From Afar by Ava March
e-book 80 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Available: February 23rd 2010
Genre: Historical Paranormal m/m
Book received from: Author
Some rules are destined to be broken.
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…
When Mandi at SmexyBooks told me that Ava March had a Paranormal Historical m/m coming out, I was intrigued. I’ve heard great things about Ava March’s Historical m/m books but when she threw in the paranormal angle I promptly emailed Ms. March and requested a review copy.
The story starts off with a bang with the vampire Raphael in a tree outside the window of a brothel. He’s secretly watching Lord Aleric Vane, the man he’s been in love with from afar for 3 years, with his favorite whore.
Cloaked in the shadow of the tree trunk, he unbuttoned the placket of his black knee breeches and pushed aside his shirttail. Gaze fixed on the nude pair standing at the side of the bed, he pulled out his cock and ran a hand along the hard length, his touch light, mimicking hers.
[…]Hand braced against the tree truck, Raphael continued to stroke his cock as he watched Aleric’s large hands coast up and down her back. His dark hair mingled with Hannah’s honey brown as he dropped his head to nuzzle her neck. Raphael’s lips tingled, as if the silken strands of Hannah’s hair tickled the surface. Idly stroking Aleric’s prick, she pressed her mouth to his chest.
While this particular scene is admittedly quite titillating, I was a little concerned thinking that with a start like this the focus would be mainly on sex and there would be little relationship development and substance to the story. I’m pleased to say I was very wrong. Not only did Ava March bring it with the steamy scenes, but her characters, particularly Raphael, came to life and touched me with their vulnerabilities and emotional realism.
In From Afar we see two very different kinds of vampires. There is Raphael who has chosen to live apart from the local vampire clan and their indulgent, violent lifestyle. Because of his choice, he is forced to live a lonely life apart from both human and vampiric society. The clan vampires, all male, live together under the rule of a single female vampire, Katerina. All but two of the vampires in the clan have been turned by Katerina and therefore they belong to her. Since Raphael was not turned by the female vampire he has no loyalties to her and although it may be dangerous for him, he chooses loneliness over the clan.
When Raphael rescues Aleric from a vicious late night attack in an alley he is torn. Should he allow the man he’s loved from afar for years to die as a result of his injuries, or risk his own life by challenging Katerina’s authority in turning Aleric into a vampire and dooming him to a life he himself has long suffered?
I really felt for Raphael. His loneliness came through so clearly and when presented with a chance at possible happiness, he was torn between his need for the man he loved and the fear of losing him forever either in death or the chance that Aleric would hate him for turning him into a Vampire. He was forced to make a choice that would change everything, not knowing if that would be for worse or better.
I admit I was distrustful of Aleric early on in his relationship with Raphael. Before being turned, Aleric had not yet fully come to terms with his attraction to men. I worried that he was drawn to Raphael more because of the vulnerability he felt in his new vampire nature and was concerned he would eventually hurt or betray Raphael once he became more at ease with his new life as a vampire. Wondering if he would proclaim his love for Raphael or leave him in favor of clan life kept me on the edge of my seat.
My only problem with From Afar was the unexpected ending. I was engrossed in the story and looking forward to reading about how Aleric and Raphael would overcome their problems with Katerina and the clan vampires and was a little surprised when the story came to an end.
Ava March is an author that I will most certainly want to read more from. Her writing style easily drew me into this paranormal Regency Era romance from the very beginning. The romantic relationship in From Afar was convincing, tugged at my heart strings, and left me wanting more.
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