A PaulB Review: Max (Demon Elite 7) by April Kelley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

max-demon-elite-7-by-april-kelleyThe men of the Demon Elite team are closing in on Victoria Mize.  Will the man whom Victoria is trying to frame for her crimes be able to help?

Sydney Marshall is an assassin, like most of the Demon Elite squad.  However, his past is being used against him.  Word on the street is that he is behind the sex trafficking operation that is actually run by Demon Elite’s former boss, Victoria Mize.  His only “friend” is his informant Twiggy the drug addict.  He knows that talking to Max from the Demon Elite squad is a stupid move, but he has no one else he can trust.

Max Shaw knows talking to Sydney is a bad idea.  First, he associates with the wrong element in Chicago.  Sydney should be in jail for his crimes.  However, he might be the one piece that is needed to finally take down Victoria.  He cannot be THAT bad if she thinks he’s an easy target to frame.  Talking to Sydney, he finds that he might actually like the guy—well enough for a roll in the hay.  After all, Max does not do relationships. 

When Sydney finds out that Victoria’s main goon is looking for him, he realizes that he needs to get to Max as soon as possible.   Hotwiring a car, he makes his way to the lakeshore retreat that houses Demon Elite.  Arriving at the compound, he faces several guns pointed at him.  Max rescues him and tells Jared, (the boss) that is Sydney is turned away then he will resign from the team.  Some of the team unhappily deal with the situation.  When the team comes up with a plan to use Sydney to lure the goon out, he agrees.  However, his friend Twiggy has been kidnapped and the team must spring to action immediately.  They need to protect Sydney and save the one man Sydney has counted on over the past few years.

As usual, this is another thrill ride into the land of assassins by Ms Kelley.  As the story, and the number of unmatched Demon Elite team mates, winds down, the anticipation of the final showdown with Victoria builds.  I have to feel for Max.  His parents divorced while his was young.  His mother never formed another meaningful relationship which helps form Max’s aversion to them.  His father on the other hand has recently lost his partner a couple of years ago and is reeling from it.  Max must deal with these mixed examples in order to open his heart to Sydney. 

The cover art by Latrisha Waters is the standard outstanding cover for the series.  A well-muscled Max stands alone in his tee shirt with the Demon Elite crest in the corner. 

Sales Links

eXtasy Books

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Book Details

Ebook, 102 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  October 24, 2016 by eXtasy Books

ISBN:  978-1-4874-0900-5

Series:  Demon Elite

Crash (Demon Elite #1)

Wolf (Demon Elite #2)

Cosmo (Demon Elite #3)

Tanner & Shade (Demon Elite #4)

Ashley (Demon Elite #5)

Germ (Demon Elite #6)

Max (Demon Elite #7)

A PaulB Review: Wolf Whistle (Werewolves of Manhattan #7) by A.C. Katt

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

wolf-whistle-2I always eagerly await the next book in the Werewolves of Manhattan series.  And with this seventh edition, I am not disappointed.

The board members of Garou Industries are celebrating the mating and wedding of Etienne Daurensbourg and Julio Reyes in suburban Chicago.  As a wedding present to Julio, Etienne has found Julio’s childhood friend Richard Kerrigan who is living in Chicago.  The two have not seen each other in over ten years, when Julio was placed in foster care after the death of his parents.  Richard’s family was not able to take Julio in because of state regulations and was not given any further information on him.  Richard jumps at the chance to reunite with his friend.

Richard has been living in Chicago for the past few years to take care of his sick mother.  While going through this, he is fired from his job as an engineer after blowing the whistle on shoddy parts in military vehicles.  The company effectively blackballs him from any other engineering company in Chicagoland.  Richard is unable to move after paying for his mother’s medical and funeral expenses.  Working at a local bar, a local Serbian mobster takes an interest in him.  Knowing that sooner or later, the mobster will make his move on him resulting in unwanted sexual encounters or worse, he takes the offer of a job at Garou, which Etienne has helped arrange.  He is to be mentored by Julien Bellaire, who happens to be Richard’s mate.  Arrangements are made so that Richard can leave with Julio and the board of Garou the next morning.

