Claire Marta-Sandman

We have another release from Claire. This one is part of the Ceasefire universe. Sandman is not the continuation of the last book but takes place at the same time. It is also an extended version of a story that appeared in an anthology.

We have Morpheus, who is drunk pretty much out of his mind when he isn’t stoned. He remembers his family being killed, and the drugs are the only things that keep him from feeling pain. He just wants to be left alone with his drugs and his horror filled past, but of course, it’s not that easy. One night, a lost girl runs into his house. She doesn’t know who she is, where she is, or how she got there. She doesn’t even know where there is. But Morpheus feels some kind of way about her, even if he really doesn’t want to.

Robin is our lost girl. She’s a member of Gabriel’s team, taking over Mavi’s spot, not that she knows that right now. All she knows is that she has ended up on this island with a beautiful and troubled man. Well, she’s about to find out that it isn’t just one man. There are actually 3 men on the island, Morpheus, Illusions, and Nightmares. Nightmares stays locked in a dungeon, which Morpheus throws Robin into. And he lives up to his name, but there’s something about her that atttacts him to her, so Nightmares covers Robin in his blood and she isn’t scared of him anymore. Illusions does what his name says, but he creates an illusion that nearly kills Robin. She just has some problems with the guys at first. But Robin decides that they need to actually be a family, and she does what she can to bring the boys together, until all of a sudden, she’s just not there anymore.

The book takes place in different dimensions, just like any other Ceasefire book does. We get to see some of our old friends, including Thanatos, who is a cowboy in this world, which I think is awesome. I wonder if his horse is pale or has no name. I kind of see Thanatos like Sam Elliot in some Western. (yummmmm… Sam Elliot)

I love Robin. She has such a beautiful heart. She just has so much compassion and empathy for everyone, and she really wants to have people be the best them that they can be. You can see that in the way that she tries to bring Morpheus and his brothers together. With her there or when they are doing what she suggests, they work better, as a more cohesive unit. She also can talk to the dead, which is why she’s on Gabriel’s team. I do kind of feel sorry for her, since she can’t really get rid of the dead. I just really like her.

Now, Morpheus. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, I read comics. One of the comics I read was Sandman by Neil Gaiman. If you haven’t read it, go do that. But that comic really formed my inner version of Morpheus when I read this book. Of course, that’s not how Claire described him, but I have 30+ years of seeing him as this character, so, you know, there you go. I really like Claire’s version of Morpheus. I felt bad for him too, because he was so torn apart inside. all he wanted was to forget and not to feel his pain again, not that it was going to actually happen. Then he has his brothers, Nightmares and Illusions, which he kind of hates and does what he can to keep them away from him, at least until Robin comes around. I think that he is actually pretty brave, at least when he starts doing things. I’m never going to think he wasn’t brave, but you don’t see it at first.

I can’t wait for the second installment of Cassandra’s story, so hopefully Claire won’t keep us waiting too long for that.

I worry about Cupid. I mean, really.

OK, that’s all on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Claire Marta & Nia Farrell-Darcy

Darcy is the 5th book in the Guarded Heart series by Nia and Claire, and I have to say that I have a lot of feelings about Darcy. Complicated feelings. This series is not a standalone series, it has an overarching storyline and you ahve to have read the previous books to understand where we are. Each book is a complete story, so you don’t have a cliffhanger, and each trio has their HEA by the end of the book.

So, Darcy has pulled up at her new job. She’s at a boys’ school and she’s going to teach the boys martial arts and give therapeutic massages. But that’s not the only reason that she’s there. That’s just her public job. She’s also undercover. She’s looking for someone who has done some bad things, and her team suspect that the man is at this school, and may be up to his old tricks. But until she can shut him down, Darcy is left in enemy territory. And I’m really not being hyperbolic here. She doesn’t have a friend here, anywhere. The man who hired her isn’t here, but the headmaster, a Russian, is, along with his two thugs. He doesn’t like her from te very beginning, and he has no problems at all in making sure that she knows it. Trust me, he’s not a nice guy.

