Lessons in Temptation by Charlie Cochrane

Lessons in Temptation by Charlie Cochrane


He thinks he has everything. Until someone tries to steal it.

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 5

For friends and lovers Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart, a visit to Bath starts out full of promise. While Orlando assesses the value of some old manuscripts, Jonty plans to finish his book of sonnets. Nothing exciting…until they are asked to investigate the mysterious death of a prostitute.

Then Orlando discovers that the famous curse of Macbeth extends far beyond the stage. It’s bad enough that Jonty gets drawn into a local theatre’s rehearsals of the play. The producer is none other than Jimmy Harding, a friend from Jonty’s university days who clearly finds his old pal irresistible. Worse, Jimmy makes sure Orlando knows it, posing the greatest threat so far to their happiness.

With Jonty involved in the play, Orlando must do his sleuthing alone. Meanwhile, Jonty finds himself sorely tempted by Jimmy’s undeniable allure. Even if Orlando solves the murder, his only reward could be burying his and Jonty’s love in an early grave…

i hope you are prepared to fight..

Channeling Morpheus Series by Jordan Castillo Price

Channeling Morpheus Series by Jordan Castillo Price

gritty, urban vampire tales

These novelette-length stories are scary as hell and packed with freaky sex. Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got his eye on Michael, and he’s willing to do anything to go home with him. If the romance between Gomez & Morticia gives you goosebumps of delight, if you look forward to Halloween movie marathons all year long, if you’ve got a soft spot for fake fog and black lights, then Channeling Morpheus is the series for you!

more addicting than any of practiced fuck-me eyes

Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price

Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price

Don’t miss the riveting fifth chapter in the PsyCop saga, Camp Hell.

Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.

Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?


This is the fifth and most recent book in the PsyCops series. If you’ve been reading them all along – as you should – you know that the fourth book ended on a huge cliff hanger. Thankfully I had Camp Hell already waiting so I wasn’t too bothered but no doubt if you read at release you’ve been waiting eagerly for this offering. For those new to the series, the books follow first person narrator and cop Vic as he struggles with his talent. He sees ghosts, very vividly and often confusing the living with the dead. He handles his talent by repressing his past and drugging himself until he can barely function; thank god the city of Chicago gives him a gun. He’s mostly got his drug cocktail to the point he knows exactly how much to take but recent medication scares, kidnappings, and all around weirdness have Vic attempting less drug use and the more radical idea of learning to control his talent. But before you think loveable failure Vic is reformed, he’s just as self absorbed and messy as ever.

In this installment Vic is obsessed with finding out what happened to him during his time at Camp Hell. Affectionately called such by the inmates, Vic repressed almost all his memories of that time in order to function without the panic attacks and overwhelming fear associated with those memories. However when Vic discovered in Secrets that he was wiped clean from the internet and kept a secret, he digs deeper to find some of the missing people from his Camp Hell days. First up is his old lover and best friend, Stefan now Steven. While Vic is attempting therapy with Stefan/Steven, he also has to contend with finding some ghosts killing people at a nearby hospital, repairing the damage to his relationship with Jacob, and last but not least a new psychic watch group seems to be all over Vic.

Once again I felt the plot was too disjointed and unfocused. Vic as a first person narrator is absorbing and enthralling with his weakness, flaws, and reluctant hero antics. However his focus shifts from his obsession to his past to his police case to his relationship with Jacob to his drugs and back again in almost neck breaking pace. The various elements are disparate and didn’t combine cohesively enough to create a tight, even story. That is not to say the plot isn’t interesting and absorbing, because it certainly is. Unfortunately it is also messy and spread out without any particular focus, much as the character of Vic often is as well. Vic jumps from scene to scene and element to element in the way his mind often works, obsessing on the most important thing to him at that time and often using or ignoring everything else. This includes his boyfriend Jacob, his partner Zigler, his friends Lisa and Crash, and anything else that doesn’t revolve around his at the moment fixation. Here Vic slowly begins to realize that he is selfish and completely self absorbed, yet caring and loving in his own way. He also begins to realize that he needs more control over his talent and drugs aren’t always the answer.

