Series name: The Vampire’s Mate (Book 3)
Author: Grae Bryan
Genre: MM Paranormal Romance (vampire romance!)
Jamie Hernandez loves his life. He has his family, his friends, and a successful freelance career at just twenty-three. The only thing missing? His monster. The one Jamie has seen in his dreams for the past five years. Jamie doesn’t know much about the enigmatic man from his visions, but he doesn’t need to. He knows enough. He knows they belong together.
Lucien Volaire has been losing his mind for almost half a century, the monster within him steadily taking greater control over his thoughts and actions. He’s destroyed everything he’s touched, including the people he’s cared for. The one thing that could stop his final descent into madness? A mate. So when Luc meets a young man in the desert, one who smells like heaven and doesn’t run in fear, Luc knows he’s met his last chance at redemption.
But the more Lucien is enchanted by Jamie, the more reluctant he is to taint him with his own vampire curse. Can Lucien find a balance between love and obsession? Or will those that want Luc out of their territory step in before he has a chance?
Lucien is a heated, fated-mates MM paranormal romance with an HEA and no cliffhanger. It contains a morally grey, obsessive vampire with anger management issues and the bright, playful human who might just match him in possessive romantic tendencies. It also contains steamy scenes between two men, and the moderate violence (and mentions of blood) that one might expect from a vampire romance. This book can be read as a standalone, but the series is best enjoyed in order (it is especially recommended to read book one first).
“Luc wasn’t sure how long they stood there, he and his monster both mesmerized, while the stranger seemed to drink in the very sight of him. But finally, at the end of his perusal, the green-haired man gave a long, deep sigh, then turned dark, glittering eyes to meet Luc’s. “I’ve been waiting for you, you know. What took you so long?”
What I loved:
Vampire redemption arcs and punky humans with psychic powers?
Lucien is darker than the other books in the vampire’s mate series, which is no surprise, as it follows the title character, Lucien, as he struggles to hang onto what little humanity he has left. Until, of course, he meets Jamie. The slender green-haired man with ripped jeans isn’t afraid of Lucien’s inner monster—he immediately wants to claim it as his own. Jamie is a human with unique psychic powers and he has known that Lucien has belonged to him for years.
I have to admit, I was leery about reading this book at first. I hated Lucien in the first book and I didn’t really care if he got a happy ending or not. However, watching this badass vampire’s reaction Jamie, who has been WAITING for him and knows things he couldn’t possibly know, was 100% epic. I ended up liking Lucien a whole lot more as a result. And, surprising even myself, I ended up rooting for his happy ending by the end of the story.
Even better, most of the characters from the previous books come back and make an appearance in this book. I personally really loved this, especially because it was more than just a cameo (it ends up being pretty essential to the plot, so we get a lot of interaction between these characters). Personally, I loved watching Luc and Jamie play off the previously introduced heroes in the series.
However, my absolute favorite part of this book was watching Jamie tame Luc’s monster. There’s something about the way Lucien’s inner monster goes from being just shy of feral to being a tamed housecat at Jamie’s insistence is kind of beautiful and is extremely fun to read. Lucien, more than any of the other characters, struggles with who he is and he wants to be better for Jamie. We find out that his monster wants that too. Ultimately, both the monster and man fall in love with Jamie. The character arc there is just *chef’s kiss*.
This is a nicely steamy book. Though Jamie and Luc do have sex with each other A LOT, it doesn’t dominate the story (which is definitely a fine line to walk). Another thing that I really enjoyed in this story was that the sexual roles are not as rigid as they often are in male-male paranormal romance (or as they have been in previous books in the series, for that matter). For one thing, there’s a lot of reciprocation with the oral sex that takes place, with Lucien often pleasuring Jamie. And though Jamie is mostly a bottom, at one point in the story, the roles reverse and Jamie tops Lucien. Lucien definitely isn’t a bottom (he’s never done it before), but he enjoys the experience. Jamie most certainly isn’t a top, but he found it hot, and he would do it again at some point.
As a gay man, I thought this read as a little more honest about how male-male relationships actually are in practice. While strict tops and strict bottoms most definitely do exist in the wild, it’s not really the norm to never ever not even once explore a little outside the “comfort zone” so to speak. Most of the time there’s a least a little bit of fluidity in sexual roles within same-sex relationships. A lot of times, guys tend to be a least a little bit versatile. I get that there are a number of reasons why this doesn’t happen often in the genre, and I do respect that. For one thing, it would make things a bit more confusing for readers who don’t have an entire lived experience that helps them realize that it’s very normal for the characters to “flip”, even in the same encounter. However, I still found the change of pace (and the lack of internalized homophobia on Luc’s end afterward) to be extremely refreshing and enjoyable to read. Luc’s easy reaction to exploring this new thing with Jamie ended up making me like him a lot more, personally. Your mileage might vary here, of course. I do want to commend the author for experimenting with this on the page, as it feels like a genuine effort to make her romance more realistic and representative of real-life gay romances. It was a risk and I think it was pulled off very well.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a great addition to the series and it gives Lucien a believable happy ending with a mate who can stand toe to toe with him. Like literally all of the other books in the series, I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys steamy male-male vampire romances with surprisingly sweet happy endings. You can get it here.