• Vampire with Benefits

  • Supernatural Selection, Book 2
  • By: E.J. Russell
  • Narrated by: Greg Boudreaux
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (218 ratings)

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Vampire with Benefits

By: E.J. Russell
Narrated by: Greg Boudreaux
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Publisher's Summary

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly - but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else. 

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought - and overcome - bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan. 

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake - especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing. 

©2018 Ellen J Russell (P)2022 Ellen J Russell

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mostly good

A Joyfully Jay review.
Audio: 4.5⭐️

In the 90 odd years Casimir Moreau has been a vampire, he’s yet to find joy or even contentment in his eternal life. A silent film actor with an ingrained talent for the dramatic, Cas was seduced by his sire’s promises of glamour, freedom, and becoming one of the elite few. Instead, he’s found vampire existence to be shallow, pretentious, and restrictive in the extreme. His almost century’s worth of rebellious acts have put him in the bad graces of the Vampire Council and left him vulnerable to his nemesis, so when he’s framed for a heinous act, the council is quick to believe him guilty. In a final act of “charity,” the council arranges a contracted marriage via Supernatural Selection with Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, an incubus from an appropriately affluent and powerful family, in the belief that the stability of marriage and contact with a high-society family will curb Cas’ recklessness and teach him proper decorum and respect. As his options are marriage or being staked in the sun, Cas grudgingly goes along.

From the moment it became apparent that beaver shifter Elmer “Rusty” Johnson couldn’t shift, his clan and most of his loved ones treated him as lesser, an embarrassment and an annoyance to be tolerated, so he shouldn’t have been surprised when his longtime boyfriend tells him he’ll be getting married to someone else in a month…after letting Rusty build “their” dream home. Angry, hurt, and done with being dismissed by his clan, Rusty refuses to show up to the wedding heartbroken and alone, so he signs up for a marriage contract with Supernatural Selection, seeing his paring as a way to get space from his clan and start fresh. He can’t help feeling doubly rejected and dejected after his intended is married off to Cas’ would-be groom instead. When Cas suggests the two of them get married temporarily so that he doesn’t get into more trouble with the council and Rusty has a partner/shield for the wedding, Rusty reluctantly agrees.

While to everyone else they shouldn’t work, the men fit and find a comfort and safety with each other that neither has experienced with anyone, especially with their kind. As the end of their time together draws near, each man questions if they can forgo the connection they’ve found. However as Cas’ situation with the council worsens and external forces seek to keep them in their proper places, being together may not be in their future.

"Vampire With Benefits" takes place during the same two-week time span Quentin and Ted spend together in the previous book, "Single White Incubus". It works well as a standalone, for while the specifics of the contract snafu aren’t explained in detail, I think Rusty and Cas get enough information for the listener to follow. Similar to "Single White Incubus", the heart of the quick bonding Cas and Rusty experience is from finding someone who appreciates qualities that make them outsiders from their respective groups and helps them feel comfortable with who they are. Cas hates being a vampire; there’s been nothing that eternal life has given him that makes up for all the big and little experiences of being human that he lost. Moreover, he’s free-spirited, independent, and impulsive, so having his life scrutinized and managed by anyone other than himself, especially beings whose existence is steeped in rules, hierarchy, and appearances, is galling and causes him to rebel against everything—even to his detriment.

As an inactive shifter, Rusty has built his life on quiet acceptance and putting his clan’s feelings and well-being above his own in order to be tolerated if he can’t be wanted. This is epitomized by his relationship with his ex and next clan leader, Fletcher, because as terrible as Fletcher behaves in the few scenes he’s in, there is no way he wasn’t always a selfish, entitled, and cruel jerk throughout his and Rusty’s relationship—a relationship they’ve been in since they were teenagers, but wasn’t acknowledged. However, Rusty has spent most of his life being devalued and dismissed, so living on the scraps of Fletcher’s (presumed) affection felt normal to him; he’s also very honorable and accommodating, making it even easier for Fletcher and the clan to take advantage of him. The romance between Cas and Rusty is really sweet and affirming for them as Cas helps Rusty see his value and Rusty allows Cas to drop his cultivated, aloof jerk persona.

Like in most paranormal stories I’ve read, vampires and shifters don’t mix; however, Rusty’s inactive status allows him and Cas to get close and share in ways that are normally dangerous and a lot of their time together is navigating their unique situation. Although I’m a sucker for scientific nerding out in stories and enjoyed Russell’s take on vampires, supernatural genetics, etc., the story as a whole just didn’t work for me. While the plot doesn’t run on miscommunications like the previous story, it relies on wonky (at times circular) logic and, again, a conversation literally solves the problem. Cas’ issues with the council have been going on for decades and though the council are willing to believe the worst in Cas and are draconian and shortsighted, he’s purposefully gone about pissing them off, not apologizing even when he feels guilty/knows he’s out of line and lets his nemesis, Henryk, continually frame him while refusing to give his side of the story because he doesn’t feel he should have to justify himself. He’s let Henryk control the narrative for at least half a century, so Cas is convinced they won’t believe him, which, I mean, if you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot for 90-odd years, can you really complain about the pain?

