Reviewed by Susan65
Title: Blood & Stone
Author: Hank Edwards
Series: Venom Valley #3
Heroes: Dexter “Dex” Wells and Josh Stanton
Genre: M/M Historical/Horror/Paranormal
Length: 227 Pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Release Date: March 5, 2014
Available at: Wilde City Press
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Josh Stanton’s mother has been held prisoner by the vampire Balthazar for fifteen years. As Balthazar has turned the residents of Belkin’s Pass into vampires under his control, Josh, his lover Dex, former saloon girl Glory, and US Army Sergeant Walker Maxwell fight to contain the undead uprising.
As Josh struggles to control his power to raise the dead, the group is pursued to the abandoned Fort Emmerick. There they make plans to take the battle to Balthazar’s cave, uncertain if all of them will live to see the light of day once again.
Evil vampires, killer wolves, a surprise werewolf, an army of reanimated corpses, special powers, secrets and romance. Seriously, is there anything missing that could make this story any better? I don’t think so and I highly recommend this series to those who like to get a little freaked out, grossed out, and shocked a bit when they read about their gay heroes.
One of the things I really enjoyed and appreciated about this series is that each installment begins right where the last book left off. You feel a continuity that allows the story to flow smoothly and without backtracking to try and remember what happened in the previous book.
Dex, Josh, Glory, Walker, and the rest of the survivors are still fighting for their lives against Balthazar and his legion of vampires and killer wolves. They are slowly losing ground, and survivors, as the vampires begin to methodically burn the town out from under them. Eventually they will either have to make a stand, or run for their lives during the daylight hours.
The decision to run was taken from them as their shelter is burned out from under them and they decide to aim for Walker’s fort, hoping that it’s still standing, safe, and that they can get to it before the sun sets.
This is a horror story with a touch of paranormal, but there is also the romance that has blossomed between Dex and Josh since book one. It is definitely not your typical romance as they spend the majority of their time just trying to survive. However, the love between Josh and Dex is very real and they just want to get past all this vampire nonsense so that they can finally be together as a couple.
Unfortunately, Balthazar has other ideas, and so does Walker, so that romance will have to be taken in little secret kisses here and little gropes there. Now Walker was trying my nerves throughout the story, and so was Josh. I understood Walker having an attraction to Josh and no loyalty to Dex, but Josh should not have given Walker mixed messages. Dex was pissed and so was I. I know you can’t help who you find yourself attracted to but come on Josh, you are exhausted, dirty, fighting for your life, trying to keep Dex from turning into a vampire, trying to build a relationship with Dex AND you find yourself attracted to Walker? Not good man, not good.
But the good news is that there is no cheating, there is no taking the attraction any further than being aware that he finds the other man physically attractive, and so I was fine with it. Dex, not so much and so the tension between Dex and Walker was almost as thick as the skulls that they had to crack to re-kill the reanimated dead. Yeah, that was real pleasant…ew. I still get creeped out over that undead army of reanimated corpses; so gross, and I am going to have nightmares thinking about those ghoulish cadavers.
I love horror, I love paranormal, and I love gay romance, so this is a winning series for those who want something a little (a lot) different than your every day contemporary gay romance novels. I get off on getting the bejeebus scared out of me and reading my Nook with my head under the covers. You get that and more with this final installment of the Venom Valley series. So take a stroll through 1860’s Belkin’s Pass and let me know how it worked out for you.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*