All The Things
So often these days when we have a fantasy or paranormal romance, the plot focuses on a mythical creature or at most one tradition – a story about a merman, a werewolf, a dragon, a story about creatures from Irish legends, or from Nordic folk tales. There’s something to be said for tight focus, for concentrating on one thing.
But remember some of the books we read as kids? In Narnia, you could have fauns and centaurs, dwarves and talking animals. In Wonderland, you could have vanishing cats and druggie caterpillars. In Oz, you could have this weird mix of magic and steam punk and mountain gnomes. You didn’t have to have one thing. You could have all the things.
I missed having all the things.
When Bellora and I started talking about a succession of holes in reality, we started out asking each other what tradition we wanted the creatures that fell through these holes to follow. Do we want this? Nah. How about that? Nah. Back and forth until we finally looked up at each other (virtually) and said, “Why should we choose?”
We will have all the things.
Elves? Check. Centaurs? Yep. Goblins, dragons, incubi, liches, drow, griffins, trolls, kirin, dryads, fauns, pegasi, minotuars, mer-people, human magic-wielders of every tradition? Yes! We don’t have to choose. Choosing is for squares!
Maybe that’s going a bit far. But the premise, which states that the tear in reality pulls from all worlds and traditions, allows us the freedom to grab any magical creature by the ankle and yank them through into our world.
Chocolate cake, vanilla, red velvet or lemon? Why, yes. We’ll have one of each, please.
Quinn’s Gambit (AURA Book 1) by Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn
Publisher ~ Totally Bound
Published ~ 6th March 2015
Genre ~ M/M Romance,Paranormal Urban Fantasy
After a terrible magical accident at Berkeley created unpredictable holes between realities—all manner of non-human creatures started popping into our world. These displacements, called RARE—Random Anomalous Reality Events—have taken magic out of fiction and relocated it firmly in reality, resulting in a great deal of chaos and confusion. Displaced elf Valerian works with AURA—the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation—to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world, helping the peaceful ones and subduing the violent, malevolent ones. It’s good, satisfying work, and Val would be happy if he wasn’t so lonely.
Quinten is a young mage just trying to get by, but New York isn't the easiest city to make a living. If his methods are sometimes morally dubious, his heart is still in the right place. Of course for Quinn, the right place means firmly locked away, protected at all costs. Living by his wits and sometimes magically-induced luck, he works as a ‘free-lance magic user’, or unregistered mage and small time con—according to the authorities. The last thing Quinn wants is to draw the cops’ attention, but when an Event happens right on top of him, he’s forced to turn to AURA for help. Valerian isn’t at all what he’d expected in an AURA cop, and he certainly wasn't expecting to join forces with the sexy elf, a snarky drow and a bitter incubus when certain individuals in power try to stop the RARE by any means necessary.
Things are not all what they seem at AURA headquarters, and a greater evil lurks at the top than anyone could have imagined.
Quinten is a young mage who gets on with his life, runs a few cons for money, and generally tries to let the world move on around him. He doesn't want to be a part of anything, he doesn't even really need anyone. He just wants to live his life his way, and to hell with anyone else. Unfortunately when a young dryad falls on him in the park one day he has no choice but to take her to the local AURA building and it is there that he runs into Val, an elf-cop with some problems of his own.
This is an unusual world - the human world as we know it, except, as the prologue explains delightfully, for the fact that magic beings keep "dropping in" and it was to cope with these beings that AURA was created. To help magical entities of all types learn to assimilate to their new life on earth. What is quite amazing is the way the humans had adapted to the influx of creatures that had only ever been in story books before, in their daily life.
"Not human, huh? What is he? A centaur? Please, God in heaven, tell me you didn't turn down a centaur? Everything they say is true!"
Unfortunately someone in AURA came up with an idea of what was happening and more importantly a way to stop it. Simply stop all magic from being used and the world entered what was called the time of the Suppression. For Quinn being unable to use his magic meant the end of his life as he knew it. Although he never wanted to use his powers to help in a political or social sense, it was how he paid his rent. Things in this unusual world starting going down quickly for Quinn and everyone else with magic. But in the chaos the two men have each other, sort of.
