Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Okay, I must freely admit—I LOVE this series. I have from its beginning and this third installment, Blood & Stone, has not left me the least disappointed! Hank Edwards has really managed to make this Venom Valley series one that has remained slightly creepy in oh so good a way, sexy without throwing in constant sex scenes between his two leads, and highly entertaining to boot. If you have not read the other two books in this series, I am afraid that this review will contain spoilers from the rest of the series as I attempt to recap the current story. Also, this novel really does hinge upon the reader knowing all that has happened previously, so I want to encourage you to start with the first book in this series, Cowboys and Vampires, Venom Valley #1. Now, onward to the recap!
When we last left our ragtag group of heroes, Dex had managed to escape the thralls of the evil vampire Balthazar and was back with his lover and best friend Josh. However, the cavalry had arrived and one, Sergeant Walker Maxwell, was not only in charge, but attracted to Josh, as well. Dex spends a great deal of this novel trying to reassure himself that Josh is in love with him and continually fights the raging jealousy he experiences every time he sees Josh with Walker. Unfortunately, Josh himself feels Walker’s pull once too often and must continually remind himself that he is in love with and committed to Dex. All these sexually charged encounters take place while the men are literally running for their lives, chasing down and killing Balthazar’s growing minions and attempting to find a way to kill the evil vampire and free Josh’s mother from his clutches. In the meanwhile, Glory is staving off Balthazar’s attempts to sway her to joining him by clinging to the spirit warrior that has walked with her since her father blessed her with him upon his death. When Balthazar finally realizes he cannot detach Glory from her spirit companion and enthrall her, he lures her out in the only way he can, by going after her cast off tribe.
This novel was perhaps the most action packed of the three. Never one for too quickly providing resolution for his various story threads, author Hank Edwards takes his time bringing this series to its climax. Consequently, there are many heart stopping moments, gripping action scenes and one episode after another of near death experiences. Incredible secrets are revealed about Walker and more explanation and depth is given to Josh’s ability to control the dead. The relationship between Dex and Josh goes through growing pains and the idea that Dex has been changed forever due to being twice bitten by Balthazar is manifested in his behavior in and out of the bedroom, so to speak. Yet they hang onto each other, continually assuring the other of their love.
All the while, Blood & Stone never loses its way. Even though it has multiple characters, it remains clear and easily followed. It was really a magnificent way to end this chapter of the series. It is unclear whether the author will continue on with more adventures from this cast of rich and entertaining characters, but there is certainly enough going on the end of this novel to warrant another, in my opinion.
This series by Hank Edwards is an incredible journey that will grip you from start to finish and I highly recommend this third installment, to you.