Cas’s reason for not telling the truth about Henryk is already shaky, but then is completely undermined later. This is compounded by the plot device used to solve the issue.

*******SPOILER*********





I knew from the moment Bryce MacLeod from The Druid Next Door started talking about time surfing that time travel was going to be important, but I hoped it wouldn’t be used as a deus ex machina. Unfortunately, it was. From the fact that even though time surfing is so rare no one believes it exists but anyone can do it, to the fact that it’s also super easy to do and can have dramatic and literally life-altering effects with no tangible consequences (except a dire warning that’s mentioned but never explored), it just irritated me and made the whole problem with Henryk seem even more frivolous and inconsequential than it did at the beginning. The timey-whimey shenanigans also undermine Cas’ character arc. He continued to make rash and deleterious decisions until saved by the deus ex druid with literally no effort on his part. *******SPOILER*********






Cas finally makes the right choice, but not because of personal growth, or that he sees that it’s his best option and letting the situation with Henryk continue will eventually lead to him losing his life anyway, or that he’s learned to choose his battles and rebelling for the sake of it wasn’t making him happier and only decreasing his freedom, he simply

*******SPOILER*********



wakes up and because of “footprints in time” feels like he should tell the truth now.
*******SPOILER*********






To me, this stripped Cas of his agency and almost all of the little character development he received.

Greg Boudreaux continues to do a great job with this series and helped keep me engaged in the story and connect with the characters more deeply than I might have done if reading. Cas’ resentment of the council makes sense, but he also never really owns up to his part in creating their terrible dynamic; he’s also sooo reckless and can be a bit cavalier (even with Rusty) that I think it would have been harder for me to sympathize with him if not for how well Boudreaux conveys Cas’ emotions and perspective. It helped me stick with Cas even when he was making some incredibly foolish (and dangerous) choices. I think people who enjoy characters dramatic enough to have their own nemesis, big guys with hearts of gold, and who have a much higher tolerance for certain kinds of shenanigans than I do will find "Vampire With Benefits" an entertaining and enjoyable listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Cas + Rusty = Adorable

Cas and Rusty are adorable and I loved their journey. It’s funny to see how it overlaps times from the first book in this series. Can’t wait to read more!

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Fun

But the ending was a bit of a let down. Really, really needed an epilogue,

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enjoyed it

📖 Story comment: Good pace, likeable characters, enjoyed the story.
I listened to this before bed of a night over the span of a week and it was an easy and entertaining listen.

🎧 Narrator comment: Greg Boudreaux is one of my favorite narrators and he's done a masterful performance bringing the characters and story to life. He suits the story and it's characters, he has good timing, rhythm, inflections and intonations and I had no trouble distinguishing the characters from each other.

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📌 Where does it fall on my personal scale? 6.5
• 1 not my thing • 2 didn't like the narration • 3 didn't keep my attention • 4 was good, but once was enough • 5 enjoyed it • 6 will listen again if i'm in the mood for the narrator [4⭐] • 7 goes on the "re-listen" list [4⭐] • 8 kept me up past bed-time [4.5⭐] • 9 recommended to family/friends [4.75⭐] • 10 own it in all formats [5⭐] • 11 keep a copy with me at all times [5⭐]
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My Favorite Supernatural Series!

This is an incredible series by an incredible author who makes their characters, down to even their side characters, feel real and unique. They jump off the page with diverse, charming, and often funny and well thought out personalities. The plot, and how it was written, flows smoothly and naturally, and keeps the reader engaged at all times. Any reader or listener can expect to be drawn in, in the first few minutes and stay that way till the very last second.

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amazing!

I thought book one was terrific, but this one was even better. The ending was both poignant and hilarious. The narration was one point and perfect for this story. this is definitely on my "listen again", and again list.

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I highly recommend!

Honestly love the story and the narrator was AMAZING, accents and all! The end was honestly great! The only thing I would want different would be is I would like more of the story lol I hope in the next book it'll give more info on the previous couples😊 I honestly enjoyed this couple! I would love to have heard some more about the bad ppl getting karma though lol

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I wasn’t into it at first

Rusty and Cas definitely didn’t seem like a match. The way the story began was more difficult to get in to than the first one. The couple did grow on me and before the end I was cheering for them.

Greg Boudreaux is always a good listen.

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Wonderfully sexy and fun

A wonderful story with erotic supernatural encounters that anyone can with an imagination can have adult entertainment reading or listening to. Beyond that the love that is shared between the two main characters makes my heat swell.

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AAAAAAAHHHHH

okay, this. this book did things to my heart and to my soul.

the big one is in love with the small one 🙄

THE BIG ONE IS IN LOVE WITH THE SMALL ONE 🥺

anyways the story was amazing. the ending legit had me at the edge of my seat and I really wanted to see that fuck head ex of Rustys get smashed under the beloved truck.
my only complaint is that you lost me a bet at the end. almost seemed like they wanted to do more but didn't have the time...
but man the chemistry! legit between These two Characters it was really magical man..
performance by Mr Greg Boudreaux was just amazing as always. this is my first time hearing him use a French accent but man it did do things to my body. and the energy he put into both. just *chefs kiss*
you'll love it. just lesson to this book with an open mind.
hell i loved this one more then the first. that's new for me. 💜💜💜

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Meg
  • 07-10-22

good book

Its a good story, I got the gist of the story but I was disappointed with the ending

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gunhild
  • 04-15-22

What a romp!

I won't give any spoilers, but I can tell you that E.J. Russell isn't afraid to stretch the genre here. I laughed out loud lots of times, and I was both touched and engaged by the gallery of characters. I like this series even better than Russell's Fae Out of Water series. Highly recommended!

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  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 03-22-22

Enjoyable escape

With some cameos of a certain Druid (love it!), this story was fast paced, dynamic, unusual and thrilling. I loved the connection between Rusty and Cas and how they made each other better.

I was surprised by the ending and felt there was so much more to discover between these two, their connection and the ramifications of that connection. I want to know so much more and I guess there are a few threads left 'open'. I do like when the user/selfish bad character is exposed and called out but unfortunately that doesn't really happen or we don't get to "see it (again)" because of the unusual ending.

All in all I was engaged in these two and enjoyed the journey and happy end/re-beginning!!

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  • Trio
  • 03-21-22

Adorable Story! Perfect Performance by Boudreaux

Oh my gosh, adorable! What a fantastic story.

Vampire with Benefits, the second book in E.J. Russell's Supernatural Selection series, is about as opposites-attract as it's possible to be. And these two guys end up making the perfect couple. Funny banter, and wonderful chemistry between the MC's, plus E.J. Russell's incredibly clever universe, made me happy from beginning to end.

Icing on the cake? Greg Boudreaux's absolutely spectacular narration! Simply perfect.

an audiobook copy of Vampire with Benefits was provided to me for the purpose of my honest review, all opinions are my own

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  • LoveBooks
  • 03-21-22

So fun

Cas and Rusty are the ones that were supposed to be matched up with those in book 1. Well, as these two need each other to fake their relationship for various reasons. Neither of them expected to fall for the other. The story will keep you snickering in humor.

Greg Boudreaux does amazing with bringing everyone to life.

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  • Susie Umphers
  • 03-21-22

Loved these characters

Cas and Rusty have both been dealt crummy hands by their fellow vampires and clan respectively and end up unintentionally matched together at the supernatural marriage brokers. Initially, they are an opposites don't attract pair but spending time together opens both their eyes to how perfect they are for each other. This is a superb take on the "fake" relationship trope and as always, Greg Boudreaux's performance captures the characters perfectly. Cas' snark, Rusty's level headed down to earth qualities and the emotions they start to feel for each other. This is a definite re-listen.

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  • KBR
  • 03-21-22

Vampire with Benefits

I adore this series from E.J. Russell. Cas and Rusty are perfect for each other, and the story is interesting and kept me engaged. Greg Boudreaux does a good job narrating. I did speed up some, but that’s my personal preference.

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  • Danielle Maria
  • 03-20-22

I adore my sweet Casimir!

This is the second in the Supernatural Selection series, but fifth in the overall Mythmatched universe. I will quickly list the reading order here as it is not obvious on Audible, Amazon or Goodreads that they are all related:

Fae Out of Water (Kendrick brothers)
1. Cutie and the Beast (also available on Audible)
2. The Druid Next Door (also available on Audible)
3. Bad Boy's Bard (also available on Audible)

Supernatural Selection
4. Single White Incubus (also available on Audible, forms a duology with Vampire with Benefits)
5. Vampire with Benefits
6. Demon on the Low-Down

7. Howling on Hold (also available on Audible)
8. Possession in Session (a free ebook download from the author's website when you subscribe to the mailing list)
9. Witch Under Wraps (also available on Audible)

Rusty and Casimir are, along with Mal and Bryce, one of my favourite couples in the Mythmatched Universe. Casimir is my sweetest boy and I adore him!

