How to Bite Your Neighbor & Win a Wager by D.N. Bryn (Guides for Dating Vampires #1)


Vincent Barnes has suffered four years as a vampire, and they’ve been the most miserable years of his pathetic life. Too poor for black market blood, he feeds from sleeping humans to survive. He tries to never intrude on the same prey twice, but after a single delicious taste of a long-lost childhood neighbor, he can’t help returning for seconds.

Wesley Garcia has been waking up with fang marks. Lucky for him, he needs a vampire—to use as bait. He’s certain Vitalis-Barron Pharmaceutical killed his mother, but to gain access to their covert research labs, he has to bring them a bloodsucker for their experiments. 

Step one, a dramatic offer: Stay, and you can bite me. 

Vincent leaps at the chance to gobble Wesley up.

Wes’s plan is perfect. He’ll befriend the vampire, then trick him into coming to the lab. No fighting, no fuss. But Vincent is more than Wesley has bargained for: sweet and shy, with intoxicating fangs that awaken new desires in Wes. As the two bond, Vincent believes he might have finally found someone worth putting his trust in... and Wes fears neither of them will survive the betrayal he has planned.

CONTRIBUTOR(S): Simon Dornet (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
YEAR: 2022
LENGTH: 387 pages (8 hours 32 minutes)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Main Character(s).

Vincent has been sneaking into Wesley's house to bite him at night because his blood tastes so good he can't stay away. Wesley needs a vampire to hand in to a shady pharmaceutical company which experiments on vampires. Wesley wants the access to get information about his mother's disappearance after she signed up for one of the drug trials, but as he gets to know Vincent he starts seeing him as a person rather than just a means to an end. Vincent doesn't trust Wesley enough to confide that he's sleeping rough, hounded by someone who hates him for being a vampire and starts spreading that information to make his life impossible. The vampire hunters who work for the pharmaceutical company use classist tactics to make it impossible for vampires to live stable lives, then further take advantage of the precarity caused by being unhoused and unemployed to further the fear of vampires due to their diet. 

HOW TO BITE YOUR NEIGHBOR AND WIN A WAGER has a self-contained and very satisfying story, featuring a slow exploration of the boundaries between "liking someone who is a vampire" and having a vampire fetish. The romance builds slowly, held back for a while by mutual distrust and fascination which eventually turns into passion. I get very stressed out by stories where at least one of the characters in a relationship is lying, but this was handled in a way that meant I was able to finish the story without being too stressed to keep reading. I like a lot of things about how this was handled, from the worldbuilding sneaking in info about how vampires have existed for hundreds of years (or longer), to Wesley's long-distance best friend who can provide emotional support but can't solve the logistical problems. A lot of excellent storytelling decisions were involved, and I had a great time reading this.

I'm pretty sure one of the minor characters is the protagonist of the next book, but even if I'm wrong, there are some pretty big things that Vincent and Wesley weren't able to handle which could be addressed in future books. I'm looking forward to the next one!

Graphic/Explicit CW for blood, violence, murder, death.

Moderate CW for sexual cotent, gaslighting, confinement, grief, panic attacks, classism, kidnapping, physical abuse, injury detail, torture, self harm, suicidal thoughts, death of parent, death.

Minor CW for homophobia, excrement, medical trauma, medical content.

Author's note: "How to Bite Your Neighbor and Win a Wager is a slow-burn paranormal mm romance full of laughter, angst, and thirsty pining. It is perfect for fans of fangs and scientific interpretations of vampirism, with a medium spice level that heats up further in the free bonus content. Content includes bite kink, bleeding (non-kinky), medical experimentation (not experienced by the point of view characters), one particular lesbian BFF who should be reported to HR, and the use of “bodice-ripping” as a verb."

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Two guys sit on a couch while one (a vampire) playfully looks like he'll bit the knee of the other.


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