Title: Price of Passion
Author: Cassandra Pierce
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 5,300 words
Genre: m/m, Historical, Paranormal
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Halloween Rentboys, Halloween, Rent Boys, Vampires
Rating: So So
Reviewed by Nikyta
In Victorian Oxford, Professor Algernon Price strikes a scandalous bargain with a young man who offers companionship in exchange for meals and a place to stay. He soon discovers, however, that his guest prefers meals consisting of human blood and a room that blocks all traces of sunlight. But even that is not as shocking as the emotions that arise between them, or the hope that his strange guest might be the one to alleviate his loneliness.
This was an interesting story. It’s very short and, in some ways, the blurb tells more than the actual story does.
Professor Algernon is translating a very difficult text when he gets word from his friend to meet. When they do, his friend tells him he has a way to alleviate Algernon’s loneliness and shows Algernon Jules, who’s a down on his luck young man. Feeling immediately protective of Jules, Algernon takes him home planning to feed him, give him warm clothes and a place to stay. Jules has his own agenda and starts to seduce Algernon in order to take his own kind of meal. The next morning, Algernon is disoriented by the night before, thinking it was a dream but goes about his day in a fog until he arrives home and night falls. Jules shows up out of nowhere explaining everything to Algernon about his need for blood and allergy to sunlight. He asks Algernon to be his companion, to teach him things and will do the same for Algernon.
This was a rather short story, too short maybe. I felt like it was slow in the beginning then went by too fast in the end. I don’t really know Algernon aside from him being recluse, a teacher and translating texts. He seemed shy and uncomfortable in his own skin and around other people. Jules seemed to know exactly who and what Algernon was looking for, though.
It’s an intriguing little story especially since Jules comes in and takes what he wants then asks Algernon to accept him and what he has to offer. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of depth to it and I think that hinders the story a lot. When Jules offers to become Algernon’s companion, he also offers the possibility of immortality so it’s implied that there will be a future between the two but it was very hard for me to see the connection or even attraction between them.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad story. There’s a lot of potential to it but it doesn’t actually fulfill that potential. A nice, quick read for those who are looking for something fast with no sex but with possibilities of more.