BOOK REVIEW: The Orc’s Bride by Layla Fae #fantasyromance #LaylaFae

Orcs killed my family. They order us around and take from us what they want. And I am determined to end their rule. So when the ferocious silver-eyed orc says he’ll carry me away from my backwater village right to the orc capital, I take this chance. Being among orcs and having access to their Imperator, I can save humankind.

There is only one complication. This orc wants me to become his mate. He promises, or rather threatens, to court me over the journey. And orc courtship isn’t about flowers and holding hands. It’s about showing me his desire. I must pretend to be attracted to him so he doesn’t discover my secret.

The problem is… I don’t really have to pretend. I’m falling in love with my deadliest enemy.

This steamy monster romance is a 37.000 word novella and ends with a HFN. It’s book one in The Silver Fury series.

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MY REVIEW – 4 stars

It took me a few pages to settle into the rhythm of the author’s writing but once I did, I enjoyed the story. The world-building was excellent and I enjoyed the characters. Una and the orc general may not seem like they’d be a good match, but as the two get to know one another they learn a few surprising things. The secondary characters add depth to the story and I found them entertaining. What I didn’t like was the cliffhanger. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the next part of the story releases.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Cinderella and Fae Charming by Amelia Shaw #fairytales #fantasyromance

Just because I sleep in front of the fire, doesn’t make me a damsel in distress.

My step-mother calls me Cinderella… Not because I’m happily married to a prince, but because I have a horrible family! My parents are both dead, leaving me with a step mother who tormented me until I left home forever.

Now I live on the streets, stealing food to survive. It isn’t ideal, but neither was living under the same roof as the my step-mother once my father died.

But I’m not helpless, I can handle anything that comes my way… Until I my step-mother tries to sell off my father’s house.

Now all bets are off.

*** Standalone Urban Fantasy twist on Cinderella with Fae, and magic, and a slow burn romance.

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MY REVIEW – 4 stars

Cinderella and Fae Charming is a cute fantasy romance with a more modern flare.

Imagine if Cinderella had been fae, along with everyone else in the story… that’s exactly what Amelia Shaw did with this cute fairytale retelling. I loved the Shawna learned how to save herself instead of relying on the prince to swoop in and rescue her. She was a strong character, even though she had her flaws. The prince was dashing, and a bit arrogant, but what else would you expect from a fae prince?

The pacing for the first 70% of the story held steady. The last 30% had a more rushed feeling to it. I would have enjoyed a bit more storyline between the ball and the ending.

Super cute book! Perfect for those preferring a more moderate heat level.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review

BOOK REVIEW: Breaking the Shackles by Mell Eight #dragons #fantasy #LGBTQ @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Separated and abused by the magi, twins Laine and Baine each swore to do whatever it took to break free and save the other. But when Baine arrives at the werewolf village prepared to rescue Laine and return home triumphant, he soon learns that any plan involving a dragon and a werewolf is bound to go awry.

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MY REVIEW – 3 1/2 stars

Dragons, werewolves, and Maji … oh my!

This short novella is full of fantasy elements, a bit of mystery, a dash of suspense, and some romance… all good things, which the author blended well. I enjoy Mell Eight’s writing style and overall voice.

However, I hadn’t read book one yet and felt a bit like I’d been dropped into the middle of a more complex story I didn’t quite understand. It’s definitely not written in a way where it can be a stand alone.

The writing itself was fantastic, even if, at times, having two central couples in the story made it feel a bit jarring. I think I’d have enjoyed it more if the relationships the twins developed had been told in two separate tales.

If you like dragons and shifters, as well as LGBTQ romance, then this series will definitely entertain you.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Tour & Review: Hybrid Rejected by Romy Lockhart #reverseharem #fantasyromance #bookreview @LockhartRomy

Hybrid Rejected

by Romy Lockhart

Genre: Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance

Amanda is heartbroken when her true mate rejects her because she’s a hybrid. Realizing she’ll never be accepted by full-blooded shifters, she accepts a place at Gemini Academy.

