He Sees You When You're Sleeping by Sara Dobie Bauer

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@Archaeolibrary, @saradobie,

#MM, #Dark, #Contemporary, #Paranormal, #Romance, #Seasonal,

We met when you were just a child, but you’re a man now and need my protection.


With Christmas Eve approaching, I’ll watch over you.

Whether you know it or not.


Because no one is allowed to hurt you.

No one but me.


At 20K words, He Sees You When You’re Sleeping is a twisted take on Santa, featuring M/M romance, horror, and the holiday season.

I feel an itch on the back of my neck so glance behind me, and indeed, there he is, the blond kid from yesterday. I must have caught him staring, because as soon as I turn to look, he ducks his head and goes back to reading.

I shouldn’t approach him. Granted, he’s stunning. Most vampires would love to get their hands on his bare skin, but I’m not one for picking up humans outside of blood clubs. I’m cautious. Vampires can get in a lot of trouble for biting a human without consent. Like sentenced-to-death trouble. The humans at blood clubs know what they’re getting into. This guy? He looks like a puppy in need of a cuddle. He has no idea what a vampire could do to him.

Maybe some reconnaissance is in order. Just to, you know, make sure he’s all right after yesterday’s altercation.

Or something.

I’m lying to myself. This isn’t a protective detail in Serbia, this is me away from combat too long and bored in New York.

Fuck it.

He sits at one of the heavy wooden tables with the lid off his cup. His hair hangs halfway over his forehead, tilted down over a paperback, but I can still see his mouth, the way he chews his bottom lip, making it pinker, fuller.

I walk right up to his table. I don’t wait for him to look up. I don’t wait for an invitation. I just sit.

He startles at my arrival. His eyes widen and stare at me.

“Who are you?” I ask. I’ve always been really good at openings.

“Uhh.” His forehead wrinkles.

I drum my fingertips on the table. “I’ve never seen you in here before.”

“You saw me yesterday.” He folds the top corner of a page in his paperback: Dracula by Bram Stoker. “You saved my ass yesterday.”

“Before yesterday,” I reply.

He sighs. “A Starbuck’s bought out my favorite coffee shop, so I guess this is now my favorite coffee shop. Buy local.” He scoops his messenger bag off the floor and shoves the book inside.

The kid has one of those runway model faces—gaunt if not so beautiful, sharp and yet soft. Freckles? Zero. Wait, no, he’s got just a smattering that you would only notice close-up … or with well-trained vampiric eyes. He has no shadow of recently shaved facial hair, and that’s no surprise based on the white-blond of his hair. He must moisturize those lips because nobody’s mouth just naturally looks like the perfect mixture of velvet and silk.

He sighs again, louder. “You’re staring at me.”

No, I’m studying him—checking out his vulnerable areas, which are pretty much everywhere considering he’s so thin and fragile-looking.

As for everyone else in the coffee shop, they’re looking at the kid like they want to take him to bed. I catch a girl at the next table over gawking. A big dude with a beard stands in line to our right, his mouth hanging half open as he admires.

“Everyone is staring at you,” I respond.

His pale cheeks burn bright red as he swoops his bag onto his shoulder and stands. “No, that’s …” He shakes his head. “Ha, no.” He doesn’t say goodbye. He even leaves his coffee, half-consumed on the table. He up and abandons me without a word, but I do watch him go—as does half of Inky Grounds.

Once he disappears out into the early October morning, I turn back around and stare at his deserted coffee. Granted, I’m not smooth—I get it—but he didn’t have to run out like that. I just wanted to see that he was safe. Shit, I don’t even know his name.

4 out of 5 (very good)

HE SEES YOU WHEN YOU'RE SLEEPING is a short, standalone, seasonal novel that is DARK! Kris is not all jolly and ho, ho, ho, but more menacing and deadly. He helps Jack as a child and sees him as time moves on. Jack grows up and still tries to do the right thing, although for him, life is also dangerous. Kris 'tries' to do the right thing, but will he learn his lesson in time?


What a brilliant short-story! I loved the lights and the Ghost of Christmas Future. Although short, this is powerful and reflects upon how life can be if circumstances are against you. It has the feel of a psychological thriller to it, and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep your attention.


This was a fantastic seasonal read, so different from the warm and fuzzy stories you normally get. I thought the ending was unexpected and perfect, and so I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this amazing story.


* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Merissa

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, mental health speaker, and LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. Her current obsession with Timothee Chalamet runs deep, and don’t even get her started on Call Me By Your Name.

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