I am a copy editor and proofreader and an avid reader. Some would call me a bookworm. My favourite genres are: Romance, Romantic Erotica, Mystery, Thrillers, YA, Paranormal, Supernatural, Science Fiction, General Fiction and Children's Books. I also have a Facebook page where I put all my reviews: Book Reviews by Lynn. You are welcome to join me there too. You are welcome to follow, comment and enquire.
An ad in the newspaper for a schoolteacher in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to Rhia Duke's prayers. She packs her sister and friend into a rickety wagon and leaves Nebraska behind, intent on escaping a threat from her past. But her hopes are shattered when they arrive in Berner and she learns there is no job. Sheriff Wystan Heckmaster is the oldest son of a demon who spurned evil for the love of a human woman. His duty is to slay any demons that rise from Hell to serve their master—his father's former liege and his greatest enemy. With a gut full of regret, a forgotten town filled with reformed demons and now a beautiful schoolteacher to look after, Wystan must decide whether revenge is worth dying for, or if he can find peace the way his father did—with enough love to overcome the blackest evil.
This is the first book in The Heckmasters series. I absolutely loved it!
First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story perfectly, although the original cover did too. It was originally published as Wystan, but the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself. I have noticed it's no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.
Rhia Duke is a wonderful character. I liked her very much. She is a schoolteacher by trade. She is a very determined woman, with a stubborn streak a mile wide. Desperate to leave her past behind, she sets off, along with her young sister and a companion they pick up en-route, to answer an advertisement in the newspaper for a job in New Mexico. But things are not all they seem and danger lurks in every corner.
Wystan Heckmaster is a fantastic character. I liked this man very much. He is quite gruff and tough, but as I got to know him a little better, realised that he hides a softer, gentler, not to mention honourable, side. He is the sheriff of a town where the citizens are reformed demons. Being a half-demon himself, his life has not been easy. However, he has taken it upon himself, along with his two brothers, to keep the earth and humans protected from the demons trying to escape through a portal called the Pit. When Rhia appears in his town, he realises that things are about to change forever.
This is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! Set in the late 1800's, this book quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is told through various points of view, which made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.
I liked meeting Sylvie, Rhia's twelve year old sister. She is full of curiosity and is extremely bright. I also liked meeting Beryl Brookshier, a young woman the two sisters had befriended on their journey. However, she is also a mystery and, when her secret is revealed, it completely threw me. I certainly didn't see that twist coming! I also loved meeting Wystan's two brothers, Eban and Tell. Eban is the healer and Tell is the hunter. The three Heckmasters make a formidable team as they tackle the evil escaping from hell. We also get to meet the other residents of Berner, some of whom I liked and some not. The heat between Rhia and Wystan fairly sizzled on the page and their chemistry is extremely explosive! The story has several twists and turns, not to mention a villain that sent a shiver down my back. Noem is a vile character, but even he pales in comparison. You'll have to read the story to find out for yourself as to whom I'm talking about. However, I will say that I didn't suspect a thing and their betrayal actually brought a pang to my own heart. Although, in hindsight, I should have realised that they were up to no good. There is a battle between several demons and the Heckmasters that is quite intense, with a surprising twist that had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I finished the story and sat for a while as I contemplated and absorbed what I had just read. I love books that make you go "wow" at the end, and this is one of them. It took me on a journey that I didn't expect. I am now looking forward to reading Eban's story as soon as possible.
Allison Merritt has written a wonderful paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story, the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. I have never read any other books by this author, but I would definitely love to read more of them in the future.
Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong characters. - Lynn Worton