Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Kings of Hell MC by KA Merikan

Laurent & the Beast #1
Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself.

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.

My Dark Knight #2
Love or hate. Life or death. No inbetween. No compromise. No rules in love and war.

Knight. Party monster. Handsome Savage. Doesn’t do monogamy.

Elliot. Obsessive. Intense. Uncompromising.

Newly single, Knight is done with relationships. All he's interested in is bringing down The Count, an Internet personality who is tarnishing his family name. An opportunity to crush him comes when the audacious clown shows up at the Kings of Hell MC clubhouse to film for his YouTube channel. But when Knight meets Elliot, the man behind The Count, he no longer knows what to do with him.

Knight has never seen a more pathetic creature than Elliot. He’s also never met anyone who needed him more. Skinny, messed up, and a bucket of trouble as thick as tar, everything Elliot does seems to be a wordless death wish. No matter how much Knight hates Elliot’s alter ego, under the makeup and theatrics hides a fragile young guy with a passion for history, and Knight can’t help but catch Elliot every time he falls.

Elliot has bad taste in men. Always hopelessly attracted to violent brutes, his favorite is a long dead serial killer. But he gets more than he’s bargained for when he seizes an opportunity to meet the man of his dreams. The ghost is manipulative and dangerous, offering Elliot all he’s always wanted, for a price he can’t possibly pay.

Elliot is faced with an impossible choice between two men.

One alive, one dead.

One carnal and honest, one drizzling sweet, poisoned promises into his ear.

One unwilling to commit, the other promising an eternity together.

And Elliot doesn’t settle for half-measures. He craves a love that is all or nothing, passion that will consume him, and desire to burn him alive.

Elliot is ready to either get that, or die trying.

Themes: enemies to lovers, protector, cruelty, motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, tattoos, impossible choices, deception, crime, self-discovery, healing, black magic, gothic, commitment, ghosts, possession

Laurent & the Beast #1
Original Review May 2017
Paranormal, romance, motorcycle club, what's not to love?  Laurent and the Beast is an amazing tale with a little bit of everything.  I will say that I debated on appropriate tags, should I use paranormal, supernatural, or science fiction?  Despite there being a science fiction element with time travel, I went with paranormal because of the how and why Laurent went from 1805 to 2017.  No matter whatever category you decide on, just know that you will have read an incredible story that sucks you in from the very first word.

I have read some time travel stories before, not a vast amount but definitely a few,  more often than not the main character is going back in time so when Laurent moved forward more than 200 years I expected mentions of automobiles, electricity, and clothing.  I was surprised but delighted to see the author reflect on little things that most of us take for granted such as light switches, refrigeration, bathtubs, and especially Laurent's fascination with plastic.  These might be small scenes that don't seem very significant to most but to me they stood out and made it all the more realistic, well as realistic as time travel can be, and showed the attention the author made to details which is always an important factor to me when dealing with historicals, frankly it can be a make or break moment and in this KA Merikan work it is without a doubt a make it moment.

Despite the many differences between Laurent and Beast there is actually many similarities and the chemistry is off the charts.  This is a tale that will make you cringe but warm the heart, will make you hate a few but love even more, and short circuit your brain a time or two but when you hit that last page you will be begging for more.  Luckily for us, there is more to come and frankly I'll be waiting in line when book 2 comes out.  Although I have featured their work on my blog before this is the first time I've read anything by the duo that makes up KA Merikan but Laurent and the Beast will definitely not be the last.

My Dark Knight #2
Original Review August 2017
Knight is a biker with an unusual and unexpected hobby, love of history and more specifically his family genealogy.  Elliot is a man with an unusual passion for past serial killer William Fane, who was killed by Knight's ancestor Laurent Mercier, who just happens to be the significant other of the club president and Knight's best friend and is here after a pact with a demon.  When Knight and Elliot but heads over the Fane/Mercier connection will it turn into more and what will happen when the truth comes out?

As I have often said, I am a series lover and when I'm reading one that has a different couple as the focus of each installment, I rarely love the new ones as much as the original.  Well, I can safely say that as much as I love Laurent and Beast from book 1(conveniently titled Laurent and the Beast) there is something about Knight and Elliot that put them ahead in my heart.  Perhaps its my love of history and genealogy that tipped the scale or perhaps its because Elliot is so innocent even if a bit disturbed in his love of the murderer Fane.

Speaking of Elliot's naive passion for the murderer William Fane, well I don't personally understand it but as a Wisconsinite where we have had more than one serial killer, I have heard about that kind of fixation before so it didn't take me completely by surprise.  I loved how KA Merikan presented it, yes it's disturbing but not over the top, which in my opinion takes talent considering it's a paranormal story where over the top can be the norm.

