An Erie Garden Party by V.L. Locey is a short but sweet mystery with a band of unique shifters to liven things up a bit! Keep reading for an excerpt from the story, my own personal review and a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself! I received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I have included affiliate links in the post if you choose to buy a copy.
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Title: An Erie Garden Party
Author: V.L. Locey
Series: Lake Erie Shifters, Book 3
Publisher: Torquere Press
Release Date: 4/13/16
Length: 32k words
Genre/Tags: Paranormal, M/M Romance
Spring has finally arrived along the shores of Lake Erie and no one is happier than skunk shifter, Templeton Reed. Now that the snows have melted, he can frolic and play on the grounds of Lupei Manor, the formidable home that he shares with his life partner, Mikel Lupei, the alpha of the Lake Erie pack. What a pity that his joy is short lived.
Not only does a stranger appear to shake things up in the manor, bodies begin showing up on the grounds as well! Could the newcomer to the pack be the one viciously killing innocent humans and shifters? Or is there a more nefarious force at work lurking just outside the boundaries of the ancient manse Templeton, Mikel, and their LGBT friends call home?
“Son of a human,” Mikel snarled. He stripped and shifted. I stood with his clothes over my arms, watching the wolf work the scent. He padded to the lake, snuffled the shore intently, and then slowly made his way back to the corpse. I turned my head to stare at Erie when he shoved his head under the bloody sheet to smell the body. The water seemed almost tranquil today. How I wished we were planning our spring fete instead of standing here beside a dead man. Mikel tapping my arm brought my attention from the Great Lake back to him. I handed him his pants.
“So, what can you tell us about this poor man’s fate?”
“He’s human.” Mikel zipped his trousers vehemently. “And he was killed by a large animal, either wolf or bruin. Whoever did this dragged him through the lake to mask the scent. I’ll have to gather the pack to scour the woods. Damnation.”
“Oh dear me,” I sighed. “I suppose the call must be made then.”
Mikel threw his head back and stared at the soft white clouds ambling past. “Yes. We have to notify the Elder counsel. That is standard operating procedure when a human is involved in mystical matters. Damnation!”
I reached out to pat his thick bicep. I wasn’t sure he wanted consolation but I offered it anyway. He placed his hand over mine.
“Let me know when they plan to arrive. I’ll take a long stroll through the woods.”
Mikel’s lip rolled as he turned to look down at me. “I hate that as well. You should be at my side. This mansion is as much your home as it is mine.”
“Yes, well, the times they aren’t a changing as rapidly as needed,” I smiled then snuggled into his wide chest. His arms cinched around me tightly, his smoky shirt smashed between us. My ear rested over his strong heart. “If one of the Elders saw me here it would raise questions. I know we have a lie all in place, but I for one do not wish to put that lie to the test. Better I enjoy the forest for an hour or so while they attend to this mess.”
“I love you beyond words, Templeton,” Mikel said into my black hair. “Someday, I swear, we shall not have to hide our love for each other.”
“From your mouth to the Elders’ ears,” I whispered, then tipped my head up for a kiss. We both needed one. Pity it couldn’t be a longer one, but it was tender.
Review: An Erie Garden Party by V.L. Locey
An Erie Garden Party by V.L. Locey is book three of the Lake Erie Shifters series. I read this without first reading the other two and thoroughly enjoyed it. The author weaved in a bit of back story and character history as the story moved along. Enough to give you a glimpse of what you needed without pulling you out of the story completely. I did feel that I was missing some understanding of the setting itself and would have understood the character dynamics a bit more if I had read the whole series. So, I recommend that you read them in order but it isn’t vital to enjoying this book.
Templeton is a skunk shifter which I thought was really cute. His skunk is curious, carefree and a tad bit feisty. In human form he retains most of these characteristics but is a bit more reserved. He is secretly mated to the alpha of the Lake Erie ‘pack’, Mikel. They have a bit of a misfit pack gathered together, which includes an assortment of non-humans….vampires, wolves, elves, etc. They all have their own story and personally, I am going to go back and read the other books just so I can see more of the resident vampire and his consort!
Mikel is the alpha wolf of the Lake Erie pack and is commanding, reserved and dominant as he should be. He is a take charge leader but also a tender partner to his skunk shifter partner. I enjoyed the dynamics between the two main characters. It is at times tender and romantic and other times Mikel is demanding and pushy. Since the story takes place during the full moon, he is more pushy and demanding than I suspect he usually is There isn’t too much romance, just take what you want sex. I could have used a bit more romance and buildup but still enjoyed their passionate moments.
Mikel’s cousin Havel shows up at the Lake Erie manor looking for a new place to settle. A dead body shows up on the shores of Lake Erie, which throws the group into a bit of panic and disarray. The Elders of the shifter community want a Nosferati to extract information from the residents of the Lake Erie pack to help solve the crime. Unfortunately, that puts them at serious risk since they are hiding a few secrets among them…the primary one being that several of them are gay and that is just unacceptable in the shifter community. Mikel asks their resident vampire to do the job, since he is gay himself and will keep their assorted secrets. Havel’s lack of cooperation makes him suspect number one!
I won’t give away too much of the mystery of An Erie Garden Party but there was a wonderful balance between plot and interpersonal character development. I enjoyed the love/hate relationship going on between Mikel and Vincente. Solving the mystery required a bit of teamwork that was given grudgingly but not without a bit of bickering and eye-rolling. The fact that these shifters had to hide their true identities from family and community made me sad. Anything not considered ‘normal’ was unacceptable and there is a definite hierarchy among the shifters. Poor Templeton was definitely low on the totem pole.
Despite the heavy tone of mystery and prejudice, An Erie Garden Party by V.L. Locey was a very lighthearted story. The way it was written gave it an upbeat tone and it flowed beautifully from beginning to end. It’s a cute paranormal mystery with enjoyable characters and engaging plot. There are plenty of twists and turns in the storyline to keep you interested without completely confusing you. Definitely recommend An Erie Garden Party by V.L. Locey if you are looking for a short but sweet mystery with a band of unique shifters to liven things up a bit!
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and three Jersey steers.
When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.
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