The Climax Nears! IGNITE

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. IGNITE is the 15th novel in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. Particularly, you should read DRAGONFIRE before this one. Others that I’ve enjoyed include SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and DRAGON CLAIMED so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Every inch of him was molded as if from granite…and her blood ran like fire…
For centuries, V has waited to awaken from his doomed sleep and reclaim his destiny. But this Dragon King—one among a legion of legendary warriors sworn to protect the human race from darkness—must first find a way to win back his sword. Wield its power. And try not to fall prey to his own illicit desires.

Claire may possess the beauty and soul of a goddess but V knows better than to mess with a mere mortal. Still, he instinctively knows that Claire is The One who can help him regain the use of his sword and restore his place at Dreagan. But if she learns the truth about who—and what—he really is, her memories of him would be erased forever. How can V love Claire truly, madly, deeply…and protect her from the forces of fire and darkness that could destroy them both?

My Review:
This is a book deep in a series of adult paranormal romances that all feature strong women falling for sexy Dragon King shifters.

Vlad is a Dragon King hailing from the Carpathian Mountains. He possessed a magic sword that enabled him to open bridges to other realms–like where the remaining dragons were sent eons ago when the human population became large enough to become a threat. The sword was lost centuries before and each time Vlad goes looking for it, a catastrophic disaster occurs–like the burning of Rome and the Black Plague. He and Roman, another King recently recovered the sword buried deep in an Icelandic mountain. Unfortunately, Vlad is struggling to hear and feel the magic of his sword. It seems to be gone, and with it any connection to the lost dragons.

Claire is a dear friend and co-worker with Sophie, a mate of another Dragon King. Claire knows about the Dragon Kings, though she isn’t supposed to–the Kings thought they had wiped her memories of being attacked by Dark Fae, but they had survived. Claire is a lady who’s been crapped on by love. And Vlad is a super helpful around the clinic. He’d been admiring Claire for a while, but finally makes a move when he’s despondent about the sword.

Things click, and escalate–because the mates are all being drawn close to Draegan. They are circling their wagons expecting an attack from Usaeil, the Queen of the Light Fae, who seems to pulling the strings of The Others against the Dragon Kings. Constantine, King of all the Kings, has inexplicably gone missing and all the Kings and their mates are on the edge of frustration. It makes for fertile ground for a bond to grow between Claire and Vlad. It’s a lightning strike of love, and it brings it’s own magic–an unheard of pregnancy.

This book really brings the conflict of the overarching series to a fever pitch, while introducing a new couple of fated mates. I liked both Claire and Vlad, and the twist at the end really got me thinking about the lengths Usaeil will go to to have her way…with Constantine. We seem to be nearing the climax of the series, and I’m glad to see how it’s all resolving. I’m eager to read on.

Interested? You can find IGNITE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Shifting Through A HOWLING ON HOLD–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new M/M contemporary shifter romance from EJ Russell. HOWLING ON HOLD is set in the world of both Fae Out Of Water (CUTIE AND THE BEAST, THE DRUID NEXT DOOR, and BAD BOY’S BARD) and Supernatural Selection (SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS, VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS, DEMON ON THE DOWN-LOW) but is a standalone New Adult romance.

About the book:
Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks.

That’s why werewolves embark on a Howling: a three-year rite of passage in which they’re sent to a group residence to wrestle with their wolfy instincts and assimilate into the Wider World. But Tanner Araya’s Howling is almost over, and he could be called back to his remote pack at any moment. His twenty-first birthday might be his last chance to act on his strongest instinct and finally kiss Chase Denney.

Chase is RA at the Howling residence affectionately dubbed “the Doghouse,” and he takes his job seriously. So seriously that when he realized he was developing feelings for a resident, he forced himself to keep Tanner at a distance. But now that Tanner’s twenty-one, he’s not Chase’s charge any longer. They could be friends or—if Chase is lucky—something more. At least until they both return to their home packs for good, as tradition demands.