As usual, the mating of a board member does not go off as planned.  The Serbian mobster will not let Richard go that easily.  He tracks him down to New York in order to get him back.  There is also the fact that Richard must be told that he is Julien’s mate and that the board members of Garou are all wolf shifters.  Julien hopes that through Julio’s friendship and Colin’s book that the transition is not as traumatic as the others have been.  Now all Julien has to do is ensure that Richard is alive by the time they travel to Oregon for the mating ceremony.

As the characters in the book point out, the mates and matings all seem to follow a pattern.  But the author makes each one unique and then starts to change the script on the reader.  As with the previous two novels, we are introduced to the next potential mate at the end of the book.  This mate seems to shatter the mold completely.  I liked the introduction of Don Ferone’s gay stepson.  He wants his stepfather to change his ways but is isolated from most of the family business because of his thoughts.  I am pretty sure he will be a go between for the two powerful forces in New York.  Please hurry with book eight, Ms. Katt.

Winterheart Designs’ cover art is another winner.  The red headed Richard and brunette Julien are above a New York bridge skyline with a wolf howling against the backdrop of the moon above. 

Sales Links

MLR Press

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Book Details

EBook, 201 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published January 20, 2017 by MLR Press

ISBN:  978-1-944700-44-0

Series:  Werewolves of Manhattan

His Omega (Werewolves of Manhattan #1)

Remy’s Painter (Werewolves of Manhattan #2)

Scarred Mate (Werewolves of Manhattan #3)

Marking Kane (Werewolves of Manhattan #4)

Alexi’s Mouse (Werewolves of Manhattan #5)

Julio’s Wolf (Werewolves of Manhattan #6)

Wolf Whistle (Werewolves of Manhattan #7)

A Paul B Review: Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

heart-scarab-by-anna-butlerIt’s been a year and a year and a half since Bennet returned from T-18.  Eighteen months since he last saw Fleet Lieutenant Flynn.  Things with Joss are just as rocky as ever since his return from that mission.  So Bennet was half relieved when Rosie, his second in command picks up him for his next mission, the evacuation of illegal settlers on the planet Telnos.  The religious sect that settled there believes it is just a government plot to control them.  However, the Maess drones and ships do show up while Bennet and crew are trying to convince one settlement to leave.  Several are killed during the attack, including children, which Bennet sees as a senseless waste of life.  As the Shield team moves the survivors toward the cutter, Bennet is hit in the helmet with a laser blast.  Rosie gets the remaining survivors on board and leaves the planet, unable to retrieve Bennet.

Back on Albion and the Gyrfalcon word spreads of Bennet’s death.  This news hits the family hard, along with Bennet’s partner Joss.  Joss goes into a depression because of the way he has treated his relationship with Bennet over the past nine years.  He regrets the dozens of affairs that he had while Bennet was off on missions.  He makes an ancient sacrifice to the old gods to help guide Bennet’s soul into the afterlife.  Among the pieces he buries is a heart scarab, the symbol of a heart place keeper of a mummy, which Bennet particularly liked.  When the family attends the midnight watch (the equivalent of a memorial service), Rosie suggests to Caeden, Bennet’s father, that they send another mission to rescue whatever survivors were left to honor Bennet.

When his family does not know is that Bennet survived the attack.  He has been living with a group of miners that failed to get off the planet when the Maess attacked.  He and the chief miner Ifan round up what is left of the human population on the planet that they can find and bring them into the mines for safety.  When his comm link buzzes, he realizes that against all normal protocol, Shield has returned and that he will be rescued.  During the rescue however, he suffers a direct laser blast to his knee, once again putting his life in danger.  His family, Joss, Flynn and Rosie must now deal with the consequences of Bennet’s return. 

