Title: Forgotten Soul
Author: Tasha D-Drake
Length: 10,000 words
Publisher: Wittegen Press
Genre: m/m contemporary paranormal
John knows that at best he can be described as a male escort and at worst as a whore, but it’s what he does and he’s good at it. He sells his body and his clients come with fangs so it’s more about blood than sex. Hiding behind a false smile and his acting skills is the only way he survives, but when he meets one of his latest clients, Michael, his professional detachment is severely threatened, leading him into very dangerous territory.
This excellent short story plays on the vampire theme but with an added twist which set it apart from the usual paranormal stories. John is a male whore whose company sends him out to supply blood and often sex to vampires. He arrives at the house and meets the three vampires he’s going to feed but his eye is immediately caught by Michael who actually treats John like a person rather than a body/food.
I’ve been a bit vague in my summary here because, to be honest, I don’t want to ruin what is actually a rather clever and unusual story. The best part for me was my surprise at some of the unexpected elements in the story which made me smile, and also being thoroughly charmed by both John and Michael.
John comes across all the way through the story as rather world-weary and almost emotionally numb. Several times at the beginning he refers to the fact that he is putting on an act or a practiced smile, and I liked John’s surprise when Michael manages to elicit a genuine response from John through his gentleness and attentive behaviour. Even before we find out about John’s past it’s clear that he’s not happy and hates doing what he does. He even despises himself a little.
Although we see Michael only through John’s eyes, it’s not difficult to like him a great deal. His actions show a careful thoughtfulness which meant that the ending to the story made perfect sense.
Alongside the characters of John and Michael, another part I liked was the paranormal world-building. Most of it is easily recognisable, but there are other aspects which were rather unique and made for an enjoyable reading experience. For such a short story there was a lot of information packed in about the vampires and John but it was done in such as way that it was integrated with the story so there was none of that pesky info-dumping.
My only complaint about the story was that I wanted more! The story is complete within itself and stands alone, but it does look to be the first of a series so I’m hoping I’ll be seeing these characters again.
Those readers who like vampire stories should definitely check this one out. I enjoyed it a great deal and would recommend.