Review: Tales of the City: Anthology by Vaughn R. Demont

A collection of previously unpublished vignettes and longer works which introduce new characters and stories to Demont's ever-growing cast and setting.

In "Drive-Through", a late-night run for barbecue takes an unexpected turn, while "The Line of the Hunt" tells the tale of a were-cheetah struggling to maintain a normal life despite his bestial nature, and how a chance encounter with another of his kind threatens to bring his house of cards tumbling down. "Happy Birthday" returns the reader to the romantic leads of "The Vampire Fred" for a brief but important night in Fred's life. The collection finishes with the novella "Let the River Run", the story of an incubus accused of murder who recounts his story and origins in an attempt to prove his innocence.

Warning: This work contains scenes of explicit erotic content.

When you read this one, make sure to read the Author’s Note at the beginning. I love to read the evolution of stories and what the author thinks about their characters. This is an especially good one and is a must read!

The thing I really like about this author’s stories, besides the humor and the unique take on the paranormal, are the endings. The endings are perfect. There’s an HEA but the bow on that package isn’t too pretty, but it’s believable and that is so much better.

Drive –Through

Well, hello you dirty little intro to this book. I like you very much. This was a hot little snippet that piqued my interest in Chuck and made me wish, desperately, that I had a drive through BBQ joint near my house.

The Line of the Hunt

I do like a decent shifter story, but I love a unique one that takes the theme and comes at it from a different angle and makes me see the characters as more than just shifters and the story is more than just a mating and insta love. That is exactly what this one is and I was hooked from the very beginning. Told from Jasper’s perspective, he’s a shifter with a big gap in his memory and no real coping skills to deal with what he is. He stumbles through life, just existing and hating the cat inside of him. He hates him and he fears him and his life just kind of broke my heart.

Then he meets Lou. Lou who likes “comic books and peanut butter and listening to live recordings of Lynyrd Skynyrd.” I really liked Lou and Lou really likes Jasper. Problem is, Jasper is confused and afraid and the story follows along in Jasper’s head as Lou follows Jasper and tries to convince him to let Lou teach him balance and maybe, eventually, there will be something more between them.

It was really sweet reading Lou’s version of shifter courtship as he broke down Jasper’s walls. For a short story it had some really great world building that didn’t feel shortchanged for the length it was and it read completely logically for all the things a city shifter would have to deal with. There was a lot of emotion on Jasper’s part and Lou’s caretaking made me melt. The ending brought balance and real romance. Not shifter insta love romance, but real romance. Not to mention some seriously hot mating that created quite the perfect pretty bow on this story.

Happy Birthday

I was SO anxious to read this one. I fell in love with Fred and Daniel in The Vampire Fred and this was a sweet and sentimental moment with a couple of my favorite characters.

Let the River Run

Man, I was hooked on this one from the very beginning too An incubus in trouble, angels, demons, humans and a dead body, who doesn’t want to know all about all of it? Vaughn R. Demont has the first person POV down pat. It makes it so easy to get into the characters head and feel everything he is feeling.

Chuck is an incubus. He’s not really a good guy, but being in his head made root for him from the very start. The story is told through Chuck being interrogated by an angel, his flashbacks to when he was turned and his relationship with both Will (the unsuspecting and completely lovable human) and Harris, his super evil mentor/supervisor. Chuck and Will have a real connection and it goes against everything Chuck knows in his life now. Harris has assigned Chuck to take Will to the Fifth Degree and as Will is a pastor’s son, he’s a pretty sweet mark for an incubus who needs to reach his quota. Just FYI, Fifth Degree is BAD.

The ‘Unholy Bureaucracy’ that rules Chuck and his ‘Employer’ would be really funny if it didn’t ring so true for pretty much all bureaucracy and I could really appreciate the subtle evil from a corporate standpoint. The mystery throughout the story is good and edgy and the ongoing interrogation was fun to read. Joni, the interrogating angel was a great character who kept those scenes going like a pro.

The mystery continues all the way through and I was nervous and hopeful and frustrated and it was a great ride. A lot of great story for a short and it was paced perfectly. This gave me another couple of great characters that I won’t forget anytime soon. I can see why the author would say that Chuck is one of his personal favorites as well.

Check out more info on this book over at Goodreads.

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