What I’ve been reading: ‘In Red, With Pearls’ by Patricia Briggs

Oh, wow.  This is the eighth story in the ‘Shifting Shadows’ short story collection by Patricia Briggs.  And this, this is my favourite, by far.

5355256940_ea1fb8b053_oimage – Conejo Conejo https://www.flickr.com/photos/findingalice/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/, no changes

It was an unfair contest, really.  This is the first story to give Mercyverse characters Warren, and his human mate Kyle, starring roles.  Warren and Kyle.  I know for sure that they’re not just my favourites.  They are swoony, ladies.  And gentlemen.  Swoony.

And it’s not only that it features my special pets.  This story, compared to the others thus far, is perfectly structured, the harmony of incident and character sings out, it’s just so satisfying.  It gives you everything you need to work with, warning rumblings of the storm ahead.  And yet, they’re backgrounded sufficiently for the ending to be a kick in the teeth from a mule.

And the passion!  The naked emotion from manly reserved men!  (Well, manly reserved Warren.  Kyle doesn’t hold back his feelings, any more than a bustin’ dam with a hundred tons of water pent up behind it.  When Kyle is indignant or enamoured or just plain out for blood, then look out!)

Oh man, don’t mess with Warren – or his man!  I pity the sister who messes with Warren’s Mr!  (Or Kyle’s, for that matter.)

Dammit.  It’s just too good.  It’s a taste that only makes the reader hungry for more: for a full-length novel, with Warren and Kyle front and centre.  Come onSurely there must be plans in the works?  A novella, even?  A little prequel covering how they met and got together would be amazing!

Ms Briggs!  With all these wonderful LGBTQ characters, you have truly spoiled us!  And like any spoilt brat, all I can say is can we have MORE slashy Mercyverse stories, and soon!  (Can we have gay Bran?)  (Can we have any kind of romance for Bran?  Bran needs lovin’!  Urgently!)

There’s just something about a gay werewolf, folks.  Furry, muscular, wild and free under the moon…  And after this wonderful story, I’m just howlin’ for more.

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Wolf Slave 11 – Alex Ankarr

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Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 11 – Alex Ankarr

It seems enough, for Hotstaat says, ‘Then go choose a book, and come sit by me and read to me.’

‘What manner of book might you prefer, sir?’ Penn does ask, for it seems wisest not to annoy the man with ill-choices. But he gets an impatient gesture of the hand in reply, and so moves off to make a decision himself. Better not to annoy with ill-received questions, also.

Out of a library of thousands and tens of thousands of books, to make a choice for a first impression upon a new owner, for a first reading… Damn, it’s not going to be easy. The classics, Penn decides: and fiction, definitely. Out of all safe choices, it’s surely the safest. Dickens, Voltaire, Tolstoy… His eyes run over them as he walks down the stacks. Then his eye falls upon Jane Eyre, and he picks it up. Mostly because he’s right by the appropriate shelf, and he can’t afford to aggravate Hotstaat by keeping him waiting any longer. This is it, this is the one.

When he goes to sit down by Hotstaat – as invited, not as if he would take the liberty off his own bat – he begins to announce his choice of book, mention its history, and seek approval of his choice. Or at least he would, but even as he begins he gets another impatient shooing-at. ‘Just read,’ Hotstaat says, journal on his lap and staring at the fire.

So Penn just reads, and he just reads for a good long time. By the time he has come to the point of the French child, Adèle, and Rochester disclaiming parentage of her because, after all, she is not a werewolf, and if she were his child then she would most assuredly be wolf-born – well, he has almost forgotten that he has an audience.

He remembers, though, when Hotstaat interrupts the flow of his narration, turning his head and speaking to him abruptly. ‘Annoying child, simpering miss, isn’t she?’ he says to Penn. ‘One can hardly blame Rochester for wishing to disown her. Do you remember, Penn, when we were that age? I am sure we were never half such little moaners and complainers. You might have whined a little for attention when you were in a snit: but you did not continue excessively, and when you were comforted you paid heed and quieted yourself.’

And Penn is transfixed: so much so that he cannot clear his throat to speak, not even when Hotstaat abruptly rises from his seat, and exits the library with a smooth despatch that leaves him gaping. The reading is at an end, then, at least as far as this late afternoon is concerned.

That is what he thinks, left sitting there with a great gape on his face, and quite a number of thoughts chasing each other through his head. One is that Ree’s hair has darkened quite a lot, since they were kids together. Another is along the lines of well, well, so it is Ree after all. He is Ree. Another says, well, there’s a piece of my childhood gone. From beloved childhood friend to distant master, and isn’t that just the way it goes.

He remembers clutching a hold of his Ree’s neck, as they’d torn him away, the day he’d had to leave with his mother. He remembers wetness on Ree’s cheek, his lips clamped together, sturdily being a little wolf-man. Well, they’ve certainly come a long way from those days.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

What I’ve been reading lately – Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

 

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image – Conejo Conejo https://www.flickr.com/photos/findingalice/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/, no changes

Finished reading Roses In Winter, seventh story in the collection.  It features Asil, the dominant and very old Spanish werewolf who has sought refuge with the Marrok’s pack.  And Kara, a minor character from the Mercyverse – a young girl who has been bitten, but is having trouble successfully making the transition to werewolf.