This installment adds more depth and development to all the characters. From Vic’s slow awareness to Jacob’s new ability, even Zigler’s actions and those of the psychic watch group help create more context than fluff to this story. Unfortunately the hospital story line with the scary ghost is unfortunate since it’s almost forgettable and often Vic is more obsessed with his therapy, his paranoia, his relationship, and his drugs than actually doing his job as a detective. However the added context to Zigler from the last book and continued in this one creates an intriguing outline and I hope that he’ll stick around.

The main focus of the book and the series however is and always will be Vic. The other characters revolve in his orbit to a greater or lesser degree but it’s all about Vic. He is finally learning to accept his talent, instead of medicate, and more so learning what his limits and abilities really are. Before he seems to luck out on finding solutions or with the help of actual trained detectives solve a case. In this offering, Vic takes more control and handles a terrifying ghost with his own power on purpose. Additionally Vic is slowly starting to understand Jacob more and appreciate all the work Jacob does in their relationship. Not that Vic takes him for granted per se, but Vic’s obsessions take precedence over everything, including Jacob. I can’t wait to see how much more Vic can grow in future editions.

Get it HERE!

Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price

Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price


Victor Bayne’s job as a PsyCop involves tracking down dead people and getting them to spill their guts about their final moments. It’s never been fun, per se. But it’s not usually this annoying.

Vic has just moved in with his boyfriend Jacob, he can’t figure out where anything’s packed, and his co-worker is pressuring him to have a housewarming party.

Can’t a guy catch a break?

On a more sinister note, Vic discovers there’s absolutely no trace of him online. No trace of anyone else who trained at "Camp Hell," either.

Everyone Vic knows has signed a mysterious set of papers to ensure his "privacy." The contracts are so confidential that even Vic has never heard of them. But Jacob might have.

What other secrets has Jacob been keeping?




The fourth book in the series harkens back to the style of the first and creates addictive dialogue, entertaining prose, and a quick pace to the story that is as engaging as the first in the series. Although the last two books had some plot problems – weak and unfocused – this particular offering combines Vic’s work with Jacob’s and allows the focus to tighten with great results. The focus on Vic and Jacob’s relationship alongside a case they are both working on allows both the police/ghost case to shine while looking deeper at their relationship. For fans of the series, you won’t want to miss this installment but those new to the series should start at the beginning. Readers can read this as a stand alone, enough information is reiterated so readers won’t be lost, but the depth and context are greater in the series.


Here Vic and Jacob have moved in together but before they can unpack Jacob is called in on a sex crime at a retirement home but with a twist that may need Vic’s special talents. In the meantime, Vic is left wandering around their home with barely any idea of how to unpack or what to do with himself. This leads to trouble of course and Vic realizes that everyone around him is “in” on the secret to keep him a mystery and hidden. Between the pill popping, the investigation into Vic’s online presence (or lack thereof), and Jacob’s new mystery case, the two are in over their heads in ghosts, secrets, problems, and potential pitfalls.


The police case in this particular offering is much tighter and more interesting than the past two books. Jacob’s rape case in the retirement home leads to some paranormal action and thus Vic and a surprise cameo of Lisa must work with Jacob and Carolyn to find some answers. The fact that the police case allows all four to work together helps keep a tight focus and quick pace to the story without wandering off in any one direction. The problems and issues Jacob and Vic face from jealousy to lies to uncomfortable conversations are not a separate tangent as in the other books but tightly woven into the main police case. Whereas in the past the various cases Vic worked on felt inconsequential and forgettable, the force of Jacob’s dynamic personality combined with the chemistry between Jacob and Vic to give a more interesting and riveting narrative. This keeps the pace consistent from scene to scene without needing too many side trips.


