Saturday, July 26, 2014

World's End by M. Leanne Phoenix: Series Short Story & Review

World's End
(Tied by Fate, Book 1)
by M. LeAnne Phoenix
Genres: M/M, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance

Kiyoshi awakes from a fever aware of two things. One, he is not in the home he can for some reason only vaguely recall. Two, he has fallen for Shelly, the man who cared for him through his fever. Shelly is as enigmatic as the island he has found himself on. With few answers about who he is, Shelly's own identity, how he came to be there with Shelly, and just what this strange place is, Kiyoshi comes to accept just one thing. He and Shelly are meant to be no matter what befalls them. They are tied together by fate, all the way to what just may be the end of their world.

The Curse
(A Tied by Fate Short Story)
*Featuring Characters from World's End*

“We’ll pay for this, ye understand that, don’t ye?”

Hunter whirled, a sly smile turning up the edges of her lips. “If we can manage to not get caught, we won’t.”

He shook his head, chewing his lower lip. “Ain’t gonna happen, love.” He crossed to her. “This kind of thing… it always gets caught.” His eyes widened as she stepped closer to him, placing her hands on his chest. Cameron’s hands wrapped around her wrists and lifted her clean hands from his vest. “And ye had to go and hearts to it.” His thick dark eyebrows lifted and he dropped her hands as he strode past her, glancing out the window at the inky black night. No moon made it difficult to tell the sea from the sky, and the stars burned like lanterns.

Her blade touched his neck, her hiss coming next to his ear. “I find it a bit ludicrous that Captain Morgan thinks there’s a job wot cannot be done, especially when there’s a diablo wot says it can.”

“Diablo?” Cameron smirked. “So is that what dear Hunter is calling herself now?”

“Don’t change the subject, Cam.” Her voice went flat as her free hand slid over his hip and her middle finger traced the front of his trousers. “I have seen the way you look at me. I know the way you feel about me, and you are right—we are good together.”

“Ye’re engaged to the lad on deck, and he’s waitin’ for ye, Hun—” She whirled him around, slamming his back to the wall. Her mouth covered his in a hard kiss, one that made him think, And were ye a lad, I might be rethinkin’ me noble thoughts!

Breaking the kiss, Hunter murmured, “I want you to listen to me, Cam.” Fishing in her heavy jacket, she withdrew a small roll of leather and held it up. “This was in Shelly’s possession up until two nights ago. This was something he told me a while back that his father had given him. He claims it was a fairy story, but I think differently. It talks about a never-ending treasure.”

“Never-ending?” Cameron opened his eyes wide, snatching the leather from her and opening it to… see an entirely different language, one that reminded him of Welsh from when he was a lad. “And you read this?”

“No,” Hunter chuckled. “I hired someone to translate it. Then I killed him.”

Holding up the leather, he shook his head. “Lass, he lied to you. There be nothing on this page about treasure.”

Her eyes flashed. “What does it say?”

Cameron grinned. “It talks instead about life everlasting… on a remote beach… with only one’s soul to keep them comp’ny.”

She growled. “Well, I guess I don’t be needing company this night, then, do I?” With a huff, Hunter Madison exited the room, cramming the tricorn down on her sun-kissed auburn curls. With barely a moment to lose, Cameron stealthily followed her, and green with envy, watched as she slid a familiar hand over Shelly’s broad shoulders—

—and in the next minute, her free hand drew her knife and buried it in his side, twisting it to worsen the wound, to make him bleed out faster.

Shelly gasped, one hand reaching down to touch the blood staining his vest as he turned, confused, and stumbled. Cameron’s hand covered his mouth as it worked, shocked. Diablo should be yer name, wee cunt!

Hunter crossed her arms over her chest and her expression didn’t change, even when Shelly grabbed for the railing to hold himself up. Cameron’s vision blurred as he watched him, knowing that the man’s lungs likely were filling with blood, that these were his last moments. Anger filled him that this was how Shelly Gwynne would bow out… at the hand of a she-devil. A she-devil who lied to her “fiancé.”

“I’m sorry about this. You must understand that I don’t want this. You can’t come with me now and you cannot tell Cam what I know you long to tell him when we find him.”

When they find me? When was I missing? How does he not know I’m onboard? Cameron set his jaw, racking up the points he’d make as he slowly killed the bitch.

“Ye’d rather me die? Hunter… have ye truly turned pirate?” Shelly’s smooth Welsh voice floated on the salty air. Cameron had always known that accent would be the death of him, that when he found a nice boy to settle down with, a Welshman was what he’d always longed to find. Truly, this is me curse… to have to watch him die. He swallowed hard. There’ll be no saving him from that wound.

