Book Reviews

Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection 2) by E.J. Russell at Riptide Publishing

Genre Gay / Urban Fantasy / Shifters / Vampires / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 19-April-2019

Book Blurb

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.

Book Review

Pretend-boyfriends are one thing, and a trope I love, but this second volume in the ‘Supernatural Selection’ series takes it all a step further and introduces the idea of a pretend-marriage. Not for financial or social gain, mind you. Rather it is the best way for Casimir, a vampire disappointed by the less-than-glamorous reality of living by Vampire Council rules, and Rusty, an inactive beaver shifter, to deal with the mess thy find themselves in. It’s convoluted chaos of the first order and has been created by things going awfully awry at the Supernatural Selections Agency because Casimir and Rusty’s intended partners got married to other people instead of Casimir and Rusty, respectively. The witches responsible call it a “spell snafu” (which made me laugh) but I couldn’t help thinking that, based on how the first volume ended with demon Quentin and bear shifter Ted happily married against all expectations, there may be a “higher power” behind all the supposed errors.

Casimir has been around for a while, but he is finding his existence as a vampire far less enjoyable than advertised, so to speak. He doesn’t want to get married – but because he has been accused of a crime - one he did not commit – the merciless Vampire Council gave him a choice between marriage “so he will settle down and learn control” and death by sunlight. His intended is a demon who can keep him under control, so imagine the vampire’s collective shock when Casimir turns up married to a shifter, inactive though he may be.

Rusty has his own issues – the fact that he is an “inactive” shifter high on his list of things he’d love to be different so he can have a more “normal” life. He is also unsuccessfully trying to get over a traitorous, closeted lover who married a woman for political expediency. Hence Rusty’s contract with the agency for a mate – a shifter with similar interests as his own. Rusty would have never thought a marriage to a vampire was even possible, considering that they are mortal enemies and shifter blood is poisonous for vampires. But Rusty is a deeply honorable guy, so when he finds out that Casimir will be executed if he isn’t married by the assigned date, Rusty comes to the rescue. And if revenge against the spineless ex is part of the deal – who is to know? Nobody (except maybe Casimir) is more surprised by the resulting consequences.

What made this story so enjoyable for me was not just the hallmark humor and plentiful snark that I have come to expect in this series, but also the once-again intriguing characters. Both Casimir and Rusty are far more complex than they seem at first glance, and their romance is as unexpected – what with the way it started - as it is hot and surprisingly emotional. The plot is multi-layered and has more than one twist and turn, some surprises, a lot of supe politics, and some great revelations that gave me more insight into how this particular supernatural world works.

If you like complex characters who get involved far over their heads both on a personal and a species level, if two men who don’t even want to get married yet end up loving each other are your thing, and if you’re looking for a delightfully entertaining read that takes you from one surprise to the next while successfully combining suspense and humor, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. I am so glad E.J. Russell’s supernatural world continues to grow by leaps and bounds!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Riptide Publishing for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 311 pages/80000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 26-November-2018
Price $3.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $21.98 bundle
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