Unexpectedly Loving a SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. If you aren’t from Illinois/the Chicago area, you may not know it, but today is Casimir Pulaski Day–a celebration of the life of a Polish general from the American Revolutionary War. As we have a large Polish population, we often take off the first Monday in March to celebrate this hero…and I spent the day working. (Teachers have the most homework!!) Anywho, This book has a Casimir in it, so I thought I’d finally post a review since I read it a few months ago and I totally loved it. SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS is the first book in the Supernatural Selection series that follows supes of all types finding love through a witch=run online matchmaking service. It all started with CUTIE AND THE BEAST. THE DRUID NEXT DOOR and BAD BOY’S BARD, but this book is a fun spin-off.

About the book:
Does a bear shift in the woods?
Well, partially. That was what got grizzly shifter Ted Farnsworth into trouble. He wasn’t trying to break the Secrecy Pact. He just wants people to see the real him. So he signs up with the mate-matching service Supernatural Selection — which guarantees marriage to a perfect partner. Not only will Ted never be lonely again, but once his new beaver shifter husband arrives, they’ll build Ted’s dream wilderness retreat together. Win-win.

Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, scion of an incubus dynasty, has abstained from sex since nearly killing his last lover. When his family declares it’s time for him to marry, Quentin decides the only way not to murder his partner is to pick someone who’s already dead. Supernatural Selection finds him the ideal vampire, and Quentin signs the marriage agreement sight unseen.

But a mix-up at Supernatural Selection contracts Quentin with Ted. What’s Ted supposed to do with an art historian who knows more about salad forks than screwdrivers? And how can Quentin resist Ted’s mouthwatering life force? Yet as they work together to untangle their inconvenient union, they begin to wonder if their unexpected match might be perfect after all.

My Review:
Quentin Bertrand-Harrington is a wealthy celibate incubus looking for a mate, now that his mother has declared it necessary for him to marry. But, he’s terrified of harming another potential lover. His incubus power drains his lovers, and if he gets carried away it could turn one into a husk–so he thinks it best to find an undead lover of the same station. Casimir Moreau, an unmatched vampire of some renown, seems to be a perfect match, as guaranteed by the Supernatural Selection Agency.

Quentin takes a suppressor to dull his incubi urges, and he doses up in preparation for the cross-country flight from his Boston home to Portland, Oregon. He’s so out of it, he doesn’t know that the binding marriage contracts he signed were changed at the last moment, but he does find out rather quickly after being dropped off in the middle of a forest on the doorstep of his unexpected husband, Ted Farnsworth.

Ted is a grizzly shifter, and not too quick on the uptake. He’s not okay with what he suspects was Quentin’s interference. What good is a city-wise art historian out in the woods? Ted had been expecting to marry an industrious non-shifting beaver named Rusty. Rusty might not turn into a beaver, but he has a gift with wood, and construction. Ted wanted Rusty to help him finish a rental vacation lodge for other supes as a business they could run together.

He treats Quentin rather shabbily, and needs to reach out to the only people he trusts to help: Dr. Kendrick, his therapist, and David, Kendrick’s healer husband. These are characters from CUTIE AND THE BEAST, and they make some fun cameos. Ted and Quentin are officially married, even if the plan is to break their bond and unite with the original supes they were paired with. Only, it’ll take a month to get this managed, on account of the witches’ spell needing to take place in a certain phase of the moon. In the meantime, David helps Quentin to see that his chemical suppressors are actually toxic to him. Out in the woods, it’s less likely that Quentin will stumble upon a naive victim for his hunger–and once he and Ted agree to have some sexytimes, Quentin’s more healthy than he has been in years.

