For exiled vampire prince Vince Kamateros, running a cupcake business isn’t exactly his birthright. But after being cast out for a murder he didn’t commit, Vince has had to adapt to a life away from his family and away from the power that once thrummed through his veins. And he’s surprisingly good at making cupcakes. If Vince’s life isn’t as fulfilling as he’d wish, then at least it’s well ordered. Until his landlord’s car crashes through the front of his shop.
When John Reeder is called to the scene of a possible homicide, he isn’t expecting to find a car wedged through the wall of a cupcake shop. Nor is he expecting his immediate attraction to the shop’s owner. Vince is everything John hungers for, but refuses to indulge in. He’s deep in the closet and Vince is technically a suspect. Neither man can resist the other and regardless of the consequences, they pursue a measure of happiness. But there are forces beyond their control brewing in the background and they could change everything for Vince and John.
For the Bite Of It is the first book in the Orbus Arcana series and it introduces us to the gruff cop, John Reeder, and his vampire lover, Vince Kamateros. I struggled with this one from the beginning, despite its occasional redeeming moments. Vince is a fairly interesting character and while not fully developed, he definitely feels more fleshed out than John or anyone else in the book. His reason for exile is fairly straightforward, but the nature of the Orbus Arcana is less so. I was never quite sure what they do or what control they have over vampires save that it is absolute…except when it isn’t. There is reference to a growing rebellion, but the core of the book focuses on the murder and the initial phases of John and Vince’s relationship. I would say the murder is a fairly useless subplot. It never goes anywhere and given that Vince is ruled out as a suspect fairly early on, there’s never even a threat to either he or John. It’s an excuse for these two to meet and that’s fine, but it serves as page filler rather than an a meaningful addition to the overall story.
John is as boring a character as I’ve ever read. He felt flat and uninspired and his closeted status never feels necessary or particularly critical. But worse, he and Vince have zero chemistry. The couple goes through all the motions, but I was never invested in their relationship or where it might be going. Part of this is John’s lack of development as a character, but the bigger issue stems from the reality that the authors never gave me enough reasons to care about the relationship.
For the Bite Of It stumbled out of the gate and never recovered. Aside from Vince, the characters aren’t particularly interesting or engaging. The romance fails to materialize and the murder subplot is an unneeded afterthought. I can’t really recommend this one.