Vodou stole her life. A gay ghost stole her boots. And the man who stole her heart stole her memories. Kena plans to get it all back.
Ex-cop Kena's life is filled with regret, beer, and Cheetos. That is, until her ghostly roomie sends her dumpster diving, leading her to a sexy stranger named Luc and a fate she'd rather not remember. As Kena's memories resurface, so do her feelings for Luc, the man she's secretly been in love with for the last thousand years. And he needs her for more than a stroll down memory lane.
Vodou spirits, known as Loa, have been trapped in human form, and are trying to make their way back to the spirit world. But Luc's brother is possessed by a vengeance demon conjured at the hands of NOLA's crime syndicate kingpin. Saving him means damning herself to a spirit prison in a loveless, arranged union with the very man she's supposed to rescue. But not helping Luc's brother sentences him to death, leaving New Orleans in the hands of black magick, and losing Luc forever.
After stripping out of the wet clothes, I wrapped the towel around myself and wandered out to his room. On the bed lay a white long-sleeved button-down shirt. With a hard swallow, I dropped the towel and picked up the shirt. Pulling it to my face, I took a long, hard sniff. Laundry detergent. Of course. Did I think it would smell like him?
Like he'd give you a dirty shirt to wear, Kena.
Thankful he didn't witness me in idiot-mode, I slid myself into the shirt and was caught mid-button when he knocked at the door.
“Are you decent?” He pushed the door open a crack.
“I'm clothed, if that's what you mean. Decent is debatable at the moment.” Purposely leaving the top three buttons undone, I worked my way to the bottom button as he walked in.
He halted mid-stride and looked at me. His chest rose and fell in quick spurts, training his eyes over me from head to toe. Veins traversed the length of his arm as he clenched his fists at his sides. “I don't wear underwear, so I apologize I have no bottoms. It's all I had that was long enough to cover you.” His position relaxed as he leaned against the mahogany armoire.
“Anything's better than cold, sopping-wet clothes.” I ran a finger through my hair, now slowly drying into loose stringy curls.
“So, are you going to tell me what happened tonight?” Folding his arms across his broad chest, bulging muscles stretched the navy-blue fabric barely covering his biceps.
I shook my head. “Not until I get some honesty from you, big guy.”
With a tilt of his head, he donned a sly grin. “You haven't asked the right questions.”
“Is this a game for you? Do you enjoy messing with people's lives? Do you get off on some fucked-up high, being in total control?” My fingernails burrowed into the palm of my hand. Everything in me wanted to slap the shit out of him and then ride him like a cowgirl.
He pushed off the dresser and walked over to me, lowering his head coming to a stop inches from my face. “You're the one in control and yet you refuse to acknowledge it. You refuse to let your mind accept it. Stop playing and start being.”
“What do you want from me?” I yelled, a little louder than intended.
“I want you to be you. I want you to”—he stopped and dropped his gaze to my lips, and then slowly made his way back up to my eyes—“come back.”
“Kiss me.” The words rushed from my lips without another thought. My heart hammered so hard in my chest I thought it would shatter my rib cage.
His breathing quickened. A low growl rumbled in his throat. “Don't do this to me, Kena.”
“Don't do what? You're the one doing things to me.” I slammed my hands against his chest and he sailed across the room, his back hitting the dresser behind him. “Shit! I'm sorry.” I reached out for him with a trembling hand.
Fuck, I’d done it again.
He shook his head and straightened himself up. In a blur of movement, he shot across the room and grabbed onto either side of my shirt, yanking me up to his face. “You want me to kiss you?”
“Yes,” I said in more of whooshing sound than a word.
He pressed his lips against my neck and his fingers curled into the fabric of the shirt, pulling me onto my tiptoes. “You don't even know who I am.”
“I don't care.” Words no longer made sense to me, only his touch spoke a language I could understand.
He laughed as he pushed me against the wall. Gripping the back of my head with the entire palm of his hand, he splayed the other across my cheek, his thumb resting against my jawline. Tilting my head back, he hovered his lips over mine. “You will.”
His lips crushed against my mouth.
With a sweep of his tongue, he devoured me into a kiss the likes of which I've never experienced before in my life. He punished my mouth with his tongue, sliding it over mine in a delicious dance of ecstasy and aggression. His hold on me was not that of violence, but of passion. The way his fingertips eased against my face, yet held me there as if he was scared to let go, revealed a vulnerability. He might be a man of few words who knew how to play the vague card, but his body and actions gave him away.
I arched into him, and he pinned me back against the wall with his hip. Clawing at his shirt, I ripped it out of his jeans and slid my fingers over his heated skin. A surge of energy rushed my fingertips as they glided along his body, electrifying me.
“Fuck, Kena,” he hissed, pulling back from the kiss.