It would take a miracle for them to get together—especially when the other Doghouse werewolves insist on “helping.”

Warning: Many Frisbees are harmed in this story, forgiveness is not always easier than permission, and the five-second rule does not apply.

My Review:
Tanner Ayala is am alpha were-in-waiting. He can’t assume control of his pack until his 21st birthday–and he’d rather never do it, truth be told. He’s only just learned to master his shifts in the two years he’s been a resident of the Howling House run by the were consortium in Portland. He loves his housemates, fellow young male shifters who hail from different packs in the Northwest, and he loves taking classes and learning about life far from his sheltered and conservative pack. He’d love to let his uncle continue leading the pack in his absence, and especially to avoid meeting up with his jerk-cousin, Finn. Plus, then he could stay near Chase, the RA for their Howling house.

On Tanner’s 21st birthday celebration turns into an epic disaster–following his clumsy kiss on Chase’s unexpecting lips. Chase is only a few years older, and terribly attracted to Tanner, but he’s held himself apart afraid to make a move on a younger, and undeniably impressionable, alpha. As the other pups lose control of their human selves, Chase gets hauled in for a reprimand, and is immediately removed from Howling house for a 3 month retraining without even getting to tell his charges what’s up. So, when he returns, he’s astounded to find Tanner missing–and no one can account for his whereabouts. His fellow residents thought he went back to his pack–and a check in gets everyone involved in the search.

And I mean everyone! This book is set in the same were-supe universe as the Fae Out of Water series and the Supernatural Selection series–so Chase reaches out to Mal Kendrick, co-founder of Quest Investigations, to help track down the missing Tanner. This begins a rollicking chase through haunted woods, Fae realms, and the backwoods of a Weasel Pit. I have enjoyed all the stories in these books, so getting little reprises of the imaginative and diverse mythological characters is always entertaining. This time we get a reluctant bean-nighe (the washerwoman of death) revealing important clues, as well as witches lingering in junk shops and cafes that help Chase and Tanner make all the right choices. I loved the call-backs to the characters and locales of previous books and I think I will never stop being charmed by the suit-shredding unfurling of Quentin Bertrand-Harrington’s incubus wings when his husband Ted is in danger. To see the racket of Tanner’s 21st party impinging on Mal’s proposal to Dr. Bryce MacLeod–who helps train the Howling weres so they don’t dig up yard–was a treat.

Tanner may have run to avoid his destiny, but soon he’s going to face his worst fears, and his potential doom. Seems a plot had been in place to kill him, but his flight from embarrassment has opened the door to a whole new path. Not exactly knowing the danger, Chase finally confesses his strong attraction to Tanner, and they are able to build the connection each man has longed for–over these years. Expect a little steam, as with all the books. NOt a lot of sexytimes, but some just where it needs to be.

There are so many cute characters–misfit weres–at this Howling House, and their talents, while not ideally suited to their own packs, makes them great partners for a pack of their own making. It’s not exactly clear if they will all stay together as a found family, but the potential is there for that, as well as future romances in this world. I’m so glad to have gotten this far, and hope to have many more forays into love in this universe.

Interested? You can find HOWLING ON HOLD 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!

Scorched by the DRAGONFIRE–A #Throwback Thursday Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. DRAGONFIRE is the 14th novel in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and DRAGON CLAIMED so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
It was a soul-deep longing, one that got into his bones and settled there, sending whispers of desire through him. The need, the hunger, grew tenfold with every breath. . . .

As a Dragon King, Roman is sworn to protect all mortals–even though they no longer believe in dragons. But deep in the Carpathian Mountains, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious gypsy who possesses the power to see into his very soul. To reignite the fire in his heart. And to help him find the long-lost sword that could save the dragons forever…

Sabina remembers the stories her grandmother told her. Legends of dragons and kings, fire and ice. And she’s never forgotten the dark prophecy that filled her ancestors with fear–a fate they tried to prevent by stealing a Dragon King’s sword. Sabina knows that helping Roman is dangerous. He is a dragon betrayed, and more powerful than any man. He could destroy her in a single fiery embrace. But how can she resist the longing in his eyes–or the feelings in her heart–when their destinies are bound by desire?

