A collection of stories for review this time on the Tale. Being that it is a collection, in this case there’s only one story that really interested me, and that will be the focus of this review. I will add an overall thought about the entire collection as well however.
The past hurts us all. Not just in what we remember, but what the marks left behind are. Our own needs conflict with our reality and we refuse them as best we can. But then comes a truth we can’t quite avoid. Sometimes the need can overcome us and in doing so, allow us to heal as best we can.
- Title: Sexy to Go Halloween 2
- Authors: Tara Quan, Louisa Bacio, Jocelyn Dex, Pamela Moran, Haley Whitehall, Virginnia DeParte, Chris McHart, Olivia Starke, Shiloh Saddler and Eva Lefoy
- Length: 206 Pages
- ASIN: B01LZQHV0A
- Publishing Date: October 5, 2016
- This work in Kindle Format at Amazon.com
The work tells the story of:
Sexy to Go Halloween is back for a howling good time! Join us for a holiday romp with 10 sex-hungry vampires, witches, shifters, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, demons and more.
- Dio del Amor by Louisa Bacio: On a day known for honoring the souls of departed loved ones, this couple heats up the costuming before the fiesta. Explore when Dia De Los Muertos transforms into Dia Del Amor.
- A Battle of Ice and Claws by Tara Quan: On Halloween, a stubborn frost witch will stop at nothing to postpone commitment, including distracting her sexy tiger shifter with the promise of public sex.
- A Wicked Tryst by Olivia Starke: After taking a shortcut Kalie finds herself stranded on a desolate highway. When a horse and rider appear, she’s happy to be rescued. Is the sexy country boy her dream come true? Or has Kalie gotten in over her head?
- The Portrait of Dorian Clements by Eva Lefoy: In Regency England, a rich widow has her portrait painted by a strange traveling artist, not knowing he’s the minion of the demon intent on seducing her. The painting at first seems perfectly normal, but then begins to change, depicting myriad graphic sexual scenes, displaying to her horror the widow’s innermost desires…
- Trick-or-Zombie by Jocelyn Dex: When Trista takes her zombie trick-or-treating, will he make a snack of one of the kids? Or will he resist temptation and snack on something better when they get home?
- Unlocking the Past by Pamela Moran: Davis’ past crashes into the world he’s built with Lena. As secrets unfold, will her Healer ability cost her the man she loves?
- Vampire Consort by Haley Whitehall: Mary only has months to live. Her doctor gives her an option: prepare her funeral or agree to an arranged marriage with his vampire son.
- Angelfire by Virginnia de Parte: Candles, garlic, rifle, bullets – will these be enough to save Emma’s life on Halloween?
- It Started with an Old, Lame Joke by Chris McHart: The last thing Robin expects when he takes his niece and nephew trick-or-treating is to meet a handsome stranger doing the same thing. Their connection is instant and hot, even though everything started with an old, lame joke.
- Shifting Sensations by Shiloh Saddler: The Halloween bash at the Shifting Sensations nightclub is the paranormal event of the year. Incubus nightclub owner Ruger is on the prowl for two playmates to liven his evening — dare he allow one to be his employee?
In Shifting Sensations, Ruger has a problem and on Halloween that problem not only doubles, but becomes three times what it was. His secret isn’t that he is an incubus, that others are attracted to him. The secret is that he wants something he cannot have, but they want him as well. One soul is hard to resist, but two of them with one need is the start of another story.
The work is a hot flash that offers tantalizing hints about the main character Ruger as well as Aubrey, the female lead character. The attraction is strong, has a lot of heat and it’s a delicious peek into each of their thoughts as they fight with themselves, trying to deal with one’s need and the other’s past. That slow simmer really works well, and it’s a delightful story in what’s told and what happened overall.
I did want, in a lot of ways, more told about both of their pasts, for one. There’s a secret about Ruger that pops tip at the last page and it’s a vitally important one. But while there are bare hints about it, when it comes out and explained that didn’t work well for me. My issue is that is it’s a hugely important thing to delve into, but isn’t. It’s vital to explain Ruger’s character, but it doesn’t. Beyond that, there’s also a point, just before the heat begins, where something is shown in his office, that effects Aubrey, but it’s glossed over somewhat.
Similarly, Aubrey seems to have some secrets, ones that would develop her character a lot, but they are pushed to the side for some really hot moments of teasing Ruger. I did like the tease, and it’s told delightfully well. But still I wanted to know more about her, how her mind works. Talking about how smart she is, then reflecting a thought by Ruger and not doing anything with it seems like lost plot.
There are some lovely erotic scenes, the dancing one was perfect, the seduction towards the office more so. Once within the main erotic scene, the heat sort of paused, was derailed for a moment by a short little need of Ruger’s before he turned on his incubus powers fully. It felt wrong, but in the context of the character, it made sense when the secret was revealed.
That then brings me to what really gave me pause. The reveal of Ruger’s secret seemed so matter of fact that it was painful. One that came, the story rushed into the final climax, pushed by it, then came to an abrupt stop. It felt really rushed, it was missing the heat that came, then went, then came and went again. A bit of a roller coast and I’m not sure that was the best thing to do here.
While the heat was there, the story was too short, didn’t develop the characters as much as their histories suggested they could have been. I really think that this would make for a good start to a longer story. Drawing in the past, perhaps colliding with it, would be a very deeply told work. The impact of Ruger’s past is very important to so many that telling that story I think would bring with it the character development I was looking for but didn’t find.
I’ll give this story three and a half out of five pitchforks.
The shame is that there’s so much about Ruger, but really all of the characters in the story, that wasn’t explored. The heat is wonderful, the temptations are lovely, but there’s just something missing with regards to knowing the characters and what really drives them onwards. Adding to that how abrupt the story ends, that really there’s no closure of the plots dangled at the beginning left me wanting. I’d love this short work turned into a longer story, because it’s there to be told, the author need only do so.
For the collection overall, I’ll give three out of five pitchforks. The stories ran hot and cold for me, some of the heat was muted as well. Being the works are all so short, the character development I wanted was pushed aside for the heat. Like the incubus story, there’s a lot of good ideas here needing to be fleshed out. I’ll hope they are sometime.