For Darcy, the only redeeming anything at the moment is the fact that Dr. Liu Chan is at the school. She’s been looking for him. He’s her old lover, but that’s not why she was trying to find him. You see, he likes to experiment. And he’s not all that ethical. Darcy would know.

Meanwhile, at the Citadel, we have Zana and Lukus. They are partners and they are pretty sure that Darcy is their fated mate. But, there are problems. One is that they don’t know where she is. Another is that she is permanently banned from the Citadel. A third is that no one knows what she is up to and if she can be trusted. So, you know, just a couple of issues. None of that stops Zana and Lukus from wanting her. When Darcy contacts her cousin, Raven, and suggests that they meet up, Zana tags along and manages to kiss Darcy, which lets him know that yup, she’s theirs.

When we first met Darcy, back in Raven’s book. I really liked her. I thought that she was tough, strong, caring, and loyal. She was going to do everything she could to protect her cousin Raven and Raven’s daughter Willow. Then, we got to meet her again in Riley, and my feelings changed a lot about her. She made some choices that were… harmful to many people. She was judgy mcjudgerson, and was determined to believe the absolute worst about the guys in the Citadel. So, Claire and Nia had a struggle to go to get her to a point where I might like her at the beginning of this book. They did succeed. But, I have to admit it took some time, and I didn’t want to completely trust her until more than 1/2 way through the book.

Zana and Lukus are both really good men who really just want to find their fated mate, have babies, and live a happy life. They also want to make sure that their mate, and all the mates of their brothers, are safe, and right now, that’s ain’t so much true. There is a whole bevy of enemies out there, and no one knows what’s going to happen or how to avoid it.

There are things afoot, evil sneaky things, and I want to know all the answers, RIGHT NOW.

I want to know whose eyes are being used. It wasn’t the person I thought it was at first, but now I just don’t know. I have suspiscions.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check out the whole series! Happy reading!

Claire Marta-The Dove and The Darkness

This is the 2nd Claire Marta book of this week, as promised. The Dove and the Darkness is the 5th book in her Ceasefire series, and it covers Cassandra’s story. You have to read these in order, you can’t just jump into a book in the middle of the series and get it. There’s a whole lot going on, and you need the background to understand why Cassandra did the things that she did and why she has ended up where she is.

For those who aren’t familiar with Ceasefire, it’s a lot to try to explain. It’s a PNR. It primarily deals with Hell and various Hell and underworld dimensions. Lucifer is a main character in the first books, and is a supporting character in all the other books, including this one. So, Cassandra is an Oracle, who was raised in Hell from the time she was 6, as Lucifer’s foster daughter and her 1/2 sister is Mavi, who is Lucifer’s consort. It’s complicated.

Cassandra made some choices based on some information she got from her visions, and, well, it didn’t necessarily go well for her. When she wakes up somewhere she isn’t familiar with, she starts to worry. That’s when she finds out that she’s been taken from where she was and is now in a prison, waiting to be trained so that she can be given to the person who has bought her. And her training isn’t going to be how to sit and embroider a pretty picture. Nope, she’s going to learn to do all the sexual things out there, and if she doesn’t do it right, bad things are going to happen.

That’s where Master Soren comes into play. He’s there to train Cassandra. He’s all very Dom-ly. He is nominally under the Warden, but you get the idea that there is a lot more going on there than we are seeing. The Warden, who is a nasty ass bitch, really likes him, because he will totally Top her when she wants him to. Soren is basically in charge of the training, which is what brings Cassandra to his attention. He’s been doing this for a very long time, so he knows what he’s doing. That includes isolating her in a room by herself and giving her no other contact for days, other than sliding food in under a grate. When he comes to get her again, she’s so grateful to see him, because she gets to see someone. When Cassandra is good, she gets orgasms. When she’s bad, she gets punished. Soren really enjoys it. Cassandra definitely enjoys it, at least parts of it. There are other things that she likes about the time she spends with him.

