Blood & Love and Other Vampire Tales - Rhiannon Frater 'Life: thick and red.'Vampire tales of loneliness, revenge and what love means. Frater's superb characterization continues to thrill me, though now I'm a little scared of how she's able to so exquisitely bury inside the hearts and minds of vile predators and abusers and paint them in all their terrible glory. It's not often that stories are told from the villain's perspective, especially ones that I actually appreciate, but these I did.Part I: The Ache of Loneliness★★☆☆☆ The WhisperAn introductory story of a night-loving mortal woman coming upon a male vampire.★★★☆☆ The Two MothersBefore you think it, there are no lesbians here! A vampire woman longs for a child, spots one suffering from leukemia out walking with a mother willing to sacrifice everything for her love of him, including her life. I found it interesting how the mother was willing to share her child with another and let him call her "mama".Part II: The Revenge of the VampiresI love a good "revengeance" and Frater delivers in spades. This quote explains this section perfectly:"When a woman says no, it's really best to leave her alone. You just never know who you are fucking with."★★★★☆ The Predator'She was undermining him.He was so frustrated, when he lay in his bed during the day trying to sleep, he would fantasize about taking her forcibly right there at work. He could feel his hands closing over her neck, pushing her back onto a copier as she cried out in terror. Sometimes, that was his only solace when she ignored him. No matter what happened, he would always conquer her in his dreams.'★★★★★ Vengeance Sitting in a chair with a gun is an old man waiting for his annual visit from the wife he vilely abused. Every year she beats him to within an inch of his life for his awful violence towards her (rape and beatings), her children (the girl he molested, the male he rendered infertile) and the full-term unborn child he killed. By far my favourite story of the collection.Part III: The Inner Sanctum Trilogy★★☆☆☆ The Aspect of Her EyesA male vampire speaking of his love and admiration for his wife to his female progeny while watching said wife hunt their next meal.★★★★☆ The Memoirs of MonikiMemoirs of a 5-to-7 year old girl neglected and abused by her alcoholic father in the 1930s. Helped by a genetically-engineered rat created by the Nazis and rescued by the female vampire admired in the previous story. Contrasting the abuse Moniki received by her biological father and the endearing love by her new vampire parents was interesting, though I'm not sure the girl's loving grandmother would approve of her new life even though she's now safe and happy since they probably qualify as 'the devil' she feared.★★★☆☆ Blood and LoveOur vampire couple showcase their enduring and all-consuming love for one another, paling in comparison to human love.