In a movement so fast it blurred everything around me, he shot out the door, slamming it behind him. He left me gasping, clinging to the wall behind me just to remain standing. My legs wobbled like Jell-O as I stumbled to the bed and collapsed. He sucked all the air from my body and replaced it with an ache, a driving need for more of him.
What the hell was he?
Posted by Shakera on 18th Apr 2016
What's better than a paranormal romance? A paranormal romance with a kick ass heroine, that's what! Oh, and a gay best friend/roommate... and a ghost! What?! I did mention "paranormal". In the heart of Louisiana, Kena has been in hiding... for many, MANY years. Except, she doesn't know she's in hiding. We meet Kena as a police officer in post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. She's an officer on suspension under suspicion of misconduct while undercover as the girlfriend of Vinny, the Mafia leader's son. When Hurricane Katrina came through and leveled the town, Vinny's father lost everything. To get his territory back, Vinny's father decided to dabble a bit with the spirit world, which he doesn't understand...and can't control. Powerful spirits get released and it's time for Kena to come out of hiding. What better way than having Luc, your friendly building supervisor to jog your memory. I thought the synopsis would be what drew me to the book. While it was interesting, including a beautiful cover, it was the first couple of lines of the story that grabbed me. And kept me glued to the story. It was funny, it was charming, it was EVERYTHING! The characters, whether main or secondary, were well developed which made the story that much more compelling. There were scenes that had me in tears from laughing, but also in tears from sorrow. This story broke me down, built me back up, and broke me down again. I felt like I was on a roller coaster of emotions! I love a story that has a strong female lead. Kena was strong on her own, but even stronger with Luc. The love scenes between them were stunning. They were sensual and passionate. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a plot to get wrapped up in, characters to fall in love with, and an awesome read. - See more at: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=18826#sthash.F36W3puW.dpuf
Posted by Karla on 10th Sep 2015
Ok… Can we start with how much I LOVED A.J. the ghost in this book….
This is the story of Kena an ex-cop with a troublemaker for an EX and A.J. her gay ghost bff who is also a Zumba dancer and fashion extraordinaire.
Kena is living life but not really living her life plagued with past mistake and dealing with her roommate who happens to be a boots thief. When she meets Luc she is covered in trash but can’t help an notice the new building manager who is also really sexy. Kena doesn’t know it but a thousand years of memories are about resurface and she needs to use everything in her kick ass arsenal to make sure she doesn’t loose Luc again.
Let me say that when I read the synopsis for this book I was a little confused as to how a gay zumba instructor who is a ghost would work in this story. I was definitely surprised how well it worked and how much I laughed while reading this book. Kena was a kick ass chick and I really enjoyed her brand of sassy and Luc well he is just dreamy and I once again have a new book boyfriend. Thank you for that Wren Michaels I always love new boyfriends and let’s be honest the smell of fresh baked cookies will forever be in my heart.
I won’t go into too many details because I hate to give out spoilers, but this book brings you action, laughter, romance and lots of HOT sex… Run to Amazon and get your copy TODAY!!!
Posted by sylvia on 5th Aug 2015
This is the first book i have read by Wren Michaels....I can say...it did not disappoint! I love the characters... from Kena's gay "roommate" AJ to Luc her soul mate...to Vinny her ex. Kena is a wonderful heroine, as Luc is a wonderful hero....i hate to do spoilers...so all i can say the tials and tribulations these to go through to stay together are unreal. Love the voodoo aspect and the setting in New Orleans. This is a funny, sad, heart warming , amazing read....a 5 star if i ever read one!
Posted by Mary Kirkland on 5th Aug 2015
This is the first book I've read from this author but after reading this, I doubt it will be my last. We get to know Kena and her ghost pal AJ first and things turn kinda funny when she goes dumpster diving for her favorite pair of boots. That's where she meets Luc and he's all tall, handsome and just being near him makes her girly parts explode in pleasure. *Yes, she actually says that.* And now every time I bake cookies, I'll think of him. You'll understand why after you read it.
But Luc is there for serious reasons and we soon find out that there's a lot more to these two than we first thought. Turns out they are Loa and Kena has been in hiding for many years and she doesn't remember her past life but now they have to make her remember because they need her help.
The world building in this story was outstanding, we really get a sense of what's around them, what's going on and who they are and have been for many years. Kena and Luc really were wonderfully complex characters and I loved how we got glimpses of their back story through memories, it really gave us a chance to get to know them better. There's a lot going on but it was easy for me to keep up and keep all the secondary characters and their stories straight.
I really love it when I find a new author and love the book and I definitely loved this book. It was so much fun.
Disclaimer: I won an ecopy of this book but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted by GiveMeBooks on 1st Aug 2015
I'd been wanting to read this since I first learned it was coming. I had read others by this author and loved them. I was not disappointed in what is (I think) the first full length book she's published.
