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A Charm of Magpies #2

A Case of Possession

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Magic in the blood. Danger in the streets.

Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. True, Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician’s disappearing act bothers Crane more than it should. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, Crane knows a smart man would hop the first ship bound for China. But something unexpectedly stops him. His heart.

Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes watching him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. And Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.

The rats are closing in, and something has to give…

Warning: Contains m/m sex (on desks), blackmail, dark pasts, a domineering earl, a magician on the edge, vampire ghosts (possibly), and the giant rats of Sumatra.

159 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 6, 2014

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About the author

K.J. Charles

59 books8,645 followers
KJ is a writer of romance, mostly m/m, historical or fantasy or both. She blogs about writing and editing at http://kjcharleswriter.com.

She lives in London, UK, with her husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.

Twitter https://twitter.com/kj_charles
Join the lively Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/13876...
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Please **do not** message me on Goodreads as I no longer check the inbox due to unwanted messages.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,251 reviews
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,645 followers
March 29, 2017
After I finished writing The Magpie Lord, I wanted to find out what Stephen and Crane would do next. All very well for these two guys to strike up a romance in an isolated decaying mansion full of magic, magpies and maniacs, but what happens when they take it back to the oppressive environment of Victorian London - where Crane has a business to run, and Stephen has to enforce the law on other magicians, while dodging it for himself?

It was obvious that this story needed to centre around one of Stephen's cases of magical malpractice, and while I was thinking of Victorian mysteries, one of the greatest teasers of all time came to mind.

"Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson," said Holmes in a reminiscent voice. "It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared."

That's all we ever heard from Conan Doyle about the giant rat of Sumatra, so I used my imagination freely on this. I don't suppose my giant rats bear any resemblance to Holmes's, and I'm sure he and Watson would be shocked by what Crane and Stephen get up to (unless you believe the rumours, of course). But I enjoyed borrowing the idea, and I hope you enjoy what I did with it.

(There is a free short Charm of Magpies story available now!)
863 reviews231 followers
January 1, 2014

4.5 stars

Hey The Magpie Lord fans…this is book 2. But…it feels…different. And I mean that in a way that screams…it’s even better!

A Case of Possession, in my opinion, could even possibly be read as a standalone. Very little of book 1 sets anything up for book 2 other than the introduction of our fantastic characters of Crane, Stephen, and Merrick. And those characters are SO GREAT in book 2…along with some more fun and freaky and fantastic side characters added to the mix. (Although, let’s get real…you don’t want to miss out on The Magpie Lord…so you should just go ahead and read it first. AND…it DOES help if you’ve read Interlude with Tattoos (the short story 1.5 of the series) as some of that actually is referenced in book 2.)

The story itself is a tiny bit convoluted and though I’m equal parts obsessed and disgusted with the ROUS’s (random Princess Bride reference...sorry), engrossed with the story of possession, and enamored and have a bit of a crush on Leo and her story…I did find myself confused at times. I wasn’t quite sure what happened or what was happening…and that may have to do with the fact I wasn’t sure who was who at points (there are a lot of characters with bit parts). And like in book 1, the solving of the mystery kinda came out of nowhere. BUT…the scene where it was solved? GAHHHHD DAMN…that was some creepy disgusting stuff!

That being said, the STAR of the book TOOK OVER and THREW DOWN and insisted that he was going to be WITTIER and MORE CHARMING and SEXIER and MORE VULNERABLE than could have been imagined even after book 1 and all the shorts that followed. Lucien Crane…YOU DA MAN!

Crane made me laugh with his snarkiness, he made me cry with his tenderness, he made me SQUIRM with his dominance. I love the progression of his and Stephen’s relationship. It was sweet and lovely and fiercely loyal and even Merrick stepped in and was rooting for them. This couple, actually, surprisingly, is becoming one of my favorites! I will read and reread and memorize their conversation at about the 73% mark. The raw honesty there was…gah!...I don’t know…my HEART…it was so full.

Author KJ Charles has a sick and brilliant mind. Ha! I mean, the stuff she writes about…her stories have these twisted mystery foundations, and then she layers it with some gross or shocking or blech-y details, and she throws in some hot lovin’ and sweet romance, and it all mixes together for something magical. I’m such a fan.

I won’t demand book 3 right away…not if you keep giving us some great shorts in between while we wait! ☺ As you do…

Loved it.

Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,014 followers
February 17, 2014
More of a Sophomore Slouch, really.

To me this felt a bit rushed and insubstantial; the plotting seemed a gauzy thing easily swept aside at the end.

Not enough conflict, or humor, or tension. Way too much conversation, as fun as that can be to read when penned by a master.


Charles is exceptional. Even her second-tier work is better than most people's first-.

Lesser, then—but still quite Good.
April 12, 2020
After reading book 1 in this series and rating it 3.75 stars bloody shrimping stars (I promise I was neither high nor drunk at the time. I think. Maybe), I was expecting this instalment to make me feel more or less like this:

And also a little bit like this:

Don't ask.

BUT. As much as I positively lurve the idea of evil, magical rats (they'd make great a great addition to my murderous zoo, I reckon), relationship drama + too much blah blah blah + Stephen is boring as fish + disastrous lack of creative cursing courtesy of yummy Lord Crane + calamitous absence of [excuse me while I go copy stuff from my book 1 review] chuckling and giggling and snickering and cackling and chortling and guffawing and snorting scenes =

➽ And the moral of this Supremely UnInspired This Thing Surely Is But All You Will Get It Shall Be Quite Welcome You Are Mighty Crappy Non Thingie (SUITTSIBAYWGISBQWYAMCNT™) is: will I read book 3 in this series, you wonder? I know not, my Little Flimsy Decapods, I know not.