Her new life gets off to a rocky start when she’s stalked by a dangerous shifter she managed to attract before she left her old pack. Rescued by an Alpha, she soon finds out Wolf Creek is much more accepting of hybrids.

Even so, she doesn’t expect to find another true mate there, never mind three of them. She can’t deny her attraction to them, but she’s afraid to have her heart broken all over again.

Can she let go of the past, or will it come back to haunt her?

Hybrid Rejected is a standalone new adult rejected mate reverse harem romance with college-aged characters, serious steam and an HEA.

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hybridrejected - my review

4 stars!

What a yummy RH fantasy!

I haven’t read anything by this author before but the book description intrigued me. At first, I found Amanda to be a beaten down weak character, but I loved seeing her grow more confident with the love and patience of men who not only accepted her but loved her. She’d had her heart broken, and worried she’d spend her life without a true mate. Little did she know she’d find three!

Dante, Sean, and Parker each added something unique to the story. I enjoyed seeing their interactions with each other and with Amanda. Their personalities complimented one another.

The only thing I didn’t absolutely enjoy were the action scenes, and that’s only because they seemed a bit light then nearly forgotten. All the bad guys were handled a little too easily.

The story kept me entertained and I’ll definitely check out the author’s other books. I enjoyed the overall setting and the world she created.

**Sale Alert!!**

Get Vicious Love, a Shifter Academy Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance, for Only .99 cents!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R5XGX6P

Romy Lockhart writes paranormal reverse harem and M/F contemporary romance. All of her books contain steamy scenes between consenting adults. All of her reverse harems have harem ever afters, and all of her romance novels have happy endings.

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Release Blitz: A Scheme of Sorcery by Ennis Rook Bashe #fantasyromance #LGBTQ @niinestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: A Scheme of Sorcery

Author: Ennis Rook Bashe

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/16/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 74800

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, fantasy, new adult, other-world, non-explicit, lesbian, cisgender, enemies to lovers, knights, magic users, royalty

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Description

Palace squire Edwynne Dovecote has discovered her life is a lie. She wasn’t born into the nobility- she’s a daughter of the North, an inhospitable country where people worship a mysterious goddess. Even if it puts her at odds with her adopted family, she’s determined to explore her heritage, as long as no one finds out who she truly is.

But Sariva al-Beroth, an ambitious Northern girl who’s started working for the queen, is sick of rude outsiders gawking at her culture. She refuses to be in the same room as Edwynne, let alone share ancestral secrets.

Then the queen falls under a curse, and only Sariva and Edwynne can rescue her. To save their country, they’ll have to survive a ruined underground castle infested with ghosts, a fascist uprising prepared to sway public opinion with mind-control magic… and each other.

Excerpt

A Scheme of Sorcery
Ennis Rook Bashe © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Sariva couldn’t finish the beaded bag before her caravan reached the castle, so she tidied away her supplies and peeked out the carriage window. “Are we—”

“Don’t worry, miss, we’re not going past the haunted ruins.”

Strange. She’d only wanted to know when they’d arrive.

The carriage rolled over uneven streets made of pale mountain stone, passing low whitewashed houses with flat-eared cats on their doorsteps. The scent of daffodils and cyclamen filled the air as distant silver bells rang, calling people to pray to the sky. Even without the bag completed, her outfit seemed presentable. Everyone who noticed her would believe she belonged. Did she appear marriageable though? She touched the swirl of her plaits. Her rhinestone hairpins still held. Would anyone be able to tell how she’d altered her mother’s old dress? Would they think of her as resourceful or unfashionable? Shining gates swiveled open, presenting a terraced courtyard, a burbling fountain, and tall palm trees in painted pots. As the carriage driver halted his bay roans, she rubbed her heirloom moon pendant for reassurance as her mother had so often done.

