Book Review: “Escaping Solitude” by Sara Dobie Bauer.

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*It’s not just a pretty cover, folks.

This second instalment in Sara Dobie Bauer’s Escape Trilogy takes Andrew and his beloved Edmund to nineteenth century New Orleans, a setting rife with secret brothels and fancy vampire lairs.

Again, the writing is exceptional.

Sara’s portrayal of Edmund’s restless character and Andrew’s protective, yet deadly nature, are bang on and compelling. Her secondary characters, like Danys, Philipe and Michelle, are equally distinct and well-crafted.

I enjoyed the way Andrew was challenged in his attempts to reign in Edmund’s impulsive behavior, and resigned himself to dealing with him as a parent with an energetic and boisterous child. Edmund seems to run on adrenaline and curiosity, and it was enchanting to see him so distracted by Michelle’s giant library and the two male prostitutes at May’s brothel.

These novellas are fast-paced and enchanting and not your average vampire read.

Looking forward to the third and final book of the series!

*A free copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Pre-order links (October 29th release): Amazon.com, Amazon.caNineStar Press.

My review of Escaping Exile (Book 1)

Teaser – FANGS

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The youth shrugged, dark eyes quickly roaming over Gemini. He didn’t say anything, just looked at Gemini with a hopeful vulnerability that immediately touched something still alive inside the old vampire.

“You’re not dressed up,” Gemini said, leaning casually against the wall beside the youngster and propping a booted foot to rest against the wall at his back.

There was the hint of a smile that disappeared as quickly as it came. “Neither are you.”

Gemini nodded, still smiling. “True. Then we’re well matched.”

He ran his eyes slowly over the alluring creature, noticing the way the skinny jeans hugged the youth’s slender legs and hips. He leaned in, closing his eyes as he inhaled the sweet scent of the young man and whispered in his ear as if they were already lovers. “What’s your name?”

The young man shivered, and looked down at his feet. “Justice.”

Gemini resisted the urge to lick the shell of his ear. “Justice?”

The boy nodded, turning to face Gemini, his sweet young face only inches away.

“That’s a lovely name.”

“Actually, I hate it.” The young man laughed, drawing back slightly.

“Why do you hate it?” Gemini asked.

The boy shrugged, and moved in again so his response could be heard above the music. “It’s different. And weird.”

Gemini’s smile widened. “Hmmm. No. It’s unique. Like you.”

The young man laughed again. “I’m not unique. I’m like every other stupid kid here. Just trying to belong somewhere.”

Gemini was already charmed by this human and he felt a dangerous pull that he reigned in. He wasn’t going to kill an innocent human tonight. He wasn’t even going to seduce one. Still, he wanted to take Justice home. Feed him and put him to bed like a child.

It wasn’t anything he was used to feeling but he liked it. He wondered what Yvonne would say to him showing up with this young man. Looking at Justice, his soft skin and innocent expression, his full lips and his too-skinny form, Gemini didn’t really care what Yvonne thought. She would simply have to accept Gemini’s choice to bring home this waif, if that was what he decided to do. If Justice would go willingly with him.

Maybe she’d even see what Gemini saw in Justice’s deep brown eyes. Something frail and grasping that needed purchase. Something that needed saving.

Gemini knew what would happen if the boy stayed here, even if Justice didn’t. He would be just another nameless human used to satisfy the bloodlust and sexual hunger of a host of vampires and discarded at the end of the evening either dead or just a ruined shell of himself. Most died from the assault. The plain ones killed outright for strength and stamina while the pretty ones were violated over and over for sport and pleasure.

As usual, Gemini was not one to prevaricate. “I’d like to take you home with me.”

Justice stared at him, as if trying to come up with a reason to protest. “You just met me.”

“Yes.”

“What if I say no?”

“Then I will leave you here. But it will hurt me to do so. Very much.”

