Is it better to risk it all… or never know what could have been?
After surviving an abusive childhood, Vulcan remade himself upon arriving in Los Angeles, California. He became a blacksmith for the paranormal community and strives to earn the respect of the vampire covens and werewolf packs that call LA home. He also prevents the pain of loss by keeping everyone at arm’s length.
But he never planned on meeting a former Roman commander by the name of Marcus Cassius Vespillo. Something sparks between them and turns into a friendship he never considered possible. He can’t deny his intense attraction to the intelligent, courteous, ancient vampire. And it scares him.
Though Vulcan is wary of seeking more with Cassius, an attack leaves him at death’s door and forces him to reexamine his priorities. But Cassius has his own secret, one that promises tragedy and loss. And if that wasn’t enough, a slayer arrives in the States, one with a bloody connection to Cassius... and Vulcan himself.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Tropes: First Time, Friends to Lovers
Setting: Los Angeles, California
Languages Available: English
I sprawled on the couch next to Cassius in his condo and struggled to keep from laughing at his pained expression. He looked like he was cringing from the screech of nails on a chalkboard. Roman soldiers fought on screen as I forced him to watch another episode of HBO’s canceled show, Rome.
Halfway through the episode, when he pinched the bridge of his nose and pursed his lips, I couldn’t contain myself and burst out laughing. He threw me a dirty look.
Taking pity on him, I grabbed the remote and turned off the DVD. “Have I tortured you enough?”
“I’d rather have hot pokers in my eyes than watch any more.”
I laughed again. “Ouch. Don’t hold back, tell me how you really feel.”
He rolled his eyes and flopped back on the couch, laying his head against the back of it. I enjoyed seeing him in a more informal setting. He bought the West Hollywood condo last week, moving out of the duchess’s coven house. It was snazzy and modern with dozens of windows overlooking the streets below, since he was on the second floor. Housed in a Mediterranean-style building, it had two bedrooms, two baths, a fireplace and dining area, along with a freaking oak front door and skylights and enough bells and whistles to make even me envious. While I enjoyed my simple home and thought this condo was nothing to the duchess’s mansion, it wasn’t anything to sniff at. The modernness of it all somehow suited him. He was certainly a man who was flexible enough to change with the times. He had to be.
Though he spent much of his time at the duchess’s mansion, I understood his need for his own space to decompress. I was flattered he’d invited me over. And me being me, I just had to poke at him a bit.
“They never get the sword fighting right,” he said absently.
“Tell me what it was really like. You knew some emperors, right?”
“A few. As much as a soldier could know his emperor, anyway. It’s not as exciting as TV makes it seem, I promise you that. It was often cold, disgusting, and harsh. The sick lined the streets, lying in shit, and the wealthy stuffed their faces while their citizens starved.”
I blinked at the bitterness in his tone. “Oh.”
He shrugged and shook his head. “Never mind that. It had its good moments as well.”
After an awkward pause, I asked, “Was Caligula as crazy as history paints him?”
Cassius snorted. “How would I know? I was in the army by then and off fighting their wars. He lasted, what, four years? I suspect he was having fun at the senators’ expense, showing them what a man with absolute power could do. Making a point, you know?” He shrugged again. “Or he could have been loony tunes. We’ll never know.”
I laughed. “Loony tunes?”
Cassius turned his head and smiled warmly at me. “I’ve heard you use that before. Seemed appropriate.”
I laughed harder. “Have you even watched an episode of Looney Tunes?”
“Yes, in fact. I found it… odd.”
“You are something else.”
“Glad you noticed.”
I smiled and lay back as well. Our thighs were almost touching, and the thought made me warm all over. His face was so close, his blue eyes bright and focused on my face, his hair slightly mussed. His relaxed state had me imagining jumping him and mashing my mouth against his. Down, boy.
“Got another question for you.”
“I highly doubt you only have one.”
I grinned. “Jesus Christ. Real or not?”
A deep, heartfelt groan issued from him, and he grew limp as if all the strength had gone out of his body. “Et tu, Vulcan? Et tu?”
A giggle escaped me before I slapped a hand over my mouth.
He eyed me sourly. “Everyone wants to know about Jesus bleeding Christ.” He grumbled a bit and said nothing more.
I poked his shoulder.
I poked again.
He scowled at the ceiling.
I then proceeded to tap repeatedly on his shoulder, putting an effort into being irritating. He turned that scowl on me. I rested my head on his shoulder and gave him a sunny smile while batting my eyelashes.
