Title: 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle 9
Authors: Carrie Ann Ryan, Heather Graham, Jennifer Probst, Christopher Rice, Melanie Harlow, Lili Valente
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts Incorporated, 1/31/17
Genre: Romance, Anthology, Contemporary Fiction
Six Dark Tales. Six Sensual Stories. Six Page Turners.
Hidden Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan
Hailey Monroe knows the world isn’t always fair, but she’s picked herself up from the ashes before. Sloane Gordon lived through the worst kinds of hell yet the temptation next door sends him to another level. He’s kept his distance but when she comes to him with a proposition, he’ll do everything in his power to protect her.
Blood on the Bayou by Heather Graham
When a family friend receives a message from the Blood Bayou killer—It's your turn to pay, blood on the bayou—he comes to Danni Cafferty for help. Cafferty and Quinn soon realize that a gruesome local history is being repeated. They find themselves in a fight to save not just a friend, but, perhaps, their very own lives.
Searching for Mine by Jennifer Probst
Connor Dunkle knows what he wants in a woman, and it’s the three B’s. Beauty. Body. Boobs. Other women need not apply. Ella Blake is a single mom and a professor at the local Verily college. When sparks fly, neither of them are ready to face their true feelings, but will love teach them the ultimate lesson of all?
Dance of Desire by Christopher Rice
From New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice, comes a steamy, emotional tale of forbidden romance between a woman struggling to get her life on its feet and the gorgeous cowboy her father kept her from marrying years before.
Some Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow
Skylar Nixon. She’s even more beautiful than I remember. Ten years ago she was an impossible dream, and now she’s right here in front of me, offering everything I ever wanted. But happiness never lasts, not for someone like me.
Sebastian Pryce. He’s the most complicated, frustrating, beautiful man I’ve ever met, and my body craves his with a hunger I’ve never known. My heart is his completely. Why won’t he let me in?
Magnificent Bastard by Lili Valente
Face it, ladies: love sucks and then you cry…while your ex rides off into the sunset banging your best friend. But why let a break-up end in tears when it can end with sweet revenge? Enter Magnificent Bastard Consulting and me, chief executive bastard. With the help of my virtual assistant, I’ve built an empire giving broken-hearted women the vengeance they deserve, while keeping myself far from the front lines of the heart. Until my virtual assistant shows up on my real doorstep for the first time, begging for a Magnificent Bastard intervention of her own.
Every Dark Nights tale is breathtakingly sexy and magically romantic.
The novellas each author added to the anthology are unique. They have similar themes and tie together nicely, and the voices each author provides are strong enough to stand alone, but bundled together they pack a powerful punch!
Carrie Ann Ryan's novella, Hidden Ink, takes us back to Montgomery Ink and gives us a glimpse into Hailey's life in and out of the bakery she owns next door. We also get to know Sloane on a deeper level and begin to understand him. Both of them have secrets and scars they have hidden from each other, but when he is afraid he might finally lose her to someone else younger and more willing to open up to her, he takes a risk and asks her out. The rest of the Montgomery Ink crew is relieved that the two of them are finally going to give each other a shot, but they all agree if Sloane hurts her, he'll pay for it. Hailey trusts him though and together they learn to trust. They are both survivors in their own right and together are unstoppable.
In Blood on The Bayou, Heather Graham brings a local Louisiana legend to life and creates a mystery two friends must solve or they risk more deaths of innocent people. The imagery Graham used to set the scene was vivid and memorable. The mystery of the Bayou Killer created suspense, as well as some tense moments when clues are being left as threats. I admit, this was not my favorite of the bundle, but it is still a good quick read.
Connor and Ella, in Searching for Mine, seem to be polar opposites. He's arrogant and appears to be lazy when Ella meets him. She's a bit cold and seems to be focused on proving her point at his expense. And oh, by the way, Ella is his professor, so he has to either turn on the charm or actually do the work it is going to take to pass her class. He needs this class to graduate and move up on the ladder in his job. Ella seems to have a chip on her shoulder and Connor is determined to knock it off. When they discover they are neighbors, they learn to have respect for each other and see life from a different perspective. Ella's son is a big part of this change in perspective and I loved how their relationship, and a mutual respect developed as the story continued.
Dance of Desire is a touching story of two people who have always loved each other, but they grew up afraid of the relationship developing because on paper, they were brother and sister. Because his parents died in a freak accident, Caleb was taken in by Amber's parents and they were thrust into roles they were not expecting. To honor her father's wishes, they remained apart and kept their contact innocent and platonic, but when Amber's husband cheats on her and runs the family business into the ground, Caleb sweeps in and sets things to rights, including letting his true feelings for her come to the surface. They fight their attraction to each other, but when Amber's boss wants to send her to a sex retreat, Caleb can't contain his emotions, nor can her mother. They both want someone's permission to express their feelings and it comes from an unexpected place.
Some Sort of Happy is amazing. This was an unexpected gem! Skylar is the popular girl from high school who has returned home to the small town she'd run from to find success in New York. Returning home was like admitting defeat, but she had no choice. When Sebastian sees her, all the feelings he had for her as an awkward teenager resurface, but he's no longer an awkward teen. Skylar notices his rugged good looks and ripped body right away, but doesn't recognize the boy who was bullied in school. After they talk and reveal their insecurities to each other, they begin to build a relationship. It is rocky and tough going, but Skylar thinks he's worth the effort. I loved that Harlow broached the topic of OCD and the issues this can bring about. It is very real for many people and she handled it in a sensitive, though sometimes humorous, manner. Skylar and Sebastian are a powerful couple on the pages they grace. Well done!
This laugh out loud story, Magnificent Bastard, is a great end to the bundle. I couldn't help but giggle at Sebastian as he described himself and his job. He sees himself as a gift to women and feels he can successfully teach any woman to love herself and at the same time deal a hard blow to the man she's left behind. He's got a plan and doesn't get emotionally attached to anyone, so there's no chance he'd ever need to be on the receiving end of heart ache. All of his plans nearly derail when he meets Penny, the woman who's been his virtual assistant. They'd never met in person and now that they have, Bash isn't sure he is going to survive it; especially when she needs his services. Their snarky banter back and forth is hysterical.