A slender woman with warm-olive skin hurried across the courtyard, sandals pattering on the stone. She bobbed a curtsy and shook Sariva’s hand in both of hers. “So pleased to finally meet you. I’ve had the honor of reviewing your list of qualifications and your letters of recommendation—we’ve all agreed you’d be a lovely addition to the queen’s service. Lady Ava of Valency, and you are Lady…Broth, is it?”

“Sorry, it’s Be-roth.” No one ever got her name right. “Rolled R, accent on the second syllable.”

“Well, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. We have a formal dinner among the court tonight—I have time to show you your quarters.” They left the courtyard through an archway and turned onto a path between ornamental lemon trees.

A young woman passing by in the other direction paused with a displeased moue, raising plucked-thin eyebrows. “Oh, I wasn’t aware of a foreign dignitary arriving today.”

“Lisette, this is Lady Sariva Beroth. Her parents fled serving the sultan, and we’re even luckier to have her at our Almesian court.” Ava gestured to the woman. “Lady Sariva, may I introduce you to Lady Lisette? She is a splendid dancer.”

“Bah-rroth?” Lisette’s delicate features creased, perplexed with worry. “I’m so sorry, your name is just so hard to pronounce. What does it mean?”

“It means cypress,” Sariva began, feeling suspicious, “but—”

Lisette beamed. “It would be so rude to get your name wrong, right? I mean, I’d absolutely hate myself for mispronouncing it. I’ll just call you Lady Cypress if I have need of you, and then we can be great friends.”

Did Lisette think she’d change her surname just because fools kept mangling it? Absolutely not. Sariva made herself smile. “Indeed, I do look forward to us spending time together.”

“Yes, of course! Northerners are always awfully clever. If I have any figures to evaluate, I’ll be certain to call on you.”

She wanted to say “I’m horrid at sums” or “What next, will you accuse me of having killed infants for the Northern sultan?” Instead, she curtsied and nodded.

Even though nearly everyone who’d fled the North did so because they objected to the government or refused to serve in the military, people accused them of lying. Didn’t a fortune in furs hide amongst the Northern mountains, and weren’t all its inhabitants mages? Didn’t most people in the North worship the Goddess of All-That-Is? How could anyone flee the North with less than a fortune in stolen gold? Once a new pupil at the village school had told all the others, “Sariva’s family drinks blood. They only came south ’cause the people who didn’t worship their nasty Goddess caught them. That’s why her little brother is so weak because everyone else drinks his blood.” Of course, a lady didn’t stab classmates with pens or hit them over the head with writing tablets, more’s the pity.

Magazines included subtler taunts: concern about secret mages, wealthy Northerners harming trade, assuming even refugees from the North supported the sultan’s every policy. In the city, maybe people would only mangle her name, not her reputation. She remembered her mother’s words: “It’s much more cosmopolitan in the capitol, my dearest. Islanders, desert nomads, people of the tree faith, and of course, plenty of Northerners if you feel homesick or want others to pray with—even though many of them support the sultanate, my friends say you’ll meet some lovely young radicals.”

Sword crashed against sword. Voices shouted. Would she need to run for her life? “Is there some sort of trouble?” Her town’s largest Northern specialty store had gone up in flames a few months ago. She’d heard about a timed fire-starting charm amongst the sacks of imported food, customers praying as they ran for their lives. Swinging her shopping sack, she’d turned the corner and stopped, mouth open. In childhood, she’d picked out ornately carved candles for the family’s rituals there.

Ava gave a reassuring smile, waving off her concerns. “It’s only the squires practicing. In summer they stage mock sieges in the cellars, but this time of the year, they still use the outdoor ring.”

“How…nice.” Her heart still pounded. Would it ever stop?

“Indeed, our knights are some of the most adept on the continent. We might go watch them if you wish.”

