Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Neil is finding that college life isn’t everything it’s supposed to be. For one, there’s a lot more math involved … like how much it all costs, especially when he’s failing two classes. Fortunately for Neil, he has a place to crash for the summer, helping in his uncle’s flower shop while his uncle takes a bit of a vacation. He answers the phone, smiles at customers, rings up their bills, and has a chance to think about his future. What he doesn’t have to think about is anything else. That’s both good and bad.

One morning — a morning like every other morning since he started — something new happens! The cactus that’s been set aside for a customer has a bud on it, which means it’s time to call the buyer, or so the note helpfully tells him. A note that then starts … well, is it talking to him if it’s in writing? Then the tall, dark, and gloriously handsome man who asked him out on a date ends up being a werewolf, something helpfully explained to him by the woman tidying the mess the other werewolves are making — you know, the ones trying to kill him — and the giant dog that came out of nowhere is a hellhound. And they’re his. The hellhound and the cleaning witch. They are ghostly spirits bound to the bracelet that is now around his wrist, and how did that happen? How did any of this happen?

The bracelet that somehow found its way from Luc — the very hot werewolf with the cactus — to him is called the Reliquary, and within it are trapped nine powerful … er, monsters? Myrna looks normal, and loves to clean. Flanders is the hellhound who hates Neil’s shoes, and the only people who can see either of them are Neil, who wears the Reliquary, and Luc, who used to wear it. Luc, who very much wants the Reliquary back, thank you.

For all that Luc is a powerful werewolf, there are a lot of powerful monsters out there and one way he keeps himself safe from them is by using the creatures in the Reliquary. But the Reliquary is not just there to be used. Buffy, the most powerful of the captured spirits, has taken a liking to Neil and chose him as their new person. And because the Reliquary can’t be taken by force, Luc has to find a way to get it back, while not letting his family think he’s helpless. The best way to do that is to keep Neil at his side. Even better if he can keep Neil in his bed, something Neil takes an honest liking to. But when feelings start happening, Neil has to wonder … is Luc really interested in him, or the Reliquary?

Welcome to the first book in the La Famiglia Mostro series, where a world of monsters lurks, invisible and hidden, rubbing shoulders and exchanging smiles with the unknowing and unwitting humans of Somerstown. There are werewolves and vampires, demons and angels, and just about anything you can imagine. For Neil … it’s a lot. Almost too much.

This book is a chaotic roller coaster ride and I was there for every bit of it. The humor, the world building, Neil being sweet and snarky and — for all that he was dragged along behind Luc like a prize — very proactive. Neil thought things through (mostly), using his knowledge and skills to help where he could, but he wasn’t the smartest person in the room. Sometimes he was wrong, often he was lost, and — for me this is a big one — sometimes he was afraid. Panicking. Reacting to the world around him as thought it mattered, as though the big beasties with big teeth were actually dangerous, selling the idea that this is a world of monsters, not a world of fluffy teddy bears and rainbow unicorns.

(Speaking of, I loved the unicorn in this book. I want one of my own.)

The writing was on point, and the pace was fast enough to make the book zip by without ever making me feel rushed. The bread crumbs were well scattered and honest enough that I was able to figure out a few things, but not everything. Luc and Neil have a wonderful chemistry and wonderful banter.

“You’re also very handsome.”

“I know. Thank you.” Neil tried not to smile.

“And it’s still adorable that you love to save spiders.”

“You’re laying it on extra thick now, aren’t you?”

“If you’re interested in things that are extra thick, we could follow Dagobert’s advice and—”

“Ah, there it is.” Neil sighed wistfully. “The inevitable moment you ruin everything by trying to fuck me.” He snorted. “If only you weren’t such a douche, I could appreciate your aggressive attempts.”

“I think you’ll come to appreciate my aggression quite intimately.” Lou winked.

There’s a lot of sex in this book, spanking, power dynamics, and knotting. And I do mean a lot of sex. I have always enjoyed this author’s work, and I am so happy to see that this is the first book in a new series, and very curious to see which pair of monsters hook up next!