Stripped with the Vampire (Austin Immortals Book 1) - Jax Garren

Five years ago, Charlie ended his relationship with Vince, feeling betrayed on learning that Vince made a living as a stripper.  Vince regrets lying about his work, but still feels the sting of Charlie's rejection.  When Vince is drawn into plots of the chaotic Liberi vampires and a crazed priestess of an Aztec god, he runs to Charlie out of desperation.  Now Charlie must make a stand not only for Vince, but for himself in vampire society, with far more than just his love life at risk.

Stripped with the Vampire knocked it out of the park, and I totally didn't expect it.

I picked it expecting a pretty standard-fare paranormal romance, focus on the burning attraction with a sprinkling of urban fantasy peril and the scars of previous relationships clouding the present.  The fact that it happens to be a MM I didn't expect to change much, except for perhaps a better balance of the "alpha male" trap that particularly plagues paranormal romance/urban fantasy.  After all, vampire novels have a long established history of being thinly veiled erotica skirting the censors by passing as "horror."

Instead the author confronts issues of prejudice within the context of a culture of beings that live for hundreds of years, while still delivering and action packed steamy romance.  The characters have good interpersonal relationships, well defined personalities, and experience growth.  I love the twist that allowed them to escape from the final conflict, it was unexpected and entertaining.

Definitely clear set up for further stories in the series focused on different characters introduced in this book, though I would be surprised if the other stories focus on same sex relationships.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.