A Lila Audiobook Review: Once Upon a Wolf (Wayward Wolves #1) by Rhys Ford and Derrick McClain Narrator)

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs – or four – and quiet evenings…until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough – right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf – loving Gibson with all his secrets – has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big, bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.

Once Upon a Wolf has an interesting concept and a slow development. It has a different take on werewolves’ dynamics and relationships. I’m glad it was not an insta-love story–which I love as well-but the pacing gives the reader the chance to understand what makes this short story unique.

The story is more about the relationship between Ellis, Gibson, and Zack than a love story. I really like all the characters, especially Ellis. His relationship with Gibson and how they communicate even when he was in wolf form show the author’s attention to detail. Zach was a bit of a puzzle and I wanted more from him and his background.

Like most short stories, the amount of world-build and new information takes a lot of time to develop, leaving little time for other aspects of the story. It’s a strong start to a series, and I hope book two is better than this one.

Derrick McClain didn’t do much for this story. It felt flat and I have trouble following the characters at times. Other scenes were a bit over the top.

The cover by Reece Notley is simple and to the point just like the story. It’s interesting enough to make people stop and read the blurb.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Derrick McClain
Length: 3 hours and 49 minutes
Published: May 16, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07D314G4X

Edition Language: EnglishSeries: Wayward Wolves
Book #1: Once Upon a Wolf

New Release Book Blitz Demon Familiar (Wanted #1) by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham (except and giveaway)

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Title:  Demon Familiar

Series: Wanted #1

Author: Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: June 19th 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 96,000 words

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Alternate Reality

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Synopsis

Sometimes when you don’t know what you want, life gives you what you need.

When Neil Markovic witnesses the murder of his mother by Bone Men his world is thrown into turmoil. On the run from the assassins that killed her, his sorcerer father and the police, Neil finds help in the form of a tall half fae alchemist named Malachai. Mal seems more accepting than most of Neil’s demon bloodline, but curiously immune to his charms.

Malachai Valentine, disgraced scion of a noble Leprechaun clan, back in the Old Country, is happy living as an anonymous scrap dealer. Using his talent for alchemy to make fuel and potions, most days he doesn’t even think of his ruinous past. When a scared young man with a fancy car crashes into his life, at first, Mal thinks he can do without the hassle. But as Neil begins to get under his skin, Mal starts to reassess his hopes and ambitions.

Harassed by megalomaniac fae and stalked by sorcerous killers at every turn, Malachai and Neil must fight to be free, and to find what they both truly wanted.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder and non-consensual sex.

Excerpt

Neil set the bushel of summer squash into the panel van with the rest of the produce ready to go to market tomorrow morning and jumped down. Mr. Yaetz patted him on the back. “That’s the last one. Good job, Neil. You best head home now. Don’t want to get caught outside the wards after nightfall, ’specially not in that fancy car.”

Neil stifled a wince and forced himself not to look around to see who might have overheard the mention of his ‘fancy car’. Mr. Yaetz didn’t mean anything by it, but the car was a sore point with his co-workers at the small greenhouse and urban farm lot. None of them had their own vehicle, much less a sleek convertible sports car. Explaining that it was his mother’s, not his, hadn’t stopped the digs about his ‘slumming with the common folk’ or brought him any closer to the camaraderie the rest of them shared.

“Thanks, Mr. Yaetz. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Neil told him and turned toward the front lot. He glanced at the horizon automatically, judging how much time he had. About forty-five minutes, maybe an hour. More than enough for the short drive home. He wasn’t likely to come across any shadow beasts here on the outskirts of the city but a pack hunting farther afield was always a possibility. Of course, if he did run across shadow beasts, they would have to catch him first and the Maserati was both fast and agile.

Neil slid behind the wheel and the powerful engine purred to life. With the sun slowly sinking behind him, he swung the car out onto the road and headed for home.

As expected, Neil pulled into the driveway with plenty of daylight left and no encounters with any creatures that came out after dark. Climbing the front steps, his thoughts preoccupied with a shower and dinner, he almost missed the broken seal on his front door. He stopped cold. The warding glyph, usually a subtle shimmering gold, was inert, dull gray and cracked with lines of black. A sick knot cramped in his belly and Neil pressed his thumb down on the latch and pushed the door open but hesitated on the threshold.

“Mom?”

He listened. No answer.

Neil stepped into the foyer and slowly moved into the hall. A picture had been knocked off the wall and the broken glass from the frame glittered in the fading sunlight streaming in behind him.

“Mom?” he called again, louder.

Something crashed in the kitchen, the metallic clatter of pans hitting the tile floor. Neil ran in that direction.

His mother screamed, “Neil, get out! Get out!”

Heart hammering, he skidded into the kitchen. A black-clad, hooded man held on to his struggling mother. Another man stood next to them with a curved knife in his hand—his eyes were flat black and icy cold as they slid over him. Neil rushed them, yelling, “Get away from her!” The man with the knife lifted his free arm and flung the outstretched fingers of his empty hand at him. Neil hit the stop spell so hard it jarred him from teeth to toes, knocking him on his ass.

