Author Spotlight: Meet Lee Brazil!

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ST: Good morning, everyone.  Today’s guest author is Lee Brazil, author of the wonderful Chances Are series in the Pulp Friction offerings.   Good morning, Lee!

*pats chair and hands Lee a cup of coffee*.

“Don’t mind the terriers, they will ask their own questions later”  *shoos away dogs*

LB: Good morning! Thank you for inviting me over to talk today. For those who don’t know me, I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance with Breathless Press, Silver Publishing, Evernight, and Total E Bound. I’m also a member of a writing association known as Pulp Friction.Chances Are cover

*sips coffee*

LB: Which is what Melanie invited me to discuss today. Pulp Friction came about as a mash-up of old fashioned pulp fiction writing and modern romance. Laura Harner suggested it to us, and the three of us jumped on the band wagon quickly. Originally, it was supposed to follow a strict format of 8 thousand words, and other tried and true pulp strictures.

ST: “Tell me about Chance.  How did he come about?”

LB: When Chance was born, I knew keeping it with in those bounds was going to be impossible. Telling his whole story, getting across the complexity of who he is in eight thousand words wasn’t going to happen. So it became a serial.

ST: “When we think of Pulp Fiction, we think tough, wise-guy detectives who have seen it all.”

LB: Chance is my version of the hard boiled tough guy, he’s known grief and pain, and disappointment, and that’s where we meet him, wallowing in his past. He presents a cold and unfeeling persona to the world and tells himself he’s happy with what he has.

That’s Chance in the first book, Chances Are, where that façade begins to crack. As the stories progress through small mysteries and tragedies and life happens to Chance, the cracks grow bigger and wider and eventually the walls fall down, blasted to rubble by his stalwart friends and a feeling he hadn’t been aware of growing inside.

ST: But that changes, doesn’t it?

LB: When he wasn’t looking his heart was sneaking people in, from the drunkard cop who sits at his bar every night, the cocky but dependable Gerry the bartender, the melancholic chef Blake and all Chance’s old buddies from his days on the force, Wick and Marcus and Zack the civilian. Turns out, he’s never been as alone as he thought.

And into this mix comes Rory. The golden-skinned, golden-haired open-hearted antithesis of Chance’s lost love. He finagles his way into Chance’s bed, and into his life, seeking more at times than Chance is willing to give.

Chance’s own sense of integrity eventually convinces him that his relationship with Rory is wrong, but events transpire that force him to take a deeper look into his closed off heart and make changes in his life. In the end, Chance learns to let go of the past, to embrace the possibilities of the future and to allow himself to be happy.

And the stubborn mule headed ex-cop turned my whole pre-drafted story line upside down in the second installment of the serial. Because that’s who he is. A man who has to follow his own path even when it wanders through hell.

ST:  I just love Chance and the entire series.  I can’t wait for the next book to be released.  Thanks for coming by today, Lee.

LB: *sips coffee. Thanks for joining while I blather about my sexy ex-cop. You can pick up the latest Chances Are book, Chance in Hell at ARE, Smashwords, and Amazon on September 1. In anticipation of that release, I’m offering a discount of 33% on the first four stories at ARE from August 28th until September 4th.

If you want to know more about me and my work, you can find me at the following places on the web:
Lee on FB http://www.facebook.com/lee.brazil
Lee on Twitter @leebrazil
Lee Blog http://leebrazilauthor.blogspot.com/
Pinterest http://pinterest.com/leebrazil/
You Tube http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKmjXLWlO4c2_5ZZQigbeZg?

Books in the series to date in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events within:

Chances Are (Chances Are #01)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02)
Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #03)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #04)

Guest Interview: Meet Havan Fellows!

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Good morning all!  We (the pups and I) are welcoming Havan Fellows, author and creator of the extraordinary Wick Templeton and the Wicked’s Ways series, to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words this morning.   Welcome, Havan. Here’s your cup of coffee, watch out for begging critters!. *shoos away the terrors three*.

