Title: Lead Me Into Darkness: Five Halloween Tales of Paranormal Romance
Release Date: October 29, 2015
Length: 5 short stories
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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…
This anthology turned out to be more enjoyable than I originally thought!! It was a fun twist on the upcoming holiday.
Take You Farther by Santino Hassell – 4 stars
This one is a spin-off from Stygian, so I feel anything I say will be spoilery. I will say that I love it when stories take place in my hometown (New Orleans). And basically, there are still high emotions from two members of the band, Stygian, after the fallout from the book. I got to see Watts’ POV in this little short, and I LOVED that! Hassell’s gritty writing is always refreshing, and Watts is struggling to keep hold of the best thing in his life. Santino left me completely wanting more of these guys – he’s a sneaky little shit!
Memory Hill by J.C. Lillis – 4.5 stars
This little gem surprised me. I’ve never read this author, but the story itself was clever and sweet. Billy is a ghost who’s been trapped for 20 something years in the cemetery where he’s buried. He was a musician in a local band, and he died before he could tell his best friend and bandmate he was in love with him. A younger kid who idolizes his band’s music begins visiting his grave and talking to him. The friendship that evolves and how Billy gets “unstuck” was told so well….this one was really good!!
Grave Circumstances by J.R. Gray – 2.5 stars
This one was a little choppy. At first I wasn’t clear on what era we were in because of the description of “slaves” and past-century boots, but then the vernacular was modern. There was never really any further description of these “slaves” that belong to one of the MCs. There’s the dominant MC (George) and the submissive MC (Jesse). George wants to give Jesse a special “scary” birthday on Halloween with a graveyard tour. There are random Satanists chanting (clearly said to be NOT part of the tour – so then why???), random paintball/zombie attack from Jesse’s ex-girlfriend (Jesse did her wrong apparently, but, again, no elaboration), and Jesse’s brother tags along. Not sure why on that one either. It was all just a bit disjointed. I like a smoother flow. Rounded up from 2 to 2.5 for a very smoking hot sex scene at the end.
Boyfriends in the Boneyard by Kris Ripper – 3.5 stars
Truman and Hugh are married but they have a boyfriend too! And they, too, are on a graveyard tour, but without said boyfriend who has been out of town. But Truman has a surprise for Hugh. The person dressed up as Elsa(or the other Frozen sister – I can’t remember) ahead is actually our boyfriend who has surprised us for the night. And can I just say that we have a very naughty scene where Truman hides under the costume’s dress and does dirty, dirty things in a cemetery! So hot!
Mayfair by Roan Parrish I had to give a skip to. Not because I don’t want to dive right in after reading In the Middle of Somewhere a few months back, but because this one is about Jocelyn and Bethany. I’m sure it’s lovely, but the female bits just aren’t my cup of tea.