“Neil!” his mother shrieked.

He lifted his head in time to see the man who had floored him lift the knife and draw it down the side of her throat and across her shoulder in two professional, vicious slashes. The other man let her go as her eyes went wide and her hands flew up to clutch at the wounds. The blood didn’t spray everywhere like it did in the movies. It welled up in a gush of red that soaked the front of her shirt as she choked and gasped then fell down on her knees.

“Mom! No!” Neil scrambled to his feet. The two men moved toward him in unison as his mother crumpled, face down on the floor. Her body sounded like a wet rag hitting the tiles and a shocking pool of red spread under her.

“Take him,” the one holding the bloody knife said. His voice was low, emotionless and without accent, like an automaton in one of the old films they occasionally streamed when the comms satellite was functioning.

On autopilot, Neil grabbed the pendant that hung on the chain around his neck and ripped it off, throwing it on the floor. The man reached to stop him, but it was too late. The glass pendant shattered and a wall of noxious smoke rose between him and the killers. It wouldn’t hold them long, a minute if he was lucky. Probably less. He turned and ran back down the hall, fleeing the house.

He stumbled down the steps and fumbled the keys from his pocket, hitting the lock button. He yanked the door open and was shaking so badly he dropped the keys on the floor.

“Fuck! Fuck!” He reached down and his fingers just touched the ring as the killers came running out of the front door. Neil grabbed the keyring and jammed the right key in the ignition. For one horrible second, he was sure it wouldn’t start even though he’d just driven the car home. The engine turned over as smooth as a kitten’s purr and he slammed the shifter in reverse just as the man with the blade grabbed the driver’s door handle. Neil put his foot down on the pedal. The tires squealed and the car shot backward down the driveway and into the street.

Blood pounded in his ears, almost drowning out the engine sounds as he threw the car into drive and floored the gas, clutching the steering wheel hard enough to turn his knuckles white. He looked in the rear-view mirror as he sped away. They would come after him. He turned at the next intersection. Then turned again. And again. He tried to focus on what to do next but all he could see was the shock and anguish on his mother’s face before she fell, and that bright pool of red spreading out under her. He looked in the mirror again but saw no sign of the men that had killed her. That didn’t mean anything. They could come, he knew it. He was heading out of the city following pure instinct, but now he slowed the car for just a moment. At the next turn, he doubled back the way he’d come.

Out of the city might seem safer, but it wasn’t. He had little money and the car would take him only so far. He needed resources.

He forced his fingers to relax on the steering wheel but his hands still shook. When he took a breath, it was shaky too. The red had been so stark against her blonde hair. Her eyes…had they been blank before she fell or after she hit the floor? No. No he couldn’t think of that now. He raised and hand and swiped at his wet cheeks.

Bone Men. Their name whispered across Neil’s mind in his father’s voice, from one of his many lessons. Assassins. Twisted by the sorcery that enhanced them, marked by the lives they took. Had she been their target? Was her death retribution for something his father had done? Or…or were they there for him?

His mind raced as fast as his pulse and the car he was driving. He took another deep breath and eased his foot back off the pedal a few degrees. He needed a clear head. He needed a plan. But first he needed somewhere to hide. Instinct told him to find someone he trusted, but his training overrode that idea. He could hear his father’s voice in his ear again. Trust no one, Nielob. If they come for you, go to ground. Speak to no one you know. Hide and wait. I will find you.

Not if he could help it. If he had his way, he’d lose both the Bone Men and his father, for good. The car would get him a good distance but he couldn’t keep it. It was traceable. He’d drive into the city, find someone he could sell the car to for scrap and use the money to get a ticket to as far away as it would take him.

He couldn’t take the car directly to a salvage yard without a title, too risky. He needed a fence. Months ago, while he’d been watering seedlings at work, he’d overheard Carl bragging about how his uncle was going to get a real car, one with a combustion engine. No one had believed him and Carl had gotten mad. Insisted his uncle knew a guy that dealt in contraband autos in the city. Hammersfell Road, next to the old Ackard Motors factory. There was a warehouse where they had raves. The fence organized them. Neil had no way of knowing if the bragging was just lies, but he had filed the information away anyway. His chin gave an odd quiver and the tightness in his throat squeezed hard enough to choke him. No. He couldn’t give in to tears now. He couldn’t afford to let out the sobs that threatened him. A safe place first. The grief tasted of bitter acid and wanted to strangle him, but he swallowed it down and kept going.

Purchase

Pride Publishing | Amazon

Meet the Author

Bellora Quinn

Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels. The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings and many with a strong BDSM flavour.

Sadie Rose Bermingham

A storyteller since before she started school, Sadie also enjoys reading, photography, live music and long walks on the beach. Sadie has worked as a bookseller, a pedigree editor for the racing industry and a local and family history researcher. Originally from the north of England, she has been working her way across the UK ever since. She currently resides on the south east coast with her long term partner, where she hopes to buy a mobile home and establish a whippet farm.

