The Necromancer’s Dilemma

by SJ Himes

The Necromancer's Dilemma - S.J. Himes - The Beacon Hill Sorcerer
Part of the The Beacon Hill Sorcerer series:
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99Paperback: $ 15.99
ISBN: 978-1535135511

Even love can die without trust.

Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begins to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?

Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought—especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.

The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true…and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family.

Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.

**72k words. Contains bonus short story at the end, "The Necromancer's Birthday Surprise", written for Crystal's Many Reviewers, March 2016. Book TWO in a series. Not standalone.

**Contains male/male sexual content. Violence, gore, sex, vampires. A cute dragon and some snark. Okay, lots of snark.

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Excerpt:

Having a dragon draped all over you was a good way to get attention. Some good, some bad, most of it annoying. This case it was annoying, as the woman in front of him in line kept turning around and outright staring at Eroch. His familiar was snuggled around Angel’s neck, the collar of his heavy weatherproof sweater opened enough so the dragon could get next to Angel’s skin. Angel wore a scarf, and Eroch was tangled up in it, purring contentedly, soft puffs of smoke coming out every time the woman ogled him. Eroch was annoyed, and Angel was about to drop a hex or light the hem of her skirt up with hellfire when Simeon coughed loudly, making the woman jump and turn around. He sent a narrow eyed glare at his lover and Simeon smiled back at him, one big hand holding his elbow and reminding him he was supposed to be a grownup.

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The Thinking House, a long-standing gourmet coffee house on Tremont, was overflowing with people needing their coffee hit. The line moved up, and Angel regretted his burning desire to have a peppermint latte. It was early evening, the weekend officially started, and Angel was after caffeine fortification before heading out to battle. Or shopping, really, but they felt like the same thing. He disliked people in general, and hated shopping. He got his groceries delivered, and shopping during the holidays was enough to make him exceedingly short-tempered.

This year the people he had to shop for presents was doubled, and he still felt odd about that. Simeon was simple, all he had to do was raid the Salvatore Mansion and rescue an ancient tapestry that dated back to Ireland in the 11th century. It was small, only about the size of a movie poster, but the battle scene depicted ancient Picts and Celts, covered in woad battle markings and carrying weapons of a bygone era. It was presently wrapped up in a cotton sheath and in a pine box, the restorers able to clean the tapestry and repair a decade of dust and damp damage. The mansion may have been locked up and the furniture shrouded, but Angel hadn’t been thinking clearly when he closed the old house up and he’d missed some things.

Milly was even easier to shop for. He spent all of thirty minutes searching online for a diamond necklace and a hundred-dollar gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. His teaching partner adored diamonds and cheesecake, and he had yet to vary from that very reliable and successful gift arrangement. Worked like a charm for birthdays, too. The one year he decided to change things up, she’d flat out told him to stick to what he knew, and that’s what he did.

Simeon insisted it was only polite that Batiste, the Master of Boston, receive a present from them. Angel had accepted Simeon’s courtship and Angel was now considered part of the bloodclan. He refused to obey Batiste or live in the Tower, and while Angel had the feeling that such a stance wouldn’t be accepted from any other pair, Batiste let it go. Angel was in that gray area of being a practitioner and a vampire’s bonded mate, so both sides had a claim of authority over him. Well, if he listened to any authority other than his own that is—he had trouble listening to the police, let alone the Council of High Sorcery that supposedly ruled practitioners. Though how much ruling a council of stuffy, snobbish, elitist sorcerers could do from across the ocean in Europe was beyond Angel.

Angel had no idea what to get the Master, but Simeon said he would take care of it and Angel would just have to sign the card. He’d shrugged, signed the card when Simeon brought it to him, and went back to stressing over what to get Isaac and Daniel.

He had no idea. Daniel had been in his care since autumn, two months of living under his roof and accepting Angel as his master. Daniel quickly shed any hints of his past identity, which left Angel confused and pleased, and worried on top of that. The young man was twenty years old, and had been ten years old when his whole family and two other magical clans had enslaved a vampire clan and sent them after the Salvatores. Daniel, his father Leicester, and a few retainers were all that remained of the Macavoys after the human authorities stepped in after the tragedy. Leicester avoided prison somehow, and Daniel was raised by a man who succumbed to alcoholism and agoraphobia. Daniel was no longer terrified of Angel, but he also wasn’t opening up. Angel sucked at interpersonal relationships—hell, he’d never had a lover before Simeon, and he certainly didn’t count a handful of hookups, and Angel was still learning as he went. Knowing how to get Daniel to open up to him and be his own man was outside his experience, especially since Angel was convinced he’d fucked up Isaac while raising him.

Isaac was the biggest mystery. He knew his brother yet didn’t—he knew his brother’s likes and dislikes, but the man? No idea. Isaac steadily shut down on Angel when he turned eighteen, and grew worse as the years went by, and Angel was still in the dark as to the cause.

Angel was deep in thought when he got to the counter, and the barista coughing at him brought him back. Angel glared at the rude ass but ordered his white chocolate and peppermint latte. Simeon was in line just to keep him company, but Angel ordered a small hot chocolate for Eroch, and a scone. Eroch chirped in thanks, and the barista’s eyes went huge when he noticed the dragon curled under the collar of Angel’s sweater. Angel swiped his card, and had to reach over and grab his receipt from the machine when the guy kept staring. Eroch ate the attention up, puffing out tiny bursts of smoke and slow-blinking his bright yellow eyes.

