A MelanieM Review: A Counselor Among Wolves (Leader Murders #2) by Liv Olteano

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Sequel to A Tooth for a Fang
Leader Murders: Case Two

CounselorAmongWolves[A]FSFive dead leaders, their bodies arranged in a pentagram. Treason, lies, and backstabbing. A make-believe affair that turns into a real mating.

Timothy Sands is a PBI counselor, half-fey, half-elf, with a secret crush on Herman Weiss, PBI director. As a new chapter is added to the Leader Murders, it is Weiss’s responsibility to investigate what seems an impossible-to-solve case. The other problem? Weiss is suffering from rages, and his only salvation lies in Tim’s emotional-grid-balancing skills. They only have to pretend to be a couple for Tim to use his talents, and he owes Weiss a big favor. Piece of cake, right?

The fey might be involved in the Leader Murders. Someone on the Council might be their ally, and another prominent PBI figure looks more and more suspicious as they investigate. The stakes are upped when Timothy’s father, the Fey King, threatens to leave the Council destitute if they don’t hand Timothy over to him. Weiss’s brilliant solution? Mating Timothy and forcing the Council into protecting him.

There’s only one small hitch in that plan: instead of protecting one, the Council might decide to get rid of two.

A Tooth for a Fang was the first book I had read by Liv Olteano, and I loved the author’s darker take on werewolves, lycans, wolfshifters of all sorts (two different things in this series) and the supernatural in general.  As much as I love all my romantic wolf shifter love stories, reading one where the wolves have a more manipulative aspect to their character that dominates all their relationships and outlook was refreshing and new.  And the author took it further and separated out the wolf shifters or lycans from the werewolves, a divide both emotional and physical.  But it was Olteano’s focus on domestic abuse in a Mate/Mate bond that was unexpected, intriguing and powerful.

For many stories, the weres and their mates meet and the mate bond snaps into place (a broad generalization I know), and they are happy together at the end.  But what happens when one mate hates or grows to hate the other?  In a species where the need to be dominant is inherent and expected, then the possibility of mate/spousal abuse appears.  This element is a major part of the plot in Liv Olteano’s Leader Murder Mystery trilogy.  Those mates who have been abused (no matter what species they belong too, were, lycan, vampire… whathaveyou) and those that see a wrong that needs to be addressed in their society  have banded together to enact new laws to protect abused mates and enable them to “divorce” their abuser.  Not a small thing in a hide bound society that resists change.   But some of them have gone further and several murders of abusive leaders have occurred.

The first book involved a were and a human lured into a mate bond.   That pair is still on shaky ground when this story opens  But A Counselor Among Wolves has a different focus and pairing.  This time its Timothy Sands, a half elf,half fey, who works for the PBI (Paranormal Bureau of Investigations).  A loner due to his heritage, past history, and inclinations, Tim has been in love with the PBI’S Director,Herman Weiss, a Werewolf Alpha,  for 5 years, to no avail.  Weiss, as he is called, has been mated for years and last year his female mate produced the heir Weiss had been waiting for.  His mating?  Not at all happy, as everyone found out in the first story.  The difficult relationships established in the first story get even more so here.

The “revolution” is building, Tim is part of the group that is working towards Mate Bond reforms (through legal methods) and Weiss is trying to deal with new murders, his imploded relationship, his son, and his increasingly unstable personality.   The one being who might hold some of the answers Weiss requires?  That would be Tim, who wants to keep his shields and secrets intact.

Olteano’s supernatural beings are anything but superficial in their creation.  The author delivers not only each species physical characteristics, but background, natural history, cultural history and current racial and societal issues as well.  Like I said, these aren’t your cuddly sort of wolves.  Even Weiss’ toddler son is capable of  well thought out manipulations and the boy/pup demonstrates a constant defiance that shows he is challenging his father (and others) for dominance even at the youngest of ages.  His is a remarkable portrait as well.  How many  5 year olds do you know who attack their mothers, trying to force them to submit? As Olteano points out, that makes it hard to establish a maternal bond, now doesn’t it? A Counselor to Wolves (and the series to date) is just one neat twist and turn after another.  But always at its heart, are serious subject matters such as domestic abuse and violence.