As for Knight, he can be gruff but he's honest and direct.  Now gruff and direct is expected of a biker story but not always honest and certainly not a genealogy lover.  As a genealogy lover myself, I found his passion to be a great draw and loved how it gave him and Elliot an immediate connection even as they are at odds about Fane & Mercier.

I found My Dark Knight to be an amazing read that had me on the edge of my seat.  I warred with loving and hating both Knight and Elliot at times, okay maybe not hating but I certainly wanted to knock some serious sense into both of them.  I loved how even though Knight and Elliot are the focus of the story we got to see Laurent and Beast too and learn even more about Fane, which I didn't think I could hate more after book 1 but yeah, its possible.  Simply put, book 2 of Kings of Hell MC is amazing and perhaps fun is not the right word considering the content but its definitely enjoyable and I am eagerly looking forward to Jake's story in book 3: On Your Knees, Prospect.


Laurent & the Beast #1
Hound’s alarmed growling was coming his way, along with whines, when he reached the right door and opened it, only to have the massive Rottweiler’s body rush past him and into the corridor. Beast expected his pet to rush toward the room where the accident happened just minutes ago but Hound looked back at Beast, as if signalling he wanted to be followed, and rushed the other way, stirring the worst of feelings in Beast.

Was there an intruder somewhere in the house? With the sheer size of the former asylum that has served as the Kings of Hell Clubhouse for the last fifteen years, it was easy to overlook things happening in the disused parts of the property. They once had a bunch of teenagers who came over wanting to spy on the orgy. That thankfully didn’t end in blood, and out of the whole mess they got Jake to join their ranks.

Beast wondered whether he shouldn’t go back to the armory and get himself a gun but ultimately decided against it. There would be police and emergency services coming for Davy, and he didn’t want to run around with a firearm, no matter how good their relationship with the local police was.

Hound moved as if he were following a clear trail, but Beast couldn’t smell anything apart from dust and dampness. They were leaving behind the shouting and even the sound of the ambulance approaching, and eventually entered a corridor so disused it had a thick layer of dust on the floor. Now even Beast could see faint footprints in the dust, and next to them, dark droplets that could be blood.

Hound smelled the traces, looked back and broke into a run, which had Beast following him with the worst of expectations as to what he would eventually find. His heart beat faster as they ran down the dark hallway.

The building was a labyrinth, and this far away from where they all lived and worked, it wasn’t even wired anymore, so he breathed in the smell of mildew and followed Hound through the darkness in hope he would not stumble.

Windows in the doorless rooms on both sides of the corridor were the only source of light, now delivering a faint red and blue glow of the approaching ambulance. For all Beast knew, this could have been a gothic castle, something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with bloodthirsty monsters waiting for their next victim in one of the endless hallways, and yet he only ran faster, listening to the steady tap of Hound’s paws.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Hound rushed inside one of the rooms and gave a growl so vicious something inside Beast mourned his decision not to take a gun with him. But no one shot at him when Hound let out a single bark. Beast pushed past the empty doorway, jumping over a fallen chair, only to see someone hiding in the shadows.

Judging by the long, wavy hair and small stature, Beast at first thought it was a woman, but then the person spoke with a distinctly male voice.

“I… I’m not certain where I am.” The stranger took half a step out of the shadow, and into the flashing light coming from outside. His accent was distinctly foreign. French maybe?

Beast took him in with a scowl. Blood covered the stranger’s face, hair, dripped from his chin, from the tips of his trembling fingers, and stained the outfit that looked as if he’d stolen it from the set of a costume drama. Knee-high boots, fitted pants, a vest worn under a tailcoat.

“What the fuck are you doing on our property, boy?” hissed Beast, watching the soft features of a very young man. “Whose blood is this?” he asked, still cautious. In his experience, a non-threatening presence could hide an adept fighter, so he was not taking any chances as he joined Hound in front of the stranger, who was so short in comparison to Beast’s own six foot five form that his red-stained head only reached Beast’s pecs.

The stranger backed away into the corner, whimpering in fear the moment Hound growled at him again and lowered his head, but Beast wasn’t having any of it and grabbed the boy’s arm. “Is the blood yours then? Someone attacked you? Where?” he asked, not hesitating to pat the intruder down, to make sure there were no weapons hiding under the fancy coat.

The boy tried to weasel out of his grip, but he didn’t seem adept at using force. “N-no. I don’t think it’s mine. I don’t know. Is this hell?”

Beast groaned, staring at the silly-looking young man, whose white shirt was completely drenched in red. Someone must have died to produce this much blood.

“You will explain yourself to King.”

My Dark Knight #2
The moon was high up the sky tonight, framed by puffy, thick clouds. Knight pushed Elliot toward the woods. “Where’s your car?”

Fat drops of cold rain hit Elliot’s face as soon as they were out the door. Of course. Because this night hasn’t been bad enough already. At least he still had all his teeth. Maybe Knight would let him off the hook with a few bruises after all?

“If you uncuff me, I’ll go myself.”

“Ha. In your dreams, Count. I wouldn’t believe you even if you shut down that idiotic YouTube channel to appease me,” Knight said, leading Elliot toward the woods. Despite the ice-cold wetness soaking into Elliot’s stockings, he was glad for the fallen leaves, as they protected him from stones and sticks that would have likely hurt his feet otherwise.

And even though Knight was his potential doom, Elliot still wondered what the man actually thought of him. At the end of the day it was better to be seen as reckless than pathetic.

“It’s outside the property,” Elliot mumbled.

“Good. I’m up for a little walk,” Knight said when they dove between the trees. Darkness instantly became so thick Elliot could barely see what was within an arm’s reach, but Knight navigated the path just fine, as if he knew the way by heart. His arm was shockingly hot on Elliot’s shoulder, streaming warmth all over his body. Clad in only the inexpensive suit of thin fabric, Elliot was already sensing spikes of cold biting at his flesh. His stockings would surely be ruined by the end of this walk of shame.

“So… your interest in your ancestors. It’s not an incest thing, is it?” Elliot had to fight to prevent his teeth from rattling. He frowned, realizing that what he said came out wrong. “I don’t mean that in a bad way.”

Knight exhaled loudly and squeezed Elliot’s shoulder even harder. “You’re completely out of it. How could this even occur to you? Not everyone is jerking off to dead guys.”

They turned into a path Elliot hadn’t even noticed at first despite his eyes having gotten used to the dark. This was not his night. If he survived Knight’s punishment, then he’d die of pneumonia anyway.

“Stop saying that. William wasn’t just anyone. He was special!”

“Special how? You mean because he had the unusual hobby of murdering people? And, only young men known to be handsome. We both know what that means.”

“So he was gay. Big deal. With the club president you guys have, this shouldn’t be an issue.” Elliot dared to glance up at Knight’s face. The man was too handsome to be real. All symmetry, cheekbones, and a nose that had surely never been broken.

Knight snorted. “If you look at how serial killers operate it’s more than likely he was also sexually assaulting his victims. Is that the kind of thing you’re into? Maybe I shouldn’t rough you up too much, or you’ll come back for more.”

Elliot’s whole body was so cold violent tremors went through it every now and then, but his face still went hot at the notion. “Sure, he killed people, but you don’t know what those men were like. You don’t know what they’d done to him.” Elliot tasted powder on his tongue and bit his lips in shame when he realized his intricate but cheap makeup was now dripping down his face.

“Really? You think a baker or a clerk could hurt a man who owned a large estate and was part of the high society?” Knight asked and stopped, letting go of Elliot. For a moment, Elliot’s frantic brain told him to run, but before he could consider it, a heavenly warmth covered his shoulders. The scent of leather and the same aroma he’d sensed on Knight had Elliot’s insides flaring up with butterflies.

Covered by Knight’s leather jacket, he suddenly forgot what they’d been talking about. At least the tears that spilled down his face shouldn’t be so visible in the dark. Why would have Knight done such a thing? Why give up his own comfort for Elliot’s sake? It simply didn’t add up.

Elliot looked up at Knight, embarrassed about the way he choked up at the gesture. “They could have still broken his heart.”

Knight watched him for several seconds. “One day, someone’s gonna murder you, you know that? This kind of thinking’s gonna send some homicidal douchebag your way, and off you go,” he said, poking Elliot’s forehead with his finger.

Elliot looked away, all kinds of restless. The warm leather jacket felt like a shield from all the world’s evil, and he loved that feeling, even though his mind alerted him constantly that something was amiss. At least he was getting the vibe that homosexuality didn’t bother Knight. “How do you know I wouldn’t kill them first?”

Knight crooked his head so abruptly some of his thick hair rolled back to uncover his shoulder. After giving away his jacket, he was clad only in a T-shirt that didn’t exactly cling to his chest but showcased it in the best way possible. “You? With no meat on those bones?”

The sense of indignity pushed Elliot forward, and he started walking even though he had no idea where he was going. “All you need is good aim.”

Author Bio: 
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.


Laurent & the Beast #1

My Dark Knight #2

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