I like Cassandra. I think that she is a lot stronger than anyone really gives her credit for. I mean, she does have all these visions, and if she’s not careful, they do overwhelm her. I mean, they do get overwhelming enough that she has hurt herself to help control everything, but she’s still dealt with these things all her life. Being raised by a demon and Lucifer, she has been really protected from a lot, but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t had terrible things happen to her anyway. And she survived that. In this case, even as Soren is breaking her down and she is getting in deeper with him, she is still trying to be herself, and she is still fighting. I have a lot of respect for that, and I think that it’s going to do her a lot of good in the future.

Interestingly enough, I feel like I don’t have as good a grasp on Soren as I could. I think I like what we’ve seen of him, but there’s just a lot hidden when it comes to him. Even being in his head at times doesn’t necessarily give us a lot to him. But, like I said, I think that I like what we know about him. I can’t wait for the next book, to see more about him.

Before you read this, remember that this stuff may be spoilers.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize who Soren is, where they are, and who his brother is. I wanted to dope slap myself when I got there, because duh.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Claire Marta-A Hellion Heart

I had never read any of Claire’s Cease Fire series before I signed up to review this one, and Claire was kind enough to send me the first 3 books. Now I’m kicking myself for not having read the books before, because the series is just so very good. A Hellion Heart definitely fits in with the rest of the series, and it kept me really engaged.

So, we have Cade, and his brothers Ryan and Benson. They are triplets and werewolves. They have been hired by Lucifer to make sure that the seals between Hell and Earth stayed sealed. They have been able to make sure that most of them are closed and sealed again, but there is one that they haven’t been able to find. Early on in their search for everything, Cade slept with a demon named Jinx, who just happens to be the person who was hired to open the seals. During that time, they ended up mated. Somehow, Jinx got a mate mark on her hand from him, and now, they are bound together, whether she wants it or not, and right now, she really, really, really doesn’t. But Cade knows that he is the one for him and his brothers, since they will share a mate, they just have to find her and convince her of that.

Meanwhile, Jinx has stopped messing with the seals, for reasons, and now she’s trying to stay one step ahead of some bounty hunters. Bounty hunters other than Cade, Ryan, and Benson. There’s someone in her past who wants to capture her, and her sister Karma, and own them again. If/when they do find her, horrible things tend to happen. And one such terrible thing has happened right now. She was caught and has been delivered to her own personal nightmare, and she’s been through into a place called The Glory Hole. Bet you can guess what happens there. The wolves manage to get her out, and take her someplace safe, where Karma shows up, and oh, Lucifer and his queen, Mavi.

I think the wolfie brothers are actually pretty good guys. They are bounty hunters and aren’t really the good guys, but they are pretty good men. They seem to have a strong sense of honor that they follow. While they are kind of idiots about Jinx in the beginning, since they were coming at it from the world view they’ve always had, they were eventually able to get their heads out of their asses and make good decisions when it comes to Jinx. There were times when the things that happened between the brothers and Jinx absolutely broke my heart.

I like Jinx. I love how fierce and confident she is, at least most of the time. She has some very, very, very thick walls up, and knowing her past, I don’t blame her for having those walls up either. I would probably buttress them so that they are even stronger. She loves her sister, and she loves her fiercely. Anyone who is inside of her walls is fiercely cherished and loved. I like that she slowly decides to give Cade and his brothers a chance.

I can’t wait to get Karma’s story, if we ever do. She has mysteries that I want to know more about. I am also looking forward to Cassandra’s story. I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be a hard one.

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I worried about what might happen when we met Thanatos. I mean, Greek angel of death, never a good thing.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Nia Farrell & Claire Marta-Casey

Casey is the second book in Nia and Claire’s Guarded Heart series. The first book was Morgan, and this one takes place mostly concurrently with Morgan. I would suggest that you read it before you read this one so that you can truly understand everything going on.

