E.J. Russell –grace, certified geek, mother of three, recovering actor–writes romance in a rainbow of flavors. Count on high snark, low angst and happy endings.
Reality? Eh, not so much.
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Books By E.J. Russell
Summary: Staging a musical in Purgatory can be absolute hell. Lonnie Coleridge last saw the sun in 1968. Since then, he’s been consigned to Limbo, still wearing the same tie-dyed T-shirt and bell-bottomed jeans he had on when he left his life behind. He and others like him have one chance each year at redemption: produce a show for the Greek pantheon. Whoever pleases this very specific—and temperamental—fan group could earn the right to move on. But after a literal act of god (*cough* Hermes *cough*) destroys their sets, lights, and costumes, the company needs emergency help to rebuild. Without it, all of them could poof out of existence forever. Out-of-work theater technician TD Baylor has precisely three things on his cosmic wish list: a job, a place to stay, and a boyfriend who isn’t a total tool. He thinks he’s got the first two nailed when he gets a line on a two-week gig that includes room and board. So what if the job tip came from a guy who was leaning way too hard into the LOTR cosplay at a sketchy Halloween pop-up? At this point, TD doesn’t have anything more to lose, so he figures…what the hell. He didn’t realize hell was the operative word. When Lonnie greets him at the theater door, though...whoa. TD fantasizes that item number three could be within his reach. But then Lonnie gives him the bad news: This is Purgatory Playhouse, aka Theater of the Darned. In two weeks—if they’re lucky and can successfully mount a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—the company will return to Limbo after the curtain falls. If they’re not lucky? Remember that part about hell? Purgatory Playhouse is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains a theater techie who’s one couch surf away from homeless, a production assistant who’s sort of, um, not alive, Greek gods behaving very badly indeed, and a guaranteed HEA.
Summary: To escape an arranged marriage, the king needs a fake fiancé. Stat. King Bastien’s father locked him into an ironclad betrothal contract with Lady Helena Rey when the two of them were only seven years old. Bas and Helena have never been friends—and not only because she marked their first meeting by dropping a frog down his shirt. He’s been unsuccessfully petitioning Parliament to annul the damn contract ever since he took the throne nine years ago. But with the deadline for officially confirming the engagement rapidly approaching, Bas is getting desperate. Enter commoner Nico Pereira, manager of the Royal Crest Vineyards, who nurses a secret crush on the king. He’s at the New Palace to unveil a wine that’s the first joint venture between North and South Abarra. No problem, right? Except Nico has a secret: He has a superpower. Not a very strong superpower, but because powers are a privilege reserved for Royals, it still puts him at risk for arrest and prosecution. Nico can usually mask his limited foresight gift under the guise of being an incredibly efficient administrator. But when King Bastien asks him to be his fake fiancé? Well. Nico never saw that coming. Nothing if not loyal, Nico accepts the faux-posal, although close proximity to Bastien makes him more than a little… uncomfortable, and the increased scrutiny of government officials threatens to expose his illegal ability. Good thing this engagement is temporary, because being the king’s ex will be a lot less onerous than prison or exile. Or, if the attacks from a shadowy conspiracy continue, with being dead. King’s Ex is a 52,000-word M/M superhero rom-com featuring a fake engagement, class differences, improbably pristine clothing, dueling secrets, a guaranteed HEA, and a kitten.
Summary: Being invisible makes it really hard to get laid. When half-human Kai Schiffer steps into the Interstices—the post-creation gaps between realms—his supernatural half kicks in and he literally disappears unless…well, don’t ask. But in a stroke (heh) of good fortune, Kai finally has a chance to show his face (and other parts, stars willing) to his long-time crush Jovan Kos—Interstitial Law Enforcement agent, wolf warrior, occasional berserker, and best man at their mutual best friends’ Imbolc wedding. Jovan, who’s half in love with Kai already, is grateful his best man duties are light enough that he can focus all his attention on Kai. After all, with Enchanted Occasions Event Planning handling the Olesson-Pakulski wedding, what could possibly go wrong?
