One fateful night Gabriel lost everything.  Two years later he is left bitter, cold, afraid to live, and especially afraid to love.  Leah isn’t fairing much better, her career was snatched away, and the one man she loves can never be hers.  Now a private detective, she receives a note pertaining to the disappearance of her Uncle twenty years ago.  She tells her best friend Gabriel that she is going to investigate his disappearance herself much to his dismay because he harbors a dark secret that could crush Leah.

I immediately felt great sympathy towards Gabriel’s character.  On more than one occasion I found myself tearing up over the pain that he has been subjected to.   Leah has given her all to help him, but just can’t seem to get passed the barriers he has erected.  For me, both of these characters felt so real and relatable.  Malachim, Chay, and Rafe grew up with Gabriel and Leah. The four young boys, as well as Leah had become fast friends.  I would be very excited to see the other guys have their stories told, especially Rafe who I found very intriguing.

While I was reading this book I was really at a loss for words to describe it.  Simone has written an incredible story, it has love, mystery, and especially suspense. This read was a nail biter!  Simone takes this story through gut wrenching twists and turns, and I felt like I was living it myself.  She wrote a story rich in detail without making the reader feel as though they were drowning in information, and as if that wasn’t enough the chemistry between the characters was undeniable!

This book is a must read for lovers of romance and suspense.  I am really excited to read more of Naima Simone’s work, and I hope that there are more secrets and sins coming my way!

*review copy from Netgalley*

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From Amazon.com

Publication Date: June 24, 2013

Twenty years ago, Leah Bannon’s beloved Uncle Richard vanished without a trace. Leah, now a private investigator, begins to suspect it was murder. When she reopens the cold case, Gabriel Devlin—-the man she loves but can never have—-inexplicably stands in her way.
 
Only four people know the truth about Richard’s mysterious disappearance—-Gabriel and three childhood friends…who have all sworn to take that secret to the grave. But a hidden enemy wants those shocking secrets brought to light…even if he has to kill to make it happen.
 
After experiencing an unimaginable loss two years ago, Gabriel refuses to put himself through the pain of loving someone who could be gone in an instant. But as he thwarts Leah’s investigation at every turn—-both to keep his friends’ pact, and to keep her safe from danger—-the sexy PI makes it impossible for him to protect his secrets. Or his heart…

I have to admit–when I first read the title of this book, I rolled my eyes and while I decided to go ahead and read it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I didn’t judge too quickly and gave Vlad the Paler a chance. I laughed more while reading the book than I have in a long time. The main character, Vlad (aka Cyrus Gae, pre-vampire) was turned against his will.  He’s okay with being a vampire; he is not okay with the way it happened. He’s determined to find Troy, the “suck head”, who turned him and get some answers.

Before being turned, his life consisted of Role Play Gaming (RPG), Sci Fi/PR conventions and hanging out with the rest of the “geeks” in the cyber-cafes.  Oh—and hooking up with hot guys. Did I mention Vlad was gay? He has one friend, Vinnie, who is quite the eccentric.  She loves the fact that Vlad is now a vampire and quickly volunteers to be his daytime errand girl. She soon finds him some willing “food” and introduces Vlad to Logon, who eventually fall in love with each other.

The whole book is a hilarious first-person account of Vlad’s journey to track down Troy, with lots of “geek” references and conversations, but Vlad’s sarcasm and wit is what made the books so funny. All the characters brought their own substance to the story and made it great.

The only part of the book I didn’t care for was the end; it just didn’t finish smoothly. Something happened (I can’t tell you without giving too much away) that seemed to be thrown in at the last minute and really had nothing to do with much of anything that happened in the book. It is possible that the author is setting up the reader for future books, but I feel the last chapter could’ve been left out.

All in all, this was a surprisingly good book and a fun, quick read that will most likely be enjoyed by young adult readers. There are a few M/M sex scenes but nothing terribly graphic and very tastefully done. If you are not at all familiar with the RP, gaming, or techie-movie world, there may be some conversations that are hard to follow and some jokes you won’t get; but don’t worry, you’ll still understand the story.

If you want a great laugh with some quirky romance, fun-loving, sarcastic characters, and a fast paced hunt for the bad guy, you have to pick up this book!

*review copy provided by Netgalley

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From Amazon.com

When half-Korean sci fi-fantasy gamer nerd Cyrus Gae goes out clubbing on his first night of vacation, he’s not expecting to be bitten by a vampire. Not in Florida, the land of sunshine and Mickey Mouse. He’s not exactly averse to being a creature of the night, but he’s righteously pissed off about the vampire’s cavalier eat-and-run attitude. Determined to track down Troy, the bloodsucker who turned him, Cyrus takes the name Vlad and begins a search that will take him to leather bars, vampire dens, and cyber cafés.

As Cyrus hunts the elusive vampire, he meets Logon, the hipster/geek love of his afterlife; Vinnie, his Girl Friday the 13th; and even an intersexual voodoo queen, while learning that being a supernatural bad-ass isn’t quite what he imagined. In fact, hardly anything is what it seems, and Vlad finds himself in the middle of an intrigue involving Florida’s master vampire—who isn’t thrilled about Vlad’s sudden appearance in his domain. With powerful forces aligning against Vlad, he’ll have no choice but to become the hero he never wanted to be if he wants to keep his beloved Logon safe.

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