So I've said this before--I'm not the most responsible of flailers. I do not, as it were, go out and flog for my flails--usually people just sort of ask me as the month progresses, and by Sunday night when I'm putting together my Kermit Flail, BOOM! There it is. But this month has been busy and event filled for a lot of people, so I only have a couple of books to flail--and I'll admit it, one of them I'm just flailing because I'm personally excited about it and not because somebody asked me to flail. A sort of kidnap-flail, I guess you could say.
But that doesn't mean it's not fantastic.
So let's start with one of my favorite flailers of all time, the lovely and adorable (and multi-award nominated!) Ms. E.J. Russell, who has a brand new story for us to enjoy. As usual it's a quirky romp of magic, sweetness, and love.
A Magic Emporium novel
By E.J. Russell
Lonnie Coleridge last saw the sun in 1968. Since then, he’s been consigned to Limbo, still wearing the same tie-dyed T-shirt and bell-bottomed jeans he had on when he left his life behind. He and others like him have one chance each year at redemption: produce a show for the Greek pantheon. Whoever pleases this very specific—and temperamental—fan group could earn the right to move on.
But after a literal act of god (*cough* Hermes *cough*) destroys their sets, lights, and costumes, the company needs emergency help to rebuild. Without it, all of them could poof out of existence forever.
Out-of-work theater technician TD Baylor has precisely three things on his cosmic wish list: a job, a place to stay, and a boyfriend who isn’t a total tool. He thinks he’s got the first two nailed when he gets a line on a two-week gig that includes room and board. So what if the job tip came from a guy who was leaning way too hard into the LOTR cosplay at a sketchy Halloween pop-up? At this point, TD doesn’t have anything more to lose, so he figures…what the hell.
He didn’t realize hell was the operative word.
When Lonnie greets him at the theater door, though...whoa. TD fantasizes that item number three could be within his reach. But then Lonnie gives him the bad news: This is Purgatory Playhouse, aka Theater of the Darned. In two weeks—if they’re lucky and can successfully mount a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—the company will return to Limbo after the curtain falls. If they’re not lucky?
Remember that part about hell?
Purgatory Playhouse is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains a theater techie who’s one couch surf away from homeless, a production assistant who’s sort of, um, not alive, Greek gods behaving very badly indeed, and a guaranteed HEA.
This next one I'm featuring simply because I'm so thrilled to read it. Nobody needs an introduction to Mary Calmes--she's the defining voice of this genre, and a new book from her is cause for celebration. So here we have not just a Mary story, but a Mary werewolf story, and it looks so delicious I could eat it like steak. Come check out Muscle and Bone by Mary Calmes.
Muscle and Bone
You belong to me and I know it down deep, in muscle and bone, where my wolf lives.
Avery Rhine isn’t an average homicide detective with the Chicago PD. In fact, Avery isn’t an average anything. Sure, as an omega he knows he’s at the bottom of the food chain, but that’s never slowed him down. He’s got a great life, complete with a loving family and a best friend who’d take a bullet for him, so what more could he possibly want or need? Except, maybe, for the world to change. And to find someone to spend more than one night with, but that isn’t high on his list of priorities. He’s never been one to believe in destiny or whatever else the fantasies sell about there being someone special out there meant just for him.
Then a chance encounter at a party changes everything.
Graeme Davenport has no delusions about finding his true mate. The consensus is that if an alpha doesn’t find their other half by the time they’re thirty, the chances of it ever happening go from slim to none. He’s not a mere alpha, though; Graeme is a cyne who sits at the pinnacle of lupine hierarchy, so he’s obligated by tradition and duty to choose an omega now, sign a contract, and bond with him. Love is not part of the equation.
When Graeme and Avery meet, their fierce attraction to each other flies in the face of reason and logic. Avery’s intense physical reaction to the alpha is something he’s never experienced before, while Graeme, who has always been the soul of discretion, loses all his inhibitions to desire for the man he wants to possess. They are two very different men trying to navigate expectations, separate reason from innate primal drive, and do it while working together to solve a murder.
It will take everything they are to find a middle ground, and to learn to trust in a fated kind of love.
Twenty years after that first meeting, Danny returns to Chicago, the city he shared with Felix and their perfect, secret family, to save him again. Felix’s news network—the business that broke them apart—is under fire from an unscrupulous employee pointing the finger at Felix. An official investigation could topple their house of cards. The only way to prove Felix is innocent is to pull off their biggest con yet.
But though Felix still has the gift of grift, his reunion with Danny is bittersweet. Their ten-year separation left holes in their hearts that no amount of stolen property can fill. A green crew of young thieves looks to them for guidance as they negotiate old jewels and new threats to pull off the perfect heist—but the hardest job is proving that love is the only thing of value they’ve ever had.