So, here’s our story. Casey is Morgan’s roommate, and that has brought her to the attention of Malik and Iosefa, two of the cadre. They are pretty sure that she is their fated mate. She is pretty sure that they are a massive pain in her ass. In fact, she tries very hard to ignore the fuck out of them, which vexes our guys. They want to get to know her and woo her, but that means that she is going to have to trust them, and trust is one thing that Casey does not do much of. She trusts Morgan, and that might be it. Oh, she trusts her godmother too, but that’s it.

Casey is a federal agent, and she’s trying to find the person who took down her brother. That’s part of the reason that she has such a hard time trusting people. Trusting means that she has to let people in, and she’s pretty sure that she has good reasons to not do that.

Then we have Malik and Iosefa. They are helping to guard Morgan while still trying to get to know Casey, and occasionally busting criminals, which has gained them a fan club, which really annoys Casey for some reason. They are so drawn to her that they will occasionally sneak away and follow her, which leads to its own problems, right there.

I like Casey. I think that she is a really strong character. She knows what she can do, she knows what she wants, and she’s not about to give up on anything. I think that she’s also annoying AF sometimes. She’s so determined to not let anyone in that she misses that there are people who actually care for her and who want to actually get to know her and love her. She would rather just shove Malik and Iosefa away, because they don’t fit into where she wants them to be.

I like the guys. I think that, for 95% of the time, they are really good, honorable guys. They are going to do everything they can to maintain their mission, as well as try to secure their fated mate. It’s that lasts 5% of the time where I didn’t like them quite as much. There were a couple of times that I thought that they overstepped a bit, and I would’ve been upset at them if they did what they did at my house, and I’m not nearly as secretive and private as Casey is. I understand *why* they did it, I just would’ve been upset in Casey’s place. Would I have done it in their place? Umm… Yeah. So, maybe I’m just a smidge of a hypocrite, LOL.

Anyway, I really can’t wait until the next book, because I know that it’s going to be really good.

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I think that more needed to happen to certain people in this one. It just feels like they didn’t get their just desserts.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Nia Ferrell & Claire Marta-Morgan

This is the first book in a new series from these ladies, and I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series. This book was really intense, both in sexy, sexy times, because those are great, as well as the interpersonal relationships between Morgan, Aiden, and Zac. But, it’s also incredibly suspenseful and the story is compelling. So, let’s talk about the first book in the Guarded Hearts series, Morgan.

Morgan is a grad student in psychology who lives with her roommate Casey, who is in the ATF. Morgan is working on her thesis about sexual surrogacy, and to that end, she is actually going to take on a client and be their sexual surrogate, and use her experiences in her thesis. And so enter Zac and Aiden.

They are members of the Order of the Phoenix, a mysterious order that fights evil. They used to be based in Notre-Dame de Paris, but, you know, fire. So now, they are in Morgan’s town, renovating an old military school/base called The Citadel. And part of their new remit is to date, mate, and procreate. The problem is that the guys make the most socially awkward person you have ever met look like Casanova. I mean, they were out at a bar and there was a woman there who they took over their knees and spanked. Whoops. Not the best thing ever, so now they have to go to therapy. They are getting sensitivity training, and they are learning how to date, which means they are going to be seeing Morgan in her professional guise. They are partners, as in a team who work together, not as in two guys who fuck each other (although I truly suspect that is coming. Or at least I hope so), and so everything they do, they do together, including sexual surrogacy therapy.

When Morgan first meets the guys, she thinks that they are a couple, which kind of makes sense, because they have been partners and friends for a long time. That kind of long term relationship can form a really tight bond that could look like a love relationship, especially if they live in the exact same apartment and share a lot of space.