“Stop flirting, I want my coffee,” Angel chided, and he went to wait down at the end of the counter. The barista kept on staring and Angel huffed, turning his back to the counter and crossing his arms. “My dragon. He can stare at his own. It’s so rude, like no one has ever seen a dragon before.”

Simeon laughed, and leaned next to him on the counter. “My love, no one has seen a dragon in this realm in hundreds of years. Would you be so sanguine if a unicorn were to be carried in someone’s purse like a pet?”

“I would want one immediately,” Angel said primly, arching a brow. “And I would never keep a unicorn in a purse.” He was kidding. One fantastical beastie was enough—God help him if there were unicorns out there, too. Eroch gave a meep and poked his snout at Angel’s cheek. “I’m kidding, my wee beastie. You’re it for me, I promise. No sparkly horse with an antler can ever replace you.”

 

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Maggie Johnson on Amazon Customer Review wrote:

This series is incredible. Full of action and mystery, the characters take you on this magical thrill ride. I love Simeon and Angel, their connection and the depth of their feelings as they navigate the changes in the Vampire/Magic realm.

The stories keep getting better, and I cannot wait for the next one.

B. Hall on Amazon Customer Review wrote:

I loved the Necromancer's Dance and was super hopeful for The Necromancer's Dilemma, and wasn't disappointed!! SJ Himes nailed it with the second in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer series. What a ride! Angel and Simeon are just the most adorable couple. I wasn't expecting Angel to be such a mush, but found that I really, really liked the change in his demeanor. Love really has changed his attitude, but not his "attitude" and it was fantastic. SJ goes more into the other characters surrounding Angel and Simeon, thus giving us a larger glimpse into the world. I truly enjoyed every second of this book and am eagerly awaiting the next installment!!!

Ulysses Dietz on Amazon Customer Review wrote:

In the second book of “The Beacon Hill Sorcerer” series, SJ Himes brings us back into her world of modern-day Boston, in which supernatural beings coexist with everybody else. Once again, she manages to create an intensely emotional, action-filled story while giving us characters who are endearing and interesting. At the center of the story once more is Angel Salvatore, the most powerful sorcerer on the region and the only necromancer in the East. At just shy of 30, Angel is hotheaded and compassionate in equal parts. He now lives in his Beacon Hill apartment with his vampire mate, Simeon, his younger brother Isaac, and his apprentice, Daniel Macavoy.

Oh yes, and then there’s Eroch, the tiny dragon who was sent to kill him but is now his familiar.

The danger in the second book of any series set in a new world is that it will just be more of the same. With the novelty gone, the second book must deliver on deeper character development and advancing the overarching narrative. Himes does this admirably. I really love Angel and Simeon, as a couple whose complex personal and magical traits complement and enhance each other. The book follows their growth as a unique mated pair in the magical world. Angel’s family was destroyed by vampires, and he is known as a proficient and violent vampire killer; so the love between him and Simeon is being watched as closely as any celebrity couple in Hollywood.

Himes also takes us deeper into the wider world of magical beings, focusing on a series of murders that the police completely misinterpret until they ask Angel’s opinion. Now it’s not just wizards and vampires, and Angel’s attempts to live a quiet life as a magic teacher with his friend and mentor Millie are knocked asunder by an increasingly disturbing series of events that disrupt his daily routine and threaten the safety of his new family.

The necromancer’s dilemma of the title is nothing coy or clever; it is Angel’s daily fight to restrain his anger and use his power (to borrow a phrase from police departments everywhere) to protect and to serve. Still deeply scarred by the violence of his adolescence that left him orphaned, raising his younger brother, Angel is both arrogant about his abilities and frightened of the potential consequences of his power. Himes makes sure that we understand him to be something even rarer in the magical world than a necromancer: a big-hearted and forgiving necromancer for whom doing the right thing is more important than victory. He struggles to understand his younger brother, while encouraging his under-developed magical capabilities. He frets about Daniel, whose own family was responsible for his family’s destruction. For all his power, Angel is desperately in need of both love and a normal life.

Himes brings the actual Boston into her magical universe, and it’s that sort of double-edged reality/fantasy intermix that makes these books so appealing. Her writing skill is what makes them a pleasure to read. Even the requisite lovemaking between Angel and Simeon is deftly knitted into the overall narrative, and she has the good sense to make the couple’s overt mushiness the subject of teasing. There is a quiet, wry sense of humor that pervades these books, and that gives them a savor that sets them apart and makes the reader hunger for more

Book three in the series is coming. And not a moment too soon.


Second Book in The Beacon Hill Sorcerer series. M/M Urban fantasy, with vampires, dragon, sorcerers, snark, and mayhem!

About the Author

I'm a full-time author who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the healthiest kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I'm at the best part in a book. I love writing paranormal and fantasy, and my occasional forays into contemporary romances are alternating between stressful and enlightening. I write mainly gay romance and erotica, and my most recent release, The Necromancer's Dance, was my very first urban fantasy.

If you're feeling brave, I also write under my pen name of Revella Hawthorne, and write fanfiction on Fanfiction.net as Revella, for a certain British consulting detective and his army doctor. My mpreg series Bred For Love is out now.

The Necromancer's Dance and The Necromancer's Dilemma (2 books as one submission) took 3rd place in the 2016 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Fantasy!


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