The Darkest Gift by Len Handeland
Two worlds collide in this story: one man, the other a vampire. They form a strong bond and, eventually, are bound by a blood covenant known as the dark gift. They are destined to create their own world until their love is violently ripped apart by jealousy and rage. Love eventually triumphs over despair and misery in a different place and time. Are they destined to be together?
Laurent Richelieu is a 250-year-old vampire whose lover and vampire maker, Fabien Levesque, is destroyed in front of him by his vampire maker Stefan in a jealous fit of rage, exacting revenge for Fabien’s rejection of him. Laurent narrowly escapes and leaves Paris to settle in the New World. He anonymously seeks shelter and refuge in the newly established city of New Orleans, with his trusted servant Barthelme sworn to Laurent’s secret. Cloaked in darkness, Laurent struggles with modern times and, in deep despair, haunts the French Quarter’s jazz bars. He listens to beautiful music and seeks out dark tables in the back to hide his blood-soaked tears and mourn the loss of his long-lost love, Fabien.
Deep isolation and loneliness also consume Jack Devereaux, a man’s man who struggles to accept his true sexual attraction to other men and who recently came out of a ten-year failed marriage to a woman. Jack feels estranged from connecting with his gay community because his Catholic faith forbids it. He feels as if he’s unable to exist as either straight or gay. His reluctance to accept his true sexuality leads him from one disastrous sexual encounter to another. Swearing off his same-sex attraction leads Jack back into a straight jazz bar where he unknowingly meets a refined and elegant gentleman that entices, attracts, and, oddly, disturbs Jack. Are they destined to be together? Does Laurent honestly care for Jack? Or is there a much more sinister plot involved? Can the help of a self-described Voodoo High Priestess named “Queen Raphaella” alter Jack’s predestined future, or is his fate already sealed?
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