Title: A Bargain of Blood and Gold
Author: Kristin Jacques
Pub. Date: June 15, 2021
Pub: City Owl Press
Genre: LGBT Fantasy Paranormal Romance
A novice hunter with a mission. A five-hundred-year-old vampire with a strong sense of irony. A town plagued by creatures in need of saving.
When Johnathan Newman arrives in Cress Haven, the last thing he expects is for his life to be irrevocably changed. Sent by a clandestine league of vampire hunters to investigate a string of murders, signs point to a vampire lurking amid the townsfolk. Johnathan’s attempt to enlist the locals leads him to an unlikely partnership with Vic, the town’s most eligible, enigmatic bachelor.
As the pair work to solve the mystery, Vic’s secrets come back to bite him. Revealed, the vampire fights his attraction to a man trained to destroy him, while Johnathan’s emotions land him in the middle of forbidden desires. Even if Vic isn’t the murderer, how can Johnathan yearn for his natural enemy?
As Vic leads Johnathan into encounters with terrifying beings straight from children’s nightmares, Johnathan learns that not only is the world stranger than he knew, but that those he once trusted have far darker intentions that will place hunter and vampire at the center of a conflict between realms.
Cress Haven holds more sinister secrets than its resident vampire, a secret so great, it could unleash Hell itself.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to Kristin for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I definitely enjoyed this one! And once again, Kristin had me continuously turning the page to find out what happens next.
I will say that it took a little bit to get into this book, but once I was in, I wanted to know more. I knew going in that this was going to feature a Vampire/Vampire Hunter Romance and not going to lie, that was the big draw for me. Talk about enemies to lovers. And we all know I’m a sucker for enemies to lovers.
Then I met Johnathan and he was just such a little naïve cinnamon roll with a really heavy past. Not completely helpless or unaware of how the world works, but also a little blinded. Honestly, didn’t see his backstory coming. I felt like it added such an interesting element to his character and really explained how he viewed the world. The guilt that boy carries around, the secrets he holds close. Ugh, I just want to give him a hug. He deserves all the hugs. Was traumatize as a child, exploited by numerous people and then just wants to do good, protect humanity. Ugh, like I said, a cinnamon roll…who could possibly kill you if he set his mind to it.
Then there’s Victor he’s not quite a cinnamon roll, but he is a softy. And he’ll probably find someone else to kill you, since he’s motivated by…other means…
I liked that he had morals and standards and didn’t fit the generic mold for Vampires. With so much vampire content, it can be hard to make them stand out. And while Victor isn’t the only vampire to behave the way he does, the way he does it – never would have guessed. I loved it. I also loved the way he treated Alyse (who I fucking loved) and the way he teased John. Victor was a delight and I loved that he was constantly having to save John’s ass. Not that I think he minded…
As for Alyse – omfg, she was great. I loved that she bridged the divide between Victor and John but was clearly on Victor’s side. The amount of shit she gave John, but ultimately ends up caring for him – it’s gold. Her whole personality is amazing, she’s fearless, a badass and willing to defy societal norms.
As for the journey John and Victor go on – it’s fraught with twists and turns I never saw coming. I loved it. I legit thought the main focus was going to be the romance between Vampire & Vampire Hunter, and it’s not. It’s a prevalent part, sure, but some much else is happening. There’s a mystery afoot, and let’s just say that Vampires aren’t the only thing roaming around the US or hiding in the woods in Maine. The plot Kristin weaves ends up drawing you in and wondering what’s going to happen next. The betrayal John goes through, the delve into his history, the secrets he keeps and the feelings he harbors…they make for a very interesting story.
I kind of really hope this is a start of a series, because with the way this one ended – I want more. This book is out June 15 – so tomorrow, so make sure you snatch it up!