My Review:
Roman, a Dragon King honor-bound to protect humanity feels doubly-bound to help his fellow dragon-shifter friend Vlad recover his missing sword. This sword, lost eons ago, was the key to opening a realm to which the dragons of yore fled when humanity took over too much of Earth. Each time Vlad has awoken from enchanted sleep to find his sword he’s ended up on a rampage that has killed masses of people, so Roman’s not about to let Vlad go off to his homeland of the Carpathiam Mountains without backup.

Upon landing in his native soil, Vlad and Roman encounter Sabina and her seemingly-disabled brother, Camlo, who each have a touch of Romani (gypsy) magic in their blood. Sabina’s gran had been a strong matriarch and she passed the family history to Sabina at young age–warning her to guard their secrets. When Vlad touches Camlo, who has had visions of Vlad’s return, Vlad is knocked out, and it’s then they begin the search through memory and vision to recover the hidden sword.

Roman seems keen to assist, but he knows they need more help–so he reaches out for Fae and Druid assistance as the path leads them into some of the most harsh landscape Roman’s homeland of Iceland. The travel only gets worse, hampered by ancient magic aimed to thwart the seekers–but it yields important clues about those who’ve been plaguing the Dragon Kings, of late. Sabina is a fated mate of Roman–and their ordeals only drive them closer–especially when it’s clear that Camlo’s magic is necessary to save them all.

As part of the overarching series, this book give the reader insight into “the Others” a Druid (or anti-Druid) interference that seems to extend back to when Vlad’s sword was originally stolen–and Sabina’s sacred family history is critical to finding out the hows and whys of it. Sabina knows about the dragons of yore, and she’s kinda thrilled by the intense chemistry she feels with Roman. Roman’s been adrift a long time, and he’s glad to have met his match. Dear Camlo is so sweet and an interesting character. The journey to the center of magic in Roman’s own mountain brings him near to death at least once, but help from Ulrik and others brings him back from the brink.

The resolution reunites Vlad and his sword, but the struggle doesn’t end for that Dragon King. Meanwhile, Roman and Sabina do what is necessary to make their love survive–and take care of Camlo, in the process. It’s a grand adventure, and I liked the interwoven storylines–bringing Ulrik and his mate into the action was nice, as I haven’t had a lot of experience with Ulrik being a good guy. The love story is a little rushed, due to all the action, but it wasn’t too compressed. They seem to spend an ice age half-buried in the tunnels, and that has the effect of decreasing one’s emotional timetable.

Interested? You can find DRAGONFIRE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Breaking Free As a DEMON ON THE DOWN-LOW–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. DEMON ON THE DOWN-LOW is the third book in the Supernatural Selection series that follows supes of all types finding love through a witch-run online matchmaking service. I’ve shared reviews for the two previous stories in this series, SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS and VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS, which should be read first for best enjoyment. These books are a spin-off from the Fae Out of Water series, and set in the same world as CUTIE AND THE BEAST, THE DRUID NEXT DOOR, and BAD BOY’S BARD.

About the book:
After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

My Review:
Hamish Mulherne is a kangaroo shifter who also plays drums in the super popular band Hunter’s Moon, but he’s been not-so-secretly in love with the band’s bass player, Tiff, for four decades and she’s finally settling down…with sibling jaguar shifters. Instead of pining, Hamish is contacting Supernatural Selection to find his perfect match–for a date to an impending wedding, and probably for a marriage himself.

