Publisher: JCP Books
Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Magic takes many forms. From malignant hexes to love charms gone amok, you’ll find a vast array of spells and curses, creatures and conjurings in this massive collection—not to mention a steamy dose of man-on-man action. Charmed and Dangerous features all-new stories of gay paranormal romance, supernatural fiction and urban fantasy by ten top m/m paranormal authors.
KJ Charles – A Queer Trade
Apprentice magician Crispin Tredarloe returns to London to find his master dead, and his papers sold. Papers with secrets that could spell death. Waste paper seller Ned Hall can’t resist Crispin’s pleading—and appealing—looks. But can the wasteman and the magician prevent a disaster and save Crispin’s skin?
Astrid Amara – The Trouble With Hexes
P.I. Tim Keller has a problem. And the only person who can solve it is his ex-boyfriend, Vincent, whose job as a hexbreaker was the reason they broke up. It’s hard admitting he was wrong, especially when coughing up organs. But there’s a missing person to find, a hexmaker to hunt down, and a romance to repair before Tim breathes his last.
Review: “A Queer Trade”
KJ Charles’s magnificent inventive and illustrative writing prevails again. In this clever story she brilliantly combines witty humor – I’m talking downright laugh out loud moments – seamlessly with the macabre and sensational. I’d love to include some quotes, but will leave readers to discover and enjoy them within the context of the entire story this time around.
Crispin – a magical protégé- arrives home following a trip out of town to discover his mentor has died. Seems the man’s family has wasted no time clearing the house of everything. Crispin becomes quite desperate to locate some potentially damaging spelled papers that were given over to an unidentified waste-man. As Crispin methodically searches for this man, readers will no doubt be delighted to see which particularly memorable version of Victorian London this story takes place in.
Ned, the mystery waste man, watches with interest and a particular awareness as Crispin first approaches his shop. I swear I was a voyeur within the story as the two men meet, set about searching through papers, and become oh so aware of one another. Aware in EVERY sense. Crispin is suffused with a brave vulnerability, recognized immediately by Ned. Calm and confident Ned, once he recovered from some initial realizations, barely blinked an eye at the strange goings on unleashed by the spelled papers he had unknowingly sold. We’re talking macabre fountain pens, a nod to zombie lore, and a whole new meaning for fresh food. The quick and fierce connection between Crispin and Ned is delivered in a deeply believable fashion. The fact that they are two men who both know what it’s like to be disdained by society – despite being from different cultures – plays no small part. The magical elements of the story are wicked awesome.
These characters and their world leap off the pages. I certainly loved gaining insight into Crispin and Ned, and would dearly love to know what happens to them next.
“The Trouble With Hexes”
How I love the word play in this title. You see, in this urban fantasy, PI Tim and tattoo artist Vincent are exes. Tim ended their relationship when he couldn’t fathom Vincent’s newfound obsession with hex breaking, and he certainly couldn’t deal with the physical side effects Vincent suffered from it. Until the day Tim realizes he himself has been hexed and turns to Vincent, who guardedly agrees to help.
Tim is dying. The men have a limited time to find out who hexed Tim, gain the hex root, and break the hex. Tim is also refusing to quit work on finding a runaway girl. This all makes for a fantastic, edge of your seat, thrill of a read. The supernatural aspects are both horrific and mesmerizing and they are interspersed craftily with humorous moments. I love Astrid Amara’s imagination and writing style. As Tim and Vincent desperately work together, their feelings for each other get a work out too. This is ultimately a story of, awakened understanding, second chances and the rekindling of profound love.