Thank you so much for having me here today, Melanie. *looks around and sits on nice cushy couch* wow, it’s so different being here than just looking in. *pets the puppies jumping all around my ankles*

Oh thank you again…*sips coffee and smiles* now that is a good cup of brew. Hits the spot, you know? I guess I should introduce myself, my name is Havan Fellows and I get a personal high from telling tall tales. It’s a gift/curse—depending on who you talk to in my family. Because yes, my immediate family knows I write M/M fiction & romance (or depending how feisty I feel at the time erotic romance *winks*).

So what started me on the Wick Templeton bandwagon? It’s a simple story about how Wick came about – but one that is close to my heart.

Here’s how I first described Pulp Friction back in January when we went public:

PF is an exciting new venture that was born in that beautiful head of Laura Harner…one day she came to Tom Webb, Lee Brazil and me and said:

“Hey…what if we swung it this way? You know, have the edginess of some hard-as-nails men doing what they do—how they do it—and getting the things done. Sure there may not be a HEA right away (if ever)…but we’ll deliver the thrill of the quick read suspense with a splash of sexy! So come on…who wants to sha-wing it with me?”

Okay *blushes and ducks head*—that might not be what she said verbatim…but I was paraphrasing, honest! hehe

Um…yeah, silly as it sounds that little snippet describes PF practically perfectly (say that 5 times fast). Just about a year ago Laura came to us with an idea of doing shorts…in the old pulp fiction style.

We loved the idea immediately. It was something that would let us experience a different side of our writing. We brain stormed for days and nights – completely talking up the “what if” phase. Honestly I didn’t know if this would be a project that would take flight or not, but it was darn fun to dream about. 🙂

But the more we chatted the more it looked like this was gonna happen. I freaked! I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge.

I sat there biting my fingernails wondering if I was in over my head. One of the things we all wanted to do was have “bad” good guys. Men who weren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty in order to help people.

Enter Wick Templeton…

I can’t tell you the exact moment that he smacked my ass and called me mama…he just suddenly was there. All these scenes popped into my head of things he did or would eventually do – it was crazy. I’d be working on book two and a phrase he wanted to use in book four would suddenly be running through my mind. (at that time I had no flipping idea what book four was about either *heads desk* lol)

Wick was all for breaking whatever law he had to – not necessarily in the name of justice, but because darn it, it amused. Yeah (insert tentative giggles here), some of the things he wanted me to write…um… Honestly, Wick didn’t share as much with me as I hoped he would. For every chapter I wrote I wondered what this man was up to, why he was spurred on to do what he did. An ex boyfriend calls—one he obviously didn’t mourn over losing—and he immediately jumped into action. No talk about payment, no sexual tension between them, no hostility or any of those things that might have popped up…just Wick doing what needs to be done.

Admirable right? Don’t build him a statue just yet, trust me…

Then, the guy he wouldn’t admit being attracted to called for help—but that wasn’t the pivotal point that got Wick up and moving. Some serial killer was offing people in his town…that wasn’t allowed. No matter how much Wick wanted to poke and prod at Ned (in so many ways too lol) it was the fact that innocent people were being hurt.

Oh yeah, and Wick doesn’t like keeping his nose in his own business…smh.

But how much of our noses will he allow poked into his business? Not fair is it? He holds everything so close to his chest that it’s really difficult to pry even small details away to share with the readers. Only in writing the third book did he share even more of himself with me…and holy shite was I floored!

You see, upon writing Wicked Incarceration, I was blessed with the knowledge of what the next two books afterwards would be. With each book Wick upped the game some, toed that line you might say, and plans to continue doing that – making all of us wonder what side of that line he will land on.

*stops and sips more coffee*

Sorry, you’ve just taken part in one of my ‘rambling’ modes. Those closest to me know I can go off and just start babbling without any rhyme or reason behind it…and unfortunately when I talk about Wick…well I can talk for hours about him as if he is a real person that I’m kinda in awe with.