Justice’s eyes narrowed with suspicion. “How old are you anyway?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

Justice seemed to think about that, and about what Gemini had said about taking him home. “You can fuck me, I guess. If you want.”

Gemini blinked. “That’s not what I meant.” Although that thought did cross my mind.

Justice seemed confused and Gemini couldn’t blame him.

“Don’t you want to?” He asked with the saddest look on his face that perhaps Gemini had ever seen.

Gemini reached out and placed gentle fingers on Justice’s chin, turning his face this way and that, as if he were examining the youth’s face the way Yvonne would for the purposes of sketching it. Justice reacted to Gemini’s touch by visibly shuddering and licking his bottom lip nervously. Gemini tried not to show how affected he was.

“Of course I want to fuck you, sweet thing, and perhaps I will someday. But not today.” He brought the young man’s face around so that they locked gazes again. “Today I want to take you home, give you something to eat, and make sure you have a soft bed to sleep in.”

The young man hesitated, seeming to lose himself in Gemini’s ancient eyes, then shook himself free and forced himself to look away.

“Why should I trust you?” He said, but there was no conviction in it.

“Because I’m your only way out of this place tonight. And if you stay you won’t last until morning.”

“What?” Justice said, looking around him. “It’s just a party.”

Gemini shrugged. “Of course, that’s what it seems. Believe me or no, if you come with me you will be safe. If you say no I will leave you here. But I don’t want to. Please.”

Justice hesitated, looking at the many costumed patrons, then back at Gemini. “You promise?”

Gemini made a large X across his chest. “Cross my heart.” At least he still had a heart, even if it hadn’t pulsed for countless centuries. He held out his hand.

Justice reached out, wrapping his fingers around Gemini’s hand with relief as if now the boy had made the decision to trust him, he was ready.

“Okay.”

Book Review – “Confessions: Robbie”, by Ella Frank

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*I fell in love with the character of Robert Bianchi in Ella Frank’s fabulous Temptations series. While reading the final book in the six-book series, I was dying to know more about the “Priest” (Joel Priestley) and the “Prick” (celebrity chef Julien Thornton) who seemed to have an unconventional marriage and a private obsession with the young, extravagant Robbie. Luckily, Frank has decided to follow Robbie’s story with the first book in her new Confessions series. And, luckily for me, Robbie very quickly decides that he needs to know more about the married men who’ve shown an interest in him as well.

When I heard that Frank was accepting requests for ARC copies of the new book, I threw my name in and then promptly forgot I had done so. Wasn’t I thrilled and surprised when I received an email on Thursday promising an ARC copy in my inbox come Friday morning?

I started reading on Friday, tore myself away for a couple of hours to work on my own project, then continued, and finished this morning. I almost wish I’d read it a little more slowly to savour it, but I’m afraid that was impossible and, really, that’s what the reread is for, right?

Ella Frank has the innate ability to see into my head and write exactly what I want to see in her books. It is really quite rare for me to find an author that seems to think exactly like I do and writes a book that is perfectly what I want to read (usually, I have to write those books). She did that with the first half of the Temptations series and she’s done it again with Confessions: Robbie.

Because my own James Lucas Trilogy revolves around the development of a close and committed relationship between three different men, I loved the premise of this book. And Frank executed the resulting story perfectly. Ella Frank is able to write sizzling hot sex scenes AND scenes that cut through the bullshit of outward appearances and reveal the inner emotions of her characters, so VERY well. The entire first part of this book was a slow, delicious and tantalizing lead-up to what I knew was coming and what I was desperately waiting for. By the time I got it, the flames were licking up the sides of my Kindle.

Seriously. This book is HOT.

But it is also full of three dimensional characters who are all struggling with something and who find answers in each other.

I highly recommend Confessions: Robbie and look very much forward to the rest of the series. I was thrilled to read in the back matter that Confessions: Julien is supposed to be out by May of this year, because I so desperately want to read more about the Priest, the Prick and the Princess.

*A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.