A woman is spending her third Christmas holiday homeless and alone with her thoughts. When a woman is forcibly thrown out of a cab onto the slushy groA woman is spending her third Christmas holiday homeless and alone with her thoughts. When a woman is forcibly thrown out of a cab onto the slushy ground, the homeless woman comes to her rescue, even if the help isn’t initially welcome. These two women discover similarities that aren’t visible at first glance, and renewed hope for the future.
Gift Exchange is an intriguing tale, a short but extremely detailed story with two captivating women. Within just a few pages, the author has provided two well developed characters while maintaining an element of mystery to each. There is a twist that makes this story more that what it appears to be, one that was unexpected and added an extra level of intrigue.
The story is extremely well written and the imagery is vivid throughout. This is a tale of two women from very different walks of life meeting and quickly becoming entangled in one another’s lives. I definitely recommend this unique holiday-themed short story....more
A Coven Christmas was released as part of the special Christmas Sips collection, including stories both Naughty and Nice. Thankfully, this is a Nice sA Coven Christmas was released as part of the special Christmas Sips collection, including stories both Naughty and Nice. Thankfully, this is a Nice story as after the events of the first three Soul Mates books, these characters need a break! It takes place six weeks after the events of Soul Mates: Sacrifice and is a wonderful little story which revisits some of my favorite characters from that universe. It is all about "family and togetherness, putting aside the past to look toward the future." What I love so much about the Soul Mates series is that all of the characters are family. They fight and they love, they don't always agree, but they are there for each other whenever help is needed.
I don't want to say too much about this story, as I don't want to spoil the ending of Soul Mates: Sacrifice but suffice it to say that this is a fabulous addition to a sensational series. We get to see yet another way that the relationship between Peter and Lucien has evolved and deepened. These two are powerful when they are together, and their love radiates through everyone around them. As a reader, it is impossible not to be sucked in by their intensity. Simon is wonderful, as always, and his ministrations help to bring everyone together for a holiday that is not normally celebrated by vampires, werewolves and demons. Everyone in Peter and Lucien's circle of close friends comes to join them including my personal favorites Nikolas and Sabaan. And we get another glimpse of a newer character, Rhys, who promises to bring about some very interesting changes for Simon.
I cannot more highly recommend the entire Soul Mates series, including this story. They are exciting, gripping, erotic, sensual, heartbreaking and exhilarating stories that will capture your imagination and never let go!
Nikolas is furious with Lucien, as always, and his lover Sabaan is there to try to calm him down. As Lucien's servant, Sabaan understands whe4.5 stars
Nikolas is furious with Lucien, as always, and his lover Sabaan is there to try to calm him down. As Lucien's servant, Sabaan understands where the vampire master is coming from but his love for his partner is endless. He hates to see Nikolas and Lucien at odds, because of him and especially because of Peter. As Lucien's partner, and both a vampire and a werewolf, Peter has a unique fate that he is trying desperately to come to terms with. He is still hanging on to his human ideals and beliefs, things that don't belong in the new world of which he has become a part. Complicating matters even more, as Peter's wolf's mate, Nikolas spends a lot of time with Lucien's lover, a fact that creates resentment and jealousy for many.
Mark of the Beast is a phenomenal story set within the Soul Mates universe. It features two of my favorite characters of the series, werewolf Nikolas and his demon lover Sabaan. The interactions between these men and fiery and intense, and the love between them is palpable, even when they are fighting. Nikolas still harbors a lot of jealousy and anger over Sabaan becoming Lucien's servant, an event detailed in the short story "Possession" within the Spiked anthology. In Mark of the Beast, Nikolas takes action to prove that Sabaan, first and foremost, belongs to him and the result is erotically stunning and deeply moving. As much as Nikolas has fought it throughout the series, he loves deeply, and specifically he loves Sabaan with every part of his being. Any story featuring these two characters is captivating and engrossing, and this is no exception.