Summary: A yuletide wedding brings tidings of comfort, joy… and peril. Eighteen months ago, Tarik Jaso, Duke of Arles, would have been thrilled if Sander Fiala, Duke of Roses, sank beneath the waves along with his stupid boat. That was then. Now, Tarik can’t wait to head out on a private sail with Sander—a sail that will culminate in a highly public, politically significant wedding. Their union will be the first one between North and South Abarran royalty in centuries. If all goes to plan, it will usher in a new era of peace and cooperation between their countries. But as the big day approaches, their meticulous arrangements begin to fall apart. Can Sander and Tarik weather the storm of political opposition, familial objection, and outright betrayal to reach the altar at last? Duke the Hall is a 41,000-word M/M superhero rom-com featuring two dukes determined to tie the knot, relatives both helpful and annoying, spiteful thunderstorms, superhero sabotage, and hints that things are not all they seem. Note: Duke the Hall is not a stand-alone story. It’s the sequel to Duking It Out and as such contains spoilers for the earlier book.
Summary: When supernatural secrets collide, it’ll take more than coffee to brew the perfect love. When Ky Hernández bonded with his familiar, Zuri, his life changed forever. Their connection turned him into a practicing witch and led him to his calling as a medimagical professional. However, it totally tanked his love life—what guy would settle for eternal second place behind a parrot? So Ky keeps his witchy nature under wraps and sticks to hookups with humans, which can never go anywhere. But the mouthwatering barista at the coffee shop next door makes him thirst for more than a caffeine fix. The charms Ewan Jones uses to appear human are inconvenient, disorienting, and . . . necessary. Ewan and his siblings are achubyddion, metaphysical healers whose powers are coveted by unscrupulous supernatural beings. And let’s face it: all supes are unscrupulous, given the right incentive. He’s grateful for the protections that hide his little family, and for the barista job that keeps them housed and fed. He’s just so lonely. And his regular, Ky, the super-hot, commitment-averse EMT, seems like the perfect candidate for a one-night shot at intimacy. After all, humans are no threat. It takes a clumsy coffee shop intern, a mysterious werewolf epidemic, and one snarky parrot to unravel their pasts—and give them a chance at a future.
Summary: Royal dukes from rival countries, shipwrecked on a deserted island. The grudge match of the century—or a love story of super-heroic proportions? Sander Fiala, Duke of Roses, is fourth in line to the South Abarran throne, even though his rogue power earned him the nickname “The Monster of Roses” and got him banished from the Castle. But right before he’s about to set off on his annual birthday sailing trip, the Queen asks him to meet with the notoriously volatile North Abarran Duke of Arles. Tarik Jaso, Duke of Arles, expects the worst from people because—let’s face it—people are the worst. His superpower bombards him with any and all electronic transmissions, which…yeah, people suck. So when he’s attacked and wakes up in the cabin of a stranded boat, he knows he’s royally screwed. Because the man looming over him—the man he’d gone toe-to-toe with right before the attack—is the infamous Monster of Roses. Tarik is positive the Monster is behind his kidnapping. Sander is sure the whole thing is Tarik’s fault. As they work toward rescue, Tarik realizes that the disturbingly hot Sander is no monster, and Sander discovers that Tarik’s temper masks a caring soul wrapped in a cantankerous (though undeniably sexy) body. tt For their burgeoning connection to endure, they’ll have to duke it out with political factions, dark conspiracies, and centuries of traditions that keep them on opposite sides of the border. But first? They have to get off this damn island. Duking It Out is a 46,000-word M/M enemies to lovers, opposites attract, superhero rom-com, featuring Only One Bed, a grumpy duke who should know better than to jump to conclusions, a self-doubting duke who’s good with his hands (heh), gossipy seagulls, competent assistants, a guaranteed HEA, and (unfortunately) capes.
Summary: Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks. That’s why werewolves embark on a Howling: a three-year rite of passage in which they’re sent to a group residence to wrestle with their wolfy instincts and assimilate into the Wider World. But Tanner Araya’s Howling is almost over, and he could be called back to his remote pack at any moment. His twenty-first birthday might be his last chance to act on his strongest instinct and finally kiss Chase Denney. Chase is RA at the Howling residence affectionately dubbed “the Doghouse,” and he takes his job seriously. So seriously that when he realized he was developing feelings for a resident, he forced himself to keep Tanner at a distance. But now that Tanner’s twenty-one, he’s not Chase’s charge any longer. They could be friends or—if Chase is lucky—something more. At least until they both return to their home packs for good, as tradition demands. It would take a miracle for them to get together—especially when the other Doghouse werewolves insist on “helping.” Warning: Many Frisbees are harmed in this story, forgiveness is not always easier than permission, and the five-second rule does not apply.
Summary: After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date. Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell. When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage. But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.
