Title: The Necromancer’s Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3)
Author: S.J. Himes
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 28th 2018
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 340 pages
Cover Design: Kellie Dennis of Book Cover by Design
Reviewed by: Belen
Every action has consequences.
For a decade, Angel Salvatore has been the most powerful sorcerer and only necromancer in all the Northeast. Never one to ask permission nor apologies, he has acted with near impunity for years.
The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and Angel is their target. Charged with numerous violations of practitioner laws, his freedom and family are placed in jeopardy.
If found guilty, Angel’s apprentice Daniel will be imprisoned to serve out the remaining years of his apprenticeship. Isaac, his brother, is too vulnerable to be left unguarded, and Angel fears for his sanity and health. And Simeon, Elder vampire and Angel’s mate, refuses to see Angel convicted under the laws of the Council and his actions to keep Angel free threaten to start a war that could destroy their world. And Angel faces the severest of punishments—the castration of his gifts.
The Council has never cared for the people of Boston, and Angel doubts their motives. They have come for some insidious reason, and it has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with Angel.
Dealing with an impending trial, a wayward ghost, and a grave-robbing ring of thieves leaves Angel on the edge. He thinks he may have a handle on things until violence erupts across the city, and a stranger comes to town…a stranger with his own dark powers of necromancy.
This is book 3 of a series, and the previous books should be read first for full enjoyment. Trigger Warnings are on the Copyright Page and can be seen using the Look Inside feature or by downloading a sample of this book.
“What do you mean, I got a letter?” Angel held his smartphone between his ear and shoulder, fumbling with the keys to his office. It was still dark, and he huffed with impatience, blinking a small orb of hellfire into existence over his hands so he could find the right key. Inserting it into the lock, he opened the door and dismissed the orb, flicking the light switch by the door.
“It was delivered by courier about ten minutes ago,” Daniel replied, his apprentice talking past food. “I had to sign for it. The courier almost didn’t leave it with me until I told him I was your apprentice.”
Angel grumbled to himself, tossing his keys on his desk and grabbing his phone, rubbing the back of his neck. He left his apartment not even ten minutes before, which was only a couple blocks away, so the courier must have shown up right as he was leaving. He frowned, thinking back to the pre-dawn street, and he didn’t recall seeing anyone—not even a car or taxi.
“Well, go ahead and open it,” Angel said, tapping his phone to put it on speaker. Daniel made a happy sound past whatever he was chewing, and Angel snorted out a laugh. He booted up his laptop, looking for the appointment he had that morning at the ass-crack of dawn. Why in the world he thought it would be a good idea to have a private consultation so damn early on a Monday was beyond him. Which was why he decided on waking up everyone he lived with so he could share the misery. Though it was only Daniel since Isaac was at Nevermore and Simeon was at the Tower.
A sharp yelp and swearing came out from the speakers, and Angel laughed. “Papercut?”
“No! It shocked me!” Daniel gasped out, cussing under his breath. “I can’t open it!”
“What do you mean you can’t open it? Just rip it open.”
“I’m trying! Ouch!” Daniel yelped again, and the sounds coming from over the phone were parts hilarious and alarming. “I’m not risking my fingers. You can open it.”
“Who is it from? It might be warded if a courier brought it.”
“Now you tell me,” Daniel muttered, and Angel grinned as he found the appointment time. Daniel was finding his courage and picking up sass lessons from Isaac. His shy apprentice was learning all about sarcasm in the Salvatore household. His appointment was in about five minutes. No time to run back home and get the letter that was singeing his apprentice’s fingers. Daniel recited the address on the letter, “It says, ‘To Angelus Raine Salvatore, Necromancer of Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts. From’…Oh, wow.”
“Who’s it from?”
“The High Council of Sorcery, Bucharest, Romania.”
Angel stood up straight, hands falling away from his laptop. He stared at the phone, the quiet in his office somehow loud, heart pounding in his ears. He looked up at the door as if any second one of the Council enforcers would blast through the doorway, ready to take him into custody for crimes sundry against international sorcery laws. He breathed in, breath shaky, and flexed his fingers. He reached out with his mind, cautiously testing the wards around his office, and there was nothing.
“Angel? Angel!” Daniel squawked over the phone, and Angel snapped free of the tension that held him frozen and snatched up the phone.
“Daniel, my appointment is any minute. Can you bring the letter here? Just hang out in the main room until I’m done if we’ve started when you get here. Wake up Eroch and have him come with you.”
“Um, okay…wake up the fire-breathing lizard, he says.”
“Just pick him up and carry him with you if he doesn’t wake up. He was sleeping on my pillow when I left. Don’t walk over here alone. I’d say hold on to it until I get home, but I have a feeling I need to read that letter as soon as possible.”
“Okay. Can I take a shower first?”
“You better,” Angel chuckled and hung up. Twenty-year-old men needed showers for the sake of everyone.
