Book Title: Stray: MM Paranormal Fantasy (Outcast Mates 3)
Author and Publisher: Lee Colgin
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: August 25, 2022
Genre: MM Paranormal Romance
Tropes: Grumpy/sunshine, opposites attract, age gap
Themes: Steamy, romantic,
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 65 000 words/250 pages
It’s the 3rd book in the series but can be read as a standalone. It does not end on a cliffhanger.
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Leonas is a cranky panther shifter set in his ways. He handles security for an exclusive brothel and takes the safety of the staff at The Twig and Berries seriously, to the extent of sacrificing his love life for work.
When a young vampire called Jeno shows up with heart eyes and disturbing news, Leonas is taken aback. Who is this curious youth and why is he hitting on Leonas of all people? More importantly, when is he leaving? Because Leonas has no time for romance.
Though Jeno is running from a dark past, he can’t help but to stop in his tracks for Leonas. The grumpy cat shifter might be prickly on the outside, but inside? Well, Leonas is prickly there too. He needs someone like Jeno to escape the lonely trap of his own making.
Can Jeno evade the snare of Hungary’s notorious opium slingers? Will Leonas break the chains of his past? Together, they stand a chance, but suffering alone is all they’ve ever known.
Stray is a steamy MM Paranormal Romance featuring lusty incubi, greedy goblins, and mouthwatering lamb-on-a-stick. A grumpy/sunshine, age gap, opposites attract, reluctant fated mates pairing that must overcome the odds to win their forever HEA!
He takes the stairs two at a time in a bounding, clumsy sort of fashion unlike most vampires I’ve encountered. A wide grin stretches across his youthful face, but you never know with a vampire. He could be older than me, though for some reason I doubt it. He doesn’t just look young, he acts it too, flopping into the small room, into my space without so much as a by your leave, and dropping his pack on the little table next to me. The urge to bat it right off again strikes, but I resist.
“Wow. You must be Leonas. You’re even scarier looking than Ivaz warned. But he also said not to worry. That you would act mean but that you weren’t really mean. ‘Just a kitten,’ he said. That true? I’ve never met a panther before.”
Irritation crawls beneath my skin and settles at the back of my neck and the tip of my tongue. I’ll have a few words for Ivaz when next I see him. “And you are?”
“Jeno!” He says his name like it’s a prize rather than a basic introduction and thrusts his hand toward my center, dopey grin still intact.
I stare at it through lowered lids. No. Will not be touching him. He’s already acting too familiar for my comfort. I don’t plan to encourage it. “What’s your business here?”
His brows crumple as he withdraws his hand. “Letters.” He regains a modicum of his former exuberance. “I’m the new messenger.”
Since when do the vampires allow messengers to be this young? I study him. His tanned skin still retains human pores. His mouth, a rosy shade of pink with slight protrusions where fangs lay hidden beneath, trembles as if he’s finally realizing he stands before a true threat and not the harmless kitten Ivaz so erroneously made me out to be.
My own lips part as I take in his wide eyes, hazel jewels sparkling with questions, staring at mine as if it’s I who hold the answers. They spell me with their beauty. A rush of warmth fills my chest.
I shake myself out of it with an irritated huff. “And so? Hand over the letters, then.”
He squints. It’s cute. I hate him.
4 out of 5 (very good)
STRAY is the third book in the Outcast Mates series, and I would highly recommend you read it as such, rather than a standalone.
I had said previously that I wanted Leonas' story and I'm happy to say, I got it. He meets a young vampire called Jeno, who has a troubled history with opium addiction. Ivaz thought he'd got rid of the nasty goblin but, instead, it just looks like he moved to a different town. The town where The Twig and Berries reside. That puts it on Leonas' radar, and he, in turn, brings Sebastian and Dominus back into the story.
I found this story to be delightful but it just didn't quite tick all the boxes for me. There were parts I loved - Leonas' hate of baths, for example - that I thought were brilliant, but there were also other parts that frustrated me. Jeno's lack of anger with Leonas was one. Yes, I agree there's no need for unnecessary angst but this WAS NECESSARY!!!!! Leonas didn't give him a chance to explain and basically kicked him out when he was needed the most. I expected at least five minutes of anger but there was nothing. This was more insta than the others and I missed the slow-burn feeling I got with the previous couples.
This is a great addition to the series and I'm really glad I've read it. I highly recommend the series, and have no hesitation in recommending this book as part of that.
** 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. *
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Lee Colgin has loved vampires since she read Dracula on a hot, sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he's not a vampire, but she loves him anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza. Ask her how much she can bench press.
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