Title: Star Crossed #1: Demon Tailz
Author: Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod
Cover Artist: Reno MacLeod
Publisher: M & V Tailz
Genre: Paranormal M/M, urban fantasy, twincest
Length: Short story, 11K words
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Review Summary: A walk on the wild side with Jaye and Reno that will get your adrenalin pumping as they throw you into an adventure like no other.
Famous for the witch trials of 1692, Salem has been trying to smudge out the horrible images of murder and injustice for centuries. In a complete turnaround, the town began welcoming all witches, and by the early 21st century one in four Salem residents either claimed to be a witch or to know one.
Jace Barton is a demon making a comfortable living as co-owner of Tailz — a colorful pub in Salem — along with his twin brother Konnor. Strange people pass through its doors all the time, but on Halloween things always tend to get even more bizarre. Still, Jace is surprised when Cash Rowan pays him a visit with a tale that stands Jace’s hair on end. Ten years of desperate searching has brought Cash to Jace’s door, and he isn’t leaving until Jace gives him exactly what he needs.
Star Crossed 1: Demon Tailz is the first book in what looks like a very exciting paranormal series which stars Jace and Konnor Barton, twin demons who live in Salem, Massachusetts where paranormals “had lived undetected for years—vampires and were-creatures, angels and demons—stealthily and steadily filtering into the day-to-day lives of the humans.” In the 21st century the human residents discovered their existence and they were allowed to stay on condition that they remained a secret, since full disclosure to those outside Salem could result in chaos.
Halloween was traditionally very busy in Salem because of its history, and this year was no different, which is why Konnor was not around. Every year he left Jace to look after the bar on his own for about a week while he visited the “great outdoors” to avoid the tourists. Jace on the other hand thrived on all the activity and the visitors who thronged to the bar which was always full of locals, humans and ghouls as well as visitors.
Cash Roman is a hunter and he needs Jace to do something very important for him at midnight on Halloween. It’s not a trick, it’s more like a treat for Jace. 🙂 Cash is on a mission and he cannot afford to fail, or his life over the past decade would have been worthless. When he shows up in the bar at closing time everyone was leaving, but he hoped he had found what he was looking for in Jace because he was too tired to look elsewhere. Jace senses that he’s hiding something, so after a few drinks he invites Cash upstairs to his apartment even though he knows his profession.
The book teems with restrained action and the supernaturals who live openly among humans. There is a bit of history about Jace and Connor and the atrocities they suffered at the hands of humans which left Jace with a deformed wing. They made no effort to hide the fact that they were demons as their tails were obvious even when they looked human. I thought that the way Jace transformed into his natural form was realistic, if very painful.
The twins’ close relationship was the highlight of the book for me and some of the lines were really funny but I won’t spoil the story for you by quoting them, as you need the context. Of course, as expected, the sex was very hot with no holds barred since these are demons, and if you know anything about the authors’ books this is not unexpected. All of the characters were well crafted including Cash, and the differences between Konnor and Jace were what made them so vibrant and the book so interesting.
If you love unusual stories about paranormals, this new series will definitely appeal. Star Crossed 1: Demon Tailz is extraordinarily imaginative but is not for the faint of heart and a lot is packed into this short story. I think this is a genre where Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod excel as their writing ability is allowed full rein and they don’t hold back. There is one graphically violent scene that will make your stomach churn, as well as shifted sex, so be warned if this is something that upsets you. Conversely, for those of you who like to walk on the wild side you will love the characters and the plot as much as I did. I think I can say with confidence that I have not read a book with a similar plot or characters.
Star Crossed 1: Demon Tailz is definitely outside the box and the surprise ending made me impatient to read the next book, Star Crossed 2: Opposite Ends of the Spectrum which will be reviewed next week.
This series has been re-edited and reissued.
Warning: This dark urban fantasy contains graphic violence and a consensual sexual relationship between non-human twin brothers.