Summary: Can a chance meeting rekindle their incendiary attraction? While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads ever seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan. On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no thanks. Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free. When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood. But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes. Luckily Smith is the guy who gets the job done—and Hashim is never afraid to heat things up. Devouring Flame is a 54,000-word enemies-to-lovers, second-chance paranormal rom-com featuring a down-at-heels carnival with sinister undertones, a minotaur with an affinity for flowers, a prima donna goblin berserker chef with serious knife skills, and a guaranteed HEA.
Summary: A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but one broken beaver doesn’t give a dam. Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else. As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan. But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.
Summary: What if you staged the best haunted house in the history of the holiday, but nobody came? Brady is prepared with mounds of treats, stellar special effects, and an extraordinary welcome for the throngs of trick-or-treaters he expects in his first year at his new place—a gloriously gothic house with the reputation for really being haunted! But the trick’s on Brady: Halloween is almost over and not one person has knocked on his door. Once a top Interdimensional Law Enforcement agent, Rej was busted down to Creature Control after a run-in with his arch-nemesis. When he tracks a non-sentient construct across the dimensional barrier, he’s sure he’s about to confront Gorvenath again. But the person who bursts onto the porch in a swirl of tuxedo coattails is a monster of a very different sort—but is he Gorvenath’s accomplice or his victim? Monster Till Midnight is an 11,000-word gay romance featuring a hopeful samhainophile, a suspicious LEO, gratuitous candy corn, and a relationship that threatens to be really, really, really long distance.
Summary: Does a bear shift in the woods? Well, partially. That was what got grizzly shifter Ted Farnsworth into trouble. He wasn’t trying to break the Secrecy Pact. He just wants people to see the real him. So he signs up with the mate-matching service Supernatural Selection — which guarantees marriage to a perfect partner. Not only will Ted never be lonely again, but once his new beaver shifter husband arrives, they’ll build Ted’s dream wilderness retreat together. Win-win. Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, scion of an incubus dynasty, has abstained from sex since nearly killing his last lover. When his family declares it’s time for him to marry, Quentin decides the only way not to murder his partner is to pick someone who’s already dead. Supernatural Selection finds him the ideal vampire, and Quentin signs the marriage agreement sight unseen. But a mix-up at Supernatural Selection contracts Quentin with Ted. What’s Ted supposed to do with an art historian who knows more about salad forks than screwdrivers? And how can Quentin resist Ted’s mouthwatering life force? Yet as they work together to untangle their inconvenient union, they begin to wonder if their unexpected match might be perfect after all.
Summary: Artists use all manner of materials to express their vision, to interpret the world around them, to affect the hearts and minds of their audience. But what if the artist himself were the medium? And what if artistic inspiration weren’t the only force at work? If painter Stefan Cobbe and art investigator Luke Morganstern don’t answer those questions fast, they stand to lose their reputations, their relationship — and their lives. **Omnibus edition contains both The Artist’s Touch and Tested in Fire
Summary: With his heart’s desire at stake, can he resist giving Fate a little nudge? Half-norn event planner Anders Skuldsson is under strict orders from Asgard not to meddle with Fate. But with Enchanted Occasions’ latest booking—the competition for the hand of Faerie’s one true prince—crashing around his ears, it’s really, really, really difficult to toe that particular line. So… if Andy just happens to pose as a contender for the prince? It’s an emergency, damn it. Besides, it’s only temporary, so Odin can hardly blame him. Right? If Conall of Odstone hadn’t sworn a blood oath to protect his half-brother, Prince Reyner, he’d murder the idiot himself. Rey was supposed to be here, choosing a mate before being crowned and wed. Instead, he’s disappeared, leaving Con to impersonate him. Again. But when Con meets Andy, his anger turns to desire… and despair. Even if Andy forgives him for pretending to be someone he’s not, how could a man as appealing and accomplished as Andy—a man who’s eligible for a prince’s hand, for pity’s sake—settle for the court outcast? As for Andy, his burgeoning feelings for the prince are both unfortunate and hopeless because hello? Half-norn? Faerie prince? Not exactly a match made in Valhalla. When the Faerie Queen herself hands down an ultimatum, the double deception isn’t their only obstacle. Unless Andy makes the right decision, both their fates could be sealed by… well… Fate. Nudging Fate is a 54,000-word paranormal rom-com featuring mistaken identity, royalty in disguise, interfering coworkers, an iron knight with a soft heart, a temperamental goblin chef, and a guaranteed HEA.
Summary: Six months ago, Stefan Cobbe was at rock bottom: grief-stricken, guilt ridden, debt laden, artistically blocked, and living on charity in an isolated mountain cabin. But after reconciling with his first love, Luke, and moving to Sarasota with him, Stefan is preparing for his first major show. Yes, he still has debts, and no, Luke doesn’t understand Stefan’s desire for independence. But compared to last year? No contest. Luke Morganstern ought to be happy. After all, his art-investigation business has recovered and he’s got his boyfriend back. But Stefan stubbornly refuses to move in with him or accept Luke’s financial help, and it’s really starting to bug him. Who knew that the biggest test of their relationship wouldn’t be time or distance, but his own insecurities? After Luke’s next job—a trip to Italy to retrieve a mysterious artifact—he plans to convince Stefan that it’s time to totally commit. But when Luke returns, he changes, and Stefan begins to suspect that the person in Luke’s skin isn’t Luke at all. He can hardly go to the police and claim his lover is the victim of a supernatural hijacking though. He needs alternative help to find Luke and get him back, because he refuses to let anyone—or anything—come between them again.
Summary: Two men haunted by more than the past. Painter Stefan Cobbe was homeless and debt-ridden after the death of his wealthy partner, but the worst loss of all was his artistic inspiration. After two years of nothing, he’s offered patronage by an eccentric gallery owner and starts to produce again, canvas after canvas. The only problem? He can’t remember painting any of them—not one single brushstroke. Luke Morganstern’s reputation as an art-fraud investigator is in tatters. He can’t afford to turn down any job, even a lousy one for an anonymous client who sends him after an unidentified forger in a remote cabin in Oregon. When the alleged forger turns out to be Stefan, the man he never stopped loving, Luke’s professional ethics are stretched beyond the breaking point. As the two men take tentative steps toward reconciliation, evidence begins to mount that they’re not alone in the woods. Someone—or something—is watching. Something with sinister plans for them both. To escape, Luke must overcome his suspicions and Stefan must trust Luke with his deepest fears. Otherwise they could forfeit their relationship, their sanity—and their lives. Publisher’s note: Publisher’s note: This is a heavily revised and significantly expanded reprint of Northern Light. The second book in the Art Medium series, Tested In Fire, is a first edition. Both are sold together in both ebook and print collections.
Summary: As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven. Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment. Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.
Summary: Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling? Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree-hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101. All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse. Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever. Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.
Summary: Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission. Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face. But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.
Summary: What do you do when you finally prove the existence of the otherworld, but the ghosts kick your ass? For Trent Pielmeyer, the answer is run like hell—away from his hostile family, away from the disbelieving cops, and far, far, far away from anything that smacks of the supernatural. After seven years’ captivity in a whacked-out alternate dimension, he is so over legend tripping. When Christophe Clavret spots Trent in a Portland bar, he detects a kindred spirit—another man attempting to outrun the darkness of his own soul. But despite their sizzling chemistry, Trent’s hatred of the uncanny makes Christophe hesitant to confide the truth: he’s a werewolf, one of a dwindling line, the victim of a genetic curse extending back to feudal Europe. But dark forces are at work, threatening more than their growing love. If Christophe can’t win Trent’s trust, and if Trent can’t overcome his fear of the paranormal, the cost could be Trent’s freedom and Christophe’s humanity. Or it might be both their lives.
Summary: What price would you pay to rescue a friend from hell? For Logan Conner, the answer is almost anything. Guilt-ridden over trapping his college roommate in a ghost war rooted in Portland’s pioneer past, Logan has spent years searching for a solution. Then his new boyfriend, folklorist Riley Morrel, inadvertently gives him the key. Determined to pay his debt—and keep Riley safe—Logan abandons Riley and returns to Portland, prepared to give up his freedom and his future to make things right. Crushed by Logan’s betrayal, Riley drops out of school and takes a job on a lackluster paranormal investigation show. When the crew arrives in Portland to film an episode about a local legend of feuding ghosts, he stumbles across Logan working at a local bar, and learns the truth about Logan’s plan. Their destinies once more intertwined, the two men attempt to reforge their relationship while dodging a narcissistic TV personality, a craven ex-ghost, and a curmudgeonly bar owner with a hidden agenda. But Logan’s date with destiny is looming, and his life might not be the only one at stake.