Title: The Courtesan
Author: Isabella Carter
Length: 9,400 words (34 pdf pages)
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: m/m fantasy paranormal (vampires)
The city has been on eggshells since the arrival of the vampire delegation to the capital and Prince Alden has been ordered to his best behavior. Which means it’s definitely a bad time to find himself drawn to the handsome man he met late one night that asked him to dance. Especially when the man is already claimed…
I’ve kind of developed a taste for what I call the Disney fantasy stories. Not because they are sweet and for children, but that whole Cinderella at the ball feel, with castles and nobles and fancy clothes and formal manners. In this case, it’s set in a world where men with men seems fairly straightforward and “normal” if you will. Alden is the youngest son, so doesn’t have much responsibility thrust on him. However, during their big celebration, a delegation from a neighboring kingdom shows up, and they are vampires, which causes great interest and concern amongst Alden and his family.
During the ball, Alden takes refuge on the patio and runs into Bran. After some flirting and dancing, Alden’s interested, however it seems Bran is a courtesan and the property of one of the diplomats. After a little pep talk from his cousin, Alden’s not about to let that stop him, and starts pursuing Bran. A kink is put in his plans, when Bran’s master tells the king they would like to arrange a marriage with Alden and the man in question, to more closely ally their kingdoms. Only someone’s not interested in an alliance, and Alden is poisoned and nearly killed.
I liked that Alden went for what he wanted. This is completely non-explicit, but he didn’t care that Bran was a courtesan and a vampire, he was determined to get to know him. It’s all told from Alden’s POV, so you only get to know Bran through Alden, and he admits the man doesn’t reveal much. I also like that while Alden didn’t want to marry the other man, he didn’t throw a tantrum. If his father had said he must, he would, because that was his role and for his country’s benefit, he’d do what he was told. It showed him as perhaps more mature than he comes across at first.
There’s quite a lot of information, and of course political intrigue, but I didn’t find it overwhelmed Alden’s pursuit of Bran and his general good nature. There is some magic as well thrown in with the vampires, but it all seemed to work well together. I’m a bit curious about his cousin Drew and his brother Mason. I got the feeling something is going on under the surface there. Hmm. If you like those kind of fantasy stories, with a touch of vampires and politics, it was a very enjoyable read.