· Book 1: The Magpie Lord ★★★★
Profile Image for Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -.
689 reviews43 followers
June 9, 2018
***4.5 Stars***

I ❤️ these guys so much!!! 

I'll make it short:

~ A gone-off-the-rails dead shaman - yep, no typo, he's dead, although his demented ghost doesn't want to accept it.

~ A man seeking for revenge at the weirdest of places or with the weirdest of co-conspirators, to be precise.

~ A confession of feelings that was long overdue. 

~ And... *eww* rats. Lots of them. And I'm not talking about this kind of cute little bugger here:
Bildergebnis für cute rat

~ Gawd, and the humor...
"Since when did you talk to the law?" demanded Leonora in Shanghainese.
"Since his nobility's been fucking it," Merrick returned. "You want the shortarse on your side."

Right on to the next! 
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,361 reviews168 followers
October 13, 2014
Written January 29, 2014

4.4 Stars - hot, mysterious and well done in an historic London - another winner with Magpie power

At last - the second part is here... and it was just as good as the first one, The Magpie Lord (4.5 stars), was.

These gentlemen are street-smart, English noble and a bit hefty and two very shameless, but adorable, sexy men. They always do a lot of interesting stuff (both indoor and outdoor...). In a tantalizing mini shorty Interlude with Tattoos (4.2 stars) we got a taste of their present life and relationship. A very tempting "teaser" with the lord's dirty talk. And here we are again. Hurray! ...and it was a lot of rats this time.

Lucien Vaudrey, the new Lord Crane and his lover Stephen Day is a couple to love and remember. ~ May it just be more books about them.


As the book blurb says: ~ “Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day.” ~ So right, and so tempting sweet to see.
‘Stephen gulped. “You do love to put me on my knees, don't you?”

“I like to make you know your master,” Crane said. “It's only fair. The rest of the time, you've got me so thoroughly enslaved, I might as well be wearing a collar with your name on it.”

It all starts with that an old acquainted from Lord Crane's China years is trying to threaten and blackmail him. If Crane doesn't give Rackham £ 5,000 should the man reveal that Crane has a illicit relationship with another man, the younger magician Stephen Day. Our favorite lord gets first both angry and scared. But a former smuggler and maverick, as Crane, will not allow himself to be threatened. Behind the beautiful and fancy facade, is still all the old beats and tricks from his Shanghai years left.

Of course is also Crane's faithful servant Merrick there to help. Useful as always...

Stephen (an Justiciar in daytime) and his colleagues (who deals with magical malpractice..) are busy with some mysterious gigantic, very aggressive, rats and several nasty deaths in London.

The adventure, the deep attraction and all kind of thrilling troubles kicks off at full speed again...
In a vibrant, charming historic London. A metropol with poor Chinese neighborhoods, narrow alleys, mysterious magic, disgusting rats but also "Darlings", upper-class, butlers, fancy rich people, clubs, "Dear Chap's", witty Ladies, magpies and... horse carts.
 photo image_zps23c94214.jpg

There is something special about these men and their relationship. The tall, blond, well-dressed and so beautiful Lord Crane and the somewhat insecure, short, skinny, nearly ten years younger magician Mr. Stephen Day. They both got my heart and I want to see much more of them together.
‘Thinking of his lover's irresistible foxy grin led Crane to a moment's consideration of more interesting uses his desk could be put to.’

When I read these books I feel almost ridiculously good. There is something in the feel and tone, the narrative style and the wonderful way to use the words and the older language here. These books are simply so delicious, sexy, fun and simply fantastic.

I don't want to reveal too much, neither about the plot or how the love and their relationship develops here.

To sum; A Case of Possession is a second suspense packed, rat-scary, funny and very well done new installment to the A Charm of Magpies series. The book is also filled with a lot of great banters, an interesting cast of secondary characters AND some very, very romantic and tender moments. ~ Another winner by K.J. Charles.

When an Englishman says “He's a pleasant enough chap.” I know I will enjoy it all.

I LIKE - Jolly Good!


# BR with my dear BR-Ladies, Bev & Andrea. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

# And we cannot forget the rats...

# YAY! ~ Will it be more books in this series? I checked and on K.J. Charles' website has she written: “I have a third book about those guys to finish...”
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
604 reviews259 followers
August 21, 2020
Exciting stuff over, daily life has now re-taken its course. Sure, the sex is still smokin' hawt, and our two heroes are very much enamored of one another... secretly. So they're holding a truckload of secrets from eachother, and they pine. Ooooh is there pining to be had! Which is not to say, that I wasn't breathlessly following each and every long-suffering sigh of said pining.

I don't want to stop seeing you

When it comes to reading M/M romance, for all my indulgence of guilty-pleasure, I vastly prefer contemporary settings to Victorian ones. With M/F couples I find it perfectly acceptable for 'intrepid' heroines to conveniently time their dramatic swooning into the dashing heroes' arms. Even if you'll never catch me condoning such behavior in real life.

When the two protagonists are both male, the dynamic changes. They need to hide, there's a constant threat of prison hanging over their heads, so they need to watch their every step very carefully. So much so, that the long awaited confession provides equal amounts of excited stomach butterflies, as well as frustrated teeth grinding. You can tell I wasn't a fan of Romeo and Juliet, even before the double suicide, can you?

In short, this book was all about #relationshipgoals.

Relationship goals

In general, I was not keen on the way secondary characters were introduced. It felt like a conversation between your friend and his long-time acquaintances, strangers to you: chock full of inner jokes, that were constantly being cut off by raucous laughter. I can certainly make a case for doing things this way, but I was still mostly confused by it.

Another thing I'm ambivalent on, is the whole . I'd have preferred seeing .

Score: 4.4/5 stars

Once again: an awesome murder mystery, with exciting Eastern-Asian flavors, ghosts... and lots of creepy rats. Despite all that, I couldn't bear to part with the book until I finished it.

Review of book 0.5: The Smuggler and the Warlord
Review of book 1: The Magpie Lord
Review of book 1.5: Interlude with Tattoos
Review of book 2.5: A Case of Spirits
Review of book 3: Flight of Magpies
Review of book 3.5: Feast of Stephen
Profile Image for SheReadsALot.
1,838 reviews1,205 followers
March 3, 2021
Magpie Gate: Season 2 Commencing in...

The Magpie Lord was most certainly one of the best buzz books of 2013. Could the latest addition in the A Charm of Magpies series, "A Case of Possession" continue the charm and repeat the buzz?

Hmm let me think about it...

“You look like the cat that swallowed the cream," Stephen said softly.

"That comes later.”

Hell yes!

Round two was just as good as book #1. Don't skip book #1. You really should read the series in order.

This series makes me want to shout from the rooftops with how good the writing is, with how well faceted the characters are, with how rich the story telling is. I'm not the biggest fan of reading about the same couple in a series, K.J. Charles has proved how it can be a good thing.

Months have passed since we last saw Mr. Day and Lord Crane. They are now in London and searching through a reputable part of town searching for a murderer and *gulps* giant rats. (Erm, I'm not even going to post pictures of the vermin because they make my skin crawl.) During the fast paced case, we learn more about both main characters, Lucien and his past from the Far East plays a major role and Stephen's role as a justicar does as well. And with all of that into play, there's a mystery to be solved, bonds that are formed and solidified. Add doses of magic, charm and macabre essence to make "A Case of Possession".

The story was entertaining. The added cast of characters (and what a set of secondary characters!) made the story even better. Merrick is back in full force, with more page time. We get to meet Stephen's team of justicars and friends. I know Mrs. Gold will be popular but I love Saint.

Crane, darling Lucien.

He hasn't lost that silver tongue of his. He continues to put it to excellent use.

“Charm's a very dangerous thing. Lucien, tell me," Stephen said thoughtfully. "This respect for shamans, this inviolability..."


"Well, I don't know if you remember, but some three weeks ago, you tied me to your bedposts and spent two hours subjecting me to acts of unimaginable depravity. And considering you call me a shaman--"

"I take issue with 'unimaginable'," Crane interrupted, sudden heat and light rushing through him. "I imagine those acts in detail every night you're not there. In fact, I've imagined quite a few more that I have every intention of subjecting you to when I get a chance.”

*grunts* Lucien still has it. He showed a different side that I quite enjoyed. I loved reading about him learning about this new side of him as well.

Can I blame Stephen for want to climb Lucien like a pole? If I didn't love those two together, I'd be pushing Stephen aside to get at him.

“Dear me, Mr. Day. You really do love to get fucked on desks, don't you? Put you on a desk, and you're begging for it. What is so particularly exciting about desks?”

And Stephen...he's more frisky. I love it.

The words? I loved them too. This book is word porn for the mind.

I'm so happy where the couple is. I have zillions of quotes but some of my favorite are most telling. You have to read this book to see them for yourself. Even with those giant rats this story kicked ass. "A Case of Possession" was romantic, creepy, funny, sexy and action filled. Highly recommended.

And of course, I was upset once I reached the end. I almost shook my Kindle to see if more words would magically appear. (It didn't.)

Oh, K.J. Charles, I implore to you:

These characters are fabulous.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,865 reviews496 followers
January 28, 2014
When The Magpie Lord burst into my periphery back in September 2013, I immediately thought it was fresh and exciting. So of course the sequel became the case of high anticipation. Did it deliver? Hell, yeah! In some part it was even better although in other parts, I was a bit let down. It all depends on your expectations, I guess.

Okay, mystery wise – or the paranormal case that Stephen took and ended up involving Crane, that one ROCKED my socks! Seriously … it was a much better plot, involving evil magic, revenge that had history rooted back to China, and really REALLY CREEPY GIANT RATS!!

K.J. Charles has a penchant for portraying horror vividly, and the part where the giant rats came from within walls, that one was worth cinematic treatment, complete with original score and special effects. It was one amazing (and horrific) scene! And unlike in book 1, where the villain seemed to come out of the blue, this one did not. It was a smart mystery, one that took readers to guess along – and this one reader, who grew up reading Agatha Christie, felt absolutely satisfied.

Characterization wise – it was definitely stronger too. I loved how the relationship progressed between Crane and Stephen, I loved Crane’s protectiveness and his dominance and I loved how Stephen got under Crane’s skin. They were really so yummy as a couple, so fantastically hot (hello, their sex scenes were fireworks!!! – when K.J. Charles was willing to write them on page, that is)

Then there was Merrick … a BAMF!Merrick, who was as brave and loyal as King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table (sorry, I needed to make that reference, since Merrick is Crane’s manservant, just like Merlin is Arthur’s manservant in that BBC’s Merlin, who was like my favorite manservant ever … okay, sorry, slight detour there *grin*

Unfortunately, I also had slight protest – which made this one star less than the first book. I felt that in this book, Crane and Stephen spent more time apart. Basically due to Stephen’s fear of what his colleagues would think of the nature of his external power, and the relationship he had with Crane, the Magpie Lord. So Stephen was being elusive, and often worked on the case for days leaving Crane alone, doing his own things. Unlike in book 1, where Stephen HAD to stay with Crane to get rid of the curse. This story was taken from Crane’s perspective – so I felt kinda disappointed with the lack of their time together because I didn’t really get to see what Stephen was doing when he was not with Crane.