This second book in Anna Butler’s Taking Shield series deals with the emotional and psychological effects of relationships and war.  Bennet is still trying to process his reunion with his father.  Joss, having used different men to deal with the loneliness of Bennet’s absence, finds that they were all pointless.  When he learns of Bennet’s affair with Flynn, the question becomes if it is worse to have several different affairs that mean nothing or one affair that means something.  Flynn is all confused as to why Caeden is so interested in helping him with Bennet.  After all is said and done, it seems no one escapes this drama without some heartache.

The cover art by Wilde City Press has Bennet superimposed inside a Shield badge against a star filled sky.  I think it is very appropriate for the book.

Sales Links

Wilde City Press

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Book Details

EBook, 396 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  July 22, 2015 by Wilde City Press

ISBN:  978-1-925313-25-3

Series:  Taking Shield

Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)

A Paul B Review: Julio’s Wolf (Werewolves of Manhattan #6) by A.C. Katt

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

julios-wolf-by-ac-kattThe sixth installment of the Wolves of Manhattan starts a little differently than the rest.  We have already met Julio Reyes, the destined mate of Etienne Daurensbourg.  As an independent call boy, he helped Donal when Donal was under control of an abusive pimp.  Due to his generous nature, Donal’s mate Alexi thanks him by making Julio’s dream come true—tuition for beauty school and an apartment to live in while attending with a promise to help start his own business after.  However, all that may never come to be as a former client of his stabs him in his new apartment.

Etienne is one of three unranked alphas on the board of Garou, the company run by the North American werewolf council.  He and Alexi went through alpha training together when they were younger.  He, along with Armand, helped secure the release of Alexi from a Russian prison and relocate him and his staff to America.  Having been introduced to his mate just recently, Etienne hopes he does not have the problems the other alphas had with claiming their mates.  To be safe, he sends one of his betas to Julio’s new apartment to check out the area.  Luckily, he arrives in time to save Julio’s life. 

With Julio recovering from injuries and his assailant caught, Etienne hopes that his mate will be receptive to the idea of werewolves and mates.  However, there is trouble brewing in his home pack as one beta believes Etienne is unworthy of being alpha as Alexi, a stranger to America, got his mate first.  The other alphas believe that the charge is unwarranted as mates are given by the gods as they see fit.  However this problem must be dealt with.  As Etienne faces the challenge of the pit, or where werewolf challenges are fought to the death, he wants to take care of this problem before he officially makes Julio his mate. 

This is another enjoyable read in A. C. Katt’s engrossing werewolf series.  The basic story line remains the same but each novel seems to have a different twist to it, which prevents it from ever being boring.  As the rest of the alphas meet their mates (there are only two left), it appears that the series is gearing up for a final confrontation with the leader of the Russian werewolf council and his tyrannical ways.  It appears that Julio will be the strategist of the mates being a human high beta.  The end of the book previews the next mate, who happens to have been a childhood friend of Julio’s, who is also of Celt descent. 

Winterheart Designs again comes up with a cover that serves its purpose.  The models for Julio and Etienne are how I would have pictured them.  They are pictured above a New York skyline.

Sales Links

MLR Press

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Book Details

EBook, 191 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  September 20, 2016 by MLR Press

ISBN:  978-1-944770-33-4

Series:  Werewolves of Manhattan

A Paul B Review: Germ (Demon Elite #6) by April Kelley

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

germ-by-april-kelleyJeremy Russell is the Demon Elite team’s computer genius.  While most of the men are out in the field, he stays behind and acts as the point person for the team.  Surveillance, information, and hacking are the tools of his trade.  He also tries to keep the guys from getting too serious with his flirting over their communication system.  When Reggie Mize was rescued a short while ago, he developed a major crush on him.  But being the socially awkward computer geek that his is, Germ decides he might not have a chance with him.

Reggie Mize has been beaten down his whole life.  First it was his father that subjected him to emotional abuse.  With his father gone, his sister Victoria picked up where their father left off.  Luckily for him, the Demon Elite team rescued him before Victoria could sell him into slavery.  Now he is living in the team’s estate worried that either his sister or his father’s men will come after him.

