Release Day Blitz Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes by Kevin Klehr (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes

Series: Actor and Angels, Book 3

Author: Kevin Klehr

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: June 19

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 54000

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, performance arts, drug/alcohol use, contemporary, established relationship, angels, demons, over 40

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Synopsis

Adam is dead, but that’s not his only problem. His husband, Wade, is still alive and sleeping with losers. His guardian angel, Guy, has grown fond of the liquor cabinet. And Adam suspects his demise was the result of foul play.

Meanwhile, in the depths of the Afterlife, the devil forces Adam to put on a play for the sinners. If he fails to entertain them, Guy’s parents will spend eternity in the Underworld.

As he gambles with the freedom of the damned angels, Adam comes to terms with infidelity, friendship, and the reason why he was the victim of a double murder.

Excerpt

Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes
Kevin Klehr © 2017
All Rights Reserved

It was like being in a Hollywood remake of The Jetsons, suspended in air and surrounded by cloudless sky, with interweaving conveyor belts shifting us farther to the front.

Behind me a couple of lesbians fidgeted while peering forward, trying to see where we were going. Below, another mix of curious folk deliberately moved forward on this mechanical mess of pathways. Above me, the same.

“Do you have any idea what’s going on?” asked one of the women behind me.

While she could pass for the girl next door, all made up with lips as red as a 1950s advert model, her checkered dress spoiled the effect with its huge smoldering burn mark.

“What happened,” I queried.

Her partner stuck out what was left of her tongue. It too was charcoal black with a melted piercing smeared all over it.

“Let’s just say, never get frisky outside while there’s a thunderstorm.”

She reached for her skirt and was about to lift it to prove her point. I clutched her wrist just in time.

“I get it. Your girlfriend’s stud became the conductor. I don’t need to see something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Her eyes widened. “Your life? Look at your chest!”

I released her arm and felt my heart. It was like someone had used too much starch while ironing my shirt. I examined a rusty brown stain on the crisp white cotton.

“I’ve returned, but this time for good,” I muttered.

“Wha uw ya awing awout?” said the one with the brittle tongue.

“What did she say?”

“I think she wants to know what you’re talking about.”

I stood on tippy-toes to see farther ahead, but all I saw was a long row of people waiting patiently.

“I’ve been here before, I think. I’m not sure.” I jumped high on the spot but still couldn’t see where we were going. “I guess that’s why I’ve got this frantic ink blot on my chest.”

“Sweet cheeks, it’s blood.”

“Yes, I know that.”

“So what’s your story? How did it get there?”

I felt it again. Its sandpaper texture began to crumble. “I wish I knew.” Bending sideways, I tried to steal a glimpse, but it was no use.

“Well, it’s not quite how I imagined it. I’m not sure it’s how you saw it either, Frida.” She held her girlfriend’s hand. “I was expecting tattooed angels parked on clouds with big black motorcycles ready to take us to Heaven.”

Frida nodded.

“What did you expect, um, what’s your name?”

“Adam.”

“Hi, I’m Sue.” We shook hands. “And this is Frida.”

“Ice oo eet yoo.”

“My pleasure.”

“So, is this the way you pictured it?”

“No, I can’t say it is. My partner isn’t here.”

“What’s his name?”

“Wade. We’ve been together for nearly nineteen years. Or at least, we were.”

“I’m sorry he’s not with you.”

I felt my bloodstain once more.

“Well, at least he survived, if what happened to me happened to him, if that makes sense?” I bit my bottom lip. “Actually I really don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“Aw leees ee awive…”

Sue raised her hand like a cop stopping traffic.

“Don’t try to speak, darling. It looks like hard work.”

“Yeah, but I get what Frida’s trying to say. At least Wade’s alive instead of here.”

“A silver lining in the cloud.”

“That’s one way of looking at it.”

Below me a young chap in a Second World War uniform peeled off his gloves. His conveyor belt had stopped. An African woman wearing more colors than a rainbow tried to speak to him, but he seemed too traumatized to reply. She raised her arms in disappointment and began talking to the gray-haired woman behind her.

“Leopard print,” said Sue.

“Huh?”

“Check out the middle-aged woman in the leopard print, far behind us. Wow! She’s wearing more jewelry than a 1960s movie star.”

I looked. “I think she is a 60s movie star. Look at that beehive!”

“Jackie O she ain’t.”

“And look at the older woman next to her. A lollipop in a pantsuit.”

“Adam, how can they be from the 60s?”

“Now I know I’ve been here before.” I glanced ahead and saw the tip of a wing obstructed by the others on my conveyor belt. I couldn’t hold back my smile. “Sue, let me ask you something. What era are you from?”

“Nineteen ninety-three. Why? Aren’t you?”

I pointed to the man in uniform. Sue’s jaw dropped steadily.

“And what country?”

“Poland. And you?”

“Australia, twenty-first century.”

“You speak Polish well for an Australian.”

“Sue, I’m not speaking Polish.”

She shared stunned looks with Frida.

“Wha iz ee alking avout?”

“Girls, you’re about to enter a world I’ve been dreaming of returning to since I was last taken from earth before my time.”

“Maybe you should try Polish. I have no idea what you mean.”

Frida rotated her finger by the side of her head; a gesture to make out I was loony. Sue shrugged before carrying on a private conversation with her girlfriend about the family they’d left behind.