This is a PNR, but it isn’t heavy on the paranormal aspect. They talk about vampires, and the guys talk a lot amongst themselves about being who they are. They call their bodies flesh robes, which is kinda awesome. We don’t really know much about the guys and what they are, really. There are hints of various things, and I made a couple of guesses before we eventually learn more, and I was kind of wrong on all counts.

I love that the fire at Notre Dame is such a huge plot point in the book, since that’s such a current event. At least, I’m assuming that’s what triggered that particular plot point. But, I thought that it was really interesting to work it into the story. I’m sure that Claire or Nia will tell me about it.

I really like Morgan, I think that she has a really good heart, even when she is fighting against herself. She truly wants to help Zac and Aiden, even before she has feelings for them. She really wants to help pretty much every person in pain that she runs into, which is why she’s going into psychology.

Zac and Aiden are good men. They have such a strong moral center, and are so earnest. There is also a real innocence about them. Maybe innocence isn’t exactly the right word, but it’s kinda close. Purity maybe. Light? A combination thereof. And even when they get all kinds of dirty and filthy and imagine what’s going on as well as having all kinds of sex, they really hold on to that particular feature, which I think would probably be really hard.

Casey is fearsome, and her book is next. I can’t wait to see how her story goes.

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Harold gave me the fucking creeps from the very first time we saw him.

I’m pretty sure that certain things aren’t quite as finished as the Order of the Phoenix thinks that they are.

I’m surprised that Casey hasn’t beaten the absolute shit out of certain people as of yet.

OK, that’s all for this one today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Anthology-Something Wicked

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Wicked this way comes. -Second witch Macbeth, Act 4 , scene 1

This anthology is made up of 14 stories by 14 authors, some new to me, some not. They are all a version of a fairy tale, but definitely not the ones that you know. They aren’t friendly. They aren’t happy. If there is whistling and singing going on in these stories, be sure that it’s not the good guy doing it. I will say that most of the stories have an ending that could be considered happy, for a given definition of happy, and for some particular people, but I’m not really sure that I would call them HEAs.

Usually, when I get an anthology that’s more than 8 or so stories, I only mention my faves, just because it can get long, and ain’t no one got time to read a super long review, let alone write one. However, I feel the urge to give you my reactions on all of them. I don’t think it will add too many words to do that.

Missy Ann-Forbidden Queen

New to me author. Wow. I honestly didn’t expect the direction the story went. I mean, I figured for a twist, but this was a whole Mobius strip of a twist.

B. Celeste-Within These Shadows

Another new to me author. This was… disturbing in really disturbing ways. Good ways, but yeah. I would love to find out more of this world. I love the protagonist and the way that their POV was done.

Elizabeth Cash-Bittersweet Beauty

This is a prequel or intro or something like that. There is going to be more to this story, which makes me happy, because I need more of Beck, Bishop, and Jax.

A. A. Davies-Dama de Diablo

New author to me. Appropriate title. ‘Nuff said.

Anna Edwards-The Toy

Damn you, Anna. Just damn you. I really think that I want to hate you, but I’m pretty sure that I can’t because it was too good! That end, though.

Emery Leeann-Bite Me: The Cursed Evil Queen

Another new to me author. With some of the stories, it was easy to tell what the story was. It wasn’t in this one. When I found out who the person was before they are the person that they are now? Blew me away.

K. S. Marshall-The Deadly Hunt

Lots of new to me authors in this one. I honestly thought that this was going to go another way. It’s still living in my head and I’m trying to figure out some of it in my head.

Claire Marta-The Wish

I wish that Claire would write faster. I’m not sure who I trust in this story, but I can’t wait to find out what’s going on.

C.L. Matthews-The Underneath

This might be the least dark story in the entire anthology. I loved it.

TL Mayhew-Wicked Lady T

I think that I may have read some of Mayhew’s other stuff, but the consequence of reading so many books is that I sometimes forget who and what I’ve read. This might be the second least dark story. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Michelle Pace-Nights on the Round Table

I love the Arthurian tales. I can tell you most of them backwards and forwards and I know all about the various knights. This is not the Arthurian tale that you expect.

