A Lila Review: The Assassin’s Pet by Nana G

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Assassin's PetCamille Adnet is a new vampire trying to survive on his own. We first met him, alone and hungry, as he tries to will himself to kill. As a nobleman, he lived a life of comfort and not even when hunting for sport, he was unable to kill his prey. Things had not changed now that he’s a vampire.

As he traveled, he stops by an isolated cabin and gets the opportunity to get a kill. When he’s on the side of a sleeping woman, Damien let his presence be known, stopping Camille. From that moment on, the vampire is drawn to the Sulis assassin.

His luck didn’t get any better, as Camille follows bandits trying to scavenger his meals. He has lost a lot of weight, his eyes turned red, and his skin has a blue hue due to the lack of nourishment. Camille is becoming desperate and contemplating ideas on how to survive. Is then that he recognizes Damien’s scent and decides to offer his services, his loyalty, and his submission in exchange for regular meals and protection.

Becoming Damien’s pet isn’t what they expected. The bond between them cemented into a lovely relationship that brings Damien’s protectiveness and Camille’s loyalty to the forefront. Together, they start a journey that would bring them closer, sealing their faith and future into one.

The Assassin’s Pet is Nana G’s first novel. A delightful mixture of fantasy, paranormal, and erotic elements. The story is very well-written, and the characters will bring a smile to your face, even when they are killing to survive. The author has a way with words, wrapping the reader into the events and the developing relationship.

The beginning and the end felt a little rush, but the central aspects of the tale were interesting and enticing. We get to explore the MCs’ world with them, as we learned more about Damien’s job and way of living. And how Camille’s innocence and life struggles shaped their future. Damien more than an assassin is an angel of death and Camille his reason to live.

Their journey and the fantasy elements are up-to-par. We get to see vampires, mages, assassins, necromancers, priests, and other traditional tropes, but all with a particular twist, unique to the author. I’d love to see more stories set in this world, perhaps more from Camille and Damien, or new couples that existed in the same realm.

The story is label as a gay erotic fantasy with light BDSM, but in reality, these elements are minimal. Yes, the sex is explicit, the MCs are in a Master/Slave relationship, and there’s some spanking involved (not for punishment), but their journey is about so much more. It is a romance story with a philosophical view of life and death. Topped with a strong HFN and the possibility of new adventures to come. Definitely, a fantasy story worth reading.

The cover is very dark, but it shows a good depiction of Camille wearing Damien’s gift. Perhaps, hiding in the shadows.

Sale Links:  Amazon | Smashwords

Book Details:

ebook, 189 pages
Published: January 3, 2016, Self-Published
ISBN: 9781310868450

Edition Language: English

Review: Ashland (WereWolf Fight League #2) by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Ashland WWF 2For years Dan Stoltz has dreamed of owning his own werewolf fighter.  He apprenticed with the well-known trainer and friend, Murphy, and now he is ready to make his first purchase.  At the auctions, Murphy points out a slave that he thinks would make a good fighter, one being sold because his owner is broke and can’t pay his back taxes.  Dan is wavering,as he has decided upon an Asian were. Then the slave raises his head and looks into Dan’s eyes.  With that one gaze, Dan is lost and determined to have Ashland at any cost.

Ashland has known nothing but abuse at the hands of his former owner, Durio.  Starved, sexually abused, kept weak for his owner’s amusement, now Ashland is for sale again and fears the new master who buys him. He sees Dan Stolz watching him on the auction block. When Dan wins the bidding war and buys him, Ashland finds that his life has changed for the better. With good food, rest, and training, Ashland thrives, becoming a skilled sparing partner.  And something more happens. Dan and Ashland are attracted to each other, lust and something more threatening the bonds being built between master and slave.

Ashland is the second installment in the WereWolf Fight League series and the main characters make this a very different book from Tor, the first in the series.  In the first book, the relationships are between slaves, the Owner/Master Marrack is a secondary character.  In Ashland, the relationship starts with the characters occupying two different strata in society.   Dan Stolz, Murphy and Ashland’s former owner Durio are free man, Masters in every sense of the word.  Lorenz’ universe seems to mirror ours here, at least as far as economics, as each man above has a slightly different financial reality.  Murphy is doing well as a seasoned successful trainer.  Dan is the apprentice who is ready to branch out on his own, lower middle case on the rise.  And then there is Durio, bankrupt and unable to pay his taxes, someone on the way down and hopefully out.

Next are the slaves, human and were.  Some fighters are breeders and are intact.  Others like Ashland have been “snipped”, they can function but not reproduce, an almost gelding as it were.  There are sex slaves of both genders, and instead of prison, those free men who have committed crimes against the government or society pay by becoming slaves themselves, condemned to perform the worst tasks society can give them (getting rid of the dead and cleaning up the streets).  Owners have total control, including rape, over their slaves, although change is coming via were and slave right activists.

A Master/slave relationship is by  definition an unequal relationship as the Master has total power over the slave.  So I was expecting to see something of that  reflected back in the story. And outside the brief mention of Durio’s actions towards Ashland, I didn’t see that. In fact I found this owner/slave dynamic  missing in this slave/owner relationship story.  Almost from the first, Dan is treating Ashland less like a slave and more like a person he wants to get to know.  Yes, Dan is a new owner, one of the people who believe in humane treatment of slaves, but still I found his attitude and behavior towards Ashland anything but masterful.

I have to admit I didn’t mind that this aspect was missing from the story (I actually preferred it this way) but just found it a bit odd. Their love for each others develops at the same pace as Ashland’s training, with the traumatized Ashland wanting Dan’s affections to Dan needing Ashland yet not wanting to abuse Ashland’s trust.  Apparently men don’t communicate very well in alternate worlds either.

New characters are introduced, another Master/slave/slave grouping, that I expect to appear in the third book.  I liked this trio.  They have real possibilities as men who respect each other within the limitations of their society.  I think my problem here is that the inequality within Dan and Ashland’s relationship continues even when Dan professes his love for Ashland.  Dan calls him “baby” which is accurate given his inability to read or navigate in Dan’s world.  Ashland remains emotionally unprepared for the status Dan is laying on him.  At least that is the way it seems to me.

There is a measure of suspense with regard to Ashland’s former owner trying to reclaim his slave.  The resolution of this plot thread is so pat that it felt perfunctory.  Wrapped up all too quickly, with many issues left unanswered, I found myself wishing that Lorenz had added at least a chapter or two of the “behind the scenes” mechanisms that made the ending possible.  I found myself liking this story marginally less than Tor perhaps because of the difference in relationship as well as the ending.  I think that the people who liked Tor will find themselves divided over this story.  And perhaps those that didn’t care for Tor will love the dynamics in play here. Either way Lynn Lorenz’s wonderful, heartfelt characters make this a werewolf story to add to your collection.

Stories in the WereWolf Fight League series include:

Tor (WereWolf Fight League #1)
Ashland (WereWolf Fight League #2), in many ways a prequel to Tor

No Publishers warnings accompany this story, unlike Tor, the first in the series.

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition, 151 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Loose Id (first published November 4th 2013)
ISBN13 9781623005528
edition language English