Tour & #Giveaway: Blood Pact (Youkai Bloodlines #2) by Courtney Maguire


Publisher: City Owl Press (May 4, 2021)

Releases on: May 4, 2021

Genre: LGBTQIA Dark Historical Paranormal Romance

Language: English

ASIN: B091V1P3FT

ISBN: 9781648980831

In Hiro’s world, youkai are a supernatural story used to scare children into obedience, and to keep men out of back alleys and brothels. Until Sakurai Hideyoshi walks through his door with a fantastical tale of a samurai who had killed a thousand men and drank the blood of his enemies, a man that lived in darkness but sought beauty to keep it at bay.


A story both terrifying and romantic…and completely ridiculous.


Unless it is true.


Convinced something softer lurks behind Hideyoshi’s hard mask, Hiro follows him home. And discovers the story is real.


Only instead of the blood of his enemies, it is innocent blood taken.


Hideyoshi tells him never to return. Yet after Hiro’s mother is mortally wounded, Hiro runs back to the one being he knows with the power to save her. When Hideyoshi can’t, Hiro begs him for the next best thing: the power to avenge her.


As Hiro becomes youkai, he faces a new threat, something darker, older, and far more dangerous. With Hideyoshi at his side, Hiro must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice--and what he’s willing to do--to protect this new life before he loses everything for a second time.


If you like Bella Forrest, P. C. Cast, AJ Tipton, or Anne Rice, you will love this beautiful dark paranormal fantasy romance.

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@Archaeolibrary, @PromotionsPsst, @PretentiousAho,

#LGBTQIA, #Dark, #Historical, #Paranormal, #Romance,

I awoke in stages. First, with a gradual and intense awareness of my body, down to the ends of the smallest hair, and all of it buzzed, ached, groaned. I tried to move, but the brush of fabric, even the changing currents of the air, sent a crash of sensation through me that took my breath away. Heart pounding, head reeling, my whole body pulsed, and I gasped when I realized it was my own blood sliding beneath my skin, whispering a secret I couldn't quite grasp.

And then, there was sound, the light, rhythmic ting of metal on metal, not loud, yet each repetition pricked like needles. I groaned, and the sound paused, followed by a distinct rustling that drew steadily closer. Footsteps. Cold fingers slipped around my heart and squeezed the air from my lungs, gradually tightening as the sound grew louder, closer.

“Open your eyes, Hiro.”

Something brushed against my cheek, warm and familiar yet completely foreign. I jerked into violent motion, pushing off the floor and slamming my back against the wall. Eyes still squeezed tightly shut, I swiped at the empty air in front of me.

“Stop fighting,” he said softly, rough hands clamping around my wrists in an iron grip. “Focus.”

“Sa-Sakurai—” I clamped my hands to the sides of my head as my own voice pounded in my ears. Loud. Everything was so loud. The wind in the hallways. The birds in the trees. Sakurai-han's heartbeat. Mattaku, I could hear his heartbeat.

“What—what's happening to me?”

“Look at me, Hiro,” he said, low and commanding, taking my face in his hands. “Open your eyes slowly and look at only me.”

With a deep, wheezing breath, I cracked one eye open, slamming it shut again as the flickering light of an oil lamp swam into my vision. I groaned and pitched forward as the world tilted under me, and I gripped Sakurai-han's wrists as if it might buck me off. He shifted his hands to my shoulders, and he forced me upright, silently urging me to try again.

His eyes. I lifted my head and found his eyes, black as obsidian and flashing darkly, thin, straight brows pulled low over them. They filled my vision until I could see nothing else, and I fell into their cavernous depths. Before I even realized it, I was touching him, my fingers brushing lightly over his brow, down the wide bridge of his nose, along his high cheekbones. His face glowed from within the shadow of his long hair like the moon in the midnight sky.

“You're…” Beautiful. The word seemed so inadequate.

His eyes lost some of their edge, and I swooned. He caught my hand in his and pressed it against his chest. Beneath my palm lay hard, lean muscle and heat and the subtle but quick thump thump thumping of his heart.

He mirrored the action against my heart, his hand nearly spanning the width of my chest. “Listen, Hiro,” he said in a thick voice. “Not to the world, but to your heart.”

