A big welcome to Morgan Brice as part of her tour with Gay Book Promotions for The Rising.
I got hooked on this series when I started book 1, and this addition to the series doesn’t disappoint. I loved how Simon and Vic’s relationship is progressing to the point where they’re not only getting used to living together, but each man is seeing up close the danger in which the other is in and realising they could lose each other far too easily. Vic sees Simon channel a ghost in this series, and I thought his reaction was very realistic. I thought them both struggling to adjust to each other’s world felt very real as isn’t something that would be easy or happen overnight for either of them.
I enjoyed how the tension rises in this story as all the supernatural occurrences and the cases Vic is investigating come together. I was seriously worried about both of them as the ante upped, and the supernatural baddie decided they were a real threat. I always appreciate the research these guys do, rather than going in blindly, as it gives the story a realistic feeling, and more depth to the characters. They’ve—and particularly Simon with the supernatural stuff—been doing this a while now and it shows. I also love the way Simon’s abilities come with consequences. He has a horrific vision, and it leaves him shaken and exhausted, rather than something he brushes off and bounces back from easily. And the visions in this story are extremely nasty. I felt for him having to go through them, yet admired the way he puts himself out there in order to help others, although he’s fully aware of what the consequences of doing so could be. I also liked the way that when they have sex, particularly after a particular incident, their fear of losing each other comes through in that action and the emotions behind it.
The final showdown was very exciting and kept me turning pages. Simon really pays the price for these showdowns. I stayed up far too late reading this story, and considering the length of it, read if over three days as I couldn’t put it down, with only the thought of work the next day finally having to admit defeat and turn out the light.
The supporting cast, and in particular Simon’s skeleton crew, add to the story, and not only play their part but build on the picture of what passes for everyday life for Simon and Vic. I enjoyed the addition of a new character in this story—not naming him as I’m trying to avoid spoilers and I thought he was a wonderful red herring—and hope we haven’t seen the last of him. Miss Eppie is wonderful. I love the way she tells Simon what’s what. Ross, Vic’s partner, is learning more about the supernatural world as well, and I’m enjoying his growing part in their cases, especially now Simon is consulting for the police department. Pete, who works with Simon at the shop, is coming into his own too as a character. He’s got a good sense of humour, yet he’s solid and it’s obvious he cares. Tracey rocks. I liked the continuation of a plot thread from one of the novellas too, and that Vic’s mother checks in on them.
One of the things I love about this author is the way her stories—under both her author names—are part of the same universe. I love easter eggs and references, so it made my day when Mrs. Teller from Deadly Curiosities was mentioned, and Simon talks to his cousin, Cassidy, from that series too. I loved Dante, and now need to read the short stories in the Trifles and Follies anthologies. I hope he does make more appearances in this series. There’s a nice phone cameo from Travis from Night Vigil too.
I’d recommend The Rising to readers who enjoy paranormal/urban fantasy stories with interesting characters who are part of a bigger interconnected universe, and a plot that keeps you turning pages. This one is on my ‘must buy hardcopy’ list. 5 out of 5 stars.
Book Title: The Rising (Badlands, Book 2)
Author: Morgan Brice
Cover Artist: Natania Barron
Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Release Date: February 13, 2019
Can be read as a standalone
A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.
Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.
As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.
With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves.
Trigger Warning: Mentions of suicide (not main characters)
Grand Strand Ghost Tours didn’t just arise from Simon’s passion for myth, legend, and folklore; it was rooted in his abilities as a psychic medium. Sure, the ghost tours were largely entertainment, but Simon also gave private psychic readings and conducted séances by appointment. Along with the books he wrote about ghosts and the speaking engagements he provided for local organizations, Simon had managed to create a thriving business. He leaned against the railing, enjoying a moment of contentment.
Or maybe, the calm before the storm, a little voice in the back of his mind warned.
His phone buzzed, and Simon pulled it from his pocket and smiled. “Hey. Miss me?”
“Always.” Homicide lieutenant Vic D’Amato’s voice was a husky rumble. “I just wanted to check what time you finish up tonight. Figured it was my turn to pick up dinner.” The tone in Vic’s voice promised far more than food, and Simon felt the anticipation go right to his dick.
“I should be finished around seven. It’s off-season, so no tours on Mondays. You have a busy day lined up?” Simon asked as he started walking toward his favorite coffee shop.
“Not yet, and I’m hoping it stays that way,” Vic replied. “It’s never a good thing when we’re busy.”
“Let me know if you hear anything official about the storm. I’ve heard six different forecasts, and I haven’t even gotten coffee yet.”
“Sure thing—but don’t expect anything dependable yet. We’re too far out.”
Simon knew how changeable forecasts could be so close to the ocean. Still, Myrtle Beach had barely gotten back on its feet after the last hurricane, so the news of another severe winter storm—hurricane or not—had everyone on edge.
“Be careful out there,” Simon said, letting his voice drop to a growl. “I love you.”
“Love you, too. Stay out of trouble.”
Despite the forecasts, Simon couldn’t help feeling a spring in his step after talking with Vic. They’d been together for less than a year, but Simon was finding it more and more difficult to remember what life was like before meeting his handsome homicide cop. Vic had officially moved into Simon’s retro blue bungalow after the holidays, and while they were still working out their new living situation, Simon had never been happier.”
“The boardwalk might not be busy, but Le Mizzenmast, Simon’s favorite coffee shop, was always bustling. The locals called it Le Miz, not to be confused with the musical. The building had previously been a pirate-themed attraction, and when Tracey Cullen took over, she couldn’t afford to remodel, so she just incorporated the pirate decor into her theme and went with it.
“Hi, Simon!” Tracey called with a wave from behind the register. “You want the usual?” When Simon nodded, Tracey turned to her barista. “One Dread Pirate Roberts and a mocha please!”
Simon took his place in line, remembering how he and Vic had met right here, waiting for coffee. Simon had taken one look at Vic’s muscled body, his dark brown eyes, and the ink on his arms and felt an instant attraction. After all these months and several hair-raising adventures, the magnetism had only gotten stronger. Being in love felt wonderful, and Simon resolved to enjoy every minute of it.”
Excerpt From: Morgan Brice. The Rising: A Badlands Novel.
About the Author
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Other books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, and Badlands. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!
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