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Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Fires of Beltane by Ayla Ruse

The Fires of Beltane by Ayla Ruse
Publisher: Total E-Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (49 pages)
Other: M/F, F/F, M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Aster

What was supposed to be a celebration of life turns into a festival of fear...

Natalie Devonshire is nervous about attending the invitation only, annual Beltane feast. She’s heard it can be wild and naughty and though intrigued, she plans only to observe. That is, until she meets handsome William Zapata, who convinces her that trying something new can be as fun as it is daring.

William’s been coming to this festival for several years, for one reason only—to spend time with his sometime lover. When he meets Natalie outside the gates, his interest is immediate. He’s drawn to her, and as backward as this celebration makes their introductions, his intention is to keep seeing her long after the festival ends.

Not all is a bed of roses, however. Some attendees see the festival as a way to meet needs of a darker nature. Beltane not only has a history rich in fertility and life, but also has historical ties with the occult. This includes human sacrifice and all the necessary preparations are in order. When people begin to disappear and death explodes around the celebrants, panic ensues.

Trapped and confused, can Natalie and William find out who is behind the destruction of this celebration and stop the spiralling events before they become part of the sacrifice themselves? And when all is said and done, will the attraction between them be strong enough to last, or will they discover their interest was fleeting and best left burning with the fires?

Every once in a while it is fun to read a tale that takes you to a place you will never experience in real life. The Fires of Beltane is that type of story.

Natalie Devonshire, against her better judgment, has agreed to attend the festival of Beltane, but only because her dear friend has been named the May Queen. She's heard whispers and rumors of what happens during this mysterious ritual, but she still has no idea what she will encounter once she passes the fiery gates. Just as she's thinking of leaving, a deep, sexy voice convinces her to stay.

That voice belongs to William Zapata. This is not his first time at the festival; he's attended several times in order to connect with his occasional lover. He takes an immediate liking to Natalie, and calms her enough to convince her to let go and have fun during the evening. They spend the evening enjoying each other, as well as several other people, before the night ends in utter disaster.

There are good and bad elements to this book. On the good side, there is a little bit of everything included, so no matter what type of erotica you like to read, you'll find something that speaks to you in the course of the story. There are elements of male/female, female/female, male/male, menage, voyeurism and multiple partners. There are also elements of paranormal and fantasy, with scatters of some mystery and a bit of action. Chances are you will find something that you like in this short tale.

On the bad side, however, it didn't seem as if there was enough time spent on the characters. The sex was hot, depending on which scene you liked, but the ultimate connection between William and Natalie wasn't as developed as it could have been, even in the short number of pages. I also didn't get much of a feel for why this ritual was different at this point in time, and what the purpose of it was. I can make some assumptions, but I'm not sure if another reader might assume other things. Perhaps this was by design, but I usually like to have all the questions answered by the end of the story.

We're left with a feeling of happily ever after, though I'm not sure it's believable after the events of the evening, but it does wrap things up cleanly. I'd possibly be interested in reading other titles from this author, depending on the genre, because other than only a couple editing mistakes, the writing was clean and easily understood.

If you're looking for a quick fantasy filled with erotic sensuality of all kinds, mixed with a bit of mystery and intrigue, perhaps this is a title to check out!

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