Title: Embrace by Megan Derr
Genre: M/M Romance, Paranormal
Published October 10th 2009 by Less Than Three Press
Length: 222 pages
Rating: 3 Stars
When Aubrey returns home after many years away, he is welcomed back with the extravagant gift of a Pet he never wanted and secrets he never dreamed existed...
Many years ago, the race of creatures once known as 'vampires' agreed to surrender their freedom, rather than face eventual annihilation. They exist now as Pets to the lords and ladies of high society, forced to serve forever the human whose blood they first drink.
Detesting the practice, Aubrey has always avoided taking a Pet for himself. But upon his return home from school, he is gifted with a Pet by his father. His Pet, however, is like none he's ever known, and only the start of an old and complicated tangle of secrets.
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There are 2 couples in the story. The first couple is Aubrey, the lord returning home, and Ruthven, the vampire Pet that Aubrey is rejecting. Aubrey can tell Ruthven is hiding something and playing behind a facade of expected submissiveness from a Pet. I like the mystery around Ruthven and the slow revealing of his background and history. His back story really helps the world building and explain the dynamics between humans and vampires.
The relationship between Gille and Stregoni is unexpected since they are not mentioned at all in the story blurb. It surprised me to see how much of the story is devoted to this couple, which is as many pages as the main couple. The main difference lies in the high amount of angst from their love-hate relationship. Gille and Stregoni evolved from having a antagonistic relationship in the beginning, to a sweeter romance.
Stregoni is a commoner, friend of Aubrey, and the family doctor for various lords. He is competent at his job and cares about his patients. Every time he cross paths with Gille, Aubrey's cousin, he acts on their attraction but part ways feeling alone, insecure, and bitter. Add to his romance troubles, a new quack doctor in town is causing more trouble than one first presumes. He is actually really strong and loyal to his ideals. He may have relied on Gille at the beginning but turns around to save Gille in the end. I actually enjoy Gille's and Stregoni's relationship more since they interact with the other characters more and more factors influence their relationship.
The only one character I didn't connect with is Aubrey father, Sangre. Sangre's personality changed too fast for my liking. Aubrey always see him as cold and controlling lord of the manor, but after a tragedy strikes, he changed into an activist for vampire freedom and actually takes part in building family bonds. I can't coincide seemingly two different characters into the same man.
This is a great paranormal, M/M romance book. It definitely has all the elements I enjoy in a vampire story, (although the second couple is unexpected). There are definitely some unforeseen twists from the characters. If you're a fan of Megan Derr, you should definitely check it out.