A few drops of water splashed on my face. I looked to the moving path above. A group of teenagers also from the 60s flower-power days stood shivering, saturated to the core. One long-haired guy, with enough swirls on his shirt to send you into a trance, saw me.

“Never do your own plumbing when you’re tripping, man,” he called. “I flooded the apartment.”

“Why didn’t you run outside?”

A naked girl with waist-length long hair clutched onto his arm. “I thought I was swimming in candy floss,” she replied.

“Candy floss!” he said. “I thought the sky had fallen and there was no escape.”

“Weren’t we in space, floating?” asked another.

I chuckled before bending sideways to look ahead. I saw half his body. My guardian angel, Guy. He acknowledged me with a kind grin. I was eager to jump to the head of the queue. I took a calm breath, stood up straight, and closed my eyes.

I already sensed his comforting hugs, letting me know I’d returned to safety. I could feel his strong wings wrap around me like an extra layer of armor. Nothing would harm me here in the Afterlife, not with him by my side.

“Adam’s here,” said another voice I recognized.

“Yeah,” Guy replied. “There’s something I need to explain.”

“Mannix?” I mumbled to myself.

Many passengers later I was at the front. I stepped off the conveyor belt onto thin air, and before a word was uttered, both the angel and my old friend wrapped their arms around me. I clutched them tightly, never wanting to let go. Huge smiles engulfed us all. Behind me were bewildered murmurs, as a stray tear from Guy softened my cheek.

“I’ve missed you,” I said to my angel. I kissed him tenderly on the forehead. “And I missed you too, Mannix.”

“Welcome to the Afterlife again,” said Guy.

“Why am I here?” I whispered. We stepped apart.

“I think this time you’re actually dead,” Mannix replied.

He sounded unsure, like a wife telling her tired husband that there might be a burglar in their house. He was still in his early thirties, just as he was the last time I was whisked off to the Afterlife six months earlier.

His sensual demeanor still warmed me in places I’m too polite to mention, even though his boyhood looks had faded slightly since we last met. A man was taking his place. A man wise beyond his years, wearing older-sexy like a stylish coat.

“Where’s Wade?” I asked.

“Sadly mourning your demise, my friend,” Guy said in a hushed tone. “Adam, we’ll talk about that later.”

I touched the dried blood on my shirt, crumbling it into tiny pieces that fell away.

“Guy, I need to know what happened.”

He turned to Mannix. “I’m releasing you from welcoming duties to show Adam his new home.”

“Which is where?” the young man asked.

Guy pulled out a key from his trouser pocket. “The apartment under mine.” He had a devilish grin. “Adam’s not the only one who needs a friend at the moment.”

Purchase

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

 

Meet the Author

Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his work commitments changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, secretly passed the notebook to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his story. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author.

So with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

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Release Day Blitz: The Broken Butterfly (In the Shadows #2) by Caitlin Ricci (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The Broken Butterfly

Series: In the Shadows, book 2

Author: Caitlin Ricci

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 6

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 14900

Genre: Romance, NineStar Press, LGBT, gay, romance, ghost, demons, law enforcement, paranormal

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Synopsis

Carter is closer than ever to solving his latest cold case, but his disturbing dreams seem to be a warning to stay away from the truth. The victim, Jacob, deserves justice, and Carter can’t let a few bad dreams get in the way of that. When he goes to Malphas and Jamison for help, Carter learns that his dreams are more than they seem. What he learns is enough to send Malphas running, and as much as Carter wants to go with him and Jamison, he knows he can’t abandon Jacob so easily. Malphas says Jacob is being held by a powerful demon, and Carter knows he’s not in the business of doing favors for humans who aren’t Jamison. But to free Jacob, Carter is willing to do just about anything to convince Malphas to help him, even if it means making a deal with the devil.

Excerpt

The Broken Butterfly
Caitlin Ricci © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Some days Carter found it almost easy to be around Malphas. There were afternoons where Malphas would get Jamison and Carter drive-through cheeseburgers for lunch. He would sit quietly next to Jamison as if he was attempting to be on his best behavior during their lunch hour. During those afternoons, Carter could almost forget who Malphas was, what he was, and pretend he might have simply been a man Jamison was interested in and not the demon he actually was.

Then there were those times, like now, when Malphas was stretched out on the couch by himself while the three of them watched TV in the evenings. It had become routine since Carter had started staying with them. They each had a few slices of pizza in front of them, but unlike a normal person, Malphas had his pizza hovering in front of his face, close enough that he hardly had to move to take a bite, and whenever he wanted to turn the channel, he wiggled his fingers at the TV instead of using a remote.

Carter would have said something about how very nonhuman he was being, but it really didn’t matter. Malphas had gotten better about trying not to act so strangely when he was out with them or when he visited them at the precinct, and that was the important thing to remember when dealing with a demon. He was trying. Sometimes he still made light bulbs explode or people inexplicably changed their minds around him, especially when it benefited him or Jamison, but for the most part, Malphas was pretending to be just another normal human in the world. It was a relief not to have to feel like he had to constantly supervise the demon and remind him when he was acting out.

Two months ago, when Malphas had first come barreling into their lives, Carter would have never thought Malphas was anything other than a monster, and some days he hadn’t changed much at all, but he was always trying to be better. If only to please Jamison and stay on his good side.

Carter froze as he felt something warm drape over his shoulder. It still unnerved him sometimes to have his shadow around, especially since it was just a feeling and nothing nearly as corporeal as Malphas was. That would have made it easier, he was sure, if he could see whatever it was, whoever it was, that was following him around almost constantly.

