Wicked Memories (6/2013)
The romance plot follows Thorn and Kayla through the development of their not-too-bumpy relationship. The action plot involves the nonhumans' attempts to fight off the dangerous villain who comes from the sea.
If I'm remembering correctly, this is the only book in the series that has a cliff-hanger ending that leads into the next book. It's a shocking one, too, as Sparkle and Ganymede break up, with catastrophic results for the world at large. Ganymede is "one of the most powerful beings in the universe. He's the cosmic trouble-maker in charge of planet-changing chaos—volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, meteor strikes, the big stuff" (p. 55), so when he's in a bad mood, the entire planet is in jeopardy.
Live the Fantasy is owned by Sparkle Stardust, a kooky, fashion-obsessed cosmic troublemaker who specializes in creating sexual chaos throughout the universe, and especially in Galveston. Sparkle began her literary life in Bangs' One Bite Stand (book 4 in the MACKENZIE VAMPIRES SERIES), where she ran the Woo Woo Inn and found a wife for Declan Mackenzie. Sparkle's long-time lover, and fellow cosmic troublemaker, is Ganymede, who spends much of his time in the form of a fat, furry, gray cat.
Each book focuses on each one man's personal paranormal problem as well as the wooing and winning of his soul mate. Book 4 tells the romantic story of a woman who fantasizes about a vampire lover and finds herself confronted with a real, very sexy, vampire. A few bad guys are thrown into each plot to keep the soul-mate relationships from proceeding too smoothly.
Here is a list of the happy couples in each CASTLE book. Click on a title below to read an excerpt:
One regular character in the series is the pompous Holgarth, a powerful wizard, who manages the Castle for Sparkle. In Wicked Edge, we learn Holgarth's back story.
As the story opens, Passion McBride is an angel who has been banished temporarily to earth—to the Live the Fantasy theme park, to be exact. Her crime is that she tried to liven up the heavenly halls, which got her into trouble with her boss, Ted the archangel, who is a humorless stick-in-the-mud kind of guy. Here, Passion explains why she chose the name Passion: "I have a streak of defiance that's gotten me in trouble a few times. Anyway, sensuality is frowned on....So when I chose a name, I picked one that was ambiguous enough that they couldn't deny my request...But whenever anyone says my name, they think of the sexual meaning. Archangel Ted hates it." Ted has ordered Passion to find some humans at the theme park to turn toward the good. When Passion meets Edge (aka Death, and also a cosmic troublemaker), she sees by his black aura that he is irredeemably bad and beyond salvation, but that doesn't stop her from being incredibly attracted to him. As it turns out, the attraction is mutual. When Passion meets Ganymede in his talking cat form, she panics and calls for assistance from her Heavenly boss. Help arrives in the form of Hope, an obedient angel who takes to earthly life quickly. (She's especially fond of Facebook and shopping malls.)
In the meantime, two of the three troublemakers at the Castle (Ganymede, and Edge) are having some strange episodes where a powerful voice inside their heads is forcing them to lose control of their powers and create their special kinds of chaos, ranging from earthquakes to violent physical attacks on each other. When the mysterious voice causes Edge to go mindlessly berserk, Hope manages to calm him down temporarily with her voice, and when Passion touches him, he calms down completely. As the story moves along, Passion, Edge, Ganymede, and Sparkle try to figure out which guest is causing their problems, and they narrow their suspect list down to three male hotel guests: a sorcerer, a demon, and an immortal with unknown powers. Eventually, the troublemakers' head honcho—called the Big Boss—shows up to see what's going on and stays to lend a hand. By the end of the story, Passion and Hope learn some devastating truths about their idyllic angel life. The requisite final showdown between the good guys and the villainous forces has all of the usual hold-your-breath moments.
As usual, this story is full of snarky, sarcastic, humorous dialogue among all the characters and lusty love scenes (mostly between Edge and Passion as she definitely lives up to her name). Bangs knows exactly how to write a light, humorous romance with sympathetic heroes and heroines and compelling, if outlandish, plots. Click HERE to read an excerpt.