There are just so many facets to him, and he’s only allowing me to show a little bit of them at a time. Nice to know he’s as much an ass with the author as he is with everyone in his books right? lol

My sister stated it best – you see, she’s had to hear non-stop about Wick since last September I believe. Over lunches, on the phone, in emails…heck I’ve even PM’d her on FB to plot points out. But she’s never actually read one of Wick’s books.

After reading some reviews for Wicked Solutions and Wicked Bindings she informed me that she was finally going to sit down and read the series. She stated “I don’t care if I know most of the story through you, I need to read and experience Wick for myself.”

My point is – I could sit here with you sipping this freaking fantastic coffee and babbling about Wick all night long. No seriously, I’m not just saying that I really could do it…lol

But that wouldn’t give you the true feel of Wick…he’s someone you have to experience first hand.

I want you to experience that…I want you to read Wicked’s Way and let me entertain you for a couple of hours. With that thought in mind and in honor of Melanie allowing me not only to visit but to not put a word count limit on me *blushes* if you hop over to All Romance e-books you will find the entire Wicked’s Way series on sale for 33% off the cover price!

Yep…your eyes do not deceive you…from today until Sunday midnight (Eastern time) all four of Wick’s books will be available for only $2 a piece. *winks*

Thank you Melanie for your hospitality and thank you everyone for actually reading to the bottom of this very long blog post lol…

Oh and by the way, would you like a parting hint about Wick five? Okay – the first hint about the next Wick book…

A man from Wick’s past knows Ned’s secrets and is after their future…Wicked Truths. (working title) 🙂

Thanks, Havan, for stopping by.  As you all know by now, I am crazy in love with this series and that wicked, wicked man, Wick Templeton.  Yesterday, I posted the review for the latest release, Wicked Guidance.

For those of you new to the series, go back to the beginning and work your way forward.  Really, its the only way to fly. Here are the books in the series to date in the order they were written and should be read:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #01)
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #02)
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #03)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #04)

Your buy links here:

All Romance Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #1)Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #2)Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #3)Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #4) Wicked Guidance cover

Review: Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #04) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wicked Guidance coverIt’s not every day that a pickpocket steals the wallet out of Wick Templeton’s jeans.  And for Wick Templeton, it means he has to chase that unlucky thief down to retrieve his wallet and phone.  But the thief he catches is just a child, and a smart-mouthed one at that.  For Wick it’s like looking at a mirror, a small Wick mini me, all dirty, thin and full of sass.   And that’s just the start of the trouble, all four feet of it.  It seems that someone wants the kid out of the way – permanently.    Several fired shots later and Wicked is pissed.  No one is going to hurt this kid.  Its time for Wick to do what he does best, investigate, threaten and create total chaos.

And if one gorgeous, sexy Ned Harris turns up to meddle in the case, well no one, including Wick would be surprised.  Who is after Wick’s little 11 year old companion? And what is the deal with Ned Harris this time?  With a little wicked guidance, Wick will see his mini me safe and the criminals behind the threats in jail or dead.  It’s all in a days work for Wick Templeton, a law unto himself.  And with a twerp to protect, those hunting the boy had better run, and run fast, for the most wicked of them all is on their trail and judgement day is coming.

With Wicked Guidance, one more piece of the puzzle that is Wick Templeton is revealed and fitted into place.  With all the other stories, we have seen Wick’s intelligence, his ultra competency, his meticulous planning and control at work.  We have watched him smart mouth villains and outsmart the law.  He’s been witty, and sexy and dangerous.  But we haven’t seen him really care about someone…until now.  Sure we know he is a loyal and trusted friend to a small group of people and that his clients can trust him implicitly when it comes to their cases.  But a softer side, ok, Wick’s type of softer side has been missing until a young boy steals his wallet.

With the creation of Kyle, pickpocket and twerp extraordinaire, Havan Fellows delivers another facet to Wick Templeton’ character.   Kyle is a true eleven year old in every way.  Defiant, smug, mouthy, and full of fire, it’s no wonder that Wick looks at the kid and sees himself.  Fellows does a beautiful job in giving us a miniature Wick while still keeping Kyle believable as a tween out on the streets.  But Kyle is also in deep trouble with the vulnerability of the young that cries out for protection.  Kyle is just a terrific character and his interaction with Wick reveals more of Wick than we have seen in the other stories, starting from the moment Wick chases him down.