Zeke Oz is a low-level minion demon who is the single applicant for the Sheol work-release program. The Supe council had been leaning on the Host for some reforms in Hell, and this was the compromise. Zeke doesn’t know why more demons didn’t escape to the Upper World when he did, but he’s relishing this freedom even if it’s not a perfect situation. He has an Angel Interface observer monitoring him from within a glowing cylinder that hovers in close proximity at all times. And, he’s barely paid enough to afford a little bit of human food from time to time. Well, he makes enough in wages, but he has to turn over most of that to his demon overlord, Melchom. The Supernatural Selection spells have all been taken offline, however, due to some match irregularities, leaving Zeke at loose ends. It’s a big surprise when Hamish arrives for his matching appointment.

Hamish isn’t picky about his lovers, which is a big problem for Zeke. Zeke has been ordered to make Hamish happy, and Hamish won’t engage in the process. If Hamish isn’t satisfied, though, Zeke will lose his job and have to return to Sheol. He makes a couple promising matches for dates, but they both turn out disasters for different reasons–and that’s when Hamish realizes that Zeke being nearby REALLY makes him happy. But Zeke has been a demon slave his whole existence, and Hamish doesn’t want to force him into a different kind of servitude. With a little luck, and some pre-concert champagne, these two make the most unlikely of connections.

This is the third book in the Supernatural Selection series, and sports the return of all five couples from this series and the linked Fae Out of Water books. It’s a culmination of paranormal power, which is lucky for Zeke as he has some close-to-home attacks to weather, as well as the heart-tearing decision of whether to collect Hamish’s soul–on Melchom’s orders. The end is pure Orpheus, with a dash of sassy drummer and a splash of demon in transition. The biggest enemy was in plain sight the whole time, and I liked how we knew that, without knowing the full extent of it until the climax. In the end, this is such a fun world, with such loving and lovable characters that I was sad to see it brought to a close…

Imagine my delight when I learned there is a NEW book coming out this week! Look forward to a review in the coming days.

Interested? You can find DEMON ON THE DOWN-LOW 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!

True Love For A VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS–A Throwback Thursday Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS is the second book in the Supernatural Selection series that follows supes of all types finding love through a witch-run online matchmaking service. I think reading SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS first would help you enjoy this book better. Both of these books are a spin-off from the Fae Out of Water series, and set in the same world as CUTIE AND THE BEAST, THE DRUID NEXT DOOR, and BAD BOY’S BARD.

About the book:
A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.
Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

My Review:
At 116, Casimir Moreau is the second-youngest vampire in existence, and he’s continually making mistakes the vampire council is tired of cleaning up. In an effort to “civilize” Cas to vampire ways, he has been…required to wed an incubus of good breeding, Quentin Bertrand-Harrington. This match has been wrought through the complicated spellwork of witches at the Supernatural Selection Agency, and guaranteed to be a perfect match. Not that Cas wants this–at all. He’s not eager to be married to a man he’s never met and has no faith he’d be a good partner. It was the Council that filled out all the paperwork, and Cas is barely able to contain his frustration when he learns his “fated mate” Quentin has been inexplicably married to a bear shifter.

Rusty Johnson is a big broad inactive beaver shifter who owns a successful construction business. He’s heartbroken that his longtime friend, and boyfriend, recently broke everything off to announce an engagement to a female beaver shifter. So, Rusty has signed up with Supernatural Selection to find a true mate who could also serve as a date for his ex’s wedding. He was matched with Ted Farnsworth, an affable bear shifter, but he’s dang mad to learn Ted was somehow married to a bougie incubus.

While Cas and Rusty wait for their intended’s marriage to be annulled, they agree to a temporary marriage to one another. Cas is pleased to learn that Rusty’s inactive shifter blood isn’t toxic to him–which also makes his odor palatable, too. Rusty likes Cas’s forthrightness, and won’t stand-by when he learns that Cas NOT being immediately wed is tantamount to a death sentence.

Through the shenanigans they endure for one another, Rusty and Cas develop a rapport. Instead of Rusty’s shifter blood killing him, Cas is energized in unimaginable ways. Instead of Rusty feeling down about the loss of his first love, he’s intrigued by his handsome vamp husband. There are a couple of subplots involved with power structures straining within the vampire community–and some romps through time with a naked Druid. Cas is definitely in immortal danger, and Rusty comes to his rescue more than once.

