Beginning Life As THE PRINCE’S CONSORT–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new paranormal M/M romance from Antonia Aquilante. THE PRINCE’S CONSORT is the first story in her Chronicles of Tournai series, and it’s off to a great start!

Scroll down for an excerpt, my review and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
About the book:
Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures are only myth.
Or are they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne of Tournai at a young age, and since then his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to do as they want both in matters of governance and those more personal. He’s become isolated and lonely. Amory is the second son of a wealthy merchant who has never approved of anything about him or had any use for him. Until now.

When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s merchant father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline—something the royal family has kept secret from all but those closest to them for generations.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect what those who oppose their relationship will do to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

How about a yummy taste?

He didn’t know what to think about what they’d done. He’d enjoyed it, but the uncomfortable feeling still plagued him. Before he could begin to analyze it, Tristan was chuckling, low at first, quiet in Amory’s ear, his body shaking against Amory’s chest. Tristan pulled back enough to look at him. His eyes sparkled with happiness, and Amory’s laughter bubbled up to join his friend’s.

The laughter eased the way as they fumbled for handkerchiefs, cleaned themselves up, and neatened their clothes again. Then they leaned against each other and the tree, still laughing a little. It was Amory who moved for another kiss. Both of them were grinning when their lips met, and they couldn’t seem to stop laughing as they kissed, as they kept kissing. But the laughter was soft and light, like the kisses, and Amory relaxed into them, wrapping his arms around Tristan. Telling himself he would think about everything later.

“Good afternoon, brother.”

The unexpected voice and its snide tone had Amory jerking away from the kiss. The back of his head thunked into the tree trunk behind him. Tristan jumped back, separating them much more effectively. Amory almost wished he hadn’t. The short distance between them seemed like a vast gulf, and Amory felt very alone as he straightened away from the tree and turned to face his older brother.

Alban’s handsome face was twisted in a sneer even more disgusted than the one he habitually wore when looking at Amory. He studied Amory and Tristan in silence while Amory struggled not to squirm. No use saying anything to Alban, he knew from bitter experience.

“Now I know why you wanted no part of that pretty little maid last week.” Disdain dripped from Alban’s every word. “You’re more of a disappointment than I thought. Worthless. How are you even my brother?”

With a shake of his head, Alban turned and strode away, likely heading directly for the house. Amory remained frozen for a long moment, not even blinking.

“He’s going to tell your father.” Tristan’s voice was flat, so different from its usual exuberant, almost musical quality. The shock of it broke Amory’s paralysis, and Amory turned to face him. Tristan still stared at the spot where Alban had stood.

“Yes, he is.” Amory ran a shaking hand through his hair and slumped back against the tree. Alban hadn’t hit him, which was a pleasant surprise, but the consequences were still going to be bad. How would Father react? With disappointment, certainly, but that was nothing new. Most likely with anger as well. However disgusted Alban was, their father would be ten times more so.

“Do you think they’ll tell my father?” Tristan turned fear-filled blue eyes on Amory.

“Tris.” Amory reached out. He couldn’t bear seeing him so afraid, and though he couldn’t say much to reassure him, he couldn’t stand by while Tristan was upset either.

But he stepped out of Amory’s reach. “Do you?”

Amory tried to hold back a flinch. “I don’t know.”

Tristan groaned and scrubbed his hands over his face. “He can’t. I don’t know what my father will do if he finds out I prefer men. I’m his oldest son. I’m supposed to take over for him in the business, get married. Have sons to take over the family business after me.”

“You still can. All right, the children part would be difficult if you don’t marry someone who can carry them, but you can still take over the family business.” He didn’t bother mentioning that Tristan had four younger brothers and a younger sister. Surely at least one of them would have children someday who could inherit the family’s business if Tristan never had any of his own and his father insisted on an heir of their blood. But Tristan took his responsibilities as first son seriously. Too seriously. He wouldn’t want to hear that at the moment.

“Not if he disowns me.”

