Vampires are still my first love in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres, but I’m to the point of being so picky about how they’re portrayed that I was originally hesitant to volunteer to read an advanced copy of this book. However, Lister does an excellent job leaning into the vampire tropes that are darkly sexy for this nontraditional romance. They also twist other elements of this particular creature to craft a version distinct from what I’ve read before while always serving the purposes of the story.

Benjamin is not thrilled to have a baby vampire stumble into his neatly organized life, but the threads that connect him and Clove (and both of them to Ben’s companion Sage) are so visceral that I was onboard with shoving Ben out of his comfort zone to see where they led. Clove is essentially the feral kitten you bring home who is reluctantly raised by the lazy housecat you’ve had for at least a decade, and hilarity ensues until the older cat puts the baby in their place. In this case, the inherent power dynamics that develop are genuinely necessary to Sage’s safety. Lister gives a nod to real-world kink while keeping it all solidly in the realm of the fantastical.

The book’s description hints heavily at the event that changes the status quo for these three characters, but I did not expect the lovely, profound emotions that accompany the transition. I appreciate that the “weakest” person in this trio incites the character development for Ben and Clove, especially since Sage never lets themself be overshadowed by the vampire characters.

The ending felt a bit abrupt, but I’m also not sure anything else was necessarily needed for this quick, sexy novella. Lister teases enough other elements to the vampirism crafted for this world that I’d be more than happy to revisit these characters (or see them as secondaries in another story) in another trip to this world.

Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars
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