From Lambda Literary Award winning author Felice Stevens comes a sexy paranormal stand-alone romance.
A vampire who’s lost everything meets a man who has nothing to lose.
For centuries, Massimo D’Alba, banished prince of the Fold, has wandered through life frozen in darkness and pain. Betrayed by his younger, power-hungry brother, he’s existed for centuries but not lived. A rain-soaked night brings smart-mouthed New Yorker, Damion Avery, to his doorstep and suddenly he’s riding spin bikes, shopping for yoga pants, eating ice cream…and falling in love.
Damion Avery can’t figure out why Prince Tall, Dark, and Incredibly Sexy wants him as his personal assistant, but he’s not going to second-guess his good luck. Even though he has to work all night and sleep during the day, the job is too good to be true. But where does Massimo sneak off to in the dead of night? Is he a spy, an assassin, or something else? And what’s with those glowing purple eyes? Damion knows he shouldn’t fall for his boss. But Damion was never one to follow the rules.
When duty calls him home, Massimo must return to save his kingdom, forcing a life-changing decision: leave Damion behind forever, or reveal his deepest, darkest secret to the man who has become his everything, who owns a part of Massimo he’d thought gone forever…his heart.
Massimo glanced up from reading the newspaper as Damion bounded down the stairs.
“Where are you off to? You look like you’re on a mission.”
“I’m going across town to Macy’s. They’re open late tonight—until nine-thirty, and I need some new clothes.” He pointed at his ripped jeans. “I only have one other pair, and I need some shirts and stuff, especially now that you want me to sit in on your video conferences with you and not remain in the background. It’s my dinner hour, so I won’t be taking time from work.”
Massimo set the paper down, frowning. “First of all, you should not worry about doing personal things during your free time. I do not own you, Damion. You work for me. Second of all, I think that is a good idea. Are you sure they will have what you need?”
Damion snorted. “They’re only the biggest store in the world. I think I’ll find something.” His blue eyes twinkled, and Massimo fought that internal war that made him want to grab Damion and kiss him, while knowing it was wrong. It was exhausting to fight this attraction, and instead of it waning as he’d hoped, it was gaining strength.
Damion snapped his fingers. “Hey. I have an idea. Why don’t you come with me? You can help me pick out stuff and tell me what looks good. I’m hopeless like that, and you have a great sense of style.”
Massimo was hesitant. “You want me to go clothes shopping? I’ve never done that before. I wouldn’t know what to do.”
Damion’s eyes bugged out, and he stood mute for a moment. “You’re kidding. You’ve never been in a department store?”
Massimo shrugged. “Why would I? I have a tailor come and make my suits and shirts. Anything else I need, Claudio orders for me. Stores are crowded with people.” He made a face. “Why would I want to go?”
“Because you can try stuff on you might not know you even want. I love impulse-buying. Please? Come with me?”
It was pointless to try and resist those big blue eyes. And that was how Massimo D’Alba, prince of the Fold and one of the most powerful vampires in the world, found himself in a dressing room in Macy’s, wearing a hot-pink T-shirt that said: Yoga is my superpower, and an indecently tight pair of gray sweat pants.
“I think not.” He exited the dressing room to show Damion, who stood in front of the three-way mirror in a tank top the color of his eyes and biker shorts.
When their eyes met, Damion’s jaw dropped, and he spun around.
Massimo shifted under his heated stare, and his cock hardened. Mortified, he took a step away, praying Damion hadn’t noticed. “I can’t believe you made me try this on.”
“Oh, loosen up. Lots of guys wear this when they exercise.” Damion cocked his head. “You look good. Really good.”
“I look as ridiculous as I feel. I’ll stick to what I have, thank you. And we came here for you, not me.”
Damion turned to his own mirror, and Massimo’s gaze fixed on his perfect ass, hugged by the second-skin material of the biker shorts. Massimo had enough trouble with the damn spin bike; did he need to be tortured by Damion wearing next to nothing while they exercised? Having a hard-on while spinning was a singularly painful experience he tried to avoid.
For an author who is a contemporary writer, this was a fun read. Delving into the world of vampires hundreds of years ago and then a time jump to today’s world. Great world building that didn’t rely on stereotypes (except the whole sun thing. ouch). They lived in secret, ensconced within their own boundaries. There were several factions and royalty ruled. They even had a spiritual figure that they respected.
Massimo, first born son and heir to the throne is banished from The Fold for a seemingly minor transgression. While everyone, including himself, thought he would die, he in fact ended up thriving. Building various business empires so that he never had to worry about money.
Damion is the complete opposite. An orphan who had a very difficult childhood with a religious foster family until he ran away, living on the streets of NYC until finally going back to school to get his GED. Where he met his best friend. Even though Damion had a few friends, got his GED, went to college, his life was still a mess. He lost a good job, lost his apartment and then lost his best friend who was moving to another country for his boyfriend’s job. Serendipity brings him to Massimo’s brownstone.
Massimo offers Damion a job as his personal assistant and a room to live in. Being that Massimo is nocturnal and does all of his work at night, having Damion there makes more sense.
They were, of course, immediately attracted to each other. But Massimo held back because, yanno, vampire, and Damion held back because that is why he lost his job- getting seduced by his boss who then turned on him.
But they settled into a fun working relationship. Damion getting Massimo to work out with him on Peleton bikes was hilarious. Massimo’s butler (also a vampire) was such a perfect side character. I actually really hope he gets his own happily ever after.
Massimo finds it harder and harder to resist Damion AND to keep his secret. But he is being called back to The Fold to oust his brother and right the wrongs that have been done. His brother was a horrible person who is destroying everyone and everything in the town.
I won’t tell you more, but they way that Massimo returned, having Damion with him, hundreds of others willing to fight with him, it made for a great story. You could feel that they were just meant for each other. They never used the words mate or soul mate or anything like that. They didn’t HAVE to tell us that they were soul mates. We could tell. It was obvious. Just their immediate connection. They always wanted to be with each other, well before it became a sexual relationship.
The author even made sure there were no loose ends for when Damion was going to return to The Fold with Massimo. Little details that make Type A me so happy.
Even if vampires aren’t really your thing, this isn’t super vampire-y. It felt more paranormal than that. But it was a good story and I would definitely read a second book.
4 pieces of eye candy
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner. Her characters have to work for it, because just like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.
Felice is the 2020 Lambda Literary Award winning author in best Gay Romance. She lives in New York City and has way too much black in her wardrobe. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her watching reality TV or procrastinating on FB in her reader group, Felice’s Breakfast Club.