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 – “Escaping Exile” by Sara Dobie Bauer

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*Having followed Sara Dobie Bauer on Twitter, I was delighted when she PM’d me and offered to send me a copy of her new book, Escaping Exile, for free in exchange for an honest review. Since it was a sexy story about a male vampire and a human sailor, what the hell was I supposed to say? Yes, please!

I’m always a bit wary reading new authors because I have quite high expectations in terms of story and writing style. Also, summer is a busy time of year for me with my kids on their summer break and my husband taking vacation time as well. I don’t have as much personal time to read and write and I struggle to keep up with my own projects.

So I was only able to give this little beauty of a story the attention it deserved this morning while my fourteen year-old slept in and my eleven year-old watched Youtube on his computer with headphones on the sofa near me. Thank God for headphones.

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First person present is not a point of view I’ve seen often in stories these days, but I got used to Sara’s compelling style very quickly. Her beautiful words flow on the page, creating vivid imagery and enticing tableaus: A plain grass hut on an island filled with cannibals, a beautiful shipwrecked sailor, a lonely vampire who frets with lust and hunger.

I read this little novella in one go. It seduced and entranced me with its language and subject matter. I’ve long been a fan of Anne Rice and her early vampire novels, and yes, this story did remind me of them.

But Sara has her own vampire vision and I loved the way that Edmund (the sailor) was nothing like the traditional human victim to Andrew’s vampire cravings. His intelligence and reckless courage were just as fascinating as Andrew’s implicit strength and newly discovered self-control.

Such a juicy little treat for a lazy Saturday morning! I would recommend this story to anyone and look forward to the continuation of the series.

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

Buy Links: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Ninestar Press

Craving – Friday Flash Fic., Feb. 15th

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I was on the treadmill at the gym when I got an idea for this flash fiction prompt.

I realized that these guys could easily be two characters from my Vampire erotica WIP, Diamond Dogs.

Theo Matowski is a devoted lover to my protagonist, Gemini (a bisexual, androgynous female vampire who keeps Theo and his male lover, Justice, as human pets/companions). However, when an older male vampire, Kristofer Vallespi, comes to Ottawa seeking excitement, Theo finds his loyalties tested.

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Theo waited restlessly on the park bench, eyes glancing furtively about and hands in his jeans pockets.

Kristofer Vallespi had texted him the night before, requesting that Theo meet him here at noon because he needed to ask him something.

Theo knew he shouldn’t have replied. Shouldn’t have texted Kristofer that he’d come. Shouldn’t have thought about Kristofer all evening and all morning.

Gemma had told him that Kristofer was dangerous. She’d said Kristofer was not like she was. He’d want to take advantage of Theo – use him for sex or food and then toss him away like spoiled fruit.

But Theo didn’t believe her. He didn’t think she was lying. He believed Gemma supposed Kristofer to be like that. But from the moments Theo had spent in Kristofer’s commanding presence, he couldn’t believe it.

And now, as he glimpsed Kristofer approaching along the gravel path in his pea coat and jeans, looking so very human and yet not-at-all human, he wondered if perhaps Gemini was right. Theo knew vampires had powers he didn’t yet understand even though he’d been sharing Gemma’s home for seven years. Perhaps he shouldn’t have come.

But it was too late now.

Theo straightened as Kristofer approached. Even though he knew very well that most vampires could walk about during daylight hours, it still made him uneasy. These creatures were supposed to be night dwellers. But maybe that was what people believed in order to feel some kind of partial security.

Theo knew better.

Kristofer stopped in front of the bench. He looked Theo over with a frank and obvious hunger.

“Theo,” he said in greeting, offering a small smile and a glint of fang. So he was hungry. Hungry for either sex or blood, or his fangs wouldn’t have descended.

Theo shuddered in the face of such desire. “K-Kristofer. I wanted to see you.” This was the truth.

Kristofer nodded, sitting down beside Theo on the bench. “I know. I wanted to see you too. Needed to.” His vibrant blue eyes drifted over Theo, consuming him on the spot.

They locked eyes and Theo felt that connection, the same one he experienced with Gemma but even stronger here, now, with Kristofer. Was it because Kristofer was male, or because he was an older vampire?

It didn’t matter.

“Theo, I need to taste you. Now.” Kristofer’s voice felt like smooth amber covering him as if Theo were a tiny insect who would soon be trapped and paralyzed.

Theo nodded, his desire ramping up in Kristofer’s intoxicating presence. “I know.”

No sooner had Theo said those words than Kristofer’s cold hands slid along his neck and the handsome vampire pressed his lips to the younger man’s mouth.

A bomb could have gone off nearby and Theo wouldn’t have cared. Kristofer’s cool lips on his, the vampire’s soft tongue pressing inside Theo’s mouth, the fingers pressing against his pounding jugular – this was everything.

Theo opened his mouth and let Kristoffer have his way, loving how the vampire savoured his taste. He hadn’t taken blood yet, only kissed Theo like any man or woman would. But Theo knew it was coming. He moaned into Kristofer’s mouth and gripped his coat.

But Kristofer didn’t bite. Instead he pulled away and swore softly. “You do this to me, Theo,” he murmured, licking his red lips and gripping Theo’s neck tightly enough to alarm him. But just as Theo noticed, Kristofer’s fingers loosened and he let go. “You make me want you.”

Theo just sat there, trembling, cock hard and full of blood from that kiss and from Kristofer’s nearness.

“I want to really taste you,” Kristofer breathed, eyes drilling into Theo’s.

“Yes,” Theo replied without question. It was too late for any other answer.

“Do you know what I’m asking?” Kristofer said carefully.

Theo nodded. “Yes.”

Kristofer smiled, slowly, with genuine pleasure and relief. “Then come with me.”

Theo nodded again and stood, taking Kristofer’s offered hand.

He would go. He had to. He needed to experience everything that Kristofer was, everything that Kristofer had to offer him, if he was ever to sleep again.