Still this is a romance, of sorts, one between Tim and Weiss that struggles to coalesce at first under the stress and extraordinary circumstances. Then gets mired down in the politics and machinations of the investigation and murders.  Throw in Tim’s father, who has his own nefarious plotting underway that also involves his son, and well, this book has plenty of layers to satisfy any lover of espionage and suspense.   Plus Tim and Weiss are just plain hot together.  You will root for them, really you will.

In this story, some of the revelations help speed us along to the final story that will tie up all the investigations and plotting revealed here.  All the couples will have their moment on stage in the final story.  That’s especially important because neither of the two couples relationships and pairing are on particularly stable ground.  There are too many unknown elements still at play, and that include’s Tim’s father, the Elf King.

Now comes the waiting…how I hate that part.  I want the final story now.  This is such a terrific series.  My admiration for Liv Olteano’s writing and plot grows with each story that’s released.  I loved  lycan Travis Chandler and the former human Rick Barton who took a vacation from an abusive lover and ended up as a mate.  And I love Tim, one of a kind Tim and the dominating Alpha, Weiss and his son.  We have one more couple to come forward and then the author will tie things up.  I expect it to be messy, bloody, hot, and one heck of a wild ride towards the end.  As I said, I can’t wait.

New to this series?  Pick up A Tooth For A Fang first, then proceed to A Counselor Among Wolves.  These books need to be read in the order they were written to understand the character and plot developments that are occurring within. The author tries to fill in gaps in each story but its far too complicated for that to one in any one book.  I highly recommend them both.  Then we can wait together for the final installment to arrive.  See you there.

Cover Art by  AngstyG.  Love the cover, its dark and yes, angsty.  Works a treat for the characters and story within.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press – All Romance (ARe)Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages, also in paperback
Published May 8th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781632169235
edition languageEnglish
seriesLeader Murders #2

The Leader Murder Case Mysteries Trilogy:

A Mika Review: The Bruise-Black Sky (More Heat Than the Sun #5) by John Wiltshire

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Rating: 4 star out of 5 stars

The Bruise Black Sky coverBen usually overlooks Nikolas’s occasionally jarring dissonance. Not this time. A deep rift, a terrible lie, separates them. Eleven thousand miles from Nikolas, in New Zealand, it’s bitter winter as Ben films the tragic story of a post-apocalyptic gladiator, a victim of his own personal darkness. But on receiving a death threat, Ben suspects the truth of actor Oliver Whitestone’s suicide. Someone doesn’t want this movie made. It’s fortunate for Ben, therefore, that dissonance is a state of unrest, a longing for completion. As if Nikolas would stay at home in disgrace while Ben Rider-Mikkelsen becomes the target of a crazed stalker…

Talk about secrets! Wow! Everyone is keeping a secret in The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire. I thought this was one of the funniest books out the series. Nik was hilarious. Nik who obviously doesn’t think he is good with kids is sadly mistaken. This kid Miles astounded me. Miles and Nik was so good together. In my hopeless mind I was picturing Nik with a son. HAH, I have this warm gooey feeling about him doing well. I hope I see Miles in future books. He was adorably cute.

This picks up a year or two later from the last book. As usual something drastic happens for Nik to go back to Aleskey’s Special Forces Nik! Ha, I said it. He went full metal jacket. Ben, who has his memories back, is back to being Ben… kind of.  I felt as though there was something off with him. I get it now reading the book. As usual they have their couple spats, and one does this “wrong” thing, and the other go pouts. This book, they were not playing around with each other. I mean, some indifferences had my heart beating wondering, if this was it.  Could Nik do anything ever so awful that Ben would leave him?

