Author: A. M. Arthur
Source: Publisher Requested - Musa Publishing
Genre: Paranormal - M/M
Format: eNovella 85 pgs
Release Date: October 2011
When the bizarre murder of an old classmate reunites ex-lovers Ethan and Jesse, a shared childhood secret draws them back together as an otherworldly killer tries to tear them apart for good.
After escaping its mysterious grasp twelve years ago, Ethan Wilde never thought he'd return to Kingston, North Carolina—until the murder of an old schoolmate draws him back to the hometown he fears and the love he left behind. Rooted to Kingston by a force he can't explain, Jesse couldn't leave with Ethan when he asked, and it's a choice he's always regretted. A choice based on a terrible secret they share with four others. When they were nine years old, the six of them were taken into the woods, and no one is exactly sure what happened to them. Only that they came out changed. Marked. Twenty years later, the evil that hunted them is back and it's collected two souls already. Ethan and Jesse's love defeated the monster once, but are old feelings strong enough to save the survivors a second time?
This could have easily been a 4 or 4.5 stars story but I'm getting ahead of myself. It is definitely worth reading. This story starts out strong with "Nothing brings family together like a murder." What a way to get my attention.
Then it kept my attention by using the death of a woman, who happens to share the name of a new (to me) favorite author Jacquelyn Frank, as the reason for Ethan to return to his hated and feared home town twelve years after leaving it.
Early on, this story had the feeling of one of my favorite Stephen King books, It. I still, to this day, keep my hair away from drains because of that book. Anyway, this story has some loose parallels to that book.
When he was nine, Ethan Wilde, walked out of the woods to find tattoos on his left arm but he doesn't remember hardly anything about that day. Now they are aching ... until he reaches the town limits. Jackie was one of the six who were in the woods the day he received the tattoos. His first sight of Jessie, another one of the six, steals his breath away; he still loves him dearly.
Jesse was there that day and also walked out of the woods with tattoos, the only other one to get them. Staying in their home town has subtly changed him but he is still very much in love with Ethan too.
This story keeps building the suspense and the rekindled romance between Ethan and Jessie.
Even though I only gave this a Steamy (2/4) sexual rating, be aware this is an M/M romance and there is descriptive anal penetration in it. But the focus of the romance and the sex is more on the emotions and there are really only two sexual scenes in it - thus the Steamy (2/4) rating.
I was totally let down by the ending. The story builds and builds and then when it could have, and should have, finished with fireworks, it just fizzled out like sparklers. It's not that it ended wrong; in fact the end result is what I think it should be but other than saying the way it got there was weak, I won't go into specifics because it will spoil the whole story.
Even so, this is a very good story line and definitely worth reading. I usually put the types of characters in the review but if I did here, it would spoil everything.
So, while it is not what paranormal romance fans are used to, it is a very good paranormal story with some romance and a little bit of a horror story feeling. Urban fantasy fans, who enjoy some sex with their story, will be at home with this one.