Of course, that might be my problem alone, due to certain expectation that I had. I am pretty sure that if you love the first book, you will definitely feel the same for this one. Hands down, a solid and worthy sequel. Now what do you think I could do to bribe K.J. Charles to write faster??

The ARC is provided by the author for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,848 reviews398 followers
January 20, 2015
And you thought the countryside was bad.

London manages to bring forth a plague of disturbing proportions--Rats. Let your imagination enlarge that unconscious fear and enjoy the story. Aside from the aforementioned icky bits there's Stephen's team to meet. Yay. Sassy group. Also, Crane and Stephen manage to move forward spectacularly well--much to my surprise. I guess I'm use to being tortured relentlessly with stupidness on MCs' parts in other series, but no, not here. Hip, hip HOORAY!

I am charmed by the magpies. Frankly, they pretty much steal the show when they appear. Ready for more.

Overall, wonderful diversion with a taste for phantasmagoria.

Favorite comment and rebuttal:
“Oh, thank God. I thought you’d killed him.”
“I realise that. Thank you for your good opinion.”

Profile Image for  ~Preeti~.
735 reviews
October 13, 2021
"My life changed four months ago, and I utterly failed to understand that until just recently, and therefore…I may have omitted to tell you that I love you."

Damn!! This series just gets better and better with every book. When I read A Seditious affair, I thought that's it, no one can beat Silas. Then came Will in the Will Darling series and now I am in love with Lucian

I like Stephen too but more so Lucian, maybe because we get only his POV, and although he is not as honourable as Will, his loyalty and genuine concern for the people he loves is exceptional. Lucian does not fall for Stephen immediately because both of them are opposite in temperament and appearance. 

But, once he falls for Stephen, he has this all-consuming love for him. He is so open and appreciative towards Stephen, his magic and everything about him. 

"Look. I am quite sure I’ve told you how remarkable you are. I know I have. Magical, and infinitely fuckable, and extraordinarily brave. I’m also well aware that you’re a better man than I will ever be. I’m fairly sure you have no idea just how glorious you are, which is fortunate for me, because the more time I have with you, the more aware I am of my own very obvious flaws."

We also get to see this loyalty towards his manservant/henchman/friend Merrick. The banter between Lucian and Merrick is precious. And, even though the series is primarily a historical paranormal, we get a lot of romance and character development. Just like other KJ Charles's books even the side characters are well-written. 

Yeah!! I am going to read the next book and then after finishing this series the other interlinked books.😂😂 Hey!! I always read KJC in the correct order.

P.S- Cornell Collins narration is incredible but beware he gets too engaged while narrating smut.😂😂
Profile Image for Amina .
406 reviews233 followers
June 16, 2023
✰ 3.5 stars ✰

“You and me both. I would very much like to get my hands on you.”

“I want to get my mouth on you,” said Stephen, astonishingly forward considering they weren’t in bed, and now it wasn’t only Crane’s heart that was thumping. “When this is over, could we go away?”

“As soon as you like. How long can you take?”

“How long do you want?”

“The rest of your life.”


The fact that I dismissed my own self-imposed rule of allowing a gap between sequels in a series and read A Case of Possession the very next day after completing the first one, just goes to show how eager I was to dive right into the magpie world. And while the mystery element of the story wasn't as refined as the earlier one - perhaps, due to the fact that it alluded more to Crane's past, of which I did not have much knowledge of - seeing Crane in a more proactive role and really embracing his part in Stephen's life and heart definitely made up for it.

“He wanted to pull Stephen into his arms, hold him, kiss the fear and the loneliness away, and then fuck him till he forgot any ideas he might have of ending things between them.

But he couldn’t even touch him, because of the bloody laws of this bloody country that, yes, bored and irritated him beyond bearing.”

The second book had a slightly more serious edge to it in terms of the story, but the writing is done so incredibly well, that it's a delightful combination of adventure and humor. Mystical mayhem and shamans are afoot, with a deadly pursuit of blackmail that is endangering the people in his lives - while, he can't protect everyone, he'll do whatever it takes to keep Stephen out of harm's way. ❤️‍🩹❤️‍🩹

“My life changed four months ago, and I utterly failed to understand that until just recently and therefore…I may have omitted to tell you that I love you.”

And while frisky times were lesser than the last one, I loved seeing how their relationship was developing into a steady one, albeit with their own uncertainties of not being worthy of each other. It was so endearingly sweet, almost heart-breaking that Crane was so helplessly smitten with Stephen and wanted to do whatever he could to prove his love for him - to show him that he cared for him, more so than he was letting on, so that Stephen would never doubt his feelings for him. 🥺🥺

The comedic timing with the snark and banter was 🤌🏼🤌🏼🤌🏼 - the couple's eagerness to get their hands on each other - unattainable but still undeniable. ❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥 The quick-witted excellent repartee and well-written action moments - incomparable. Merrick, as always, steals the show, with his commitment and loyalty - not only in the face of danger, but his fearlessness in never hesitating to speak his mind up with Crane. Gotta love him for that!

“Merrick rolled his eyes. “So, what I’m saying is, you might think you’re treating someone as an equal, but you ain’t. Because, my lord earl, when you’re bigger and older and richer and all that and you’re naturally a domineering sod, maybe that person don’t feel equal, no matter what you might reckon. I don’t mean me,” he added, in case Crane should get the wrong idea.