As if a switch had been flipped, my ears turned inward, and an overwhelming warmth enveloped me. I heard his heart beating beside mine, within mine, our souls mixing and folding into each other, a strong but gentle presence inside me.

With a whimper in my throat and tears burning behind my eyes, I fell into him. I knew only him, the heat of his skin, the brush of his breath, his arms wrapped protectively around me. I had the feeling he'd done something unspeakable to me, yet with my nose buried in his broad chest, I felt safe.

“What…what did you…” I started, still struggling to catch my breath.

“I've made you.” His lips brushed against my hair.

I lifted my head and felt my cheeks flush with an emotion I didn’t understand. It was as if I'd died and Sakurai Hideyoshi had taken possession of my soul.

5 out of 5 (exceptional)


BLOOD PACT is the second book in the Youkai Bloodlines series, and we start off with Hiro. He is a geisha, taken in from the street, and now a man of renown because of his voice. When a local thug takes offense at Hiro entertaining a samurai, Hiro's world is torn apart.


This isn't a romance story, per se. It is diving into the world of the mythological, fantastical, horrible. Hide would do anything for Hiro, apart from show it! And Hiro has enough heart for both of them. Even Asagi recognises that. Yes, they are in here too, but I don't think life has treated them kindly since last we met. I do so want a HEA for them, back with their maker.


Although this is book two, as Hiro puts it, this is only the beginning. I love where the story is going, plus the character development and supporting cast. You end up with more questions than answers, and it's just perfect for this series. This book is long enough to sink your teeth into (!), and is perfectly paced, giving you action and then a time of rest. Diving into cultural mythology is a bonus for me.


A fantastic addition to the series and absolutely recommended by me. I can't wait to see what happens next.


** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Merissa

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

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Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.


Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.


In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.


Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save their life.


Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.


The blood of the innocent. Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.​


New master, same threat.


With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what they love most.


Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence.

5 out of 5 (exceptional)


BLOODLACED is the first book in the Youkai Bloodlines series, and I have to say I was blown away by this story. It is sad, it is hopeful; it is heart-warming, it is heart-breaking.


Asagi is neither man or woman, and their name reflects that. Sold as a child into a world of slavery, Asagi has been broken so many times. They will do what they need to, to protect those they claim. And when they take Tsukito as their own, they love him completely. Unfortunately, it isn't enough, and Asagi is sold once again, leaving his heart behind, and he can only fear for what will happen to Tsukito.


If you are looking for a light, fluffy book, then I implore you to look elsewhere. However, if you want a high-angst, incredibly sad story with highlights of happiness, then I can suggest you give this one a go.


There is so much character development for Asagi. They really do learn so much about themselves. Their love never falters but does change. Mahiro is constant and I can't help but wish for a happy ending for him.


One small thing - the ending. It about broke me! It really did. The only reason it didn't is because it almost felt over too soon, whilst at the same time, it was over too quickly. I know that doesn't make much sense, but if you read it, then you'll understand. There was no real build-up, just BOOM!! There is a snippet of hope left though, that a happy ending might be in sight... but not within the pages of this book. The author leaves that to the reader's imagination, and that is the perfect way to finish the story.


This book came as a surprise, and I am thrilled to have read it. I really can't wait for book 2. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a bit different to the usual vampire genre.


** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Merissa

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Love the Youkai Bloodlines Series? Keep an eye out for Blood Bound, coming in Spring 2022.


Worried you might miss it? Join Maguire's Reader Group, Courtney's Coven: https://tinyurl.com/3yuh2vxc or sign up for her newsletter at the bottom of her website: https://www.courtneymaguirewrites.com/about to make sure to keep up to date on your favorite characters.

Courtney Maguire is a University of Texas graduate from Corpus Christi, Texas.


Drawn to Austin by a voracious appetite for music, she spent most of her young adult life in dark, divey venues nursing a love for the sublimely weird. A self-proclaimed fangirl with a press pass, she combined her love of music and writing as the primary contributor for Japanese music and culture blog, Project: Lixx, interviewing Japanese rock and roll icons and providing live event coverage for appearances across the country.


Her first novel, WOUNDED MARTYR, is a 2019 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Short Category.


You can find her on social media: Facebook, Twitter or at

www.courtneymaguirewrites.com


Tour Hosted by: Let's Talk Promotions & Psst Promotions


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