It’s a couple things in this book, that’s awful, but I find myself always forgiving Nik. I’m a complete tosser for Nik! 

Nik and Ben in AMERICA! It was funny from their view point. Nik loves Ben with everything he has, and I think like every other book so far he shows it. He might not have the words, but his actions speak extremely louder than anything else. Of course we got to see Emilia, and her grandmother, as well as a few other familiar faces. I enjoyed them. I liked the plot as well. I really liked when Nik met with the police lady, it was family because they were both being stoic towards each other. Parts of the story felt  slow to me, while other parts intrigued me.

I will continue reading this series because I love them. The shocking revelations in the book had me like WTF. That last 25% was the best ever! I can’t wait until the next book is out.

Cover Art. Now that I’ve had time to read it, I understand the cover. I don’t like it or dislike it really. It’s okay and continues with the type of cover of the previous books.

Sales Links:   MLR PressAll Romance (ARe) – Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 282 pages
Published March 20th 2015 by MLR Press (first published March 19th 2015)
edition languageEnglish
seriesMore Heat Than the Sun #5

Books in the Series:

Love is a Stranger (More Heat Than the Sun #1)
Conscious Decisions of the Heart (More Heat Than the Sun #2)
The Bridge of Silver Wings (More Heat Than the Sun, #3)
This Other Country (More Heat Than the Sun, #4)
The Bruise Black Sky (More Heat Than the Sun, #5)

Death’s Ink-Black Shadow (More Heat Than the Sun, #6) coming June 19th from MLR Press

 

Cover Reveal Time for Parker Williams’ Scent of the Heart (Shifting Needs #2) (cover reveal and contest)

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Time to Reveal the Cover for
Scent of the Heart (Shifting Needs #2) by Parker Williams
Release Date: June 15, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Parker Williams
Cover Artist: Laura Harner

Sales Links:  Amazon  –  All Romance (ARe)Smashwords

About Scent of the Heart

Casey Scott grew up being told he’d never amount to anything, and despite the unwavering
love and support from his best friend, Jake, the idea sticks in the back of Casey’s mind. When he
discovers he has a unique destiny in an enclave where shifters and humans live together, he
seizes the chance, wanting for once in his life to be someone special.

Tsvetok Yerokhin lost his parents to the evil ruler of the enclave when he was a boy. The
responsibilities of raising his two younger brothers nearly overwhelmed him and self-doubt
took over. When the new Alpha and his Protector arrive in time to save his life, Sev is grateful,
but he’s even more shocked when he scents his mate with them.

Casey isn’t prepared for the feelings that sweep over him when he meets Sev, but he refuses to
act on them because he’s straight. Still, there is something so alluring about Sev that Casey can’t
help being drawn to him.

As the two explore the edges of their new discovery, an evil returns, determined to control the
enclave or destroy it. The Alpha and Protector are powerless to stop it, but Casey holds the key
to victory. If he can discover what it is, he has a chance to save them all. To be the hero.

Unfortunately, the hero has to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, and for Casey that
means losing his heart.

Pages or Words: Approximately 69,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Romance, Paranormal, Bisexual, Fiction, Gay Fiction, New Adult

