Wednesday, August 18, 2010

His Hearth

Title: His Hearth
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-61581-572-2
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Paranormal
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

After years of hard work, Julian Nash has earned a huge promotion at work and is expecting to share a night celebrating with friends and his boyfriend of six weeks. When Julian arrives at his date’s office to pick the man up for their date, he finds him intimately involved with a man from another department. Shocked and hurt, he leaves and goes to the restaurant alone, where he’s rescued from an embarrassing evening by an old acquaintance, Ryan Dean. During a pleasant evening of friends, food and drink, Julian discovers that attractive and popular man-about-town Ryan has been trying to get Julian’s attention for weeks. The ardor between them sizzles and quickly burns out of control, sending the men up in flames of passion Julian didn’t expect. It also sets his life on a path of danger, opening him to a paranormal world he never imagined existed…least of all in San Francisco.

His Hearth is the latest release by author Mary Calmes. It’s a little contemporary romance and a little paranormal fantasy—complete with warders, a sentential and demons rolled into one. There’s also a nice back-story of Julian’s friendship with his creative partner, Cash and Cash’s wife Phoebe, that’s nice done with some pretty funny dialogue you don’t want to miss.

Julian’s night didn’t start off well and changing his date at the last minute isn’t something he expected and Ms. Calmes did a nice job getting him through this rough patch without him turning him into a raving angry, drunk. I must admit I did find Julian almost too calm, but he had already consumed several alcoholic drinks and was moving towards mellow. What I did find odd was how he’d missed the signals that Ryan was interested in him—had been interested in him for several weeks.

Ryan was a unique and rather unusual character who didn’t seem interested in promoting himself, which I found to be a rather strange personality quirk for an ex-model. He was actually a nice guy—a lonely guy who wanted that special someone in his life and he knew that someone was Julian. The chemistry sizzles between them immediately and Julian makes an attempt to stand by his guns and hold off having sex with Ryan but—you guessed it—they have sex that night. So much for Julian’s principles. I know that doing the big I’m clean speech in the middle of a passionate scene can be a real mood killer, but I would have found it much more realistic to use the condoms instead of going bareback when they didn’t know each other well.

The interjection of the paranormal aspect of the story was interesting and unexpected, despite its mention in the website blurb. Once this part of Ryan’s life was revealed, it pretty much became the focus of the story and, I must admit, I could have used a few more details to avoid confusion. There are several new characters that join the story at this point but I’m afraid I can’t really say much without revealing too much of this fantasy element.

Overall the story is a worthy afternoon read, and I admit to being curious as to whether Ms. Calmes has plans for other books dealing with the warders Ryan fights with to protect the city. I guess time will tell.

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