Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Blog Tour: The Rising (Badlands, Book 2) by Morgan Brice (Reviews + Excerpt + Giveaway)


Book Title: The Rising (Badlands, Book 2)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Release Date: February 13, 2019

Can be read as a standalone

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A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.

Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.

As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.

With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves.

Trigger Warning: Mentions of suicide (not main characters)


Grand Strand Ghost Tours didn’t just arise from Simon’s passion for myth, legend, and folklore; it was rooted in his abilities as a psychic medium. Sure, the ghost tours were largely entertainment, but Simon also gave private psychic readings and conducted séances by appointment. Along with the books he wrote about ghosts and the speaking engagements he provided for local organizations, Simon had managed to create a thriving business. He leaned against the railing, enjoying a moment of contentment.

Or maybe, the calm before the storm, a little voice in the back of his mind warned.

His phone buzzed, and Simon pulled it from his pocket and smiled. “Hey. Miss me?”

“Always.” Homicide lieutenant Vic D’Amato’s voice was a husky rumble. “I just wanted to check what time you finish up tonight. Figured it was my turn to pick up dinner.” The tone in Vic’s voice promised far more than food, and Simon felt the anticipation go right to his dick.

“I should be finished around seven. It’s off-season, so no tours on Mondays. You have a busy day lined up?” Simon asked as he started walking toward his favorite coffee shop.

“Not yet, and I’m hoping it stays that way,” Vic replied. “It’s never a good thing when we’re busy.”

“Let me know if you hear anything official about the storm. I’ve heard six different forecasts, and I haven’t even gotten coffee yet.”

“Sure thing—but don’t expect anything dependable yet. We’re too far out.”

Simon knew how changeable forecasts could be so close to the ocean. Still, Myrtle Beach had barely gotten back on its feet after the last hurricane, so the news of another severe winter storm—hurricane or not—had everyone on edge.

“Be careful out there,” Simon said, letting his voice drop to a growl. “I love you.”

“Love you, too. Stay out of trouble.”

Despite the forecasts, Simon couldn’t help feeling a spring in his step after talking with Vic. They’d been together for less than a year, but Simon was finding it more and more difficult to remember what life was like before meeting his handsome homicide cop. Vic had officially moved into Simon’s retro blue bungalow after the holidays, and while they were still working out their new living situation, Simon had never been happier.”

“The boardwalk might not be busy, but Le Mizzenmast, Simon’s favorite coffee shop, was always bustling. The locals called it Le Miz, not to be confused with the musical. The building had previously been a pirate-themed attraction, and when Tracey Cullen took over, she couldn’t afford to remodel, so she just incorporated the pirate decor into her theme and went with it.

“Hi, Simon!” Tracey called with a wave from behind the register. “You want the usual?” When Simon nodded, Tracey turned to her barista. “One Dread Pirate Roberts and a mocha please!”

Simon took his place in line, remembering how he and Vic had met right here, waiting for coffee. Simon had taken one look at Vic’s muscled body, his dark brown eyes, and the ink on his arms and felt an instant attraction. After all these months and several hair-raising adventures, the magnetism had only gotten stronger. Being in love felt wonderful, and Simon resolved to enjoy every minute of it.”

Excerpt From: Morgan Brice. The Rising: A Badlands Novel.

5 Stars

I absolutely love Simon and Vic and I was so excited to see the continuation of their story and Ms. Brice didn’t disappoint.

The author managed to recapture the electric chemistry between Simon and Vic, all the while keeping me on the edge of my seat and biting my nails.

As in the previous installments, the mystery portion was well-done, scary and with surprising twists and turns that kept me in fear for Simon, Vic and the others' safety and well being. This is a must read filled with mystery, romance and of course, some steamy sexy times.

Go one-click it now, but while this could comfortably be read as a standalone, if you haven’t read the first installments definitely start there. You don’t want to miss out on a word of Simon and Vic’s story!

*copy provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review

5 Stars

Another amazing tale, really well done - Morgan Brice is a 5-Star 'find' for me in 2019.

This is my third book by this author, all in her Badlands series, and each has been a 5* tale. I'm now on a mission to track down more of her works.

With book 2, I'd have said that you could have picked it up as a standalone, as there was enough info given to bring readers up to speed with the leads and events from book 1, but reading this, it's clear that the Badlands books do need to be read in order, as they gradually introduce more and more of Simon's paranormal talents, friends and connections, and Vic's coming to believe in Simon's world, and we get to see their careers mesh, their romance evolve and grow into something really solid, and we get some GREAT stories. This was pretty much perfect: a case for the cops linked to ghosts from long ago, with same MO killings that can't be explained. It was great to see that Simon and his talents are being taken seriously by the local PD, and that Vic's once-sceptical partner, Ross, has fully embraced both what Simon means to Vic, Vic's faith in his partner, and Simon's abilities to help them solve cases. We also get to see Simon's friends and collaborators, and I find it really refreshing that age and experience, which is often derided in tales, are portrayed as nothing but assets in two great characters in their 70s, whose skills and knowledge are being imparted to Simon and to others, and who kick butt in a way that's not physical, but that's entirely needed in these tales. And, I love how the author blends superstition, the paranormal, the Catholic church and legends and voodoo into her tales, seamlessly, with great grounding so that nothing feels planted.

This tale had it all: spookiness/danger/more than one character who could potentially be a suspect/voodoo protections/a legend that turns out to be rooted in proven history/a ghostly ancestor of Simon's who comes to the rescue (Dante, who has his own tale/s, I believe, that I will be checking out very soon)/good guys to the rescue/ghostly possession/a bad guy whose comeuppance most of us would like to see, because he really was that obnoxious/a Vatican-trained paranormal investigator (I totally need to check if this guy has his own tales, as he's appeared in more than one Badlands tale as a side character, and is kick butt!) and much more. And, the author managed not to go OTT with anything, blending everything so well that it's a read with revelation after revelation after revelation that really work.

Simon and Vic are pretty great guys, too, but often their relationship seems to have to take a back seat when duty calls. It's both cop duty and paranormal happenings duty, but it's good to see how they have a pretty equal relationship, with both looking after the other, both initiating sex to reconnect (actually, if I had a tiny, tiny gripe it'd be that the sex was always the same MO, the same time of day, the same scenes, the same place/s. Yes, it worked for the guys and was what they needed, but a little variety would be good. And, the sex is surprisingly descriptive for the series, which from the start has felt more PNR than romance, but I'm not complaining; the sex has definitely upped its game since the previous tales, which is understandable, given that the guys are more committed, solid and secure) and both considering their actions and how there are two people in their relationship. I particularly liked Vic's heart-to-heart with Ross, his partner who's been married for five years; done wrongly, that could have come across as faux and as trying too hard to dispel the so-called toxic masculinity that so many US authors of MM are seemingly on an agenda to highlight and obliterate, but MB got that convo spot on, and the advice, too. And, there are so many decent characters in this series, and so much caring for each other; there's a real feeling of community spirit, too, which is heartwarming.

These tales are some of the best I've read in my entire life of reading. There are proper tales; there's proper meshing of all the elements in the tale to make a tight story that has no plot holes, and in Morgan Brice, I've found another author who's made it onto my Autobuy list.

ARC courtesy of Darkwind Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

About the Author 

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Other books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, and Badlands. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

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