Excerpt from Scent of the Heart


Casey had slept in the early evening, exhausted from his activities of the day. First the twins came, and their birth wasn’t easy. One of them, the boy, refused to come out. Normally shifter births were in and out in less than an hour. This one had kept him elbow deep for four. When the child was finally born, he had a full head of fluffy gray hair, indicative of his mother’s rabbit side. When they’d asked his advice on what to name their new son, Casey had said Thumper. His parents had fallen in love with the name, and Casey learned that people who had never seen a movie had no idea what humor was.
Then there was the incident with the stupid skunk in the forest. He hoped to hell Jake never found out, because after all the crap Casey had given him, he knew for a fact there would be hell to pay.
His intent had been to sleep a few hours, then try another dreamwalk. They always left him drained when he didn’t have a tether to this world. Casey shook his head. Six months ago he never would have talked about different worlds, men that could become animals, or ghosts outside of his weekly Dungeons and Dragons game. Now it seemed he was actually living a campaign. He was a shaman, a wizard of sorts. Jake was a paladin, righteous and good. Zak was…well, Zak probably would have been royalty. With his demeanor and attitude, he would have made a great king.
He’d been dozing fitfully; his dreams filled with visions of future events, where a fork in the road left him with too many decisions. One was life, the other was death, but both were fraught with peril. The knocking at his door had jolted him awake, and he was actually glad for it.
Sev looked absolutely miserable as he stood at the door. This would be only the second time the man had come to see Casey. Most everyone else in the enclave had stopped by, even for a friendly visit, numerous times. Yet Sev always hung back. This time, Casey needed to understand what was going on.
When they came in contact, skin on skin, Casey had no idea what happened. A surge ran up the length of his arm, seemingly connecting him to Sev. He could tell the man across from him needed his help. Sev was different from all the others in the enclave who’d come and talked to him in the last six months. He didn’t need advice; what he needed was someone to understand.
Sev sat at the table, looking for all the world as if he were lost. He sipped the calming tea that Casey had brewed, his eyes downcast as he told Casey his story—the death of his parents, the problems he now had with his brothers, and his uncertainty that he was doing the right thing. Never before had Casey wanted to pull someone into his arms and promise them that everything would be all right. He’d heard so many stories after Elizar’s defeat—beatings, rape, murder, and still he was able to maintain a detachment. Not with Sev.
“How can I help?”
Sev sighed. “I don’t know that you can. I just wanted to talk to someone.”
Casey could see the shine of tears when Sev finally lifted his head, and his chest tightened as he stood and wrapped his arms around the man. He didn’t have words, and he couldn’t think of any other way to comfort him. Not one of the salves, potions, ointments, teas, or other remedies on his shelves had the power to offer the healing that a hug brought.
“Thank you, my mate.”
The words were so soft Casey was certain he had misheard them.

 

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About the author:

Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.

Living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Parker held his job for nearly 28 years before he decided to retire and try new things. He enjoys his new life as a stay-at-home author and also working on Pride-Promotions, an LGBT author promotion service.

Where to find the author:

Connect with Parker on:
Twitter: @ParkerWAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/parker.williams.75641
Or you can visit his website: http://www.ParkerWilliamsAuthor.com

Cover Reveal Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Two $10 ARe gift cards. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and Prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops:
Cate Ashwood, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Velvet Panic, Havan Fellows, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Full Moon Dreaming, MM Good Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, The Hat Party, 3 Chicks After Dark, Mikky’s World of Books, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Love Bytes, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Charley Descoteaux, Inked Rainbow Reads, Becky Condit, Andrew Q. Gordon, Bayou Book Junkie, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Hearts on Fire, Divine Magazine, Happily Ever Chapter, Nic Starr, My Fiction Nook, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Christy Loves 2 Read, Molly Lolly, Carly’s Book Reviews, Amanda C. Stone,
Nephylim, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Lee Brazil

Dean Pace-Frech’s “Disappear With Me” Spotlight Post & Giveaway

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Disappear With Me by Dean Pace-Frech
Publisher:  Amber Quill Press

Buy Links:   Amber Quill Press  – All Romance eBooks

I am happy to announce that the Second Edition of Disappear With Me is available from Amber Quill Press!

About Disappear With Me…

Love is greater than hope or faith, but can Reverend Leander Norris convince a jury that the love he shares with another man is natural?

In 1910, the United Kingdom was in turmoil. King Edward died after only nine years on the throne. The social class system that upheld British society for centuries was being chipped away by social, political, and economic unrest across the Commonwealth. Amidst this backdrop, Reverend Leander Norris is accused of sodomy. After discovering his own self-worth and unconditional love, Leander finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right and pleads not guilty to the charges. Throughout the trial, Leander’s past is revealed, including the temptations that bring the accusations against him. By the end of the trail, Leander is once again reunited with a romantic interest from the past, but it may be too late to rekindle any love that might remain, given the circumstances of the era and Leander’s likely sentence.

