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Phoenix Rising I by Morgana de Winter, Marie Harte, Michelle M. Pillow, Sherrill Quinn, and Alicia Sparks
New Concepts Publishing
Paranormal / Fantasy Romance
ISBN: 1-58608-881-5
Reviewed by Jo

Nightshade Morgana de Winter

Bronwyn is an orphan with some land who has been given into marriage by the King to Lord Smythson, and that was start of her abusive nightmare.  Bronwyn had discovered that she is nothing to him but a way to earn land and some wealth and now that he has his sights somewhere else, she is only a problem.  Lord Smythson has concocted a way to get rid of an extremely sick Bronwyn and not be accused of any misdeeds, but Nightshade hears and answers her calls for help.  Nightshade has been a guardian gargoyle at the keep for as long as anyone can remember.  After saving Bronwyn, he asks for a night with her as a reward.  Bronwyn and Nightshade discover that one night might just have more results than either expected.

Nighshade is a historical with a paranormal bent, which tells of two people finding a love they never expected.  Bronwyn believes that she must follow the commands of the King without question.  Nightshade has been cursed to guard over a keep that he once knew better than any.  Together they discover that fate sometimes has a much better plan than even a reigning King when it comes to romance.  I found Ms. De Winterís characters engaging and their journey from pain into love kept my attention with each page.  Iím not usually an historical reader, but Nightshade was a story Iím happy to have read.


Deceptionís Calling by Marie Harte

Officer Summer Michaels and Lt. Drake Nichols are both members of the Specter Squad.  A police force where each member has special powers and in most cases they have even more than the other members know.  Summer has felt the a sensual pull towards her boss, whom they call Lt. Hotbod, ever since she join the Specter Squad, but has resisted it for that very reason.  One day after a bust in which they go together, Summer learns that she is even more special than even she knew from her partner.  Drake Nichols is the lieutenant over his squad and has made it a policy to never sleep with any of his officers.  However ever since Summer has come into the Squad, Drake has been fighting against his need for Summer.  While tracking down a drug distributor, a misunderstanding changes their lives forever.  Now Summer must deal with the current situation and Drake needs to figure out what he is missing all while keeping them safe.

Deceptionís Calling describes a world where people with paranormal lives are normal in everyday life and things that we see as myth exist.  Summer is proud of her job with the squad until she is faced with a situation she never even knew she might have.  Drake knows that something has happened with is life but canít seem to get a grasp on it with the exception that he knows Summer is part of it.  I could not read this story fast enough as it grabbed me from the start and I ran through it needing to know what would happen with Summer and Drake.  I have to say that the ending did not disappoint me.  This is my first story by Ms. Harte but I will be searching for others by her.


Arrested Desires by Michelle M. Pillow

Julianna Harrison is having a really bad day and to top it off her soon to be ex-husband has arranged for her to be kicked out of her house with not a credit to her name and no where to go.   She is stunned and trying to gather her wits and things in the short amount of time allowed by the court.  Officer Maverick Perkins is uncomfortable with having to follow through with the court order evicting Julianna from her home.  Upon learning of her plight, Maverick invites her to stay in his extra room until she can have her court date.  Julianna is attracted to Maverick in a way she hasnít experienced in many years.  Maverick is trying to give Julianna the time he thinks she needs all the while fighting his need for her.  As their passions change their lives, Maverick learns that Julianna is much more than a pretty face something her ex-husband has forgotten.

Arrested Desires is a futuristic story telling an old story of a wife putting her husband through school and then being dropped for a younger, trophy wife.  Julianna is stunned by the viciousness of her ex-husband but she is no dummy about the law.  Maverick is a cop that has to follow the letter of the law, but he knows that sometimes the law doesnít know the entire truth to begin with.  Julianna and Maverick find a strong and vibrant love at a time when Julianna is struggling to put her life back together.  I have always found Ms. Pillowís stories engaging and this is no exception.  I was drawn into Maverick and Juliannaís world quickly and by the end I was cheering for how Juliannaís ex-husband was dealt with.  Another great story from Ms. Pillow.


The Wolf of Cnoc Meadha by Sherrill Quinn

Connor is the son of Queen Una of the Daoine Sidhe known as the Faolchuí Cnoc Meadha (the Wolf of Cnoc Meadha).  Connor was cursed during one of his trips to the human realm and because of that he is a threat to his own people.  His mother has plans to help him and sends him to search for a person she has had to exiled to the human realm.  MacKenzie McCallum has faced many things during her time in the human realm and she believes that no one in Fae even remembers her.  She soon learns that not only does the Queen remember her, but that she has sent her son to locate her.  MacKenzie remembers Connor during her time in his house, but she knows that he wonít remember her because she is quite different from the last time he saw her.  MacKenzie and Connor are a bit surprised by the instant attraction that leaps instantly between them.  The coming of Connorís cruse is upon them quickly which makes MacKenzie determined to help Connor overcome it any way she can.  Connor is not sure that anyone can break the curse not even MacKenzie and their love.

The Wolf of Cnoc Meadha shows that even the Fae are not always given a charmed wonderful life.  Connor is cursed because he will not be forced into something not of his choosing which MacKenzie is forever changed as a side effect of an argument between the King and Queen of the Daoine Sidhe.  She is then exiled from her home in to the human realm for centuries.  I loved how Ms. Quinn showed that even in the fantasy realm many times the mothers still knows what is best for their children.  Connor and MacKenzieís trials through life only made them realize just how strong their love for each other was and to fight for it.  The Wolf of Cnoc Meadha is a lighthearted read that I found to be a wonderful addition to this book.


Morpheus by Alicia Sparks

Anna writes for a music magazine called Metal Alloy.  She has been assigned to get an interview with a popular band Morpheus and most especially with its lead singer, Grey.  Anna arrives at a concert sight with the hopes of interviewing Grey but a case of mistaken identity turns the night into something else.  Anna leaves without her interview and hoping not to deal with Grey again.  Like all musical performers, Grey needs the rise that the fans give him but unlike most he needs something even more from them.  He has made arrangements for his needs, but tonight a mistake is made and he finds much more than he was looking for.  Anna begins to dream of Grey but she canít understand what it means.  Grey needs Anna to remember a past and help him regain what he has lost.  Can Anna trust Grey to step into the dream?

Morpheus intertwines the gods with modern day.  Anna has an attraction to Grey but cannot understand what the dreams are telling her.  Grey has finally discovered all that he has been searching for but first he has to make Anna accept what he has to say.  Morpheus has a bit of a darker side to it, but I found that it helped with the plot and the ending twist.  A twist that I never expected but made the story richer for it.  The perfect ending to a book full of paranormal stories.


Phoenix Rising I is a book full of paranormal and fantasy stories.  There was not one story in this book that I found wanting or not equal to the rest.  I was pulled from one story to the next fully engrossed as they bounced from fantasy to paranormal and back again.  The individual authors were at their best with their stories.  I recommend Phoenix Rising I to anyone who enjoys either paranormal or fantasy stories. 


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