Lead Me into Darkness (Free Anthology) by J.R.Gray, Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper ~ Book Review by Beverley

Lead-Me-Into-Darkness-Ebook-SmallTitle: Lead Me into Darkness (Anthology)

Author: J.R.Gray, Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Damonza

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 10/29/2015

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, Lesbian, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Other Holiday, Paranormal

Blurb:

Lead Me Into Darkness: Five Halloween Tales of Paranormal Romance

All-Hallows-Eve brings out the wicked in even the most reserved among us… and the lure of romance is the keenest incentive to follow a beloved into the unknown. Lead Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer paranormal romance by five of the hottest authors of contemporary romance.

Take You Farther by Santino Hassell
Brian Watts’ boyfriend is a newly turned vampire, and he’s shouldering the blame. Watts would do anything–including offering up a vein, stripping for cash, and demanding answers from other creatures of the night–to redeem himself and save the man he loves.

Memory Hill by J.C. Lillis
Billy Hartigan’s been dead for ten years, and it’s really pissing him off. Stuck in Memory Hill Cemetery due to “unfinished business,” he fritters away the long days playing monster movies in his head, reliving the glory days of his indie band, and mourning his missed chance at love with his best friend. Then one Halloween he gets a visit from troubled teen geek Todd Racklin, the last living fan of Billy’s old band. Todd needs some beyond-the-grave help from his idol–and his visits might hold the key to Billy’s release from Memory Hill.

Grave Circumstances by J.R. Gray
Secret agendas collide with guns, ghosts and confusing erections, on a tour through a haunted graveyard. Jesse’s been carrying a secret and needs a night alone with George. But George has his own agenda, leading Jesse into darkness, the fright of his life, and a blinding release he won’t soon forget.

Boyfriends in the Boneyard by Kris Ripper
In a perfect world, Truman Jennings would be spending Halloween with both his husband and his boyfriend; alas, in this one he’s on a ghost tour with his husband, and his boyfriend is probably watching scary movies and eating pizza rolls.

The cemetery is appropriately creepy, their tour guide weaves a good yarn, and Hugh’s in a very odd (but utterly delightful) mood. When Hugh leads him away from the group Truman doesn’t know what to think, but considering his husband’s filthy, kinky mind, he’s more than willing to find out.

As usual, Hugh has both tricks and treats up his sleeve.

Mayfair by Roan Parrish
Jocelyn has been secretly in love with her best friend Bethany for a year. And it’s hell. But there are other things—dark, creeping, illusory things—that are tormenting Jocelyn even more. They’ve been appearing more and more lately and Jocelyn is starting to doubt her sanity. But a Devil’s Night ritual in a Detroit cemetery may reveal more than she ever imagined…

My View:

I don’t usually read anthologies – I find I will like one story very much and often not finish the rest. Lead Me Into Darkness made a refreshing change for me. Yes, I have favourites but I wanted to finish them all. I gave the anthology 4* overall and have given my individual ratings below.

Take You Farther by Santino Hassell 4*

I think this is best described as a vignette. This story follows on from the excellent novel Stygian. Here we catch up with lead singer Brian Watts and his boyfriend Quince. I find it hard to write a review, as I don’t want to spoil for those who have yet to read Stygian. However, it can be read as a short story of love and seeking redemption. As always with this author’s work it is well written, enjoyable, sexy and as near to bordering on sweet as this author would ever wish to be.

Memory Hill by J.C. Lillis 5*

I have not read this author before, after this short story I am sure I will remedy this.  A true little gem set in a graveyard over several Halloweens. It is a heartbreaking, funny, expressive and honest account of young people’s lives and experiences of becoming a ‘whole’ adult. We learn so much about the characters, Billy and Todd, as well those who affect their lives. The way this author creates deep feeling and communication between the main characters, is a beautiful example of an accomplished writer. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that Billy is a ghost, and so cannot directly communicate with the all too human, Todd. How J.C. Lillis achieves the emotion and story telling – well I am a confirmed fan now. This is a story of unfinished business and how by helping Todd in his life – Billy finds his eternity. The ending is just perfect.

Grave Circumstances by J.R.Gray 3.5*

For a few lines I wasn’t quite sure if this is a contemporary story, but it is. The slaves mentioned are of the BDSM variety. I did enjoy reading this, it is well written, and the relief of reading a whole anthology so well edited…is a joy to this reviewer. The story revolves around a wealthy man, George, and Jesse his submissive. Jesse wants to tell George something he feels is very important to their future and decides to take George on a Halloween tour of a graveyard. This idea is to get George away from his slaves, who presumably live with them. George however, has his own ideas and slightly alters the plans for the evening. An enjoyable interlude but not quite for me, comparatively speaking. Although….zombie paint ball.

Boyfriends in the Boneyard by Kris Ripper 3* 

I would call this a Halloween romp. Two husbands go on a Halloween tour of haunted graveyard. while their boyfriend is out of town, but one of them has a surprise. This was light hearted, themed, sex romp in a graveyard. It was funny and there were some lovely touches – where the uncomfortable nature of certain fantasies are described. Not really a story, but an enjoyable sexy romp.

Mayfair by Roan Parrish 5*

This last short story in the anthology surprised and enchanted me. Surprised, because I do not read lesbian fiction – not for anything silly about lady bits, but because I find it a genre I don’t usually connect, or identify with. First of all let me say there is no ‘sex’ so please don’t, as I saw one reviewer say, be put off and avoid for that reason. This is an amazingly, haunting and beautiful piece of writing that I have already read twice. It involves secret yearnings and love, loneliness and human misunderstandings. It is all about growing up, and being a teenager discovering love and the secrets of the universe – with no one to discuss these things with. It is also about friendship and dealing with the pain of being different. The ending could fall under the ‘be careful what you wish for’ category, or a deeper meaning of discovering what is illusory about life…An mini triumph that had me quietly crying at the end.

Links

Lead Me into Darkness (Anthology) on Goodreads

All Romance ebooks

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I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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