A knock sounded from the front of the office, and Angel took a deep breath, calming his off-center nerves before heading to answer the door. He was still cautious, sending out his awareness, his wards humming in the recesses of his mind, unmolested. There were two people on the small landing outside his door, their auras muffled by the panel, but they were both practitioners.
Angel opened the door, a polite smile on his face.
“Angelus Salvatore?” asked a tall, bulky man in a dark coat, his face set to glower. Angel lifted a brow, unable to see the person behind the big man. He could see a flash of red hair and a small bit of alabaster skin before the big guy shifted.
“I am,” Angel replied, opening the door wider, stepping back and gesturing them inside. His wards were set to allow strangers inside, but they would dampen any magic cast in this space by strangers or those he blocked. Came in handy when dealing with young sorcerers and unexpected guests. They could still cast, but his magic permeated the space, claiming even the ambient magical energies and stifling spells cast by interlopers. Not much use against a practitioner who used their own reserves, but the more dangerous, higher-ranked practitioners tended to reach outside themselves first before casting.
A tall woman was behind the big guy, slim and covered head to toe in black, from her leather high-heeled boots and ankle-length black pea coat to her black silk scarf and a jaunty, tiny pillbox hat atop titian curls. She was familiar, but the shadows were still dark enough Angel was having difficulty determining her identity. He led them back to his office, gesturing at the chairs in front of his desk. The woman sat, unwinding her scarf, her escort taking a stance beside the office door. Angel turned on the lamps as dawn was taking its time arriving and the room had shadows in inconvenient places.
The woman removed her scarf, putting it on her lap before shrugging from her coat. Her escort stepped forward, taking it from her before returning to his spot by the door. The woman, dressed in a thin black wraparound dress that hugged every slim curve and long line of her body, smiled at Angel. She was pretty, in a very human way, nothing of the fae about her in face or form. Dark green eyes, nothing at all like the brilliant emerald of Simeon’s eyes but arresting enough in their own merits, gazed back at him, glistening with wry humor.
“Lady Kensington,” Angel acknowledged after a moment’s pause, surprised. The recent widow was a wizard and a skilled apothecary who owned and ran Nightshade Apothecary not far from where they sat in Beacon Hill. Angel would see her occasionally in the neighborhood or when he needed supplies between scheduled deliveries. Her husband, Lord Greyson Kensington, died of a heart attack three months ago while shoveling snow off the front stoop of their shop one chilly winter morning.
“Call me Heather, please,” she said, voice melodic and rich, smooth as hot chocolate with a shot of whiskey. Her chin rose as if she was expecting argument. What Angel could remember of her husband, the man was a stickler for propriety and demanded to be addressed by his title, even to friends.
Angel never liked the man.
“Heather,” Angel agreed with a grin, surprising her into smiling back at him. “What can I do for you? And why so early? I would’ve come to the shop.”
“I’m afraid this matter requires a measure of discretion,” Lady Heather replied, twisting her scarf in her fingers. “It’s regarding my late husband.”
Angel paused, thinking. Usually when the recently bereaved came to his door, they wanted either the impossible, like a resurrection, or more commonly, a summoning of the departed spirit. He rarely acquiesced as nothing good could come from repeatedly dialing in to the Other Side. It kept the living from moving on and tormented the souls he would be recalling to this plane.
She must have seen some of these thoughts on his face, as she held up a dainty hand, forestalling his coming denial. “I don’t want you to summon him from the Other Side,” she said, tears gathering on her lashes. Angel waited, curious despite himself. “I want you to find him for me.”
“I’m sorry, I’m not following,” Angel said warily, hoping she didn’t cry. Isaac or Daniel breaking down he hated but knew what to do, a near stranger crying left him awkward.
“The shop was broken into three nights ago,” Lady Heather said quickly, words tumbling over themselves as she hurried to explain. “I heard the commotion from my apartment upstairs, but by the time the police arrived, it was too late.”
“What did they steal?” Angel was trying to follow along, he really was, but he had no idea what a burglary would have to do with her deceased husband.
“They stole him,” Lady Heather said, digging out a handkerchief from her tiny black purse. She dabbed at her eyes, miraculously not smearing her mascara.
Angel frowned. “I’m going to need you to spell this out for me.”
“The thieves stole Greyson’s ghost. I need you to find him.”
EXCLUSIVE GUEST POST
SJ’s Favorite Things
LGBT+ Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Romance Edition
Hello, everyone! My name is Sheena, and I write as SJ Himes. I’ve been struggling to come up with a topic to talk about, and I’ll be the first to admit I am horrible at blog posts. I always struggle about to talk about anything. I could prattle on about my own books, but I honestly dislike doing that. I like sharing I write but banging people over the head with my own books isn’t something I’m comfortable doing. One thing I can talk about though is books! All the books!
