cover image Sundowners


R.L. Merrill. Celie Bay, $13.99 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-1-953433-06-0

Merrill spins off her Gifted series with this promising queer paranormal tale. When white nurse Creed Lowell is hired for the evening shift at Puesta Del Sol, an assisted living facility in Santa Cruz, Calif., he immediately catches the eye of Filipino American grad student Roman, whose grandmother is one of Creed’s patients. But even after the guys start to date, Roman keeps his guard up, sensing something otherworldly about Creed—and rightly so. Creed is, in fact, a vampire whose bite provides healing energy and who uses pheromones to “lure people close.” When a series of bizarre attacks rock the community, Roman, who is doing his dissertation on modern cult crimes, is asked to consult with the police on the case. The ongoing mystery causes tensions in the guys’ relationship, especially as Creed, who’s been on a decades-long quest for revenge against the cult who turned him into a vampire, worries for Roman’s safety from the supernatural. The sultry romance—Roman’s scent makes Creed’s “canines ache with desire”—takes a bit of a backseat to the supernatural story line, which is jam-packed with action and mysticism. Still, genre fans will be hungry for the next installment. (Self-published)