This story is set up beautifully in Single White Incubus, and for full enjoyment I would advise listening to that book first. I loved finding out what had happened to the abandoned matches of Quentin and Ted.

The chemistry between Rusty and Cas is electric, they’re two very different people finding their perfect match. They’re both very lonely and ostracised from their communities, and they flourished in having a partner. I loved the time they spent together in the house, snuggly Cas is just gorgeous. Cas, um, getting high on Rusty is the funniest and most adorable thing I have ever read or heard!

The build up of tension in the overall plotline was skillfully done, and I loved having Bryce back to help. I enjoyed the plot device that resolved the issues, and you get an echo of that later in Howling on Hold. Everything about this book was perfect until the end. Literally the end where the story just stopped.

I was getting so excited. I thought “Oh my God, this is going to be the BEST WOOING EVER!!!” But it didn’t happen. The story just ended. E.J Russell’s stories do tend to have an abrupt ending, but it will haunt me forever that this book didn’t have an extra chapter or two, which would have made it absolutely perfect. As it is, we’re just left to assume that everything works out for Cas and Rusty, without knowing how they get there. We do catch up with them in later books. We see Cas, Rusty, Quentin and Ted at Mal and Bryce’s bachelor party in Demon on the Low-Down, and Cas and Rusty are having their wedding in Howling on Hold, when a burning question is finally answered.

I would definitely recommend Vampire with Benefits, especially as a continuation of the Mythmatched Universe, and companion to Single White Incubus. As ever, Greg Boudreaux does an absolutely sterling job bringing these characters and the story to life.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • L.D.
  • 03-19-22

Loved It

Vampire With Benefits Is the second book in the Supernatural Selection series and set within the Mythmatched World. It can be read as a standalone but I really think the series is so much better read in order. This book was a joy to read - the two main characters were delightful both on their own and as a couple. I loved their banter and energy when they were together. The plot was engaging and had me completely absorbed. Plus the world building was fantastic as usual.

The audiobook was narrated by Greg Boudreaux who does an incredible job as usual. I loved how he voiced all the characters. The audiobook production was well done and over all a great listening experience.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 03-18-22

Can a vampire and a beaver shifter have an HEA?

When Ted the bear shifter and Quentin the Incubus were matched by the Supernatural Selection department, Casimir the vampire and Rusty the beaver shifter are left at the altar. The solution? Well, marry of course. It’s just for a few weeks. They can help each other out. All they have to do is not fall in love. Because a shifter’s bodily fluids can kill a vampire. Or so they believe. And aren’t vampires aliens anyway?

Of course the men fall in love. Of course they help each other perceive themselves differently. Rusty, for the first time in a long time, isn’t lonely. Casimir, who has been around for a long time, sees he might have a future. Both are trying to prove themselves to their respective clans, neither expects to come to care so much for each other.

The dark moment in this story is really dark and I kept checking the time left wondering how I could possibly get a happily ever after. Well, Russell did her job and OMG, I was so relieved and pleased. Yay for happily ever after.

I adore Greg Boudreaux and he did a great job with this series. I hope the third book is coming to audio soon!

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 05-10-22

Another cute and fun paranormal romance!

Inactive beaver shifter Rusty Johnson and disgraced vampire Casimir Moreau were wrong-footed by the Supernatural Selection dating agency when their prospective perfect matches married each other. Cas sees this as an opportunity and cajoles Rusty into their own temporary marriage to the Vampire Council off his back, but maybe the upset is a blessing in disguise! EJ Russell has a way of crafting extremely likeable main characters and does so again here. I also loved learning more about the fantasy world she has created. With the always good Greg Boudreaux narrating the audio, this was a hugely enjoyable low-angst and heartwarming story!

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  • Kazza - On Top Down Under/Dark Hints Book Reviews
  • 04-07-22

Romantic Paranormal Story. Superb Narration.

I’ve listened to Greg Boudreaux narrate once and his alt narration name of Greg Tremblay once. Both times he has delivered sublime understanding of the MCs and the story being told. He delivers such depth to both.
Vampire With Benefits is one of my favourite books and I was so happy to see it on Audible that I pounced. Sometimes, though, it can be a curse when you love a book and it’s characters so much because the narrator doesn’t do them justice. Boudreaux gave a pitch perfect delivery of Cas, how I adore this vampire, and the beautiful soul that is Rusty, an inactive beaver shifter. Russell gives us an entertaining, heartfelt story and Boudreaux delivers such love and connection my heart melted
I can’t recommend this audiobook highly enough. All the stars for the author and the narrator.