Valentine’s Day is a time for many of us to celebrate with our significant other, whether it is our lover, husband, wife, whomever it is that shares our lives and our hearts. There are many things we relate this holiday with; flowers, champagne, candlelit dinners, and even making love.
What many may be surprised to know is that the root of the holiday comes from ancient Rome and a festival called Lupercalia. The festival was a fertility celebration held annually on February 15th. But in 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius recast the pagan festival as a Christian feast day and changed it to February 14th, declaring it to be St. Valentine’s Day.
Personally the festival name makes me think of shapeshifters! Maybe this is where mpreg shifter romances were born? Kidding, of course. But it’s definitely interesting history!
In my newest release, Champagne Kisses, Sam Evans is looking forward to spending the holiday with his lover only to be disappointed when his boyfriend ditches him for work. Who wouldn’t be depressed and upset over such a thing? But Sam isn’t quite prepared for the surprise that awaits him after he closes up shop after work.
Their date cancelled on the most romantic day of the year, Sam Evans feels betrayed by Dean, who often puts work before their relationship. Brooding about his lover's lack of commitment toward him, he leaves work early only to be stunned by what awaits him outside the door.
February 14th, 3:05 P.M.
Sam Evans stared broodingly out of the window of the small bookstore he worked at part time. There were little to no customers in the shop and he couldn't be more thankful. His spirit was definitely not in the mood for being people-friendly. All he wanted to do at the moment was wallow in self pity. How could Dean do this to him?
"I'm sorry, Sam, but it's a really big case. We can't afford to miss anything or he could walk."
"But it's Valentine's Day! You can't take a few hours off to spend it with me?"
"I'll make it up to you. I promise. I've gotta go. I'll call you later."
Damn him! Sam scowled even harder. Six months they'd been together and Dean still put his work over their relationship. Sometimes he wondered if it was even worth it, but then he'd remember how sweet and sexy the man could be and his anger would dissipate until the next time Dean would cancel a date or break plans they'd made together. He loved him and couldn't imagine spending his life with someone else, but if things didn't change soon, he wasn't sure how much longer he could deal with it. Though Dean had no idea how deep his feelings went. They'd never used the big L word and Sam would be damned if he said it first with how things were between them.
He hadn't even gotten Dean anything for Valentine's Day. Because if they weren't going to spend it together, what was the point of getting him a gift? Maybe he'd even done it a little bit out of pettiness and disappointment. Okay, it was true. He'd been selfish and hadn't wanted to think about buying something for Dean because he was mad and because it depressed him even more to think about spending the holiday, meant for lovers to be together, alone.
Sam thought back to the first time they'd met and flushed at how clumsy he could be at times. His best friend and confidante, Aaron Beckinridge, had opened a catering business a little over a year before he met Dean. Sam could still hear Aaron's excitement when he'd found out he'd gotten the gig for a huge charity dinner party for some of the big wigs at City Hall. A few hours before the event, Aaron called Sam in a tizzy because he was short-handed and needed a body to help fill in. He'd begged Sam and despite Sam's many attempts to wiggle out of the obligation, Aaron managed to back him into a corner until Sam reluctantly agreed. He'd never been entirely comfortable in social settings, but at least he wouldn't be expected to make polite chit chat or entertain anyone.
At first, the party had been dull, a bunch of stuffed shirts bragging about their latest wins in the courtroom or their golf handicap. As the night wore on, Sam wandered through the crowd holding a tray of champagne glasses while attempting to entertain himself by making up stories about the attendees. One overweight man who brayed like a donkey and sweated like a pig reminded him of the arrogant, selfish Duke in one of his stories. A seemingly straight-laced blonde woman in a tight black dress would have made the perfect gold digging Black Widow. He made mental notes of everything to work into his stories, including some of the decorations and food from the evening.
In the midst of his imaginings someone bumped his arm causing the tray to over balance. One of the champagne flutes tipped and spilled all over a pair of expensive-looking black patent leather shoes. Sam immediately apologized and looked up into the most breathtaking hazel-green eyes he'd ever seen. His voice failed him.
Easily six foot four, the man towered over Sam's mere five-nine. The severe cut of the tuxedo clung to the stranger's lightly muscular physique in all the right places. Short light brown hair swept back from the man's features accentuated the strong jawline and firm rounded chin with a slight cleft in it. Sam's mouth dried out in desire and he swallowed hard, attempting to find his voice once more. He shoved a strand of his almost shoulder-length dirty blond hair behind one ear nervously.