“Is he here?” Carter asked Malphas. He’d started to give his shadow a gender. It made referring to him easier.

Malphas glanced over and then lifted his black eyes to something just above Carter’s shoulder. “Yep.” After a second, he added, “Well, it’s not my fault he can’t see you. Clearly you don’t belong in this realm. You should really go away.”

“That’s rich coming from a demon,” Carter replied, instantly coming to his shadow’s defense for no reason at all.

Jamison looked between them but said nothing. He’d been getting between them less and less. They hadn’t needed him to play referee when Malphas had shown no real interest in hurting Carter lately. There was the occasional jibe about him being an idiot, but even that had turned mostly playful.

Warmth spread down his shoulder to his arm, and Carter lifted his palm as the comfortable feeling flowed to his hand. He closed his eyes and imagined that whatever it was following him was holding his hand. Carter felt the slightest bit of pressure, but it wasn’t much, and he was half-certain he was actually imagining the whole thing.

“Hey,” he whispered. He could almost believe that he, whatever it was, was pushing back against him too.

Jamison got up from where he’d been sitting, and his movement distracted Carter enough that he lost the connection with his shadow.

“I wish I knew his name,” Carter said as he glanced behind him.

Mal snorted. “Why? He’s not actually part of this plane. He’s like…déjà vu or something like that. You know he’s here. I know he’s here. But he doesn’t actually exist here. It’s weird. He’s not a ghost or something like that. He’s stuck.”

That got Carter’s attention in a hurry, and Jamison paused on his way into the kitchen as well. “What do you mean he’s stuck?” Jamison asked Mal.

“Just that he’s where he is because he’s trapped there. It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t dead yet. When you die, I’ll show you.” Mal shrugged.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader, and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing. She comes from a military family, and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart. She also enjoys gardening and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful husband and their two dogs. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.

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Club Raven Blog Tour for BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly (3 books, one series)

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Title: Calling His Bluff, Happy Medium, and Wishful Thinking

Author: BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly

Series Title and Number: Club Raven, Books 1-3

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: January 17, 2016

Pairing: M/M

Genre/Tags: Romance, Paranormal, Historical, Alternate Universe, Spanking, Mediums, Mind Readers

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Synopsis

callinghisbluff1400x2100Calling His Bluff by BA Tortuga

After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.

Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.

Happy Medium by Julia Talbothappymedium-1

Andrew is out to debunk Max as a medium, not make love to him…

Max Bellame is working his way through 1870s Baltimore as a medium, even if he knows nothing about spirits. He uses the power of his mind to move objects, convincing his clients he’s the real thing.

Andrew Meechum works for Club Raven, a gentleman’s club that doubles as a paranormal research facility. He sets out to debunk Max, only to be fascinated by the man. Can Andrew convince Max to take a chance on love, and to find his true calling as a medium, or will their personal demons force them apart?

Wishful Thinking by Kiernan Kellywishfulthinking

Tony Brazzio, co-owner of Club Raven, Baltimore’s premiere men’s club in 1875, has a pocketful of cash and a chip on his shoulder. He’s out to prove to his co-owners — and himself — that he’s not a fluke, that anyone can be successful give the opportunity, no matter how poor his beginnings.

Bull O’Brian and Dandy Gilroy are two hoodlums from the rough streets of New York’s Five Points. They’re pickpockets by trade, and both possess psychic talents that make them two of the best. When Tony offers to bring them to Baltimore and give them the chance at a life of riches in polite society, they jump at the chance, if only to steal the members of Club Raven blind.

The best of plans rarely work the way they’re intended, and things swiftly go from bad to worse for Dandy and Bull. There’s murder afoot and a detective on their trail, and not even copious amounts of hot, sweaty sex can ease their fear or guilt.

As for Tony, he’s faced with admitting his experiment is a failure, something he’s loathe to do. It’ll take a great deal of persuasion, a little luck, and a lot of lube to make sure his plans for Dandy and Bull become more than just wishful thinking.

Purchase

Purchase all three Club Raven novels below!

Calling His Bluff: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Happy Medium: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Wishful Thinking: Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Meet the Authors

BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting, and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

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Julia Talbot

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Samhain Publishing, Dreamspinner Press and Changeling Press. She believes in stories that leave a mark, and that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Kiernan Kelly

Kiernan’s award-winning stories of gay romance envelop diverse themes, varying from paranormal, to fantasy, and science fiction to contemporary romance. She has over eighty titles in ebook and print, published through a variety of houses. Her horror short story release, “Cletus,” appears in the Coscom Publishing’s book “Bits of the Dead.”

Kiernan also writes young adult GLBT fiction under her Dakota Chase pen name. As Dakota, she currently has three novels and several shorter works available in print and ebook. Mad About the Hatter, her YA gay romance, is a finalist for the American Library Association book list for 2017.

You can find out more about her by following her online.

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A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: On Wings of Thunder by MD Grimm

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

On the Wings of ThunderTrystan is an unchosen angel—shunned by society, bullied, and without a future. In a hidden well, Trystan discovers a carving of a dragon, who were once the commanders of demons and now believed extinct. But Trystan learns the carving doesn’t depict an ordinary dragon. Stories tell that millennia ago, the great dragon Asagoroth and his demon army nearly conquered the three realms but was killed by the five elders. The powerful angels combined their life forces to cast a spell, sacrificing their lives.