He tapped the handy dandy earpiece again then eyed his current problem. “Tried infers that you attempted something and failed.” He waved the wallet and phone in front of the brat before slipping them securely back in his pocket. “You attempted and failed.”

The kid humphed at him. “You gonna call the cops?”

“Why? They can’t protect you from me.”

The thief’s eyes widened for a brief second before he slumped his shoulders in defeat. “I’m real sorry, mister. I just was so hungry.” He rubbed his hand over his stomach for good measure. “I’ve learned my lesson and won’t do it again. Promise.”

Wick scored him a ten for his acting chops. He stepped back and took in the whole picture the kid presented. His blond hair teased the line of medium brown due to its oily matted down appearance, and Wick was sure there was a pale complexion on that face somewhere—if he Brillo padded through the dirt to find it. The bright hazel eyes that shone through the mess held intelligence and fire, defiance at its best. The twerp’s clothes matched the rest of him, filthy beyond any washing machine’s help, with holes in places that never qualified as cool. They hung loosely on his bony frame, as if at one time they fit properly but, with the boy’s new restrictive diet, had become too big too fast for him.

And that’s just the exchange I can quote.  The rest is both hysterically funny and perfectly authentic, especially the words coming out of Kyle’s mouth.  And all the more heartbreaking for all the sarcasm and bleak point of view in someone so young.  And you can see why this youngster appeals to every protective instinct that Wick has.  For me, it’s the most fulfilling and heartwarming relationship of Wick’s to date, his lustmance with Ned aside.  Trust me when I say the reader is absolutely emotionally involved in this boy and his future.

As with all the stories, we have a mystery to solve, and it’s a huge one.  Someone is trying to kill Kyle.  Havan Fellows has drawn us in, first with the introduction to Kyle, than with the developing relationship with Wick and finally with the threat to Kyle’s life.   We worry about the threat and we fear for his future, even while being assured that he is safe with the one person in the world who can protect him….Wick Templeton.  The author craftily sends us on an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, from laugher to fright back to laughter and than back down to dead fear once more.  It’s a true E Ticket ride (google it), one you won’t want to get off.

This is also the story where we see that the tenuous lustmance between Wick and Ned is finally turning into something deeper.  Oh, there is still scores of questions to be answered about both of their background and in Ned’s case, current employment.  But a deeper connection between the men has formed, and while the sex is still hot and spicy, an element of caring has arrived in the mixture too.  I love that Fellows is making this a slow build to something real and perhaps lasting.  We aren’t there yet, but the glimpses she gives us makes us want more.

Wicked Guidance is my favorite book of the Wicked’s Ways series to date.  Havan Fellows has written a story that combines all the ingredients for the classic story you constantly reread.  It flows smoothly from beginning to end, it has laughter, it has wit, it has memorable characters, a mystery and sex appeal.  And with the inclusion of Kyle, Wicked’s Way and Wick Templeton gain a measure of heartbreak and warmth as well.  By the end of the book, I felt like that little boy Joey who calls out “Shane, come back!” at the end of that classic western.  I wanted more…much, much more of Wick, of Kyle, of Ned….just plain everyone.   I think you will feel that way too.  Here is a little something more to wet your appetite:

Wick learned a long time ago that if you just gave a little nudge, a simple word or two, chances of someone talking raised significantly. It felt like he wanted to talk. Maybe he needed a reason to.

He fell in step with the kid and mimicked him as he started kicking the little pebbles out of the way. They walked the duration of the path this way, quietly kicking stones, matching strides with each other. It meant Wick had to shorten his step a bit, but that didn’t cause a problem, neither did the silence. Wick was one of those that could hold his tongue for however long it took to get what he wanted.