This is a charming odd-couple romance, with all sorts of zany characters, and fun adventures. 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 weather a temporary marriage, they soon fall for one another. Should they still honor 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. As this book is connected to the larger Fae Out of Water series, there are some fun callbacks to THE DRUID NEXT-DOOR, with Dr. Bryce MacLeod making some daring appearances.

Interested? You can find VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS 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!

Persevering as THE DRAGON’S REBEL–Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! I’m baaaack! Ugh, my summer has started WAY TOO LATE, y’all, and my personal computer decided to kill itself as soon as I found time to use it…so. Anywhoo! Today, I’m sharing a review for a new M/M shifter fantasy from Jacqueline Rohrbach. THE DRAGON’S REBEL features a devout warrior-turned-king seeking the release of his goddess and finding the love of his life in the process.

Scroll down for your chance to win a $10 GC, catch the excerpt and pick up a copy for yourself.
About the book:
Cheron, former rebel leader and newly crowned king, comes to Wren Gardens on a holy mission to free his goddess from exile and bring peace to his kingdom, but he’s distracted by an unholy and very beautiful concubine, Ekos.
Ekos may be more than a simple love slave, though. The King of Wren Gardens seems afraid of the strange and often blasphemous concubine and swears the man is cursed. Cheron agrees, especially when Ekos mocks and taunts Cheron’s sense of honor. But the urge to distance himself from Ekos can’t compete with the desire to remain close. Nor is it as strong as the urges in his body—urges he hasn’t felt in years.
As Cheron tries to refocus on his mission, Ekos throws him off again—this time by offering to help him in his holy quest. Cheron knows he shouldn’t trust a man who’s in the employ of a rival king, particularly not one who seems to know all Cheron’s deepest secrets. But he can’t ignore the signs from the goddess telling him to entwine his fate with this tricky, captivating man.
He prays the signs aren’t simply wishful thinking, manifestations of his very unholy desires. Time is running out, and Cheron is falling deeper for Ekos—and deeper into danger of another betrayal. One that could cost him his life.

How about a little taste?

