22 Oct '11

Nix Review – With a Kiss by Kim Dare (5 Star)

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Stuck in a relationship with his abusive boyfriend, Liam’s only escape is talking to the comatose Vampire that he has been visiting for three years. Every-time he takes a beating he goes to talk to the only man who never judges, never looks on him with pity and never hurts him; Marcus. Marcus has been in hell for the last three years. He was put into a coma by another Vampire but he never stopped being aware of his surroundings. Tortured with the animal blood they place into his veins, the anti-vampire proclamations by the nurses charged to take care of him and dreams of revenge, the only thing that keeps him sane is the ramblings of the boy who he has come to care for. Never once has he seen him, not once has he been able to answer him back, but he knows Liam better than any human.  Trapped inside his body, he has resigned himself to never being able to touch the man of his dreams. That is, until the night that Liam’s boyfriend hits him hard enough to make him fantasise of a different life. Bleeding, he runs to the hospital to give a New Year’s Kiss to the man who has given him something new to wish for. When Liam’s blood touches his lips, Marcus wakes from his slumber. Both men have grown to care for the fantasied versions of each other they held in their heads, how will the realities hold up? One thing is for certain, the lives they lead have irrevocably altered. Liam will never again step back into the living Hell that he suffered through with Ralph and Marcus will never again be able to be look at Humans as simply Happy Meals with legs (sorry, couldn’t resist a spike from buffy quote :D). Will they be able to use each other to heal the wounds of the past or have they been cut too deep?

Oh My Gosh!!! I have waited impatiently for this book ever since I found the cover on one of my monthly stalkerish-type visits to Kim Dare’s site. Once I got my hands on it, I devoured it in one sitting. Based (very) loosely on Sleeping Beauty, this is a tale of one very broken man and the man who has to change to help him heal. I loved this twist on the Vampire myth; in this reality Vampires are a part of society and live on humans that are willing to host them. The twist that comes with this tale is that Vampires can taste the emotion in the blood, meaning that they can tell when their meal is afraid. This was quite important to me, and Liam, when it came to the D/s aspect of this book. Liam was a fabulous submissive, but he was a submissive that had been abused badly recently. He needed to know that Marcus wasn’t attracted to him just to hurt him and so did I. After Marcus told him that blood infused with terror was horrible, both me and Liam breathed a sigh of relief; I don’t think I would have liked Marcus half as much if he didn’t respect Liam’s boundaries and feelings with as much care and consideration as he does…I loved him. The abuse aspect was so horrible and so traumatic to read that I could only have dealt with mild BDSM in this book; it takes place over such a short period of time, to go any deeper would have pulled me out of the story. The violence wasn’t graphic (in-fact most takes place off the page) but the emotional and physical after effects are awful to read about. I loved that the author dared to do this type of story, that she took a recently damaged individual and made him part of a love story.  Not only that, she put him into D/s situations that were just plain hot and sexy and made me believe in their relationship.

Because I’m using the opportunity to post a sleeping hottie
Like Marcus 🙂
Marcus is a very old vampire. Set in his ways, he has never been in love and never would have dreamed that once he did fall, it would have been with a Human. Forced to listen to Liam, he gets to know him on a level he has never bothered to find with another person. I enjoyed that, at the beginning, Marcus is a little hacked off at this whiny human who reads him celebrity magazines for hours at a time but at point in the book Marcus has his butler (yes he has a butler!) go out to buy said trashy mags to make him feel better. Because he had no other choice but to listen to him, he knows him that well, even though they have held very little in the way of conversation. He alters his behaviour as he knows that it will frighten Liam, he becomes a better man to be sensitive to his feelings. It was hard not to fall slightly in love with this man as he was so damn considerate.

I worried more about Liam than I did Marcus. Yes, I adored him and wanted to see him safe and happy, but I wasn’t sure that what he felt for Marcus was love.  He didn’t know him when he agreed to go home with him; he simply didn’t want to go back to Ralph. He didn’t trust Marcus, or even expect him not to hit or bite him; he simply didn’t want to be killed by Ralph’s ever increasing temper. He had absolutely no self-preservation instincts. I loved to see him flourish under Marcus’s tender gentling, but it was only because Marcus is such a good man that this happens. Although Liam was cast in the role of Prince Charming, by waking Marcus up from him slumber, it is Marcus who is the real hero of the story. Although his past behaviour is flawed, his core personality is so good that he weighs every part of his behaviour and alters it so it benefits Liam’s recovery.  Of course there are external factors which hinder the progress of their relationship. One of these factors is the fact that Liam doesn’t wholly trust Marcus and sees a lot of innocuous actions and comments in an unflattering light. I wanted them to be able to succeed, but only if Liam recovered enough to start to give something back to the relationship. I didn’t want Marcus to be short-changed by his love.

This is a light D/s book that touches on some pretty dark topics within the framework of an erotic PNR.  The love story sucked me in because I fell in love with the characters and willed with their situations to resolve themselves.  It wasn’t an easy read, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way J



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