Vexed was full of clever characters. A gay ghost who tosses boots and teaches zumba? Yes, please. An all mighty deity with shag carpet? Don't mind if I do! A kick-a-- heroine who does what she wants like a boss? Bring it on. And Luc. Every time I smell cookies now I'll think of his smoldering self.
The long lost, forbidden love through the ages of an immortal life also hit me right in the feels. There was a lot going on, and a lot of smaller characters and names to remember, which I found a little confusing at times. Then, the convenience of some of the plot resolutions was a little anticlimactic, but it was never a disappointment. It was a thrill ride, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. ~ George, 4 stars
Posted by Amazon Customer on 31st Jul 2015
This book about humanized Loa spirits in New Orleans...had it ALL. (Don't worry if you don't know what Loa are - it's so much fun finding out...) One page would have me laughing out loud, and on the next I'd be gasping. The action was exciting and easy to follow, the emotions so well written that I got that tingly feeling in my tummy and adrenaline rushes. I love that in a book, and Vexed had it ALL. You can relate to the characters from the very beginning (emotional investment - check!) I truly did not want the story to end and had the typical "I have to go back to reality now?" dazed reaction. There were plenty of hidden zinger gems (clever pop culture jokes) and well written lines I had to bookmark them to save for later. Wren Michaels outdid herself with this one, and I have been telling EVERYONE to read this book!!!
Posted by This Redhead LOVES Books on 28th Jul 2015
***This review is based upon a complimentary copy of the work provided by the author in exchange for an honest review on behalf of This Redhead LOVES Books.***
Let me just say that when I read the synopsis of this book, I KNEW I had to get my hands on it ASAP. I mean, a gay ghost roommate who steals her boots?! I nearly died laughing from that alone! This book is non-stop from beginning to end and you won't want to put it down! Kena is totally kick-ass and I ADORE AJ! Luc is...well...Luc is just yummy! Wren brings these characters to life in a very well-written, laughter inducing, keep you on the edge of your seat story. I hope there are more books to come which are set in this world because it's perfect! I'm highly impressed by Ms. Michaels and I look forward to reading more from her!
Posted by SCH on 26th Jul 2015
LOVE THIS STORY! This unlike any other paranormal/urban fantasy romance out there. The world building is fantastic, I could practically taste the New Orleans air. And the chemistry between the two characters was amazing! So many great one liners from Kena and AJ made this book so quotable, and I just loved the history of the city and all the Vodou myths intertwined in this. Wren Michaels clearly did her research, and it was so rich and detailed. I feel in love with Luc and the push-pull in his interactions. This is another fantastic book by Wren Michaels, who has become an auto-buy author for me when I want something steamy with lots of heart.
Posted by JHwak on 26th Jul 2015
Fans of Karen Marie Moning will love the storytelling style of Wren Michaels. This book is one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy/paranormal romances.
Here are a few of my favorite things about it (without spoilers!):
1. The main character is a woman of color. Can I just say it's about time urban fantasy/PNR featured more fierce, ass-kicking, problem-solving, confident black women?! Kena is a cop in New Orleans who not only has to wrangle her mobster ex-boyfriend and all of his cronies, but also the supernatural forces embedded in the history (and future) of the city. All the while, she maintains a sharp sense of self and a penchant for hilarious one-liners.
2. Kena's roommate is a Zumba-dancing gay ghost. I realize how crazy that sounds to someone who hasn't read it yet, but trust me: you'll love the s*** out of A.J. The author has zero trouble making you believe he's real. You'll want to be BFFs with the guy. I'm legit sad that I can't go grab a beer with him and talk about fashion and philosophy.
3. Luc. OHMYGOD LUC. He is the absolute perfect complement to Kena's strong-willed nature. They're both such bullheaded smartasses, and when their passions reach a fever pitch, whew! Sizzling.
(I've never been able to buy into the whole alpha-females-can-only-pair-with-beta-males bulls***. So I really appreciate that the author made these characters equally bold and strong.)
4. The setting. I've been to NOLA several times, and I love it. The sensory details put me right in the middle of Bourbon street, smelling beignets and listening to street jazz. There is something overwhelmingly magical about that city, and it's captured so beautifully in this story. The rich voudou history there is fascinating, and I love that the author took the time to fully research and get the details right.
5. The love story. It's hard to be specific without giving away spoilers, but there is so much torturous push and pull. So much sacrifice. Beyond the paranormal elements, these characters demonstrate what it means to really love someone--even when you want to choke the hell out of them, haha. I thought their banter was refreshingly real, and as the layers of their history were revealed a little at a time, I was desperate for them to find a way to be together.
Five enthusiastic stars.