During a game of paintball among the team, their boyfriends and Reggie, Germ vows to protect Reggie throughout the game.   At the end, while Germ had been “killed,” Reggie had not been.  For once Reggie trust that someone is not out to hurt him.  They make a date to go out shopping with others in the team.  While at the mall, the hit man currently working for his sister finds him because of a tracking device that was implanted inside of his arm.  Germ cannot believe that Reggie had not alerted them of this fact and think the shopping trip is a trap to eliminate his team.  Reggie does not want the others harmed and is willing to turn himself over if Germ isn’t hurt.  While all members of the team escape, they must still deal with the hit man and Victoria Mize once and for all.  Germ will have to see that Reggie is not like other men and work his way back to trusting the abused man and how to deal with him.

This sixth book in the Demon Elite series keeps the action and passion going.  As each man of the team begins to find their respective partner, the net is slowly coming around their enemy and former boss Victoria Mize.  The awkwardness of Germ and Reggie comes from different places and understandable.  Germ is more comfortable in front of a computer while Reggie has been psychologically abused most of his life.  This is a romance you cannot help but root for.  The story of how Germ got his nickname was cute and not at all what I thought it would be. 

The cover art by Latricia Waters is absolutely perfect for the novel.  Germ is pictured as the sexy geek that I would have pictured him. 

Sales Links

eXtasy Books LLC

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Book Details

EBook, 114 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  September 9, 2016 by eXtasy Books

ISBN:  978-1-4874-0877-0

Series:  Demon Elite

Crash (Demon Elite #1)

Wolf (Demon Elite #2)

Cosmo (Demon Elite #3)

Tanner & Shade (Demon Elite #4)

A Paul B Review: The Dilemma (Sirius Wolves #5) by Victoria Sue

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

the-dilemma-by-victoria-sueMarcus Flint has recently been named Alpha of one of the largest werewolf packs.  How long will they allow a crippled human to lead them, let alone keep his three werewolf mates?

Three weeks have passed since the Claiming Ceremony gone wrong.  Hunter is in prison below the Supreme Alphas’ pack house.  Nate is still clinging to his mates and having problems dealing with his wolf.  Kellan feels that he is odd man out in the mating and isn’t feeling well, which is unusual for a werewolf.  Marcus still cannot believe that the Jefferson pack picked a disabled human to lead them.  However, he must attend to the needs of his mates before he can really focus on the pack.

The pack however is growing restless as their Alpha has basically not been seen in three weeks.  While he attends meetings with the pack leadership and the Supreme Alphas, he has not left the pack house.  When he finally starts to delve into pack business, he sees what terrible shape the pack has been in the last few years.  And with the pack growing as they are closest to Orion’s Circle, the problems are just going to increase. 

When the pack doctor notices the pain the Marcus is in, he suggest that he apply to a program that a friend of his knows about.  It would involve robotic prostheses that would allow Marcus to run with the pack during the full moon.  When he visits Dr. Seth about the program, he learns that he must spend six months in Germany for the procedure as it is not yet approved in America.  Can he afford to leave his pack and more importantly his mates for such a long time in order to be a more effective leader and lover for them? 

This fifth novel in the Sirius Wolves series brings us another step closer to the upcoming war between the gods that has been foreshadowed.  Anubis finally makes his presence known, which unsettles Blaze, the Supreme Alpha.  Marcus is still wallowing in self doubt wondering if he is really meant to lead 2300 werewolves and growing.  Ricoh is dealing with Hunter’s betrayal and his feelings of guilt about Nate.  Nate is slowly recovering but still relies on Marcus and Kellan for the most part for strength.  Young hybrid Chris, whose white wolf is unheard of, seems to be the key to the reason why this battle is coming.  The book has a few surprises which I will let you discover for yourself.  As usual, I am looking forward to the next book.

The cover art by E Connors is typical for the series.  It has a shirtless well build man in front of a starry night background.  Again, I wish I could figure out which character it is suppose to be.

Sales Links

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Book Details

EBook, 220 pages
Edition Language:  English
Published:  April 7, 2016 by Dark Hollows Press
ISBN:  978-1-944054-54-0

Series:  Sirius Wolves – add to Goodreads here:

A Paul B Review: Ashley (Demon Elite 5) by April Kelley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

AshleyAshley Wilkins is an asshole and he knows it.  He is the Demon Elite’s interrogator and he’s damn good at his job.  However, Ash has used methods in the past which would not pass muster with the Geneva Convention.  And Ash feels guilty about this.  When a video of teammate Raven’s kidnapped brother Iain shows up, Ash cannot help but feel for the young man being tortured by the underlings of Victoria Mize.  The fact that Iain is cute as hell makes him want to take action.  While viewing the video, Ash finds a key clue as to the location where Iain is being held.  Justin assigns his interrogator to go out in the field and help with the rescue effort.

Iain Liron knows his brother has worked for a government agency.  Having just come out of rehab, Iain loves his job at a local coffee shop.  One day, his brother’s boss kidnaps him to use as leverage against his brother to make him do her dirty work.  He is hanging around in the literal sense with his arms tied above him hooked on a meat rack.  The beating he received is meant to serve as a message to the Demon Elite squad but Iain is not sure if his brother’s team will be able to rescue him in time to save his life.  When help does arrive, his rescuer is the most gorgeous man he has seen.

While clearly attracted to Iain, Ash believes that he is not good enough for him.  His life as an interrogator means he has done thing as bad as or worse than what was done to Iain while he was being held.  He feels that Iain could not possibly feel anything but contempt once he knows the full extent of what he has done.  Iain meanwhile tells Ash that everybody has something in their past.  Iain is a recovering addict and has learned to take things one day at a time.  Throw in Iain’s overly protective brother Raven and this relationship definitely has its problems at the beginning.  When the threat to the Demon Elite’s partners comes to their lakeside safe house, the men must mobilize to neutralize the situation before one of their loves pays the price.

This fifth book in the Demon Elite series once again goes to the theme of redemption for both the team member and the rescued love.  Both men know they are imperfect men and each tries to cope with it in their own ways.  Ash will do some sort of good deed without his team’s knowledge.  Iain just wants to get his life back on track after getting involved with drugs.  By the end of the book, Ash realizes that Iain means that he does not care what he does for a living and begin to move forward with their relationship.  I cannot wait for the next book.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters follows the pattern of the series.  Ashley is on the cover, shirtless, with the Demon Elite crest in the corner.  The model looks like what I would think Ashely the “farm boy” would look like.

Sales Links

eXtasy-WebsiteLogo

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Book Details

EBook, 111 pages
Edition Language:  English
Published:  August 12, 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN:  978-1-4874-0844-2

Series:  Demon Elite:

A Paul B Review: Tanner and Shade (Demon Elite 4) by April Kelley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tanner and ShadeFinn O’Reilly has be staying at the Lakeshore safe house since his rescue from slave traffickers a couple of months ago.  He had started flirting with Shade upon his arrival.  Things seemed to be going along real well with him until Finn finds out that Shade has been dating Tanner for the past two years.  Seeing that his relationship with a married man had gotten him into the situation he is currently in, Finn wants no part of breaking up a happy home.  He will do what he has must to prevent getting involved with another married man.

Tanner and Shade have kept their relationship a secret from their bosses for the past couple of years.  While at the Agency, there was a no fraternization policy in place.  Now that the Demon Elite squad has gone private, the two have no idea what their boss Justin would think about the relationship.  Both men find Finn attractive and openly flirt with him.  Shade does the more open flirting while Tanner is there for cuddles during movie night and the like. 

As Finn continues to resist both men, they decide to try to get Finn to join their relationship.  Before they can discuss the matter with him, Finn decides the best course of action is to run away from the situation, knowing it would hurt both the men and his brother.  While he is leaving town, Finn is stopped by one of the crooked cops working for Victoria Mize and his ex-boyfriend Harrison Belani.  Tanner and Shade must rescue their wayward witness before his is returned to where this whole mess started, back to Harrison.

