gargoyle and romance writer coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel


Ryder St. James has been temporarily living in Monster’s Hollow, using the time as a writing retreat near his best friend, Max. But Ryder also has a stalker who has been sending him creepy letters, and Monsters Hollow is a magically protected town that keeps out anyone with ill intent. Ryder feels safer and happier than he has in a while, but he is due to go on a book tour soon, which means he will need to leave the security of the town. Fortunately, gargoyle Vash DarkWing has agreed to have his firm handle protection for Ryder when he is on the road.

Ryder and Vash may not have gotten off to a good start when they met, but after Vash saved Ryder during an orc attack, Ryder has come to see a new side of Vash. So much so that when Ryder is looking for someone to scratch some sexual itches, he suggests to Vash they have some no-strings fun together for a while. Vash is all in with the idea of hooking up with Ryder, but he also hopes that they can become friends as well.

As the men spend more time together, not only do they realize they are hot in the bedroom, but that they genuinely like spending time together. Soon, both men are beginning to feel more for one another, but neither is sure of the other’s feelings. After growing up in foster care, Ryder is wary about opening up his heart. And Vash isn’t really sure how to take his feelings for Ryder and turn their relationship into something more. But despite their initial wariness, Ryder and Vash begin to fall hard for one another and consider building a real partnership. However, Ryder’s stalker is still out there waiting, and he is determined to have Ryder all to himself.

The Gargoyle and the Romance Writer is the second novel in Chloe Archer’s Monsters Hollow series (although there are a couple of prequel stories as well). We met both Ryder and Vash in the first book as Max and Targan’s best friends respectively, but I think you could jump in here from a plot perspective. What I enjoy the most about this series is Archer’s creative world building and this story is no exception. This is a world with a wide variety of supernatural beings and it is so much fun seeing all the different types of supes and getting to know more about them. I love the little details, like schools and libraries being open at night to accommodate the nocturnal beings. In this story, in particular, Ryder is a voice for the reader in that his writer’s brain has him constantly asking questions about different types of supernaturals, so we get to learn a lot through him as well. I love that Archer goes beyond the typical shifters and vamps that are the frequent paranormal fare into a wide variety of beings that I rarely see in romances.

I really enjoyed Vash and Ryder together, particularly how Vash is charmed by things about Ryder that turn off other people. Ryder is straightforward and doesn’t always pick up social cues. He often relies on his best friend Max to help him understand how to navigate a particular situation (like don’t ask strangers to describe their penis, which he learned a little too late). It is sweet to see how what is unappealing to others is exactly what Vash likes about Ryder. In return, Vash makes Ryder feel safe and protected and cared for in a way that few people in his life ever have. They are a fun pair and I really enjoyed them as a couple.

I will say that this is a long story and I think things could have been tighter, particularly as the stalker plot is back burnered for most of the book. I expected that would be a major plot point from the blurb and the set up, however, it really doesn’t come into play until late in the story and then wraps up very quickly. So most of this book is watching the men fall for each other, without much else going on externally.

As with the first book, Archer opens each chapter with a little snippet. In this case, we get some installments from a Ryder St. James fan forum during Vash’s chapters (and it is pretty clear he is one of the posters in the forum), as well as bits from Ryder’s books in his chapters. I like how Archer uses these brief excerpts to highlight what is happening in the main story. These snippets also cracked me up. The forum members have amusing user names like “IPutTheGorgonInGorgonzola.” I also particularly loved some of Ryder’s excerpts, particularly the one about the basilisk who wears a green velvet frock coat, lol. One day we need that story!

This is just a fun story, and the romance is sweet and sexy. I enjoyed the world building, and while I found this one a little on the long side, overall I really enjoyed it. We learn more about who is up next and I am very excited for the upcoming installment.

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