Rating: 4.5 🌈
The Skeleton Under The Stairs is the third book in the Beyond the Veil series and the one that wraps up Ward and Mason’s section of the series.
And while it’s a much better story then the previous one, The Boy in the Locked Room #2, it still leaves so many elements, minor to major, dangling within this couple’s story thread that I find it hard to think it successfully finalizes their part in the series arc.
The main couple consists of Ward Campion, medium via the magical ability granting Arcanavirus, who now has new magical abilities that point to him being a warlock. That new power, plus the recent combination of his business with Lost Lineage Foundation, which helps those find their deceased family, and their upcoming marriage, has him overly stressed about finances and insecurities.
His partner, Mason Manning, ex professor, historian, witch , orc, also has his problems. His very young nephew is a death witch and just coming into his powers. The only people who can reasonably help him are Mason and the overly stressed Edward.
I do like how Avery doesn’t play down Ward’s feelings about taking on a child with terrifying unstable powers into their home when he also feels that he needs Mason’s time and care too. He’s still very vulnerable, the trial for his assault coming up. And then there’s new murders to investigate.
You feel every bit as overwhelmed as Ward does.. He’s a bit ashamed that he’s reluctant to take on a child who needs them, but that’s wholly human.
More so because that child, Jackson, is beautifully characterized and real. His cries for help are heart wrenching.
The shadow magical organization, Antiquus Ordo Arcanum , that’s behind so many horrors, returns in a terrifying mystery that’s the title theme.
We get new fascinating ghosts, new magical powers, and elements as viewed and used by multiple characters. It’s another well done section.
The relationship between Mason and Ward continues to strengthen as each becomes more aware of each other’s issues, theirs feelings that hurt and help the bond they have grow. Avery, thankfully, toned down the number of sex scenes to allow page time for the couple to work through important issues as they came up when certain events triggered them.
There’s a wonderful dramatic climax but it’s hindered by a lack of foundation laid for the final events, that some pivotal elements and key players were allowed to just fade away, while others curiously stayed. As well as the fact that the criminals /company weren’t exactly dissolved but disbanded.
There are other small threads left dangling too. Jackson ‘s power. Ward’s power , the strange tingling in his back. I could go on about elements brought up and either discarded or forgotten.
It just seems as though there’s another book in Ward and Mason’s story needed to finish their story off.
Especially since the fourth book is Detective Hart’s.
So this is a wonderful book but not a great one. There’s many terrific elements, especially the Arcanavirus that changes people but that aspect too is delegated to the background other than people wearing masks in order not to catch it . It’s a shame because that’s a fascinating concept that got sidelined after the first book.
I’ll recommend it , with reservations about the second story. This is the best of the three. If you enjoy paranormal stories, check it out.
I’ll be picking up Hart’s story when it rolls out.
Beyond The Veil series:
✓ The Ghost in the Hall #1
✓ The Boy in the Locked Room #2
✓ The Skeleton Under the Stairs #3
◦ The Dog in the Alley (Beyond the Veil Book 4) – Oct 27, 2022 Detective Hart’s story
There was a poltergeist on the stairs.
And she wasn’t the only one.
The house was full of restless spirits—all of them killed by the Antiquus Ordo Arcanum, a secret society that didn’t seem to care much for the welfare of either the living or the dead. And Mason and I—along with Hart and Sylvia—are right in the middle of it.
If that weren’t enough, Mason’s nephew, Jackson, is starting to have nightmares, and when you’re from a family of witches, that can only mean one thing—your power is growing, and you’ve also just become a threat to your own family. In our case, that means Jackson has to come live with us so that Mason can help him learn to control his power, which means that my home life is just about as chaotic—and dangerous—as my work life. Let me tell you, I’m getting pretty sick of hospitals and bandages and sleepless nights.
Oh, and I think I might be a warlock.
Things are going from chaos to worse, and somehow we still have to plan a wedding. And we haven’t so much as picked out the cake.
HEA M/M Paranormal Romance
Book Three in the Beyond the Veil Series
The final book in Mason & Ward’s story
Book One: The Ghost in the Hall
Book Two: The Boy in the Locked Room
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.