An Alisa Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

 

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

 

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

 

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

 

This is another great story in this series, with a very interesting turn.  Cas is dreading his sentence of being married to who the council has chosen and jumps at the chance to throw it back in their faces.  Rusty just wants someone to actually care about him and basically not be a jerk, he isn’t expecting much just to get away from his ex.

 

This story is taking place at the same time as the first book which was interesting.  Cas and Rusty work together from the beginning and grow closer over time.  When they discover how Rusty could help Cas get his life back and help fix something from Cas’s past they jump right in.

 

I easily connected with Rusty, he has always been the outcast and never expects more than that but he is so caring and fierce at the same time.  Cas took a bit to grow on me, but once he stopped trying to defy everything it’s easy to see that he isn’t happy and deeply regrets even becoming a vampire but he would never have gotten to meet Rusty.  I loved the connection these two have and the twist at the end to get a happily ever after was great.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is adorable and I love the style an how it matches the first book too.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published: November 26, 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-856-3

Edition Language: English

Series: Supernatural Selection #2

A Caryn Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

So I finished Single White Incubus a few months ago, loved it, and wanted to know what happened with the other two guys who were left at the altar.  And of course, this author never disappoints me, so this is the story of Rusty Johnson, inactive beaver shifter, and Casimir Moreau, vampire.  It is definitely not a stand alone book, and I will try not to put any spoilers from either book in this review.

Casimir was the youngest of the vampires, after their near extinction as a race caused them to strike a deal with the rest of the supernatural community to ban further vampire creation.  Despite only being 100 years old, he was already bored and dissatisfied with his undead existence, and he managed to get into quite a bit of trouble.  To the point that the vampire council  decided that he needed a permanent keeper, and they also decided the best way to accomplish that was to marry him to an incubus of excellent breeding and social standing.  Supernatural Selections guaranteed the match would be perfect, and the vampire council was happy to be in charge of the choice.

Rusty was an anomaly and an embarrassment to the shifter community.  Unable to shift, too tall, too awkward, and all too conscious of these faults that the beaver community would not let him forget.  The last straw was when his boyfriend dumped him for a female beaver shifter, and took the house that Rusty had lovingly built for the two of them.  Rusty signed up with Supernatural Selections and was matched to a bear shifter who lived far enough away that he wouldn’t ever have to deal with them again.  It seemed perfect.

But when Rusty and Casimir showed up at the office to get hitched, they found their perfectly selected mates had married each other, through an incredible snafu.  It wouldn’t have been such a problem, but Cas faced a very real possibility of being staked in the sun if he didn’t show up to the council married.  Shifters and vampires are anathema to each other (thank you, Twilight lore), and Cas thought getting married to Rusty would be a phenomenal fuck you to the vampire council, so he convinced Rusty – with the help of plenty of alcohol – to sign a temporary marriage contract.  Rusty was a great guy though, and Cas wasn’t completely selfish, and he figured the charade would also benefit Rusty, because what would be better than showing up at his ex-boyfriend’s wedding with a husband guaranteed to piss off the entire beaver shifter clan?

Getting to know these guys as they got to know each other was the best part of the book.  Rusty was such a boy scout, honest, kind, generous, but not prudish or stuck up at all.  He was completely unaware of his charms, both mental and physical, and that is the kind of character that I love best.  Cas was a bit of a bad boy, but he had matured enough to know there was more to life, and Rusty brought out the best in him.  They were both misfits in their communities, but what made them stick out there turned out to be what made them exactly right for each other.  But just when they were discovering how good they actually were together is when the web of lies and old grudges started closing in on them, and the consequences became a matter of life and death.

There were more plot twists and turns in this book than the first of the series – like the Fae Out of Water series that spawned this one, the books seem to be getting more complex and a bit darker as they progress.  This one is still as much comedy as it is romance, but there is definitely more of the mystery about it, and even more foreshadowing of a huge reveal in the next book.  I’m pretty sure I know what’s up with those AIs (Angel Interfaces) now, and why they are so sneaky and ominous, and I can’t wait to see if I’m correct when I read the next book.  And I’m thrilled that it will be about Zeke, the demon employee of Supernatural Selections, who’s definitely got some secrets of his own.

