Reviewed by Tori
Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark…
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight , as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals , when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.
From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn’t a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.
It’s seer Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms. (Goodreads)
Four of my favorite authors in one anthology guaranteed I would be picking this one up for review. I’m a huge fan of anthologies because they can give me updates into a world I already follow and/or offer new worlds for me to explore from new never read authors.
Secrets at Midnight by Nalini Singh introduces Bastien Smith to his future mate. Though not looking to settle down, Bastien scents his future mate while in the city but she remains elusive until a chance meeting. When Bastien assumes she’s human, a series of events prove him wrong and soon he is helping her to discover her past and present while securing their future.
“This is Bastien. Don’t let him charm you – next thing you know, you’ll be naked.”
Once again Singh writes a sexy lush romance in her ever popular Psy-Changeling series. We’ve met Bastian and the rest of the Smiths during his sister Mercy’s story, Branded by Fire. A rambunctious bunch whose stories promise much laughter and love. Though the storyline is short, Singh produces a rich romance and well plotted conflict that intertwines in perfect balance. Familiar lines of dialogue are present as Singh slowly builds the tension of their mating dance though our lovers are able to take, shape, and make them their own. The conflict resolves admirably, pushing our couple to their HEA.
Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels, #7.5) brings back Dali and Jim, a couple loved only one step below the series main protagonists-Kate and Curran. A strip mall and it’s occupants are falling one by one as black magic permeates the area and forces them to face their greatest fears. Dali is called into investigate and where Dali goes…so does Jim.
“Are you a jaguar or an elephant?”
“I’m a stray cat, apparently. And your mother wants to neuter me.”
I adored this story. I’m a huge fan of this series and I’ve been waiting impatiently for Andrews to address and resolve the issues that Dali faces being in love with the Alpha of the Cat Clan. Witty dialogue and humorous scenes blend well with the somber underlying conflict. Dali is contacted to use her magic to discover what is stalking a group of store owners. Andrews uses Dali’s skill and confidence in her magic to help her overcome her innate fears over her relationship with Jim. Communication between them is at a premium, (as is the smexytimes), giving us a rare look into Jim’s feelings for Dali. I especially enjoyed the heart to heart Dali and her mother have which give Dali the push she needs.
Lucky Charms by Lisa Shearin (SPI Files, #0.5) A young seer is contacted for employment by a supernatural police agency . Her first day on the job has her body guarding a group of leprechauns whose bachelor party places her in the cross hairs of some very dangerous entities.
“Apparently being borderline molested by a gorgeous, dangerously hot, monster hunting secret agent was a huge turn on for me.”
Lucky Charms is the prequel to Shearin’s full length urban fantasy series-the SPI Files. I reviewed book one-The Grendel Affair– last year. While I liked The Grendel Affair, parts of me wished Shearin would have written this before hand because the issues I had with book one wouldn’t have been as irritating. I enjoyed this novella. The Makenna Frazier I met in book one seems better developed in here. She is hilarious as she struggles to adapt to a whole new world while dealing with a partner who seems to hate her and an office that seems to be placing bets on the date of her demise. Snarky dialogue and a fast paced storyline will keep readers chuckling as Frazier discovers that no matter the species…boys will be boys.
The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane. Two souls, one owned and one forsaken by the same Goddess they serve, must come together to right a wrong from the past.
“…she was the woman who heralded his end.”
Milla Vane is the alter ego of Meljean Brooks whose PNRs and Steampunk Fantasies are sheer delights to read. In this novella, Vane goes much darker than I’ve seen in her books with a strong fantasy based theme that hints towards Beauty and the Beast if beauty was Red Sonja and the beast was Conan.
Kavik is a tortured man. A barbarian whose rejection of a Goddess curses him for eternity. Mala, a warrior, is on a quest for the same Goddess which places her directly into Kavik’s path. The emotional and physical bleakness is offset by the characters dynamics, world building, and some incredibly hot sex scenes. Be forewarned that rape, torture, and violence are an integral parts the story line. Vane takes us down a rocky path towards redemption and hope as Mala’s quest to conquer the Beast of Blackmoor leads to her own conquering.
Night Shift is an action packed, sexy anthology that offers readers four unique and exciting stories by four of the most popular UF/PNR authors to date. This collection is an engaging read and well worth owning.