That Quinn would ever whisper those words in his ear was highly doubtful, so doubtful as to border on the absurd, but that slender hand on his chest was a pool of light, gently parting the darkness.
Tenzin and Kai are just two of the secondary characters that have a strong place in this story. Kai and Val have history, but the cute way Tenzin (who is a Yeti) cares for Kai provided a couple of really strong "Awww" moments. Then there are fairies - proper little ones - and Sin a gorgeous gay incubus who has to feed from females.
There were a couple of times when I had to go back and reread something just to keep a handle on what was going on. There were a lot of characters in this book, all necessary, but sometimes it was a little hard to keep track of who was who. The action scenes were dynamic, the sex scenes totally hot, and Quinn and Val - well, let's just say there were times when I had to grab a tissue to mop my tears. Awesome read.
“No, you don’t understand,” Quinn said, starting to lose his temper. “This chick just fell out of the sky and knocked me on my ass. She’s probably losing what’s left of her marbles after the jog down from Central Park. Can’t you just help her?”
The receptionist gave him a coolly patronizing smile. “Sir, calm down. This isn’t an adoption agency or the city dog pound. You can’t just drop people off here. Now, if you will just take the clipboard, have a seat and fill out the form, I'll see what we can do.”
Quinn stood with the clipboard in one hand, glaring back at her incredulously. “This is ridiculous! I have stuff to do, you know?” He looked down at the form. “’What is the nature of the problem you are experiencing’?” he read. “Oh my God, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! Look, can’t you just pick up the phone and ask someone in a uniform to put their donuts down and come to the lobby?”
“Yes, I will do just that. As soon as you—”
“Fill out the form,” Quinn interrupted her with a heavy sigh. “Fuck sake,” he grumbled, snatching up the pen. He refused to sit down. If he had to fill out the damn form, he was going to stand right here and remind her how stupid this was until she relented.
* * * *
“Event is local! Central Park area!” Marius cried out in triumph, his dowsing over the map pinpointing it almost at AURA’s doorstep.
Matt clapped Val on the shoulder. “No ‘porting today. Doesn’t make me sad.”
“All right, boys and girls,” Captain Lyons’ voice cut through the chatter. “We’ll quarter the park. We haven’t got a good reading on this, so weapons of choice handy at all times. Valerian, you and Kensington take the north side. McAndrews, you and Nestor on the south. Nyssa, can you fly today?”
The sphinx rose from her place by the door and shook out her wings. “Yes, ma’am. Winds are good. Pollution’s down.”
“Good. Aerial over the park. Keep in radio contact, folks. Let’s move out!”
Val grabbed his sword from his locker in the weapons room, settling the strap across his chest and feeling more himself with the familiar weight of Anvar on his back. A magical sword didn’t do much against gunfire, but it was more than helpful in subduing the most dangerous monsters. Matt carried the guns, three of them.
They dashed down toward the lobby, headed for the street, with Val in the lead. He nearly caused a pile up of human and non-human officers when he stopped short just inside the lobby.
A dryad stood there, her leaves trembling, eyes huge and glassy. That would have been arresting enough, but at the receptionist’s desk, yelling at the girl on duty, was one of the most lovely human boys Val had ever seen—lithe and lean, with cornflower blue eyes and a mop of honey-gold hair. He found himself mesmerized.
“Well, I think we found it,” Matt said with a snort.
“Yes,” Val said, his mouth gone dry. “Perhaps we have.”
Meet the Authors
Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels.
The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings and many with a strong BDSM flavor. Bellora's first published novel, co-authored with Angel, is scheduled for release at Totally Bound in March 2015.
For more info on Bellora's work and current projects:
Published since 2006, Angel's cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You'll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don't expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.
For all the info on published work, WIP's, and updates:
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