Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Lasair Faol, Master of the Fade-Hounds to the Royal court of the Demesne of Fire in the Fae Realm, has been exiled to the human world by the Princess Consort for failing to catch her son’s kidnapper. Bryce Newhouse, Greenwich Village investment banker, is universally loathed by all who know him. Generally, he’s perfectly cool with that, but he discovers what he’s been missing—literally — when he finds Lasair chained in his basement.
Bryce was supposed to receive half of Lasair’s soul at his birth, but thanks to the Fae of Purgatory, the Pattern — the portal between the worlds — has been damaged, and Bryce’s soul arrived 31 years too late. Now the exiled Fae is the shunned human’s only hope of healing his broken past. And with the fate of two worlds riding on that healing, Lasair is going to have to overcome both his race’s innate mistrust of genuine emotion and his own very unFae awkwardness, to have any chance of reaching Bryce’s impenetrable heart.
Rory Ni Coileain’s SoulShares series has always been a favorite of mine. It takes magic, hot sex, lovers, the Fae, a malevolent monster to make the strong shudder and combines them all into a gritty urban fantasy series I just can’t get enough of. Luckily for me, the author just released another SoulShares novel with another on the way.
Blowing Smoke (SoulShares #5) by Rory Ni Coileain may be my favorite of the series, something that kind of shocks me. The other stories had more than their share of unbelievable angst and in one case torture (see monster), plus a world building and Fae culture that was fantastic. And then there were those marvelous couples, the SoulShares, each couple contains a Fae soul split in two, each holding a half. The men/Fae or Fae/Fae relationships are so complex and the men involved so different from each other, that each book was a true joy to read.
One common element in each story? A well-off jerk named Bryce who figured largely as a boyfriend from hell for one of the main characters, Terry. His interactions with all were not only disastrous emotionally but physically as well. His actions almost proved lethal several times over. Bryce was that character you loved to hate. And when combined with the Marfach (the evil), well, that was a team to make your stomach churn and your heart hurt. So guess who is a main character here? Yes, that would be Bryce. Blowing Smoke is all about redemption, second chances, and the fight to become someone better, someone worthy of love. Powerful stuff, indeed.
Someone else needing a second chance? That would be Lasair Faol, Master of the Fade-Hounds to the Royal court of the Demesne of Fire in the Fae Realm. He and his Hounds failed twice to keep the Prince of the Realm safe. For his failures, the Prince’s mother (now a Consort) threatens to kill all his beloved Fade-Hounds. Instead, Lasair agrees to take the blame to save them, ending up thrown through the portal and having his soul severed in two. The anquish of that scene would be bad enough but just prior to the Princess Consort’s arrival, Lasair has found a newly birthed Fade-Hound, blind and seemingly dead. But the pup blinked back to life when Lasair picked him up. Immediately a connection is formed between the pup and Lasair, and the reader. How do you not love a character who saves a blind puppy and his hounds from death? That pup, named Setanta, becomes as much a main character as any of the other Fae in the series. How? That is such a wonderful element here I wouldn’t think of spoiling it for you. I adore that hound and want more, so much more of Setanta in his adult form.
Now you have three characters all in precious need of second chances, the one they’ve just been given. And the obstacles in front of any possibility of happiness includes not only their own fears but the other Fae couples (from the previous novels) and the monster returning for another battle. This story has so many layers that it would make a onion weep with envy. Or just weep. I know I was reaching for the tissues several times while reading the story. And its Rory Ni Coileain’s writing that makes it all spring to life, with battle scenes of breathtaking action and movement, tender moments of heartbreak and pain, and finally sexy and soft ones of joy and acceptance. Yep, this wowser of a story has become my favorite. And Bryce and Lasair (and Setanta) my top couple. Amazing and such an unexpected delight.
I was still sighing with contentment at the end of the story when I noticed this:
Sneak Peek: Mantled in Mist
Prologue July 17, 1913 (human reckoning) The Realm
Yes! There’s another SoulShares story coming. And that teaser? Made me want to find Rory Ni Coileain and find out when I can expect this story.
New to the SoulShares series? What a great series awaits you! The books should be read in the order they were written and released. That’s really the only way to understand the characters, plot development and overall series timelines. Each book builds on the other and while the author includes some past history, it won’t be enough for some readers to understand everything that has/is occurring. That’s the only reason this book isn’t a 5 star rating that my heart says it deserves.
Love the Fae and fantasy? Love a little hurt/comfort with your romance? And puppies too? Blowing Smoke has it all! I highly recommend this series and author. Now I’m settling in to wait for Mantled In Mist (SoulShares #6), read them all and come wait with me.
Cover Artist: Insatiable Designs. The men are certainly handsome and close to my idea of the characters. But where is that magical element?
Published July 12th 2015 by Smashwords Edition
series SoulShares #5