by Rowan McBride, paranormal (2007)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-385-1
"It's hard for me to relate to people, so when empathy is required to solve a puzzle, it takes a lot longer."
So says Paul Graham to Kian Somers, someone he encounters in the latest of his frequent cryptic dreams. In his dreams, Paul often finds himself answering riddles, solving puzzles, or getting to the bottom of the problems of the various people he encounters in his dreams. Unaware that Kian is not a typical human, Paul tells Kian, "I usually have dreams like this when on a particularly intricate case. One could argue that my mind is working through a subconscious manifestation of a challenge I'm facing in my waking life." My, I think I do adore a man who can be so analytical when it comes to clichéd woo-woo stuff in paranormal romances. Although, a part of wonders whether Paul has merely been smoking some joint before he sleeps.
In Rowan McBride's gay romance Paul's Dream, Paul is a lawyer who is pretty good at what he does in the most emotionless and most calculating manner possible. He is not aware of it, but Kian knows that Paul is also a "dream walker" which explains Paul's frequent visits to the dream world. Paul is befuddled one morning when Kian shows up telling him that Paul has rescued Kian four years before and Kian is now offering Paul full use of his body. Let's just say that Paul isn't the only one wondering what is going on here.
Kian is a creature that feeds on emotions even as he inspires great passion in the people he feeds from. A more benign version of the incubus, if you will. Paul is, from all appearances, incapable of great passion or strong emotions. Kian feels that he is indebted to Paul even if Paul can't remember that he manages to save Kian from a master who keeps Kian imprisoned even from Kian's own kind in one of Paul's many dreams. These two, needless to say, is a perfect match for each other. However, this relationship is not without its consequences, as there are some hidden catches that Paul may not be prepared to face.
Paul's Dream works like a dream because the author has created a beautiful contrasts in the two main characters. Paul is just right as this cold person that manages to be interesting without having to resort to deliberate acts of cruelty to make his point. He thaws so beautifully as a result. Kian under any other circumstances will be a hero that tries too hard to please, perhaps, but he makes a brilliant foil to Paul. The romance is slow but nicely done, with enough chemistry, I feel, to give the story some sizzle.
But really, Paul's thawing is so nicely done that it is erotic enough in itself. Of course, that could be due to me superimposing the face of a certain Nick Fallin over Paul's, but really, Paul is easily one of the most memorable romance heroes I've come across. Under any other circumstances, I would have probably roll up my eyes at Paul's dramatic and even cheesy declaration of love to Kian, but because Paul is who he is, I find myself sighing aloud to that scene.
Apart from Paul showing those feelings so well in this story, I also like the canon of the incubus in this story which is simple yet interesting.
But at the end of the day, it's all about Paul and how nice for me that it is such a lovely dream.
Kian straightened, licking Paul's lips before capturing his mouth. Gentle, like always. The incubus slipped his tongue forward, teased and rekindled the passion that had almost been extinguished. When he broke the kiss, Paul gripped his hair, unwilling to lose the connection.
"Paul, my sweet." Kian purred into his ear. "How I've missed you."
"Bedroom was so cold," he murmured, trailing his lips down Kian's neck. "Without you, everything is cold."
Oh, those kids and their ridiculous proclamations of love. Be off with them. I need a Kleenex.
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