Readers not familiar with the Soul Mates series will find this an enjoyable story, but will inevitably be a bit lost. The events of this story overlap with the plot of the fourth novel in the series, Soul Mates: Secrets. Anyone who has read that book will be perfectly situated to thoroughly enjoy this short story, but anyone that hasn't might find that they are missing out a bit on context. Aside from that, this story is a wonderful introduction to the highly detailed world and fascinating characters that Lane has created. I cannot more highly recommend the Soul Mates series, and Mark of the Beast is yet another exceptional addition to the set of interweaving books and stories....more
"’Secrets hurt,’ I said softly. ‘And we've been carrying our own for a while now.’"
That statement by Peter sums up so much of what this book is about."’Secrets hurt,’ I said softly. ‘And we've been carrying our own for a while now.’"
That statement by Peter sums up so much of what this book is about. Peter is dealing with the effects of secrets being kept both by him and by those around him. Lucien is keeping secrets from Peter. Peter is keeping secrets from Lucien. Simon is keeping secrets about his past from Peter and Peter is keeping secrets from Simon. Simon is keeping secrets from Rhys. Secrets are everywhere and they are putting stress on relationships, to the point of almost breaking what at times seemed to be unbreakable bonds.
There are so many dealings going on that are making Peter’s life complicated, to say the least. Peter has agreed to work for the Council for fifty years but in exchange wants a meeting with the angel Zephyr to discuss Simon’s situation. When the meeting happens, the result is not quite what Peter expected and now he needs to break the news to Simon. Two werewolves arrive from Colorado with news that upsets Nikolas and Peter tries to keep him from doing something drastic and quite dangerous. Peter is anxious to feed his vampire side, but is angered by the required security detail that inevitably scares off his chosen donors. Murders are being committed by a man who looks suspiciously like Peter and continues to evade capture. When the man gets way too close to the coven and Peter, it is the most unexpected that step up to protect him at all costs.
The core of this story is about Lucien and Peter and how Nikolas and Sabaan fit into the mix. Lucien and Peter have an intense bond and deep love, but Peter also is extremely close to Nikolas. As half-vampire and half-wolf, Peter’s two sides are in constant competition over who they desire. His vampire is drawn to Lucien, but his wolf is tied to Nikolas in the most undeniable way. Complicating matters is that Sabaan is tied to Lucien as his chosen servant. There is jealousy among the four of them over the closeness that some share and they struggle to find the right balance. Inevitably, Lucien and Nikolas come to blows but the result is one no one would have expected.
Soul Mates: Secrets is a tremendous book that continues where the previous stories left off. The plot is fast paced and the characters are well developed, especially after so many books. There is steamy sex, heated fights, danger and intrigue. The story is captivating at every step and demands attention from start to finish. This is a highly developed world filled with amazing characters and many of them are a part of this story. Lucien and Peter, of course, are at the center of all and their relationship continues to evolve and change, sometimes not in the best of ways. In this their relationship is as realistic as possible ~ there is plenty of angst and rocky parts at every turn that make it fascinating and gripping at all times. As two strong willed personalities, it is inevitable that things will not always be perfect but it makes the good times that much better.
What I love so much about this series is the range of characters, and how some melt into the background after they play their part and others move to the forefront. My personal favorites are Nikolas and Sabaan for so many different reasons and they play a large role in this story. Every time they are in a scene, whether together or apart, I am pulled into the story even more. In particular Nikolas’ development has been enchanting ~ he has been constantly battling his emotions to preserve his tough façade but in this book he is unable to deny his passionate feelings. Simon also reveals much more of himself, and it is surprising and heartbreaking. He is a character that has been a thread throughout the series but it is only recently that we are learning that he is so much more than just a servant. His layers are limitless and the future for him will undoubtedly be interesting.
This is another fantastic addition to an amazing series. I love the Soul Mates series and have read all of the books and stories multiple times. Readers will easily become immersed in the universe and its characters and be left wanting more. Once I started reading Soul Mates: Secrets I couldn’t put it down and in fact read it within a day. If not for my evil day job I would have finished after a couple of hours. I start reading about these characters and everything around me is gone and all I care about is the next page and what is going to happen next. The only sad part is that the story has to end, but hopefully Lane has many more stories planned within this world.
