Can a dark creature find a home in the light?
Robin appears to be a quiet, attractive young man, but the exterior hides his true vampire nature: ageless, unchanging, and bloodthirsty. His current obsession is Martin, the personable and generous owner of a coffee shop, The Warm Taste.
All Robin’s careful plans to remain unnoticed are ruined, however, when Martin asks him out on a date. Can Robin really have something so good and sweet as an ordinary relationship, after such a long existence of cold loneliness?
And if things fall apart, and Robin goes back to his old ways, will Martin survive it?
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I really enjoyed this story. I was a little surprised on how Martin reacted to the revelation Robin is a vampire. But it wound up being so typically Martin. These two are wonderful together and give each other exactly what they need at this point in their lives. They’re surrounded by characters that are fun and engaging but also create a family that pulls together when needed.
Robin made my heart hurt so much. His loneliness was a physical thing and he was enveloped by it wholly and completely. Watching him come out of his shell of solitude was a beautiful change throughout the story. He wound up being a far more dynamic character than I anticipated. I loved getting to see him happy at the end of the story.
Martin is a total sweetheart. He loves to help those around him but he tends to not realize he’s doing it. It’s an innate part of himself that just comes out. I adored seeing how he took care of Robin when he was at his lowest. Martin was so gentle with Robin, you could tell he loved deeply.
The ending is sweet and perfect for Martin and Robin. They’re as close to a happily ever after they could potentially get considering life spans and circumstances. I love how Robin connects with Polly at the end. You can tell both need that connection to heal a wound they didn’t realize they still carried.
I truly enjoyed Ms. Leijon’s voice in this story. The story telling pulled me in from the beginning and didn’t let me do until I was done with the story. I would love to read more by her in the future and can’t wait to see what she writes next.
It was well past evening. The windows of the coffee shop spilled warm golden light out onto the cold sidewalk. Robin’s breath didn’t steam on his exhales, and the temperature of the air didn’t bother him, but he wore a bulky coat and scarf for show.
He’d learned years ago that if he made sure that the people around him had no reason to notice him—if his dress was seasonal, his manner unremarkable—then he was forgotten almost before he was gone. It was possible to behave in a very inhuman fashion without drawing attention, provided he at least looked the part.
Most of the patrons inside the coffee shop at this hour were students from the local college, studying late. The campus was nearby, and it was still early enough in the semester for all the young scholars to look fairly bright-eyed and confident, not panicked and exhausted like they would when more weeks had passed.
The light inside was bright enough that Robin couldn’t see even a faint reflection of his own face in the glass of the door. If it had been darker inside than out, there would have been a mirror image, despite what superstitions about vampires usually said. Robin knew well enough what he looked like.
His eyes were blue, with enough gray lurking in the color that they could pick up a tint of green if there was a particularly vivid shade nearby. His hair was blond and he wasn’t tall, or broad-shouldered, which could have had the effect of making him look even younger than his unchanging eighteen years, if not for the confident grace he’d always had to his movements.
To those who only met him briefly, Robin probably appeared around the same age as those college students on the other side of the glass; just starting out toward the world of adult life before the cynicism set in.
If anybody knew him for a longer length of time, they would have begun to see flashes of hardness and darkness in his sweet, fine-boned face; flashes that made him look much, much older. But Robin made sure nobody ever knew him for long enough to notice things like that.
He pushed the door open, the wave of warmth and sound reaching out onto the cold street to envelop him and draw him into the small enclave of life inside.
Martin was behind the counter because Robin wouldn’t have bothered visiting the coffee shop in the first place if it had been the man’s single weekly night off. Robin had taken the time to learn Martin’s schedule, in order to avoid unnecessary ventures out into the living world. There was no point in spending time among the students and their books and coffees unless Martin was there.
His knowledge of Martin extended beyond knowing the man’s working days. Little facts and slivers of information had been collected by Robin, piece by piece, until he’d managed to build up a comprehensive picture of the coffee shop’s attractive, personable owner.
Martin was thirty-five years old. He didn’t have any brothers or sisters, and had lost his parents in his early twenties, coming into a considerable insurance payout when they died. That money remained largely untouched, however, with Martin only dipping into the funds once in all the time he’d had it. That had been when he’d bought the coffee shop. He’d named it The Warm Taste and had worked there ever since.
He had brown eyes and brown hair with the first glints of silver shot through it. He was tall and lean; his body kept in shape through energetic games of Frisbee and fetch with his dog on days off.
Robin liked Daniel’s dog. She was a black-and-white fox terrier cross with a truly obnoxious personality, barking viciously at innocent bystanders as if they were dire threats but instantly cowering from the slightest hint of real danger. She had Martin wrapped around her metaphorical little finger; he would have done anything for that rotten little brat. It made Robin smile to watch.
The dog’s name was Nora, and she liked Robin. Dogs always liked Robin. They noticed him much more often than people did.
Julia Leijon fell in love with writing at the age of twelve, and with vampires a year later. Despite being in her midthirties now, very little has changed.
Her one moment of infidelity was when she was eighteen and read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, briefly switching her allegiance over to werewolves in the aftermath. Though she still writes shifters and weres from time to time, Julia now counts herself as a permanent member of Team Vampire.