Monday, July 4, 2016

The Necromancer's Dilemma (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Book 2) by SJ Himes

Even love can die without trust.


Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begins to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?

Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought—especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.

The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true…and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family.

Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.


While the Salvatores and Macavoys had spent a few hundred years sharing Boston, very rarely did the twain ever meet. The Salvatores claimed Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South Boston, west to Brookline, east to the Cape, and all the way south to the Rhode Island border and the ferries to the islands. The Macavoys claimed the area north of the Charles River, all of Cambridge and Somerville, north to Medford. The river separated them, and for almost two-thirds of Angel’s life, the river was the line they never crossed, unless they wanted blood spilled and spells tearing apart city streets and families.
The limo, this one with blackout windows, two vampire guards in the front and one on the rear with them, crossed the Charles and headed northwest into Cambridge. Angel instinctively tensed when he saw the signs for MIT, and the limo cruised along, the suspension taking the rough winter roads and tight corners with smooth ease. Macavoy Court was ten minutes past the campus, and Angel pressed himself back against the leather seat, vibrating. Eroch purred and chirped, winding himself around Angel’s neck and nibbling on his skin, trying to calm him. Simeon was sitting to his left, and a big hand landed on his thigh, squeezing.
Angel gave Isaac a searching glance, but his little brother appeared unperturbed, his eyes curiously scanning the dark side streets and elegant old homes they passed. For Isaac, this wasn’t a trip into enemy territory—this was a rescue mission, in a town he’d always had the run off once he grew up. If Angel had attempted to enter Cambridge when he was eighteen, his father would have beaten the magic out of him and grounded his ass for a decade. When Isaac was eighteen and running around town, the Wars were long over and the Town safe—well, as safe as a Salvatore could ever be in this city. It once took Angel the better part of three years to even think about crossing the territorial borders, even with the Macavoys in prison or dead, and the other allied clans decimated by police raids and exile.
If one was to be truly technical, the Salvatores won the Blood Wars, but with only a pair of free or surviving people on each side, it wasn’t much to celebrate.
It was an hour and half ‘til dawn, but as long as they got this handled quickly, Simeon should be fine, and if not, the limo had treated glass. Simeon and their vampire escort should be safe from the sun.
As long as they weren’t ambushed by a troll hybrid and a fae lord. Angel doubted it—the fae lord and his minion had a hunting party after them, and would need to go to ground before they were caught, if they hadn’t been already. Simeon took down Stone by himself, so the half-dozen vamps after the duo should have an even easier time of it. While Angel wanted to know how the fae got the drop on his lover, he would wait until he reclaimed his wayward apprentice and they were safely back home. All of them.
“How are you feeling?” Angel murmured to Simeon as the limo took one of the last turns before arriving at Macavoy Court. Less than a block now, and he tensed.
Simeon lifted his hand from Angel’s leg and gripped the back of his neck, squeezing, chasing away the tension and nerves. He sighed quietly, trying to let go of his anxiety. He wasn’t afraid—this was just one place he never, ever, in his whole life wanted to be, much less go there purposely. He thought he could handle it fine from the safety of his own kitchen, but now he was learning how wrong he’d been.
“I am well, mo ghra, healed and restored,” Simeon answered, leaning down and pressing a firm kiss to his temple. Angel peered back up at Simeon, looking for signs of weariness or strain, but the strong jawline and chiseled cheekbones, combined with his devastating emerald eyes and the charming slant of his lips made Angel humph grudgingly, but he could agree Simeon looked perfectly well.
“We still need to talk about what happened,” Angel stated, and Simeon gave him a small half-smile.
“We shall, I promise,” Simeon agreed, and Angel had to content himself with waiting until after the dealt with Daniel and his father.
“Any plans?” Isaac grumped from the forward side seat, squinting as he tried to see past the dark window tint and the shadows outside.
“Get Daniel and go home,” Angel said, and Simeon snorted softly in amusement.
“That’s it? Get Daniel?” Isaac asked, incredulous. “No master plan? Just walk up and knock, then?”
“Yup,” Angel replied, and despite the situation he smiled when Isaac gaped at him in dismayed shock.
“I thought Dad taught you all these combat maneuvers and battle plans and stuff,” Isaac grumped, scowling.
“Combat maneuvers and battle plans?” Angel chuckled, shaking his head. “He taught me how to survive, and how to keep others alive. Nothing more fancy than that.”
“Any suggestions on how not to die, then?” Isaac snarked back, and Angel got the first real glimpse of the Isaac from the last few years.
“Sure. Never make the first move unless it’s to save a life. Shields up, and watch your back. Never fails.”
It failed all the time, actually, but handing over fear and doubt before a conflict was the fastest way to lose. He’d never tell Isaac how many times he saw friends and family members die in conflict during the Wars. That was one part of their history he was never going to share. The Wars were over.
Isaac opened his mouth but shut it with a snap and a frown after a moment, brows making a dark slash across his brow. Angel could see his brother battling with questions he surely wanted to ask, but the limo coming to a stop on the street outside the main gates of Macavoy Court made them turn and look.
Once a grand Georgian mansion, the seat of the Macavoy clan was in disrepair and falling apart. The tall, wrought iron gates were open, and the wide stone courtyard was strewn with debris and trash. The front of the mansion was dark, though just off to the right, a dim red glow came through partially open curtains. Someone was home.
“Isaac, keep your shield ready to go, and don’t hesitate to tap the veil. Don’t do anything aggressive unless we’re met with violence. If Leicester or his servants give us any trouble, I will handle it. You’re to get Daniel out and into the limo. Our vampire friends,” Angel said, nodding to the soldiers who still sat quietly in the limo with them, “won’t be able to enter the premises without invitation. Simeon, too, but if anything goes to hell I will do my best to get it outside the building where you can help.”
Isaac was nodding, and Simeon gave Angel a slow, single nod in agreement. “Okay, let’s go knock on the door.”
Simeon held him back from exiting the limo first, but he didn’t mind as Simeon would be stuck out in the courtyard without an invitation while Angel and Isaac went in after Daniel. Angel wasn’t taking no for an answer—his apprentice was inside, and after learning about Leicester’s abuse, Angel would be damned before he let Daniel spend another hour under his father’s roof. Angel was fiercely pleased he wasn’t restricted to needing an invitation—as long as the mansion wasn’t warded he could get in.
The wind cut through his sweater, and Eroch chirped in dismay from under his collar. Angel tugged the fabric up higher and drew in an even breath, calming himself before opening his mind and inner sight to the building in front of him.
“No wards,” Angel murmured in surprise. Maybe they weren’t expected? Didn’t Leicester expect a visit from Angel once his apprentice was stolen? Rescuing Daniel was a certainty that Angel never disputed—but maybe not for everyone else?
“I don’t see any spells or shields up, either,” Isaac volunteered, and Angel agreed.
“I have no trust this is as innocent as it looks,” Angel said, and Simeon nodded, his sharp senses presumably searching the wide courtyard for dangers.
“I smell Daniel, an older practitioner, and another human male, indeterminate age,” Simeon supplied after a few deep inhalations. “I can smell blood, though it is faint.”
“Daniel’s?” Angel asked, breathing through his fear and anger.
“Perhaps, but the scent markers are dulled by distance and the wind,” Simeon said, shaking his head, auburn hair catching the light from the few street lamps. “I can hear three heartbeats though, so the boy is alive.”
“Perfect, let’s get him back. Don’t let anyone in or out except us. I don’t want company at a bad time.”
“I will be waiting for you here, my love,” Simeon answered with a quick grin. Angel gave Simeon one last look before walking across the courtyard to the front door, Isaac at his shoulder.

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Name three things that would surprise your fans to know about you.

Hhhmmm. Three things? OK.

1. I am absolutely beyond terrified of spiders. I will set myself on fire to escape a spider. Or the house. Or someone else. I’m that cared of them. Large bugs make me very unhappy. I keep a bottle of industrial grade bug killer spray in my room at all times. Just in case.

2. I lived in a haunted house for 8 years in Indiana. I know what you’re thinking, ‘There’s no such things as ghosts!’ Well, tell that to the ghost in that house, maybe it’ll listen. Nothing says you’re living in a haunted house quite like having something grab your toes while you’re sleeping, force you to wake up, see the darned thing, then scream your head off. We turned on the lights and it was gone….door never opened, so where did it go? Saw it several times until I did a really doofy confrontational thing where I threatened to exorcise the house. Minor things after that but I never saw it directly after that day.

3. I went to school for veterinarian medicine and a major in genetics specializing in animal conservationism. I never made it all the way I came up against my great nemesis, mathematics. I sailed through everything EXCEPT the actual math classes. I had to give up and rethink my career goals. So I ended up working for TSA /Homeland Security for ten years before I took the plunge into fulltime author.

A lot of your writing contains nonhumanelements. What draws you to that?

A. It’s pure escapism. I enjoy the nonhuman elements because they represent to me the things I wish I could change about myself or other people. A new way to handle situations, problems, on frontations. Nothing makes me happier than magic. I struggle with writing contemporary novels for just this reason I have to play by the “rules” to solve problems, and I hate that.

How do you come up with a title?

A. I usually have the title before I have the book. I think with 4 of my books I knew what it was going to be called long before I wrote ‘The End.’ The rest of them came to me about 50% of the way through writing them. Usually the title has to do with the main character directly, or the main plotline of the book. No esoteric titles with me. My Bred For Love series is rather on point, as well as Saving Silas and Wolves of Black Pine.

Where do you get your best ideas?

A. I daydream. I used to daydream in school a lot. I was in some really advanced classes and even then I was really bored, especially in my AP English classes. So I’d occupy myself with creating stories in my head. This is actually now how I formulate and create my books. I daydream them into a fairly cohesive whole, and write the scenes out as I crafted them in my head, Everything else I write by the seat of my pants. Some of my favorite stories occur when I can’t find what I want to read. What I need doesn’t exist yet so I create it.

Is there anything you’d like to tell? Maybe something in the works you would like to
promotion? Feel free!

A. My recent release The Necromancer’s Dilemma just dropped on July 1st. My next book out will be Bred For Love IV: A Sovereign Vow, the last book in the Bred For Love series. I’m planning on August 2016 for that book.

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Author Bio:
SJ Himes is the semi-accomplished author of the series, “How Not to Succeed.” Her accolades range from “My eyes, my eyes!!”, to “Why did you do that?”, and the often cited, “Dear GAWD STAHP.” 

She’s recently retired from her decade long career of teaching government employees how to milk hamsters instead of doing their actual jobs, and has frequently been seen at the scene of many a Red Tape Disaster. Not helping in any way, of course. That’s not what one does for Uncle Sam. 

SJ delights in taking short walks to the fridge, where she opens it, stares forlornly and without purpose, and then shuts the door with a sigh. She is often the type to wander into a room, forget why she was going in there to begin with, and then leave, only to remember once she’s gone. Her other pastimes include snarky comments and bewildering non sequitors, and her puns inspire animals into early migrations. Having more books than friends, she likes it that way, as friends require paying attention and that dreaded skill called listening.

Her latest release, “My Betta Friend: The Life of Falcor”, is a semiautobiographical novel set in Medieval Times—the event restaurant, not the era—and focuses on the woes of owning a fish instead of a cat. Downside: no snuggling. Good side: no litter box. Here's the fun part: What's true and what's not? *wink* 

I'm actually a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I'm at the best part in a book. I love writing paranormal and fantasy, and my occasional forays into contemporary romances are alternating between stressful and enlightening. I write mainly gay romance and erotica, and a recent release, The Necromancer's Dance, was my very first urban fantasy. Its sequel just released, The Necromancer’s Dilemma, on July 1st through Amazon. If you're feeling brave, I also write under my pen name of Revella Hawthorne, and write fanfiction on as Revella, for a certain British consulting detective and his army doctor. My mpreg series Bred For Love is out now.

See my Author Page for Revella Hawthorne for upcoming releases in the Bred For Love Series.

The Necromancer's Dilemma
72,000 words. Mature content. Violence, sex, gore. Contains mature content and extreme snark.
Bonus short story at the end, called "The Necromancer's Birthday Surprise.". Written for Crystal's Many Reviewers Birthday Celebration, March 2016.