In the delightful short story Ruffskin, Megan Derr once more gives us the delicious dup of Johnny (a near “normal” part-time detective that was raised by Vampires) and Grim (yes—the Grim Reaper—collector of souls). I LOVE these two characters—both of which were introduced in their own spectacular book, Dance in the Dark.
When we left Johnny and Grim, they had become a happily established couple, who were deeply in love and quite possibly the feistiest duo around. I was so glad to see Johnny’s penchant for hitting Grim when he got frustrated at him was once again in full force and, of course, Grim’s sanguine response still intact as well! These two not only finished each other’s obscure literary quotes and thoughts with ease, they are, simply put, the most delightful couple to grace the pages of an m/m paranormal romance story ever!
In this the fourth installment of the Dance with the Devil series, Johnny gives aide to his bartender, Peyton, a wolf of the infamous “blue” pack that was featured in one of the stories in the first novel of the series, Dance with the Devil. We come to find out that Peyton was in love with the alpha’s son–that would be the same alpha that Peyton killed, and the reason that Peyton left the pack and sought out Johnny’s father, The Dracula, for shelter and safety.
Hudson, who had been living with his mother is also on the run and may have been the assassin that killed that same mother. Many heinous acts are alluded to in this short story and you must read the novella to understand them more fully. Suffice it to say the “acts” perpetrated by Hudson’s mother are the reason for his being on the run.
In a bizarre turn of events, Hudson’s pack actually wants him back so that he can now become the alpha. Only Peyton stands in their way, for they have tracked Hudson’s last known whereabouts to Johnny’s bar after a disguised Hudson drops by to leave something for Peyton. Johnny and Grim take off to find Hudson before his pack does.
Ruffskin is a whirlwind tale that really packed a punch! In true Megan Derr fashion, the twists and turns in this story led us from one place to another, continually surprising and delighting us as each new element was exposed! Be forewarned—this is not a standalone story. Unlike the others thus far, this story really hinges on the reading of the second installment in this series in order to make complete sense!
But oh dear reader, surely you want to read this magnificent series, don’t you? I have… and let me be the first to recommend not only this little gem but also the entire Dance with the Devil series to you!