"No worries. I hated these shoes anyway," the man drawled amusedly, his full lips lifting in an almost smirk.
Sam snapped out of his daze and blushed. "I'll get something to clean it up with," he mumbled and threaded his way toward the kitchen at the back of the mansion to grab a towel. Rushing back out, he saw that the attractive guy had disappeared and fought off disappointment as he cleaned up the spilled drink. He didn't delude himself into thinking the man could possibly be gay. If he was a guest at the party, it meant he was a lawyer and he hadn't heard of many gay lawyers, if any at all, in this city.
Sighing, he went back into the kitchen, dropped the rag on the counter and decided to take his break. "Hey, Aaron, I'm going to get some fresh air."
Aaron waved him off, shouting instructions at one of his regular waiters. Sam walked out of the back door leading onto a large balcony overlooking a huge, well-kept garden, which no doubt cost more than he made in a year. He breathed in the night air deeply as he moved to the railing and leaned against it, his hands resting on the cold cement. He tilted his head to stare up at the bright half-moon overhead while berating himself for being so inept. The man probably thought him an utter disaster. Frowning, he shook his head and tried to dislodge the stranger from his mind. Why should he care? After tonight, he'd never see the man again anyway.
He sighed once more. He wanted to be home, surrounded by his books and working on his latest novel. At least there he didn't have to worry about making a fool of himself. Books aren't concerned with what you look like or how you act. What he loved most about books was that they were places to lose yourself in. Somewhere you could hide from the cruelty of the real world and become a sexy, brilliant detective or a suave, confident prince who could have anyone they wanted, go anywhere they wanted and they never embarrassed themselves. It was why he loved working for A Book Nook, his usual day job. Most customers who came in were like him, looking for an escape from their lives. His own novels weren't main-stream, but he made enough to be comfortable working part time and writing.
"I always did detest these kind of parties," a deep, sexy voice disrupted his thoughts and Sam jumped, turning to look at the owner. The man he'd spilled the drink on stood a few feet away from him. He'd been so wrapped up in his thoughts, a bad habit mind you, that he hadn't even known the guy was there. How long had he been watching him? The butterflies in his stomach kicked up once more and he could only nod in response to the stranger's comment before turning back to staring at the stars and moon. Sam tensed when the guy approached and leaned onto the railing near him. He could feel the warmth radiating from his closeness and bit his bottom lip.
"I'm going to guess this isn't your usual gig either."
Sam shook his head, still finding his voice locked in his throat.
The stranger hummed. "If I hadn't heard you apologize earlier I'd wonder if you were mute."
"No," Sam murmured. "I can talk."
"Ah, there's his voice," the man teased gently, tilting his head toward Sam.
"I'm really very sorry about your shoes," Sam apologized again, glancing at him out of the corner of his eye.
"I told you don't worry about it. I have several pair like these and between you, me and the flowers, I'd rather go barefoot." One hazel-green eye winked at him.
Sam blushed and swallowed hard, his fingers curling into half-fists on the railing. His chest tightened almost painfully. He'd never been very good at idle conversation. Even as a child, he'd found it hard to open up to strangers. It took forever for him to make friends, but once he did, he allowed himself to let go and show more of his true self to them. "Well… um…"
"Dean Saunders," the guy offered.
The man's name was as hot as the package. Sam managed to force himself to reply. "Sam Evans."
"It's nice to meet you, Sam," Dean said holding out his hand.
Sam stared at Dean's manicured fingernails uncertainly for several breaths.
Dean chuckled lightly. "I'm not going to bite, you know."
Sam's blush deepened at his social ineptitude and he placed his hand in Dean's, shaking it briefly. When he pulled away, he felt Dean's fingers trail over his palm and shivered at the almost caress-like touch. "I… uh… should be getting back to work," Sam mumbled, pushing away slightly from the balustrade.
"Stay," Dean cajoled. "I could use the company and I'm sure your break is a lot longer than five minutes."
He gave a brief nod at Dean and relaxed against the banister. Nibbling on his lower lip, Sam focused on the fountain in the center of the garden, watching the way the water sprayed into the air before raining down to the surface. Dean shifted beside him and turned, leaning his elbows on the railing and tipped his head back to gaze up at the stars.