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New Release Blitz for The Merchant’s Love (Chronicles of Tournai #6) by Antonia Acquilante (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The Merchant’s Love

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Six

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: June 18, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 106100

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, fantasy, paranormal, shifters, cats, magic users, demisexual, bisexual, family drama, royalty, friends to lovers, slow burn

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Synopsis

Faelen, cousin to the prince and son of a diplomat, has finally come home to Tournai after years away. The pull to return was almost tangible, and the sense of rightness at being back is absolute. He wants nothing more than to put down roots and build a life among family while pursuing his linguistic studies. Becoming involved in magic meant to protect Tournai isn’t part of his plans…but falling in love is even more unexpected and unfamiliar, but he finds himself doing just that as his friendship with Maxen deepens into something more.

Maxen, second son of a wealthy merchant family, longs to leave Tournai and see everywhere he can. All his life, he’s found places on maps and dreamed, planning out routes to get to them. For now, he’s tied to Tournai’s capital city by family obligations and his position in their shipping business. Someday, though, he’ll be able to travel. His sudden attraction to Faelen shocks him, but their friendship soon becomes a necessary part of his life. Love, however, has no place in his plans, especially not love for a royal cousin with secrets who wants nothing more than to stay in one place.

For Faelen and Maxen to build something real between them, they must resolve their differences, but when magic goes awry and all Faelen’s secrets are revealed, will Maxen remain at his side?

Excerpt

The Merchant’s Love
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
In the last decade since his father was appointed ambassador to the kingdom of Teilo, Faelen had been on the grounds of Tournai’s royal palace three times, if he included today. The relief, happiness, and utter sense of home flooding through him as soon as he stepped off the boat had been shocking in its intensity, but not surprising otherwise. Sometime in the middle of the journey, he’d been hit with the bone-deep certainty that he needed to be back in Tournai. He’d mentioned it to Alexander, who admitted feeling the same—which Faelen was happy to hear from his twin, even if it did make the whole thing stranger.

He tried not to dwell on it, which was made a bit easier because of his discomfort that they were arriving unannounced and uninvited.

Well, not entirely uninvited. Faelen’s cousin Etan was getting married in a couple of weeks, and the entire family had been invited to the wedding, but Faelen couldn’t imagine Philip, the crown prince, and Amory, his husband, expected them to descend on the palace for it. Faelen certainly hadn’t expected them to make the long trip to Tournai, but Mother had other reasons for bringing him, Alexander, and Thibault back home.

He and Alexander would be staying in Jumelle longer than that if they had their way.

They alighted from the hired carriage at the palace, a servant handing Mother down and the rest of them following. If the servant was surprised to see Princess Edine and her three sons (and quite a few trunks), he didn’t show it, even if their arrival would cause a scramble to ready rooms for their party.

Faelen stopped as soon as his feet touched the stones of the courtyard and looked up. The palace towers soared above him, white stone glowing in the afternoon sunlight. Like something out of a tale. He’d always thought so, and no amount of visits could end that fancy.

Alexander leaned into his shoulder, just enough to divert Faelen’s attention. He looked into his twin’s face, nearly identical to his own. Alexander’s eyes were without their usual gleam of mischief. “Come on. No time to daydream.”

“I’m just looking.” Still, he set off walking quickly at Alexander’s side, but not so quickly that they’d catch up to Mother and the others who’d gotten well ahead of them. “I always think I’m exaggerating how beautiful it is in my thoughts, but I’m not.”

“No.” Alexander smiled slightly as he trotted up the stairs to the open doors. “We’ll get to see more of it now. Unless we get shipped off to Grandfather with Thibault.”

Faelen went cold all over. No. He loved Grandfather, but he didn’t want to be stuck so far from Jumelle and the university. He and Alexander had been pursuing their studies at the university in Teilo before Mother insisted they return to Tournai. Thibault would be going to Grandfather to help him with running his modest estate, which would one day be his. Faelen and Alexander had no part in that, and Faelen refused to give up all he’d accomplished so far and all he hoped to because of the move.

Alexander clasped his hand. “Don’t worry. We’ll stay in the city.”

The “somehow” was unspoken. Their parents didn’t keep a house in the city. Before the marriage, Father’s family wouldn’t have been able to afford it. With what Mother brought to it, they could have, but it would’ve been pointless with Father’s diplomatic ambitions. Faelen and Alexander couldn’t afford a house on their own at this point, and Mother had made no mention of providing lodgings in her hasty, yet vehement, instructions that they pack everything. Faelen and Alexander had discussed it in whispers on the boat, wondering whether they could take rooms together in the university quarter. They’d talked before about returning to Tournai on their own, but Mother had surprised them before they’d made any plans.

“Of course, we will,” Faelen responded.

“Faelen, Alexander. Don’t dawdle.” Mother’s voice floated back to them, not loud but still echoing in the enormous entry hall.

Alexander rolled his eyes eloquently, and Faelen forced back a smile and nodded. Nevertheless, they obediently quickened their pace to catch up. Mother sailed through the palace corridors, her heels tapping on the marble floors with authority, as if she wasn’t following behind a servant leading them somewhere.