This book can most definitely be enjoyed on its own, but as always I highly recommend starting at the beginning and working your way through in order. Each book and story builds upon the previous so to get the full experience and to understand how the characters have developed it is best to read them from the beginning. The books in the series so far include Soul Mates: Bound by Blood, Soul Mates: Deceptions and Soul Mates: Sacrifice. There are also a few shorter stories A Coven Christmas, which is included in the print version of Soul Mates: Secrets, and “Possession” from the Spiked anthology.
There is also the story “Instinct” from the anthology The Call which on the surface may not appear to be part of the Soul Mates universe but the characters Ethan and Noah play a part in Soul Mates: Secrets. I really enjoyed seeing them in Soul Mates: Secrets as I enjoyed their story quite a bit and it was a pleasant surprise when they showed up with more than just a mention. As always, Soul Mates: Secrets has an ending that is quite perfect yet leaves the door open for more ~ I can’t wait to find out what Lane has in store for these characters!...more
Lucien is still recovering after being kidnapped and left to die. Caleb is in the dungeon for questioning and judgment. Xander is acting strange, spenLucien is still recovering after being kidnapped and left to die. Caleb is in the dungeon for questioning and judgment. Xander is acting strange, spending less and less time with Peter. The team is without a leader with Caleb being gone. And on top of everything else, Peter’s body is dying. The cravings for blood are intensifying and there is a battle going on inside of him. No one knows what will happen if he is turned, which part of him will take over. But a decision must be made, as he is quickly running out of time.
Together, Lucien and Peter work to put their coven back together. Silver is pegged as a replacement for Caleb as team leader, but first he must defeat all others desiring the position according to dog law. Peter receives a personal visit from Daniel, with a particularly interesting request from the council. Whatever decision Peter makes will affect both his relationship with Lucien as well as the lives of their coven members. Peter struggles with forgiving the one responsible for what happened to Lucien and dealing with the potential loss of one of his closest companions. In the end, Lucien and Peter will make the decisions needed to move forward, for both themselves and for the coven.
Soul Mates: Sacrifice picks up right where Soul Mates: Deceptions left off and it is just as full of adventure and excitement. This series is based in a fascinating world with characters that are both well developed and captivating. Over the span of three books, the relationship between Lucien and Peter has grown exponentially and watching these two together is always thrilling and engaging. Peter has gone through so much, accepting both this new world and his role in it, and he is an excellent leader. He may not always know the right decision immediately, but his main focus is always the welfare of the coven members, those that follow him and Lucien without question.
As always, this world is filled with fascinating secondary characters that add so much depth to the story. In particular, we learn more about Simon, both who he truly is and what happened in his past. He is a quiet character, always there when Lucien or Peter need something, but underneath the surface is a heavy burden. There is so much more to learn about Simon, and I can only hope that he will play a large part in the next story. Also returning are Nikolas and Sabaan, two of my absolute favorite characters in this series. Nikolas and Peter continue to be close, their bond strengthening, and Sabaan proves to be a very useful asset for both Peter and Lucien.
Once you start reading, it is impossible to resist begin immersed into this world and its characters. Everything about this series is top notch and makes for an exhilarating and gripping read. This book could stand on its own, but I highly recommend starting at the beginning with Soul Mates: Bound by Blood followed by Soul Mates: Deceptions. Each book builds upon the previous stories and they are therefore best enjoyed in order. If you like these stories, I also recommend reading the other stories in the series, A Coven Christmas and “Possession” from the Spiked anthology. These stories provide yet another look at specific characters and are just as wonderful as the books in the series. Lane’s writing is exceptional and as always she ends this book in a way that is both a satisfying ending and an opening to the continuation of the series. This is just one example of Lane’s impressive talents and the beauty of this series.