"So when you aren't serving stuffed shirts at a party, what do you like to do, Sam?" Dean asked casually.
"Oh, this isn't my usual job," Sam protested. "I was just helping out my friend Aaron. He was short staffed and asked me to help out. I'm actually… I work for a bookstore." He'd never felt comfortable telling others that he was a professional novelist. Most people took it as him bragging, or at least he thought it seemed they did. Although Aaron would always tell him to stop being so modest and to brag all he wanted, that becoming a published author was a huge accomplishment. Sam still felt as though he was showing off when he talked about it.
Dean gave the lop-sided grin Sam was beginning to see as his signature smile. "That suits you more than this place."
Sam frowned, his brow furrowing. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It wasn't meant as an insult," Dean assured him. "I just meant that you seem like the type who prefers more casual environments rather than all this." He gestured toward the mansion and the party inside.
Eyeing Dean, Sam debated on whether to accept the man's words at face value, but figured it wasn't worth challenging since he didn't know him well enough to be certain Dean was being rude. "And what about you? Do you prefer casual or all this?" Sam tossed back, waving his hand similarly to Dean.
Dean shrugged. "I like being where I can be myself. The only reason I attend these parties is to meet shy, handsome waiters with gorgeous brown eyes."
At first, Sam felt a warm flush race over his skin, but then he thought about Dean's words and scowled, shoving away from the rail, the happy glow gone. "You don't have to mock me."
He spun around to go back inside except Dean grabbed his wrist, stopping him. He kept his back to Dean, trying to tug his hand out of Dean's grip. "I'm sorry, Sam. I wasn't mocking you. I'm afraid my flirting skills are a bit rusty."
Sam stopped struggling and turned enough to be able to see Dean. Flirting?
"Give me another chance, please?" Dean asked softly, his grip loosening and his thumb rubbing across the smooth skin on Sam's inner wrist. "I'd like to take you to dinner."
His fear of being hurt as he had been in his last relationship kept him from accepting immediately. He'd remained single for five years because he didn't want to ever go through the same pain again. Aaron constantly told him he needed to stop letting his past keep him from finding love, but it was easier to say than do. It was kind of like when you fell off a horse and were afraid to get back on. The longer you went without returning to the saddle, the stronger the hold your fears have on you. Several breaths went by before Sam replied. "I… I don't know."
Dean straightened away from the balcony railing and leaned closer to Sam, his fingers still loosely circling Sam's wrist. "Take a chance, Sam. One date and if you aren't convinced by the end that I'm a good guy, you don't have to see me again."
Sam hesitated again and Dean reached up with his free hand to brush a strand of Sam's hair back from his face. "One dinner. That's all I'm asking."
Taking a small leap of faith, Sam decided one dinner couldn't hurt, so he said yes. One date turned into two, then three, and finally on the seventh date Sam allowed Dean to seduce him. In the last six months, they'd been doing fairly well despite the multiple times Dean cancelled one of their dates to work on a case. Sam knew Dean wanted to help people and worked hard to do so, but he couldn't deny it still stung that Dean would rather be at work than with him. This Valentine's Day ditch was the hardest of them all. Why couldn't Dean find at least a couple of hours to spend with him? Didn't he want to? Or was Dean tiring of him already?
Sam regularly battled his fears and anxieties. His ex-boyfriend had left behind a lot of scars. Not physically, but emotionally. At the end, when the reality of how long the relationship had been dead sank in, Sam hadn't wanted to accept it at first because it would mean the three years spent together meant nothing and he'd still been desperately clinging to the hope that they could work it out. Over the course of time since the breakup, he'd come to realize just how one-sided their relationship had been; the emotional and mental abuse, the way his ex would try to change him and mold him into what he thought was acceptable, and the way he'd used him until the very end. Dean had shown him even more just how wrong everything had been.
Sighing, Sam heard his boss, Marla, come out of the back room. "What are you so mopey about?" she asked, raising an eyebrow as she set a box of books on the front counter. She was one of his closest friends, right up there with Aaron, and knew him fairly well. More than once she'd helped him with his problems. When she'd found out he was seeing Dean, she'd fairly squealed in excitement and demanded all of the details. At the age of fifty-two, Marla had been married and widowed, had two adult children over the age of eighteen, and spent most of her waking hours running the bookstore. Sam had been trying to get her to go out more, to date, but she'd just laugh and say, "Sam, my late husband was the love of my life. No one will ever be able to give me back what I lost and I really don't need to go on a bunch of bad dates to tell me that."
