A MelanieM Release Day Review: Quenched in Blood (Asheville Arcana #3) by Ari McKay



Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Will love mean rebirth… or death?

Vampire Julian Schaden has been warning the Asheville Paranormal Council of an impending demonic incursion for more than two decades. Over the past two years, he and his friends have fought as hard as they can with little help, since Micah Carter, the demon hunter who should have led them, shirked his responsibility and then perished.

Desperate for anything that might aid the fight, Julian enters the Carter property and finds something he never dared hope for: young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters.

Thomas knows nothing about the supernatural world. But the prospect of a real life, outside the sheltered, isolated farm where he grew up, calls to him, and the idea of fighting the Unholy feels right.

Julian agrees to train Thomas even as he struggles against an unexpected, unwanted attraction. Thomas is too young and innocent to get involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian seems fated to lose. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: the upcoming battle will claim Thomas’s life. To keep his home and friends safe, Julian may have to sacrifice the only love he’s ever known.

The Asheville Arcana series/trilogy comes to an end with Quenched in Blood (Asheville Arcana #3) by Ari McKay.  Three close friends, Arden Gilmarin, Whimsey Hickes, Julian Schaden, (with former benefits) will have found  their mates/lovers and HEA and the series arc resolves with a crashing thunderous finale. 

The previous stories have introduced  the fact that there’s a major demon in the area looking for an artifact.  And to that end the demon will kill, enslave, and perform many heinous actions and be the master ordering the slaughter of many of those close to the main characters here.  It’s been a wild emotional ride watching half-elf Arden Gilmarin fall in love with alpha werewolf Eli Hammond in Out of the Ashes, the first in the series Equally so, Harlan Edgewood, possessed werewolf,  fall for mage Whimsy Hickes in Forged in Fire.  Whimsy Hickes remains still one of my all time favorite character names.  Thank you, Ari McKay!

Now it’s vampire Julian Schaden’s turn.  He has had a rough time watching his former lovers and friends find their HEA and mates.  He’s withdrawn from everyone into his castle, seemingly to conduct research but mostly to remove himself from the society of others.  Meanwhile the threat of the demon and those it is changing to help  accomplish its goals is growing stranger.

McKay is excellent at drawing out the suspense while creating anguish over the events and actions of the demon at large.  Who and what that demon is will not be revealed until late in the story.  As it should be.

The majority of the story is finding Micah Carter, his training, and relationship with Julian.  I wish that the story here was longer and maybe stronger.  I almost felt that he and Julian needed more time together for their relationship to “gell” as much as the others did.  I liked them together but for some reason never quite got as much as a emotional connection as I did the other two couples.

I think that’s because the other two stories didn’t have to carry as much a load as this  one did.  It had not only Julian and Micah’s romance but the ongoing story exposition, and then the series arc finale.  That’s a huge narrative load to carry and I think some elements had to lighten under that burden, the romance being one of them.

I thought the march towards the end and fighting scenes spectacular and heartbreaking.  I was so happy with the resolution although again, a little more explanation would have been wonderful.  That can be a dicy thing when ending a series.

When I look from the first introduction of the three men to the very last sentence, to the entire series arc, each relationship, the world building, and all the characters (quirks, cultures, and back histories), I think that Ari McKay accomplished a remarkable thing.  The Asheville Arcana series is a fun, scary, hair-raising thrill ride of a romance trilogy and this was a wonderful send off.

I definitely recommend this and  all the rest.

Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  Love the cover with it’s incorporation of an important element of the storyline.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: November 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640809444
Edition Language English
Series Asheville Arcana

Out of the Ashes


Forged in Fire

Quenched in Blood

Ari McKay on Mates and the new release Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay (author guest blog)


Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:     Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ari of Ari McKay here today, back talking about the second story in the Asheville Arcana series, Forged in Fire.  Welcome, Ari.


Hello everyone! I’m Ari, of Ari McKay, and I’m really excited that Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is hosting us for the very first blog post for the upcoming release of Forged in Fire, book two of the Asheville Arcana series from Dreamspinner Press!

If you read Out of the Ashes, book one in the series, you’re already familiar with one of our boys, Whimsy Hickes. Whimsy is a mage specializing in transformation magic, and he has been “friends with benefits” for a few years with Arden Gilmarin and Julian Schaden. But Arden found his mate, Eli Hammond, in Out of the Ashes, and Julian… well, Julian isn’t exactly the romantic sort. For the first time in a while Whimsy finds himself without the comfort and support of a lover, but he’s not really interested in hook ups. Seeing what Arden and Eli found together, he wants to find someone to love.

Enter Harlan Edgewood. Harlan is a “true” werewolf, rather than being a shapeshifter like Eli and the others. Eli was born a human, and he has bitten by a possessed wolf shifter, which turn him into a cursed creature who painfully transforms every full moon, rather than at will like the others. He’s a man who survives on the border of two worlds, the human and the shifter, without really belonging fully to either.

Harlan meets Whimsy, and Harlan feels himself drawn to the mage, his lupine half taking notice of Whimsy in a way that is both overwhelming and frightening. But it’s not until Julian angers Harlan enough to goad him into an unexpected transformation that Harlan learns the truth — his wolf wants Whimsy as its mate.

Being human, Whimsy doesn’t feel the same pull Harlan does, but he is sympathetic to what Harlan is going through. Plus, he does find Harlan attractive, and he wants to use his magic to make Harlan’s transformations easier. But while the two of them are trying to get to know one another, the danger surrounding Asheville grows stronger. The possessed shifters who attacked the Eli’s pack are back, and this time they’ve managed to possess several bear shifters. At the same time, Whimsy and the others begin to suspect that something is Not Quite Right about the Asheville Paranormal Council, most of whom seem pretty unconcerned that demons are popping up with increasing frequency.

Things quickly and frighteningly spiral out of control when Harlan is hit with a compulsion spell that puts him in mortal peril. Now Whimsy must go up against the most powerful mage in the area, in a life or death battle where not only the fate of the city hangs in the balance, but the soul of the man he’s come to love.

Whew! Lots of action and plenty of UST in this one! We hope you’ll give Forged in Fire a chance — you don’t have to have read Out of the Ashes first, though there are a few in-jokes that are funnier if you have. But if you were hoping and waiting for Whimsy to find his man, this is the story for you! ❤



The magic touch.


Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.


Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.


When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.


As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

About the Authors

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay