Haunted by Your Touch - Shayla Black, Jeaniene Frost, Sharie Kohler Haunted by Your Touch—an Anthology by Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black and Sharie Kohler
It has only been recently that I have been able to really appreciate anthologies. In the past they have been an irksome expense endured to possess a missing story from a beloved author to fill-in gaps in an ongoing series. I did not truly appreciate them until I began to have crossovers; new series I found and loved that happened to have shorts in anthologies I already owned. It was like finding gold buried on my shelves. All new stories by authors I loved in series I was hooked on that I already had—just waiting to be read. It was a kind of a eureka moment. And I finally realized what I am sure both authors and publishers expect to be apparent at the start—indeed a partial reason behind anthologies—that if you like one author’s writing in them, odds are you might like some of the others. Stupid simple, but hey, I’m a simple kinda gal…sometimes it takes me a while to grasp seemingly obvious ideas. It is with this in mind that I read through Haunted by Your Touch, and while one of the stories did leave me flat I also found an author I’ve never read before and enjoyed their work. So, fair trade.
“Night’s Darkest Embrace” by Jeaniene Frost
When I bought this anthology I did so mainly for Ms. Frost’s contribution to it; tho I have to admit I was under the impression that this story was set in her Night Huntress series. When I read “Night’s Darkest Embrace” and discovered it was in a new and different world I was somewhat surprised, surprised but overjoyed because—just as most of Ms. Frost’s works that I have read thus far—it is a wonderful story. Set in a reality where Fallen Angels, Demons and Partials (those who only have a percent of demon blood) can travel to different dimensions this short novella had me love the characters from the moment I met them. The world building was immersive, and the plot moved so that you were never quite sure where it would take you next, but were eager for the ride. This story also had Ms. Frost’s scorch-marks very much in evidence; the passion was explosive and like in any good romance novel love made sure of a happy ending. I lapped up all 156 pages of this story and would be thrilled to pieces if Ms. Frost ever chose to return to this world and write another dose of wonderful.
I give this story five stars.

“Mated” by Shayla Black
This story was my first taste of Ms. Black’s writing, and I have to say that I would go back for seconds. Set in the “Doomsday Brethren” series, “Mated” was a fun mage-type story that despite being thrown into a universe that I was unfamiliar with managed to stand on its own. In this evocative tale Ms. Black let me feel the measure of the world she had created and care for not just the central characters but have a relationship with several more that I gather already had their own stories told. While this particular world may not be one I will seek out again, as I am not much for the evil-wizard-taking-over-the-world bit I was still impressed by the feel that was created. Ms. Black’s characterization was the redeeming factor for me, the intimacy and feeling she was able to induce with her characters, even when they were being obstinate in realizing it touched a chord with me. She managed to capture me in her 121 pages, and for that I will keep my eye out for other possible works she may create.
I give this story three stars.

“Darkest Temptation” by Sharie Kohler
In the hit and miss world of the anthology this story was a miss for me. I’ll admit it, I couldn’t even read it all the way through. I’m sure that Ms. Kohler is wonderful in her craft, but this story and writing just rubbed me the wrong way. Full of werewolves and hunters and an attacked heroine I just couldn’t hack it long enough to experience the story. Hopefully if you give it a try your mileage will vary.