“Now you’re being dramatic. Preferring men is not illegal. It’s not wrong. Your father loves you. He’s proud of you, and you’ll be the same son he’s proud of after he finds out.”

“You don’t know that, Amory.”

No, he didn’t. But Tristan had a better chance of everything working out fine than Amory did. Tristan’s father was proud of his accomplishments, which was more than Amory could say.

“I may not, but I believe it will be all right. Don’t borrow trouble. My father and brother might be too busy killing me to remember to tell your father.”

Tristan huffed out a half laugh and whacked him on the shoulder. “Don’t joke about that.”

“Who’s joking?” Amory smiled crookedly. “Seriously, though, I do think everything will be all right with your father.” He took Tristan’s hand and squeezed and then let go before Tristan could pull away.

“Maybe. I need to go.”

“All right. I’ll see you soon.”

“See you.” Tristan slipped out of their little corner of the garden and was gone before Amory could get another word out. He tried not to think about how unsure Tristan’s parting words sounded. He didn’t want to lose Tristan. Not when he would likely need his friend more than ever.

He didn’t think Father would kill him, but he couldn’t rule out Father hitting him. It was partly why he was so surprised Alban hadn’t—his older brother was a perfect replica of their father in every way. But even without actual murder, Father could make Amory’s life miserable, and Amory wouldn’t be able to do anything until he came of age next week. A week seemed like a short time but was long enough for his father to…

He needed to think about his options. Father would never accept his preferences. Once his father knew, Amory’s time in his family’s house was limited. He hated to leave his younger siblings, especially Adeline, but he doubted he would have much of a choice. It might be best to leave before he was thrown out.

Sighing, he pushed himself away from the tree and started for the house. He hoped he could avoid Father long enough to spend a little time with Adeline and make some plans. And to get his hands to stop shaking.

My Review:
Amory is the second son of a prominent glassmaker, and a consummate failure in his father’s eyes. He prefers men, and is caught having a liaison with his oldest friend, Tristan, by his older and abusive brother at the opening of the story. Amory is sure he’ll be cast out of his family and is bewildered why he is not. It turns out, that his conniving father has deeper plans, offering Amory’s virginity to the crown prince of Tournai, Philip.

Philip detests the glassmaker, and is frustrated that his commissioned piece is late, but he’s intrigued by the offer of Amory–not for his virginity but for his wholesomeness. Philip is a lonely man–young to his rule, he’s given everything he has for his subjects, and he desires a partner. A prince can have a lover in the palace, even a male one, and innocent Amory seems like he could become a friend and a lover. Amory’s own feelings are of shame, at first. He’s ashamed to be bartered like a discount, but he sees a beautiful, lonely prince offering far more than a single night and he jumps at the chance to build a friendship and a relationship. HE immediately moves into the palace as the prince’s lover, and they begin to get to know one another–keeping it barely phsyical while they develop a true rapport.

Philip find the confidante he needs, enough so that within weeks he’s able to share his deepest-held secret: he’s able to shift into a big black jaguar as are many of his immediate family. It’s a latent Talent of the royal family, and Amory is enchanted by the magic of it. Amory has a healing Talent that Philip helps him develop with the royal healers. Months go by, and Amory’s familiar at court, having fully bonded with Philip, and sad because of the pressure Philip seems to be constantly under to marry and produce an heir. Philip finally agrees to marry–Amory. It seems a ludicrous choice, but it’s the only one to make Philip and Amory is convinced by Philip’s dedicated wooing to accept the proposal. Amory has some biological secrets that may pan out in the heir-making department, but only if he makes it to the wedding. It seems there’s a plot to remove the prince’s beloved lover before he can become the official husband and consort.