The relationship between Vic and Jacob also gains more depth as previously I’d worried that Jacob seems to only be with Vic because of his psychic abilities. Clearly this is part of Vic’s appeal for Jacob but considering the absolute mess Vic is, there has to be an appeal somewhere besides good sex so I’m not as uncomfortable with the theme as in previous books. Instead the mistakes and flaws Jacob exposes are refreshing and humanizing, showing a man with more texture and interest than the perfection Vic sees. Vic is slowly gaining insight into his talent and finally the need for control – other than pharmaceutical based – is sinking into his head.


The writing is good with few awkward pauses and information dumps. There is enough reiterated information that a new reader won’t be lost and old readers can catch up but less jarring commentary. Instead the dialogue and prose keep the story moving quickly and easily with Vic’s engaging voice and first person narration. The pill popping, ghost hunting, and relationship challenges make for a thoroughly entertaining story and the mixture of all of those into one tight, cohesive plot makes this one of the best in the series. Be sure to pick up this series if you haven’t, it’s quick and composed entirely of novellas so each fast story is a delight. 

Get it HERE!

Body & Soul: a PsyCop Novel by Jordan Castillo Price

Body & Soul: a PsyCop Novel by Jordan Castillo Price



Thanksgiving can’t end too soon for Victor Bayne, who’s finding Jacob’s family hard to swallow. Luckily, he’s called back to work to track down a high-profile missing person.


Meanwhile, Jacob tries to find a home they can move into that’s not infested–with either cockroaches, or ghosts. As if the house-hunting isn’t stressful enough, Vic’s new partner Bob Zigler doesn’t seem to think he can do anything right. A deceased junkie with a bone to pick leads Vic and Zig on a wild chase that ends in a basement full of horrors.




The third book in the PsyCops series and while these novellas are fun to read and enjoyable, they are starting to feel like fluff and completely unnecessary. This particular offering, Body and Soul, is even more unfocused than the last book in the series and seems to do nothing to further the characters development or the series in general. It’s an easy read with an engaging voice, great dialogue and tight descriptions but the mystery portion is definitely the weakest of the book and the progression of the series is non-existent. Fans of the series will likely want to continue with the unique setting and entertaining voice of Vic, but hopefully the next few books are tighter with a purpose to their actions.


Here Vic is called into work during the Thanksgiving holiday. He is to find a group of seemingly random but connected missing persons, one of whom is the son of a political player in Chicago. While this investigation is going on, Jacob is house hunting and Vic must help ensure that their future house is ghost free and an appropriate sanctuary.


The story has some interesting promise with Vic meeting Jacob’s family but this is ruined with the long and unnecessary information offered at the beginning. No doubt this is meant to catch readers up and remind them of the past books but it felt repetitive and lengthy as the conflict that could happen fizzles out and goes nowhere as Vic soon leaves the family holiday anyway. The mystery he leaves for is also full of possibility but again goes nowhere really and the final resolution is absurd, slightly confusing, and uninteresting. This is frustrating as the mystery portions of the books are increasingly becoming unnecessary and pointless. They allow Vic’s internal dialogue and commentary to litter the page in an appealing way but the purpose to the movements and actions is diluted and without purpose.


Furthermore the progression of Vic and Jacob’s relationship to the point of living together and even using the dreaded “L” word appears in this offering, but very little attention and time is actually spent on the two. Instead the story seems to meander from the day to day workings of the investigation, which largely offer no insight into the mystery as almost all their efforts are fruitless. The narrative follows the crazy twists and turns of Vic’s mind and his ability to see and talk to ghosts. This offers the most entertainment and humor as Vic’s first person narrative keeps the story moving, interesting, and with a gritty detail that hallmarks the series. However, there is very little actual depth and meaning to these activities. Vic drifts from scene to scene, mostly talking to ghosts or in his mind about his addictions and fears and past, while the other members of the cast orbit around Vic with small insertions such as dialogue or sex or commentary.