This fourth book in the Demon Elite series is a tale of three broken men who will form a relationship to help each other heal and grown.  Finn is driven by the bad relationship that leads to his being sold into sexual slavery.  Tanner still suffers from physical and psychological effects of being tortured during a mission gone wrong.  Shade has blamed himself for not being there when his family died when he was a teen.  Add in the fact that Finn blames himself for his mother’s murder and you can see why they need each other to heal.  I have a feeling there will be some bumpy times ahead for the group but will make it through. 

This book also expands on how rotten a person Victoria Mize really is.  First she him up her brother as a fall guy for an attempted kidnapping.  Then she sells her own brother to the slave trafficking business.  Here is hoping that she gets put out of business soon.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters follows the pattern of the other Demon Elite.  Shade and Tanner are shown with shirts open showing their chiseled physique.  The Demon Elite shield is in the upper right hand corner this time. 

Sales Links

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Book Details

EBook, 116 pages
Edition Language:  English
Published:  July 8, 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN:  978-1-4874-0794-0

Series:  Demon Elite

A Paul B Review: Cosmo (Demon Elite 3) by April Kelley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

CosmoCosmo Ruckman is the youngest member of the Demon Elite squad.  He takes on a sense of pride that he is using his skills in breaking and entering for the good guys now.   But his criminal past has been keeping him from the one thing he desires, Agency intelligence chief Derek Kyle.  Since the Demon Elite squad has broken away from the Agency, he no longer has to withstand the looks of contempt from Derek that a criminal is actually working for the government.  Much to his chagrin, Cosmo receives his next assignment—breaking into Derek’s house and office to prove or disprove that he is working with their ex-boss, Victoria Mize, in her sex trafficking ring.

Derek Kyle knows his boss is crooked, but he just can’t prove it.  To complicate matters, members of his team are missing in action.  He wonders how Justin goes about making leading the Demon Elite squad so easy.  Derek feels that it is the sense of family that the squad enjoys.  One night, he is alerted that his office computer is being accessed.  He goes to check out the situation and finds the cute break in artiest from Demon Elite Cosmo is the culprit.  Faced with a decision of what to do with the man, he decides to join Cosmo in breaking into his boss’s house whether Cosmo likes it or not. 

With the information they find, the two groups decide to rescue the brother of one of Derek’s team.  He is being held by Mize to blackmail Raven into working for her.  Disappointed that Raven didn’t come to him, Derek decides that while he is good at investigations, he sucks at leadership.  While waiting for backup to raid the warehouse where they suspect Raven’s brother is being held, they hear a scream, prompting them to move in before they are ready.  Entering the building, they quickly realize that they are outgunned.  They will have to survive until reinforcements arrive.  But will they live that long?

This is the third book in the Demon Elite series.  I find myself engulfed in this series.  While I can follow most of the action, there are pieces that I am missing as this is a spin-off from another series by the author.  However, I feel I l know most of the characters anyway.  The miscommunication between Cosmo and Derek leads Cosmo to think Derek couldn’t possibly be interested.  Derek meanwhile would never have gone after Cosmo while they were working at the Agency even without his shady past.  Only when Germ gives Derek the information about Cosmo’s life does he realize that he might be misjudging the man.  As some have said, is it wrong to steal if you need to do so to survive?  Put into context, Derek sees the hell that Cosmo’s life was before joining the team.  Germ, as usual, provides no brain to mouth filter and provides comic relief.  I hope he finds his love soon.  I also liked how the author changed things up in that Cosmo is matched up with another member of law enforcement and not a victim that he is rescuing, like the plot of the previous two books. 

The cover by Latrisha Waters has our young Cosmo in a model like pose with a jacket and scarf.  The Demon Elite symbol is positioned in the upper right hand corner again. 

Sales Links

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Book Details

ebook, 116 pages
Published May 1st 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN139781487407001
Edition LanguageEnglish
Demon Elite #3

Series:  Demon Elite