Michelle Brown-Unfortunate Souls

I was lucky enough to be one of the people who got an ARC of Michelle’s first book, and I’ve enjoyed watching her grow. Her short stories are wicked AF, and this one is no different. Amazing spin on her tale.

Ally Vance-Hellfire

I had a Disney song running through my head the entire time I read this, which is kinda weird, considering the tone of the story, but what can I say? I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens with the rest of the story.

Murphy Wallace-Prick

I love the whole Sleeping Beauty/Maleficient theme in general, and the take on the story in this one is fabulous.

I can normally pick which ones are my favorite, but I think that with each of these stories I found a new favorite. They are all twisted and dark and disturbing and wonderful and all the things that I happen to like when I’m reading. The anthology is really short for an anthology. Some of the stories are really short, and they are all pretty quick to read. That’s one of my favorite things about anthologies, the fact that many of the stories are pretty quick to read and that I can pick them up and put them down without losing the thread.

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Claire Marta-His Salvation

His Salvation is Claire’s addition to the Cavalieri Della Morte series. (And do you know how hard it is to type Claire when your name is Clara?) It’s the 4th book in the series, and the 3rd I’ve reviewed here. It looks like it may have some overlap with the next book in the series, which is India R. Adams’ Ivy’s Poison. But, as that doesn’t come out until next week, I can’t say for sure.

So, Salvation is the story of Kay and Evelyn. Now, before you look at me or Claire and say, but ladies, Kay is a girl’s name, keep in mind that a lot of names that we now think of as exclusively girl’s names started out as male names, like Marion, which was John Wayne’s birth name. Anyway, Kay is an old name out of Wales and Latin, which is an interesting mix, if you look at it, but those old Romans got around. It means happy or rejoicing, which I find to be really interesting. Yes, I fell down the rabbit hole when I was looking at names. More useless trivia for the trivia monster who lives in my head.

In the original Arthurian tales, Merlin took infant Arthur from his parents to keep him safe from anyone who might want to hurt him. He gave Arthur to Sir Ector to raise. In some stories, Ector knew who Arthur was, in others, he didn’t. Ector already had a son named Kay. Please, don’t ask me how much of the Arthurian tales I already knew before I even started reading the CDM series. I may end up embarrassing myself. And I swear, Disney’s The Sword in the Stone had nothing to do with my Arthurian education. Probably. Yeah, I’m rambling today.

So, Kay. Assassin of the Cavalieri Della Morte. Doesn’t fail. Doesn’t kill innocents. Has a Spidey Sense. Just about to get into serious trouble. He’s in Rome and his hit has just gone bad. The target somehow got switched on him and now Russian pros are on his tail. Injured and bleeding, he has to get away from them somehow. He needs a car that no one has seen him with. So what does he do? He carjacks a pretty tourist.

Evelyn is a British tourist. She just won a luxury trip to Rome, and is sitting outside in her car, trying to find the paperwork she needs so that she can check into the hotel, when a stranger gets into her car, points a gun at her, and then carjacks her. She’s pretty sure that she isn’t going to live another minute, but he drags her into a No-Tell Motel, and the story builds from there.

OK, Kay. I’m not sure what I feel about Kay. I know that I’m not neutral on him, but other than that, he’s confusing AF to me. I think he’s confusing himself right now, and I’m pretty sure he’s confused Evelyn all to fuck. I think that Kay was emotionally stuck a little bit, which could be why I have a hard time getting a good read on him. He goes back and forth between different emotional states. I think I really like that. I think that it made him a lot more human than he might otherwise have been. Claire showed us a flawed man who is trying to come to grasp with things that are beyond his control.

Evelyn. Hmmmm… Most of the time I thought that she was a pretty good character. She didn’t really do the damsel in distress thing, except when it was appropriate to the story, but even then, she wasn’t going to go gently into that good night. She was going to fight as hard as she could and leave her mark. I do think that she was slightly naive a couple of times, at least towards the beginning, and Kay may have been an asshole for being as blunt as he was when he was explaining the facts of life to her, but I think she needed to hear it bluntly to get it into her head.