Sariva would rather stitch a tapestry of a battle than ride off to join one, but she liked the idea of strong warriors protecting her. “Of course.”

She followed Ava down the path and into a field. In a makeshift arena of packed dirt and wooden stakes, surrounded by tiers of stone benches, trainees brawled with blunt weapons.

The scrawniest one had the upper hand.

His hair shone a muddy, undistinguished color, clay and ochre; his body appeared sparse of all but knees and elbows like an over-articulated marionette. But he fought like a mosquito the bigger boys attempted to swat—dodging, weaving, shoving others in front of him as impromptu shields. One by one, the others trailed from the arena, nursing bruises and casting baleful glares.

Sariva saw the squire’s face—small pointy chin, full sulky lips. “That squire, the short one…are they a girl?”

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Ennis Bashe is a queer disabled graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, proud cat parent, and prolific writer of romance novels and novellas. Their poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Liminality Magazine, Writers Resist, and Cicada, and their short fiction has appeared in The Future Fire, Mirror Dance, and Resistor Vol. 2, among others. Find them on Twitter at @RookTheBird, and sign up for their newsletter at http://www.tinyletter.com/rookthebird

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Book Blitz: A Breath of Sunlight by Sydney Winward #fantasyromance @SydneyWinward

A Breath of Sunlight
Sydney Winward
Publication date: August 17th 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Don’t show compassion for men. Never save a man’s life. And no matter what, never fall in love with someone you must ultimately kill. But some rules are meant to be broken, even if it means risking your life by betraying your valkyrie sisters.

The plan was simple—attack the Pits, kill the male slaves, save the women. But when Skaja runs into a fae man she can’t kill, she instead breaks all the rules to save him.

Prince Calle was sold into slavery by his jealous brother, and he would do anything to taste freedom again, even put his trust in a dangerous valkyrie. To protect his people and gain the throne, he and Skaja must trust each other. But neither of them expected trust to turn into something more, and the cost of love has a much steeper price than either of them anticipated.

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EXCERPT:

Calle gasped and shot up into a sitting position. He clawed at his throat to remove the boot, but instead of finding a rough leather boot, he touched soft, warm skin.

“Shh,” Skaja soothed as she touched his hands, his face, his hair. “It was only a bad dream.”

Her face finally came into focus in the darkness. Pinched, concerned brows. Pursed lips. Hair falling across her forehead.

He shook his head, suddenly aware of the perspiration that clung to his skin. His back ached where he’d been whipped. His throat still burned for air. The slave brand on his forearm rippled with heat. “N-n-no. It w-w-wasn’t a d-d-dream.”

“It was,” she said in a soothing tone, and for the first time since they’d met, her eyes were kind and gentle. Her fingers stroked either side of his hair. She was touching him… And not just an uncertain, awkward touch. A compassionate caring lingered in her caress, and he couldn’t help but lean into her hand.

She stilled.

“Please don’t stop,” he whispered.

A pause. But then her fingers continued their exploration. Her light touch skimmed his hair, his eyebrows, his nose, his cheekbones. They hesitantly touched his earlobe before she more daringly traced the shape of his long, pointed ear.

His heart slowed into something calmer. Something safer. The fear in his soul settled to the bottom of a clear, placid lake. The pain in his back and throat ebbed. The burn on his forearm died slowly like a waning fever.

He breathed in Skaja’s scent of jasmine and cool midnight skies and breathed out a river of calm. She was right. It was only a dream.

Yet, it had felt so real.

A flash of darkness passed across his mind, and as if he once again found himself in the deep ravine of the Pits, his hands began trembling. Skaja’s gentle touch trailed from his ear, to his shoulder, down his arm, before she clasped his hand. Her touch felt so good. Like a breath of sunlight after being caged in the darkness for so long.

Author Bio:

Sydney Winward is a fantasy and paranormal romance author who dabbles in the occasional historical fiction. She loves building complex worlds filled with magic, strong characters, and emotional stories that can make you laugh and cry.

