Katie and Funmbi review Masterson by Ellis Leigh, a dark and deliciously dirty paranormal romance. It’ll leave you breathless for more!
[Some Spoilers; Mature Audiences]
Katie’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve read all of Ellis’ writing, and her take on the paranormal is so fun and unique. Masterson is her first foray into realm of vampires. It was initially a part of the Dark Hallows anthology that debuted around Halloween, but now it’s a stand-alone novella.
We meet Masterson while he’s at a party watching others of his kind and their pets—pets being the humans who serve their vampire masters by giving their blood and bodies freely. As one of the oldest vampires around, this doesn’t peak his interest anymore. Humans now use drugs to numb their senses so they’re not scared of his kind, and it taints the blood.
Masterson wants a willing pet, one that will give him her body and her blood with no sense of fear or drugs lacing its taste. He had a pet hundreds of years before, but he’d shared her far too often and didn’t hold her gifts for himself. As a result of this, his sire, the Master, killed Peaches right in front of him. Since then, he has yet to find another to take her place.
One of the aspects that shocked me about this story was it doesn’t romanticize what Masterson is and what he has to do to survive. He’s a vampire. He needs blood and he’s going to kill someone when he takes it. I’ve read so many vampire romances where the hero pulls up before he drains the person then makes them forget it all happened. This isn’t how Masterson works. He’s unapologetic in his nature and what he takes.
On a morning after a hunt, he catches a scent on the air that leads him to Plum.
My body locked down, frozen in want and anticipation at the aroma. Subtle and delicious, carrying with it hints of things that made me hard and hungry at the same time. Dark things…deliciously sinful things. The scent of things long dead lingered underneath the sweetness, something I found intriguing.
From this point in the story, we have a cat and mouse game between Masterson and Plum. They never exchange names, but he meets her every morning at the coffee shop he found her in and walks her to work. He watches her from afar and trails her home in the evenings.
Masterson is patiently waiting to make his move, all the while the reader (and Masterson) are getting little hints that Plum might be more than just a mere human.
I loved Plum in this story. She’s sassy and keeps Masterson on his toes. Since this is all in Masterson’s point-of-view, we never get into her thoughts, but I’m sure it’s a fun place!
The story culminates on Halloween, when the demons can play with the living, as Plum says.
“I didn’t know vampires danced,” Plum said, watching me, a slight tilt to her lips.
I shook my head, still slightly amazed at my luck. “This one doesn’t usually.”
I pulled her tighter, grinding against her. “How could I resist the company?”
“Such a charmer.”
“I do try, Plum.”
There are bits of smut all through the story, mostly self love, but this is where things get very physical between Plum, who we came to find out is named Vale, and Masterson. There’s also a wonderful twist about the death scent that lingers around Plum.
I’d really love to read another novella about these two, but from Plum’s point-of-view. I bet that would be ridiculously fun! Especially how she manipulates Masterson into believing he’s running the show.
If you’re a fan of paranormal romance/erotica, this novella is right up your alley! Just make sure you’re never stuck in one with Masterson. He bites.
Funmbi’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve been on a vampire, paranormal romance kick for about the last month, so when I found out Ellis Leigh had a (relatively) new story out, I knew I had to dive it. Masterson is the first original novel/lla I’m reading from Ellis (though I’ve been familiar with her work for several years); I must say this was a deliciously smutty introduction!
The novella is only about 80 pages, yet Ellis has done such a great job with worldbuilding. In paranormal stories (perhaps even more than other genres) I think it’s so important to define the rules and parameters, and Ellis does it in a masterful way (pun intended 😉 ) By the time I’ve finished reading (all in one sitting!), I have so many questions and speculations. My fingers are crossed that Ellis will consider answering them in future books!
Masterson, the Vampire Master’s own sired son, is bored out of his mind. Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise us—after so many centuries, it makes sense that life would get monotonous. However, the endless hunting for blood, the meaningless sex, and so much death have caused Masterson to reach a breaking point. He would give anything to find a donor human: someone who could stimulate his body as well as his mind, who would be loyal to him. (Interestingly, we learn that Masterson had a donor a long time ago, but his Maker killed her to teach him a lesson…)
Well, it seems that dreams do come true, even for a centuries-old vampire, because one day, out of the blue, he meets Plum. Let’s call it a Halloween miracle!
Tall and tan, with round hips that drew my eyes like a magnet…skintight, stretchy black fabric molded to her legs, accentuating every curve, turning her ass from something I simply wanted to stare at to something I desperately wanted to bite. But that couldn’t distract me from her scent. Warm and syrupy, honeyed almost, with a slightly rancid undertone that called to the basest parts of me…She smelled like plums, my favorite fruit from my human days…
Masterson is definitely intrigued and takes the time to pursue Plum. Could she be the partner he’s spent the last 600 years searching for?
Truth be told, Masterson shocks me at first. I guess I’m used to vampires who embrace their human qualities, but Masterson doesn’t really have those sensibilities. He’ll hunt when he wants, kill when he wants, and torment other vampires with no compunctions. The first time we get to see Masterson feed, it is so callous. Of course, that starts to change when he meets Plum.
The attraction is instantaneous and it’s clear that Plum likes what she sees in Masterson too. I mean, he’s charming! He buys her tasty snacks at the local coffee shop, flirts as he walks her to work and home. He stands outside her window and masturbates as he watches her undress… wait, what?!
LOL! That last part might sound a little odd, but it’s part of how Masterson shows his desire for Plum:
Affection wasn’t something I was accustomed to, but I wanted to experience it with Plum. I wanted to hold her, hug her, do simple things like clasp her hand in mine. That didn’t belie the fact that I wanted to thrust my cock deep inside her and make her scream my name, it merely added to the draw.
And Plum is certainly worthy of his affection—she’s smart, brazen, and isn’t afraid to keep Masterson guessing. It’s almost like she knows exactly what he needs from her, physically and emotionally…
Eventually their relationship does become sexual, and they are the most perfectly, filthy match:
“I’m going to bite you when I come, my sweet.”
I hissed and closed my eyes as her walls spasmed around me, bot of us about ready to go, ready to fall over that cliff.
“Once you come on my cock, I’ll let go, taking mine. And then I’ll draw your blood into my mouth. Fucking taste you. It’ll feel good, Plum. I promise.”
“Yes,” she moaned, tightening around my cock. Preparing.”
No spoilers, but there’s a VERY interesting twist at the end that really shows how perfect Masterson and Plum are for each other.
However, as I mentioned earlier, I want MORE! We meet some secondary characters who I’m curious about—other vampire sons and Plum’s friends. More than anything, I’d really love to see how Plum fits into Masterson’s world…will he introduce her to his Maker?
I recommend Masterson to those who enjoy paranormal romance, particularly a cold-blooded vampire and the leading lady who warms him up in the most sexy way!