Crane moved closer and lowered his voice. “I may be all those things but I’m not a magician. Christ, you’ve seen what he can do, and you’re telling me he feels intimidated by me? He scares the hell out of me!”

“Does he know that?” said Merrick.”

And of course, special kudos to a lovable, supportive group of practitioners who displayed unconditional love and support to Stephen's relationship with Crane, despite the many fears of their relationship being outed for the worse. 💖💖 It was nice to see Crane learn more about Stephen's job and how unwittingly, he became a part of their concern and ultimately, a favorable friendship of loyalty.

It is a shame, though, that there wasn't more of Stephen's POV this time around - I missed being inside his flirty mind and trying to figure out how to voice his opinion on matters with Crane. And why are these novels so short, but still able to convey so much?? I never feel like there's something missing, only that I want more of everything. K.J. Charles has created such a fun, yet enchanting historical fantasy, one can't help but be charmed by it's ways! Yes, I had to throw it in there - don't you know me better already by now?! 🥰
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,770 reviews3,865 followers
December 29, 2015
AWESOME SAUCE, this series is.


I spent quite a lot of my time reading this book thinking about Crane and Stephen's relationship and how to describe it. But all I kept thinking about was that Police song...

I'll be wrapped around your finger

Devil and the deep blue sea behind me
Vanish in the air, you'll never find me
I will turn your face to alabaster
Then you'll find your servant is your master

You'll be wrapped around my finger

And I was trying to figure out how to translate those lyrics into, like, real words when I read this...

"I like to make you know your master," Crane said. "It's only fair. The rest of the time, you've got me so thoroughly enslaved, I might as well be wearing a collar with your name on it."

Crane took the words right out of my mouth! Thanks Crane!

I love their dynamic so much. I love the witty, sometimes scathingly so, dialogue. I love that Crane doesn't throw his title around and, seemingly, no one is intimidated by it either.

The secondary characters are so rich and vibrant that I felt bewitched by the world Charles has created almost as though I were in the room with them. I found myself cringing and jumping whenever the heinous rats showed up and chortling at so many exchanges. Were it possible for a book to magically transport me to that world this would be in the top 5. If for no other reason than to give me a fighting chance at spiriting away Merrick when Crane's busy weaving his magic sex web made of iron chains around Stephen. With any luck Merrick and I will be long gone by the time they come up for air.

*eyebrow waggle*

I might not have as much ready cash as Crane, but I haz needs. Namely you looking imposing at my 6 24/7.

I've got my gimlet eye on you.

Profile Image for ȷαεlα.
714 reviews
May 24, 2016
It couldn't be better! The funny thing is that I had decided I would never again read Historical Romance. Well, this isn't exactly HR, it is Historical Fiction, and entwined with MM notes, all of this makes this book a wonder thing to read.

In the first book, Crane and Stephen are lusting after each other. They can't get enough of each other. Their relationship is more physical.
This book is more about their feelings. What they feel for each other. What they think about their fragile relationship.

Watching these two interact is the most beautiful thing I've ever read. They are so different, but they love gloriously. When Crane told Stephen about what he felt for him, when he put his heart on his hands, I was cheering so loudly. Damn, the feelings. Their "bonding" is so unique and full of finesse. They're like mates and their "dance" is magical.

"...don’t run away from me, please. Don’t disappear.”


"...sweet boy. I love you. I think I need to say that quite a lot.”


"Oh God, I’m such a coward. Don’t let me go.”
“I don’t intend to,” Crane said."

This doesn't mean that there wasn't HAWT sex. There was plenty and it was so steamy.
I love the dirty talking between them.

“I’ll fuck my hand if you fuck my mouth.”


“You do love to put me on my knees, don’t you?”
“I like to make you know your master,” Crane said. “It’s only fair. The rest of the time, you’ve got me so thoroughly enslaved, I might as well be wearing a collar with your name on it.”


“Christ, Stephen. I want you to fuck yourself on me. Pleasure yourself on my cock exactly how you want. Make yourself come.”

This are just a part of their hot interactions.

Apart from steamy and emotional, this book was so funny. British humour at its finest form.

“No. It’s like Earl Grey.”
“The tea?”
“The lord.”

This book had a real plot and the twists were interesting. New secondary characters were introduced and I liked a couple of them. Some famous places of London were mentioned, and I was imagining how those modern places that I see every day would have been back then.

Happily to book 3 :)
Profile Image for Jordan Hawk.
Author 82 books2,444 followers
January 12, 2014
Even better than the first book! While keeping all the excitement and charm of The Magpie Lord, A Case of Possession expands the world of Day and Crane. We meet the other members of Day's team, all of whom are colorful and fascinating on their own, as well as a number of Crane's friends from Shanghai.

The romance between Day and Crane remains sizzling. One of the things I particularly enjoyed was seeing a bit more of Crane's character, from his willingness to help a friend no matter what, to his desire to protect Day from the suspicion of his colleagues. I can't say too much without giving away spoilers, but if you loved The Magpie Lord, you will love this installment even more.
Profile Image for Macky.
1,864 reviews232 followers
February 7, 2014

A never published, old newspaper draught found recently in the secret drawer of an old victorian writing bureau:


This is Max 'Macky' McMackster reporting on recent animal attacks that as of late, have been ravaging London. Rumours that these attacks have been made by rats the size of dogs is rife and rat bites have been confirmed by the coroner but reports that the bodies have been savagely ripped apart seems to rule out that this could indeed have been the common sewer rat, Rattus norvegicus. The more logical reason being that this is more likely to have been perpetrated by a mad dog roaming the city, although this is yet again unconfirmed as of this time. However, there are witnesses (I refuse to name for fear of their safety) who are staunch in their claim that this attack was indeed a swarm of rats, swelling and growing to giant proportions in front of their very eyes, before viciously rampaging! The constabulary are claiming this hysteria to be a case of fever but this reporter is starting to wonder if there isn't some truth to the matter, as further investigations and other secret witness sightings and reports have been filtering through, and if what they're saying is true then this could indeed be the scoop of the century!