Sydney is the author of The Bloodborn Series, and when she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about stories, or going on adventures with her children. She lives in Utah with her husband, two amazing kids, and one stubborn fish.

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Series Review: All the Pretty Monsters by Kristy Cunning #reverseharem #fantasy #bookreview

I started reading fantasy reverse harem romance during the pandemic, and now I think I’m addicted to them. I especially the more “monster” type books, or those classified as reverse harem horror. When I stumbled across All the Pretty Monsters, I didn’t realize the series was so long. But no worries, it’s in Kindle Unlimited if you can’t afford to buy all six volumes.

Book one, Gypsy Blood, had a bit of an unusual start that left me feeling a little uncertain, but by the second chapter, I was hooked! I loved getting to know the characters. Even better, there’s enough mystery and action to keep you flipping the pages. While book one didn’t have tons of super hot sex, the series definitely heats up as things progress.

What do a mix of creatures and a Van Helsing have in common? Their growing attachment to a sweet monster named January Violet Carmine – who has a tendency to blow herself up when mixing potions. But reader beware… there’s more to Violet than you realize. The twist to her story was a pleasant surprise and just made everything a hundred times better. Why? Because Violet is my favorite of all the monsters! Shh… you’ll have to read the series to find out what she is.

Want to find out how vampires, werewolves, and other creatures came to exist? The author puts an interesting spin on things. All the Pretty Monsters is full of gyspy curses, monsters, fights, sex, and so much more.

If you’re looking for a complete series to binge read, give this one a try. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop! — 5 star series! (yes, the entire series)

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Release Blitz: The Silver Cage by Ana Raine #gayromance #shifters @changelingpress @AuthorAnaRaine @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Silver Cage

Series: Restrained #1

Author: Ana Raine

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: July 9, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 66

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense, Science Fiction, 2nd Chance Romance, Shapeshifters, Werewolves, Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy

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Synopsis

Danny barely remembers who he is, let alone his mate. After being taken from his pack years ago by a group of overzealous hunters, Danny identifies only as “Wolf” — the pet of the pack who helps track down other shifters for the hunters’ sport.

When Danny tracks down a female wolf, he hesitates to help imprison her male companion. At first Danny doesn’t remember this wolf, at least not logically, but his senses are completely overtaken and he’s sure he’s met this Alpha before.

This wolf isn’t just his former Alpha. Jamie is also his mate, and after years of believing Danny dead, Jamie’s not going to let his mate go ever again. Even if it means working together to kill each of the hunters so they can never take their lives again — or come between their mating bond.

Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Ana Raine

I followed him silently, not that there was much of a chance to use words in our wolf form. I was beyond surprised I still drew breath, but I wasn’t going to let him in on that.

He was an Alpha. He was born to be a leader the way all Alphas were. Strong, fierce and with a natural desire to protect. As soon as he’d sniffed me, he’d let out a low growl that had me belly-up on the ground. His nose nudged my neck in acceptance, and then he headed toward the woods with nothing more than his Alpha voice in my head telling me to follow.

I knew he could talk to me with more than just basic commands. At least, he could if he were so inclined. I’d always wondered how powerful the boy who should have been my mate would have been had he been given a chance.

The hunters were behind us, but I knew at least a few would stay with Langdon. Langdon Sr. wouldn’t, though. He would want to come after me and bury a bullet in my brain himself.

Until there was blood, my blood, this wouldn’t be over. I whined and pawed the ground and drank more water than I needed in my effort to get the Alpha to release me. A faint thought popped into my mind that if I crawled back and begged for mercy, Langdon wanted me enough to stop my death. Then we’d go live whatever fairy tale he’d drawn up.

At least it was a life where I knew the outcome. This one with the Alpha just reminded me how out of touch I was with my kind. And with myself. Each step I took without feeling a whip against my flesh was a reminder I no longer remembered what it was to be free.