TBH I find almost any story featuring Asil tiresomely melodramatic.  I can’t help it, he just rubs me the wrong way.  It’s all death, tragedy, and profoundly sophisticated and seductive – well, he obviously thinks so – Eurotrashy gestures with this geezer.  I imagine him with an accent like the English spies off ‘Allo ‘Allo – “Is it a bumb?  I teenk it eez a bumb!”

This is a story you might like, if you like that sort of thing.  The ending should have wrung the heart, but it only made me roll my eyes.

Without the prosaic you can’t have the profound, for the highs you need the lows and the boring sea-level humdrum.  Asil’s tales aim for a continuous high pitch of drama, and wind up just screeching at you like a fire-alarm.

What I’ve been reading: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

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image – Conejo Conejo https://www.flickr.com/photos/findingalice/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/, no changes

Finished The Star Of David, an episode regarding the minor character David Christiansen, a friend and former colleague of Adam Hauptman from the Mercyverse. I liked David, and liked him more after this story: he’s deeply sympathetic, and very hard on himself. Rather as with Bran Cornick, I’d love to see him get a little romance in his life after this story: but a little redemption will do for now.

There’s more witchcraft in this tale, which I also favour.  And if I favour a happy ending – and got my money’s worth – well, there’s no law ag’in it.

it’s just a joke, bitch

wolf slave

Ehhh… you see… right…

It’s this Pam Grout ‘Art & Soul, Reloaded’ ongoing project I’m doing!  No, it’s not specifically a part of the tasks set on a weekly basis, but…  Well.  Daily creativity, right?  And I thought… the thing that I thought, was, ‘Well!  It’d totally be in the spirit of the challenge, to produce a new bookcover for one of my titles, on a daily or weekly basis, right?”

Now.  My talents are not in the visual realm, as is abundantly obvious.  That don’t hurt!  That’s in the spirit of the book, too.  Well, so what?  ‘I’ll just bang out a cover, never mind if it’s an eyesore, have fun, make something new, fantastic!’  

That’s what I thought.  So that’s what I did.  And I totally thought that a white circle on a black background, plus some minimalist lettering, would be hugely damn amusing.  A moon, right?  Satellites.  Wolves. Running with the pack, howling at the moon, all the clichés.  It would be sort of terrible.  But funny.  Humorously, good-naturedly in the spirit of the thing.  But…

Hey, I’m not saying it’s, er, Michelangelo or something.  (Or a renowned book-cover designer, names of whom I am clearly unfamiliar with.)  But…

Eh.  I sort of like it.

 

Another World, Another Love – Time Travel Gay Romance!

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Buy Another World, Another Love by Alex Ankarr!

Jodi is a scientist, a rational man, a researcher into travel between alternate universes. If he’s also in love with the laboratory’s senior researcher, Michael, then so what? It’s not as if anything’s ever going to come of it, Michael has never looked at him with a trace of interest in that way… Until their experiments get closed down by the authorities, and they make one last reckless desperate attempt to reach an alternate reality. A reality where they find werewolves, and vampires, and a whole other Jodi and Michael, living very different lives…

Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/andryn2006/, licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

What I’m reading: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

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Now I’ve finished Seeing Eye, the fourth story of Shifting Shadows.  Loved the MCs, Tom the werewolf and Moira the witch, lots of chemistry there. (Bubbling away in the cauldron!) I prefer witch stories to most other paranormals so it was always going to be a win for me. Plus, Moira’s ‘special characteristic’ *cough spoilers cough* is a jaw-dropper. Really really liked this one, possibly my fave in the whole book. Briggs is on top form here.  Loved just how badass Moira is, no simpering girlies here!

 

image – Tom Lee https://www.flickr.com/photos/68942208@N02/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

What I’m reading – ‘Shifting Shadows’ by Patricia Briggs

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I’m up to page 133 of 451 of Shifting Shadows, having finished ‘Gray’ – vampire story, quite sad, touches of hope. I’m only really touched by a small number of Ms Briggs’ characters. This didn’t really do it for me, though nicely written.  She has a tendency to provide rather indeterminate will-they-or-won’t-they endings for potential romantic couples, and frankly I find it frustrating.  Tell us!  Is it all on or not?

It’s a cock-tease literary tactic, when really the reader wants a romantic, er, happy ending.

 

image – keeping down the underground https://www.flickr.com/photos/keepingdowntheunderground/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

What I’ve been reading – Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I preferred this graphic novel short story to some of the regular installments in text-format of the Mercy Thompson story. The artwork was beautiful, the colour-scheme was perfect – moody and Gothic – and Adam in particular was beautifully drawn. He looked almost as young as he’s actually supposed to appear. (Although Mercy looked rather younger, TBH.)

It’s nice to have a Jesse-centric story, as she’s one of my favourite characters and I love her interactions with Mercy. And a genuinely unnerving old-wives’-tale Big Bad, too! Four stars all round.

ETA – must also add, as always – where the heck is the contemporary Bran-centric story, with a real romance for him? Where? WHERE? It must surely be in the works? Surely? Please?

View all my reviews

Whipped By A Werewolf – Sexy Paranormal Gay Romance!

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Buy Whipped By A Werewolf  by Alex Ankarr!

Would you want to get down and intimate with a wolf? A supernatural, magical shifter, dangerous and hot? Tate thinks the guy who’s living in the apartment next door is maybe, possibly, some kind of supernatural creature. Maybe a werewolf. He’s certainly magically hot, anyway. And when he’s having some fun alone time thinking about the guy, is when he gets an unexpected visit…

Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/, licence https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/