Chapter One
Half parted in invitation, the concubine’s painted red lips teased the possibilities for Cheron’s sole benefit, for his sole pleasure, for his sole use. At least that was the intended impression, but who knew the actual number of men the concubine had truly pleasured? Many, Cheron assumed. Undeniably gorgeous, the pampered little house pet had all the markings of a palace favorite. Jewels hung from his earlobes, fine silks concealed his thin but muscular frame, and his body had been rubbed down with musky oils. Minus the golden, diamond-studded collar at his throat, he appeared to be a member of court.
“Is Ekos not to your taste, Majesty? He is personal stock, in case you are worried. No low-born has touched him.”
The emphasis had Cheron grinding his teeth. While Sinnac politely used the proper title while addressing him, there was always a lilt to his pronunciation, a gentle reminder that Cheron had only recently became a king. Before, he’d been a lowly soldier—a servant. To men like Sinnac, men who’d been born into power, he would never be anything other than a lucky usurper playacting at greatness.
Sinnac continued, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to see him from a different angle?”
King Sinnac tilted the concubine’s face upward to give Cheron a better look. Ekos lowered his crystal-blue eyes demurely, as was proper, but Cheron swore he saw a flash of mocking defiance in the depths before his lashes lowered. In a second, the brazen glare vanished. Ekos bowed his head, allowing his golden-yellow hair to fall over his shoulders. The posture gave Cheron a clear view of the concubine’s long back and the enticing dip of his ass.
Suppressing his disgust, Cheron kept his response to King Sinnac formal. “He is most pleasing. I am recently sated and do not require sexual services just now, Your Excellence. Perhaps later.”
“I heard you Northern men needed no pause between sessions. That you were an insatiable lot.” Sinnac, a severe man who resembled a long tendril of smoke with his long white body, steel-gray hair, and gray eyes, raised his bushy eyebrows and took a drag from his hookah. Foul-smelling mist coiled around his head, momentarily canceling out the masculine, sweet smell of the concubine’s body oils.
Cheron gave the characterization a breathy laugh. “I’m afraid all men must submit to biology.”
“Of course. Of course.”
Truthfully, Cheron’s carnal needs hadn’t been satisfied recently or even in the past year. His aversion to touching Ekos had nothing to do with lack of desire. Perhaps the young concubine served freely now, but at some point in his life, he’d been brought here in chains and trained in the arts of pleasure. The very thought made Cheron’s skin crawl. Not too long ago, he’d been enslaved under the reign of a cruel king who raped and tortured to stay in power. He had no intentions of following the same path.
After he took control of Broken Maw, servants continued to exist, but they were compensated for their work. No one was compelled to offer sexual services. Those who sold themselves demanded money, certainly, but also equal pleasure. Ekos’s circumstances were much different.
Sinnac, as if stressing those differences, commanded the concubine to attend to Cheron’s needs. “Show our guest your skills, my pet. Seduce him.”
The concubine pouted. In a spoiled voice, he said, “My treasure, I do not believe he wants me.”
A hard glint in his eye, Sinnac returned, “Nonsense. Help him settle in to Wren Gardens. I’ll not have my guests frustrated. And if the rumors I hear are true, he is quite congested with lust.”
Gossip between courts wasn’t uncommon. Certainly, Cheron heard his fair share of stories from Sinnac’s lands, especially tales of the financial troubles of Wren Gardens. It didn’t upset Cheron to learn he was the subject of discussion among Sinnac’s people, but his temperature rose at being so directly contradicted by another monarch.
“What do you know of my frustration, Excellency?”
His laughter croaked as he took another puff from the hookah. “I hear you haven’t had any pleasure since Aethel. His betrayal must still sting, yes?”
Honesty roughened his voice to an almost inaudible, harsh whisper. “Betrayal burns more than it stings, Excellency. Afterward, the smoke blinds us.”
Sinnac raised an eyebrow. “Dramatic. Betrayal also chokes us, apparently, though I heard your lover made good kindling for fire.”
Cheron swallowed down the memory before it overwhelmed him. Sometimes, in the dead of night, he still woke to the sound of his lover’s screams as he twisted on the pyre and the king’s executioner’s grim pronouncement that justice had been done. Now that Cheron had overthrown the king in a successful rebellion, there would be no such burnings. Never again.