We ran part of the way, farther and farther from the female wolf who had to have been his mate. The little bit of her blood I tasted on my paw from when I brought her down smelled just like him. Why he was bothering to lead me so far away, I had no idea.

Eventually, the darkness overtook even our wolf eyesight, forcing us to retreat to a mostly empty stable. There was an old horse covered in a wool blanket and chewing some hay lazily.

She either had a death wish or wasn’t fazed by creatures of the night seeking shelter in her barn because she barely batted an eye before going back to her dinner.

An entire side of the barn was empty and had enough closure to keep us warm against the chill. I almost expected him to bark at me to go back outside to keep watch while he slept. Even though Alphas were supposed to act in the best interest of their pack, it didn’t always work out that way. And I wasn’t his pack, not really anyway.

I saw his body twist and contort as the sound of bone snapping and muscle stretching filled the silence of the barn. Fur receded as his skin became visible. With a barking cough that morphed from beast to man in a moment, there was now a man standing in front of me. He had his back to me, obviously not worried I would attack him from behind.

I saw his beautiful pale skin had been marred by a Hunter’s blade. I’d been cut enough myself to know how the scars looked when they faded. It had been years since his flesh had found the end of a blade, but it was there, just visible enough in the moonlight.

He was tall, so much taller than me, and I found myself staring at his legs, the curve of his ass. I longed for him to turn around so I could stare at what I was sure would be the most beautiful wolf I’d ever met since my mate was taken from me.

Hair as red as fire was loose around his shoulders, the same color he’d been as a wolf. I found myself feeling utterly insufficient to even be in his presence. My hair, blond and boring in comparison to his fire.

Just as I was thinking of backing out of the stable to give him space, his command stopped me. “Phase to a human.”

And oh, how I wanted to immediately do what he asked. To phase and to converse with him, but there was more than fear that I’d come across as stupid. There was also the fear I wasn’t enough. And I wanted to be.

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Changeling Press LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Ana is still figuring out what she wants to do with her life, although social work seems to be the most likely. Her best friends are a box of chocolate and her kitten who always sit beside her while she writes. When Ana was in high school, she often wrote about the LGBT community, but now her work is less…innocent. Ana enjoys writing anything and everything, including BDSM, dragons, shifters, magic, and more.

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Release Blitz: The Prince’s Vow by Iris Foxglove #fantasyromance #LGBTQ @irisfoxglove @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Prince’s Vow

Series: Starian Cycle #3

Author: Iris Foxglove

Publisher: Belladonna Press

Release Date: 6/22/21

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 64,000

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, BDSM, AU

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Synopsis

Adrien de Guillory may be the heir to the throne of Staria, but no one in court believes that the submissive, meek-minded prince will ever be king. What they don’t know is that Adrien is hardly the meek, shy creature he pretends to be and that he has his own plans for the future. To see those plans through, Adrien embarks on a journey to Mislia, the land of his mother’s ancestors, to seek an answer to controlling his magic of foresight.

The one thing Adrien’s visions don’t predict is Isiodore de Mortain, his father’s confidante and the subject of Adrien’s long-standing, deeply embarrassing infatuation. Isiodore intercepts Adrien on his way to Mislia. But it’s too late to turn back—the two of them are now stranded on foreign soil, forced to rely on each other in order to get home in one piece. With Isiodore set on keeping Adrien safe and Adrien determined to become the most troublesome prince in Starian history, a storm is brewing over Mislia…one that will surely sweep both of them out into uncharted waters.

(The Prince’s Vow is an m/m dark fantasy novel, set in a fictional world where everyone is biologically either a dominant or a submissive and compelled to satisfy those urges. As such, the biological imperative kink in this story is pure fantasy, and not intended as a representation of real-life BDSM practices or dynamics.)

Excerpt

Adrien de Guillory, Crown Prince of Staria, stood on the docks of a smuggler’s haven and stared into the dark water swirling under his feet.

