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REVIEW: Stop Dragon My Heart Around – Rachel Langella

Stop Dragon My Heart Around - Rachel Langella

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Tony

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About The Book

Sometimes Fate has a bizarre sense of humor.

Or at least it seems that way to Gus, owner of the Rainbow Room, Asheville’s main hangout for gay paranormals. He’s seen Fate catch up with the patrons of his bar while he served drinks and listened to their stories for three hundred years. He found all of it amusing, until his fated mate walks in and suddenly the twists aren’t so funny any longer!

Bear Hickes is a mage who specializes in fire, but life has lost its spark since his twin brother got married and left him alone. His older brother, Whimsy, is determined to help Bear find happiness no matter how much Bear objects, but meeting Gus gives Bear a wonderful idea: if Gus will pretend to be his boyfriend, Whimsy will get off his case. And somewhere along the line, Bear finds he wants it to be for real.

But there are secrets Gus is keeping from not just Bear, but the whole world. And when those secrets catch up with him at last, the danger won’t be just for Gus alone.

This story is set in the Asheville Arcana universe, but can be read as a standalone.

Stop Dragon My Heart Around is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains explicit scenes, a grumpy mage, a paranoid dragon, a very arrogant vampire and a guaranteed HEA.

The Review

This is one the novellas in the multi-author series The Magic Emporium. There are two main characters, Gus and Bear. Gus is a magical being and Leo is a mage.

Gus has a secret he has been keeping for hundreds of years, and it’s no spoiler to tell you that the book’s title gives you more than a hint as to what his secret concerns. No one else knows what it is, but it’s going to have a bearing on any relationship Gus embarks on. Consequently Gus keeps himself to himself as far as an owner of a successful bar can keep himself to himself. He has friends, but no one close – until Bear is thrown his way and proves to be his chosen mate.

Bear is hiding away as well, as everyone around him is settling down into happy stable relationships, including his twin brother. He is feeling a bit like he has been abandone, and has become more than a little cranky in the process. His older brother, Whimsy, manages to get him to come with him to Gus’ bar, and that brings the two together. Together in that that Gus agrees to help get Whimsy out of Bear’s hair by pretending to be romantically linked. Bear’s luxuriously long hair that is. Seems everyone here has good hair, but not in any intrusive way – just the sort one wants to run their fingers through.

The plot follows Gus and Bear as they get to know each other they start to fall deeper into love. Everyone around them watches with smiles on their face,s including a mysterious figure.

Gus’ peace is disturbed by the murder of paranormal beings in the local area. He suspects it relates to his secret, and he worries about how it will affect the safety of his friends, especially Bear. The story describes how Gus overcomes his fear of being discovered and finds he can allow himself to have a partner. There are dark moments along the way as the mysterious figure makes its move.

Any issues? Not any that should really bother you if I’m anything to go by, but I’ll mention them anyway. As with any story that has characters from other books by the same author, a new reader may wonder where they came from, and how they ‘know’ each other. That’s not really a problem here, as the two main characters are new (as far as I can see), even if they are known to the returning ones.

There are some minor issues things that could have been identified and corrected in editing – a Tuesday that should have been a Monday, and a bear that should have been Bear. But there was nothing egregious enough to throw me out of the story.

One final note – thank you to the author for having male characters who don’t get unfortunate damp patches in the their underwear when someone hot gives them the come on. ;)

This novella is more than good enough to overcome a few minor editing issues and the part played by the Magical Emporium is not in any way throw-away. It has an important contribution to make to the story and I am more than pleased to admit it. A good read by any measure!

The Reviewer

Tony is an Englishman living amongst the Welsh and the Other Folk in the mountains of Wales. He lives with his partner of thirty-six years, four dogs, two ponies, various birds, and his bees. He is a retired lecturer and a writer of no renown but that doesn’t stop him enjoying what he used to think of as ‘sensible’ fantasy and sf. He’s surprised to find that if the story is well written and has likeable characters undergoing the trails of life, i.e. falling in love, falling out of love, having a bit of nooky (but not all the time), fending off foes, aliens and monsters, etc., he’ll be happy as a sandperson who has just offloaded a wagon of sand at the going market price. As long as there’s a story, he’s in. He aims to write fair and honest reviews. If he finds he is not the target reader he’ll move on. 

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