#BookReview: Incubus Moon by Penny Alley, 5 Shining Stars
This is a totally unsolicited review. I bought the book, not knowing what to expect and…
I cried at the end; tears of poignant joy streamed down my cheeks. At the same time, I was saddened — the book had to end. But what an ending!
I’d like to recommend a book, the best romance novel I’ve had the privilege to read in many years: Incubus Moon, by Penny Alley & Maren Smith. (Penny Alley is a pen name of Maren’s.) It was a book four years in the making, and I have to say, I’m glad she spent the time on each wonderful sentence. It really falls under the subheading of “dark erotic romance” so don’t expect spanking in this one. This is not one of Maren Smith’s usual ventures. It brilliantly branches out into fantasy and dark themes with many sunny breaks. If you’ve read Maren’s “The Next Ex” (a favorite of mine) or any of her “Spanking Tails” books, you know how very wonderfully she writes. But this one is different, rich, deeper in themes and subject matter.
Incubus Moon tells the tale of Veda, a woman who has her life turned upside down when her village is overrun by the evil Horde. The changes she goes through are dramatic and carefully written, clearly showing the story and Veda’s terrors and triumphs with clear and thoughtful prose. We love Veda, we feel for her, we agonize with her, spark with her anger, and laugh when she does. She hates what she becomes, but inside, she’s still tied to the land and her early life. However, she’s not alone in her tribulations. She has two strong men defending her when she needs defense, men who also know when she’s the best person for a dangerous job. Emen and Scar are by her side throughout.
Emen is a little enigmatic, but very much in love with Veda from the start. A demon as dark as shadows, Emen is a strong but sensitive fellow. He’s handsome, rugged, smart, and absolutely capable. He is the leader of his people and a classic romance hero.
Scar is the bad boy. He resists the emotional pull he has toward Veda for as long as he can. And she resists him, but their resistance means nothing in the face of their overwhelming pull toward each other. He is a rough and hot-tempered amber demon, that will steal your heart despite your better judgment.
Don’t get me wrong. Although there are two heroes in this book, it is far from a menage tale. Veda loves them both, but as separate individuals. She has to decide between them many times.
Incubus Moon is romantic, yes, and very, very sexy, but it is also exciting and action-packed. There’s always an adventure down the road–adventures with sweeping consequences that affect hundreds of lives. The trio battles all sorts of monstrous creatures as well as one voracious goddess and her handmaiden.
I urge you to go now, do not wait, and buy yourself a copy of Incubus Moon. It’s 575 pages that will rivet you from page one and leave you wishing for 575 more.
You can get it at Amazon, here. Soon it’ll be released by Blushing Books to a variety of distributors.
Here’s an excerpt from Incubus Moon (my thanks to Penny Alley/Maren Smith for providing it at my request):
The ground was rocking, bumping and jostling her back into painful awareness.
Veda opened her eyes, blinking twice at the leafy shadows that drifted across the surrounding white canvas. She was in the back of a densely-packed supply wagon, walled in amid carefully tied stacks of crates and barrels, ropes and pulleys, horse tack and cooking pots, and tucked up against the tailboard on a make-shift bed of what felt like burlap grain sacks. There were two packed around her skull, keeping her head as still as possible in the back of that bouncing wagon. Her pillow was soft though, like real goose down, while the blanket tucked around her otherwise naked body felt coarse and woolen, scratching everywhere it touched her. Soldier’s cloth, although maybe she only thought so because of all the marching. It was all she could hear, pounding in her aching head like the steady tromp-tromp-tromp of dozens of booted feet.
She blinked again, lulled by all that rhythmic stomping until she realized it wasn’t her wounded pulse that she was hearing. There really was an army of marching boots somewhere beyond the sheltering white canvas. She was not alone. Not outside the jostling wagon and—pain lanced her throat when she rolled her heavy head as far as the cradle of sacks would allow and met the glittering black gaze of the woman seated on a crate beside her—certainly not in it.
She was beautiful, that was Veda’s first thought. Dressed in dark breeches and a black-belted cream-colored tunic, her long blonde hair had been bound up in a coil atop her head, leaving stray curling wisps to halo her amber face. They shone like soft-spun gold around the twin white tips of the goat-like horns that protruded from her bangs. The soft curls haloed her face, catching fire on beams of sunlight that filtered in through the part in the canvas curtains behind her.