But history is full of falsehoods. The five elders only managed to imprison the dragon, and Asagoroth had cast his own spell—one of releasement. It only needs the blood of an angel to liberate him from his cage….

Asagoroth, enemy of angels, conqueror of realms, is free. But even as the angels prepare for war, the great dragon surprises them with an ultimatum: hand over the angel who awakened him or face annihilation.

Okay, so I had several issues with this book. The general plot idea sounds good and I love dragons and demons and angels (as long as they aren’t sent by God or something), so it definitely had the potential to be great. Unfortunately, “On Wings of Thunder” mostly fell flat.

The beginning felt a little unrealistic to me. Trystan falls into an old well and discovers a gorgeous carving of a dragon at the bottom. He realizes that the blood from his cut hand does strange things with the carving. Instead of being scared or at least a little cautious, he’s fascinated and makes the cut worse to get more blood on the carving. And didn’t for a second think about the consequences. He lives in a world full of magic and doesn’t worry that blood magic and an ancient carving of an evil dragon might be a bad idea? That’s extremely naïve.

When Asagoroth is finally awakened, he essentially blackmails Trystan into joining him. He’s all, “Come with me, my love, or I will kill every last angel, destroy your entire realm and take you by force afterwards.” (Not his exact words, but the gist of them) And yet again, Trystan isn’t scared or worried at all. He seems to think that’s incredibly romantic. I was kind of uncomfortable with that premise. It didn’t feel like a very good start for a consensual relationship.

Once Trystan and Asagoroth are finally joined, self-doubt ensues on Trystan’s part. So much self-doubt it soon had me rolling my eyes. I do get that he’d be unsure about Asagoroth’s love for him, given his life as an Unchosen, but it was just too much.

One of my biggest issues was the sex scenes. With phrases along the lines of, “Trystan shuddered at the violation of his secret entrance”, it almost read like rape wrapped up in purple prose.

There wasn’t all that much plot overall. Around the 80% mark I was still looking for things to really get going. There is a big showdown at the end, but even that left me a little bored.

Essentially, “On Wings of Thunder” very much wasn’t for me. It felt a little silly and I was kind of bored for the most time. I’m sure there are people who will enjoy this, but I’m not one of them.

The cover by sin shows Trystan and Asagoroth. Just like the story itself, it isn’t really to my tastes.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 144 pages
Expected publication: July 20th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634774094 (ISBN13: 9781634774093)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A BJ Review: Dancer of Death (SPECTR 2, #2) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

Dancer of DeathRevenge. Murder. Ballet?

Vampire spirit Gray wants to hunt demons. Unfortunately, the foolish mortals at SPECTR have put his host, Caleb, their lover John, and their partner Zahira on desk duty. Gray longs to leave Charleston with John, but if they flee, SPECTR will make them the hunted.

A series of paranormal murders returns the team to the field, at least temporarily. Ballerinas are being murdered by a vila, a demon that kills with dance. If they can’t stop the deadly attacks in time, one of Zahira’s friends may become the next victim.

And while they track the demon, an unknown entity has begun to track Gray.

First, I hadn’t read the blurb before I read the story and that last line was interesting, as I guess I hadn’t realized that the scent Gray ran across for the second time in this book was tracking him. Interesting development for sure especially since Gray contends the thing he smells is not food… ie. not a demon.

High on the gore factor and we get some POV from the bad guy in this one. It reminds me a lot of book #4 from the first series, Eater of Lives, in both those factors. Excellent pacing that kept me on the edge of my set. Wonderful emotional parts as well as sizzling sexy bits.

Plenty twists and turns in the developing relationship between the threesome, that makes it ever more complex. I adored how this is being explored. Caleb has a bit of a problem with communication with John in this one, a fact that Gray rightly questions. I find myself wondering how Deacon will fit into this overall, as something about him tells me he’s more integral than the surface seems to show—of course, I could be wrong.

The more we get to know of Zahira, the more I’m loving her as a partner for these guys. One scene with her and Gray was so touching. Loved that to pieces. Karl the transman is also very intriguing, and I find myself hoping we will get to read more about him as well.

Overall, aside from a bit of the adverb usage that drew me out of the story somewhat, this was an excellent installment of the series that I enjoyed even more than I did Mocker of Ravens. I’m very eager for the next installment, and hope it comes out soon.

Beautiful cover but a bit surprised since for the first time in the series (1 or 2) it focuses on a representation of the baddie rather than showing Caleb/Gray or John.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon


Book Details:  

ebook
Expected publication: February 16th 2016 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781941230176
Series SPECTR 2 #2

A Stella Review: BASE INSTINCTS by Larissa Ione

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Rating: 2. 5 stars out of 5

BaseInstincts_1200x1800HRAs a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.

I have no idea how many times I started Base Instincts by Larissa Ione. Probably three or four. It simply was a disappointment to me. Maybe it was my fault cause I haven’t read the Demonica series first, but I heard so many good things about the author that I was super curious about this new m/m installment. I could appreciate the world building, the plot or the characters but my problem was that all of these fell short and was so freaking boring it was unbearable.

I forced myself to go on the reading hoping it will become better, engaging or at least likeable but nothing. I’m really sorry cause I had a lot of expectations for this story. Moreover I could feel no chemistry between MCs, apart from the sex scenes there was nothing else between them. The relationship wasn’t well developed, on the contrary, the way the author decided to solve Slake’s problem (his need to have sex only with females) was too simple and a little ridiculous to me, the easier way instead on working on something else, something stronger. No I didn’t like it at all.

At the end it was your average paranormal story, but I’ve read better books I rated three stars, so I couldn’t give Base Instincts more than 2,5. To me, a strictly m/m reader, this book was a failed attempt made by the author to gain a different market from her usual and at the same time she made a couple of choices in the plot just so she could please her m/f fans. I honestly don’t feel like to recommend it but if you’re a fan of the Demonica series maybe you should try it.

The cover art by Jay Aheer is the only well done thing of the book, no suprise cause I’m seeing a lot of Jay’s works later and I’m liking them more and more.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

BOOK DETAILS
ebook, 150 pages
Published September 12th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
IBSN 1626493081
Edition Language English

 

What Happens When Demons Fall in Love? Check Out Base Instincts by Larissa Ione (tour and giveaway)

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Base Instincts by Larissa Ione
Publisher Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist Jay Aheer

Buy it here at Riptide Publishing

Hi, everyone! I’m so excited to be on the Base Instincts blog tour. Raze and Slake’s story was a labor of love for me, and while theirs isn’t the first m/m story I’ve written, it’s a first for the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series. If you’re curious about how it all started, be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the first two books set in the Demonica/LOD universe, and for more information, head on over to http://www.LarissaIone.com!

Blurb

As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.

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 Base Instincts is part of the Demonica Universe

caduceus Demonica

The demon is a prince of the air and can transform himself into several shapes, delude our senses for a time; but his power is determined, he may terrify us but not hurt.
– Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

Humans go to hospitals. Animals go to veterinarians. But where do injured, ill, and decapitated demons go? It isn’t as if every supernatural being possesses the ability to grow a new limb to replace one that’s been hacked off by a demon slayer scumbag. Fear not, fellow vamps, werewolves, and demons, for help has arrived. Three brothers, incubus demons by birth, human in appearance (mostly), have pulled together to make the most of the healing skills common to their species. Welcome to Underworld General Hospital, where sexy demons are doctors, HMOs are non-existent, and the blood bank sometimes doubles as the cafeteria. And you don’t even want to know what goes on in the supply closets…

About the Author

About Larissa Ione

Larissa Ione is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran and former EMT, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion for writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge . . . just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her US Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

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Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a tote bag with swag and signed copies of Pleasure Unbound and Desire Unchained, the first two books in the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 19. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Good luck everyone!

Prizes are a tote bag with swag and signed copies of Pleasure Unbound and Desire Unchained, the first two books in the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series!

Review: The Prince and the Practitioner by Christian Baines

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Prince and the Practitioner coverEliot had been practicing magic for most of his life but never had he been successful in summoning a demon…until now.  Far too impulsive for his own good, Eliot’s spell casting has always been a hit or miss proposition.  Sometimes it worked, mostly it didn’t.  So when the summoning succeeded and brought forth a demon, it didn’t work out exactly as Eliot had hoped.  Instead of a demon to control, the demon Prynthius now had control of Eliot.  With Prynthius deep within Eliot’s body, Eliot decides, to his horror and pain, that the only way to dislodge the demon is to pass him on to another unsuspecting body, one that the demon must approve of before the transfer is made.

Dean, tall, gorgeous and sexy, seems like the perfect target when Eliot sees him at the local gay hookup bar.  With the demon’s pain induced instructions echoing in his mind, Eliot accepts Dean’s invitation to return home with him for a night full of hot sex and kinky exploration.  But is Dean as straightforward as he appears?  Who will be left standing when all the secrets are exposed?

Christian Baines’ first novel, The Beast Without, was a terrific supernatural tale of horror.  It contained multidimensional characters and a complex plot.  At 234 pages, the author gave himself the length necessary to explore in detail the world he was creating as well as construct a complex history for his main and secondary characters.  It was a refreshing take on creatures dominating all forms of media these days,  vampires and werewolves, and I loved it.

The Prince and the Practitioner has many of the same elements that exemplified The Beast Without but at approximately 27 pages it seems to be missing the breadth and detail necessary to make this story feel as well constructed and polished as the one that preceded it.

Once again Christian Baines has chosen to feature in his story a couple of creatures seen often in novels and on tv and movie screens these days, the demon and the wizard.  Baines appears to enjoy tearing away any romantic overlay from often used character types to pare them down to the horrific bare bones they are capable of.  That is certainly the case with his characters here.     Eliot is not an especially admirable person.  He is certainly not one most readers will relate to.  His is a slapdash morality, one more composed of expediency and self interest than one based in any sort of ethicality and righteousness. Prynthius is everything a malevolent demon should be or at least the backstory provided by the author makes him out to be.  Prynthius is more a dubious outline of a monster than a fleshed out one.  And that lack of solidity lessens the impact his demon is supposed to make.

Dean only snaps into place as a credible character midway through the story.  I can understand why the author made this decision but again it delays the cohesion to the narrative.  The story starts off more like a simplistic piece of porn than a tale of horror.  Had Baines given the reader a little more substance, a little more back story to the opening scenes of The Prince and the Practitioner, this would have felt more polished and solid than the story it finally morphed into.

I don’t have to like a book  or its characters to admire the cleverness of the plot is or the preciseness of the prose, both of which can be found within this story. Like fun house mirrors, nothing is as it seems here but still I had an issue or two with Eliot. With characters whose sense of morality has the same properties as a puddle of muddy water, one character’s righteous indignation at the end seemed false and out of place, especially considering the events that preceded it.  Either the author meant to show Eliot’s gift of self deception to be as endless as I felt it was or the hypocrisy of the scene didn’t bother him as it did me.  This departure from the persona the author has created felt like a break in the characterization, an unnecessary one to my mind.

