Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nico Sanzio da Urbino stays busy with his Odd Squad job investigating paranormal crimes, but he’s still haunted by the idea that the usurper he killed at Jet’s pack meeting was familiar. As an ancient enforcer, it’s always possible the werewolf was a relative of someone from Nico’s past, but if he wants to make sure the local Alpha keeps his head, Nico needs to find the connection before revenge comes calling.
Running background checks as part of the upgraded security measures for his pack, Alpha Jet Gorman discovers not everyone can be accounted for in the usual manner. In fact, several of the young rogue wolves he’s ordered to his pack are from human families…with no history of a bite to account for their wolfy tendencies. No wonder they were runaways. Before he can verify they pose no danger to the other werewolves, he must first discover the secret of their existence. A secret worth killing for.
Despite their differences, there is an undeniable connection between the ancient vampire and the young Alpha that seems to go beyond the blood they’ve exchanged—and keeps them circling around their very obvious mutual attraction. But while one man is looking for a way to move their relationship into the bedroom, the other is searching for a reason to stay true to his past.
I love it when a book veers off into a direction I hadn’t anticipated. That is what happened with Diamond Draw by Laura Harner, the 2nd story in the 2nd group of stories from this year’s Altered States Pulp Friction 2015 series (yes, I know, what a mouth full). That it happened at the end of what was already a marvelously sexy and intriguing installment…well, that was the cherry on top of a deliciously satisfying sundae of a narrative.
In each Pulp Friction year, I end up switching back and forth as to who are my favorite couples/trios of the moment. This year the authors have made it especially difficult because each pairing is so unlike the others. It feels more like comparing apples or oranges, or in this in series, vampire or succubus, ghost or werewolf, seer or what exactly? So many possibilities and variables. But with this story, Harner’s grief stricken Jet and the ancient, powerful vampire Nico inched ever so slightly ahead in the pairings. Man, are those two hot together! Their scene on the dance floor is positively incendiary. Underneath that sexual heat generated exist two men with complex, pain-filled pasts, convoluted present lives, and the intelligence to question every moment of the strange bond pulling them closer by the minute. And that’s the hook that has me completely enthralled. I suspect it has you hooked as well.
Diamond Draw moves the series and overall group plot forward with some new twists and turns, including one that I never expected at the end. We see bits of what is occurring with the other couples but it’s the horrific turn of events happening within Jet’s pack that sets the stage for the major drama that unfolds and potentially lethal plot twists ahead. And I can’t reference any of it, because each is a spoiler on its own.
Harner’s characters are beautifully crafted. They pull you in, let you feel both their pain and their joys. This is true as much for her secondary characters, such as a brother and sister werewolves found here, as it is for her main characters. That attention to the well rounded personas, combined with a narrative that never falters in its swift pace makes this one of my highly recommended reads this year.
Start at the beginning and read as each story is released or as one major binge read at the end, its just the order that matters in order to understand the characters and plot development. No matter your approach, just make sure this story and series are on your TBR list! Its one you won’t want to miss.
Cover art by Laura Harner. Love this cover. At first the covers for PF2015 were a little “light” in tone for me. But as each new group of stories rolls out, you can see the covers getting darker in tone and design. This one really does it for me.
Kindle Edition, 61 pages
Published May 31st 2015 by Hot Corner Press
About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner
The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
One supernatural finale.
Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Haven Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Haven Fellows
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ), Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner