Hi guys, we have Cornelia Grey popping in with the tour for her new release The Empty Hourglass, we have a great guest post, a great excerpt, and a fantastic giveaway, so enjoy the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
The Empty Hourglass
(Deal With A Devil)
Thomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.
Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.
The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.
Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.
The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite escaping showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.
But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.
Review: The first thoughts ringing in my head right after I finished this book were: Fantastic, brilliant, freakin’ amazing.
This is such a wonderful story, not your typical deal with the devil no, the author takes it a step (or several) further and makes your head spin while constantly keeping you on your toes.
Logan Hart is our character here and God could he be or have a more miserable life? Don’t think so and I got to feel that misery leaking from the words in this text right down on my toes. Poor guy is a musician, a bluesman, but his life wants him to waste away in a coal factory. His life lies in front of his bleak and uninspiring leading to one thing and one thing only. Die from unverified circumstances after withering in this miserable existence, or do something about it.
Farfetched? Yes. And half hoping, half disbelieving the truth of it, Logan sets to find the Devil at the Crossroad. He has a soul that refuses to waste away and burns with the passion for music, and Devils, well they collect souls right? Surely, he can have a good bargain.
This novella is really brilliant. In a very short space, it managed to spin my brain in all directions and make me feel lost along with its character. It takes you from the livid description of a miserable life, to the emptiness and hollow feelings of a rich yet uninspired one, only to end the trip in the agony and expectation of death. When time came for the Devil to collect his soul I simply adored every single line describing Logan’s feeling. His fear, his panic, his whole reasoning, and finally his acceptance, I got to experience all of it along with him, just as I got to be shocked and surprised from the turn of events.
When the Devil came, I simply had to stop a bit and ask myself why? Why did Farfarello do what he did? I mean the explanations he gave were certainly logical, but then again why bother?
Whatever the reasons, what follows is maddening, carnal, unapologetically hot sex, it was part of the contract after all. The mixture of fear and surreal Logan had the residue of panic and the resignation to his fate made the encounter to be even more intense than it already was. Farfarello (I so dislike this name) was beyond hot, beyond sinful, beyond alluring. He really managed to rise as the ultimate ethereal creature into my mind’s eye while reading about him, and damn if I didn’t feel disappointed when the story ended.
Logan’s story is really a wonderful one, one that makes want to look deep down your own soul a bit, set your priorities, makes you think twice before you open your mouth, and ask/demand whatever. The saying “careful what you wish for” comes alive in this book and at times makes you laugh bitterly at how vain we humans really are, how easily we let go our truest dreams in favor for illusions.
This story deserved the whole five hearts from me for a most enjoyable afternoon, and the bit of self-reflection it gave me. However, I wish this were a series with Farfarello as a constant. I cannot bear to part with him, and his mysterious alluring story calls like a siren to me.
Blurb: The last thing Jake Sullivan wanted to do upon returning to the city was get involved in the ongoing struggle between the organized militia and the fox people. After saving a fox child from bullies, however, he finds himself in the heart of the foxes’ slums, where showing his face as a human can be just as dangerous as messing with the militia in the city proper. The proximity of Liam, a white fox with healing powers, certainly doesn’t make things any easier. The attractive fox throws his own powers into an uncontrollable overdrive, not to mention his libido.
When several of the fox people are captured by the militia, Jake’s presence is like salt on old wounds. Prejudices and politics flare, and Jake’s secrets threaten to ruin his shaky alliance. If they are to save the foxes taken by the militia for experimentation, it will take all the cunning and power the clan can muster. Unfortunately, that also means they’ll have to put their trust the one place they’d never imagined: in the hands of a human.
Originally released in “Wild Passions” Anthology (June 2011)
Review: Jake has just got back to the city when he rescues a ‘fox’ child from the clutches of three men, as he makes a run for it he is shot and is rescued by Liam the temporary leader of the foxes.
This is a really good short story that gives us a lot of action and a good plot. Jake has a secret in his past that he knows he has to tell Liam is anything is going to happen between them. Liam has a lot on his plate trying to keep his pack safe while planning to rescue the Chief as well. They both have an enemy within the pack.
I liked the way this was written. You get a good idea of what the world is like and how the different species interact and how they live. Liam and Jake suited each other quite well and the sex was hot between them. Jake really regrets his past and has tried to make up for it, but it still haunts him. The action is really good and very well written. Although…I would have liked to know more about Jake’s power, was he born with it? Does any other human have power?
I’d recommend this to those who like paranormal, urban fantasy, hot sex and a good story.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (23rd November 2011)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Thief Eric Devon wishes one thing: for people to leave him bloody well alone. And maybe for more whiskey. Until a mysterious stranger offers him a job so dangerous that no one has ever attempted it and survived to tell the tale: recover a priceless object from the Turtle Merchants’ impregnable palace. Intrigued by the man and the challenge, Eric accepts—but the stranger is none other than the legendary airship captain known as the Tea Demon, terror of the Sea of Clouds. Eric must come up with the best plan in history if he wants to complete his job… and survive it too.
Review: Eric has retired from thieving as it has got boring and unadventurous for him; it isn’t until a stranger approaches with an intriguing job offer that sparks his interest and excitement that he begins to reconsider. Captain Jonathon Tea has lost a precious, priceless family heirloom and needs the help of a skilled thief to retrieve it, luckily for him he gets the best and more than he bargained for.
A great story with a good plot, great characters and a strong story-line. Eric is amazed at his reaction to Jonathon Tea; he doesn’t think has ever felt so possessive over someone before. The attraction is apparent between the two characters quite quickly and gets quite steamy. This has a few funny moments in it, like when Eric realizes who Jonathan is or when he realizes what the priceless heirloom is, I giggled like mad reading that bit.
I think with this one it has a lot to offer as you have adventure, excitement, hot steamy sex, explosions, a bar fight, air ships, a giant floating turtle and the promise of something more for Eric and Jonathon, so I reckon you give this one a go, it just might surprise you.
Blurb: He lives in the shadows of the law. Now, wounded and stranded in the city after a job only he could do, he has no qualms about climbing through the window his old lover left open—or stealing his shampoo, at that. He has, however, not taken into account the possibility of being surprised in the shower.
Three years is a long time to go between visits, especially if you’ve left so much anger and hurt and desire unresolved. They try to negotiate a truce for one night—over Chinese takeaway leftovers and apples, and between the sheets.
Review: I don’t believe that I have ever been as enthralled with a book as I was with this one. I don’t even know where to begin as this is a story with no names.
It’s been three years since he last saw his old lover and now here he is sneaking through his window, to get cleaned up before leaving again. Even though his old lover doesn’t seem happy to see him they put aside their hurts as their passion is re-ignited.
Even though this is a short story do not be fooled that it will not draw you in with its intense emotional longings and the devastatingly hopeless love. These two lovers have not seen each other in three years but neither has forgotten or stopped loving the other. They remember everything about each other and they both do things ‘just in case’. but they both know that it is hopeless between them, that it can never be.
Incredibly written, so full of detail, so full of emotion, so poignant, this is a masterpiece just waiting to be read. I have to recommend that you don’t miss this book, it is a ‘must be read’ and enjoyed.
Blurb: Ahoy, me proud beauty, shiver me timbers! I ask ye to sail me jollyboat on the high seas, lubber, but will ye dare to accept? On offer be a pirate’s life full of danger and risk, and not just to yer neck, but to yer very virgin heart! There’s many a bodice to be ripped–or perhaps I should say many a codpiece to be snapped–and should ye be graced enough to cross bones with a corsair, don’t be an addlepate! Heave ho, lad, handsomely, and show him how ye bury yer treasure!
Pirates didn’t only sail the high seas in historical times. Modern-day renegades and futuristic rebels are just as ripe for adventure and plunder. No matter the time, place, or circumstances, bad boys steal affection as often as they salvage treasure, and in these stories of romance, a rogue’s black heart always conceals a center of gold.
Review: Daniel is a captain in the Royal Navy when his crew forms a mutiny against him and finds himself adrift in a small boat and then picked up by pirates. James is the pirate Captain Merric. His crew fish out a Navy captain from the sea who turns out to be a childhood sweetheart.
This is a cute read where two childhood sweethearts are reunited after 16 years apart; only for one to be a Navy captain and the other a pirate captain. Daniel tries to fight his renewed feelings for James knowing he has to return to England and James decides that Daniel is his and will do anything to have him. An enjoyable short story.
Ellen Holiday – Touched by the West Wind Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (16pgs)
Review: Tom and Bren are part of a pirate crew. These two young men have been best friends for years when they realize that the way they feel has changed.
This is a sweet romance of two young men who discover their feelings have changed and what they feel for their friend is love. It is a sweet exploration of their feelings as they embark on an innocent physical exploration of each other. A sweet romantic story.
K.R. Foster – The Golden Galleon Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Contemporary Length: Short (12pgs)
Review: Flynn and Jason own the Golden Galleon restaurant together, as well as being life partners. Flynn is having a nice relaxing day off reading his favorite author’s latest novel when he gets a phone call from a desperate Jason begging him to come in on his day off.
Flynn is unhappy to arrive at the restaurant only to find that Jason lied to him, Jason asks him to go to the office where he makes it up to him in a hot and horny manner. A sweet, hot and sexy short.
Emily Moreton – My Hand in Yours Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½, Genre: Fantasy, Pirate Length: Short (10pgs)
Review: Jack is a peace keeper for a coastal town. Robert is a pirate. They come together for primal needs and continue to do so for over five years whenever Robert is in town.
For over five years Robert comes to Jack whenever he is in town, when he is offered work on the Nether Shore, he asks Jack to make a huge decision. This is a nice sweet short.
Jana Denardo – Ghost of Jupiter Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Science Fiction, Inter-species Length: Short (35pgs)
Review: Telek is a Chimera (genetically engineered species) having been sold to the highest bidder he is now being transported. Al is a privateer who has raided a space craft, what he finds on board is more than he could have ever expected.
Telek has been bred to fight and kill. Chimera’s are feared as many have no control over themselves; a few can control themselves. Telek is one of the few. He begins to trust the privateer captain and wants more from him. Al trusts Telek not to hurt or kill him but he doesn’t want Telek thinking that he has to offer himself up to stay safe. Between them is a want to protect the other and a relationship based on trust. A great read I would love to see more from this writer.
E.S. Douglas – Officer and a Gentleman Pirate Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (16pgs)
Review: Geoffrey is a lieutenant in a British Colony; Captain Jones is a pirate he captured after bumping into him outside a tavern.
Jones uses his wiles to try to seduce the lieutenant so he can escape. Geoffrey tries to deny himself but fails; leading to the pirate escaping, but with instructions on how to contact him again. What will happen to these two men when they meet up again? A charming story which shows opposites attract.
K.J. Johnson – Objectivity Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Modern Pirate, Interracial Length: Short (27pgs)
Review: Matthew is a photo-journalist on assignment to get the dirt on African pirates. Achmed is the pirate leader who is trying to show Matthew why they have resorted to piracy.
Matthew battles his attraction to the pirate leader who has made it clear that he could kill him at any time. He also struggles to understand why these men have resorted to piracy. Meanwhile, Achmed is trying to make the photo-journalist understand why they rob the rich. When Matthew is injured on Achmed’s boat by an American soldier they both give in to the attraction. A nice story that could be built on for a future novella.
Cornelia Grey – Worth the Price Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (31pgs)
Review: Edward is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy who has been captured by pirate Captain James O’Shea. When the pirate captain visits him he attacks him with a passion which surprises even him.
Edward ends up risking his life to save James. James ends up giving himself up to save his crew but what will Edward do when his Commodore tries to go back on his word and just how far will Edward go to rescue his pirate. A great short with some intense passion and it was really well written.
Juan Kenobi – Peter and the Lost Boys Heart Rating: ♥1, Genre: ???? Length: Short (15pgs)
Review: Peter is approached in a bar by Kap. Kap takes him to his home to discuss a job and Peter meets the lost boys.
Well there is no sex, no kissing, no nothing; just some sexual innuendo and a job offer. This short story felt more like a small clip from a much longer book.
M.J. O’Shea – Irish Red Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Historical 1713 Length: Short (11pgs)
Review: Chris is a tavern owner and Brian is the pirate captain, Irish Red. they have to keep their love a secret and Brian has promised that this will be his last trip.
Chris is waiting for Brian to return. He’s been waiting months and months when he hears the rumor that Irish Red has been killed. He struggles to go on with his life after that; until one night when an intruder enters the tavern. A wonderful short story that has a lot of emotion.
Piper Vaughn – Black John Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,Genre: Historical 1715 Length: Short (15pgs)
Review: Juan thought the love of his life had died 5 years before. That is until he is washed up on the beach. He thinks this is his second chance, but Jacob has other ideas.
Jacob can’t believe that there are men living and loving openly together on this Island and even though he has found Juan again the fear is too deep. He will be leaving on the next cargo ship. It isn’t until Juan suffers a life threatening injury that Jacob realizes just what he could have lost.
Cooper West –Rough Trade Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Science Fiction, Pirates Length: Short (29pgs)
Review: Audacity is kinda like the captain of the Helos A.I. Battleship Carthage which turned to piracy before Audacity joined her. He’s trying to bail out one of his crew when he bumps into a desperate doctor who needs to get off the space port fast. Sag is a doctor and is pretty shocked that the space craft he is on is a pirate ship but he’s so glad to be off the space port.
This is a great read, I loved the story-line and plot and thought Audacity and Sag were great together.
B. Snow – From a Simmer to a Burn Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Historical, Interracial Length: Short (31pgs)
Review: Sule was a slave who escaped his Dutch owners. He has an anger that is so great that it burns constantly no matter how many fights he’s in and he hates all things Dutch. Olaf is Norwegian but can only communicate with the other crew in Dutch. Sule hates him for reminding him of the Dutch.
This is a good story about overcoming your anger to accept something that much better; if only you can accept what is offered and stop fighting the present and to start forgetting the past.
Riley Shane – On the Wings of Lir Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Steam punk, Pirate Length: Short (17pgs)
Review: Hugh is determined to capture the pirate Patrick Kelly. Kelly is raiding air-ships that are carrying children that are heading for the whore houses. When Hugh finds this out he has a choice to make.
This is a great story that I would really love to see made into a much, much longer story. Hugh is shocked when he finds out the truth behind the raids and he also finds Kelly to be extremely attractive. Kelly thinks Hugh looks like an angel and goes about persuading Hugh to look deeper.
Maggie Lee – The Winds of Change Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Historical 1717, Pirates Length: Short (33pgs)
Review: Cook and Seb have been friends for a year; Cook is firm in his belief that Seb will remain faithful even when Cook sleeps around. That conviction is shaken when they find berth on Edward Teach’s ships.
I found this to be a great story, where one man finally realizes that he can’t have his cake and eat it, too.
Overall Review: I have to say that I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, as always with an anthology you have your gems and then you have the plastic beads. I have to say that the gems are definitely worth reading in this anthology. There is some hot sex in some of the stories but in quite a few there are other sex acts and sometimes it’s just thoughts of sex. A lot of the pairings are good and quite a few of the stories are well written. So I would recommend this if you love pirates…or not.