Which turned out to be a small parlor in the guest wing of the palace. Mother’s lips turned down in a slight frown, but Faelen wasn’t sure what she’d anticipated. No one expected them. It was unrealistic to think rooms would be waiting for them at all times.

“Have the princes been notified of our arrival?” Mother asked the servant.

“Their Highnesses are being notified now, Princess Edine. I’ll bring refreshments for you.” He bowed and left at her dismissal.

“I’ll suppose we’ll have to wait, then. I’d prefer to have been settled in our rooms first, but we’ll have to make do.” Mother seated herself in a velvet-cushioned chair near the fireplace where a small fire crackled. Thibault took a chair near her, but Alexander wandered to the windows. Faelen paused for a moment, indecisive, and then drifted over to where Alexander stood.

The windows looked out over the garden, their position one floor up giving them a decent vantage point. In the falling dusk, lanterns had been lit along the paths closer to the palace, and Faelen caught sight of a couple strolling along one of them, the men holding hands and seemingly in no hurry. He squinted, trying to see who they were in the shadows, but the door opened before he could.

He turned to find not a maid with the expected refreshments but Philip and Amory. Philip was Faelen’s cousin—his father had been Mother’s oldest brother—and he’d come to the throne only about five years ago after the sudden, untimely death of his parents. Faelen and his family had returned to Tournai for the funerals and the coronation, the first time he’d been back since they’d left for Teilo when he was all of ten years old. They returned again when Philip shocked everyone by marrying Amory, a man and a commoner. Faelen liked what little he’d found out of Amory then, and Amory had certainly won over Tournai in the meantime. Faelen was hoping to get to know him better—and Philip too, as the last he’d spent time with Philip he’d been a child and Philip just into his teenage years. He looked forward to meeting their son, Julien, as well.

Philip had the look of Tournai’s royal family—something Faelen and Alexander strayed from slightly—with his dark hair and classically handsome features. He carried himself as the ruler he was, and his hazel eyes were sharp as they took in the room. Amory was a match for him in looks with his dark eyes and shining auburn curls. He seemed to have grown into his role, carrying himself with more confidence than Faelen remembered at their wedding.

“Aunt Edine,” Philip said as he came into the room, and they all bowed or curtsied. “And Thibault, Alexander, and Faelen. What a surprise. We didn’t expect you.”

Mother didn’t move to embrace Philip. She wasn’t the type for demonstrations of affection, especially to the crown prince, even if he was her nephew. “We left Teilo quite suddenly. A boat was about to depart that would get us here in time for Etan’s wedding.”

“Etan will be happy you’re all able to attend.” Philip didn’t mention that no one had dreamed they would. “And, of course, Amory and I would be delighted if you would stay here at the palace while you remain in Jumelle.”

“Thank you, Philip. We’d be honored to accept your hospitality.” She left it unsaid that she’d certainly anticipated the invitation. Faelen doubted there had been a thought otherwise in her mind.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

Under a Blue Moon by Bru Baker is another strong novel in her Camp H.O.W.L. series. Camp H.O.W.L. is a highly expensive, secluded extended training ground for all were’s undergoing their first shifts.  Complete with psychologists, trainers, other doctors, and seasoned counselors who have been through it all, these teenagers are there to understand their new status and adjust that to the outside world…ie without letting the humans know that shifters exist.

It’s a remarkable theme to base a series on and it absolutely works as various staff have rotated out with each story.  Plus we have gotten to know the staff that remain as well as some endearing and not so endearing teens.

In Under a Blue Moon we have two new staff arriving at Camp H.O.W.L., one arriving as a result of the coupling from the first story (highly recommended).  It starts off hot, anonymous, and yes, meet cute.  Then things go downhill from there.

I really loved that beginning but unfortunately it sets up Nick Perry as a bit of a jerk for most of the rest of the story.   His stubbornness in failing to see Drew as anything other than a frail, unworthy human becomes especially irritating in the face of Drew having proved over and over that he’s anything but. I could see it at first but it carried on throughout the storyline far too long imo. Throw in the fact that Drew has been raised in a  pack environment for most of his life?  Well, after the upteenth time, you just get tired of reading about Nick period.  It wears you down.

What redeems the story is Drew.  He’s a terrific character as are all the secondary ones around him, many of whom you have met already in the first story.  The series basics as well as the book foundations are amazing.  They push you through the annoying elements until finally Nick overcomes his “human blindness” and sees the real Drew who is more than a match for him.

There was a lovely ending and of course, it makes me want the next story even more.

Want a great twist on a shifter romance and series?  Look no farther than the Camp H.O.W.L. series by Bru Baker.

Cover art:  Aaron Anderson.  Love the cover.  Works in every way.

Sales Links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: June 19th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640806962
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Camp H.O.W.L.

Camp H.O.W.L.