“She’s seaworthy,” said the Mislian behind him, shifting under a pile of netting as thick as a lady’s skirts. “All you need to do is whistle the right notes, and she’ll get you there.”

Adrien tore his gaze from the water. A small sailboat bobbed off the side of the dock, its dark gold sail rolled up in an ungainly mass, worn wood sloping to a cabin Adrien could probably fit into if he folded up his legs. There was always so much of Adrien. He tended to spill over the edge of wherever he happened to be, too lanky for polite company but too obvious to disappear.

“Does she have a name?” he asked.

“What? No. She’s just the boat. We don’t name our ships—it’s bad luck.” The Mislian worked swiftly over the ropes, mending cuts and frayed edges. But her fingers were black as ink, and her movements were jerky, mechanical. Her eyes were too black as well, dark pits without even a sliver of white around the edges, and Adrien wondered if his mother’s ancestors had looked like her, stained by magic.

“It won’t go away if you stare,” the Mislian said. For a smuggler who refused to give Adrien her name, she was remarkably chatty. “Trust me.”

“Oh.” Adrien turned back to the boat. “Sorry.”

“You probably shouldn’t,” she said. “Go to Mislia, I mean. Try somewhere nice, like Thalassa. Less trouble.”

“Aren’t you from Mislia, though?” Adrien asked.

“Yes. And now I’m in Staria,” the Mislian said. “Where your king has people like me killed. This was the preferable option, and that really should be all you need to know.”

“Thanks for the warning,” Adrien said. He shrugged his heavy bag off his shoulder and into the boat, which rocked slightly. The water stirred against the hull, and Adrien winced as he saw a face flicker across it, a boy with black eyes and a heavy robe, blinking hard. Then he was gone, and in his place was a woman with a loom, tearing the threads to pieces. A child in a snow bank, watching the clouds. His father, sitting on his throne with a cloak made of needles, blood rolling over his skin.

Adrien dragged his gaze away. His magic had been getting worse lately. He always saw it in water, glimpses of a future he didn’t always understand, faces in his water glass, dark forests spilling like ink over the surface of his bath. They were even starting to bleed into his dreams, pools of clear water with black-eyed Mislians drifting just beneath, watching him, evading his touch. But here Adrien was, about to sail into a sea of water, endless visions flickering like mirrored glass out of the corner of his eye.

He had to go. He wasn’t much use in Staria, even without the visions. His father’s council ignored him, certain that as soon as another dominant heir was named, Adrien would disappear to a country estate for the rest of his life. No one believed Adrien would ever be king, least of all Adrien himself, but he couldn’t just sit around and wait for his visions to consume him.

Mislia was the only option. His mother’s family came from there, and half of Adrien’s visions had been of a cold, lonely island full of people with slate-black eyes. Something was waiting for him there. Answers, hopefully. A way to make the visions stop.

He climbed into the boat. It rocked under him gently, and he reached up to touch the little mast.

“There’s a water distiller in the cabin,” the Mislian said. “Empty the bottom of it twice a day, and you won’t get sick. Whistle twice to unfurl the sail, three times to get to Mislia. If you want to go back, whistle once.”

Adrien whistled twice, and the ropes on the mast whirled to life, drawing up the golden sail. It startled a laugh out of him, and the Mislian smiled.

“That’s your magic?” he asked. “Are there many Mislians, like you? Sailors?”

“Used to be,” she said. “Not much anymore. The kind of demons who like the sea are forbidden, there.”

Adrien shivered. “You have one. A demon.”

“Sure.” She was still smiling, working on her nets. “Do you want to see? He has an old name, but he goes by Sam now. Hey, Sam. Come out and say hello.”

“Oh, no,” Adrien said. “I don’t really—”

The Mislian held her hands to her mouth, and Adrien’s flesh crawled as something uncoiled out of it, spilling over her hands and twining around her arm. It was a snake, black as her eyes and horned like a deer, and he raised his head to look at Adrien.