“Hello, my love,” the woman murmured, so beautiful, so lethal, and as far from human as her black eyes and the claws on her fingers betrayed her to be. “So, you’ve decided to live after all. That should lighten Emen’s mood. That should lighten a good many moods, actually. If there is anything the Settlement needs more than women of proper breeding age, hang me if I can think what it is.”
Veda stared at her, unafraid. She was too tired to be afraid. And she hurt. Moving hurt. Breathing hurt. Lying still in the lumpy confines of this makeshift bed, bumping through ruts and over rocks, hurt.
Swaying with the motions of the cart, the succubus cast a mildly annoyed glance over one shoulder before she bent to lay a gentle hand upon Veda’s forehead. “Try to be still if you can. It took us half a day to cobble you back together again. Until you feed, one careless motion and there might not be flesh enough left for a second repair. You might have noticed, but someone tried to make a meal of your pretty little neck.”
Who are you? Veda mouthed. She could barely stand to breathe; as much as she hurt, mouthing was close to speaking as she dared.
“Me?” The succubus smiled, rising to rest her folded arms upon her knees. “Nisso, my love. Of the Settlement. Have you heard of us? No, no. Don’t speak and, for the love of the goddess, don’t shake your head. Few people know of us as far out as this anyway, and it’s not important. Rest assured, you have crawled yourself into capable hands. You’re safe now. Well, as safe as anyone can be in a world overrun with demons.”
She smiled again, flashing the points of her teeth.
Veda stared at them, breathing heavily and wincing as she swallowed.
“Thirsty?” Turning sideways, Nisso lifted a water bladder down from the wall. Unstopping the end, she brought it to Veda’s mouth. “Open. Cheep for me, my little bird, and I shall nourish thee.”
A few drops of air-temperature water dribbled between her lips. Despite the pain, Veda drank.
“Tell me if you feel blood running down the back of your throat. Lohen is skilled when it comes to cauterizing, but you know men—thick in the fingers and useless for anything beyond love-play and killing things. Not that both aren’t equally wonderful when necessity arises, but the wonder significantly diminishes when said fingers attempt dainty medical work, accessed only through the tiny mouths of half-dead humans. Which reminds me, how feels the jaw? I did my best, putting it back where it ought to be, so never mind any odd popping sensations when you swallow—that was your cue, my love. Swallow.”
Veda did, wincing. The water hurt almost as much as it felt good, diminishing the burning by sparse degrees as it went down.
“There’s a good girl,” Nisso soothed, allowing her two small swallows more before taking the bladder away again. “Any trickling blood?”
No, Veda mouthed.
She started to shake her head but stopped, wincing, when the pain flared hot all over again.
Nisso tsked. “Now see, what did I tell you about holding still?” Pouring water into a shallow bowl, she wet a clean cloth and gently daubed at Veda’s chewed neck. “Half the day to stitch you up, the other half to clean you and here, my love, you’ve ruined both efforts with a single careless movement.” She tsked. “You’re seeping again.”
The succubus touched a soft edge of cloth to her throat a bare second before the burning agony overwhelmed her. Veda mewed, a whimper as involuntary as it was excruciating, and fumbled to get a hand free of the blanket enough to grab and stay Nisso’s hand. The golden-haired succubus evaded her efforts with pitiful ease. She continued to clean her, examining the ragged edges of the wound until she was satisfied the stitches had not torn.
“You’ll be fine.” Setting the bowl of bloody water aside, Nisso regarded both Veda and her handiwork critically before, by mild degrees, something in her expression shifted.
Glancing over her shoulder, Nisso studied the wagon’s driver, glimpsed only sporadically through the heavy flaps of the canvas curtain. Turning back to Veda, she hesitated before reaching down to run the clawed-tip of one finger across her seeping wound. She looked at the single smear of blood before, even more hesitantly, bringing it to her lips. When she dipped the tip of her finger into her mouth, the taste made her eyes close. She had the look of a woman enjoying a rare treat.
“Mm,” Nisso sighed. “Delicious, my love. Small wonder someone tried to eat you.”
Also, look for an new book by Penny Alley, Karly’s Wolf, as a summer release.