The Hunt Begins–VESPERS-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic paranormal M/M romance from Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt. VESPERS features a gay vampire monk charged with killing demons and the new blood source that heats his desire.

vespersAbout the book:
Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…
The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…
The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…
The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

My Review:
Sarasija Mishra has no idea what he’s gotten himself into when he blindly accepts a job offer that moves him from Washington to New Orleans. He’s never met the man he’ll be an assistant to, but the pay is substantial and the contract is for a single year. He wants to help pay some of his mother’s bills now that his father recently passed–and he feels a bit inadequate compared with his elder siblings who all went to professional schools, while he screwed around and got a “go nowhere” degree.

Sara’s not so pleased when it turns out his employer lives in a rundown bayou house in the midst of the swamp. And his employer, Mr. Thaddeus Dupont doesn’t want him there. All Sara can think is it’s because Mr. Dupont doesn’t want a gay man living with him, but he soon realizes that Mr. Dupont is a man unlike any he’s met before.

I mean, really, has anyone ever heard of a gay vampire monk?

This book seems like it would be lighthearted, or at least kooky-spooky, but it’s really an awesome paranormal thriller/romance. Thad has devoted his last 85 years to being an agent of death for demons the Catholic church can’t eradicate. He works within a shadowy organization, the White Monks, who kill demons, and he’s their back-up plan when it gets ugly. Thad does this, and maintains his celibacy, in order to redeem his soul. A devout Catholic, Thad wants the chance at an Afterlife, but being so close to Sara is an excruciating temptation. Sara is meant to be his food source. Thad can survive on small droughts of blood, but he only wants female vessels because they don’t arouse him. Plus, Thad’s compulsion powers don’t seem to work very well on Sara. Sara’s invading Thad’s mind, too, which is deeply unsettling.

Thad hasn’t seen so much demon activity…ever, and the called ones are particularly interested in Thad. Why? Who’s calling them, and how does this guy know so much about Thad’s ancient history? The demons strike close to Thad’s core, kidnapping his daytime agent, Nohea, and attacking Sara. Meanwhile, the ghost of Thad’s only lover, Leo, has come a-calling and the message is not good: the person controlling the demon activity wants Thad to turn him into a vampire.

The interplay between Sara and Thad is really a yummy build up of emotional and sexual tension. Sara isn’t best-pleased to learn he signed up to be a year-long feast for Thad, yet he’s paradoxically miffed when Thad won’t drink from him. Is it because he’s a dude? Is it the gay thing? Because Sara finds Thad to be very attractive, and his esteem grows by leaps and bound when he sees Thad in action, fighting and destroying the demons. Soon, he feels honored, not obliged, to offer himself for Thad’s use–and that doesn’t just mean as a blood snack. Thad’s inner reserve is great, but he cannot resist beautiful, sultry Sara for too long. He also can’t help feeling guilty afterward.

I loved the intertwining of religion here, because Sara is a nominal Hindu. He didn’t really practice the religion, but he knows some of the ancient tales, and begins a little bit of practice as a center for his own concept of soul–following Thad’s example. It was cool how this came to be important at the climax, and I really enjoyed the inter-racial and interfaith aspects of the book.

It’s a little different take on the vampire mythos, but a nice change for the paranormal fan. There’s more action than romance, but the tension is great, the plot quickly-paced and the hope that Thad and Sara can make something beautiful come from their odd-couple connection is also high. There are also elements of humor that are totally fun. Sara’s a dead-pan kinda guy, and Thad hasn’t had so much leavity in his life in a long, long time. I really loved how determined Thad was to keep human fatalities to a minimum, and how reverent he felt about Sara. He’s a good man who got caught in a bad way. What was also sweet was the position the White Monks took to the advent of Sara, and Thad breaking his celibacy vow. The story ends, but the series has just begun. Very excited to follow along!

Interested? You can find VESPERS on Goodreads and Amazon. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Authors:

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

You can find Irene on her website and twitter.

About Liv Rancourt…

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. I write funny. I don’t write angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog is the cutest thing evah(!), and we’re up to three ferrets.

I can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at my website & blog Liv Rancourt, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Come find me. We’ll have fun!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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