Once again I couldn’t give a full five stars, mainly because the resolution of the book required the use of a plot device that I absolutely hate, and that I think may screw up all the hints and foreshadowing that were otherwise really well done.  This is a personal pet peeve though, other readers might not mind it.  I was happy to see that the characters from Druid Next Door featured prominently in this book, just as those from Cutie and the Beast featured in book one.

Cover art by L.C. Chase fits perfectly with the series, but I was disappointed that it was all about Cas, and nothing really represented Rusty.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages
Published November 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Vampire with Benefits
ISBN 1626498563 (ISBN13: 9781626498563)
Edition Language  English
Series Supernatural Selection #2

Single White Incubus

Vampire with Benefits

E.J. Russell on Parallel Timelines and her new release Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) (guest post and giveaway)

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Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
Riptide Publishing
Cover art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host EJ Russell here today  talking about the release of her new book, Vampire with Benefits. Welcome, EJ>

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Hello and welcome to the blog tour for Vampire With Benefits! I can’t wait for you to meet Rusty and Cas, the second mismatched couple in my Supernatural Selection series (part of the Mythmatched universe). Thank you to all of you and to this blog for helping me celebrate the book release!

Parallel Timelines

By this point in my writing life, I’ve penned several series: Art Medium, Legend Tripping, Enchanted Occasions, Fae Out of Water, and now Supernatural Selection. In most of these, the books in the series progress chronologically—in other words, the second book’s events occur after those of the first book, the third book’s events after the second.

Supernatural Selection is the first series I’ve written where the events in the first two books occur contemporaneously. As a result, I was twisted into a brain pretzel for much of my writing process!

The events of both books are set in motion in Single White Incubus when Ted and Quentin sign a blood mating contract without checking the fine print. At that point, the clock starts ticking—and their relationship has to build and mature within the time leading up to the full moon, when they’ll be able to marry their intended perfect matches, Rusty and Casimir.

So I knew where Vampire With Benefits had to start—the day Quentin and Ted accidentally married each other. Rusty and Cas had to meet that same day, and their relationship had to build and mature in the identical timeframe, culminating at the full moon, when all of them needed to be back at Supernatural Selection.

The “build and mature” part of each equation was the easy part—during the two-plus weeks where they’re saddled with the wrong spouse, they have only each other and their extended friends-and-family group to deal with. In Rusty’s case, that’s his clan, particularly his ex-boyfriend. For Cas, it’s Kristof Czardos, the head of the vampire council (who made his first appearance in Cutie and the Beast), as well as a few other significant others.

The kickoff wasn’t too bad either—just get ‘em to the Supernatural Selection office and slap them into each other. Piece of cake, right?

But the timing of the final scenes at the Supernatural Selection offices? Oy.

Conversation with myself: “Who’s in the building now? Are they upstairs or in the lobby? Where’s Zeke? Where’s Quentin? Where’s Ted? Where’s Rusty? Where’s Cas? What the hell was I thinking?”

It was definitely a blood-pressure-raising exercise, but it was kinda fun too. I enjoy logic puzzles, and getting everything to work out in the end was sooo satisfying—although I may have turned my editors’ hair gray!

My hair, of course, was already there.

 

About Vampire With Benefits

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About Supernatural Selection

Are you a shifter who’s lost faith in fated mates? A vampire seeking a Second Life companion? Or perhaps you’re a demon yearning to claim a soul (mate)?

Congratulations! Your search is over!

Welcome to Supernatural Selection, where our foolproof spells guarantee your perfect match.

Until they don’t.

Check out Supernatural Selection today.

 

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Vampire With Benefits one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and an ecopy of The Druid Next Door, the second title in the Fae Out of Water series, also from the Mythmatched universe! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!