Here there is no additional depth to Jacob’s character and any time Vic does or says something strange, Jacob seems to be turned on. This is explained that Jacob has a bit of a fetish about paranormal activity which unfortunately had me wondering this particular book if Jacob really loves Vic or just gets off on Vic’s paranormal ability. This was an uncomfortable feeling and one I actively worked to ignore/put aside since I like the couple a lot but wanted more depth and emotion between the men and not just the paranormal aspects. Of course these cloud and overwhelm Vic on an almost constant basis but there has to be more to their relationship. I’m waiting to find out what that is exactly and hopefully that will be apparent in future books.


So while I really enjoy reading these, when I put this particular book down I realized I could have skipped it entirely and moved on to the next book. This goes nowhere, adds nothing although thoroughly entertaining to read. I will say this is not the new 2nd edition that is coming out in a week of so (perhaps I should have waited?) so perhaps the new edited edition is tighter and more polished. Either way, I’ll continue on to Secrets and I really love the Vic/Jacob match up, so here’s to hoping there is more depth.

Get it HERE!


Criss Cross by Jordan Castillo Price

Criss Cross by Jordan Castillo Price


Criss Cross finds the ghosts surrounding Victor getting awfully pushy. The medications that Victor usually takes to control his abilities are threatening to destroy his liver, and his new meds aren’t any more effective than sugar pills.

Vic is also adjusting to a new PsyCop partner, a mild-mannered guy named Roger with all the personality of white bread. At least he’s willing to spring for the Starbucks.

Jacob’s ex-boyfriend, Crash, is an empathic healer who might be able to help Victor pull his powers into balance, but he seems more interested in getting into Victor’s pants than in providing any actual assistance.




Sometimes proficient authors with large backlists can be scary with such questions as where to start and how to sample without feeling overwhelmed. Thankfully Jordan Castillo Price has made things really really easy for those readers who haven’t sampled her fabulous PsyCops series. When I first read Among The Living, it was offered as a free download to entice readers. I have no doubt it worked since it intrigued me enough to buy the next 2 books immediately. Now that offer is gone but JCP still offers the first HALF of Among the Living for free over at GLBT bookshelf. Now that’s a deal. Additionally her site now makes it crystal clear how the series is to be read and in what order. It truly makes my little reader heart soar with happiness. I mention this specifically because I had commented on such problems when I read the first book. So enough of that – how was Criss Cross you may ask. It was a pretty good sequel, not as good as the first but enough to hook me on the series definitely.

Here Vic, our favorite drug popping psychic cop has a new partner. Unfortunately the ghosts around him have multiplied and Vic’s favorite drug induced coma coping mechanism has been taken away from him. Not to mention Vic seems to be channeling a dead killer while sleeping with his kind of new boyfriend, Jacob. As if all of this wasn’t enough, Jacob’s ex appears to help Vic cleanse his aura and Lisa is calling with cryptic messages from California. Vic must sort it all out before his head explodes or his liver does from drug use.

Told again in first person point of view from Vic’s perspective, the strength of the story relies on Vic’s drug popping nature and his dry sense of humor. The ability to recognize crazy in himself and still manage to function is a cornerstone of the story, and series, when his drug use and instability would incapacitate most people. The story itself is somewhat indistinct and loose and lacks a strong focus. There is a purpose to the action, but the reasoning is vague and limited to the last few pages. Several of the set up scenes are obvious in their intent and Vic’s constant distraction and absent attention can be frustrating. That guy with a chainsaw at 2 am is not necessarily just cutting down a bothersome tree people. However there are always reasonable excuses for each lapse on Vic’s part, even if the reader is annoyed at the lack of intelligence sometimes.