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There are a couple of things that happened that I didn’t really guess, but it was more like wouldn’t it be interesting if… There were other things that I thought the same thing about which didn’t happen. I’ll leave it to you to try and guess which ones were which.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out, as well as all the other CDM books. Happy reading!

Claire Marta & Summer Stanton-Bane

Claire Marta and Summer Stanton got together and wrote a lovely, intense book that is full of all the feelz and not more than a little bit of angst. Bane is the first book in a new PNR series (NOT PBR like I wrote first, lol). The series looks like it’s going to involve a fairly hefty dose of BDSM of all shapes and flavors. I’m not sure if the next book is going to be Mm, but this one is. There are several existing relationships, Mm, Ffm, and Fm, so I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I’m excited for the ride. There is only one single person who shows up in the book, so maybe he’ll be next?

Bane is a werewolf with one huge issue. Actually, the dude has subscriptions, but right now only one of those issues is the big problem. He can’t shift. He can’t even feel his wolf. Six months ago, he went through a horrific trauma, and by horrific, I mean HORRIFIC, and since then, he’s been left unable to shift at all. His pack and his Alpha, Liam, have tried everything they can to help him, but it’s only getting worse. So, they decide to send him to Mistress Mystic and her club for some therapy. Her club is the paranormal world’s best BDSM club, and they do some therapy, or they have in the past, and Liam has decided that this is going to be the best therapy for Bane. I am not entirely sure why Liam thinks this, Bane is pretty damn vanilla at the beginning, but one does not doubt Alphas, right? Pfft.

Adam is a vampire who doesn’t have a permanent sub. He is the club manager, demos, and DMs as necessary. Mystic has tapped him to be Bane’s temporary Dom, to help Bane heal so that he can get his wolf back and be himself again. Adam isn’t all that happy with the job, but he owes Mystic and they are pretty much BFFs. So, he does it. Of course, he has no clue what he’s getting himself in for.

Bane and Adam are like oil and water at the beginning. Bane, being an Alpha werewolf has a hard time with the idea of submitting. He’s a jerk and he kink-shames people, not necessarily to their faces, except to Adam, but definitely does that. He doesn’t understand BDSM, he’s not overly happy to be there, and he’s really unhappy with the particular activity that Mystic and Adam think would work for him.

I get why Bane is being a jerk, at least part of it. Submitting isn’t easy, especially when you are at the top of the heap. He’s also terribly and tragically broken, and he blames himself for it all. He holds himself responsible for the world, which isn’t easy, and he doesn’t particularly like himself. You put all that together and you get someone who is hurting so badly that he just can’t even focus. And because he hurts so badly, he’s angry. It’s easier to be angry than it is to hurt. It’s also easier to want to make other people hurt because you feel like if you can make them hurt, then you are going to hurt a little less. Of course, it never really works that way, but it feels good in the moment. When it comes to the kink-shaming thing, it’s really easy to dismiss or make fun of something that you aren’t familiar with or don’t understand, and that’s what Bane does. Of course, Adam, being his Dom, isn’t going to let him get away with that.

Adam, him I like from the very beginning. He’s a good man. He’s a patient man. He may be an exacting and stern Dom, but he is not harsh. He doesn’t want to truly break Bane. You know, break him in a never going to be fixed totally harmed kind of way, not break him in a good way and make him cry and put him back together kind of way. There is a difference. He may want to hurt Bane, but he doesn’t want to harm him. And he only wants to hurt Bane in a way that will bring both of them a lot of pleasure. Adam has his own issues too, and he’s done what he can to make his life happy and contented. I, personally, think that he’s not dealt with a lot of the issues, but that’s just my personal opinion on the matter. He’s still a good man who wants to watch out for people around him and has created a family that he loves and who love him.