Under a Blue Moon

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Recruit by Addison Albright

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Phillip Brewer has terminal cancer. Considering his youth, that death sentence is shocking and depressing so he spends his good days walking around and enjoying the sights Mother Nature provides, knowing his time for joy is limited. When he meets Albert Manlii, a good-looking older man, he’s immediately attracted at first, and then he’s intrigued by the bizarre proposal Albert makes. Albert is offering him eternal life if Phillip chooses to join his organization. That organization is made up of vampires and its sole purpose seems to be to keep them functioning as a society without coming to the attention of humans.

Intriguing? Yes. But he must agree immediately and then the conversion will be done as soon as he agrees. So saying yes and diving in with both feet, he’s suddenly a part of this vast organization and he’s most definitely in the midst of a romance that he’s unprepared for. It seems Albert is his soulmate and that couldn’t make Phillip happier.

The story had so much potential but the action and execution was choppy. It’s as if the author wanted to cover everything and made an outline of key points. Then she filled in those points but not enough and somewhere along the way there’s a disconnect. Scenes don’t feel complete. New situations aren’t fully explored. The romance is fast, definitely insta-love, though that’s somewhat normal for a soulmate situation. But even the scenes of the two together are sketchy at best. Every scene seems rushed. It would likely have been so much better if it was much more fully developed.

But on the whole, I liked this story and I definitely liked the concept. Unfortunately, the execution keeps me from going any higher than 3 stars.

~~

The cover by Written Ink Designs features a close-up of a young man in a hoodie with blood at the corner of his mouth. This represents Phillip’s initial vampire bite and fits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Amazon |    Books2Read Universal Buy-Link | Publisher/JMS Books, LLC

Book Details:

ebook, 69 pages
Expected publication: June 16th 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN139781634866668
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://authoraddisonalbright.com/my-publications/stand-alone-stories/the-recruit/
CharactersAlbert Manlii, Phillip Brewer, Neil Franklin

A MelanieM Review: Butterfly Assassin by Annabelle Jacobs

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Murder, mystery, and an inconvenient attraction… 

Shifter Aaron Harper gets drawn into illegal underground fighting to keep an eye on his best friend. The thrill of the fight keeps him coming back for more, but discovery could mean imprisonment and banishment from their pack. Without a beta to watch over them, common sense takes a back seat.

Michael Archer of the Shifter Crimes Task Force is investigating recent murders. Despite the brutal cause of death pointing to the work of a shifter’s claws, instinct tells him a well-known nightclub owner is involved, but they have no proof.

Aaron and Michael’s paths cross after another body with the same injuries is discovered. With Aaron finding himself on the wrong side of the SCTF and Michael looking for a killer, any attraction between them is both ill-advised and unlikely. But fate has other ideas.

Butterfly Assassin is a story written in one of this author’s favorite universes of mine, that of the Regent’s Park Pack series.  It’s an ongoing wolf shifter series that just keeps getting better with each couple and story so I was delighted to see a standalone novel set in that universe pop up as a new release.

There are a few crossover characters (the scary Council) but mainly this murder mystery has it’s own wonderful group of shifter and human pairings and characters to get acquainted with.  Like the members of the Clapham Common Pack such as Aaron, Harry, Sam (shifters) and the human crew of the Shifter Task Force (Michael Archer and his partner Frank Coldwell to name the most important).  There are, of course, so many more here.

The story begins in the illegal world of the underground fights.  Aaron’s best friend has gotten himself deep into this world via betting and brought Aaron along with him.  Now Aaron is know as the Butterfly Assassin, an “unbeatable human fighter”, a problem in itself as Aaron is a wolf shifter.  And a wolf fighting a human?  Illegal in so many ways on top of the illegal fights.

Jacobs brings this gritty, bloody world alive along with the way a wolf’s super senses make the scene awash with unpleasant odors and sounds.  While I loved this aspect, the rest, including Harry and Aaron’s relationship takes a while to track.  That makes connecting the murders and delving into the meat of this story a bit of a delay.

More of this universe gets filled out which I love.  The biting to save a life, the rules and regs governing shifters and humans. It all makes the series foundation is more solid.

Although, once it happens…it zings!

However, what does hold this back from a bit of a higher rating is the comparison to a more recent story in the Regent’s Park Pack series.  And it’s a couple comparison…the other  couple is even brought up here.  I’m going to go into a bit of detail so maybe you can see why this story  leaves me a bit sad.

In book 4, Bitten by the Alpha,  Alpha Cam had lost his human wife in the shifter wars and vowed never to love again.  But he fell in love with his Beta, Gareth, they mated and bonded in this story.  During which Cam admitted that while he loved his human wife deeply, finally bonding with a wolf shifter was like nothing he had ever felt before.  He finally felt complete because he could now “feel” his mate through the mate bond.  In other words, it was something he  now  knows he was missing his human wife, and the love he had felt for her was pale in comparison for the love he now felt for Gareth.

Here the couple is  again a shifter and a human who doesn’t want to be turned, so they will never have that mate bond between shifters. They even mention Cam and his wife as an example of it working.  But if you read Cam’s story, you know that really, Cam now realizes he never had a “true” love as much as he did love her, he and his wolf were always missing something.

