Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

Author: Astrid Amara, KJ Charles, Charlie Cochet, Rhys Ford, Ginn Hale, Lou Harper, Jordan L Hawk, Nicole Kimberling, Jordan Castillo Price, Andrea Speed

Publisher: JCP Books

Rating: 5 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Anthology

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.

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious
Occult attacks against NIAD agents aren’t remotely Keith Curry’s department. But when his lover, Gunther, is assaulted, Keith refuses to just sit back and fill out paperwork. He’s on the case—even if that means enraging powerful mages, crossing leprechaun picket lines, or braving dinner with Gunther’s goblin parents.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns
Psychic medium Victor Bayne can spot a ghost any day of the year, but Halloween holds some special surprises. His psych-groupie boyfriend Jacob coaxes him to the location of an old spirit sighting, but they can’t ghosthunt without enduring a cheesy “haunted house” that’s even more disturbing than they realize.

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom
It’s a boring night at the Quik-Mart for Josh and his friend Doug. Until a vampire with a grudge—and the most adorable backup ever—crashes the store. Can Josh survive the Bathroom of Doom?

 

Review: “Magically Delicious

Keith Curry has settled into a state of domestic bliss with Gunther. It wasn’t what Keith expected for his life given Gunther being a goblin and all, but things have a way of turning out the way they need to be. When Gunther experiences a hallucinogenic episode Keith decides he’s going to solve what’s caused the current spate of episode of hallucinations NIAD agents have suffered. Keith finds himself partnered with a cantankerous leprechaun. I use the word partnered loosely. Actually, Keith isn’t even supposed to be working on this case. Even though Gunther recovered from the attack rather quickly one of his team mates had an episode also. It’s too much for Keith to take. Keith is in a bit of trouble for investigating when he shouldn’t have been, but he’s still a health inspector and he’s not above saying it’s take your son to work day.

Despite the whole plot of this story revolving around labor disputes and food purity, a major aspect of the story was the family differences between Gunther and Keith. Gunther’s family is really nice. Keith’s family wasn’t nearly as nurturing. They’re a wonderful group of bone crunching, cigarette eating transmogrified snow goblins. Keith finds he actually likes them. I love the way this was shown to me as if that were effortless. At no point was I told Gunther’s family was veritably dripping with humanity whereas Keith’s human family was not, but the biggest thing I took away from this story was Keith is learning to be a better man because of the goblins he once reviled.

“Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns”

Vic has to go to a Halloween party. There will be children. He can’t figure a way to get out of it without upsetting Jacob. Oh well, that’s part of being in a relationship. A depiction of a clown on a pumpkin sparks a memory from his teen years of a clown in a movie theater. Jacob doesn’t react quite as Vic would expect when he tells him about the experience. Vic and Jacob find themselves ghost clown hunting in an old movie theater on a Halloween night. It fits. As it turns out there is a haunted house in the once defunct theater. The haunted house proves more horrifying than Vic could have possibly expected. Just when it seems the whole adventure to the former theater was a complete waste finds himself having an unexpected conversation in the bathroom.

Vic and Jacob’s relationship has evolved over the years. Jacob’s burgeoning psychic powers have helped him understand what Vic does though he’s still amazed and impressed by it all. There is a feeling here of the two of them exploring what they’re capable of together. Vic has someone to share his experiences with. It’s so poignant when juxtaposed with Vic’s life being shunted around the foster system, to psychiatric hospitals, and finally to Camp Hell. At the same time I would find this story touching even without knowing the overall story.

“Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom”

Josh has to go work his shift at the Quik-Mart. He gets a ride from his stoner roommate, Doug. Doug knows strange things happen at the Quik-Mart, but he’s never had the full experience of a parking lot with lurking werewolves, lizard guys buying junk food, and zombie creatures of varying kinds. Doug is transfixed. The pot probably enhances Doug’s experience. Things don’t stay calm for long. Stheno and Euryale have hired a vampire to advance their agenda against their sister Medusa. As is usual it doesn’t go very well, and the general details are a bit odd. Carey the vampire and his horde of zombie hamsters hold Doug and Josh hostage while they wait for Mr. Kwan to hear Carey’s demands. Josh’s vampire boyfriend Colin shows up, an electrified bath tub and a toothy toilet show up, and Mr. Kwan shows up. It’s just another shift at the Quik-Mart for Josh.

I’ve referred to this series as a chanson de geste, and I stand by that. However; I’d like to talk about the twist on the myth of Medusa and Perseus that this series represents. The Gorgon sisters are bickering amongst themselves for control of their world, Dev. Medusa finds a champion in Josh. He is her Perseus. Medusa and her sisters, Stheno and Euryale, do not attack each other directly. They use pawns. Stheno and Euryale are only able to throw monstrous, and ridiculous, creations at our intrepid hero who must protect both the human realm and Dev from utter destruction and rampant corporate greed. All this epic heroism is set against a backdrop of ludicrousness and en pointe pop culture references culminating in one of my all time favorite series.

Additional reviews from this anthology can be found here, here and here.

5 thoughts on “Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy”

  1. Thanks for these reviews. Every one of you did a wonderful job of reviewing this anthology. Mine dropped in about half an hour ago. I’m looking forward to all of them, but I had to start with Vic and Jacob. I’ve missed them and wasn’t disappointed as JCP continues to amaze. Now on to the rest.

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