Another of the strengths of the story is the solid characterization and furthering the relationship between Vic and Jacob. Although neither man is given more depth than the previous novella, their relationship is strong, interesting, and engaging without overwhelming the story with sappy, unnecessary romance and sentimentality. The strong, silent nature of their relationship works very well so the focus of Vic’s mental chaos doesn’t overwhelm the story with too many components. Additionally the engaging voice and dialogue make the story a fun, entertaining read and one you don’t want to put down. There is subtle humor, horror, and paranormal elements deftly woven into the setting and characters creating a unique atmosphere and series that instantly attracts and draws readers in from the first scene to the last. The quick pace and dry wit keep readers connected to the story and interested in the outcome.

Although the story lacked a strong focus and meandered along for most of the novella, the great writing keeps this as a fun, must read for the series. The urban fantasy setting is more complex and intricate in this book so that also helps cover the lack of complicated mystery. The wonderful writing, tight descriptions, and crisp pose make this a solid story you won’t want to miss. If you haven’t started the PsyCops series I suggest you do so and I personally am excited to read the next books and hope to eventually get through that extensive backlist and series.

Get it HERE


Lessons in Power by Charlie Cochrane

Lessons in Power by Charlie Cochrane

The ghosts of the past will shape your future. Unless you fight them.

Cambridge, 1907

After settling in their new home, Cambridge dons Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart are looking forward to nothing more exciting than teaching their students and playing rugby. Their plans change when a friend asks their help to clear an old flame who stands accused of murder.

Doing the right thing means Jonty and Orlando must leave the sheltering walls of St. Bride’s to enter a labyrinth of suspects and suspicions, lies and anguish.

Their investigation raises ghosts from Jonty’s past when the murder victim turns out to be one of the men who sexually abused him at school. The trauma forces Jonty to withdraw behind a wall of painful memories. And Orlando fears he may forever lose the intimacy of his best friend and lover.

When another one of Jonty’s abusers is found dead, police suspicion falls on the Cambridge fellows themselves. Finding this murderer becomes a race to solve the crime…before it destroys Jonty’s fragile state of mind.


more of noodle head and idiot…

Lessons in Discovery by Charlie Cochrane

Lessons in Discovery by Charlie Cochrane

Orlando’s broken memory may break his lover’s heart.

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 3

Cambridge, 1906.

On the very day Jonty Stewart proposes that he and Orlando Coppersmith move in together, Fate trips them up. Rather, it trips Orlando, sending him down a flight of stairs and leaving him with an injury that erases his memory. Instead of taking the next step in their relationship, they’re back to square one. It’s bad enough that Orlando doesn’t remember being intimate with Jonty—he doesn’t remember Jonty at all.

Back inside the introverted, sexually innocent shell he inhabited before he met Jonty, Orlando is faced with two puzzles. Not only does he need to recover the lost pieces of his past, he’s also been tasked by the Master to solve a four-hundred-year-old murder before the end of term. The college’s reputation is riding on it.

Crushed that his lover doesn’t remember him, Jonty puts aside his grief to help decode old documents for clues to the murder. But a greater mystery remains—one involving the human heart.

To solve it, Orlando must hear the truth about himself—even if it means he may not fall in love with Jonty the second time around…

This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.




Continuing my reviews of this series, we’re now into book three. The series has definitely settled into a pattern with good characters that develop slowly in the context of each book while having a parallel light mystery occurring at the same time. The mystery is afforded as much page time as the actual relationship of Orlando and Jonty, yet the focus is firmly on the characters themselves. The solid writing is more engaging in this offering and the humor and light hearted wit bring more entertainment within the wonderfully historical setting. Although this book is a bit of a throwback to the original, this is the most enjoyable of the series so far and has got me hooked for future offerings. This is a reprint so those who have already read this series probably don’t need to re-buy but those new to the author/series definitely should.