Something mysterious is afoot dear readers. A trusted source of information has told this Chronicle reporter that alongside the savage attacks there have also been odd sightings of
flocks of Magpies or should we say charms, or indeed murders of magpies! Are these more fortuitous naming's? This alone is strange in itself, as generally we tend only to see these birds singly, or at the very least, in pairs, bringing to mind the child's nursery rhyme " One For Sorrow." My witness wasn't overly certain but spoke of seeing no less than seven, possibly many more, of the menacing black and white birds which in the rhyme would equate to " Seven for a secret never to be told" and there are definitely secrets being kept here!

What this reporter has managed to dig out is that oddly whenever the magpies are sighted, so are two very particular men. One who is well known to the city and this paper; Lucien Vaudrey or The Earl Crane as he is known within the nobility. A man with a reputation and murky past, a trader, and it has been intimated, a smuggler with dubious ties to Shanghai. Now one of England's richest eligible bachelors it is a well known fact that he declines to grace society with his presence, instead devoting his time to his debatable business practices and the company of the second man who I shall be introducing in a moments time. As yet there is no sign of him picking out a duchess from the many society beauties vying for his attentions because there are rumblings and (unconfirmed) rumours that Lord Crane's romantic leanings tend towards a direction not looked kindly upon, which I shall leave you to make your own conclusions about as It would be libellous to make such a statement without proof, and most dangerous to his lordship. This leads me to the second man who we have been told has been seen to be very 'up close and personal' with Lord Crane and has indeed been much harder to investigate but after some intense digging I have found that this man is named Stephan Day, a most curious, perplexing character. It has been noted that there is a chemistry between these two gentlemen that goes beyond just friendship. It starts to get even more puzzling as my source has uncovered that Stephan Day has possible ties to some form of the occult, if that is the right description, as the word "Warlock" has been bandied about but something tells me that this is not actually the case with this secretive man, although there is definitely something of the arcane around him.
A few months ago this pair were involved in another scandal based mystery surrounding the death of Crane's father, a most despicable man who it seems had been central to the ruination of Stephan Days own father. At the time there were also reluctant witnesses who spoke of paranormal, magical practices which brings me to the conclusion that mystical forces could in fact be at play here, making the sightings of the magpies and the giant rats a more tenable conclusion. There have been too many coincidences for all these threads to not be connected. I have also uncovered plots to blackmail both Crane, Day and a close acquaintance of Lord Crane's, who once again I cannot reveal by name or sex. Plus, recent suspicious deaths, that on first glance would appear to be completely separate from the vicious rat attacks, now, upon closer inspection show coincidental ties to the above gentlemen and their cronies. Finally there is an even weirder connection to the Chinese community in Limehouse, where stirrings of something of a supernatural nature is causing panic amongst them...whisperings about some eerie Chinese legend known as "The Hungry Ghost" which I have yet to research.
For legal reasons the Chronicle will not be able to confirm any of the above, but where there's smoke there's usually fire and let me just say that I almost got burnt as I got close to certain truths that I know may sound unbelievable but are becoming more credible as my investigation progresses. At one point I was approached by a most enigmatic yet fearsome man named Merrick who threatened to remove my limbs from my torso if I didn't let this matter drop and I fear that if I submit this article for publication that is exactly what will happen and if the danger does not come from him, it will come from someone involved with other worldly forces, who I feel are watching my every move! So at this moment in time I am keeping this article on hold until the day when I can finally release it to you, the public because there are diabolical conspiracies at large and I will fight to bring them to the notice of...

Hush! Forgive me one second, I must just set my pen down for I hear a strange scratching noise coming from the vicinity of my front door, something is scrabbling at the base and it sounds like claws.. no, it cannot be... oh dear god...they're squeezing under the door now.... they're huge! .... help me...someone... please help me.........

Present day:
OMG! It looks like there was much more to THAT story than meets the eye! This would make an awesome book if only someone would look into it further and write about it. I know I would absolutely love it and if I had to rate it it would definitely be 5 rip roaring, adventurous, refreshingly different, magical stars! And throw in some hot,sexy M/M shenanigans. What more could a girl ( or guy) want!

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Profile Image for Kat.
940 reviews
October 31, 2014
Apologies for spamming your feeds with magpies, my friends...0_o

An entertaining blend of adventure, suspense, horror, romance and hotness. My only niggle being that this story felt rushed. The various components of the story all fought for attention, and I don't think the author took as much time as I considered necessary to flesh out all the bits satisfyingly.

A Case of Possession was therefore a pulpy fun packed joy-ride, the unfulfilled potential mainly regrettable when it came to discovering what made the main characters tick and their relational development. I think the hurried declarations, Lord Crane's as well as Stephen's and the unraveling of the plot's climax had deserved more TLC.

On to book 3!:)
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,984 reviews1,992 followers
November 28, 2018
Real Rating: 4.5* of five

Not quite five...although it was set to be...because when the enemy was vanquished, there were still things to be done that weren't. The dead men, the story that inspired the hideous plague of rats were not tied together anywhere near well enough.

But the men are, as always, a delight, and the magpies in their various forms are outstandingly well used. There is nothing not to like in the character development department. There could be a lot more of this majgickq system used and explained, but that's the fun of a series, making discoveries as we go along! And Author Charles already knows the answers to the questions I'm thinking up. I am confident of that. These reads make that completely clear: I am in confident, powerful hands as I read, following a competent guide through a well made maze.

