Title: Masks Off Too: Scented
Author: Sam Schooler
Length: 5,300 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal romance
Ben Halloway: human, detective, so done with this serial killer vampire shit. Felix Whit: vampire, criminal psychologist, way too attractive. Ben’s life is just fantastic.
This story is also available in the Masks Off Too! anthology.
This short paranormal romance which mixes vampires and a masked ball began well with a tightly written dramatic scene. Ben is a police officer who is investigating a series of brutal murders. He’s checking out a clue when he’s viciously attacked at the start of the story. Ben is bleeding out and in danger of dying but is rescued by a former lover and vampire, Felix. The opening is visceral and tense as we are plunged straight into the drama. This scene grabbed my attention straight away and I read on quickly, wanting to find out more about Ben and Felix.
It was unfortunate then that after that point my interest in the story began to wane. Ben and Felix are paired up in the murder investigation and there’s a decent sexual tension between them. There’s a scene where Felix ‘marks’ Ben as his own as a way to protect him which could have been sensual but I was just a bit confused as to what was happening. The story was too short to cover such a complex thing as a murder investigation, so the end seemed a little too sudden and convenient. I finished the story thinking ‘oh, was that it?’ and rather disappointed that the promising opening didn’t follow through.
So, overall this had a great opening but tailed off at the end. This may not be the best story I’ve ever read, but that opening showed an author with a lot of promise and I will certainly read more of her stories in future.