He broke and laughed.
“Please,” I pleaded. “Give me something. Anything. What’s the point of having an ancient vampire for a friend if I can’t use you to answer those burning questions?”COLLAPSE
Ivy Noha on OptimuMM wrote:
Meet Vulcan, a human blacksmith who makes beautiful metal work for the paranormal community. He did not have a happy childhood; his father was an alcoholic and abused him. He ran away at sixteen and was saved from a life on the streets by Dain. He was the one to teach Vulcan his craft and the lessons for dealing with the customers. Then Vulcan loses Dain, the man he considered to be a father-figure, in a suspicious manner. He now holds everyone at arm’s length so he cannot be hurt again.
Vulcan’s need to keep people away is challenged when he meets a Roman Soldier named Cassius. He is the oldest vampire that Vulcan has ever met. His curiosity gets the better of him, and they have a long and deep conversation about what the Roman Empire was really like. Vulcan lets his guard down a little, as history is one of his weak points. The attraction that Vulcan feels makes him uncomfortable but he can’t help developing a friendship with Cassius. After an attack where Vulcan was badly injured, their relationship becomes stronger. They become lovers, and are trying to keep each other safe since there is a Slayer who is after both of them.
This is a wonderful book, more relationship driven then plot driven. Vulcan is a well-developed character that I couldn’t help falling in love with. He is strong, yet lonely because he’s trying not to form relationships. The author does a good job of managing the flashbacks of his father’s abuse. It was fun to see how Cassius slipped through all of the walls Vulcan put up. I could tell when they first met that they were meant to be together. It was fun to see how protective and possessive Cassius became if anyone tried to hurt him or interrupted their alone time. Cassius has the patience to slowly court Vulcan, as well.
The descriptions of the environment, the life of Los Angeles makes me feel like I was there. The best part for me was when Vulcan was attacked. Cassius’s feelings come through loud and clear. After that Cassius is direct with Vulcan–he wants him for himself no matter what. The intimate scenes between the two are tastefully done, sweet and loving.
I would have liked the author to have kept the pace of the story. It starts out slow but steady, then all of a sudden it picks up. I also thought throwing in the Slayer that killed Dane and whom Cassius had nearly killed before doesn’t seem to quite fit in. It would have been better if that part was more built up.
The devotion that is shown between the two of them, the wonderful descriptions of scenery the sweet and strong relationships makes this a wonderful book. If you love vampires, werewolves, and other paranormal creatures this is a story for you.
Vulcan is a human. He survived an abusive childhood and lived on the streets before meeting Dain, a blacksmith for the paranormal community of L.A., and becoming Dain’s apprentice.
Cassius is a Vampire, a former Roman Soldier. He’s one of the oldest vampires in the world, he was a part of the history, and he lived through it.
Vulcan and Cassius have a strong friendship shared by their love for history. The alchemy between them is strong, and it’s up to them to take the last step to become more than friends. It could be possible, but they will first have to fight their fears and pasts before starting a future together.
Eye of the Beholder by M.D Grimm is my first book by this author and won’t be my last.
Vulcan is a human, and he’s a blacksmith for the paranormal community after the death of his mentor, Dain. Vulcan knows about the paranormal world, he has a strong friendship with the Duchesse, a powerful vampire (kind of a Vampire Queen) but that doesn’t mean that Vulcan trusts the vampires and the werewolves completely. Meeting Cassius was a surprise for him, and he was at first excited to talk with someone who was “alive” during all the eras of humanity’s history. But, Vulcan wasn’t ready to developed feelings for Cassius, and it scared him. I liked Vulcan. He’s smart, sensitive and strong. He’s also traumatized by his childhood and wears the scars in his heart and soul. I liked him and his possessiveness towards Cassius.
Cassius is a Vampire born during the Roman Empire. He’s as old as the world, almost. He saw and lived through everything, but he didn’t expect to meet someone like Vulcan. The young man caught his eye and his heart, and Cassius takes his time to woo Vulcan. I adored Cassius, adored his old-fashion way, his humor and his protectiveness toward Vulcan. He’s territorial and merciless when it comes to his mate. I completely melted for him.
The book was good, the plot interesting and divided in two. The main plot and focus of the book were about Cassius and Vulcan relationship; the sub-plot was about their dangerous world with enemies actual or past. It was interesting, well written, and the last part full of action.
I had a great time with them and enjoyed my read.
4 OptimuMM for The blacksmith and his vampire!