“It was odd, the way things had changed so much in my time here. I'd come to realize that nothing stayed the same for too long. Whether it was the nature of the world in general, or the growth and stagnancy of relationships of the people involved in it ~ things would always change.
People would always change.
I'd gained friends, lovers, and a family here. I loved and was loved in return. Accepted for who and what I was. This was my home, in every sense of the word.”...more
Over a year has passed since Peter first met Lucien, his vampire lover. Lucien is filled with anger, constantly lashing out at the members of his coveOver a year has passed since Peter first met Lucien, his vampire lover. Lucien is filled with anger, constantly lashing out at the members of his coven as a result of being unnecessarily overprotective of Peter. Peter is bound to Lucien, and ingesting his blood has left Peter in a state of limbo. He is no longer human, but at the same time is not a vampire. He is desperate for Lucien to turn him, to give him the gift of immortality and to cease the cravings that grow stronger every day.
“’I wish I knew what it was that made you change your mind ~ made you stop loving me enough to make me your equal. But remember this, Lucien: I’m not human anymore. Whatever I am? You did this to me.”
The more that Lucien withdraws from the coven members, the more Peter steps forward to keep things running as smoothly as possible. In a short time, Peter has become deeply dedicated to the coven that he is now responsible for as one of two masters. When Peter learns that Lucien has agreed to give to someone else what he has consistently begged his lover for, their relationship suffers a devastating blow. He no longer recognizes the man he fell in love with. “My once friend, lover, and soulmate seemed almost a stranger.”
The further apart he and Lucien get, the stronger his bond to werewolf Xander gets. They are so close, Xander always knows when something is wrong with Peter and he is there whenever he is needed. Peter also spends more time with another werewolf, Nikolas, who most people avoid out of fear. Peter knows that neither of the werewolves would ever hurt him, and he feels safe with them. However, one night when he watches Xander hunt, things go terribly wrong. Peter is attacked by a werewolf, leading to a possible infection and enraging Lucien even further. The lovers must fight to rebuild their connection, admit their fears and jealousies to one another, and present a united front for their people.
Soul Mates: Deceptions is an awesome read about a detailed world with enchanting characters, filled with action and eroticism. Lane captures the reader’s imagination and sends it soaring from the beginning. It is mesmerizing to watch how Peter has grown since the first book, accepting his role as a master. He is a natural leader and he demands respect, even while silently questioning his actions and decisions. The relationship between Peter and Lucien hits a rough patch, but it is engaging to watch as they work to find what they have lost. These two are the definition of soul mates, and they are a joy to spend time with, whether they are making love or fighting.
The world that Lane has created is filled with fascinating and captivating secondary characters. There is a depth of detail to the world that gives a sense of realism and makes it so easy for the reader to get immersed in the world and the characters. We revisit characters introduced in the first book, including Caleb and Simon, and meet new ones for the first time. Here we see the relationship between Peter and Xander strengthen and more is revealed about who Xander is and what kind of power he possesses. Peter meets the angel, Cyril and immediately knows that trouble will follow him wherever he goes. Reid is a member of the coven, mourning the loss of his lover Paul, but is also hiding a secret that could be dangerous to everyone. Logan is a master vampire who comes to town looking for a new coven, and provides Peter with help in hopes of being accepted.
My favorite character, Nikolas, thankfully plays a much bigger role in the story starting with this second book. We start to get some insight into the man, to be able to see past the rumors and façade that he has created. He senses something in Peter, something that screams of power and they begin to build a strong connection. We also get introduced to a unique character, and my other favorite, the demon Sabaan. The demon of lust and power is a sight to behold with “greenish-black horns”, eyes that are “black as onyx” with bright yellow elongated slits for pupils, pearlescent skin, and a forked tongue and tail. He is an incubus, like Lucien, and Peter is drawn to him immediately. Sabaan provides some humor to the dark story, and this is a wonderful introduction to a character that will continue to play a role in the series.
