Some time ago, this pedometer geek was given an e-book anthology called Paranormal Nights; Volume 1 as a gift from one of the authors, C.J. Ellisson. One of the stories in the anthology was co-authored by her and Boone Brux, but I digress. Like other gifted books, here is a short review followed by a brief overview of the eight stories contained in the anthology.
Paranormal Nights: Volume 1
by various authors
Published by Kindle, 2013
First of all, my apologies to the authors, especially C.J. Ellisson, for taking so long to read this anthology of stories that features sexy vampires, evil pixies, shape-shifters, werewolves, and other paranormal creatures (some of which this reader was previously unfamiliar). Written by the various authors with their own particular styles, each story is a hot, sexy romance in which a perfect mate, paranormal or human, finds their perfect match. As might be expected, no two are alike, but there are some common elements. Some are stand alone while others are part of a series, yet even those have a complete story arc.
The stories and their authors are as follows:
Wolf Protector by Milly Taiden
Why These Two by Jackie Ivie
Death Times Two by C.J. Ellisson and Boone Brux
Hunter’s Blood by Marianne Morea
A Wicked Prelude by Calinda B.
Dragon’s Honor by Mina Carter
Playing the Odds by S.A. Price
Nibbled by the Vamp by Celia Kaye
Briefly, a short review of each story.
Taiden’s Wolf Protector was the first in a suspense romance series called the Federal Paranormal Unit. This one finds two supernatural humans (one an empath, the other a wolf shifter) working closely together to solve murders committed by a serial killer. Erica’s gift of seeing the crime through the victims’ eyes brings out the protectiveness of Trent. While she tries to protect her heart from Trent, he is out to convince her otherwise in this suspenseful romance. As they work to solve the murders, a romance ensues as well. Sometimes the scenes are just sweet romance; other times, it becomes more graphic, but the suspense carries the story. This is the first exposure to Taiden’s novels, but it may not be the last.
Ivie’s Why These Two is the first novella in the Vampire Assassin League series. It features a romance between a damaged mercenary, Darryl, and Reika, a vampire. While he is on a mission, they cross paths, and the action between them sizzles. She discovers he is the one for her, but he isn’t sure. Both are knife experts, but will they kill the other or come to some other conclusion?
Death Times Two is the product of two minds: C.J. Ellisson and Boone Brux. Each writes their own series, The V V Inn series and Grim Reality respectively, and in this one they combine the two together in a novella with characters from both. Vampire Asa helps out Alaska’s grim reaper, Lisa Carron, clear out the V V Inn of some lingering ghosts who have not moved on. As her guide Asa discovers, there is more to her than her ability to provide a peaceful passing to various paranormal creatures, and a hot night of solace occurs. As an aside, this reader had the pleasure of reading the first novel in Ellison’s series, Vampire Vacation, so was aware that there could be graphic sexual situations involved.
Marianne Morea’s novella Hunter’s Blood is the first in the Cursed by Blood series featuring a psychic, Lily Saburi, out for revenge for the murder of her friend and work partner, Terry. Hunting the killer down brings her into the territory of sexy Sean Leighton, the leader of a Werewolf pack. Romance ensues, but at a cost, and the cost may be her life. Again, another different kind of paranormal tale, but the story had a cliff-hanger ending and no resolution without reading the next in the series. A decent story, but a bit frustrating.
The following novella by Calinda B., A Wicked Prelude, (the title alone should have indicated that it was either a prequel to a series or a wild ride in a sporty Honda, but I digress) was the prequel to her Wicked series of paranormal romances featuring Cam Tyson and Cherie Manhattan. Added to the will they-won’t they connect story is an otherworldly creature called Kai that is connected to Cherie through the millennia. Although there is obvious chemistry between Cam and Cherie, overall, this story was confusing without having read the rest of the novels because this reader was unfamiliar with the ‘ka’ concept (a guardian angel, maybe?).
Mina Carter’s Dragon’s Honor is a short story from the Paranormal Protection Agency series. The story features two bodyguards, Baron and Duke, who are also shadow-dragons (which means they can shift between being dragons into human form). They go undercover when they are hired by her father to protect Honor Croft from outside threats. Baron realizes she is his mate, and sets about romancing her as well. But another dragon whisks her away as the story ends leaving another cliff-hanger ending for this story, which also happens to be the sixth story in the series. Although complete as is, will later stories answer unresolved issues?
Playing the Odds by S.A. Price (which is a pseudonym for siblings Stella and Audra Price) introduces another paranormal creature, the Jenai, a race of genies who bring luck to their man. And Jace, a shadow demon, is that man. He is a gambler who is looking for luck, and he finds luck and romance with a sexy Vegas stripper, Sydney Skye. This romance is a short story, while complete, that could be expanded beyond these pages.
The last story in the Paranormal Night anthology was Celia Kyle’s Nibbled by the Vamp, the first story in her Knight Protectors series. As might be expected from the title, this romance features vampires (vamps as the female lead ,Wren Minix, refers to them), but there are also mean pixies as well. It is an attack of these fairies that draws the sexy vampire Griffin to her side to protect her. To save her life, he bites her giving her blood, which leads to a hot romance between the two. When Griffin is later attacked by the pixie king, she manages to save him thereby cementing their relationship forever; however, there is enough intrigue remaining to continue the story into the next episode.
As indicated earlier, all these stories are romances. Except for C.J. Ellisson, all the authors were new to this reader. Some of the stories were enjoyed more than others. Those which included humor were particular favorites. As anthologies go, there is something to be enjoyed by anyone who likes romance, particularly if combined with paranormal elements. Of course, every story had a few What-the-tuck trends including the appearance of the ubiquitous green-eyed character. Also seen were quite a few typos, which were hopefully corrected in the individual releases of each story.