What fun. What a delicious escape from the dystopian epic I'm sure I fell into by accident. I want to go home now, please. But in the meantime I have Lucien and Stephen to keep me distracted.
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 76 books2,539 followers
January 30, 2014
4.5 stars. This was a different book from the first, and I loved it for and in spite of those differences.

It's a more emotional book, with more heart. Crane and Stephen matter to each other now, not as two men in the first brilliant flash of mutual attraction, but with a bond that is deeper than they sometimes care to admit. The funny little foretaste in the free short, Interlude with Tattoos, has become a melding of talents and desires. They are still living apart, having separate but sometimes intensely intersecting lives. But that's taking self-control from both of them, as they resist a deeper relationship for different reasons. I love emotion in my books, and liked feeling the heart of the story more intensely here.

On the other hand, this is a less-tightly-crafted book. The crystal polish of language in the first one seems a bit more muted, and the mystery is simpler. That's not all bad - I found the climax of this book easier to follow and more concrete, which I personally prefer. Crane's banter was also less sharp, perhaps because love was mellowing him (although he would no doubt be very dismayed at that thought.) At least, without Stephen as a fully deserving and ready target, he had slightly fewer beautifully-cutting lines here.

In this book we meet important secondary characters with enough detail for us to get a better feel for them. In addition to the inimitable Merrick, we meet Stephen's fellow justiciars and get to see them at work. The historical setting plays a strong role, reminding us that we have come far, if not far enough. There is more sex, and it's well done, with heat and desire that also moves the story forward.

I enjoyed this, devoured it in one reading, and will happily reread when the next one comes out.
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,392 reviews44 followers
April 13, 2019
Reread April 2019

Right, this is what happens when you innocently pick up a book you love to reread, and then suddenly find yourself totally involved, devouring the whole series! I couldn't help myself.
After rereading book 1 which was to bridge the time before a book release I'd been waiting for, it felt like ... wham! I was sucked into the Magpie Lord world like nobody's business!

Again, I adored Stephen and Lucien, the dynamics between them in- and outside the bedroom, and comments like this made me light-headed:

“I like to make you know your master”, Crane said. “It’s only fair. The rest of the time, you’ve got me so thoroughly enslaved, I might as well be wearing a collar with your name on it.”
That coming from Lucien was totally swoon-worthy!

As is the dry humour, btw!
Absolutely wonderful!

Original review

The romance, the sexual tension, the tenderness I missed in book 1 - I found it all in book 2. K.J.Charles has a knack of writing a really good plot and I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery about the big rats. What I enjoyed even more though is the development of Stephen and Lucien's relationship. We finally did get some pining and a little bit of heart-ache.It is a shame the book is so short, I could have done with a little bit more of that.
It was totally fascinating to see how Stephen and Lucien's magical bond flowers and how it empowers them. As for the inked magpie migrating from one to the other - that was a stroke of genius.
The rich imagination, the wonderful secondary characters (I love Merrick and Stephen's justiciary friends) and the skilled writing in this book can only be applauded. A great read! (but you really should read book 1 before you embark on this!)
Oh, and I do love the cover of the book. I did have trouble visualizing Stephen and this did help.
Profile Image for Arunimaa.
210 reviews214 followers
September 6, 2020
*3.75 stars*

note - I have a massive headache and I can barely keep my eyes open right now (just have had a rough last couple of days), so my apologies for this sorry excuse of a review.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Case of Possession with its witty dialogue, exciting storyline, and just the right dosage of smut. These books are pretty short reads, so I wouldn't dive in with the expectations for a phenomenal storyline. The fantastical plot is fairly exciting and offers an excellent complement to the romance but it really isn't exactly mindblowing or anything. It would deliver a solid three if I were to rate the book solely on the basis of the plot. However, the charm of this series lies in our couple and their super satisfactorily hot romance. I loved the development in their relationship i this book. And it was just awfully cute and sexy at the same time. And all in all, I had a lot of fun with this short, gripping read.

* i read this book under AROUND THE YEAR IN 52 BOOKS READING CHALLENGE 2020 for A book with a silhouette on the cover.*
Profile Image for Lilia Ford.
Author 15 books185 followers
January 28, 2014
It's even better than the first. There's more sex--and better. Snap! Our cast expands, adding several great and funny new characters. We get to see Stephen in Justiciar action with his bad-ass team of magical SWATs. Speaking of, the story features enough gory, revolting mayhem to satisfy a hard-core gamer. I'll put in a special word of praise for the dialogue, which is just so fucking smart I'm still coming down off the buzz it gave me. On second thought--screw the coming down--I think I'll just start reading it again right now, a not-so-little pick-me-up for this ass-freezing January day.

Bottom line: READ IT!
Profile Image for Sunny.
1,012 reviews123 followers
December 16, 2014
See me all flushed and catching my breath...

Crane gives me shivers. Delicious shivers. And that was just watching him deal with a blackmailer. Then, to see him with Stephen...there are no words.
"You. Get your mouth back on my cock. Now."
So imperious, but so desperate. And so flippin' hot.

I loved seeing Crane obsess about Stephen. Poor Crane, so not used to being the one who waits and wants. His vulnerability was sweet, and a beautiful contrast to his domineering ways. Seeing him with Stephen? Perfection.

And Merrick. I hereby nominate him for best character in a supporting role. His insights and his pragmatism...such a good match for Crane. I also liked getting to know Esther and Leo, as well as several other secondary characters.