Cheron kept his voice level. “His crime was nowhere near as severe as the punishment.”
“Hm,” Sinnac responded. Supposedly, the price for his displeasure ran higher. This marked Cheron’s first time visiting Wren Gardens, but his father told tales of a ruler obsessed with revenge to the point of madness. If the stories were true, Sinnac’s gardens grew on human blood.
Cheron tried to smile. “At any rate, that is in the past.”
“Well, then. My pet can make you forget the traitor existed. Perhaps he can make you forget your own treason.”
It would be unwise to answer the bait, so Cheron kept quiet on the matter. “I have no doubt of Ekos’s skills, but they are wasted on me at the present.”
“We’ll see.” Sinnac waved his graceful fingers, an order for Ekos to proceed.
The concubine’s crystal-blue eyes lowered again. Looking into their depths was akin to jumping into ice-cold water. One could drown, but he’d feel the sting of cold as he sank. Just the same, Cheron barely kept from gasping out loud as Ekos’s long fingers stroked the outer folds of the long robe he wore. Beneath the clothes, his body was taut, ready for a lover’s touch.
“Majesty,” Ekos simpered, his full, round mouth set in a pout. “I can’t please you through so many layers of clothing.”
In Wren Gardens, sex servants weren’t allowed to remove the clothing of nobility. Such a task was reserved for only the most trusted of servants, those who’d been with households for generations. Poisons that seeped through the skin were common here; the precaution made sense.
Ekos’s own dress confused Cheron. Station required servants to wear only thin scraps of fabric that advertised their wares and marked them as slaves. The concubine was swathed nearly head to toe in a loose-fitting, semitransparent silken frock that was embroidered along the hem by a skilled hand. Somehow, this enticed Cheron’s interests far better than any scant loincloth.
As if sensing his increasing desires, the concubine formed his full mouth into an aware smirk. The arrogance took Cheron aback and made him worry for the concubine’s safety. The man’s voice was strong and confident when he said, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to undress me first?”
Sinnac guffawed at Cheron’s horrified expression. “Forgive Ekos, my royal brother. He is overeager to prove his affections.”
Once again, Cheron ignored the overt slight. For now, Cheron had to be content another monarch had even stooped to meet with him. Smiling, he said, “He hasn’t been tested already?”
Sinnac’s countenance darkened. Without thinking, Cheron had insulted the other man’s virility, which he touted with great pride. In the short time Cheron had been a guest at Wren Gardens, Sinnac boasted as many as fifty lovers, all of whom couldn’t get enough of their lord and master.
“My apologies, Excellency.” Cheron spread his hands in contrition. “I understand your prowess is legendary.”
Sniffing, Sinnac got to his knees and began undoing the knot keeping his robe together. Seconds later, he was nearly naked except for his white linen undergarments. Covered in a network of impressive scars, his body flaunted a lifetime of war. “Turn around,” he commanded Ekos.
Immediately, Ekos obeyed. Cheron swore he saw a flash of disgust in the man’s crystal-blue eyes. Soon enough, the meaningless and practiced smile fell back into place. The young man dipped forward, raising his hips. “Enter if you dare,” he mocked.
Sinnac growled at the challenge.
Stomach lurching, Cheron realized the other monarch’s intent. Baring witness to rape immediately quashed his previous desires. He knew it was a typical practice in Wren Gardens, but Cheron failed to control a wave of pity. This was no way to treat another human being.
“Excellency,” Cheron said, interrupting the looming sexual encounter. “I have been an ungracious guest. I would love to indulge in Ekos’s sweet attentions privately. But how can I enjoy him if you put me to shame? Will he even consider me adequate after you?”
“I’m sure I would, Majesty,” Ekos softly assured him. “A man as magnificent as you must be bliss to touch.”
Sinnac ran his hands up and down the length of the concubine’s body, slapping and prodding as he went, but eventually sat back against the cushions without penetrating, much to Cheron’s relief.
His gaze hooded, almost fully concealed, Sinnac said, “Please retire to your quarters, Majesty. We’ll attend to matters of state after dinner. I will have Ekos sent to your rooms. Treat him gently. I paid a high price for him.”
As equals, they stood and formally bowed. The concubine, head still bent toward the ground, his expression concealed by a long flow of honey hair, remained prostrated. His fists clenched and unclenched. When he lifted his head, he smiled serenely and said, “You have yet to pay the full price for me, Excellency.”