One of those family members is Elias, and Adam calls him Imp, which I’m pretty sure suits him perfectly. I can’t wait to see more of him, because he’s just so damn cute. Smart too.

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I can’t stand Liam. How you gonna send someone to a BDSM club for therapy and not tell them all the truth? Liam needs to die by burning in a pit of hellfire and lava. I’d be more than happy to arrange it. And you just know that he didn’t do a damn thing to try to help Bane at all. Just the way that he acted when he showed up proved that. And that was really fucking rude too.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. Go check this out! Happy reading!

Claire Marta & Anna Edwards-Beauty’s War

Oh, these two. When they got together to write this book, they completely did something completely awesome. Beauty’s War blew me right the fuck away and left me gasping. Before we get started, let me just say I love this title. It means different things, depending on where you put the emphasis and what way you are thinking of. I love those kinds of titles, you know. Word play is so awesome, and I appreciate it so much.

Claire and Anna are taking on Roman mythology and modernizing it. I really like the way that they are doing it and spin that they are putting on it. Basically, you have two sides of the eternal war between good and evil. On one side, Jupiter and his sons, Mars, Apollo, and Hercules. On the side of evil, Pluto and his minions. Only these minions aren’t cute and yellow and probably don’t like bananas. The way that it works is gods and goddesses still walk among us, but not all of them know who they are. The goal, of both sides, is to find the gods and goddesses before the other side does. Pluto wants to either kill them or turn them evil, while Jupiter wants to save them and bring them back to their glory. If the deity in disguise dies, then they are reincarnated, but each time it happens, they add on the trauma of that death and their memories slip a little bit further into their deepest unconscious.

And to add to all that, Jupiter and his sons own and run one law practice in Rome while Pluto runs another, and they are frequently legal adversaries as well, as what opens this book shows. Pluto has been trying to get off a truly vile man while Mars has been trying to get him put behind bars. Sadly, Pluto prevails at this point. (Boooooo, hissssss)

While this is going on in one part of Rome, outside the Coliseum, very British Vicky and her best friend Susan are having a girls’ vacation. Vicky loves to draw, sketch, paint, and create art, Susan tolerates her doing it, but get bored watching her do it. So, when Susan asks if Vicky is done drawing the Coliseum, Vicky says sure, and they go off to get pizza. One of my favorite kinds too, margherita. Across the crowded restaurant, Mars and Vicky catch each other’s eyes and the connection is sizzling.

Mars immediately disappears off to tell his dad that he thinks he found another goddess, and Jupiter tells him to become her friend. I love Mars’ interior dialogue at this point where he is saying that he’s the God of War, not the God of Making Friends. That was hilarious, if you ask me. But, Mars pops into where he senses Vicky and manages to save Susan from a couple of lechs by saying he was there for their 3some. Again, I laughed. Spoiler, there wasn’t a 3some.

There are a lot of really terrible things that go on in this book. This isn’t really a nice, light, and fluffy romance. This is gritty and dark and occasionally tortured romance. Poor Vicky has a seriously shitty time of it. Seriously shitty. OTOH, I think Vicky is pretty damn fierce from the very beginning, just to deal with everything, and only gets more so. I think that she’s definitely Mars’ match. I like Mars too. I think that he’s a little arrogant sometimes, but, you know, god. What are you supposed to do? I think he sometimes gets blinded by what he wants versus what needs to be done, but I can see why he got that way when he did. I can’t wait to see what these two talented ladies come up with next in the series.

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OMFG, what they do to poor Vicky. And not just once. I think Claire and Anna must’ve really hated her. Maybe they knew a Vicky who really pissed them off at some point because, damn. I mean, just damn.

I feel sorry for Bellona. I don’t excuse her actions, but I would probably have done the same thing in her place, but I still feel sorry for her. She was put in such a difficult place and loving someone more than they love you is always painful.

OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!