Title: Blood and Roses
Author: Aislinn Kerry
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: short story (46 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In this world, love can put you on the wrong end of a stake…
The last thing Arjen wants is a vampire in his bed. The rest of the world may be enamored of the creatures, but he doesn’t share the obsession. When local vampire Maikel van Triet pays a visit to the brothel, Arjen tries to slip away—drawing the one thing he doesn’t want: Maikel’s attention. Arjen’s too pragmatic to refuse a paying customer, but Maikel doesn’t want his services. All he asks for is a bed, shelter, and a meal before bedtime.
Arjen’s reticence and open dislike intrigue Maikel, who’s delighted by the jaded young prostitute’s attitude, so different from the adoration he’s accustomed to. He’s never been a regular patron at any brothel, but now he can’t keep himself away. He still refuses Arjen’s services though, instead demanding Arjen tuck him in with tales of the daytime Amsterdam he hasn’t known for nearly two centuries. But when Arjen tries to seduce him into leaving, he realizes they’re forging something completely unfamiliar to him: emotional bonds. It’s equally obvious to Arjen that their arrangement is becoming more than either of them expected, and the thought terrifies him.
Vampires are shallow, fickle creatures, and Maikel could never truly love another—could he?
Arjen was a prostitute who plied his trade in a house of ill repute. The first time he saw Maikel van Triet he disliked him immensely because the other prostitutes fawned all over him and everyone else in town adored him. To his surprise Maikel requested his company for the evening and Arjen agreed because he was paying the top price for his services. But Maikel didn’t want to have sex with him, he only wanted to feed and go to sleep in Arjen’s bed which Arjen allowed him to do, but he didn’t sleep in the bed with Maikel.
This continued for several weeks and their relationship evolved. There was still no sex between them but Maikel seemed to want to hear Arjen’s voice and asked that he just talk to him, so Arjen told him about his dull daily life in Amsterdam where he did nothing much other than service his patrons, but he also talked about the sunshine which Maikel missed. But Arjen soon tired of feeling obligated to Maikel who gave him money every time he came by without demanding sexual services, so he gave Maikel oral sex even though he objected, because he wanted to think of him as just another client. This marked a turning point between them and Maikel stopped coming to see Arjel, although he continued to visit the whorehouse and took other companions to satisfy his hunger for food and sex. A few weeks later he showed up, close to the point of death, because he had been staked by another whore, and Arjel had a decision to make – should he let Maikel bleed to death or help him?
Arjen realized that his feelings for Maikel had changed and that he was falling for him, but was he just food to Maikel and his whore? Was Maikel a patron or a suitor for his affections?
If you like paranormal stories about vampires, Blood and Roses has a different slant on the vamp/human relationship. Here the issues are about whether the bond between a vampire and his human companion involves the emotions or is it only blood lust.
This is a lovely tale with lots of blood as the feeding is described in detail, but the story is quite poignant in some ways especially those times when Maikel just liked to listen to Arjen’s voice telling him about his daily life and the sun, something he had not seen since he had been turned over a century and a half ago. The atmosphere in the whorehouse was also very interesting since all of the other prostitutes were female, and while they were Arjen’s friends they become jealous of the attentions that Maikel lavished on him. The prose was well done and even though there wasn’t too much in the way of dialogue, that also was quite good.
I really enjoyed this story and I think you will too.
Blood and Roses is available November 10 from Samhain Publishing