Hunter lied again to Shelly, reaching a hand out to him. “I’d rather spare you the pain of living alone than being left again—”

He protested, using the railing to maneuver himself away from her, rather than let her touch him. “I’d rather ye didn’t kill me—”

“Too late, Shelly Gwynne.”

“No!” Cameron shouted as Hunter gave Shelly a hard shove, sending him over the side into the frigid waters below. “No, ye wee cunt! I’ll—”

Hunter whirled, drawing her cutlass. “You’ll what, Cam? I’m in a foul mood and I’ll tell you this, Diablo is looking to be a fitting name—”

“Nah… ye’re na evil enough for Diablo, love.” Cameron’s lip curled. “Ye’re a chaser. Ye’ll never be a rum. Ye’ll always have a bite to ye. I’d call ye Whisky.” Snarling like a mad dog, he stepped closer, slapping her blade with his own. “And ye ken what whisky does to a man, don’t ye?”

“What’s that?” she arched a fine blonde brow.

“It makes him mean!” And he flew at her, teeth bared.
My Review
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even though Kiyoshi isn't quite sure where he is, the one thing he is sure of is that here is exactly where he's supposed to be.

With only the vaguest of memories to tie him to the past, Kiyoshi has become completely enchanted with the primitive and isolated island that he now calls home. It took awhile (and a harrowing escape attempt or two) but with the help of Shelly, the devastatingly handsome, kind, and strong yet quiet man who rescued him, Kiyoshi is now quite settled. Well, as settled as a man can be, who can't seem to set aside the unrequited attraction that is slowly burning him alive.

When Shelly reveals his desire for the beautiful young man who unexpectedly washed up on his island's deserted shore, he's elated when Kiyoshi returns his affections. Shelly recognizes what he feels is more than sexual attraction, and is in fact, the emotional connection of true love.

The first book in a new series, World's End can be read as a stand alone, but also contains teasers of the potential direction future installments may take.

I loved the dynamic variety of this cast of characters, with a wide range of personalities, they were constantly surprising me with humor, emotion and depth.

The fantasy elements of this story are especially well written. With enough detail to make it believable to the reader, and at the same time Phoenix somehow managed to maintain a feeling of suspended reality that defines the genre. I'm sure that, as this is M. LeAnne Phoenix's first venture into the world of writing, the quality of her stories is only going to improve. Five stars because my imagination was entertained, my emotions engaged, and I'm looking forward to reading more in this unique series soon!
Buy Links
Amazon - Smashwords - Barnes and Noble - Kobo - All Romance eBooks

M. LeAnne would like to take this opportunity to promote Youth First

"I chose it because it's very relevant to me. I grew up in Texas, and when I was going through my own self-discovery, I couldn't tell you what I can tell you now about being gay in Texas."

Youth First is a Resource Center program, and the only one in the Dallas area aimed at meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth ages 14-22.

Author Profile
M. LeAnne Phoenix would tell you that the worst time of her life was the two years that she attempted to take off from writing. If you asked her to explain exactly why she did such a thing, you would most likely get the mad attempt to arch an eyebrow like her dad and then a shake of the head as she told you it was unlucky to speak of such things. Suffice it to say, it will never happen again!

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas in the mid-1970's, Ms. Phoenix was young and wild (and even free!) during the crazy wondrous decade known as the 1980's and the even crazier but now grungy decade of the 1990's. Music is second only to the muses that live and breathe to fill her mind with beautiful men, and music always helps them to tell their stories. She is never without her iPod or her computer no matter where she goes, although, she does like to hike and take pictures of the sky and the moon, and even the occasional shot of the sun through the branches of a tree.

An avid cat lover, Ms. Phoenix has been owned by many throughout her life, though her current owner is one Lily-Rose, who really would like for her to step away from the keyboard and pay her some attention! After all, hasn't she earned it?
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  1. I find the cover most interesting and even though it is not a historical novel I love the image of the galleon and possible adventures it is going on, new trade routes, possibly privateering, and all before it reaches the known world and falls of the edge.

    Thank you for a chance to win this book and great review Carly I have added this book to my very long wish list.

    1. You might want to bump this one towards the top. It's a fun one! :D

    2. Thanks for following the tour, Sula! And thank you, Miss Carly Rose, for having me here today, and for the awesome review!!! I am elated you liked it so much and I can't wait until you read the next installments! :)

    3. It was my pleasure, thank you for sharing your story!

  2. The book sounds great and I love the cover! Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway chance!

    1. Thank you for dropping by, Sarina! Zathyn Priest's covers are always so beautiful! Thank you for the compliment and good luck with the giveaway! :D I hope you like the book!