Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Club Raven Novel
After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.
Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.
Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga is the best of the 3 Club Raven stories in my opinion. All three are have at their center Club Raven, a mysterious living structure located at the locus of paranormal and/or supernatural power. On the outside its a gentlemen’s club for the wealthy with kinky tastes, occasional dungeon parties in the 1890’s sort of thing but inside? It houses men (and beings) with varying powers who conduct research, provide their own sort of paranormal law enforcement, power training, well, they do whatever they feel is necessary to protect themselves and the fact that paranormals exist. It provides these authors with a broad base with which to have their stories and character flow in whatever direction they choose within the vaguest of constraints. There is only a small circle of characters that interact with each other in each story. And yes, all three definitely use the BDSM and D/s elements in their relationships.
Here, B.A. Tortuga uses those two elements in the strongest most logical manner. Its also one of the reasons I feel this is the best of the three stories. That and the characters have layers, real depth to them lacking in the other stories.
Patrick Daniels’ twin brother has died on the battlefield that Patrick survived. Those circumstances are mysterious but now he’s being pushed by his family to marry his brother’s fiancée and take over his brother’s responsibilities. There’s a couple of problems with this plan of his father’s. One is Patrick’s attraction to men (not a legal or understandable thing in the 1890’s). The other? A head injury that has left Patrick with memory issues and now the power to call up a power with enough destructive force to blowup buildings. Of course, his family would call it the devil in him. So he’s hauled off in a cage to Club Raven.
Tortuga gives us the man with memories that come and go, flashes of something full of pain, stresses that bring on power he can’t control, and a wound in the back of his head he won’t let anyone near. He’s a danger to himself and everyone around him. The choices are dire. Kill him or teach him. Immediately.
This is where Remy Blanchard comes in. Another great character who understands and sees something in this young, wounded man. And not just because Patrick is gorgeous. But his pain and need. In so many ways, Patrick is a blank slate because of his wounds (physical and emotional). Here the D/s dynamics make sense as does the need for the relationship to start immediately. There is no time for them to move slowly because of the threat Patrick’s uncontrolled power poses to everyone (towns) in the vicinity and the possible exposure of paranormals to the outside world. Something to be avoided at all costs. Still Remy is as gentle and kind as he can be.
I actually wanted to rate this story higher yet a few things held me back. One was some of the unanswered questions that remained at the end of the story. I wasn’t sure if that was because the author intended on revisiting this couple or what have you. I don’t want to go into these “holes” here but they pertain to Patrick’s history and brother. It was hinted at and I kept coming up with several possible options of my own. But to never know exactly what the truth was is still a teeth grinding issue. Other than that? Just an terrific tale. Read this, skip the other two. And yes, I hope BA Tortuga eventually comes back to this and gives me the answers I seek about Patrick and his brother.
Cover art again works for the series branding and for the characters in the story.
ebook, 201 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Evil Plot Bunny LLC
SeriesClub Raven #3