That knowledge sort of haunts this romance for me.  True both Aaron and Michael are only at the very beginnings of their relationship but Michael seems firm in remaining human.  So HFN but what future?  For me this was a hot romance.  I loved the couple but honestly wondered what the future held for them both.

I would like to see if  Annabelle Jacobs played with this  pack again.  There were several open ends here.  What happens to Wilson?  And Harry seriously needs someone to take him in hand before he gets in trouble again.

So yes, I really liked this story.  The mystery was terrific. Full of suspense, great action, and really fast pace! If you haven’t read the other stories, that lack of bond might not bother you as it clearly does me. They are a great couple.

And yes I do recommend this story.

Cover art:  Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Design.  I love this cover.  Broody, hot, and totally Aaron.

Sales Links

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 280 pages
Published June 8th 2018
ASINB07DJ1L29H
Edition LanguageEnglish

In Our New Release Spotlight: Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker (special excerpt and guest post)

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Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art: Bree Archer

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker back talking about her latest release, Under a Blue Moon. the  second is her marvelous Camp H.O.W.L. series. Welcome, Bru.

♦︎

 

 

I’m here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to kick off the tour for Under a Blue Moon, the second book in the Camp H.O.W.L. series. Thanks for joining me!

I had a lot of fun with Tate and Adrian in book one, but I really wanted to come back to Camp H.O.W.L. so readers could get more of an idea about what a luxury werewolf camp for teens going through the Turn (aka their wolfy puberty) would be like. So this time around, we get to see more of the activities and day-to-day life at Camp H.O.W.L.

Both Drew and Nick are new hires at Camp H.O.W.L., so readers will get to experience the camp through fresh eyes. It was a lot of fun to write the two of them sampling the classes–I think my favorite has to be Agility Training, which Drew calls Werewolf Parkour. Since he’s human, he doesn’t have a great time with that one.

Drew and Nick meet on the way down to Camp H.O.W.L. Nick is struggling to cope with all the smells and sounds on the plane when things take a turn for the worse and a socked foot comes through gap in the seat to sit on his armrest. Drew comes to his rescue and gets the foot to retreat–and before you say that’s unrealistic, it happened to me on a recent flight to Los Angeles. The hilarious thing is it happened well after I wrote about it. I guess I had bad karma for putting poor Nick and Drew through it.

If Nick and Drew knew they were going to be working together their first meeting probably would have gone differently. But they were just two strangers on a plane, and when a storm grounded the plane and they had to deal with an unexpected layover, they let their mutual attraction take its course.

All hell breaks loose when Nick realizes the attractive, funny human he’d slept with is the new doctor at Camp H.O.W.L. I wouldn’t call Nick specist, but he has some definite beliefs about whether or not a werewolf and a human can relate to each other enough to have a successful relationship. Luckily, Drew spends the book proving him wrong at every corner.

Excerpt:

Nick’s seat shook as the person behind him moved around, and a second later a socked foot emerged between the seats and propped itself on Nick’s armrest. Nick gritted his teeth and fought the urge to whirl around and bare shifted fangs at the person. At least the foot didn’t smell, but still. Common decency.

He was never flying with an airline that didn’t give you seat assignments again, no matter how outrageous the baggage fees were on other carriers. He normally boarded shortly before the flight attendants closed the doors, but on this airline he’d been assigned a boarding position, and if he hadn’t boarded early, he’d have been stuck in an even worse spot than he was in now. At least the seat next to him was empty.

He’d taken the window because it was the farthest he could get from the other passengers, and thankfully the person who’d sat in his aisle had left a seat between them. With any luck it would stay empty.

Nick leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes, but that only magnified his other senses. He could hear the baggage handlers tossing suitcases into the cargo hold underneath them and the low hum of the pilots running through their preflight checks. A kid a few rows back needed a diaper change, and someone else was watching one of those annoying BuzzFeed videos without headphones.

His flight from Denver to St. Louis had left so early that his fellow passengers had been blissfully quiet. Most had slept. He’d stuffed his earbuds in and listened to Morrissey wail about toxic relationships and the failings of the human condition to while away the two and a half hours.

This flight was barely an hour in the air, so with any luck he’d make it to Indianapolis before his migraine made his head explode.

“Sorry, just sliding by,” a voice said, and a moment later someone dropped into the seat next to him. He heard a hiss and a squeal from the row behind them, and when he cracked open an eye, he was gratified to see a laptop bag sitting on top of the armrest-stealing foot.

The bag lifted and the socked foot disappeared abruptly amid angry muttering from the girl it belonged to. Nick wondered if offering the man a high five would be considered rude.

“Sorry,” the man mouthed when Nick turned to him. “That was probably rude, but oh my God, who does that?”

The man gestured toward the armrest, and Nick half fell in love in that moment. He’d done it on purpose! And he was gorgeous, Nick realized as he took in the man’s strong jaw and broad shoulders. His cheeks were flushed like he’d had to run to catch the flight, and holy hell, between that and the bedhead, the effect went straight to Nick’s groin.