I write urban fantasy and epic fantasy with a romance main plot. It’s my catnip. And I happen to love any fantastical tale that combines strong characters with unique and detailed world building with powerful plots. It’s also what I strive to write myself. My current series, the Beacon Hill Sorcerer, is set in Boston, and focuses on Angel Salvatore, a necromancer. He isn’t the stereotypical monster, and he’d be the first to laugh at being labeled a hero. He’s a bundle of contradictions and a master of snark, and I love him dearly. I enjoy creating unique characters and reading about them too!
So, I’m going to share with you today four of my most recent favorite urban and epic fantasy romances, why I love them, and two books I can’t wait to read myself. (Once I find time between writing my own and moving across the country.)
Let’s begin with my most recent favorite reads!
Inheritance Series by Amelia Faulkner (Box Set, Five Books)
Now I know what you’re thinking! This is a box set! Why yes, yes, it is. How else are you going to get FIVE BOOKS in one of the BEST LGBTQ urban fantasy series for over half the price? I like buying books, but I also appreciate saving money. Now, the first book in this series is one of the most original and fantastic books in this genre I’ve even had the fortune to read. Jack of Thorns is amazing. The protagonists are human, even though they kinda aren’t—what I mean is that Faulkner has given her characters flaws, some pretty serious, and flaws that aren’t typically seen in anything romantic. Her books are character driven with familiar settings that have hidden depths of magic. For gritty, colorful, and emotion-wrenching books, the Inheritance Series is one collection I will be happy to dive into forever.
Stolen Ink by Holly Evans
A sexy tattoo artist who inks in magic and spells? Hell yes. Gimme. This is the first book of a series, and I own them all. Evans writing style is different, and her characters are unique, and while magical tattoos aren’t an original concept, what she does with them certainly is. I read this book in one long night, forgoing sleep to finish it. The world building is gritty, the realism and the magical elements blending beautifully, and I have to say Evans prose and narrative is engaging and her voice is strong. The main characters are some of my favorite archetypes—mysterious, strong, tragic, and snarky. There’s enough books in this series to keep anyone happy for a few days of quality marathon reading.
Captive: Beautiful Monsters Volume 1 by Jex Lane
This book is NOT for the faint of heart. While romance is also NOT the focus, the fact we have a bisexual main character who gets to express all the facets of his sexuality without shame on page wins all the Yesssssssses from me! Bisexual Unicorns Unite!!! (Matthew, the main character, is not a unicorn.) Mystery and violence and sex comprise this book, the start of a fantastic series that follows Matthew through self-discovery, the world he finds himself caught up in, and the journey he takes on surviving and his freedom. All the trigger warnings for this series. I had trouble getting through it, but the world-building and fantastic writing helped keep me engrossed.
Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor
This is the expanded edition of the novella by the same name. I just finished this book last week, and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. This book is 100% epic fantasy, with romance as the main plot. This book is about falling in love and then having faith in that love. Plus, dragons!! What’s not to love about dragons? The world building in this book is amazeballs and gorgeous. The system of governance is riddled with tension, the dragons are deadly and beautiful and revered, and the king is swoon-worthy. Main character Jasen is sweet, humble, honorable and a refreshing face in a world driven by the need to marry for anything but love. Strong emotional writing and a fairy-tale feel make this one of my favorite books so far this year.
And now, two books I can’t wait to read. I won’t beat you over the head with details, but I’ll share the titles and why I want to read them.
The Last Sun by K. D. Edwards
Such a sucker for a pretty cover. Plus, this is released by a mainstream publisher, and the only way to beat down the doors of the wider world of publishing for LGBTQ+ titles it to support the books that make it through the gatekeepers. The premise looks great, the tension in the plot and the sexiness of that cover make me want to read it NOW. Lone son of a slaughtered house? Kinda my thing, too. (See my series the Beacon Hill Sorcerer, starting with The Necromancer’s Dance.)
Runebinder by Alex R. Kahler
Another pretty cover, with a plot I am going crazy for! YA LGBT?? Post apocalypse and mystery with MAGIC?? Sign me up! Honestly, what’s not to love? Plus, the reviews are awesome, and this is another mainstream book to get loud about. It’s the beginning of another series that I hope does well, and I can’t wait to dive in.
Well, that’s my blog post. Was it good for you? I actually enjoyed myself!
A huge thank you to Gay Book Reviews for letting me come play with them today and thank you all so much for reading my ramblings and sharing my favorite urban and epic fantasy reads with me. I love this genre, I love romance, I love magic. We need more books like these. I hope to be able to contribute to the cause for years to come. I wish you all a wonderful time reading, and if you’re so inclined, try my series out. The Necromancer’s Reckoning, BHS#3, is out now, enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and for sale on all Amazon markets. It has snark, magic, vampires, sorcerers, and a baby dragon with a big secret.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m 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 write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), The Wolfkin Saga, and the epic fantasy romance series Realms of Love. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.
I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.