Once you start reading this series, you won’t be able to stop! The characters, the setting, the plot, the writing is all fantastic and makes for a breathtaking experience for the reader. I do recommend starting at the beginning of the series, with Soul Mates: Bound by Blood, in order to fully understand the relationship between Peter and Lucien and Peter’s introduction to this world. After Soul Mates: Deceptions you will want to jump right into the third book, Soul Mates: Sacrifice. There are also two other stories in the series, A Coven Christmas and “Possession” from the Spiked anthology which each deal with a few of the characters in the series. At the core, these books are about love, trust, devotion and family and should not be missed!
“At home, there was no master or sir or lord; there was just ~ family. A family that we had created. A family that I would fight to the death to protect.”...more
The Soul Mates series holds a special place in my heart because it was my introduction to the world of Torquere Press. I found the book on Amazon andThe Soul Mates series holds a special place in my heart because it was my introduction to the world of Torquere Press. I found the book on Amazon and after I read it in one sitting I went back for more and I haven’t slowed down since. This is my fourth time reading this book and I continue to love it just as much as the first time.
Jourdan has created an intensely detailed world, filled with vampires, werewolves and other creatures that aren’t yet introduced in this first book of the series. The characters are all well developed, especially Lucien and Peter. These two have an intense bond from their first meeting, and even though Peter resists when he finds out Lucien is a vampire, he cannot deny what his body and heart are telling him. The more time he spends with Lucien the more he sees past the vampire side, and sees into his soul.
“'But I don't see you as the vampire, Lucien. I see you as the man, Lucien, who also happens to be a vampire; the man, Lucien, who hides more human emotion than most humans ever show.'"
Peter has to become acclimated to a completely different way of life when he joins Lucien. Sex is often paired with feedings and punishments are severe. Possibly most jarring of all for Peter is that he and Lucien have an open relationship – there is often sex with others from the coven. This is only possible because they know how much they mean to each other, where they stand within their relationship. There is a physical and emotional bond between the two and a deep love and respect. The sex is intensely erotic as well as romantic. They are equals in their relationship, and Lucien is able to let go with Peter in a way that he can’t with anyone else.
“'You’re my other half, Peter; my heart and soul – my soul mate. There’s no tearing that apart.'”
It is fascinating to follow Peter as he goes from hating and fearing vampires to loving one and becoming immersed in their world. As Lucien’s companion, he is immediately thrust into a position of power and authority which comes naturally to him. He is a perfect companion for Lucien in every way. Peter is the only one in a position to stand up to Lucien but he also provides much-needed support and strength. Lucien is not necessarily happy that he has pulled Peter into his life so completely and he explains, “I only worry that you are getting too deep into this life too quickly.”
This is very much the story of Peter and Lucien but what makes the Soul Mates series so special is that Jourdan provides so many wonderful secondary characters that flesh out the world. Eric and Gino are vampires that hit on Peter at the club before realizing that he belongs to Lucien. They make up for the mistake by saving Peter’s life, and Eric almost pays the ultimate price. Xander is the leader of the Lycans, trusted servant of Lucien, and a bit of a troublemaker. When Peter arrives, Xander gets quite jealous and it leads to a brutal fight between the two. He is committed to Lucien, and Peter as well, and will do anything for them. The vampire Caleb is Lucien’s first in command and one of his favorites. He is a sweet soul who Peter immediately cares for. Simon is Lucien’s servant, kind of like a butler, and he keeps the house running smoothly. We even get our first introduction to Nikolas, possibly my absolute favorite character. He is werewolf, Dungeon Master, obedience trainer, rogue hunter, sadist, and so much more. Each of these characters will play a role as the series continues.
This is a fast paced story, filled with action and orgasms, and once you start reading it is impossible to stop. It is so easy to become immersed in this world and these characters. The end of this book is the definition of perfection, and marks the beginning of a fantastic series.
"I settled in against him, just breathing him in, relishing his comforting touch. It was inevitable that things would change. I knew that. But for now, I just wanted to hold on to what I had, comforted by those I loved—and who loved me in return—knowing we were safe.