He bent further over the counter and watched her cutting the tape on the box. "Dean's stuck on a case and won't be able to spend Valentine's Day with me."
Marla chuckled while opening the box and beginning to remove the books in it for stocking. "Child, if people only expressed their love for one another one day a year, there'd be a lot less marriages in this world. Dean loves you and that's all that matters."
Sam frowned. "He hasn't told me he loves me."
Marla stopped what she was doing and put her hand on her hip, shaking her head. "You seriously can't tell me that you haven't noticed how head over heels for you that man is, can you? I've seen the way he looks at you when he picks you up. It's like he's seeing his very first sunrise and it leaves him breathless."
Sam ducked his head bashfully for a minute before peeking up at his boss. "You really think so?"
"I know so, hon." Marla reached out and patted his hand lightly. "Tell him how you feel, Sam. You might just be surprised."
He nodded as she went back to stocking the recent shipment on the shelves. Was Marla right? Should he just tell Dean he loved him?
"It's a little slow today so we're closing up shop a bit early, hon." Marla looked at her watch. "Instead of eight, let's call it at five, okay?"
"Sure thing, Marla." Not that he had anywhere important to be.
Find Me Here:
J.R. Loveless is an avid fan, reader and writer of anything pertaining to male/male romance. She started out her adventure into the genre in 2004 when she discovered the anime Loveless, a softer side of Yaoi. The moment she saw Loveless, it sucked her in and hasn’t let go since.
After Loveless, she voraciously searched for anything she could find within the anime world pertaining to Yaoi and Shounen-Ai. She found Gravitation, Princess Princess, Gakuen Heaven, Junjou Romantica and so much more. As she searched for the different animes available, she stumbled across an amazing forum that to this day she is more than ever thankful she found.
J.R. currently has several works in progress and several more ideas on the slow cooker. Ideas come to her out of the blue, a lyric in a song, a line in a movie, or just out of nowhere while she’s standing in the shower. She loves to make up her own stories, to follow her heart, and to write things her way because she loves a happy ending.
She is always thankful for all of her followers on AarinFantasy and for all of the wonderful people who read her stories. Please feel free to send her an email or to drop her a note on Facebook. She will always try to respond, even if it isn’t right away.
This Rainbow Snippet from Comes a Horseman – which is being published by DSP Publications later this year – comes from the same scene as the one I posted last week. I struggled to find something that didn’t contain massive spoilers, so sorry if it doesn’t enlighten much more.
“It’s easier to run, isn’t it?” Kristopher grimaced. “I’m not sure how brave I am, Liang. The more I think about it, the more I come to one conclusion.”
“There’s only one way to make sure neither side gets your formulae.” Liang had a nasty feeling about where this conversation was going.
I got sucked into this story on the first page and stayed up late devouring the book in one sitting. The story is narrated in third person from Mark’s perspective, and I really liked him as a character. Despite an accident in his teens putting him in a wheelchair, he has moved forward and made a life for himself. Although in a wheelchair, that is not what defines him and nor does it stop him from living his life to the fullest.
His relationship with his husband, Starr, is very sweet, and it’s obvious that the two men are very much in love. I enjoyed their interactions, and their family life with their two boys Jory and Jarrett. It felt very realistic, and made me smile. The supporting cast of friends and family added to the storyline and gave the impression of the story being a slice of a complete world.
However, as with life, this story is not all sweetness and light. I really liked the way in which Mark—who is married to an African American and is raising African American sons—realises that being black brings with it bigotry that he hasn’t experienced before, despite being in a wheelchair and being gay. With his job as a 911 call centre operative, he listens to a lot of people at the other end of his phone, not all of whom share his perspective of the world. Heroes don’t all fight crime out in the field wearing a cape.
Mark and Starr also do fight on occasion, and like with most couples, the reason behind it is not always totally rational. This also added realism to the story, and when Starr is involved in a callout which goes quickly south I was on the edge of my seat needing to know that he would be okay.
The author’s writing style makes for a very easy read, and I’d been reading for some time, needing to see what happens next, without realising how late it was. It’s not the first novella I’ve read of Michael P. Thomas’s and hopefully it won’t be the last.
