Series Name: The Vampire’s Mate Book 1
Author: Grae Bryan
Genre: MM Paranormal Romance
Danny Kingman is used to fending for himself. Working nonstop as an ER nurse to pay for his mother’s care, he’s been putting his own life on hold since he can remember. But when an unbelievably hot, strangely intense man saves him from a mugging, Danny has a feeling everything is about to change. Especially when that man suddenly pops out a pair of fangs.
Roman Mourier has been wandering aimlessly for decades, waiting for the inevitable day when the last of his humanity leaves him, and the demon inside him takes permanent control. He doesn’t believe in fated mates, or the myth that there’s a soul out there that could tether his humanity to him. Until he feels a strange pull to the lovely young man at the hospital, and hope stirs in him for the first time.
But Roman has demons other than just the one inside him. Is he strong enough to keep Danny safe from the past that haunts him? He knows one thing for sure: now that he’s found his mate, he will do anything to keep him.
Roman is a heated, fated-mates MM paranormal romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It contains insta-obsession, a cinnamon roll of an ER nurse, and the possessive vampire determined to keep him. It also contains steamy scenes between two men, and the moderate violence (and mentions of blood) that one might expect from a vampire romance. Not suitable for readers under 18.
“His demon was offended at the implication, that it would hurt this boy it had decided to claim, a fact Roman found almost hilarious considering its recent blood-thirsty inclinations.”
What I loved:
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what I would think at first, because Roman is told in third person. Typically, I prefer romance to be told in first person point of view. That’s just a personal quirk of mine. However, I was struck almost immediately with how engaging this book was. It sucked me in almost immediately. I quickly fell in love with both of the main characters.
First, let me back up a tick, though. The editing for this book is phenomenal. It’s a self-published book, but the readability, pacing, and overall flow is on par or better than most traditionally published romances I’ve read. This was almost dangerous, because between that and the story itself, it was a very challenging story to put down. It’s not perfect, because nothing is, but it came pretty darn close. Also, the world-building was very interesting and just enough was presented to be fascinating, without grinding the story to a screeching halt.
Okay, that said, onto the fun part!
The relationship between Danny and Roman was so good on so many levels. It wasn’t just lust at first sight. They both helped each other be better people throughout the course of the story and there’s well demonstrated character growth for both of the heroes. Despite that this is definitely a “fated mates” story, both characters fall in love with each other the old-fashioned way as well.
I especially like how the author handled their possessiveness with each other. I know this is a common trope in romance and I enjoy it now and again, but a little goes a long way (for me, at least). Jealousy, possessiveness, etc. is really easy to overdo in romance. It’s pretty much the same way I feel about using truffle zest in my cooking—a tiny bit can add a lot of incredible depth to the dish. More than that and it’s just overpowering and unpleasant.
However, Grae Bryan demonstrated possessiveness in a really nice way. She demonstrated Roman actively working through these types of feelings in order to allow Danny to live his life as normally as possible (despite the big bad that might harm his mate). Roman even intentionally gave Danny a healthy amount of space at one point to be present for someone else who mattered to him, even though Roman didn’t like this character. I think this was a really healthy and balanced way to write these types of emotions. It demonstrated how much both characters mattered to each other without it getting unhealthy or verging into toxic territory. In fact, it was written to cause me to root for both of them, because they were helping each other grow as people. I was very pleasantly surprised.
On a similar note, in this universe, vampires almost have a sort of secondary intelligence within them. Roman refers to this as his “inner demon” and has dialogues with it off and on throughout the story. I personally really enjoyed this. This might sound strange (and I definitely am!) but I found myself falling in love with this part of Roman as well, because it was so fiercely loyal and good to Danny.
Also, this book is so dang sweet!
I’m not going to give any direct spoilers because I don’t want to ruin it but about halfway through the story, Roman gives Danny a very special gift that felt an awful lot like a miracle to me, but in all of the best ways (no, it wasn’t dirty—gosh, you guys!). And I’m not even ashamed to admit that I started bawling while I was reading this part. I don’t generally cry when I read books, but when I do, I’ll cop to it. This book made me cry happy tears. My partner walked into the room and saw me bawling over my iPhone and he just looked at me like I was a crazy person (after first making sure I was okay), but what does he know?
However, it’s not JUST a sweet romance. It’s also a pretty steamy romance. There was definitely lots of sweaty, smutty fun to be had between our heroes and I was there for every second of it. In terms of the level of spice I personally enjoy in my kissing books, I think the author knocked it out of the park.
I generally tend to like most paranormal romances that have an interesting hook and a healthy dynamic between the central characters. If it’s got those parts down, I’ll forgive a lot. This book didn’t need me to forgive anything at all. It was a fast, easy, delightful read that kept me up way past my bedtime because I chose reading it over getting sleep. It was hands-down one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and probably last year as well. If you’re a fan of male-male paranormal romance, especially vampire romance, you should most definitely give it a read.
“…if you need me to tell you every single day that I am staying, I will tell you. Gladly. Often. Always. That I am yours. Forever, if you will have me.”