In this installment Jonty and Orlando are celebrating their one year anniversary in decadent style. It’s been one wonderful year since Jonty attempted to abscond with Orlando’s chair in the Senior Common Room and Jonty proposes the two move into a house together away from St. Bride’s. Reluctant to change, the always cautious Orlando doesn’t immediately agree but has other thoughts on his mind at present. When those distracting thoughts lead to an injury, the entire last year is lost from Orlando’s memory. As part of his recovery, Orlando attempts to solve an old mystery at the college while reconnecting with his best friend and forgotten lover, Jonty.


The story is quick and entertaining as the relationship of Orlando and Jonty takes a step back when the shy and gentle Orlando forgets he ever had a friend, let alone a male lover. At the same time, there is the mystery of a missing heir that has become lore within the college. The two storylines share equal page time yet the focus is on the relationship first and foremost. The relationship between Orlando and Jonty harkens back to the first book when Jonty slowly seduces the other man, yet thankfully the development Orlando has had over the course of two books and one year has not disappeared. The changes evident in the man are still there and he reacts rather well to the new information, so much so that the actual injury is almost unimportant. Almost but not quite as it does lend itself well to the story and plays into the relationship in a fun and entertaining way.


The mystery is rather light and solved by the characters without much intuition from the reader. The additional information needed is within the set of letters, something the reader can’t deduce, and thus this has a disconnected quality to the story. I was always reminded I’m reading a story rather than experiencing it since all the details are available to the characters but not to the reader. However, the light mystery is engaging and enjoyable to read as it doesn’t overpower the book but introduces the lovely character of Miss Peters. Far from being the token females, her character and that of Mrs. Stewart are delightful and almost steal the scenes.  This combined with the charm of watching Orlando fall in love with Jonty all over again, but thankfully quicker this time, made for a surprisingly quick, thoroughly enjoyable tale.


The writing is very affected with the style of speech and even phrasing always being very true and authentic to the historical time period. When reading this story there is no doubt of the time period and the frequent reminders are wonderful, adding to the experience of reading a story fully engaged in that setting. The thorough research is evident and very few – if any – concessions are made for the time in an attempt to accept the relationship. The threat of exposure is always present and the men behave in a suitable manner, yet the humor and love between the two is constant and obvious. An example of what I mean is below:


Jonty had readily agreed—if he was to be forbidden some of the usual festive amusements, then a little cerebral exercise would be most welcome. As much as he looked forward to being home again, and for all that he said regarding his mama, he’d missed her enormously while he had been ill. He kept muttering that it didn’t seem like it would be a real Christmas without a proper Hogmanay ball and, although his mother had promised that the event would take place, it was to be a modified version with the minimum of dancing and frolicking. When Jonty had said he was determined to put some sort of spanner in those works, Orlando dreaded to think what the little toad had in mind.


This is another well written offering in the series and with several more to come, the possibilities are intriguing. The character of Orlando has developed and changed the most so the next book promises to delve more deeply into Jonty’s personality. Given the wealth of opportunity with their respective pasts, I’m very curious where the author will go next. The romance is not explicit and often uses analogies for any sexual act, giving a very sweet, light feeling to those scenes. So those looking for scorching hot explicit sex are going to be disappointed. However those who enjoy an accurate historical setting with well developed characters and a wonderful romance without needing to ignore the consequences and actions of the time period will be very pleased with this series. Start at the beginning and you’ll likely be hooked as well. One of my few qualms about this piece is that there are numerous editing errors and considering this is a re-released, I’m surprised there are that many. 

Get it HERE!

Book 1 Lessons in Love Review

Book 2 Lessons in Desire Review

Lessons in Desire by Charlie Cochrane

 Lessons in Desire by Charlie Cochrane


Perfect love casts out fear. If you let it.

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 2

Jersey, 1906

St. Bride’s English don Jonty Stewart is in desperate need of a break from university life. A holiday on the beautiful Channel Island of Jersey seems ideal, especially if he can coax his lover Orlando to step outside the college’s walls to come along.

Orlando Coppersmith is scared. Within the safe confines of the school it’s easy to hide the fact that they are not just friends, but lovers. In an unknown place, in full view of everyone, how will they keep their illegal affair private—much less dare to make love, even in the security of their suite?