This is a charming odd-couple romance, with all sorts of zany characters, and fun adventures. Ted is a bear of a man, who’s also subject to fits of grizzly temper. The first part is attractive to Quentin, while the temper needs to be tamed. I liked how these guys fit each other so perfectly, both helping the other through the hard parts of their lives. While they originally thought it was imperative to manage a quickie divorce, they soon fall for one another. Should they go against the original match? Or, did the magic make a last-second switch for all the right reasons? Their choices sway the situation in favor of true love, and it works out to a very happy ending.

Interested? You can find BAD BOY’S BARD on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

You can catch up with Ms. Russell on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Dodging Past a HALF-LIFE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance with some paranormal elements from Gregory L. Norris. HALF-LIFE is a fast paced novella that pits cousin against cousin, and true love against dark magic for the fate of some rather nice fellas.

About the book:
Whitney Abbott travels to the seaside Maine town of Window to begin a new life in his uncle’s home. Robert Abbott is well-to-do and owns several high-end restaurants. Whitney will start at the bottom and work his way up at the flagship. But from the moment Whitney exits his car in the drive of the big, brooding house, he senses the sinister atmosphere surrounding his relations.

His cousin November, princess of the estate, feigns joy at having Whitney in town. And November’s handsome athlete boyfriend, Griffin, is an enigma. Soon after his arrival, Griffin warns Whitney to leave. With nowhere to go—and certain that his attraction to Griffin goes both ways—Whitney is drawn into November’s malevolent plans. Plans that will pit Whitney against dark supernatural forces in order to save both his and Griffin’s lives.

How about a little taste?

I hit the switch. The familiar cold, white glare from the overhead lights rained across the kitchen, prep station, and the industrial dishwasher, scenes of so many long shifts and leg cramps. The light did little to remove the greater darkness that hung over the back of my uncle’s restaurant. The gloom swirling outside had followed me into Abbott’s Table, one of your finer dining establishments along this part of Maine’s Rocky Headlands. Rain pelted the oblong window above the prep-station sink, where I’d cleaned and breaded untold thousands of shrimp. The ghostly aroma of garlic, lobster, and grilled meat hung over the place. Cloying, with an edge of lemon cleaner.

“Hello?” I called.

My heart hammered against my ribcage. I imagined my balls shriveling up against the root of my dick. An icy finger stroked my spine.

“Anyone here? It’s me, Whitney.”

Identifying myself made the creeping sensation even worse. The darkness had pursued me, constantly there at the periphery hiding in shadowy corners. Here in my uncle’s flagship restaurant after hours, the unwanted attention from sinister powers was more tangible, more intimate. I choked down a heavy swallow to find my mouth had gone completely dry.

“Griffin, it’s me. I saw your truck in the lot,” I said, aware of how my lips risked a smile at the mention of his name. Griffin. My heart raced for different reasons after that. “Griff?”

I checked the kitchen—empty. Willing my legs forward, I pushed past the rightward pair of swivel doors, hearing the awful voice of the restaurant’s manager, Marc with a c—Always keep to the right, that’s how it’s done at Abbott’s Table. The dining room sat dark and empty, chairs stacked upside down over tabletops, the floors swept, mopped, and shiny under the green glow of the exit lights.

I checked the bar and both of the public heads, finding the same result: no Griffin. My pulse continued its mad speed. Danger juice soured in my bloodstream. His truck in the far corner of the Abbott’s Table parking lot could have meant a hundred different things on any other night—Griffin out having fun with some of his hockey league buddies, late fun, guy stuff. I knew he wasn’t with the Ice Queen. No, after what had happened and the kiss that followed, Griffin wouldn’t have gone back to confront my cousin, November Abbott.

That kiss…

For a wonderful instant, the storm cloud dissolved, and I was in my car again, his big hand cupping my cheek, his mouth crushed over mine, claiming me as his and offering me all he had to give in return. I remembered the warm scent of pinesap, of Griffin’s magnificent body, the swell of his erection pressing against me as we kissed, and the certainty that what we both felt, while undeniably physical, went past simple attraction. Dare I again think it? Love.

I loved Griffin, and he loved me.

The rain pounding the world outside the restaurant’s windows unleashed eerie silver dapples across the dining room. I stood pondering, waiting for a sound, a sign. When none came, I turned and hastened back in the direction of the kitchen exit.

“Whitney…”

I dug in my sneaker treads on the rubber mat set between the kitchen and rear door, at first thinking I’d hallucinated Griffin’s voice. But then I faced the direction of the sound and found myself staring at the one corner of the restaurant I hadn’t thought to search: the walk-in refrigerator and freezer.

Reaching the big stainless-steel door seemed to take longer than the actual few seconds. I tugged on the latch. The door resisted, as though someone was pulling at the same time from the other side. The inner voice that had told me a week earlier to turn around, to not travel north to the town of Window, Maine, was back, urging me to get out. Just leave. Run!

I drew in a breath, smelling the rain, the kitchen’s funk, and the trace of clean, athletic sweat from the T-shirt I wore—Griffin’s sweat, and Griffin’s shirt, borrowed on an afternoon that now felt part of another decade. I pulled harder. The door released. A gust of cold, foggy air billowed out.

The front part of the walk-in was already lit up from inside, even though the light switch was off. I pushed through the long plastic strips of the freezer curtain and into the wide space that housed expensive cuts of tomahawk steaks, bins of heirloom tomatoes and other fresh produce from the local farmer’s market, and, I discovered, one sacrificial altar.

I froze, my eyes recording details—the waxy candles, three, burning around the body on the folding table, the sprigs of Datura stramonium Devil’s Snare flowers draped around the nude man’s corpse laid out in a funeral pose. I recognized the patch of hairy, athletic lower leg, upon which a winged lion had been inked.

“Griffin,” I gasped.

A breeze that hadn’t been there the previous second whispered through the walk-in, stirring the leaves of bunches of basil, parsley, and other fresh herbs. My paralysis broke. I moved beside the table, my eyes wide, not blinking. Griffin, naked, his hands folded over his midriff. Even as I reached my trembling fingers toward his and the voice in my head screamed for me to run—run from the restaurant, from Window, Maine, and, above all else, from Griffin—my eyes recorded the pallor of his skin. Griffin’s flesh was gray in the flickering candlelight.

My hand covered his. A chill raced up my fingertips. He was icy to the touch. No, impossible—hours before, in that other era, he’d held me, kissed me. And I had seen proof of our tomorrow together even as the storm clouds raced over our heads. Griffin had pledged his love and promised to return.

I glanced at Griffin’s big jock feet—still sexy despite their grayness, up his legs, past his junk, and all the way to his eyes, clamped shut. I gripped his hands, the fingers interlaced in prayer, and squeezed.

“Griffin!”

The dead man’s eyes shot open. Gone was their beyond-blue color—what I’d come to think of as twin sapphire gemstones. What focused upon me now was a pair of predator’s eyes with a wolf’s silver sharpness. The hands beneath my fingers abandoned their illusion of prayer and seized hold of my arm. I shrieked, attempting to pull away. Right before the corpse’s legs swung out and the altar collapsed, toppling candles, I saw Griffin’s mouth open. He licked his lips. His teeth chattered. The dead man salivated hungrily.

And then his weight spilled on top of me, and he was snapping at my throat.

My Review:
Eighteen year old aspiring poet Whitney Abbott knows he isn’t welcome to his Uncle Robert’s estate in Window, Maine. Having no job or skills, he’s accepted the offer to come and work in one of his uncle’s upscale restaurants. Now that his parents have lost their home, Whitney also a place to live. Uncle Robert is a wealthy man, with a single daughter, November, who has always hated Whitney. She made any of his previous visits unbearable, and he’s suspicious of her saccharine demeanor when he arrives.

Whitney immediately meets Griffin, a near-twentyish young man who is affable, and inexplicably dating November–even though his gaze burns hot over Whitney. In a few moments of unguarded candor, Griffin warns Whitney there’s danger here, and to run while he can. Whitney isn’t taken by November’s ploys, and he questions November’s intentional use of Devil’s Snare in and around the home. Is she weaving it into necklaces for her father and Griffin to wear? And, why do they seem occasionally dead-eyed and extra-responsive to any of her demands? He’s just ingenious enough to wonder if there’s some sort of witchcraft going down, which preps him for the big showdown.

I liked the lyrical quality of this one, though I think the beginning was a bit too explicit in terms of plot. I would have rather a more gradual coming to understanding of all the quirks of this locale and Whitney’s relations. I was charmed by how sweet Whitney is, and how his immediate connection with Griffin grows into a life-saving love. As it’s a novella, there’s not a lot of time to develop a giant story arc, but this one was interesting and I had to shake my head in amusement regarding the manner in which Whitney revives Griffin from November’s power. Seriously, that was some amazeballs oral. In the end true, love reigns and November’s shenanighans seem to be halted. Expect the fair Whitney to save the day, and his new lover.

Interested? You can find HALF-LIFE on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

About the Author:
Raised on a healthy diet of creature double features and classic SF television, Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime January 2016). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager. Two of his paranormal novels (written under my rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line — the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. He judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his stories have notched Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best-of books. In May 2016, he traveled to Hollywood to accept HM in the Roswell Awards in Short SF Writing.His story “Drowning” appears in the Italian anthology THE BEAUTY OF DEATH 2, alongside tales by none other than Peter Straub and Clive Barker.

Follow his literary adventures on his blog, Facebook, and twitter.

Out now! AN ERIE COLLECTION–Release, Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release week review and book giveaway for a M/M shifter romance series from V.L. Locey. AN ERIE COLLECTION contains four novellas featuring Templeton Reed, a skunk shifter who inexplicably falls for Mikel Lupei, alpha of the Lake Erie wolf pack. I’ve previously reviewed AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY, but was hungry for more of this fun and engaging shifter world. For those who’ve enjoyed any of the previously-released novellas, this collection includes a fourth novella that is new.

About the book:
You can now have all four of the MM Lake Erie pack novellas in this one reasonably priced collection! Included in the set are the previously released novellas An Erie Halloween, An Erie Operetta, and An Erie Garden Party. To round off this whimsical and romantic shifter set is a brand-new novella, An Erie Uprising!

It’s been one wonderfully romantic year since skunk shifter Templeton Reed met Mikel Lupei, the alpha wolf of the Lake Erie pack. During that year, the two men fell in love and worked side-by-side to solve some tricky murder mysteries. They also opened up Lupei Manor, Mikel’s familial home, to other LGBTQ mystical beings in the Erie area. Sadly, being gay in the supernatural world Templeton and Mikel live in can be a death sentence.

During the past year, the magical world has slowly been coming unraveled. Civil unrest now runs rampant through the community as the lesser breeds revolt against the hateful dictates of the Elder Counsel. The uprising will surely touch every person residing in the magical world beside Lady Erie. Will the flames of unrest and war consume everything and everyone Templeton and Mikel hold dear as well?

My Review:
Templeton Reed is a shy skunk shifter working diligently as a lineage specialist for the shifter world. Given the hierarchy of their world skunks are near the bottom–and lots of the “Lesser” shifters are suddenly disappearing–violently. So, he’s worried, but not truly anticipating the attack of a puma and bear shifter. Some quick thinking, skunk-muskiness, and a determined wolf, Mikel Lupei, is all that keeps Templeton on the “still with us” plane. Two things become clear: Templeton’s attack wasn’t random, and Mikel’s got a hankering for his pungent rescuee.

Thing is, same-sex relations are banned in their shifter community. Likewise, even if homosexuality wasn’t a fatal crime, it’s still not okay for a wolf shifter to have relationship with a lesser (skunk) shifter. Defying the laws and customs of their world Templeton and Mikel find love that surpasses their dreams. Unfortunately, it brings more doemsetic trouble than even Mikel could have predicted.

Their love, and the scope of their relationship, grows in the three following novellas. IN these Templeton has the opportunity to show exactly how fierce a lesser shifter can be, risking certain death to uncover the mysteries of murdered shifters, and rescue Mikel from enforcers of their own community. The writing is whimsical, and there’s plenty of sexytimes to balance the action and intrigue. The first time I read AN ERIE GARDEN PARTY I wanted to know more about Templeton, Mikel and their world. Now that I’ve read the whole series, I totally enjoyed the experience. Highly recommend to fans of M/M shifter romance, especially those who love odd shifters and unusual pairings. The series also features some non-shifter paranormal folk, so expect a vamp, or three, as well as some keen insight into societal inequalities and the fight for equal rights for all.

Interested? You can find AN ERIE COLLECTION on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from VL Locey.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

You can find her on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and tsú.

Out Now! ALPHA HEAT–Release Deets and Book Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release week giveaway for a new dystopian-Omegaverse M/M romance from Leta Blake. ALPHA HEAT is the second book in her Slow Heat series that’s set in a post-female world where only males of three genders exist. I just finished both of these books, and will post reviews in the coming weeks, but let me say: wow! I loved them.

Drop down to enter the giveaway!
About the book
A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.
Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.

Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.

But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.

This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the second in the Slow Heat universe. It’s 130,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a well-crafted, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. No cheating. Content warning for brief sexual violence.

I seriously love this new series, and highly recommend both books. Watch for my reviews in the coming weeks.

Interested? You can find ALPHA HEAT on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a copy of SLOW HEAT!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Authors:
Leta Blake is the author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more on her website, Facebook and twitter.

GHOST WOLF To the Rescue–A Review & Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m back, and sharing a review for a new paranormal M/M romance from Hurri Cosmo. GHOST WOLF features a lone wolf finding more than a pack when he seeks his future. Scroll down for my review and to enter the $25 Amazon GC giveaway!

About the book:
Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a wolf shifter.

I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I was simply running off a ton of steam one day when I was around eleven and bam! Okay, not quite that easy or fast but it happened when I was young and stupid. I’m also gay. I say that like I know what I’m talking about with that too. I simply don’t.

I’m grown up now and living in the big city which has me too busy to much care about either one of those things. I get out and run my wolf when I can, trying like hell to stay out of the local pack’s territories. Belonging to a “family” just sounds like too much work, and honestly I don’t have time for such things. Besides, I was told when I was young the color of my wolf was all wrong. Too silver…or something. Metallic. I kinda thought it looked cool in the full moon. “Pack Alpha would kill ya soon as look at ya.” My grandpa used to say. Course he wasn’t my real grandpa. Just an old man who lived down the street, but he was a shifter too and I thought he knew it all. He probably knew diddly either, but a guy can’t be too careful. And romance? Way off the radar.

Only now someone has started killing wolves. Started leaving broken bodies lined up in a nice little row next to the high school in my home town and it’s got me to thinking. If a shifter is killed in his or her wolf state, do they stay that way? Were these dead wolves like me? The hell of it all is this: being a shifter isn’t common knowledge. It bothers me enough that now I want to find out more. See if there’s anything I can do. Kind of like a super hero.

Oh yeah. Probably forgot to tell you this too. I can turn invisible.

Yep, Ghost Wolf to the rescue

My Review:
Trevor is a young wolf shifter who learned on his powers on his own–with the help of a neighbor he called Grandpa. Grandpa was a shifter too, and held some knowledge and more secrets that he shared with Trevor through his will.