“Sociopaths,” Nick mouthed back. “Same people who bring Chipotle on the plane.”

Blurb:

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them, and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of Drew’s private practice patients threatens his life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?


Buy links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Review Tour and Giveaway – Butterfly Assassin by Annabelle Jacobs

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Buy Links: Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2JbEM1C

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2JaNPQl

 
Length: 82,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Set in the Regent’s Park pack world


Clapham Common—a new pack with their own set of problems…


Shifter Aaron Harper gets drawn into illegal underground fighting to keep an eye on his best friend. The thrill of the fight keeps him coming back for more, but discovery could mean imprisonment and banishment from their pack. Without a beta to watch over them, common sense takes a back seat.


Michael Archer of the Shifter Crimes Task Force is investigating recent murders. Despite the brutal cause of death pointing to the work of a shifter’s claws, instinct tells him a well-known nightclub owner is involved, but they have no proof.


Aaron and Michael’s paths cross after another body with the same injuries is discovered. With Aaron finding himself on the wrong side of the SCTF and Michael looking for a killer, any attraction between them is both ill-advised and unlikely. But fate has other ideas.

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

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Blitz Tour for The Recruit by Addison Albright (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The Recruit

Author: Addison Albright

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Release Date: June 16, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: Novella / 69 pages in PDF / 22,181 words

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, HEA, Gay, Bisexual, Contemporary, Bargain, Hope, Blood Mates

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Albert Manlii has walked this earth for more than two thousand years, but survival on his own was never easy. Now he leads a faction of highly organized vampires who carefully guard the secret of their existence. Unlike the old days, potential recruits are carefully selected and presented with an offer.

Phillip Brewer has weeks to live—if he lets his disease run its course. He doesn’t want to die, but given a choice, will his desire to live outweigh his concerns about the vampires’ ethics?

When the new recruit’s missteps are cause for concern, can Albert control the fallout, or will Phillip’s life once again be torn apart?

Excerpt

The man moved to the bench and raised a brow in a welcoming fashion, silently inviting Phillip to join him. Phillip shrugged. He’d planned to sit here anyway, so why not have a conversation with a pleasant man while he did it?

“My name’s Albert.” He held out a hand, and Phillip shook it. The hand felt cooler than Phillip expected for someone walking on a warm day, but not exceptionally so. Perhaps he had a fever himself, and that made the man’s hand seem cooler than normal.

“Phillip.” He didn’t elaborate. There wasn’t anything he could think of to add. Small talk eluded him.

“I’m pleased to meet you, Phillip.” Albert paused, as if gathering his thoughts.

“Likewise.” Phillip kept his reply simple. Oddly enough, something about the gravity of Albert’s demeanor gave him the impression the man had directed him to the bench with a purpose in mind that had nothing to do with idle chit-chat, so he might as well let the man control the conversation. Albert didn’t give off a crazed serial-killer vibe, not that it would matter at this point as long as whatever he chose to do didn’t add pain to Phillip’s death. Not likely he’d try anything like that in broad daylight with people around, anyway.

Albert looked directly into his eyes with a steady gaze. “Phillip, I want to show you something, and I ask that you keep an open mind and hear me out before reacting.”

Phillip sat back. He hadn’t developed any expectations for this conversation, but if he had, this direction wasn’t anything he would have considered.

“I think we can help each other,” Albert continued.

“I’m dying,” Phillip said. He would have thought his appearance made that apparent, but perhaps not. “Whatever you have in mind, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to make a deal with you.”

“Please, hear me out.” Albert held out an arm. “This seems like an unusual request, I know, but I’d like you to examine my arm. Go ahead and touch it. I want you to assure yourself that it is, indeed, my real arm and not any kind of advanced prosthetic or makeup designed to create a special effect.”

Phillips eyes widened. “Unusual request” was putting it lightly. But what the hell, he might as well add an interesting interlude to his final hours—or minutes, if this man turned out to be a homicidal maniac.

He put both hands on the well-shaped forearm. He felt for a pulse at the wrist and found one. The hairs appeared natural and moved appropriately as Phillip ran his hand across them. Veins were visible where expected. Phillip manipulated the man’s fingers and wrist. The bones on the back of Albert’s hand, and tendons at the inside of his wrist, moved correctly, becoming more or less prominent when the hand flexed. Then he lightly pinched Albert’s skin in various places. It felt perfectly normal, although still slightly cooler than usual.

When Phillip withdrew his hands, Albert lowered his arm. “Are you satisfied that this is indeed my natural arm?”

“Yes.” Phillip eyed him warily.

“Remember, keep an open mind and maintain your composure. Give me the opportunity to explain what you’re about to see.”

Weirder and weirder. Phillip narrowed his eyes but remained curiously drawn to hearing this man out. “All right.”

Albert took a quick glance around, and Phillip followed his gaze. The people he’d noticed earlier were still in sight, but nobody new had appeared.

Phillip held his breath when a small razor blade appeared in Albert’s other hand. Albert slowly drew the blade across the arm Phillip had just examined, cutting deeply enough for the tissue to separate. There was no way it was a fake blade merely drawing atop his skin. He was cutting deeply, but the blood that appeared was black, not red, and the gash closed up within seconds as the razor dragged up the length of that forearm.

“What the hell.” Phillip gasped and fought to keep his respiration steady as he turned to stare at Albert’s face. He’d been so riveted by what was happening to the man’s arm, he’d neglected to check his expression. Had that hurt? Albert’s face was tight, so maybe, although his mask of calm quickly returned.

“Do you trust your own eyes?” Albert asked. The razor disappeared into a pocket, replaced by a cloth handkerchief, which he used to wipe the remaining dark fluid—blood?—from his arm.

“I’ll admit I’m drugged up, but nothing that would explain that.” He’d pointedly requested medication that would not cause him to hallucinate or overly diminish his ability to reason. There was no point dragging out his life if he couldn’t consciously enjoy it.

He’d seen plenty of street magic in his day. Sleight of hand, etcetera, but this transcended all of that. There was simply no logical explanation for what he’d just seen.

“You accept what you just witnessed at face value?”

Phillip pursed his lips a moment before replying. “Okay. Yes. Obviously, there’s something superhuman about you.” Or he wasn’t human at all. An alien maybe?

“That’s one way to put it,” Albert said. “I was once fully human, but now…no, not quite human anymore.”

Phillip sat still as he digested that comment. Albert had “once” been human. He’d also approached Phillip—seemingly sought him out—and he’d said, “I think we can help each other.” Was there more than one logical deduction to make here?

“Please.” Phillip swallowed as a shiver of hope drifted over his skin. “I need you to spell out what you meant—earlier. Before your demonstration.”

Albert smiled. It was the smile of a man who sensed he had his fish on the hook. “About helping each other?”

Phillip nodded.

“You don’t need to die yet. I’ve been walking this earth for more than two thousand years.” Albert spoke calmly as Phillip froze in place, clenching his hands at his belly.

Two thousand years? And he wanted to make a deal with Phillip?

Did Phillip want to? What was in it for him? Everlasting life, apparently. But would it be an existence he wanted? “Who are you? You’re immortal. But how?”

“Immortal in the sense that I, and others like me, won’t appear to become older beyond our age at the time of transition. Nor will we die of natural causes. We can be killed, though. You’ve witnessed my self-healing abilities, but anything that would instantly kill a human will kill me…us, too.”

“So, if I agreed, this cancer would disappear just like that?” Phillip snapped his fingers.

“Like all of our ‘supernatural’ capabilities, self-healing improves over time. As a new convert, you won’t immediately feel better. It’ll take about a day for you to feel one hundred percent.”

That was hardly a deterrent, but Albert was obviously holding back. What facilitated this “transition”? “You still haven’t answered the question. Who are your people?”

Albert hesitated for a moment before replying. “The word you’re searching for is ‘vampire.’”

Phillip burst out laughing. He didn’t know what the hell he’d been thinking Albert’s answer would be, but the existence of some kind of magical immortality potion was difficult enough to believe without throwing in something that absurd.

Albert’s revelation probably should have made Phillip run in the opposite direction—if he’d believed it, or made him angry—because really, what kind of person fucked with a dying man like that? But at least his final hours were diverting. “You had me going there for a while.”

Tilting his head to the side, Albert raised a single eyebrow as he continued to gaze at Phillip. “Not the usual reaction. Intriguing, though. You don’t believe me, do you?”

“Please,” Phillip scoffed and gestured toward the bright sun overhead.

Purchase

JMS Books, LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

Website | Facebook Page | Twitter |
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| Google+ | eMail | Instagram | Facebook | Bookbub

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An Alisa Audiobook Review: Slow Heat (Heat of Love #1) by Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past.

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he’s long since given up hope that he’ll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He’s fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.

When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can’t be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha–as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn’t sure it’s worth it. But Jason isn’t giving up his destined mate without a fight.

This was a wonderfully crafted world and story.  Jason has just started university and isn’t supposed to find his mate yet.  Vale had resigned himself long ago to ever finding his destined mate when Jason walks in.

It was easy to connect with these characters and feel their emotions.  The world in which these characters live puts much more importance on having children than the safety of their carriers and that mindset causes Vale to push Jason away.  I could easily see how it was hard for these characters to follow the proper protocols and find their own happiness for the future.  I had some trouble with Vale continuing to have the same worry no matter how often he was told or shown there was no need.

Michael Ferraiuolo did a great job narrating this story.  I was easily able to connect with the characters feel their emotions as he used different voices for the characters.  While I enjoyed his reading of the story his speech pattern was quite slow and I had to increase the speed of the book more than I ever have before.

Cover art by Dar Albert is great and I loved the visual of the characters together.

Sales Link:  Audible

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 14 hrs 7 min
Published: May 7, 2018 by Leta Blake
Edition Language: English

Series: Heat of Love #1