A brutal murder at their hotel forces their personal problems into the background—at first. The race to catch the killer gets complicated when the prime suspect finds Orlando irresistible. Suddenly keeping their affair clandestine isn’t only a matter of legality. It’s a matter of life and death…




The second book in the Cambridge Fellows series is another wonderfully lyrical story that engages the reader with the slow pace of life in the early 1900s. This beautiful writing, clever mystery, touches of humor, and engaging characters create an interesting story that never sacrifices the pace and time for quick action or sex scenes. Although the pace may drag in some places, this is very likely to be reader specific. Be sure to pick up this story when you want an easy, languid journey filled with gentle laughter, love, and a touch of very English mystery. The lovely prose and delightful characters carry the book when the action is light.

Ten months have passed since Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith have been more than friends and Jonty decides it’s a perfect time for a vacation. The reserved and shy Orlando has great trepidation about a vacation away from St. Bride’s but is convinced to travel by his lover and best friend Jonty. Once on the island, Jonty and Orlando settle into the relaxing, enjoyable pace with new friends and childhood antics. Unfortunately their vacation is marred when one of the guests is found murdered and the amateur sleuths can’t help peeking into the investigation.

This story is set with a languid pace where there are no big action sequences, gunfights, dramatic scenes, or hysterical ranting. Every character is far too refined and English for such displays and thus even murder is handled in the most upright and gentlemanly fashion. The gentle flow of the vacation is filled with small delights. The antics remembered and reproduced from Jonty’s happy childhood scare and charm Orlando as he struggles to let go of his own unhappy past. Their relationship is revealed more as Orlando’s past is highlighted with his difficult parents and their affect on his current views. This even extends into Orlando’s fears of ultimate consummation, a fear that greatly frustrates Jonty. As Orlando and Jonty seek more intimacy in their relationship, they are hampered by the untimely murder of another guest in addition to Orlando’s paranoia at being discovered and his fears of change of any kind. 

The characters of Jonty and Orlando are once again beautifully drawn and fully realized. The established nature of their relationship is a wonderful addition as their ease with each other layers more texture to the story. Their depth and interaction make the tale come alive from the good-natured teasing to gentle fits. Their conversation is filled with humor amid staid English properness. Even their arguments are easy and without great drama, but the emotion is clearly present. Their love and even unhappiness is deeply felt and expressed in the smaller details and sighs than exaggerated action and statements. This is a story filled with subtle detail and the sum of those details produce a loving relationship with its ups and downs without great drama. 

The mystery itself is filled with fun characters from Matthew to Mrs. T and even the return of Investigator Wilson. As with the previous mystery there is perhaps too large a cast so as to keep the ultimate culprit a mystery, although clever clues and hints along the way will allow a savvy reader to discern the true villain. Not all the characters introduced are important or memorable so there is no need to try and keep track of the cast. The gentle pace never overwhelms and it’s easy to follow where the story leads. The immense amount of detail offered about the setting and time period show incredible research and thus builds an impeccable world of that time. From the meals to activities and even thoughts, hopes and fears of the time, the story is immersed in that time period with mastery.

If there are any qualms, it is that the book for me was sometimes slow and difficult to engage. While the writing is evocative and lyrical with often creative and delightful prose, the slow pace and unresolved issues led to some reader frustration. Orlando’s fears of the bedroom were never sufficiently explored, merely dropped. Due to his constant weighted fears of any change, this is clearly a significant and important step that seems glossed over in the scheme of the book. Additionally the details of the murder dragged, as the characters seemed to rehash the same information while rarely offering anything new. The most engaging part of the story was the interactions between Orlando and Jonty alone and their discussions.