Thankfully for us, he won’t have to wait long. Soon he and the readers will get what we want.  So run, don’t walk, and pick up this series.  Start with the first in line, Wicked Solutions and work your way through to the last story released so far, Wicked Guidance.  I read them completely through in one sitting and then did it again.  Thank goodness, Havan Fellows has promised to deliver more Wicked’s Ways and Wick Templeton in the future.  I can’t wait until I make their acquaintance once more and get caught up in their lives and investigations.

Here are the books in the Wicked’s Way series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events that follow:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #01)
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #02)
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #03)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #04)

Cover art by Laura Warner.  Nice job of branding the series, but I consider the design a missed opportunity to design something along the lines of the original pulp fiction novels.  This series cries out for more.

Book Details:

Published July 14th 2013 by Appleton Publishing Avenue

Review: Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #03) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wicked Incarceration coverIt was almost a guarantee that Wick Templeton would end up in prison one day, at least thats what the local wisdom said.  True insiders knew that if Wick Templeton is walking through the prison gates, all the inmates should run and hide for the devil’s at their door and knocking to get in.  With a wicked smile and a knowing smirk, Wick Templeton is being incarcerated.  So why is he so pleased?

It seems that inmates are disappearing only to resurface drooling at the local funny farm. Who is behind the disappearances and what could be their motive?  Wick Templeton is there to find out and if he has to become the king of the cellblock to do that, he will.  So run, you criminals, run while you can.  The most wicked of them all has been incarcerated and trouble has walked through the gates.

Wicked Incarceration, book 3 of Wicked’s Ways, has landed and my love affair with all things Wicked has deepened into addiction.  How I love this wicked, wicked man!  Once more we are thrown into the middle of an investigation of  Wick Templeton’s.  This time, it is a case of a disappearing ex boyfriend of a new client of Wick’s.  That the boyfriend turned up a drooling mess in a psychiatric ward is shock because the guy was sent off to prison and should still be there.  It makes perfect sense for Wick to investigate from inside the prison, at least that is the course that Havan Fellows takes to our absolute delight.

With delicious disregard for the bonds that rules and regulations lay on most men, Wick Templeton flows through the  prison corridors like the devil’s own enforcer, a dangerous wiseguy in orange.  As created by Havan Fellows, Wick has more hidden depths to him than the Carlsbad Caverns and navigating through to the truth about Wick Templeton can get just as tricky.   With friends and foe at his beck and call, Wick Templeton is always the dominant force in every situation, evens when it seems to be a hopeless mess.  Here is a taste of an incarcerated Wick:

He heard Banyu’s exaggerated sigh and smiled. That boy really thought he’d be able to instill proper phone etiquette in Wick.

“Hello, Wick, how are you doing today?”

“I’m in jail, how the hell am I supposed to be doing?”

Banyu laughed over the line. “You put yourself in jail. You can’t use that as an excuse for being a sourpuss.”

Wick straightened and shook his head. “I’m sorry, I thought we knew each other. Hello, my name is Wick Templeton. I’m an Aries, I enjoy long walks over fiery sandlots with broken shells cutting into my feet and smelly water creeping up to me, also putting on false happy faces when stupid people do stupid things that others consider cute. And did you just call me a puss?”

“Um…no?

Good answer. That’s Banyu, Wick’s go to IT genius. Banyu is at it again,  assisting Wick on his investigations.  Banya is another wonderful character among the small group of characters you will meet in this series that orbit around our man Wick.  Another is, of course, Ned Harris., our local law enforcement enigma who is not only hot but hot on Wick’s trail once more.  But is it Wick or the case, Ned is interested in? Wicked Incarceration brings the hint of romance or perhaps lustmance more fully into the picture here.  It’s dangerous, and incredibly sexy.  Just like the men involved.

Havan Fellows seems to specialize in questions with these characters, another of the joys of this series. We are still not sure of anyones true identity. Banyu is only heard over an earpiece. Who is Ned Harris?  Who exactly is Wick Templeton? We are never quite sure, precariously balanced as Wick is between the law and the lawless.   The author  continues to keep us guessing even as we snicker and gasp at Wick’s escapades and intrigues.  And they are many.  We know he will pull the situation together and escape but how?  And  when will Ned pop up, to mess up Wick’s plan and confound us further?  One thing I am sure of. We get a terrific little mystery and a joyfully, deliciously wicked path to journey on before the story will end.