I do feel the twist at the end elevated The Prince and the Practitioner past porn into a story with layers as opposed to merely sequential sex scenes.  I only wish that the author had included trace elements early on that hinted at the depth and twists of plot to come.  So too does any tenderness and compassion feel completely out of place among these egocentric masters of magic.

This short story contains elements of bdsm (whipping to be precise), D/s, and non con.  For some readers, including lovers of horror, this quick read might be just the thing for you.  For others, especially those lovers of stories of romantic love, I recommend you look elsewhere and to another author as romance does not seem to be in Christian Baines’ box of literary ingredients the way horror and the supernatural most certainly are.

I am looking  forward to what his imagination turns to next.  At any rate I expect it to be entertaining and worthy of discussion.  I leave any recommendations up to you.

Cover art by Wilde City Press.  This cover has a generic feel to it.  It certainly does not speak to the magic and demon you will find inside.

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition
Published January 15th 2014 by Wilde City Press

Review: Dance Only for Me (Dance with the Devil #6) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Dance Only For Me coverJackie Black, sorcerer and gunslinger, has a surprise for Roman, his lover of two years.  Jackie has decided to move to the city to be closer to his boyfriend and makes a surprise trip to tell Roman the good news.  But the surprise is on Jackie when he intrudes on a romantic evening Roman has planned with another man, a much younger man.   Heartbroken and lacking a place to stay, Jackie heads out of Roman’s building and straight into trouble.  In a bar in the poorer section of the city, Jackie is befriended by a man who claims to be a supernatural detective who needs help on a case.  That case involves retrieving a magical object from someone who just might also be a killer.

Needing something to take his mind off his pain, Jackie agrees to help the detective and changes the course of his life forever.  For nothing in Jackie’s life is as he wants it to be.  His father is off somewhere in Asia, mourning the loss of his wife and Jackie’s mother, Jackie feels he is not made for love as his last three boyfriends have cheated on him, and his new found friend is dead, dying in his arms moments upon his return.  What is Jackie to do but what a Black always does.  Holster his guns and go get the person who done the crime, or crimes.  He can only hope it won’t cost him his life as well.

If asked, I would be hard pressed to say which of Megan Derr’s fantasy universes is my favorite. but certainly her Dance with the Devil series would be in the top two.  So you can imagine my delight upon hearing that her latest release was a return to that amazing universe and wondrous group of supernatural beings that inhabit it.  Jackie Black and his father Jebadiah Black have appeared briefly in other stories but now Jackie is getting a central role in his own novel, Dance Only for Me (Dance with the Devil #6).  And I have to say I loved it.  It had everything  I have come to expect from Megan Derr and this terrific series.

Jackie Black is an oddity in his world, an amazing thing to say given the creatures that roam the streets and bars of the City.  He is over 70 years old, a sorcerer who wears a Stetson, cowboy boots, duster and uses magical revolvers of the old West to take down miscreants, human and non human alike.    Thin as a whippet, “whipcord” thin as his mother would say, Jackie is a bit of an anachronism, just like his father.  He speaks in the dulcet well mannered tones of a Sheriff in the old West, polite even when aiming his six shooters to kill,  This is our first introduction to him and his story:

Jackie caught the goblin right square between its crazy ass eyes and sighed as the fool thing dropped like a sack of flour to the warehouse floor. He holstered his revolver in a single, smooth move and touched the brim of his hat to the cluster of goblins huddled in the corner. “Ma’am,” he said to the one at the head of the pack, who had hired him to do something about a goblin that had tipped from average goblin crazy to crazier than a pack of elves gone drunk and frisky.

He walked over to the body to make certain it was dead and wrinkled his nose at the smell wafting off it. He’d caught whiffs of it before, but now the thing was holding still it was a sight easier to catch. “Poor thing’s mind done been scrambled like eggs at Sunday brunch.” He tipped his hat back to look up at the head goblin as she approached him. “Ain’t got a clue how he was poisoned, but I were you, ma’am, I’d be checking right careful for a traitor in your midst. This sort of thing is near always personal.”

I loved the dialog that Derr has written for Jackie.  It is so easy to picture him, a spare man of honor, like Gary Cooper in High Noon (google it).  In fact, I loved everything about Jackie, from his background and family life to his current painful predicament as a discarded lover who thinks he will never find the person/being right for him.  His singular code of honor drives his actions as well as his relationships.  And people are drawn to him whether he likes it or not.  The many layers to Jackie will draw in the reader as well, we just can’t help it!

Typical of Derr, it’s not just Jackie who is beautifully characterized but all the beings/people created for the story as well.  Whether it be friend or foe, everyone you will meet between these pages feel real.  They have hidden agendas driven by greed, pain, or a need to set things right.  They  want love or friends or a family or all three.  From a demon called Ned whose pain will make you cry to a young boy, Wyatt, whose dark past has made him older than his years, each and every one will cry out for your affection and attention.  And they will deserve it.  Especially Ned, Wyatt Thorne and a vampire necromancer, Phoenix Fairchild, each so memorable in their own way.  I loved them too.