Excerpt:

“Are you not a scholar?” Weeks asked. “Do you not know the Bible that you preach from each Sunday?”

“I know it very well,” Leander answered. “But the Bible has many interpretations. I think you can guess that mine might be a little less than conventional.”

Weeks reclined back in his chair. He made a steeple with his fingers and rested them on his pursed lips. “You’re actually sitting here telling me that, as a man of God, you’re all right with buggery and feel you’ve done nothing wrong?”

“Mr. Weeks, do you realize you keep asking me the same question over again, using different words?”

“As your counsel, I need to be sure that I understand your position, the one you expect me to defend.”

“You sound shocked that I would suggest such a thing. I can’t have you defending me if you don’t believe it yourself.”

“Reverend, my beliefs about the situation are irrelevant; it doesn’t matter what I believe. I need to be able to defend our position in court and hope our defense can refute what the prosecution will present.”

“I have to have conviction in my sermons each Sunday morning. I think you also know you need to have conviction when defending your clients.”

“And I can assure you that I have that same conviction to make sure that you receive a fair trial. I will do my best—”
“Do your best to what? Go through the motions and make sure that the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed so it looks like I’ve been given a good defense?”

Weeks didn’t answer and that was all the answer that Leander needed. After a moment, Weeks tried to start again. “Look, Reverend, I am your assigned counsel for this trial. I am on your side. I want to see you get a fair trial, but you must understand what we’re up against is quite overwhelming.”

“I know; I’ve never done anything the simple way.”

“Sir, you must understand that we are going up against laws that are rooted in two thousand years of Christian tradition and about as many years of British attitude.”

“Mr. Weeks, do you love your wife?”

Weeks let out an impatient sigh. “Of course, but here you go asking intimate questions about me that have no bearing on my defending your case.”

“Humor me, sir. Do you love your wife?”

“Yes, I very much love my wife and family.”

“What if you woke up tomorrow and a constable showed up on your doorstep and arrested you because they said the love you share with your wife was illegal?”

Weeks didn’t answer him. Instead, in a quiet voice, he said, “You know you and I are just two people. We’re not going to change these laws overnight.”

 

Search “Disappear With Me” or “Dean Pace-Frech” on your other favorite sites to purchase romance books, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, iTunes, etc.

About Dean Pace-Frech

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With inspiration from historical tourism sites, the love of reading, and a desire to write a novel, Dean started crafting his debut novel, A Place to Call Their Own, in 2008. After four years of writing and polishing the manuscript, it was accepted and originally published 2013. His second novel, Disappear With Me, set in Edwardian England was published later that same year. Both novels were re-released in May 2015.

Dean lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his husband, Thomas (legally as of February 14, 2015), and our two cats. They are involved in their church and enjoy watching movies, outdoor activities in the warmer weather and spending time together with friends and family. In addition to writing, Dean’s hobbies include reading and patio gardening.

Dean is currently working a standalone title, Need Your Love, set in 1966, and The Higher Law, a continuation of the story of Frank and Gregory’s family set in the 1930s.

Connect with Dean Pace-Frech
Email deanfrech@aol.com
Blog: Dean’s Web Site
Facebook: Dean Pace-Frech, Author page or send a friend request Dean Pace-Frech.
Twitter: @deanpacefrech
Google+: +deanpacefrech
Goodreads: Dean Pace-Frech
Pinterest: Dean Pace-Frech

Giveaway

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In celebration of the wide release of Disappear With Me, I will be giving away 3 Ecopies of my first novel, A Place to Call Their Own, which is available from JMS Books.  Comment, follow me on Twitter, visit my author page, etc. to enter to win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author.

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