“He says hello,” the Mislian said. “He doesn’t speak out loud. Too small.” Sam whipped his head around to stare at her. “Well, you are,” she said.

“H-Hello, Sam,” Adrien said. “I really should get going.”

“Yeah, probably,” the Mislian said, stroking the snake under the chin. He shook out his antlers and glided up her arm, twisting about in her long, dark hair.

A faint breeze rolled over the docks, and Adrien stared out over the water, which flickered and glittered with patches of color, movement he couldn’t be sure was a vision or just a flash of the sun on a wave.

“Right,” he whispered. “Time to go.”

He whistled three times. The sail groaned as wind twisted around to fill it, and the boat pushed forward before it jerked roughly, still caught on the dock by a rope. The Mislian laughed.

“Wonderful,” Adrien muttered, leaning over the edge to untie the rope. As he did, the Mislian looked up and pushed aside her nets, staring down the docks and past the jagged slope of rock hiding the smuggler’s cove from view. She frowned, and her demon rustled in her hair, hissing faintly.

“Someone’s coming,” she said. “Were you followed?”

Adrien followed her gaze. A figure walked in the shadow of the rocks, broad-shouldered and dressed in the Starian royal uniform. “I thought I wasn’t.”

“Lovely.” The Mislian whispered something to her demon in another language, and the demon slithered back into her mouth, disappearing with the flick of a tail. Her eyes went wide, wider than any human eyes had a right to, and just as the figure at the other end of the dock broke into a run, she dove off the edge and into the dark water

“Wait!” Adrien fumbled with the ropes. “You can’t just leave me here!”

The ropes fell loose, and the wind caught the sail again, slowly dragging the boat through the water. Adrien fell back into the boat, whistling frantically. But the wind remained steady, and the boat trundled along, only a few paces away from the dock, well within reach.

On the dock, the figure burst out of the shadow and into the light of the midday sun, and Adrien grabbed the edge of the boat in horror.

“Adrien de Guillory,” said Isiodore de Mortain, Adrien’s father’s second in command. “What the hell have you done?”

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Meet the Author

Iris Foxglove is a shared pen name between two longtime fantasy readers who are committed to writing fun, escapist dark fantasy featuring decadent, kinky stories, intricate world building and unforgettable characters.

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BOOK REVIEW: Mine in Hell (The Rejected Mate #2) by G. Bailey and Scarlett Snow #reverseharem @gbaileyauthor

Now the world knows who I am.

I’m the first female alpha in history and every pack leader out there wants to claim me as their mate.
Including the Stormfire alpha who sent my life into a spiral after rejecting me.
While he and the others fight for the right to possess me, a new Demon Trial is created in honor of the Crescent Mother, and this time I’m the prize.
Or so they all believe.
I’ll stop at nothing to reclaim my freedom even if it means entering the trials myself, where the only way out is death and ruin. But I don’t plan on dying.
I plan on winning.

I’m going to make each of the alphas pay for what they did to me.

18+ Dark reverse harem romance full with a sassy and sarcastic heroine who finds her match.

Get it at Amazon

MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

I recently discovered Ms. Bailey’s books, and I think I’m hooked. Reverse harem is quickly becoming my new favorite genre, and while I typically dislike cliffhangers, I don’t mind it so much with fantasy books.

Lilith is still fighting for her life, for revenge, and for love. The three men she’s fallen for only make her stronger and more determined as one enemy after another tries to tear them apart and destroy the world’s first alpha female. There’s nothing she won’t do to take down the monsters and free those under their influence. Lilith is furious and she’s ready to protect the innocent.

Full of unexpected twists, and more than a little heat, Mine in Hell is a page-turning read I couldn’t put down. Love. Danger. Friendship… and so much more. I hope you’re ready for one hell of a ride (pun intended).

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.