From Afar, by Ava March
A cleverly conceived story, capably written and well worth a read.
Loneliness. A concept with which Raphael Laurent is very familiar. He’s lived a solitary life for thirty-six years, shunning the excesses of the local vampire clan—until he spots Lord Aleric Vane, the handsome and dissolute third son of a duke. For three years Raphael has watched from a distance, for only when he is near Aleric does the hollow, empty ache in his chest ease.
Cut off from his family for refusing to follow his father’s dictates, Aleric’s nights are filled with vice. But after three years in London, the city has lost all appeal. Desolate and penniless, his future appears bleak. Until a mysterious man drops from the shadows to drive off a trio of murderous thieves.
When Aleric awakens, he finds himself forever changed. The itch for more that drove him to London is gone. In its place is the feeling that he’s known the beautiful Raphael all his life.
But to save Aleric, Raphael had to break the rules, giving him a chance to love the one man he never thought he could have—a chance that could be ripped away by Aleric himself…
Warning: This book contains hot m/m action with a new vampire with a ramped up sex drive, and a dash of voyeurism of the m/m, m/f, and m/m/m varieties. Definitely not your traditional Regency romance.
*Available in e-book format – 396 KB
Review by Gerry Burnie
Since my last couple of reviews have dealt with non-GLBT books I thought it was time I should get back to the mainstream of Gerry B’s Book Reviews. Ava March’s novella From Afar [Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2010] is one of the books that has been languishing on my TBR list, and so I happily turned to it this week.
This is one of those crossover stories featuring vampires that seem to be popular these days. For the life of me I can’t figure out why, and to date no one has been able to provide a definitive answer, but that is a discussion for another day and forum.
This story is set in Regency England, and features a young vampire by the name of Raphael. At the opening of the tale we find Raphael up a tree spying on a libertine lord (Aleric) at play with a prostitute—something that Raphael has apparently watched more than once. The truth is that Raphael is infatuated with Aleric, but given his (Raphael’s) inhuman characteristics a full-fledged relationship is an impossibility.
However, circumstances change when Aleric is critically wounded in a mugging, and rather than see his unconscious love die Raphael gives him the bite of ‘everlasting life’ as a vampire, but since it is without Aleric’s consent the question is how will he react when he regains consciousness?
To give him his due Raphael’s love is genuine, for he goes to great lengths to revive his “lover,” and when he does he is rewarded by a compliant Aleric. The reality is the Aleric is a lord in name only, and is otherwise destitute. Moreover, he had always been more than just a bit bi-curious, and so there follows quite a charming ‘getting-to-know-you’ segment in which Aleric learns the dos-and-don’ts of being a vampire.
The tension in the story is provided by a dominant clan of vampires under the control of a female who, rather awkwardly, develops an attraction to Aleric, and while she can’t destroy Raphael she can cause serious and grave difficulties for both him and Aleric.
It is a cleverly conceived story, capably written and well worth a read, but it is also a little incredulous in places. For one thing I found Aleric’s acceptance and adjustment to his new life a bit too ready, and the ending seemed truncated for what needed to be resolved. Three and one-half bees.
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