Title: Blood Relations (MIA Case Files #2)
Author: K.C. Burn
Publisher: Loose ID
Cover Art: Croco Design
Buy Link: Buy Link Blood Relations (MIA Case Files)
Genre: LGBT shape-shifter/ vampire paranormal
Length: Novel (203 pdf pages)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: Secret agents battling paranormal beings – tall, dark and handsome meeting sweet, spicy blond – lots of hot, graphic sex – love against all odds and a satisfying HEA – this is a storybook paranormal m/m romance and, in addition to that, a very entertaining read.
The Blurb: Agent Cooper Wallace doesn’t expect meet the love of his life while hunting an Umbrae-possessed vampire. Nor does he expect a scorching one night stand to lead to a lasting relationship. Meeting Frazer Nyland challenges a lot of Cooper’s expectations, though. Unfortunately, Cooper also doesn’t expect his investigation of missing men to lead him to Frazer’s home town and the discovery that the disappearances can all be connected to Frazer.
The police suspect Frazer is a serial killer. Cooper’s agency suspects Frazer is a vicious, bloodthirsty vampire. Cooper is determined to prove them wrong, despite an obsessive cop who’ll stop at nothing to take Frazer down. But the clues mount up, and Cooper begins to believe Frazer might be the killer. The realization comes too late, because Cooper’s already done the unforgivable — he’s fallen in love with an Umbrae.
If Cooper does his job and closes the Umbrae’s portal, at best, he will destroy Frazer’s memories of their love. At worst, Cooper’s action will kill Frazer. Can Cooper do what’s right and save the lives of nameless, faceless innocents if the price is the death of the man he loves?
The Review: The Umbrae are outerworldly aliens, entering the human plane through portals. They take possession of humans, turning their victims into creatures out of human mythology, such as werewolves or vampires – it is even suspected that the Umbrae must have done so for centuries, thus creating the myths in the first place. The MIA, the Metaphysical Investigative Agency, is an organization so top-secret that not even other governmental organizations know about its existence; its purpose is finding and destroying the portals, which mostly entails fighting the Umbrae- possessed humans. It seems that gay men are less receptive to Umbrae possession, which is why most MIA agents are gay.
So are Agent Cooper “Coop” Wallace and his partner Adam Farelli. While Adam is in a relationship with another agent, Carmichael, Coop is still single and secretly envies his fellow agents for their obvious happiness. Because Coop doesn’t like noncommittal sex, he’s looking for a relationship of his own. Yet, given the secretive and time – consuming nature of his job, he’s unlikely to find a life partner anytime soon. Or so he thinks, until he happens upon Frazer, a man who he feels instantly attracted to – and on a more than sexual level to booth. The attraction is mutual, which becomes obvious when a tentative kiss turns into a passionate tryst on the spot. But Coop has doubts. Is Frazer interested in him beyond sex? Will Frazer think him too clingy when he reveals his feelings after only a few encounters? How can he possibly have a future with Frazer when he can’t even tell the man what he does for a living?
Ever since he broke up with his long-term boyfriend Matt, Frazer Nyland had a bad luck dating streak. He seems unable to even get a second date – when all he wants is another long-term relationship. His losing streak seems broken when he meets handsome, dark and slightly mysterious Cooper, who clearly wants more than sex from him. But nowthat his love life finally seems to pick up, the rest of his life goes downhill. His failure brother shows up after months of silence, extorting his hard earned savings from him, and a former lover turns up dead, which apparently brings the police to suspect Frazer. One policeman in particular, Detective Goodson, develops a deep hatred against Frazer and seems determined to do him in. How can Frazer weigh Cooper down with all this baggage? How can a budding relationship withstand such a pressure? Frazer decides to keep his problems to himself. Not the smartest move, though, as Frazer learns all too soon when his secrecy gets him into peril of his life – and Cooper is the one who wields the deadly gun…
With just enough worldbuilding to give readers an idea of the background, this story focuses mainly on the two heroes and their quickly developing relationship. I found both characters well worked out, particularly Cooper, who finds himself shaken to the core when he finds out that he’s fallen in love with the very thing he’s sworn to fight and yet has it in him to do what he perceives as his duty, to do what is right, at all cost. Frazer drove me a little crazy with his insecurities and doubts, but he was still a likeable character with enough of an edge to avoid being a wimp. Frazer’s bite fetish added a bit of kink to their lovemaking, of which there was quite a lot – not always essentially necessary to forward the plot, but hot enough to singe the pages, thus I won’t complain.
The relationship went from lust to love pretty fast, but with them both looking for long-term in the first place, this didn’t bother me much – it didn’t feel like insta-love, more like finding “the one and only”, which is a legitimate romance element, particularly when it comes to paranormal stories, after all.
From the secondary cast, Adam was Cooper’s voice of reason and everything that makes a good work partner and friend. Adam and his lover Carmichael were nicely drawn without stealing the show away from the main pairing. The policeman, Goodson, was the most interesting secondary character; hopefully, he’ll get his own story later in the series.
There was actually not much of a mystery, the outcome was pretty predictable. This was okay with me because the focus of the story was on the relationship, and the author managed to create tension even with the baddie revealed early on. The final showdown had me on the edge of my seat even though I knew what was going to happen – which is a testament of skillfull writing, in my opinion.
After reading a number of books with unusual, painfully realistic or even unhappy plots, I was delighted to find in “Blood Relations” something I’ve come to think of as “traditional” paranormal m/m romance. It had enough original elements to avoid being formulaic but was still “adherent to the rules” enough to read familiar, a concept that should appeal to both new m/m readers and those who’ve been around a while. I really enjoyed this entertaining read.
Note: This book is the second in a series (The MIA Case Files), sequel to Wolfsbane (Adam’s and Carmichael’s story), available here. Even so, Blood Relations can be read as a standalone since there is enough worldbuilding and backstory worked in to understand the MIA universe.