I really liked all the relationship building that happens here. We see Amory and Philip slowly develop their initial attraction by constant steps toward intimacy. Philip has the right to take what he first desires, but he’s methodical and just in his personal life, as well as in his professional station. He’s a doting elder brother, and his compassion is something that really wins over Amory–who cannot believe his good fortune. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and their quirky/scheming family members. There was good misdirection regarding the source of danger for Amory, and I was glad to say it took me some time to figure out the hidden villain. The shifter and healer Talents gave and interesting twist into the fantasy realm, and allowed for magic to be a part of the everyday life of this story, as well as being available at the climax. I really liked how it all turned out, and look forward to reading on in this series.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

Catch up with Antonia on Facebook, and twitter.

Finding One’s Mate–DRAGON LOST: A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. DRAGON LOST is a novella in her Dark Kings series, Book 16.5 for those keeping count, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve enjoyed SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, DRAGON CLAIMED, DRAGONFIRE and IGNITE. I’m SO eager to reach the “climax” of this sexy series.

About the book:
Destinies can’t be ignored. No one knows that better than Annita. For as long as she can remember, it’s been foretold she would find a dragon. A real-life dragon. She’s beginning to think it was all some kind of mistake until she’s swimming in one of the many caves around the island and discovers none other than a dragon. There is no fear as she approaches, utterly transfixed at the sight of the creature. Then he shifts into the shape of a thoroughly gorgeous man who spears her with bright blue eyes. In that instant, she knows her destiny has arrived. And the dragon holds the key to everything.

All Royden wanted was to find an item his brother buried when they were children. It was supposed to be a quick and simple trip, but he should’ve known nothing would be easy with enemies like the Dragon Kings have. Royden has no choice but to trust the beguiling woman who tempts him like no other. And in doing so, they unleash a love so strong, so pure that nothing can hold it back.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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.

Royden is a Dragon King looking for a talisman in Crete that was taken from him and hidden eons ago by his brother–before all the dragons were sent away from this realm. The talisman was a claw from his grandfather, who’d been dragon king before Royden. It had been buried in the crypt-like caves surrounding the isles around Crete, which had been Royden’s ancestral domain before the war with humanity.

Annita Dragoumis is a homebody of a woman, living in her sister’s estate in Crete, an historical home that has acres of private beaches. She swims the caves, looking for solitude, and never looking for a partner. Annita had been told by her great-aunt Chara, a famous seer, that she would be important one day–and would meet a dragon. It seemed silly, but Chara’s prophesies came true on many occasions, and her Yaya also warned her to be vigilant to find the dragon–that this would surely come to pass. So, Annita is curious how Royden came to be inside the private caves on her family’s estate. The connection is immediate, and Annita is sure this “man” is the dragon of Chara’s prophesy.

Royden isn’t so sure about Annita, but he’s rattled that Annita knows about dragons–believes them to be real. He knows he should abandon his quest, but he’s drawn to the beautiful human woman who seems to see through his ruses. He makes excuses to stay longer, and Annita’s able to solve the mystery of the talisman–which is unsettling but resolved for Royden. And so his attraction for Annita. He doesn’t want to take her from her family, which is so close knit, but his place is truly in Scotland with the other Dragon Kings, so he gives Annita the option to join him there–and he reveals his full dragonness to her. She’s eager to join him, but she’s conflicted. It’s the counsel of her dear family that makes the decision for Annita–and it causes a small amount of pain for Royden, at first, but their fated mate bond is strong enough to weather a bit of conflict.

It’s a novella, so things happen fast. It’s also really centered on Annita and Royden, so we don’t have a lot of other peripheral plot arcs impinging on this story. There’s a little bit of sexytimes, but it’s brief. I was mixed on the conflict/separation, not sure why it needed to be there. It seemed convenient and untenable, but it all got resolved really quick after that.

Interested? You can find DRAGON LOST on Goodreads and Amazon.

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!

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!

Surviving His Change: PREDATORY —Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new paranormal M/M romance from a new-to-me author, Brooklyn Ray! PREDATORY is the third novella in the Port Lewis Witches series featuring a young shifter-witch coming into his own to help two of his circle mates, and his boyfriend, survive the wrath of Leviathan, Sea Queen. I have read the two previous titles in this series, but I won’t get to share those reviews until next week.

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
about the book:Donovan Quinn is faced with the impossible: unleashing the wild energy inside him. In the aftermath of a rushed, thoughtless sacrifice, his circle mates brainstorm a plan to appease the Queen of Water. Meanwhile, Donovan desperately tries to find a way to access the lonely Earth magic hiding inside him.
​But with his heart reaching for Tyler, the aggressive and volatile head witch of his circle, and friendships being tested at every turn, Donovan is at a standstill with his magic. Saving his friends, his circle, and his heart becomes far more complicated than he ever thought.
How about a little taste?

If you would’ve asked Donovan Quinn where he might be this time last year, he would’ve had a perfectly executed answer. Something standard and palatable. He would’ve batted his lashes and shrugged, hinted at finishing his degree and landing a good job. That was what people wanted to hear—his mother, the clan leaders, his family and circle-mates. He would’ve lied, and they would’ve smiled, and he would’ve swallowed the truth.
Because Donovan didn’t care about a degree or a good job. He wasn’t worried about appearances or being a good witch. If you’d asked him, he would’ve said, “I’m sure I’ll be keeping busy.”
Donovan never expected to trade those lies for this truth: being in the passenger’s seat of Tyler’s Jeep on the night Liam committed murder.
The sound of the windshield wipers made the silence between them seem like a chasm. They’d dropped Christy off at home after a twenty-minute argument over rights and wrongs, secrets and consequences. Christy had burst into tears and told Tyler his cruelty didn’t count for strength, and when he’d refused to look at her or speak to her, she’d climbed out of the car and slammed the door for good measure.
Now they were parked somewhere in the middle of the woods. The headlights were turned off, rain pelted the roof, and Donovan wasn’t sure if this was the end of something—their circle, their magic, whatever festered between them. It’d been three months and they still didn’t have a name for it. Relationship didn’t fit. Friends with benefits was too watered down.
Whatever it was, it had been born out of Tyler’s anger. His possessiveness and desire. Three months ago, Donovan had taken Tyler to a club to unwind. We’ll find different people. Just have fun for a night. And Tyler had agreed. But as the night went on, liquor and stolen glances turned desire into something else. Donovan had met Tyler’s eyes as a handsome man covered in tattoos licked salt from his neck. Tyler had shoved himself between them and pulled Donovan onto the dancefloor.
Everything changed after that. Everything had kept changing since then.
“You have anything to say?” Tyler asked.
Donovan followed the straight line of Tyler’s nose to his thin, set mouth. He rested his elbow on the top of the door, hand splayed over his jaw. He was typically handsome—black hair kept neat and slicked back, ears pierced with plain silver hoops, skin never inked. His black turtleneck covered a barely there bruise left behind from Donovan’s mouth. Sometimes he glamoured hickeys. Other times he covered them with foundation, like he did the bruises he brought back from fights with his father.
It was difficult to separate who Tyler was from who his family expected him to be. Because Donovan had seen Tyler gentle and everyone else only knew him as a Li.
“They’re our friends,” Donovan said. He picked at the chipped nail polish on his thumb. “We can’t just exile them. We took an oath.”
“They’ve been using dark magic behind our backs, that’s enough to break the damn oath. Not to mention Liam murdered someone tonight and we’ve got demons knocking on our door.”
“Still,” Donovan said.
“Still?”
“We can’t leave them.” Donovan watched Tyler’s jaw flex. He almost brushed his fingers over Tyler’s thigh, but hesitated, unsure if touch could be casual between them or not. “I won’t leave them.”
“Aren’t leopards solitary?” Tyler’s sarcasm was a mean deflection, but it cut Donovan to the bone.
Liam had murdered someone and because of it, the Queen of Water had walked from the sea and put Donovan’s secret on display like it was nothing. Leopard. He’d rarely used the term, even in his own home, and now it fit in Tyler’s mouth like a curse.
“That isn’t fair,” Donovan whispered. He squirmed in place and pulled at the bottom of his shirt, picking at threads, giving his nerves a place to go. He glanced out of the window and watched rain streak through tree branches. The forest was alive around them. “Don’t take your elitist bullshit out on me, Tyler.”
“You didn’t tell me,” Tyler said softly, then louder. “You didn’t even tell me.”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes,” Tyler snapped.
The silence was no longer a chasm. It was too close, too personal, and it made Donovan’s lungs ache. His mouth tightened and he turned away, fighting the urge to shout or cry or argue or explain. He didn’t think Tyler cared for his explanations. He didn’t know if Tyler cared for anything at all.
“Take me home,” Donovan said.
Tyler glanced at him, rolled his eyes, and flicked on the headlights. They didn’t speak for the duration of the trip. Tyler’s gaze flicked toward him while they idled at a stoplight and Donovan hoped he’d say something. Anything. But he didn’t.
The duplex Donovan and his mother lived in was outside downtown, nestled between a gated community and a shopping plaza. There was a whole neighborhood of attached houses painted in different shades of mauve. Donovan’s house was the one with the darkest paint and a yellow door, the last one on the left. Tyler put the car in park and heaved a sigh. Donovan waited for an apology or a question, for something other than silence, but Tyler didn’t say a word.
Fuck him. He slammed the door harder than Christy had and walked inside without looking back. His mom worked the night shift at the hospital, but she’d left a box of macaroni and cheese on the counter. His familiar, a serval cat named Melody, sat on the back of the couch. She looked wild despite how domestic she truly was.
“Why do I always date dickheads?” Donovan asked. Not that he was dating Tyler. Not even close. But still. He narrowed his eyes at Melody and she yawned.
Dickhead was putting it lightly. Tyler was the head witch of their circle, seven years older than him. He had anger issues. He’d never uttered the words commitment or relationship. He was possessive and jealous and mean. He made Donovan feel irreplaceable on some nights, and like nothing on others.
Donovan hated how much he cared for him.