One of the charms of this series is that couples, people from previous books make appearances throughout the series. Sable Brennus and Christian are here, as is Ontoniel Desrosiers,  Johnny and Grim, and even a dragon or three.  Seeing them here just made me want to go back and start reading each of their books all over again.  Megan Derr has such a wonderful imagination and her creativity just flows through this series like a river of magic. Every type of magic or wondrous being is included here.  Angels, sorcerers, witches, goblins and alchemists, that’s just a start.  There are werewolves, vampires, ghosts and golems too.  They are all present and involved in Jackie’s life and story and we are so much the richer for it.

I came close to giving this story a 5 star rating but there was just a few too many errors here.  Spelling errors, repetition problems and sentences like this one.  “Hope your right, Sheriff.”  Instead of “Hope you’re right, Sheriff”.  An editor should have caught these common problems and didn’t.  That brought the rating down which was a shame.   Tighter editing and better proofreading would have made this story a perfect read.

Those issues aside, I absolutely recommend this story to every person who is a fantasy fan, who love mythical beings come to life and men who hunger after love even though their past has told them it only brings heartbreak.  If you are new to the series, you can read this as a stand alone.  But reading the other stories first make this a much richer and fulfilling adventure.  I really hope that Megan Derr brings back Jackie, Ned and the rest for a followup adventure.  They are all so deserving of it.

The Dance with the Devil series:

Dance with the Devil (Dance with the Devil, #1)

The Glass Coffin

Dance in the Dark (Dance with the Devil, #2)

Midnight (Dance with the Devil, #3)

Ruffskin (Dance with the Devil, #4)

Sword of the King (Dance with the Devil, #5)

Dance Only for Me (Dance with the Devil, #6)

Cover Art by London Burden.  Great job in branding the series by cover but I wish it was a little lighter in tone so we can see the guns.

Book Details:

ebook, 236 pages
Published July 24th 2013 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original title Dance Only for Me
ISBN13 9781620040850
edition language English

Review of the Warder Series by Mary Calmes

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Continuing our Series week, I am featuring a series I loved, this time by Mary Calmes.  I love her writing and other series by her will be included in the Spotlight on Series at a later date:

Rating for the Series: 5 stars

In her Warder series, Mary Calmes has created a group of memorable characters and a special universe for them to live and play in.  In the Warder universe, demons and other hell creatures have the ability to visit our world via portals.  Once here, they wreck death and destruction on the unwary human race ignorant of their presence.  The only thing standing between hell and humans?  Warders, a group  of people  called to duty by their special talents and gifts.  Each city has such a group defending it against the abyss.  Its leader is called a Sentinel, the oldest of Warders.  They (male or female) lead a team of five Warders, like the five points of a pentagram.  Each Warder, usually a orphan when called, has a special gift to go along with the powers all Warders hold.  And while the Warders are incredibly powerful, they also have a need for a Hearth, a person who provides the Warder with a home, a safe place to channel their energy, someone to love them and for them to love.

As the Sentinel explains it. “We have found over the centuries that all power and no heart will kill a warder…“My men protect me and each other, and to do that, they need a balance in their lives. For a warder, their hearth—home—is vital and necessary.”  And without a Hearth, the Warder eventually dies. And not just anyone can become a Hearth to a Warder. If a Warder sleeps with someone and that person is not their Hearth, then the Warder drains away the life force of the person they are sleeping with, leaving them aged and withered.  If the Warder leaves quickly enough and never returns, the person rebounds back to the age they had been. But when the Warder finds their Hearth, a bond is formed and the Hearth acquires  special powers of their own, including keeping their Warder safely energized while not being drained themselves.  Their Hearths are their connection to the real world they are protecting.

The Warder series is the story of the five Warders of San Francisco and their Hearths. In each of the  first four books, we have two Warders in desperate need of a hearth, a Warder whose Hearth disappears into another dimension due to a demon’s plan, of an already established couple, their backstory and the dangers that await a Warder and Hearth the longer they stay together  and the final book is the story a Warder who visits his Hearth’s home and finds all is not what it should be.  Each book is a tale that will tug at your heart and bring you a new couple to love.  Mary Calmes gift of characterization flows from book to book, with each member of a couple the yin to their partner’s yang.  Sometimes the story is told from the Hearth’s pov, like Julien Nash in His Hearth. We learn along with Julien, what Ryan Dean really is and what is means to be a Warder and his Hearth.  It’s a great introduction to the group of men and the series.  In other books, it is the Warder telling the story and that is equally necessary to fully understand the pressures and turmoil of a Warder’s inner life as well as the toll all the killings and death of innocents take on their souls.And facing off with the Warders and their Hearths are a series of demons and hell dimensions as well crafted as the Warders themselves.  Calmes skillfully builds the anticipation and anxiety as each couple struggles to find and then keep their relationship safe, irregardless of its longevity.

I have been asked several times to name my favorite Warder couple and found it impossible to do.  I meet one couple and fall in love with them, read another book in the series and love that couple and so on.  Each couple is so different as each Warder brings his own set of needs, insecurities and power to the relationship and that is balanced by the strengths and qualities of their Hearth, giving each story its own flavor and depth.  I love this series and have heard that Mary Calmes might be writing one last story in the series.  I hope its true.

