Law and Supernatural Order? Its Silvia Violet’s Sex on the Hoof! (excerpt and giveaway)

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Sex on the Hoof

Silvia Violet

M/M Romance

Sex on the Hoof Cover

Cover Design: AJ Corza

Cover Photo:  Stock Photo

Release Date: 12.31.15

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1PeLrl8

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1QD5Y68

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1J15apd

iTunes: http://apple.co/1QD6gK7

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1NwQj4E

ARe: http://bit.ly/1OEFjzS

BLURB:

 A stag and a vampire. Mortal peril. True love.

Deer shifter, Jason Fleetfoot, has turned his life around. After years of taking chances, he’s working as a crime lab technician, and he’s determined to forgo the risky behavior of his past. Then he meets Drew Danvers, the only undead detective in the city. Jason hates vampires, or does he? Drew defies all the stereotypes of his kind and something about him has taken hold of Jason and won’t let go. Jason might just dare to take a chance on a man others would label a risk to his health if not his very life.

This novella was previously published. It has been re-edited and expanded by over 35%.

TEASERS

SOTHTEas

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EXCERPT

I’m Jason Fleetfoot. I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life. The stupidest of all was taking a job with some assholes intent on manufacturing illegal chemical weapons.

My sister, Natalie, lost her job when her company folded, and I lost mine because my fucking boss was a bastard. I’ve got authority issues. And control issues. All right, I’m seriously fucked up, but I wasn’t going to let my sister starve because I couldn’t keep it together.

So I made a deal with the devil and damn near got myself and Natalie killed. She saved me. She and her cop boyfriend, Wolf. The name’s not a joke. He’s a werewolf. Did I mention we’re shifters, Natalie and I? Deer shifters. If you think my human form is impressive, you should see me as a ten-point buck. So yeah, a werewolf and a deer shifter. Somehow they’re making it work.

When I was a kid, we were all in hiding—wolves, deer, rabbits, foxes, and all the other shifters, vampires and demons too. Then the Big Collapse happened. Worst econ crash since the Great Depression. The world was in chaos, the US Government near collapse, the unemployed filling the streets. A bunch of supernaturals said, fuck it, the humans can barely keep themselves together, it’s time we had our day. I thought there’d be a war, but none of us were organized enough to attack and the humans had their own problems so now we all live together.

Peacefully? Fuck no. Most humans tolerate us, just. Some love us only for the thrill we can give them. And others would like to kill us on sight, but at least we don’t have to pretend anymore. I love what my body can do and I’m never going to apologize for it.

But that’s enough history. Let’s get back to the now and my life on the straight-and-narrow, working hard to earn an honest dollar. I fucking hate being beholden to Wolf, but I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for him. Once the Atlanta PD cleared me, Wolf helped me get a job in the crime lab where I can use my knowledge of chemistry and computers for the good guys.

As the newest hire, I work nights, babysitting the equipment and working on what comes in during the wee hours. For the most part, I like it. It’s quiet and I get a chance to play around with new techniques and do a bit of programming. There’s only one problem: Detective Drew Danvers.

He works nights too. Not because he’s new, but because he’s a goddamned vampire. They say he was Changed against his will. But what the hell was he doing picking up a vampire at a bar? I certainly have no intention of fucking a vampire. No matter how damn fuckable Drew is. Yeah, I like men, what of it? And Drew is a fine specimen of a man, like some Viking warrior. He’s at least six three with sculpted arms and pecs that make him look like he could lift a truck one-handed. Considering he’s a vamp, he probably can.

Getting involved with Drew would be stupid on too many levels to count. And I’m finished with making stupid decisions. So why does my body want so desperately to be impaled on him—his cock, his fangs, anything he’d like to stick in me. Natalie’s right, my dick really doesn’t communicate with my brain. I don’t just want to fuck him, I want to be taken by him, and I never want that. Like I said, I have control issues. But with Drew… No, there’s never going to be anything with Drew.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Silvia Violet writes erotic romance in a variety of genres including sci fi, paranormal, alternate history, and historical.

She can often be found haunting coffee shops looking for the darkest, strongest cup of coffee she can find. Once equipped with the needed fuel, she can happily sit for hours pounding away at her laptop. Silvia typically leaves home disguised as a suburban stay-at-home-mom, and other coffee shop patrons tend to ask her hilarious questions like “Do you write children’s books?” She loves watching the looks on their faces when they learn what she’s actually up to. When not writing, Silvia enjoys baking sinful chocolate treats, exploring new styles of cooking, and reading children’s books to her wickedly smart offspring.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Newsletter: http://silviaviolet.com/newsletter

Facebook: http://facebook.com/silvia.violet

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Silvia_Violet

Tumblr: http://silviaviolet.tumblr.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/silviaviolet/

 

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A Paul B Review: Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip #6) by Charlie Richards

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Not A Line of Bull coverCassium Jones is a vampire that has lived nearly 400 years. During his forced seclusion from society, he is tending to a small ranch owned by his coven. One day while he is riding checking the property, he notices that the fence line has been compromised and in need of repair. While repairing the fence, he notices blood around the area. He goes to check his herd of cattle to see if any of them have been hurt. When he reaches the heard, he notices an injured bull laying about the cows. When he checks on the injured bull, he discovers that not only is he a bull shifter but also his beloved.

Garth Omicron has been driven from his shifter herd. Having refused to mate with the mother of his second calf because he doesn’t love her and she is a terrible mother to his two children, Garth is beaten and gored by the inner circle of the herd. He wanders into a field some miles away from his herd territory and finds an Angus cattle farm. When the owner confronts him as to why he is vampire territory, he thinks things have gone from bad to worse. However, contrary to how he had been taught, this vampire seems to want to help him for some unknown reason.

While Cassium suspects that they might be mates, Garth has no concept of the idea. In his herd, people of paired together based on bloodlines to prevent inbreeding among the herd. Outsiders are rarely brought into the group, which for the most part live a self-sufficient life. The only people allowed to have contact with the outside world are the inner circle. When Cassium hears of the treatment of most of the shifters, he promises to help them out, especially Garth and his two children. The big question is whether or not Garth will accept Cassium as his mate despite all that his herd has been taught and accept the proffered help.

This sixth book in the Loving Nip series is another satisfying read in the author’s paranormal universe. Garth is an interesting character as he is a bull shifter but is not one of the dominant shifters in his herd. Having a somewhat submissive bull plays against stereotypes. I was somewhat surprised that the resolution to the herd’s mess occurred mostly off the pages of the book with one major exception. However, the resolution did provide a hint at one of Ms. Richard’s upcoming books in her universe.

The cover art by Carmen Waters shows Cassium as a well-built farmer in an open plaid shirt in front of a valley vista during sunset. It is another well done cover in the series.

Sales Links:   Extasy Books | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book details

Ebook, 89 pages
Edition: English
Published: September 15, 2015 by Extasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-4874-0477-2
Series: A Loving Nip
A Nip of Good Cheer (A Loving Nip #1)
A Rose for Paul’s Protector (A Loving Nip #2)
An Unforgettable Bite (A Loving Nip #3)
More than Patient (A Loving Nip #4)
Sharing a Demon’s Blood (A Loving Nip #5)
Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip #6)

A MelanieM Review: Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Blood and Ghosts coverWith vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

After the death and destruction of Blood and Rain (Blood #1), I was hoping for some resolution to some of the loose ends and ever expanding plot threads but I should have known better as Blood and Ghosts is the middle story of Shira Anthony’s Blood Trilogy.  This book only ups the drama, danger, and multiple timelines these characters seem to exist in.  And therein lies this story’s strengths and weaknesses.

Time travel can be an extremely tricky element in any story but especially in one where one of the main characters or perhaps more, switch time frames frequently within chapters or pages for that matter.  For me, this format worked in several ways.  As Adrien chases not only his enemy Pelletier through  time, he is also looking frantically for his beloved Nicholas, who Pelletier has stolen away (long story, you must read the first book for this one to make any sense at all).  As the search continues through multiple eras and time periods, an exhausted Adrien is carrying with him the knowledge of the future, and all the dangers that brings with it.  With each change, the suspense and anxiety increases along with Adrien’s anguish and physical exhaustion.  We can connect with the fact that he’s losing hope with each century he passes through.  Anthony’s format serves to involve us with Adrien’s emotions and pain as the search continues even as his enemy taunts him.  I liked seeing all the “different” Adriens that existed, even if we see them only briefly.  I also liked getting more of a sense of history behind the various feuds and vampire/hunter lore.  That also serves to solidify some of the world building laid down in the first story.  But there is a downside to all this time flipping, and that’s confusion and a tendency towards density.

There are so many different eras and time periods to keep track of and with them, different logistical nightmares and ever expanding plot threads that your mind can grow tired trying to keep track of them all and how they figure into whatever current situation Adrien is finding himself in at the time.   I had to refer back to my notes several times in order to figure out  who was where at what time and why.  I can see what Anthony was going for and its works in the long view, however, I also wished for a few less stops along the time continuum and a tighter time line for the story all together.   At one point we are just jumping around way too much for us to get a feel for the “Nicholas” seen or for the other characters that are involved, there’s just not enough “time” for that to happen.

Make no mistake, there are some very cool components here.  I loved all the action sequences and the stuff that happens with Adrien’s sword had me swooning with glee.  It was unexpected, wildly imaginative, and vividly realized.  And it also made other parts of the story pale in  comparison.    Now that was a battle.

And while Adrien is believably flawed, impatient, angry, and powerful, Nicholas remains a bit of a shadow character.  I was just starting to get a sense of him before the traumatic events of Blood and Rain.  Then nothing.  I find him even more elusive here than Adrien does, and the switching of personas through the centuries doesn’t help that.  I’m continually told that their love is eternal and they know it “through the blood”.  But I would have wished for more showing to help me connect with the person behind all the drama and events that happen.

Blood and Ghosts is the middle story in this trilogy and it ends on a heartbreaker of a cliffhanger, one I can’t wait to see the author write her way out of.  I thought it was a fascinating way to end this story as it supplies tons of questions with little answers, its thought provoking in a major way and the riddle it implies will keep you guessing until we get the answers in early 2016 which is when the final story, Blood and Eternity, will come out.   If you aren’t a fan of cliffhangers, perhaps you might want to wait and read all three stories one right after the other.   If you are like me and have the impulse control of a magpie, then go ahead and pick this up and see what happened after the carnage of Blood and Rain.

But if you are new to this trilogy, run back to the first story and start there otherwise you will find yourself lost in time, along with the characters here.  For all vampire lovers, this is a new take on vampire lore and vampire hunters.  This story and series is beautifully written, intricately plotted and heavy with elements and logistics.  And yes, there’s some hot men/vampires and sexy times too.  The time travel can get a wee bit wearying but hang in there, for the acton sequences and rocky journey to everlasting love worth every minute, hour, and year.  Now if only I could time travel my way to 2016 and get my hands on Blood and Eternity….

Cover art by Reese Dante. I’m not a fan of this cover, not sure why.  Perhaps its the models or the design color.  Either way, its more of a miss than hit.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press   –   All Romance (ARe) –  Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 242 pages, available in DSP paperback too
Published April 20th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press (first published April 2015)
ISBN139781634761154
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.shiraanthony.com/books/blood-and-ghosts/
seriesBlood #2

Books in the Blood Trilogy are:

A MelanieM Review: Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States #2) by L.E. Harner, and T.A. Webb

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

“Wolf or vamp? Decide. It has to be now.”

Deadly Shades of Gold coverA life altering decision made in seconds. For those were the last words Sam Garrett ever heard—as a human. And as something other than human, his career as a cop was over.

Travis Boudreaux knows exactly how Sam feels, its an all too familiar situation. But as Travis and Sam are about to find out… when some doors close, the golden window of opportunity opens. Crimes against supernaturals require a new and different approach, and once the Feds show up, the Odd Squad isn’t the only law enforcement game in town.

With paranormal crimes flourishing and  a revenge-seeking vampire creating deadly havoc, the new federal agent-in-charge is on a recruiting mission—and he’s more than ready to fight fire with fire. What do you get when you mix old friends, new enemies, and a license to kill?

Pure dynamite.

Warning: This is an erotic urban fantasy. In this series the vampires don’t sparkle, werewolves kill, and the men sometimes have sex. With each other.

Alrighty then!  With Deadly Shades of Gold, the romance of Sam and Travis is about to be well…something hot and wonderful.  As well as totally unexpected.  I loved this story wholeheartedly.  It made me want to do a few high fives and “hell to the yeah’s”!  To recap briefly, Sam and Travis were partners on the force and soon to be partners in love when a vampire attacked Travis and killed him.  But Travis didn’t stay dead for long and his return (on the day of his funeral), revealed to the world that vampires and other supernatural beings were real and living along side of them.  Surprise!  And quite, naturally it split up Sam and Travis to go their separate ways.

In Deep Blues Goodbye, Sam became the focus of two warring supernatural groups and the end result was a life altering decision (not to be revealed here).  The choice made is startling as is the effects it has on Sam, his career, and all those around him.   It also brings Travis back into his life and that’s where this story takes flight for me more once more.  I love this two together.  Apart, its bittersweet but together? They become dynamic and compelling.  It doesn’t matter whether they are human or supernatural, Harner and Webb have created a romance that feels powerful and real, a connection that jumps off the page and into your heart.  This story starts them on the path back to each other and something more as it picks up from that moment.

I love how believable the authors made the characters adjustment to their new status.  There’s plenty of confusion and pain to go around, second guessing and indecision often rules the day.  The process of accepting and adjusting to being a supernatural takes time and we watch it happen as Sam works his way through this tumultuous period. More plot threads are revealed, including perhaps, a motive or two from the head villain himself.  Unknown histories are starting to surface and more supernatural politics combine with romance for another superb installment in this series.  I think this is my favorite so far.

I highly recommend this series.  I love the world building, its layered and complicated, just like the characters themselves.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Love this cover, wish there was more branding to the series.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 134 pages
Published February 19th 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN139781937252311
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://lauraharner.com
seriesAltered States #2
charactersSam Garrett (Altered States), Travis Boudreaux

Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:
• Altered States (Altered States, #0.5)
• Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1)
• Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2)
• Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)

 

A MelanieM Review: Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States #1) by L.E. Harner, T.A. Webb

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Deep Blues Goodbye coverWith one startling action, the world changed forever. Recently deceased NOPD Detective Travis Boudreaux was in the process of being mourned and buried when he had the bad taste to sit up at his own funeral.  Until that happened no one knew that vampires and werewolves had been living amongst them. Now two years later, the fight is on for civil rights for preternatural beings and most humans are on the bandwagon. Except whoever is killing vampires and would be vampires.

Since the death and return of his partner and almost love, Detective Sam Garrett has hated all things preternatural. Having your undead partner try to make you his first meal will do that to a guy. When Sam’s attitude gets the best of him on the job, Sam finds himself banished to the Paranormal Criminal Investigations Unit—the Odd Squad—under the oversight of Detective Danny Burkette.

Now it’s up to Burkette to work with Garrett by day and Boudreaux by night as they follow a trail of clues that leads from the historic cemeteries of New Orleans to the bayous of southern Louisiana. During the course of their investigations, both men come to the attention  of a Master vampire and the local werewolf pack Alpha.  If they aren’t careful, it won’t be just Boudreaux whose dead, but maybe even Sam as well.  Some lessons in life—and death—take longer to learn…and Sam and Travis find out that not all second chances are created equal.

Warning: This is an erotic urban fantasy. In this series the vampires don’t sparkle, werewolves kill, and the men sometimes have sex. With each other.

Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States #1) by L.E. Harner and T.A. Webb deepens the amazing world building these authors are constructing for this series.  New Orleans, that rich feast of a city, is the perfect setting for supernatural beings  in love and evil schemes that are slow to unfold.  After that shocker at the end of Altered States, I eagerly grabed this up to see what had occurred only to find that two years had passed and the aftermath is viewed through the various perspective of the characters involved.  And yes, I was a little disappointed.  After all, what happened at the funeral was a stunner for all involved, including the now animated corpse of Travis Boudreaux.  But two years have passed since Travis was turned and now everyone has to deal with the fact that vampires, werewolves and more exist and live among them.  And not everyone is happy about that, including Sam.

I adore Sam, he’s a piece of cynical perfection and disappointment.  What happened to Travis altered Sam as well, especially since both men were so close to falling in love, if they hadn’t already.  But a vampire and fate intervenes and their new  relationship was destroyed…or so they think.  It soon becomes apparent that Sam has never gotten over Travis and that just adds onto the bitterness Sam already feels about the whole undead thing and his partner.  I loved the two of them together and their bonding extends past themselves and the pages to include the reader.  In fact, I so bought into their burgeoning love affair that  aspects of this story threw me off.

Without heading into spoiler territory, other supernaturals arrive to further complicate the current state of affairs and all their attention will be focusing on Sam.   We see Travis as he is trying to move forward with his undead life with not a whole lot of success.  We see Sam also trying to do the same, both are stalled and bitter.  Something has to occur to break the stasis and it’s a doozy.

As part of the events that happen,  a bonded pair will have some wild hot sex with one of our main characters.  Normally this doesn’t bother me, especially when the authors make a case for it to happen.  But here? Not an element I enjoyed.  I understood where the authors were going with it, but I so bought into Sam and Travis’ romance that this aspect never became palatable.  How a reader feels about this (it’s really not cheating) will likely foretell how they feel about this installment in the series.  Some readers will be asking if they can skip over this book (and yes, the third book sort of resolves this), but no *shakes finger*, unfortunately you can’t.

Think of each story as a building block essential to the whole construct.  Miss even one, and you miss key elements that not only enrich the series but deepen the mystery and suspense Harner and Webb are working hard to build.  So much of this story is worthy of your attention and commitment.  And, perhaps,  the few elements that bothered me won’t phase you in the least.  This is going to be one wild ride!

Another reason to start reading this series?  This year’s Pulp Friction 2015 gang situates all their interconnected series in the Altered States universe.  So its double or is that quadruple the fun for all!  So get started.  Each is a fast, wild, suspenseful tale…over before you know it.  However, don’t be astonished if it lingers on in the questions and clues left behind (and even more shockers).

Cover art by Laura Harner works for the series.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN139781937252243
edition languageEnglish
seriesAltered States #1
charactersSam Garrett (Altered States), Travis Boudreaux

Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:

  • Altered States (Altered States, #0.5)
  • Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1)
  • Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2)
  • Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)

 

A MelanieM Review: The Beast Without by Christian Baines

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

The Beast Without coverReylan, a Blood Shade, the correct term for vampires,, likes being on his own.  He is wealthy, gorgeous,  sexy and particular in who he eats.  He picks out his prey from the popular gay clubs of Sidney, on Oxford Street.  Reylan is always careful not to take too much, just enough to last a few days  before he has to feed again.  So when a crazed werewolf kills his latest companion, Reylan is not happy.  He is even less so when the werewolf, young Jorgas, seems to have developed an obsession with him.  An obsession that puts Reylan and those he cares about at risk.

In order for Reylan to take care of the situation, he finds he must work with a mysterious supernatural organization  called The Arcadia Trust and its leader Patricia Bakker.  The Arcadia Trust has its own agenda and wants Reylan to deliver the werewolf to them alive.  But things change when Reylan hunts down the young werewolf in question.  In a moment of intense need and hunger a tenuous relationship is formed between vampire and werewolf, a relationship neither wants.

As more people are murdered around them, Reylan, Jorgas and The Arcadian Trust must look further than Jorgas for the cause while trying to protect the ones inside their circle.  Reylan soon realizes that the civility he has cloaked his life in is no longer enough.  Its time for his true predator nature to come out and stay out if he is to stay alive and locate the true murderer among them.

What an excellent take on vampires and werewolves.  The Beast Without is such a far cry from the Twilight movies and other more current representations of these two supernatural beings. The werewolves and vampires of The Beast Without are not the benign creatures of the night that we see in popular movies and books these days.  No, the supernaturals of this novel, The Blood Shades and the Flesh Masters (werewolves) are apex predators, vicious and superior to humans who are regarded as food.  It’s actually kind of refreshing.

The vampires, werewolves and other supernatural beings like Cloak Masters (invisible beings) are genetic by nature.  All come from families where the various genes for each type of creature runs in the family.  It can skip generations and then, right around puberty, those that carry the gene mutate into the creature whose genes they carry, whether it be vampire, werewolf, or something quite different.  Christian Baines is developing a great back history for these supernaturals, a history that is being revealed slowly throughout the book.

Along with his impressive world building, Baines takes particular pains to make his characters complex, otherworldly and sometimes cruel in their outlook.  Take Reylan.  He is not human and revels in being a Blood Shade, finding the term vampire to be distasteful and tawdry. An asexual being, at least in the beginning, he dines on men, preferring the power and vigor in their blood to the caution and other traits that occurs in female hemoglobin.   As created by Baines, Reylan is a loner, a predator and absolutely absorbing.

I can’t  say enough about the characters i found here.  Whether it is Jorgas, a confused, raged filled werewolf, Father Isaac O’Baer of Saint Barnabas Church, a Father handy with advice or a knife, or Patricia Bakker, the enigmatic leader of The Arcadia Trust, these beings are intricately layered, wildly unpredictable in nature, and totally absorbing to read about.  I can’t get enough of them or anyone else that pops up in this story.  It’s really just a roll call of strange and wonderful creatures, each more exciting, dangerous and complex  than the one before.   They may not be real, but they certainly feel that way.  Here is Reylan’s thoughts on Cloak Walkers:

It’s said, perhaps cruelly, that you can smell a Cloak Walker long before you hear him – such is the inevitable toll of invisibility on personal hygiene. It’s even been claimed that the condition brings on leprosy, and that a Cloak Walker may be tracked by the body parts he leaves behind. I find what this theory lacks in credence, it makes up for in originality.

I love that wry, amused tone.  A little mean and deceptively mild. Perfect.

The plot is just as twisted and deceptive as the characters.  Baines has really done justice to each element here.  Both the story line and supernatural beings are totally worthy of each other, working their magic on the reader from page one.  Baines’ style of writing is smooth, his descriptions vivid and sometimes almost graphically realistic.  Here is our introduction to Reylan as he heads out to hunt at night:

 I’m not human, but even so, this is a reality I can’t ignore. If I’m not careful when I feed, when I take my fill of blood, I can quickly become the wrong one-nighter.

I’ll thank you not to use the ‘v’ word.

Given my proximity to Oxford Street, the sleazy, pulsing artery of Sydney’s nightclub district where I’ve lived for the better part of thirty years, I try not to visit any club twice in the same week. It’s safer that way, particularly for a man whose lifestyle depends on discretion. Barely two nights ago, I’d graced Fantasy, a club full of pretty, if flighty young things – some gay, some straight, most happily open minded on the subject. So the following night’s destination was Blaze, a club currently serving as de facto cathedral to the Church of Saint Muscle Mary, where the buff and beautiful took time out of their forty hour a week gym schedules to model, preen and occasionally dance the night away for the slack-jawed ogling pleasure of curious onlookers.

For hunting clothes, I chose a pair of tight leather trousers, an equally tight lycra vest and a silver-studded belt. A little attractive, a little sexual, and a little ridiculous. The perfect human mix I’d developed over the years. Not the epitome of modern style, but on a healthy twenty-four-year-old man, which is what I appear to be, it did say ‘come hither and bed me,’ which was the whole point.

Then, there was the pill. I rarely use them, but if options are lacking and I get too impatient, a little chemistry in a capsule can seal the sumptuous fate of any prospective companion. You needn’t judge me. You do a lot worse to your food. Besides, it’s not as if I’ve had to use it – recently.

There he is, all deliciousness in tone and outlook.  But soon Reylan will demonstrate just exactly how good a predator he is.  How I came to love him.

I should make one thing clear.  This is not a romance.  There are m/m relationships, there is sexual need, blood lust and heat a plenty.  But if you are looking for roses and candlelight dinners, this is not the story for you.  A convoluted relationship does develop between Reylan and Jorgas, but it is just at the beginning stages and it is certainly not based on love or even affection.  A bond certainly, but of need and blood and baser emotions.  It is realistic and involving as any I have read, and I love it.

Incredibly, The Beast Without is Christian Baines first novel. I came so close to giving this  remarkable story a 5-star rating but there are just too many loose ends that remain unresolved at the end of the story to go that final inch.    Christian Baines lays out a mystery for us, several in fact but nothing more.  Just speculation and insidiously addicting clues to a larger mystery looming behind the smaller ones. Everything about The Beast Without cries out for a sequel and I can only hope that one is in the works. At any rate, I highly recommend this rich and rewarding take on vampires and werewolves, especially for those of you tired of sparkle.

Cover art and design is terrific. Cover Images: Ivan Bliznetsov (front); DSNR (back) Jacket Design: David P Reiter

Afternote:  Christian Baines has indicated that a sequel to The Beast Without is planned, very good news indeed.

Sales Links:     All Romance (ARe)          Amazon      buy it here

Book Details:

Paperback, 234 pages
Published March 27th 2013 by Glass House Books
ISBN 192212043X (ISBN13: 9781922120434)
edition language
also eBook edition

Review: Convergence (Proud to be a Vampire) by Talya Andor

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Convergence coverLong time friends Chris Bryant and Ling Tam work for Chris’ father in Bryant’s Teas and Curiosities, a store that buys and sells antiques and oddities.  Chris and Ling have long searched for a certain treasure and now they think they have found it.  But in order to succeed they need the assistance of a very special and dangerous being, a vampire.  Chris places a discreet ad in the newspaper and it is answered by Dorran Gracen, a Welsh vampire who accepts the job and the challenges of the journey.

But traveling with a gorgeous predator has its own challenges and attractions, physical attractions that Chris Bryant has kept hidden from his family and society.  As their journey to China continues, he starts to yearn for more from Gracen than just his help to obtain the treasure.  At the journey’s end, will Chris and Ling find the treasure they have searched for or will Chris’ attraction to the vampire cost them everything they have worked for and his life as well.

Convergence is a wonderful little story by Talya Andor that reaches beyond its 22,000 word scope for something larger and, for the most part, succeeds.  It appears to take place in England sometime in the 1800’s, but this England is a place where vampires are a  reality, although a carefully hidden one.  Andor crafts a totally believable world, from Chris’ store to the voyage that takes the trio to China and their buried treasure.

I loved the relationship between Chris and Ling as well as the one that develops between Chris and Dorran.  Given the time period, unusual relationships such as those between people of differing races and social rank are not easily tolerated.  So in a lovely twist, Andor shows that while Chris and Ling consider themselves to be equals, they hide their  true friendships. A neat twist is that they consider themselves almost brothers, but still have to pretend to have a master/servant relationship, one that switches around once they reach China.

It is a time when it is equally dangerous to be gay so among the many things Chris is hiding, he is also careful not to disclose his homosexuality.  The only one who knows he is gay is Ling, his straight friend.  So many secrets here in Convergence, including the true nature of Ling and Chris’ collection of artifacts.  Then Andor adds another layer of deception with the introduction of her Welsh vampire, a somewhat civilized predator with an agenda of his own and truly, all paths and deceptions converge within a mountainous lair of puzzles and treasure.

The treacherous path to the jeweled artifact is a lovely combination of torturous puzzles and challenging physical hurdles.  I really enjoyed the planning and thought that went into this hunt.  The vivid descriptions made the atmosphere and setting come alive.  I had only one quibble with one hurdle that I am sure the author could have answered given a longer length.  Ok, how did those sharks stay alive given their location? Hmmm?  But the rest of it was so neatly planned out, that I can look past this curiosity.

The only other quibble I had with this story was that I wanted a little more of the growing relationship between Chris and Dorran.  The scenes we were given were so tantalizing that it made me want so much more.  They are a great couple and the ending makes me hopeful that there will be more of this couple and their hunts for oddities and treasures.  Whether you love vampires or romance or a combination of both, this is a story you won’t want to miss!

Note:  It appears as part of a bundle titled Proud To Be A Vampire, No. 1 and No. 2 but I don’t see any further references to these main characters so I am not certain where this story comes in.  It can certainly be read as a stand alone.

Cover designed by Aisha Akeju works wonderfully for the story and the treasure within.

Book Details:

ebook, 22,000 words, approx. 80 pages
Published October 9th 2013 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original title Convergence
ISBN13 9781620042519
edition language English

Review: Night Fall (Frostbite #2) by Jenna Byrnes

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

Frostbite- Nightfall coverSouth Side Chicago Detective Cullen Ryder lives for his job after a drunk driver killed his lover, leaving Ryder alone and grieving.  In the past few weeks, the number of homicides has jumped dramatically.  Someone is killing the homeless and prostitutes, leaving them drained of blood in the streets and alleys where they were found.  The coroner laughingly suggests a vampire on the hunt but why are they drained of all their blood?

Vampire Ethan Harte has returned home to Chicago after the last city he visited got too hot to stay.  Even in winter the poor seedy side of Chicago is full of victims for a hunting vampire.  Than Ethan runs into his old high school friend, Cullen Ryder in a bar and things turn sexually and emotionally intense in just one night.

But Ryder is a Homicide Detective with 15 years of experience and he’s hunting a killer. A killer that just happens to be his old friend and newest love. Ethan knows it dangerous to stay in Chicago with Ryder on his trail but he wants just a little more time before he has  to leave.  If Ryder discovers who and what Ethan is, can their newfound love survive the discover and Ryder’s sense of duty?

I loved the premise of this story but found the author’s Night Fall lacking in quite a few ways.  Cullen Ryder is the better of the two characters.  He is a seasoned detective, still hurting over the death of his lover by a drunk driver.  Byrnes gives this character a back history that rounds out his persona while letting us into his every day life to see the respect he has garnered as a detective on the force.  Unfortunately as the story progresses the author seems to forget about the character she has created as Ryder changes and his character adjusts to accommodate her storyline.  Furthermore, her vampire, Ethan Harte enjoys being a predator while giving lip service (however, briefly) to the moment he was changed.  Statements from Ethan to Ryder like “This relationship is over when I say it is over”, and the unpleasant actions that follow serve to derail the story and any sort of romance the author had intended.

The ending was, in my opinion, so off putting that I have no intention of reading the followup story even though an excerpt is included at the end of Night Fall.  Unless you are a diehard fan of jenna Byrnes or must read every vampire story that comes along, I would give this a miss and head over to the other Frostbite tales instead.

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition, 52 pages
Published December 13th 2013 by Total-E-Bound Publishing (first published December 12th 2013)
ISBN 178184853X (ISBN13: 9781781848531)
edition language English
series Frostbite #2

The Frostbite Collection includes:

Gravedigger (Frostbite #1) by Aurelia T. Evans
Night Fall (Frostbite #2) by Jenna Byrnes
Succulent Dark (Frostbite #3) by D.J. Manly
The Study of Blood in Winter (Frostbite #4) by Catalina Dudka

Review: Bloody Love Spats (Among Wolves #2) by Valentina Heart

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Bloody Love spats coverDespite having a coven queen for a sister, Tomislav “Tomi” Vugrin feels anything but powerful himself.  Considered young by vampire  standards, Tomi has  unusual powers, like telekinesis, that he can’t control and run in his family, making Tomi a freak of nature in the other vampires in his coven.  Disliked and taunted, Tomi spends his days reading, watching tv or getting into trouble.  But nothing prepares him for  what happens when he  finds a lost cellphone during a walk in the woods.

Stone Marik, the new Alpha werewolf of the East Pack, is out looking for his brother’s cellphone in his Pack’s territory.  The cellphone happens to have an incriminating picture of Stone taken when they were much younger and Stone wants the picture  erased.  But first he must  find the phone.  Then he smells something wonderful and traces the aroma to a young vampire in possession of the lost phone.  The instant lust tells Stone that the vampire is his mate, something unheard of between two species separated by culture and law.

What follows the mating of Tomi and Stone is nothing  anyone could have expected.  Will the mate bond and love be enough to hold Stone and Tomi together or will the centuries of prejudice and  laws bring destruction down upon them and the East Pack.

Bloody Love Spats is the sequel to Sebastian’s Wolves and it picks up the story in the aftermath of the battle for the East Pack and the death of its corrupted Alpha.  Now Stone Marik is Alpha of the East Pack and has been busy trying to rebuild the pack and its wolves.  But the years of pain and torture have left a pack cowed and broken and Stone is unsure of his ability to rebuild not only the structures that house them but make the pack into a cohesive strong unit they have the promise to be.

Heart delivers a different book and characters than the one we read in Sebastian’s Wolves.  Instead of dwelling solely on the wolf shifters and the pack structures, she adds the politics and relationships of a vampire coven to the wolf shifter universe she has been building to turn it into a combustive mixture of primal animal needs versus an ancient vampire culture so rigidly structured that all they have left to amuse themselves are with internal gamesmanship and alliances borne of self interest.  It is those political and social “headgames”, ones that potentially could end up in lashes and confinement for decades for breaking the vampire laws and social strictures that garner most of our attention, mostly because Tomi so often breaks them.

With her characterizations, Heart also deviates from the types of characters we originally met in Sebastian’s Wolves.  Unlike the older, experienced Sebastian who is just part of the pack, here the reader is given two completely different yet younger characters to connect with.  Alpha Stone, with his Beta brother Tait, are younger wolves than Sebastian.  Stone is less experienced but also an Alpha who feels responsible for his new pack and the amount of rebuilding needed for the Pack’s infrastructure and emotional needs as well.  By his very nature as an Alpha, Stone’s universe is much larger than Sebastian’s.  We meet individual pack  members as well as the adorable young pup, Naji, who he has adopted as his son.  And almost in tandem, we have Tait, Stone’s brother who is both incorrigible but also loyal.  I loved Stone and thought he and the East Pack could have used their own book, so huge are the issues they are dealing with at the moment, nothing less than an entire restructuring of the pack, from the buildings they live in to the manner in which the pack will live and deal with each other.

Then we have Tomi.  He is a young vampire, by vampire years and by personality.  Tomi has been cosseted by his sister, the Vampire Queen.  She has kept him insulated inside the castle, insulated by proximity but not isolated enough that  he is not aware that the rest of the coven not only actively dislikes him but considers him a freak of nature because of the other powers he possesses but cannot control.    Tomi is childlike, he presses against the vampire society’s boundaries, he tests his sister’s patience and the Ancients laws which she can’t always protect him against.  He is adorable, quixotic, and a character anyone can relate to, especially if you are familiar with teenagers at their most exasperating.  He wears a hoodie, watches The Big Bang Theory and  drives a Smart car.  How could you not love him?

It’s their mating that starts an explosion of cultures and ancient laws with a bloody back history Valentina Heart only hints at.  I expect the following books to fill in the missing parts of the werewolf/vampire shared history and the reasoning behind the mutually agreed upon need to keep separate.  A separation that Stone and Tomi has just destroyed by their mating and continued existence.

I think those who loved Sebastian’s Wolves and thought they were getting an continuation of that character and story might be disappointed when they get something different in scope and tone in Bloody Love Spats.  Even the title gives the reader a hint that something quite different is to follow.  The format also might take some getting used to.  It alternates pov between Stone and Tomi so we understand each person’s internal insecurities and feelings towards each other.  It will also bring one of the character’s pain home in bloody detail.

I really enjoyed this story and the characters of Stone and Tomi.  Certain characters from the original book make an appearance or two and new characters are created as a bridge to the next story and the battle of the species.  I  can’t wait to see where Valentina Heart will take this series next.  I am sure it will be just as unexpected as the two books she has given us already.

Cover art by Maria Fanning is gorgeous.  I love that model and its perfect for the story.

Among Wolves series consists of:

Sebastian’s Wolves
Bloody Love Spats

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages, sequel to Sebastian’s Wolves
Published October 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781627981385
edition language English

Reviews: Refined Instincts (Instincts #5) by S.J. Frost

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Refined Instincts coverBroken and starving, vampire outcast Troy Raines has returned to Chicago where everything went all so wrong to die the final death. The death of his best friend and former lover Isaac,and their misguided revolution against the Tribunal and the Ancients cost him everything. Now all Troy wants to do is finish the job vampire Daniel Valente started when he threw Troy off a building.

Renart Bellerose has been busy since the ending of the rebellion repairing the damage caused by his young, misguided vampires.  Renart has tried to make amends by being the Master he should have been to those he Turned and now he is seeing the results in those around him.  But they also serve to remind him of what and who Renart has lost, specifically Troy Raines.  From the  moment Renart looked upon Troy, he wanted him.  And after Turning Troy, Renart gave him everything he thought Troy wanted, power, money, but those weren’t the things Troy craved. Troy wanted Renart’s love and attention and when he didn’t get those, his anger exploded into a rebellion that cost many their lives and has the Tribunal hunting him down for treason.

When Renart finds Troy in Chicago, their reunion erupts into a moment of passion and anger, reinforcing the feelings they had always had for each other.  But danger is all around them as the Tribunal closes in on Troy and Renart finds himself a target of the Ancients wrath.  Will it be too late for Renart and Troy to find the happiness they always wanted or will the laws of the Ancients cost both of them their lives?

Refined Instincts brings back two of the most confounding characters of this series, ones that the readers will have mixed emotions about, and unites them in a relationship full of regret, guilt, and passion.  Throughout the Instincts series, Lord Renart Bellerose has been a sort of prickly, charming and untrustworthy thorn in the side of Lord Titus Antonius  and his lover, now  Eternal Partner, Andreas Nikandros (Natural Instincts – Instincts, #1) .  Even more, his attitude those young men he Turned  and the shear number of Turned  earned him the scorn of other Ancients as well, such as Lord Ryunosuke Kimura and his Eternal Partner, Sir Daniel Valente (Enduring Instincts – Instincts #2).  Renart has always hovered around the edges of the action in the preceding stories, a lively persona that picked at our curiosity each time he appeared on the pages.

Troy Raines also has had a reoccurring role in the series and not a admirable one.  As the leader of the rebellion, Troy oversaw the capture and torture of  series favorite Daniel Valente as well as the kidnapping of Andreas, lover of Lord Titus.  I am sure that there are many readers who still retain some dislike for this character based upon his actions in previous books.  All it took was for Daniel to throw Troy off the roof to start his transformation from villain to misguided, tragic reformer.   S. J. Frost started Troy on his path to redemption in Enduring Instincts when it becomes evident that the rebellion and the power is Isaac’s, not Troy’s.  Then when Troy is injured and unable to care for himself, he becomes an object of pity.  Bit by bit, Frost takes this character apart until the reader is left with nothing but compassion for the person he has become.

I found both characters intriguing and loved the manner in which Frost brings them back together.  It completes the rebellion aspect of this series and does so by fleshing out two secondary characters in a charming and wholly satisfying way.  It is definitely a favorite of mine of the series.  I thought that instead of glossing over past issues, Renart’s part as the igniting factor of the rebellion due to his poor treatment of his Turned and Troy’s blindness over Isaac are given equal treatment to help flesh out the characters and past events.  Renart’s past history does give the character a much needed foundation for his actions and behavior towards others around him.

I did feel that the arrival of  all the other couples from the series, other than Titus and Andreas, was a element that needed a little different treatment.  It was if they arrived just so the author could please all the readers who had favorites, not really because the plot absolutely required it.  And of course the trial was over very quickly after so much was made of the Tribunal hunting them down.  I would have loved to have seen this aspect of the story given more dimension and depth.

Refined Instincts is a wonderful addition to a series many have come to love.  I am not sure how many more the author has planned for Instincts, but given the vitality of this story, the series is healthy indeed.  I recommend this story to all fans of the series, those readers who love vampire stories as well as fans of S.J. Frost.  But if you are new to the series, this is not a stand alone story.  It must be read as part of the series so go back to Natural Instincts to see how it all begins.

This is how it all starts:

The silence in the dark alley broke with the shuffle and drag of uneven footsteps. Troy slowly made his way, his keen eyesight picking out trashcans, litter, dips and holes in the pavement. He may bear an eternally broken body, but his other vampiric senses were still sharp, so much stronger than when he’d been human…those three short years ago.

Troy shook his head, wishing the motion would scatter his memories. But like his shadow behind him, they were dark ghosts that forever clung to him, never parting from him. Even when he couldn’t see them, just as a shadow waits for light to show itself, so his memories waited for a moment of weakness to bring him down.

He should’ve known returning to Chicago would strengthen them…and weaken him, but he needed to come back. This was where it all began. This was where he wanted it to end.

And he did want it to end. All of it. The memories, the regrets, the guilt, the pain—physical and emotional. He no longer wanted eternity. He wanted peace.

Books in the Instincts series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events that transpire:

Natural Instincts (Instincts, #1)
Enduring Instincts (Instincts, #2)
Loving Instincts (Instincts, #3)
Adapting Instincts (Instincts, #4)
Refined Instincts (Instincts,#5)

Book Details:

Published October 31st 2013 by MLR Press
ISBN 1020130160
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SJF_REFI
seriesInstincts #5