A MelanieM Review: Diamond Flush: Ace of Diamonds Four by Laura Harner (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States Book 16)

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Diamond Flush coverFor Alpha Jet Gorman, discovering the origins of his pack’s newest members has provided more questions than answers. Like why would someone deliberately expose the existence of supernatural beings to the human world through in vitro fertilization? And more importantly…cui bono? Who benefits most from the Revelation? With the threat of betrayal a constant presence running through the Vieux Carré, at least Jet can count on Nico to have his back.

Ancient vampire Nico Sanzio da Urbino has been given an order to kill a werewolf—not unusual given his job as an enforcer. The problem lies in the fact the targeted Alpha is often in Nico’s bed—or vice versa—and may just be that elusive soul mate he has never quite believed in. Not to mention Jet’s blood fairly sings through Nico’s veins. Caught somewhere between the Paranormal Odd Squad, the all powerful Vampire Council, and a promise to his oldest friend, Nico must make a choice before someone realizes he hasn’t carried out his orders—and takes the matter out of his hands.

With the New Orleans preternatural population continuing to increase at an unnatural rate, the local Alpha and the Odd Squad’s chief enforcer should have their attention focused on maintaining the human-to-super status quo, but with things between them at an incendiary high, their mutual distraction could prove deadly—for everyone.

Heading into the all important fifth book, Laura Harner lines up her angst and mysteries here, her characters waiting to see who will survive the upcoming evil tide of events.  Nico and Jet’s relationship has gotten deeper and richer, despite the fact that both are keeping important secrets from each other.  But Nico’s maybe the most important of them all as he has been ordered to kill the Alpha, who just happens to be his lover and perhaps his soulmate Jet.  Jet also is keeping things hidden from Nico, the worst betrayals seeming only moments away and all blended together with scenes of smoking hot sex.

One of the things I so appreciate about Laura Harner is her ability to balance the elements of  sex, suspense and horror with those of tenderness, love, and angst.  The early scene of Jet and Artie had me in tears.  It was quiet, moving, and a needed reminder of what was at stake for them all.  A gem of a moment among many.

So here we are.  So close to the end.  I have thoughts about where this might go but rarely does that line up with the author’s! This is a superb series as are all the interconnected stories associated with it.  They make a perfect Halloween read, or book choice for anytime of the year.  I highly recommend this for lovers of the supernatural, the paranormal, for M/M romance…it really has it all.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I think its missing that wonderful sexy aspect of the last cover.  Not my favorite.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 67 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Hot Corner Press
ASINB0160AL7V4
edition language English

 

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About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A MelanieM Review: Dead Man’s Hand: Jack of Spades #4 by Lee Brazil (Pulp Friction 2015:Altered States Book 13)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Dead Man's Hand coverBarton Montoire, the ghost of a nineteenth century riverboat gambler, is devastated and angry. His lover, physics professor Sabine, has exorcised him. Again. This time, there’s no denying the professor’s actions were intentional. Worse, Bart can’t seem to convince their friends to aid him in his quest get Sabine to listen to his side of things.

With his lover Bart safe from shadowy threats of eternal damnation in the “other realm,” ghost hunter Sabine Brusilov is free to pursue his own risky investigation into the mysterious circlet and its connection to the shadow figure that’s been tormenting the unlikely couple. With the help of his friends, he determines to take control of the situation and bring Bart home.

I may have been a little harsh towards Sabine in the past, mostly because of his behavior and attitude towards Bart, his ghostly lover and favorite character of mine. However, with Dead Man’s Hand (book 4), Lee Brazil start’s repairing Sabine’s reputation, in my eyes and in that of his friends as well as supplying some explanations for some of the more bizarre actions and events that Sabine has been involved in. Has this made me mellow towards Sabine?  Yes, it has, damn, it.  Still that amount of arrogance has cost him.

Forty four pages  isn’t a lot of time to turn a impression of a character around but Lee Brazil does it concisely and within the framework of a complicated plot. Its not, however, that Sabine changes but that our perspective of Sabine that gets revised now that we get to see underneath the surface of his actions.  We see how the things he said and weird things he has done now fit differently into the whole picture.  That tilt in viewpoint also  shifts the story into another mode – a renewed sense of needing this couple to be together, something that might not have been there before.