Here is the books in the order they should be read to fully grasp the role each Warder plays in the group and who all the characters are that are mentioned, complete with outstanding covers by artist Reese Dante:

His Hearth (Warder #1):  This is the story of Warder Ryan Dean and his Hearth, Julien Nash.  It is told from Julien’s pov and gives the reader the backstory on Sentinels and Warders. Julien Nash is searching for his date at the company Christmas party and finds him with another man in the copy room. Stunned and more than a little irritated when his date comes to find him, their argument is interrupted by former model turned broadcaster, Ryan Dean, who takes his date’s place. Their connection to each other is immediate and Julien finds himself taking Ryan home after the dinner is over.  One night turns into the weekend of love and lust that comes to an abrupt end when Julien comes out of the bedroom to find Ryan in deadly combat with four demons. When Ryan’s true nature and calling is revealed, Julien must make a choice that will affect the rest of their lives.

Tooth and Nail (Warder#2):  Warder Malic watched as his best friend and fellow Warder Ryan find his Hearth and vowed never to let another get that close, no matter the cost.  Just the thought of loving someone, being that vulnerable scared the hell out of him, Malic preferred being the snarly, sarcastic person that his reputation purported him to be. Until he came across a angel being attacked by drunken thugs in a bathroom and everything changed. Dylan is only 19.  On his way home from his temporary job as a Christmas angel in a seasonal boutique, he stops at a bar and gets into trouble immediately. He is rescued  when a tall scary blond man pulls off his attackers and makes sure Dylan is safe.  Dylan knows he has found the man he was meant to love.  Now if he can only convince him.  Malic is drawn to the gorgeous young man in his arms.  The strength of that attraction sends him running off into the night. But fate has other plans and Malic soons meet up with Dylan again, and again. How much will it take before Malic accepts what Dylan already knows to be true, Dylan is his Hearth and they belong together.

Heart In Hand (Warder#3): Hearth Simon Kim loves his Warder Leith Haas but a Warders life is a dangerous one and Simon has always held a part of himself back from Leith, afraid to let that last part of him open to the perils of a Warder/Hearth relationship.  Then Leith disappears into a demon dimension while trying to rescue Simon and others from a demon trap.  Now Simon must risk everything, including sacrificing his heart,if he is going to get his Warder and love back safely.

Sinnerman (Warder#4). Warder Jackson Tybalt is secure in his relationship with his Hearth until he catches him cheating on him.  The loss of his Hearth/love, causes Jackson in his grief and rage to become a loose cannon, reckless in pursuit of demons, heedless of his own safety, drunken and irresponsible, Jackson now threatens the security of his group and the welfare of the humans he is supposed to protect.  Then kyrie Raphael offers him a relationship that Jackson thinks is built on darkness, lust and pain. This is what Jackson has been seeking and Jackson accepts.  Raphael is a demon who just happens to hunt his own.  He has wanted Jackson as his own for some time and jumps at the opportunity the depressed Jackson gives him.  What follows is an exploration of ” what a body needs to bandage the wounds of the heart, and Raphael will hide the tenderness he feels for Jackson for as long as the warder wears the guise of the Sinnerman.”  I do think this is my favorite of the series.  Far darker than the books before it, it has a depth combined with a vivid description of a man lost in emotional turmoil.  And Raphael is just an outstanding character.

Nexus (Warder#5):Nexus is the story of Marcus Roth. top criminal lawyer and Warder and his Hearth, Joseph Locke. They are an interracial couple, with the added twist that Joseph Locke is also blind.  They are an established couple which makes the story even more interesting. Nexus begins with Marcus and Joseph traveling to Lexington, Kentucky to celebrate Joe’s grandfather’s birthday. Joe’s family is unaware, even after all the years they have been together of the special nature of their bond of Warder/Hearth.  When a demon threatens the family, the local Warder group demonstrates just how ineffectual they have become and Marcus must step in and take charge of the situation.  As the situation gets more dangerous, Marcus’ identity is revealed to Joe’s family and Marcus must face a tremendous sacrifice to save them all.

Again, a totally different take from the other couples.  Marcus and Joe are still deeply in love after many years together but Marcus doesn’t realize how important he is not only to Joe but to all the other Warders.  It is a study of a traumatized man trying unsuccessfully to recover from an ordeal.  Marcus and Joe grab the reader from the start, their story is multilayered and easy to empathize with.  Loved them.

Cherish Your Name (Warder#6):  Malic Sunden is accompanying his Hearth, Dylan Shaw, home for the holidays.  Dylan has assured him that his parents and sibling will love him but that’s not the case.  Dylan’s parents make it obvious that they think Malic is a cradle robber and that Dylan could do much better.  Dylan is occupied with his old friends, and doesn’t see what his family’s disapproval is doing, making Malic rethink their relationship.  On top of that, the Shaw’s neighbor is coming on to Malic and a demon with his own agenda, wipes Malic’s memory clean and kidnaps him to another dimension. An amnesiac Malic must fight his way back to a home he no longer remembers with just a name to use as a beacon.  As a Warder Christmas story, it has all the right elements, a house decorated for Christmas that would be worthy of the Kranks, a disgruntled family, too much celebrating and a demon to threaten to detroy Malic and Dylan’s bond, that is if Dylan’s family doesn’t accomplish that first.  I love Dylan and Malic and loved that we got another story featuring their relationship.  We left it at the very beginning of the bond in Tooth and Nail and this gives us a glimpse into the relationship months later.  As with the previous books, some of the other Warders make appearances as well.  Loved it.

And now all the books have been published in print editions in two books.  Collection #1 contains books 1-3, and Collection #2 has books 4-6.  All available from Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

Here are the covers for the printed collections, I love those covers, just gorgeous. Great design: