Synopsis: New York, 1799: the future looks bright for the charming young book dealer William Lacy, until a raucous night of drinking lands him in shackles. He narrowly avoids the brutal prison system thanks to his mother, who negotiates with the judge to secure him a five year apprenticeship in lieu of a prison sentence. And so William finds himself in a carriage bound for the remote woods upstate, where he'll spend the next years of his life learning a new trade under some old master.
When he first sees Merrick, William thinks he's been dropped into a medieval horror story. Tall and gruff, dressed in a hooded robe that completely conceals his features, and riding a black mare, Merrick might as well be the Grim Reaper.
But appearances are deceiving. An uncannily skilled apothecary and healer, Merrick proves to be a generous host and a gentle teacher, and William soon finds himself surprisingly comfortable in his new surroundings. Yet troubling mysteries abound: Why does Merrick never show his face or hands? Why do his movements seem so young and sure beneath his robes? What lies within the cave behind the stone cottage?
Something unnatural is afoot. But most alarming by far is William's own reaction to his new master. For Merrick's strange charms are bewitching enough by day; but by night, in the darkness of the room and the bed they share, William finds himself entirely overwhelmed by desires he never imagined...
Review: Wasn't sure what to expect from this, but it was surprisingly good. The name drew me in. Merrick is the mysterious man with a knowledge of herbs and healing. William is stuck in his service due to his own bad judgment and a conviction for wrongdoing he actually had nothing to do with. Merrick at first seems old, but never shows his face. In private, he moves like a much younger man. William battles his strange attraction to the other man throughout the book, deeming them unnatural. It's actually comical because it's so obvious Merrick is attracted to him. It's unclear why he restrains it, but the description gives enough away that we can figure it out. Merrick is no normal human. I like this interpretation of vampires. It's a bit different. It doesn't seem they live quite as long, but then again maybe they do and we just haven't been told that yet. When they finally get together and then part, it's a bit maddening. Luckily, we still get the HEA
An intrepid secret agent...
Agent Royce Ree was once the best covert intelligence operative in the Empire. But all he's been able to accomplish lately is screw-up after screw-up. Now, the Emperor has assigned the once-great agent a mission: Royce needs to pull off the biggest heist the Universe has ever seen, or it’s bye-bye cushy government job, hello cleaning toilets in a dive-bar on Baga-V.
A ludicrous mission...
With the Empire poised on the edge of chaos, everything depends on Royce's ability to steal another civilization's impeccable sense of style. To succeed, he needs help from the last person he’d ever ask--his aristocratic ex-husband.
One last chance...
Along with his career and the Emperor's dignity, Royce is about to get a chance to save a love he thought he'd lost forever...
“The Empire has survived wars, supernovae, democracy, and the collapse of a neighborhood universe.
Let us hope it survives the good intentions of Agent Royce Ree.”
– Author unknown (personal communication to the Emperor).
Review: So, I had no idea what to expect here. I stumbled upon it for free and wondered how exactly this could be anything about two males. It sounds like the old fairy tale, so surely it couldn't be good. Thankfully, I was quite wrong. It was a fabulous and highly amusing story. Royce is surprisingly crafty, witty, and clueless about fashion. Les is aristocratic, fashionable, and perhaps has a slightly off sense of judgment in every other area. Their banter is highly amusing, as is watching them both try not to admit they still have feelings for each other. However, it isn't until the story is wrapping up that we see just what kind of person Royce really is. I would like to read more on him. He's not exactly a wholesome type of guy. He's perfectly flawed, which makes him interesting
Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Devin Hughes created his phantom lover to help him keep his sexual identity a secret, he never imagined that Brice would materialize in the flesh ten years later. Convinced that the mind-blowing encounters he had with his hunky specter were nothing more than fevered hallucinations, Dev attempts to push Brice to the back of his mind and concentrate on his rising career as an advertising executive.
With the help of his newest client, Englishman Matthew Lyons, CEO of Lyons Security, Devin is able to forget Brice once and for all. Sparks fly between Dev and Matt, and they speed full-throttle into a relationship. During a month-long separation, Devin struggles with uncertainty and reverts to his “hurt them before they hurt you” attitude, forcing him to get a grip and make things right or lose Matt altogether.
When an obsessed Brice finds out about Devin’s new relationship, his rage reaches an all-time high. The two men have ruined all his plans, and he will stop at nothing to reach his goal: harvesting Devin’s soul.
Will Devin, with Matthew’s help, find a way to banish Brice forever, or will they both succumb to the satanic powers of a maniacal demon?
Review: I received this arc in exchange for an honest review. It is my understanding that this is the author's first foray into M/M erotica. It's a very interesting story. It's a bit short, almost wish it was longer actually. I like Devin. He's a guy many gay men can relate to, disowned by his family for being who he is. Matt is the opposite, with a very accepting family. Both can admit their relationships before weren't exactly the best love affairs, and the sparks between them are immediately noticeable. There relationship is a bit fast, but I guess if you meet your true mate you just know it. Brice is actually almost funny to me with his obsession. I might actually have liked to know a bit more about how he became indentured to Lucifer. It was concluded in a nice HEA that I can totally deal with.
Drako is an author and blogger, writing paranormal romance and LGBT fiction and reading almost any genre to review.