I’d recommend You Had Me At Hero to readers who enjoy a contemporary romance with interesting likeable characters which tackles some big issues but without shoving it in the reader’s face. 5 out of 5 stars.
Title: You Had Me at Hero
Author: Michael P. Thomas
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, Interracial
Publisher: JMS Books
When seventeen-year-old Mark Potts fell from a balcony, he lost both the use of his legs and any faith in heroes. Now twenty-nine, he’s long-since come to terms with his injury. His job provides more opportunities for eye-rolling than for riding to anybody’s rescue, but with two kids to bring up, he barely has time for his husband, much less for heroics. Besides, Starr Bradford is a policeman — how many heroes does one family need?
Mark and Starr love each other madly, but stress management is a load-bearing pillar of their happiness. When Mark’s coping skills fail him at exactly the wrong moment, he’s left hanging by a thread of words he should’ve kept in his mouth. He has the power to repair their relationship, but when Starr’s workday suddenly goes south, will he get to wield it? Keeping it together long enough to find out is a job worthy of any superhero!
JMS Books: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
The 911 call center was tucked into a park in the middle of town. Mark and Starr lived in a neighborhood of post-World War II brick ranch houses east of the park, barely a five-minute drive at three in the morning. Even after being corralled by Coretta, Mark was out of his clothes, out of his chair, and into the bed by three-thirty, with his arms around his husband at three-thirty and about two seconds. Geeze but it felt good to cuddle up next to Starr. Any trace of a world that might exist outside their bed fizzled away as soon as they were in it together. Even if he tried, which he had long given up doing, he couldn’t focus on a worry, couldn’t retain the residue from even the most stressful call. With Starr in his arms, there was no room left for fear, no way to also hold on to doubt. With Starr in a patrol car and two sons careening through life in America while being black, these things were easy enough to find during the day, but in the quiet dark, Starr’s body throwing heat like rocks in a sauna, Mark’s defenses—which Starr assured him were more finely tuned than most people’s—melted away.
When Starr rolled over with the whoosh of a contented sigh to take Mark in his own arms, Mark knew he was safe. He knew he was loved. And when his hand followed a hunch along the ridge of Starr’s muscled belly, he knew he was desired. He took a great handful of Starr’s warm, heavy balls and watched a sleepy grin spread across his face.
This mumbled verification always made Mark laugh. As opposed to…? “No. It’s a jewel thief,” he said, gathering Starr’s balls and giving his sac a tug. “I just struck it rich.”
The grin grew and Starr rolled onto his back. “Take whatever you want, just please don’t hurt me.”
Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card
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About the author
Michael P. Thomas is a flight attendant whose writing is continually inspired by his work with the flying public, who flatly refuse to be boring. The author of three novel-length gay romances and a number of romantic and erotic shorts, he writes gay fiction because when he was coming out he sure was glad to have it to read. After misspending his youth in San Francisco, he now lives in his native Colorado with his husband.
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As Valentine’s Day comes around each year I always think about why a cynic like myself writes and reads romance.
A lot of that is down to why I love to read and write. I love pondering what ifs and find reading is a great way to escape into a world where people meet, fall in love, and find their happy ever afters. After a decent dose of reality, I want to read about characters who overcome obstacles, and find someone to love who loves them in return. And a bonus if those characters have an adventure on the way, whether it’s set on another world, a hidden part of our own, or at some point in the past.
That’s not to say that everyone who reads romance is reading to escape, and the genre is far more than just about people falling in love. Storytelling is a big part of our society, and our lives would be far less interesting without it. Listen to a child telling his or her mother what happened during their day—they don’t just rattle off a lot of bullet pointed facts, but instead string it together in a story.
I’ve heard people who don’t read romance dismiss the genre as just stories about relationships. It’s far more than that. If every book with a relationship in it was categorised as a romance, 99.9% of stories would be crammed into those library shelves, and the rest would be very sparse. Romance also includes many sub-genres, and there is romance in pretty much every genre. A detective finds love while solving a case, a knight meets a dragon on a quest and both soon find themselves more than just friends, or a vampire meets a photographer who can’t capture on film the one person he really wants to, to name just a few scenarios.