Fellows’ narrative is an absolute treat.  It flows swiftly, even lightly through the maze she has laid out for us and her characters. There is snark, witty lines and tons of trouble on every page.  It’s just so much fun!

One more story to go, and it’s the best yet. But I truly adored Wicked Incarceration, read it twice in fact. So need a new addiction?  Something to make your heart beat faster and your brain giggle?  Meet Wick Templeton and crew in the Wicked’s Way series.  Start with Wicked Solutions, then Wicked Bindings, and then Wicked Incarceration.  You will love each and every one.  They are short in length and large in character and feel.  And you won’t ever want to put them down.  As I said, one more to go and more promised from the author.  I can’t wait.  And neither will you.

Cover art by Laura Harner does an excellent job of branding the series.  I only wish she had used elements of the old Pulp Fiction books on it as well, that was a missed opportunity here.

Here is the series in the order they were written to date:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Ways #01)
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Ways #02)|
Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Ways #03)
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Ways #04)

Dog Days of Summer and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Canis Major Dog StarHere it is mid – August and the Dog Days of  Summer are almost over.  I know many of you have heard the term but do you really know where it came from?  I know that some of you are looking at your four pawed companions panting away the summer heat beside you, whether on shared walks or just sitting together in the backyard. One look at how the heat is affecting them, and I am sure you think “ah, dog days indeed.” But to understand where the term Dog Days of Summer, you must look to the sky.  The night sky that is and the Dog Star, Sirius, the brightest star above (no, we are not talking about the Sun right now).

Osiris

The Egyptians called Sirius the dog star after their god Osirus, whose head in pictograms resembled that of a dog.  In Egypt, and in ancient Rome, Sirius was in conjunction with the Sun in the summer (ie. it was up in the sky at the same time as the Sun) and ancient Egyptians and Romans argued that it was responsible for the summer heat by adding its heat to the heat from the Sun. Those in ancient times called the period of time from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction “the dog days of summer” because it coincidentally fell at the time of year when it was very hot.

The Dog Days of Summer start around July 7th ( I have also seen July 3rd at the start date as well) and runs until August 18th, normally the time in the Northern Hemisphere when it is the hottest.  It is the time we head for the beach, the air-conditioning, anywhere but the office.  It is also a great time to catch up on your reading and make headway on your “to be read” pile. Here are some books and one great series (Wicked’s Way by Haven Fellows) that you will want to add to the list.

Monday, Augusts 12, 2013:                   Nischal by Bailey Bradford

Tuesday, August 13, 2013:                     Wicked Incarceration by Haven Fellows

Wed., August 14, 2013:                           Wicked Guidance by Haven Fellows

Thursday, August 15, 2013                   Guest Blog by Haven Fellows

Friday, August 16, 2013                          Fall For Me by Ann Lister

Saturday, August 17, 2013:                   Home Sweet Home by TA Chase

Sirius

I will leave you all with two quotes about the dog days of summer.  Both perfection in tone and ability to paint a portrait of this time of year.

“Sophia and Grandmother sat down by the shore to discuss the matter further. It was a pretty day, and the sea was running a long, windless swell. It was on days just like this–dog days–that boats went sailing off all by themselves. Large, alien objects made their way in from sea, certain things sank and others rose, milk soured, and dragonflies danced in desperation. Lizards were not afraid. When the moon came up, red spiders mated on uninhabited skerries, where the rock became an unbroken carpet of tiny, ecstatic spiders.”
― Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”
― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Review: Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #02) by Havan Fellows

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Rating:  4.75 stars out 5

Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wicked BindingsWick Templeton, private investigator and all around pain in the ass, receives an email on his private account that only his friends have.  The problem?  It’s not from any of his friends, but from that enigma from his last case, Ned Harris. There is a serial killer on the loose, murdering prostitutes and both men are out to stop him.  From Ned Harris’ point of view, it’s all about procedure and legality.  For Wick Templeton?  Not so much.  Wick has always done things his way and Ned is about to find that out.  As the two mens investigations intertwine, so does their interest in each other.  Wick and Ned are playing head games with each other as the killer taunts them from behind a maze of clues.

Who will find the killer first?  Or will the killer have the last laugh and turn the tables on Wick and Ned?

Wicked Bindings is the second installment in the Wicked’s Ways series, a series that just gets better by the book.  We pick up shortly after Wicked Solutions ends.  In that story, Ned and Wick part, each thinking they got their own way in the resolution of that case.  As Ned leaves Wick’s office, Wick tells Ned:

“You have no idea what I’m capable of, Ned. Don’t begin a game you can’t finish.”

With these men, a threat is as good as a flirty come on and neither man is very good at resisting either one or each other. This is how it all starts again in Wicked Bindings:

 Wick chuckled and turned back to his computer, tuning out his overnight guests’ babblings. He brought up his private email and his curiosity piqued once more; he didn’t recognize the sender. Since he didn’t use this email for anything except his closest friends, it never received any type of spam.

The subject line contained one three letter word: tag.

And with that one word, the game is on once more.   There is an investigation into the deaths of several prostitutes that pulls both men in and now they have a murderer to catch.  And there will be a clash or two as the sexual sparks fly and their methods of investigation collide on each side of the law.

Without consciously doing so, his hand moved the mouse and his finger depressed the left button when the pointer hovered over that small word.

“Want to come out and play with me again? If you are interested you’ll have to take a turn for the worse, but remain brave and don’t worry—I’ll protect you. Ned.”

So much attitude and characterization is packed into that piece of dialog.  Havan Fellows has created two wonderful characters in Wick Templeton and Ned Harris.  These men ooze vitality and sex appeal.  They are witty with a love a gamesmanship  that they deploy at every possible moment and the reader gets to come along and experience the fun and sometimes terror.

In each new book, the author uses the interpersonal interplay between Wick and Ned to reveal more of their characters and their history.  Of the two, Ned continues to remain more of an enigma.  Wick (and the reader) is not sure exactly what branch of the government  Ned works for, and Ned continues his own personal investigation into Wick’s past and circle of friends.  Through this approach, Fellows creates a level of tension between the men is not strictly sexual.  Is Ned trustworthy?  What is his real intensions towards Wick?  Friend or foe?  As their head games continue, the murder investigation adds another layer of tension and apprehension on top of the existing doubts about each other.  It’s a delicious feeling and the reader can’t help but smile while cringing in dread as the men close in on the killer.

Havan Fellows does a tremendous job of creating a scene that contains comedy and terror, both occurring at the same time.  It’s a wonderful ploy to keep the reader engaged at  several levels.  You are laughing even as you fear for the safety of two men you have come to love.  And yes, I loved every minute of it.   I admit it.  I am addicted to Wick and his Wicked Ways.  You will be too.

These are short stories, under 50 pages or so. And while these are quick reads, they all have the feel of a much longer story.   The end is wrapped up nicely while still leaving us with a clue to the continuing growth in the relationship between Ned and Wick.  The book did not leave me wanting, while the two men made me crave so much more.  Like a certain food item, you can’t have just one.  You want more, so much more.

Havan Fellows has promised that the mysteries will continue with more of Wick and Ned past these four books.  That’s a promise to cheer about. If you are new to the series, start with the first book, Wicked Solutions and work your way forward.

Here are the books so far in the Wicked’s Ways series.  Read them in the order they were written and released in order to understand the characters and the developing relationship:

Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Way #01)

Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Way #02)

Wicked Incarceration (Wicked’s Way #03)

Wicked  Guidance (Wicked’s Way #04)

Cover art by Laura Harner does a good job of branding the series while losing the opportunity to make a great pulp fiction cover.

Book Details:

ebook
Published March 17th 2013 by Pulp Friction
ISBN13 HFPF000001
edition language English
series Wicked’s Ways

Review: Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Ways #1) by Havan Fellows

Standard

Book Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Series Rating: 5  stars out of 5

Wicked Solutions coverWick Templeton is an ex cop, and a man with a plan.  Wick’s plan, as a private detective, is to take only the cases that interest him and only when he feels like making the effort. That’s what happens when an injury forces you to retire from the police force, you cop an attitude.  Although if anyone was asked, it was an attitude you always had.  When an ex boyfriend calls in need of his help, Wick decides a little wicked intervention is needed to protect the ex and solve the case.  What he doesn’t figure on is an enigma called Ned Harris.

Friend or foe? Criminal or cop?  Wick doesn’t know but he likes the way the man fills out his slacks.  But Ned the puzzle is going to have to wait because there is a crime to solve and Wick is the man to do it.

What a great story and a delicious new addiction! Havan Fellows has created an over the top private eye, Wick Templeton, in an action-packed adventure series guaranteed to bring a smile to your face as well as quite a few snorts as Wick moves through an investigation like a devil with guns, knives and sarcastic comments to spare.

In the first story of the series, Wicked Solutions, we are introduced to Wick Templeton, a man who lives his life on his own terms and no one else’s.  Here he is:

Wick Templeton had retired from the police force years ago when an injury to his left side kept a doctor from clearing him to do anything but paper pushing.

He wasn’t a paper pusher. He needed the action of the streets, his fingernails dirty to feel like he contributed. Otherwise he was mean as a bear, and not the type he preferred in his bed either.

So he made do with his own company, so he could do things his way and play by his rules. Technically he wasn’t a private investigator, though he did have his license, for legal purposes. No, he leaned more toward the title of problem solver, hence the name Wicked Solutions. Have a spouse cheating on you and require proof? Sure, he’d take the pics if his schedule permitted. Have an issue with an overly friendly person who pops up everywhere?

Wick would help out there also.

Here is a man in pure pulp fiction form and we love him for it.  Wick is smart, crafty, and dominant in every way.  Oh, and have I said sexy?  He is that too.  Wick has more layers to him than a puff pastry.  And it seems that the more Fellows reveals about him, the more we understand that what we are given is just the “tip of the iceberg” as far as his character goes.  And the mystery about Wick, and Ned, and all of the other people we meet is part of the delicious fun of this book and the series.

In each story, Wick is given a mystery to solve. In Wicked Solutions, it appears that an ex-boyfriend is being set up to take the fall for some illegal activities and needs Wick’s help to keep his job and prove his innocence.  While Wick is not eager at first to help, when he does agree, he will do so by all means, legal or not.  He has a small group of friends he trusts, including one who is an IT  wiz.  It’s such a giggle and a snort to watch as Wick goes about the business of offending and outsmarting all of those around him.  I just loved it.

Havan Fellows writing is so well done here.  The story flows smoothly, the dialog crisp and perfect for the characters, and the ending leaves one wanting more while still giving the mystery the resolution is deserves.  Just a great job all around.  There is an element of romance here but it builds slowly over the  next four books.  We see in this book only the interest between the men and the hint of what will follow.  It really works as a neat tease for the rest of the series.

At 43 pages, it is a quick read.  Far too short for my tastes because I just love this character.  But it works at 43 pages, a true complete story.  It also sets up the next book in the series, as does each book that follows.  I have to admit I read them all in one sitting, grabbing each up like a bonbon and devouring them.  You will want to as well.  But you must start with this one and get a feel for Wick and all the wonderful, snarky adventures to follow. I can’t recommend this character and this series highly enough.  You are going to love him too!

Wicked’s Ways series:

Wicked Solutions

Wicked Bindings

Wicked Incarceration

Wicked Guidance

Cover art by Laura Harner.  The design works to brand the series but I wish it had been a little more “pulp fiction” in design.

Book Details:

ebook, 43 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ISBN13 9781937252342
edition language English
series Wicked’s Ways