Electric Candle (The Sleepless City #2), Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Paranormal – Vampires, Other, Mystery, Series, Contemporary Setting
Length: 200 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Jonas Forge is a vampire and a detective at the Flint, Ohio, police department. He lives with Simon, a fellow vampire and his human mate, Ben, Lucas, a coroner and werewolf, and Boggs the Ghost, the original owner of their residence, Boggs’ Castle. Oh, and I can’t forget Forge’s dog, Moose. For a few weeks Forge has been feeling irritated and has a perpetual hard-on. Over the centuries he and a fellow vampire, Declan, get together for a friends-with-benefits arrangement, but Declan is not in town right now, and while there is a mutual deep affection for one another, they are not soul mates. Both men are happy with that because neither is looking for a mate. They have spent so much time together over the centuries they have fallen into a comfortable relationship, even if they have taken up with other lovers, they always come back to one another. However, Forge is turning two hundred and forty which mean he is, once again, contagious – when vampires approach their ‘turning’ birthday they can potentially meet and mark their soul mate. Forge is not open to this right now and hasn’t given it much thought, but Declan has –
“I think maybe we both have to face the fact that your constant, and I’m guessing at times inappropriate, arousal is indeed caused by your soul mate. I’ll miss our trysts, but other than that, nothing will change between us,” Declan said, his voice sombre and serious.
Forge is not so sure. Things are fine as they are, he has Declan and he has his friends. There is also a murder investigation going on that they need to sort out, and soon. In Flint, humans and paranormals live and work side-by-side. The humans are good with that, but they expect the paranormals to look after paranormal activity, and these murders are definitely that. The victims have a veterinary sedative in them and the smell of burning on their flesh. While the paranormals seem to feel there is a pattern every decade or so with bodies being found, they don’t know who is killing people or why. This time the police in attendance at the first crime scene have noticed someone acting suspiciously, but they all seem to see someone different. What could make them do that?
In the midst of all of this, Blair, or Alucard as he uses for his online name, has been missing for just over a week, at about the time everything went down with Ben and Simon in Shades of Sepia, book #1. Blair is someone the guys work with for his computer skills to help research and hack details as required. Forge used to work with Blair’s father before he died and Blair has taken up the role his father once filled. None of them have ever met in person, as Blair lives in New Mexico, and everything they have ever required has been online. But Blair turns up in Flint in the most…unusual style.
He wore what appeared to be homemade steampunk goggles with dark lenses, a long sleeved black shirt, and black jeans.
“Sweet mother of God, is that a cape?” Forge muttered and took a few steps forward.
Blair was a more minor secondary character in Shades of Sepia, but from the moment I met Blair here, I fell in love with him. He is sweet, unselfish, gentle, dorky and well meaning. And, as it turns out, he is Forge’s mate. At a logical level, Forge cannot believe this, but physiologically, his body sure knows it. It also seems Blair is a vampire, and a baby one at that. He was turned five years earlier at twenty five and was left by his maker straight away without any idea what being a vampire means, or any guidance. He dresses strangely, hisses, and tries to warn Forge (who he doesn’t know is Forge), when they accidently meet, that he won’t hurt him. Blair is plain scared that he will be just like the bastard vampire that turned him.
Blair loves super heroes, comics and graphic novels. In particular, he loves Nightwing. It’s an interest he shares with Simon’s mate, Ben. It certainly isn’t something Forge knows much about and he isn’t too sure that this guy, as nice as he seems, could be his mate. Electric Candle looks at the mate bond somewhat differently from the standard paranormal romance book. What if you don’t have the obligatory mine moment when you meet your mate? What if you feel it is almost like an arranged marriage?
“Oh, well shit. You don’t want to bond. No, you don’t want to bond with him.”
“Yeah. Worst part is, no one asks what a vampire thinks of his or her soul mate. Or if they even want one, for that matter.”
So it is complicated, and Blair learns that Forge has a deep relationship with Declan – when vampires mate at an intense level intimate details are shared through the bond. Blair sees Forge with Declan when he and Forge have sex and he feels confusion and jealousy. The problem is, Forge won’t elaborate initially on who Declan is which understandably makes for some tension. Eventually Forge and the others help Blair to understand more. Blair gets that Forge and Declan have been through a lot together and have known each other a very long time. He also feels he can’t offer Forge much. He hates being a vampire and feels like a monster, simply because of the way he was turned. But Forge convinces him that is not the case, he is very much a decent guy with a beating, albeit slowly, heart. Blair offers to bond with Forge but step aside for Declan, only coming together on occasions if that makes Forge happy. If Forge wants to be with Declan, but has to mate with Blair, he will make it easy for him. Even though Forge is over two hundred years old he has never particularly looked into this whole mate bond and isn’t sure it could work that way. But he does think about it. Meanwhile, he speaks to Lucas and Declan in hopes of finding out more and Blair does some of his own research.
One of the sweetest things in this book is that Blair thinks Forge is a hero and he loves a hero. Forge has fought in every war from the Civil War to Vietnam, and that is a whole lot of service. He is also a detective and Blair admires him so much.
It takes Forge a while to come around to the fact that Blair is everything he could want – sweet, accepting, smart, kind, self-sacrificing, and he is kinky in bed. It also comes to a head when Blair is caught up in the murders currently going on in Flint and Forge realises he can’t lose him.
Electric Candle is a nice addition to this paranormal romance series. Book #1 was written by Anne Barwell and even though Elizabeth Noble wrote this instalment, they totally compliment each other’s writing style – the characterisations stay the same and the world building is further expanded upon.
The mystery and suspense is well written. While they now know some of what and who is behind the dead bodies, there is still much to learn, and it is all rather nasty. I think it will make for good continued reading in the next book. Part of what makes this a nice series is the camaraderie of the characters living at Boggs’ Castle. It is also the different relationships that are at the heart of each book, I found myself totally in love with Blair, and Forge was well written as someone who needed to adapt to change, something a lot of us can understand. But adapt he does, and he is just what Blair needs. They were a nice pairing – the old and the new vampire, but with some roots in common. I now look forward to book #3 later this year.
A note for the authors: I ask for one thing – please explain how Ben, a human, will be able to stay with Simon, a vampire, because I keep thinking how sad it will be when he passes if he isn’t immortal. Seriously, I need to know, it was at the back of my mind in Shades of Sepia and again in Electric Candle.
Review copy supplied by Dreamspinner press in return for an honest review.