I was lost in this story, the pages passing too quickly even as I savored each one. So much intensity, and humor, and tenderness, all wrapped up in an intriguing, engaging story that I didn't want to end.

Yes, KJ Charles has a deft hand with words. Creepy words that haunt me. Humorous words that make me laugh. Erotic words that make me squirm. And lovely words that touch my heart. I am a puddle of feelings right now, and I'll be riding this high for awhile.

See me happy...
Profile Image for Melindam.
666 reviews293 followers
July 16, 2020
3,6 stars

Still fun and the exciting little magical investigation story ads lots of spice to the romance.

Loved the cast of secondary characters, starting with Lord Crane's valet/henchman Merrick and Esther, Stephen's partner in magical crime investigation.

On to book 3 now.
Profile Image for Loulou .
1,001 reviews
December 8, 2021
Ummm... Yeah I finished the second book.

I'm officially obssesed with this series.

Stephen and Lucian are just everything!!!

again... I liked:
- The fast paced "case" which was gross but great lol.
- The MCs. Sigh.
- The Romance which is progressing amazingly!
- The steam... phew
- The ILYs which was PERFECT.
- How Stephen is cuddly and needy and Lucian is all too happy to indulge.
- The HFN: I can't wait for the next one!!!!
- The Narration: Cornell Collins is just superb. Also, his sex scene narration is.... umm... enthusiastic. lol

Favorite quote:
"My life changed four months ago, and I utterly failed to understand that until just recently, and therefore…I may have omitted to tell you that I love you."

Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,862 followers
July 16, 2017
⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱*Powerful bond*⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱

Lucien Vaudrey, aka Lord Crane (37) and magician Stephen Day (29) are back, stronger and closer with new and more adventures. There's giant rats killing people, Stephen working too much, Crane worrying, a blood-and-sex bond, growing threats of exposure and a really big risk of losing everything. Can Crane and Stephen get through this whole and together?
“I like to make you know your master,” Crane said. “It's only fair. The rest of the time you've got me so thoroughly enslaved, I might as well be wearing a collar with your name on it.”

Overall, the characters are still interesting. I'm glad we still are getting to know them and I still adore Crane's relationship with his handman, Merrick (in his forties?). I love the bond between Stephen and Crane, however, I feel like they are getting to know each other outside of what we get to read. Like we're not getting to know them as they are getting know each other, and that's one of the things I didn't like so much about this series. I do like the story though, so the series is indeed worth reading.
“My life changed four months ago, and I utterly failed to understand that until just recently, and therefore… I may have omitted to tell you that I love you.” He took a breath. “That’s all.”

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (A) Paranormal Romance (M/M)
Series: - Series, Book Two
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite character? - Lucien Vaudrey.
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Sure.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Yes.
Will I read this again in the future? - Who knows.
Rating - 3 stars.
Profile Image for Elizabetta.
1,224 reviews34 followers
December 2, 2014

4.5 stars

RATS!! Rats, rats, rats everywhere! Mutant rats. Tidal waves of scurrying, ravaging little beasties… well, maybe not so little. There’s blood and guts and gore and lots of eeww-yuck grizzly bits. If you’re squeamish, beware!

But for the rest of us, this is another great chapter in the adventures of the debonair Earl Crane, the Magpie Lord. This second book finds Lucien Vaudrey (does the man have enough names?) still in England even though life would be so much easier back in China. He’s tending to his business, checking his chits, but what keeps him here? Could his distraction have anything to do with the sweet practitioner, slash-witch, slash-shaman, Stephen Day? It seems that Crane’s heart is lost to him.

In A Case of Possession, we get another ripping mystery. Again, it’s about mysterious ghosts, but teamed with ruthless, ravenous rats haunting the slums of London, and a clever connection to Chinese lore. We also see more of the developing relationship between Crane and Stephen. That this author can weave a tight, engrossing plot was proven in the first book. Added to the mix is the conundrum of Crane’s and Stephen’s intimate relationship -- it seems that it affects Stephen’s magic abilities. The two continue to scorch the sheets (and defile desk tops) in the most delicious (and entertaining) way.

“Please, my lord!… Make me yours,” said Stephen. “Make me fly. Make the magpies fly…”… magpies were rising all around them in a storm of wings…”

But their connection causes the Magpie magic hidden in Crane’s blood to enhance Stephen’s abilities. Not a problem, except for the unwanted attention this has drawn from Stephen’s practitioner colleagues. This means we finally get to meet his colorful teammates as they troop the alleyways and cellars of London in search of nefarious shamans and blood thirsty rodents.

Not only must Crane and Stephen face more paranormal threats to English society, but they must now figure out how to save Stephen’s reputation as a just and honorable shaman. The looming censure by his fellow practitioners weighs heavily and threatens his and Crane’s relationship.

The sophomore attempt in a series has often been a bellwether of success… the glow of the first book has worn off, and now we must see what this stuff is really made of. But our two fearless lovers and their man, Merrick, continue to hold their own very well as their history elaborates. There is lots to love and more still to discover in the Charm of Magpies series.

A Case of Possession is a very satisfying addition to the series -- a well written and complex enough mystery with (rats! demonic, red-eyed, yellowed-fanged and twitchy-clawed.) lots of suspense, lovely witchery and gory gore. Recommended.

Read an interview with the author and find out lots more about Crane, Stephen and Merrick at this link:

Author Interview

And another little freebie...

If you loved The Magpie Lord and you want MORE. Please follow the link below to an exclusive short scene:

The Smuggler and the Warlord featuring a Crane and Merrick adventure in China, and only found on our blog. Much thanks to KJ Charles for writing this shortie for us!


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