences between the first and second editions, so if you’ve already got this one, you certainly don’t need to buy it again. But if you’ve yet to give this story a try, and you’re looking for interesting shifters and great characters, then I’d suggest you pick this one up.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.