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REVIEW

"A wonderful collection of futuristic and fantasy novellas"

THIEF OF HEARTS by J. C. Wilder

This novella is billed as a futuristic romance. Set in the near future of 2024, there is little focus on the futuristic aspect. That having been said this little story sizzled!

Harper McRae, former professional cat burglar, is forced out of retirement due to her stepbrother's lack of self control. The aspiring politician is being blackmailed by a local mobster. Although Harper feels he deserves anything he gets, she can't allow her stepmother to suffer the shame. Fortunately the opportunity to save his reputation comes when Harper is invited to Ross "Blackie" Ryan's (the mobster's) anniversary bash.

Security is lax and Blackie's dated systems are no match for Harper. Unfortunately she's a bit rusty from lack of practice. Cracking the safe in Ryan's office takes longer than expected and so intense is her concentration that she is unaware that someone else has entered the room.

Not only is she caught but by the worst imaginable person, Chase, her former partner and ex lover. Chase, the man she'd caught with another woman in his arms, the man who had broken her heart.

Chase is there for the same reason as Harper, to liberate some blackmail evidence against a client. He'd seen Harper enter the office and had decided to let her do the work for him. She was a sight for sore eyes and although he'd been with plenty of women since she'd walked out in him without allowing him an explanation, he'd never felt a thing for any of them. His heart had always belonged to Harper.

Unfortunately one of Blackie's guards hears a noise coming from the boss's office. What to do? Think empty room with a couch. Yowza!

Will the pair make a clean break or a clean getaway? The only way to find out is by reading this scorching short story. Turn up the air and grab some ice water! J. C. Wilder scores again.

ABHAINN'S KISS by Carolan Ivey

The great Lady has woken the spinner Cadwyn from a thousand year sleep as a stone to spin the life thread of an emerging life that will be important to Fae and mankind alike. The child, Abhainn, is to be the last of the Asrae - the Fae of All waters.

The Asrae had been cursed when Abhainn's ancestor Afon, destracted by her human lover, failed to take her place in the Circle at the Great Gathering. The mortal man, Blaen of Craighmor lost his lover and his King that night. Afon had become one with the water, and without Blaen by his side King Arthur had perished in battle. In his anger and grief Blaen strikes the sacred alter stone breaking off a piece vowing that Fae magic would never blind him or his kin from that day forward. The rift between the Fae and mortals had begun. Mortals had lost their belief in the Faery world and Avalon saw mortal men no more until....

So intent on keeping the spark of this vital life alive, Cadwyn had woven a piece of her own apron into the thread binding stone and water, strengthening the young life. She failed to notice the end of the moon water thread touching the life thread of a human male, spanning the great gap in the life web between the two worlds.

Michael Craig is on a quest to find the maker of fine thread which had been delivered to his family's textile business. The thread is in great demand and he must acquire more or the business will fold. The source of the thread is shrouded in mystery until he finds a label leading him to the misty isle of Inisghriann and Abhainn. Michael, Blaen's kin, retains no memory of being shipwrecked there as a child and has lost his belief in fairytales, but Abhainn remembers.

Dark forces among the Fae threaten to depose the great Lady, to do so they must prevent Abhainn from taking her rightful place in the Great Circle on the Isle of Avalon at the next Gathering. The fate of human and Fae kind alike is riding on the shoulders the small Fae woman. When Michael saves Abhainn's life with an accidental kiss, his fate is bound to hers. If Abhainn can overcome her fear of the water, can Michael overcome his disbelief, to become the knight he was born to become?

This tale was a real page turner. The story was so engrossing that it could easily stand alone, but this reviewer has no doubt that it will sell the anthology as well. This fantasy was well worth losing sleep over. If you enjoy fantasy, legend, and star-crossed romance you are sure to enjoy Abhainn's Kiss.

HERON'S CALL by Isabo Kelly

Kael Zyhn of Heron's Deep had met his raynia, his soul twin, Rowena when she had been just fourteen, far too young for them to forge a bond. At twenty the sword mage had been young himself, but their one kiss had induced his mage trance prematurely. He had spent six years forging Ca'laez the mage sword he was sure was meant for his beloved. It had taken him three more years to recover from the process and still his parents had urged him to wait to claim his bride. The life of an Aleanian sword sworn was perilous, should they bond before Rowena had taken her vows as a priestess her death would mean his own. Still he could no longer bear to be away from her and had taken to sneaking into the temple and watching her while she slept. Eavesdropping on her erotic dreams had stirred his desire like never before.

Rowena has been given a mission, to rescue a Valen oracle from the hands of an evil warlord. The odds are stacked against her. The last thing she needs is a distraction, especially when that distraction is her raynei. She had never forgiven him for entering her life and then leaving her with just a kiss to remember him by.

No sooner has she set out when she becomes involved in a minor skirmish. Kael, unable to bear the thought of his beloved being in danger, appears to neutralize the threat. A dozen years had come and gone with no further contact from him and though their meeting had spoiled her for any other, Rowena vowed she would never forgive him for his long absence. Nor would she forgive him for depriving her of the thrill of this victory. She does not need him now.

Kael refuses to leave her side, and the passion growing between them is undeniable but because of his family's taboo, he cannot explain his absence until Ca'laez seeks its rightful owner. Although he had been certain the sword had been forged for Rowena, he now has doubts having learned that Rowena's mother holds Ba'nari. No two mage swords had ever claimed members of the same family.

A greater battle must now be fought. The odds are not in their favor. Will Rowena rescue the oracle from Dorjan's clutches? Will Ca'laez claim its rightful owner? Will Rowena come to forgive Kael and give in to their undeniable passion?

HERON'S CALL is a suspenseful fantasy novella set in a world that deserves to be explored in more depth. I'd love to see this story expanded. I do hope Ms. Kelly will revisit this world again soon.

While I truly loved each of these novellas my only complaint would be that they were too short! I'd love to see these tales expanded. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted October 29, 2007

SUMMARY

ABHAINN'S KISS by Carolan Ivey

Abhainn, an Asrai, has only days to fulfill her destiny. Everything depends on Michael's kiss, his sword armand his ability to believe.

THE HERON'S CALL by Isabo Kelly

After 12 years, sword mage Kael Zyhn is ready to claim is mate. Can Rowena forgive him his desertion, and trust him to help her in her quest?

THIEF OF HEARTS by J.C. Wilder

Retired thief Harper McRae is forced to do one last job to save her stepbrother's reputation. Only old flame Chance stands in her way.

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Anthology

Warning: This title contains the following: hanging-from-the-chandeliers sex, graphic language, violence, light bondage, cool swordfighting, unruly Faeries, and did we mention hot sex?

 

In the Gloaming
by J. C. Wilder, Isabo Kelly, Carolan Ivey

Samhain Publishing
February 1, 2008
Available: February 1, 2008
ISBN #1599986396
EAN #9781599986395
280 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
J. C. Wilder

Winter's Daughter
Stone Hearts
Deep Waters
Sacrifice
The Power of Love
Winter's Daughter
Thief of Hearts
Paradox I
Paradox II
Paradox III
Temptation
Sins Of The Flesh
Atonement
Tempt not the Cat
Retribution
One With the Hunger
In Moonlight
Ellora's Cavemen: Tales from the Temple II
Dreamquest
The Shadow Dweller Series Volume III
The Shadow Dweller Series Volume II
The Shadow Dweller Series Volume I
Redemption


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