"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
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
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
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