We start with him as a youngish boy–and follow him up to a new town as he works on his college plan. When there, he meets more shifters; some of whom find him very much attractive. One of these is Ryan Jarfang and another is Keith Karlack–both alphas of neighboring shifter clans. Ryan had been betrothed to a female shifter, but breaks that off when he senses Trevor is his Fated Mate. Trevor hasn’t owned up to Ryan about his special power, being able to disappear, that he’s able to use in moments of danger.

This is an interesting read, but I definitely struggled with it. Trevor had troubles assimilating in his new world, but he just keeps running from them. Ryan has to track him down again and again, as he rebels. Their rapid courtship sparks conflict between the packs. Trevor did get on my nerves, and I really felt like the book started too soon. We could have picked up with him being in college, not in middle school, and I probably would have liked the story more. It otherwise seemed to drag, and then jumped forward with coincidences that felt a bit disingenuous.

For the shifter story, there was some interesting pack dynamics, and the fated-ness of Trevor and Ryan coming together wasn’t the interesting part. The way they were able to call on higher powers–connecting the real with the super-paranormal in ways that I hadn’t read before. I liked that part. Unfortunately, it felt too long to get there. Expect some different dynamics and a side of mpreg, too.

Interested? You can find GHOST WOLF on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link to enter and win a $25 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Hurri Cosmo lives in Minnesota where she holds tight to the idea that there, where it’s cold a good part of the year, she won’t age as fast. Yep, she avoids the truth as much as she avoids mirrors. But one of the reasons she loves writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, she doesn’t mind “real life” and she does try to at least keep it in mind when she writes her stories, but she truly loves creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every – single – time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason she loves reading this genre, too. Give her a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and her computer, whether she is reading or writing, and she will entertain herself for hours. The fact she actually gets paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.

Catch up to Hurri online on her website, blog, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Getting Past One’s OVERSIGHT–A Review

Hi there! Happy Halloween, y’all! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M paranormal mystery/romance from Santino Hassell. OVERSIGHT is the second book in his The Community series and features an empath on the hunt for answers about his brother’s disappearance. We met Holden Payne INSIGHT, when he sort-of helped Nate Black learn the truth of his twin’s death. I’ve loved Hassell’s contemporary romances, SUNSET PARK, FIRST AND FIRST, and INTERBOROUGH, and I”m glad I jumped into this new series.

About the book:
Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.
Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.

My Review:
Holden Payne’s world view got skewed when he realized his father had placed people in his club, a supposedly safe space for LGBTQ psychics, in order to spot their powers and take them for experimentation. And now he fears his father, the highest member of the Community’s organization, is going to frame him for the problems. Holden’s friends were murdered, and his half-brother Chase was picked up for “realignment” at The Farm, and Holden’s beside himself.

It doesn’t help that his father has placed another spy in his club to keep his eyes on Holden. Sixtus Rossi spent a decade as a guard up at the Farm, a place Holden remembers going as a youth. It was supposed to be another safe space, where young psychics could learn their craft and become more adept to blending into society, but –Holden is now learning–it’s really a reprogramming center where undesirables are sent to have their outlook rewired through torture. And Chase, as well as HOlden’s mother, is there.

Through mutual friends of Chase and Holden, Holden learns of the true nature of the Community, to amass power by psychic means, and Six is always watching his back. Is he reporting back to Holden’s father? Or, is he just curious. Six has an Invulnerable mind, one even Holden’s empath charms cannot work on, so the attraction that seems to develop must be all-natural. And that’s unsettling. Holden first wants to trade favors with Six for any information he can provide on Chase, but Six disabuses him of this possibility. Six might be inexperienced, but he’s not a prostitute. And, he’s noticed Holden for years–mostly because Holden noticed him, first. They have a complicated history that’s only further complicated when Holden falls into the thinking of Ex-Comm members, psychics and their family survivors who aren’t happy with the way the Community is/has treated them. While it blows Holden’s mind, he’s also convinced it’s truth, what the Ex-Comm people have to say. And, when Chase’s boyfriend is taken to The Farm, Holden knows he can’t sit idle any longer.