My Review:
This is the third book in a series of witchcraft in the Port Lewis area of Washington state. I think this book is best enjoyed if read in sequence.

Donovan is an earth witch joined in a circle with four others: the circle leader Tyler, an air witch with whom Donovan has regular D/s hook-ups, Liam, a water witch who has royally pissed off Leviathan, Christy, a psychic, and Ryder, a fire witch who also practices dark magic….

Their circle is all off balance due to the dark magic, and Leviathan is demanding some tribute, which could be Liam, if they can’t get a big, bad strong witch to protect him. Unfortunately, they all think it could be Donovan, who has hardly been able to tap the extent of his power. Donovan’s father was a leopard shifter, but Donovan didn’t learn the secret of that magic before his dad was killed.

Donovan is unwillingly solitary, because he and Tyler don’t have a solid relationship. Donovan is afraid to ask for what he needs, and Tyler doesn’t know he isn’t giving Donovan the support he needs. Meanwhile, Tyler struggles to hold his circle together while his abusive parents make trouble.

This is a really inventive witchcraft series, where all the characters are way ore than their magic, and have to struggle with power they never intended to wield. They do not always make “good” decisions, but they do rely on one another and develop strong bonds—both magical and emotional. Donovan wants to be claimed by Tyler, and once he finally asks, he reaps an amazing bounty of love. There are D/s elements here but they are not intense.

The first two books center on Ryder and Liam, with Donovan playing a supporting role—these stories set up the conflict between Tyler and Ryder and Liam and Leviathan, which is why I think they should be read first. There is a little bit of world-building up front, but it pales compared to the full story. Having read all three books, I’d definitely read on.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

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

About the Author:
Brooklyn Ray is a tea connoisseur and an occult junkie. She writes queer speculative fiction layered with magic, rituals and found families.

Catch up to Brooklyn on twitter or Tumblr.

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.