It’s quite common for an author to specialize in a specific genre, and it can be daunting to break outside of the typical mold that has proven to be successful in the past. Here author Radclyffe, writing as L.L. Raand, moves away from the typical contemporary romance stories that readers have come to expect from her and enjoy so much. This book throws the reader into a well-developed and established new world quite different from our own. It is a story of werewolves and vampires, mates and destiny, and is an introduction to a new series of stories about a world where the supernatural is integrated into daily life, or at least is a reality that cannot be ignored.
Sylvan Mir is Alpha of the Adirondack Timberwolf Pack and a necessary part of her job is to participate in the political ministrations of the Praetern species that have unveiled themselves and are looking to obtain equal rights to those that humans possess. As a member of the Praetern Coalition, she represents the interests of Weres, and is joined by representatives of the other species: Vampires, Mages, Fae, and Psi. Sylvan is not a fan of playing the political game and would prefer to be on the compound surrounded by her pack, but instead she is forced to deal with what appears to be Were fever that is manifesting in human females. When one of Sylvan’s young pack members is attacked and ends up in the emergency room, human medic Drake McKennan tries to help despite an admitted lack of knowledge about Were physiology. Able to stand up to Sylvan’s warnings, Drake is determined to help and get answers and is not deterred by the growls of the Alpha wolf. When yet another young girl is brought into the ER, Drake unexpectedly gets wrapped up in Sylvan’s world and her very life depends on both the pack and Sylvan.
Any reader familiar with Radclyffe’s writing will recognize the author’s style within The Midnight Hunt, yet at the same time it is most definitely a new direction. The author delivers an excellent story here, one that is engrossing from the very beginning. Raand has pieced together an intricate world, and provided just enough details for the reader to become enmeshed in the new world. The action moves quickly throughout the book and it’s hard to put down. As this is the first in what will become a series, the ending ties up some story arcs and leaves others open, and I can only expect that those will be the basis of upcoming stories. While this story focuses on the world and mythology of the Weres, there is much alluded to and left open to explore with the Praetern species.
Both Sylvan and Drake are written as strong characters, yet at the same time most of the focus is on Sylvan and her struggles as Alpha. Through Drake, readers learn more about this new species and the associated physiology as Drake goes through her own transformation. There were several secondary characters that were just as strong, and it will be very interesting to see where Raand takes these characters. Particular favorites of mine were Vampire Jody Gates and investigative reporter Becca Land. They provide a small glimpse of the lore surrounding Vampires within Raand’s world and it’s definitely intriguing. Niki Kroff, Sylvan’s second and head of security, is entrusted with keeping Sylvan safe, but at times she comes off much too strong and becomes slightly annoying. Because the story is not her focus this is understandable, and she became much more likeable as medic and Were Sophia Revnik enters the picture.
I greatly enjoyed this story though there were a few aspects that didn’t work as well for me. In describing the Were characters and their transformation, Raand constantly refers to the flash of fur that would appear on the abdomen of a Were as emotions ran high, a warning or signal meant for others. Though this detail is quite useful at the beginning of the story, it was greatly overused and is constantly referenced throughout the book. For the Weres, mating is extremely important, a vital aspect in order to maintain a species whose numbers have dwindled. In this world, two female Weres can both mate and breed, thanks in large part to physical aspects of the sexual organs. Without going into too much detail, penetration is possible with two women. This is quite intriguing and most definitely a unique aspect, however the first time it is introduced it was a bit confusing, and took me a few readings to fully decipher.
Despite these few minor issues, I greatly enjoyed this story and found myself engrossed from the very beginning. I’m most definitely a fan of Radclyffe’s writing and I’m happy to say that her Raand alter ego is just as successful at delivering an entertaining and extremely satisfying read. This book is a chance to dive into a detailed mythology of a supernatural world and an erotic tale that features love and lust on an animalistic level. Fans of paranormal stories will most definitely enjoy this tale, and Radclyffe fans should take a chance on this new series....more