Overall, this is another excellent edition of the series and it may please readers more than it did me. Although I greatly enjoyed reading it, those who enjoy a slower pace and glee over the details of the time period will be more riveted, but the gentle romance and so very English setting is fun to read. I’m very curious about future books in the series as the men are often paranoid about discovery yet still have much to learn and grow within their relationship. The side mystery this time didn’t entice me as much as the previous mystery but the writing is incredibly well done. If you’re a fan of the series, definitely continue.

Get it HERE!



StarCrossed 3 1/2 by Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod

StarCrossed 3 1/2 by Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod

Angel Tears is a "deleted scene" from the novel StarCrossed 3: Objects in the Mirror. The authors felt it slowed the pace of the story. However, character development and information in this scene will become important and meaningful as the series progresses.

As it should not be missed by fans of the series, this 6,666-word short story is being offered as a FREE READ.

While reading the cemetery scene in StarCrossed 3: Objects in the Mirror, did you wonder how the angel Sariel came to be in John and Matthew Banks’ possession, and how Sariel ended up in the condition he was in at the onset of that scene? If so, you don’t want to miss StarCrossed 3 1/2: Angel Tears.

Spoilers/Sequence Warning: This story contains spoilers for StarCrossed 3: Objects in the Mirror and should not be read out of order.




As this is simply a deleted scene and not a fully realized short story, it’s not really appropriate for a review. After all, how can you discuss characterization when it’s a simple scene taken out of context of the book by author choice? As it is, definitely read StarCrossed 3 first so you understand the players and their purpose but this scene absolutely adds to the story created. I have to trust the authors’ choice in taking the scene out yet I think it’s wonderful and allows the reader to see some of the best aspects of the writing and characters developed for this urban fantasy series.

As the “blurb” says, this is a deleted scene that shows how John Banks convinced Sariel to go along with his scheme to trap Jace Barton. It takes a minute to wrap your mind around the setting, since you’re dropped right into the scene and have to remember who these characters are and their connection to the larger StarCrossed story and world. But once you do, the scene is vivid, graphic, and stunning.

One of the best aspects of this short added scene was the depth given to John. Within SC 3, he’s clearly an "evil" force, but he’s not black and white simplistic evil. This scene typifies many of the scenes with John where the authors are able to show his complexity and depth. He’s not a cardboard evil man. He’s been warped by his upbringing and perhaps predisposed to cruelty but no doubt his childhood certainly played a part in creating the man he became. The ability to layer the hints of compassion with sharp cruelty all on the razor’s edge of pain was wonderful. 

The authors delve into the complexities of the “bad guy”, giving him more depth and reasoning. In this scene he has regret, compassion, fear, anger, cruelty, kindness, need, hatred, and even love and truly evil deeds. They all combine to give a fully three-dimensional creation to the character and I personally think the scene would have added to the original story. It does seem to take a side trip too far into John and Sariel, which may be the reasoning for why it was cut but this is one of the best elements of the authors’ writing – which is the ability to create compassion for even the most evil character. No one in their world is empty or a placeholder. Even those who do evil deeds (and arguably Jace is high on this list) have multifaceted personalities shaped by experience as much as nature. The lack of classic heroes and anti-heroes is another strength of their writing.

This scene also allows a good characterization of Sariel, who for all his presence in SC 3 felt unexplored and weak. I liked that this scene added depth to Sariel, showed more to him than simple acceptance or belief; it showed a struggle, compassion, his own mistakes and weaknesses. As one of the “good” angels, Sariel is not wholly good and is subject to missteps you wouldn’t think Angels would be capable of, including the blindness of love. He has his own regrets, failures, and fears as well as desires, needs, and wants. Most stories never delve into the darker side of angels; their sexual needs and desires that may embarrass even them. The authors will pretty much cross any line or taboo.

If you haven’t read the series before, this short scene won’t make much sense but it might give you an idea of the strength of the writing between these two. It’s visceral, gritty, hard hitting and not afraid of blood—literal and figurative—and a perfect example of why I enjoy this series so much.

 Get it HERE!


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