There’s some daring rescues in Holden’s future, but this is the second book in what appears to be a trilogy. I loved how Holden really took his time to be won over by Ex-Comm. How he made his own investigations and tried to find reasonable channels for pursuit of Chase, before recognizing that he wasn’t dealing with a rational situation. That made this all the more real for me to believe. Six is a good foil for HOlden’s emotional extremes, as he’s a rock-solid guy who tells it EXACTLY like it is. Their courtship seemed brief, but they are working against a clock: Chase’s life is at risk, as is his mother’s life, too. There’s some great misdirection and interesting character positioning on the two factions going on here, which made the story that much more interesting. I don’t want to say too much more about the resolution, but I will say that Holden and Six come out of it a strong couple determined to defeat Holden’s father and release the iron control he’s built over the psychics of NYC.

I’m so looking forward to the next book in the series!!

Interested? You can find OVERSIGHT on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

You can find Santino online on his website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse October 2017: Fates Align…BLOOD GUARD–A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month, and in keeping with the pre-Halloween weird-spooky theme I’ve had going, I’m sharing a newly-released vampire romance from Megan Erickson. BLOOD GUARD is the first book in her Mission series and features a prophesy, a duty-bound vampire and a woman willing to sacrifice herself to ensure her love is avenged.

About the book:
Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.
Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

My Review:
This is an interesting twist on the “fated mates” trope and I really enjoyed this rich new world.

Tendra is a 20-something young woman newly-alone as her mother had just died in a car wreck, leaving her adrift in Mission City, New Jersey. She’s a cocktail waitress and deeply unsettled by a swarthy customer one evening. She’s even more unsettled when he kidnaps her and tells her she must come with him if she wants to live! At least he’s packed her most precious belongings from her barren apartment, including her cat, Brex. Even more unbelievable is what this dude, Alain, tells her: her blood has mystic properties and will help transform his brother Idris, sworn king of the Gregorie clan…of vampires. In their prophesy, they’ve been waiting ten generations for a Sanguivita–Tendra–and with the powers her blood holds Idris will be able to effectively combat the warring Valerian clan.

Yeah, she’s not buying it. But, she has little choice but to accept Athan’s aid when the bad guys come calling. Learning about the hidden vampire culture lurking just below Mission City has Tendra mixed up–and aroused. Those vamps are some seriously kinky folk. Plus, the more time she spends with Athan, the more she admires and desires him. And the feeling is very mutual. Their escape to the Gregorie compound is complicated by several attacks, some of which are thwarted by Brex the wonder cat. There is a good mix of danger, intimacy and downright delicious sexytimes. Athan falls hard for Tendra, yet holds back on tasting her blood, knowing that to drink from her could void the prophesy and Idris’ expected boon. Unfortunately, it’s not in his hands when the treachery extends far beyond what had been expected.

I liked Tendra, who is a take-no-shit kinda gal. Her life has been weird, and she finally realizes why once she meets Athan and learns about her place in their world. Honorable Athan’s confused by his compulsion toward Tendra; shouldn’t he not be attracted to his brother’s promised? But, the more he puzzles over it, the more he knows deep down: it doesn’t matter. He will do anything to have Tendra for his own. While this might seem cavalier, he knows his brother has no interest for Tendra beyond the desire for her blood to transform him for battle. And, neither he nor Idris expected the depth of their own father’s manipulation. There’s a lot more going here than clan clashes, the entire human race is at stake, literally, as the Valerians have plans to reveal themselves and take control of the populace to feed and frenzy. Together, Athan and Tendra have the ability to stop it. And, while the war isn’t over, a key battle is won before the end. I’m expecting Idris to find his fated mate in the next book, and I look forward to it!

Interested? You can find BLOOD GUARD on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.

For more, visit Megan on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out reviews for my fellow Coffeehouse bloggers if you have the chance!