My Review:
Cheron is the new ruler of the Northern Lands, and he’s visiting Sinnac, king over Wren Gardens, in order to find Hell’s Echo, a talisman Sinnac has hidden in his gruesome dungeons. Hell’s Echo is necessary for Cheron to free his goddess, Kalin. He keeps a relic around his neck that heats or vibrates when Kalin is communicating with Cheron from her celestial prison. He encounters the beautiful Ekos early in his visit to Wren Gardens, when Sinnac offers Cheron Ekos’s body for pleasure–because Ekos is a concubine. While Cheron is attracted to Ekos, he abhors slavery of any type, as true followers of Kalin would. Cheron is struck by the brutality of Sinnac’s court, but he’s not savvy enough to understand when he’s being hoodwinked into trouble.

Ekos, on the other hand, is a match for Sinnac’s guile–and Ekos knows that the path for his own freedom will come through assisting Cheron on his quest. Ekos doesn’t honor Kalin, not since his kin were all captured by Sinnac and turned into living garden plots for eternity. Sinnac hopes that Cheron will be able to claim the Hell’s Echo, so Sinnac can steal it and use it to release his own blood-thirsty god, Atyx.

The world building here was a little spartan, at first, and I would have liked a bit more of that upfront so I understood where I was, and what the goals were in the beginning. Cheron is a bit of a bungler, but his heart is true and his mission is foremost in his mind. He strikes bargains with Ekos to forward both of their aims, and that leads from mutual dependence into love. I admit I was a little lost about how a king, such as Cheron, would enter a foreign monarch’s palace under the guise of striking a trade bargain yet without any attendants, or advisors? This seemed shoddy planning, especially as Cheron’s true plan is to hunt out Hell’s Echo and escape with it. Surely he has generals or someone who might have his back?

Unfortunately, he didn’t, which leads to his imprisonment and a series of battles to save himself, or Ekos, or to regain Hell’s Echo…because, as I mentioned, Cheron is a bungler and he manages to lose it more than once.

Still, the pace is brisk and in the second half we fly along from battle to battle with a bit of romance developing between Ekos and Cheron. Ekos has a secret–about himself and his role in Kalin’s imprisonment–but Cheron’s never willing to give up on either Ekos or Kalin, no matter how dire the situation. I loved his steadfastness, as did Ekos. The climax is rapid-fire, with murderous gods and near-death experiences. Cheron never quit his quest, even when it would have been comfortable to do so–and that lead to his ultimate reward, with Ekos by his side, perhaps for eternity.

There’s a little bit of sexytimes, and a lot of magic, of good and bad types. The followers of Atyx–Sinnac and his host of priests and disciples–are disastrously rotten, and they are mutilated accordingly, so if you abhor the gore, this one is likely not going to satisfy. For fans of magical, mythical heroes and the power of good triumphing evil, well, you’ll have a long slog until you get your cockles warmed. But, the end is joyous, and features a fun reward for Cheron.

Interested? You can find THE DRAGON’S REBEL on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on the Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 GC to NineStar Press. Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Jacqueline Rohrbach is a 36-year-old creative writer living in windy central Washington. When she isn’t writing strange books about bloodsucking magical werewolves, she’s baking sweets, or walking her two dogs, Nibbler and Mulder. She also loves cheesy ghost shows, especially when the hosts call out the ghost out like he wants to brawl with it in a bar. You know, “Come out here, you coward! You like to haunt little kids. Haunt me!” Jackee laughs at this EVERY time.

She’s also a hopeless World of Warcraft addict. In her heyday, she was a top parsing disc priest. She became a paladin to fight Deathwing, she went back to a priest to cuddle pandas, and then she went to a shaman because I guess she thought it would be fun to spend an entire expansion underpowered and frustrated. Boomchicken for Legion!

Catch up with Jackee on her website and twitter.

Out today: IGNITE!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-published dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. IGNITE is the 15th novel in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and DRAGON CLAIMED so I’m eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Every inch of him was molded as if from granite…and her blood ran like fire…
For centuries, V has waited to awaken from his doomed sleep and reclaim his destiny. But this Dragon King—one among a legion of legendary warriors sworn to protect the human race from darkness—must first find a way to win back his sword. Wield its power. And try not to fall prey to his own illicit desires.

Claire may possess the beauty and soul of a goddess but V knows better than to mess with a mere mortal. Still, he instinctively knows that Claire is The One who can help him regain the use of his sword and restore his place at Dreagan. But if she learns the truth about who—and what—he really is, her memories of him would be erased forever. How can V love Claire truly, madly, deeply…and protect her from the forces of fire and darkness that could destroy them both?

I’m finishing this one up now. Look for my review in the coming days.

Interested? You can find IGNITE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!