Valentine’s Day is more than just about falling in love with one person and a HEA, it’s about life and living and finding joy and meaning in the little things. This February 14th I’m going to enjoy writing about two men finding love over music and a car that won’t start, and then later, after a fun evening spent movie watching with friends, I’m going to snuggle up with my kitties, and read someone else’s story, and get caught up in their romance.
I’d love to hear from other readers and writers about why you enjoy romance and what Valentine’s Day means to you.
First of all, a kind welcome to Miss Ana and Cat, who are joining us for a interview today.
Ana waved happily: “Hi!”
Cat looks like he has a toothache: “I still think we should have reviewed the questions beforehand…”
Well, this is how we do interviews - live and improvised. Just so there's no misunderstandings - You're a human, Miss Ana, right? And Cat is a ... what race exactly are you?
Cat: “A cat.”
Ana: “He is a genetically engineered cat anthropomorph, or what is generally called a bestia in layman terms.”
Cool. But weren’t the bestia just wild animal shocktroops the evil packmasters used during the war?
Ana: “That is just what Core World propaganda would like you to believe. Bestiae are just as intelligent as a human and just as much sentients as we are. Treating them like mindless animals is cruel and unethical.”
Oh, I am sorry. But back to the reason you are here today - there’s a book coming out, telling your story. How do you feel about that?
Cat: “Weird? I mean, yeah, it’s a pretty wild story and would probably make a great movie. But how would you feel when they make a spectacle out of your life?”
Exposed. Particularly if I were on the run, as I heard the two of you are. On the run from who, exactly?
Ana opens mouth, but is cut off by Cat.
Cat: “Bad people. But nothing we can’t handle. If they catch up with us they will get the same treatment as everyone else who bothers us.” *bares teeth*
Considering that you both left rather comfortable lives behind, those must be some really bad people. Ever had a moment you regretted running away?
Cat: “No, but maybe eventually we’ll go back and take what is rightfully Ana’s - “
Ana: “No, we most certainly won’t.”
Okaay… Your story is called ‘The Relics of Thiala’. Can you tell me something about that? What does it mean?
Ana: “It refers to the stuff we found on Thiala - a former Packmaster planet. Leftovers from the time before and during the war. And as it is true for most relics, maybe we would have been better off leaving them buried…”
Oh. Did something go wrong?
Ana and Cat look at each other.
Cat: “When does it ever not?”
Very true. But sure you had good moments during your adventure together?
Ana looks doubtful. Cat pats her hand.
Cat: “Of course we did. We are a family, a pack, just being together makes us happy. And our ship does have an awesome assortment of gorgeous food.” *grins*
Family? Just the two of you or are there more?
Ana: “Our pack has three more members. Ferret, Bear and Wolf, the latter one you can see on the cover of the book.”
Well, he definitely doesn’t look like family there.
Cat: “Of course he does! He looks ready to shred anyone who hurts his pack.”
Wow. A cat defending a Wolf. Did it work this well between the two of you right from the start or did you have to put some work in?
Cat hisses: “None of your business.”
That sounds like a bit more than just a little work. So one last question. A human girl and her ‘anthropomorphic’ family sounds exotic, but why do you think our readers should have a look at your story? Anything someone from our world can relate to?
Ana: “Well, we are just trying to figure out our place in life, so I think that’s something people can relate to, even if their life doesn’t revolve around government lies and stealing spaceships.”
Cat: “Or stealing people and information from secret government bases. Or keeping a pack of different species happy. Or playing space renegade when really nothing in your previous life has prepared you for it.”
Ana *rolls eyes*: “Just don’t remind me.” *laughs* “But if you have a cat I’m sure you will be very much able to relate to me. It’s a special kind of bond. Basically if you feel you have a special bond to any kind of animal you will probably love this book because that is what I have with my pack.”
Cat *purrs at her*
Packmasters #1 - The Relics of Thiala
By Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus
Twenty years ago, the evil Packmasters used their genetically engineered bestiae in an attempt to seize control of the galaxy. The Core Worlders wiped them out, scorched their planets and kept the few surviving bestiae as trophies.
As one of those pampered pets, Cat doesn't care about old stories. But as soon as he crosses paths with Ana, she suddenly becomes his heart, his soul, the centre of his life - just like a real Packmaster of old. Together, they embark on a daunting quest to find out what really happened during the war.
Now their misfit pack must face down the darkness at the heart of Packmaster society before it can poison their bond. The truth will either destroy them or grant them the power to shape their own destiny.
And others on http://www.brackhaus.com/the-books/reli
About the Authors
Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus are a couple currently living their happily ever after in the very heart of Germany, under the stern but loving surveillance of their cat. Both of them are voracious but picky readers, they love telling stories and drinking tea, good food and the occasional violent movie. Together, they write novels of adventure and romance, hoping to share a little of their happiness with their readers.
An artist by heart, Beryll was writing stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word at the same time and the driving creative force of the duo.
An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to earth, practical part of our duo. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.
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The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Book 2
Even love can die without trust.
Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begin to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?
Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought—especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.
The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true…and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family.
Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Necromancers-Dil
An enormous thank you to Embrace the Rainbow Book Promotions for my review copy of this book. I love it when the sequel to a book I love turns up as review copy. Although I read these back to back, I’m playing catch up writing reviews, hence reading these last year yet only reviewing them now.
Book two of this series by SJ Himes continues the story of Angel and Simeon and the two younger men they’re now responsible for—Isaac and Daniel. As well as building on the relationship between Angel and Simeon, there’s also more screen time from Isaac and Daniel. I enjoyed the different perspectives in this story, and the expansion of their world as backgrounds were explored, and some of the history hinted at in the first book was revealed in more detail.
I loved the bond between Angel and Simeon in particular, and the way it affected both men as they learned to adjust to the presence of each other in their lives. As with the first book I was on the edge of my seat and needing to keep reading to find out what happens next. The action is exciting and I was caught up in the story from the beginning. The reveal of the bad guy is very well done, and Eroch is just wonderful throughout.
There’s a bonus short at the end of the book too—very enjoyable.
I’d recommend The Necromancer’s Dilemma to readers who enjoy urban fantasy series with detailed world building, layered characters who grow as the story progresses, hot vampires, and lots of action. 5 out of 5 stars.
The Beacon Hill Sorcerer – Book 1
In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset upon by enemies, both old and new. Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother’s boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again pulled back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family’s death.
Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues into who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire’s attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.
Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead?
Death stalks the streets of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill….and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.
MATURE CONTENT Contains graphic violence, male/male sexual contact, a cranky necromancer, a sexy Irish vampire, and a pesky demon.
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Necromancers-Dan
I read a lot of books in e-book format, mainly because of availability and price, but I prefer to have hardcopies of my favourites. This book by SJ Himes, and its sequel, are ones I want to purchase in hardcopy, and on my list of favourite books I’ve read in 2016. I’m now hanging out for book 3 of the series.
I’ve always enjoyed a good urban fantasy story, and bonus points for vampires. The Necromancer’s Dance hooked me in immediately. Angel is an interesting character, a necromancer who lost most of his family in a war between them and vampires. He doesn’t make connections easily, and he also makes mistakes. These traits made him very appealing as a character—I prefer reading about flawed men and women as those who are “practically perfect in every way” tend to become boring very quickly. The other MC in this book is Simeon, an old Celtic vampire. Celtic and vampire. That got my attention very quickly, as did his personality quirks. He is another man who keeps to himself, and is very patient waiting for what or rather who he wants. The supporting characters are also interesting, and I’m hoping to learn more about them in future books. I especially loved Eroch, especially in his later form.
The world building in this book is very detailed, which along with its characters, was something that very much appealed to me. I felt as though I’d walked into a world with history. It’s our world, and yet it’s not as the public are aware of the presence of supernats, and have been for a while. I enjoyed the care the author took with this world’s magic systems, and how the various supernats’ powers etc worked.
The plot sets up the world and its characters very well, but although it can be read alone, it definitely sets up for further stories. I was on the edge of my seat reading, and sat up far too late needing to know what happens next.
Although there are a few repeated bits of information which I thought weren’t needed, and some typos, it definitely didn’t distract from the story or my enjoyment of it.
I’d recommend The Necromancer’s Dance to readers who enjoy urban fantasy with interesting characters, romance which doesn’t slow down the pace, and detailed world building. 5 out of 5 stars.
This snippet is from Comes a Horseman, which is book 3 of my WWII series Echoes Rising. It’s being published by DSP Publications later this year.
Kristopher looked up at Liang, this time not bothering to hide the pain in his eyes. “This is the only way. I’ve thought about it and—”
“When were you going to tell me?” Michel interrupted from the doorway. “You were going to tell me, weren’t you?”