Bart is still desperately trying to find his way “home”, seeking answers, for his own scary actions and Sabine’s.  That dark evil influence had spread wider than anyone had thought possible.  With Brazil reinstating Sabine as more in need of our compassion than scorn, Bart blindly trying to come come to Sabine, and the plot more deeply layered and vicious, the author is setting the stage for the explosions and fires that book 5 is sure to bring.  Demons anyone?  Evil demons that is?  This is going to be painful, bloody, and someone, perhaps more than one is going to get hurt, but who?

Ah, Book 5, here we come, I can’t wait for the paranormal explosions to begin!

I highly recommend this story and all the stories that came before.  Pick them up and devour them like the scary bon bons they are!.

 

Cover artist Laura Harner.  Still wish they were darker and more frightening.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 44 pages
Published August 14th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB013XZ611A
edition languageEnglish

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura HarnerRound Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura HarnerRound Three:Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:
Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A MelanieM Review: Diamond Draw: Ace of Diamonds #2 (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States Book 8) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Diamond Draw coverNico Sanzio da Urbino stays busy with his Odd Squad job investigating paranormal crimes, but he’s still haunted by the idea that the usurper he killed at Jet’s pack meeting was familiar. As an ancient enforcer, it’s always possible the werewolf was a relative of someone from Nico’s past, but if he wants to make sure the local Alpha keeps his head, Nico needs to find the connection before revenge comes calling.

Running background checks as part of the upgraded security measures for his pack, Alpha Jet Gorman discovers not everyone can be accounted for in the usual manner. In fact, several of the young rogue wolves he’s ordered to his pack are from human families…with no history of a bite to account for their wolfy tendencies. No wonder they were runaways. Before he can verify they pose no danger to the other werewolves, he must first discover the secret of their existence. A secret worth killing for.

Despite their differences, there is an undeniable connection between the ancient vampire and the young Alpha that seems to go beyond the blood they’ve exchanged—and keeps them circling around their very obvious mutual attraction. But while one man is looking for a way to move their relationship into the bedroom, the other is searching for a reason to stay true to his past.

I love it when a book veers off into a direction I hadn’t anticipated.  That is what happened with Diamond Draw by Laura Harner, the 2nd story in the 2nd group of stories from this year’s Altered States Pulp Friction 2015 series (yes, I know, what a mouth full).  That it happened at the end of what was already a marvelously sexy and intriguing installment…well, that was the cherry on top of a deliciously satisfying sundae of a narrative.

In each Pulp Friction year, I end up switching back and forth as to who are my favorite couples/trios of the moment.  This year the authors have made it especially difficult because each pairing is so unlike the others.  It feels more like comparing apples or oranges, or in this in series, vampire or succubus, ghost or werewolf, seer or what exactly? So many possibilities and variables. But with this story, Harner’s grief stricken Jet and the ancient, powerful vampire Nico inched ever so slightly ahead in the pairings.  Man, are those two hot together!  Their scene on the dance floor is positively incendiary.  Underneath that sexual heat generated exist two men with complex, pain-filled pasts, convoluted present lives, and the intelligence to question every moment of the strange bond pulling them closer by the minute.  And that’s the hook that has me completely enthralled.  I suspect it has you hooked as well.

Diamond Draw moves the series and overall group plot forward with some new twists and turns, including one that I never expected at the end.  We see bits of what is occurring with the other  couples but it’s the horrific turn of events happening within Jet’s pack that sets the stage for the major drama that unfolds and potentially lethal plot twists ahead. And I can’t reference any of it, because each is a spoiler on its own.

Harner’s characters are beautifully crafted.  They pull you in, let you feel both their pain and their joys.   This is true as much for her secondary characters, such as a brother and sister werewolves found here, as it is for her main characters.  That attention to the well rounded personas, combined with a narrative that never falters in its swift pace makes this one of my highly recommended reads this year.

Start at the beginning and read as each story is released or as one major binge read at the end, its just the order that matters in order to understand the characters and plot development.  No matter your approach, just make sure this story and series are on your TBR list!  Its one you won’t want to miss.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Love this cover.  At first the covers for PF2015 were a little “light” in tone for me.  But as each new group of stories rolls out, you can see the covers getting darker in tone and  design.  This one really does it for me.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 61 pages
Published May 31st 2015 by Hot Corner Press
ASINB00YM4SU2U
edition languageEnglish

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Haven Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1)  by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Haven Fellows
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ), Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner