Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans Series #1)

Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans Series #1)

by Suzanne Johnson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765327796
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 458,849
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

SUZANNE JOHNSON is a magazine editor and feature writer with more than fifty national writing and editing awards. A longtime New Orleans resident, she helped rebuild for two years after Hurricane Katrina. Royal Street was her first novel and is the first book in an urban fantasy series about the Sentinels of New Orleans, wizards who guard the storied city against preternatural dangers. As Susannah Sandlin, Suzanne is also the author of The Penton Vampire Legacy, a series of popular paranormal romances.

Read an Excerpt

Royal Street

By Suzanne Johnson

Tor Books

Copyright © 2012 Suzanne Johnson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765327796

Royal Street
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2005 "Once [Tropical Storm Katrina] moved over the gulf today, it was expected to wheel north, pick up speed and hit the Florida Panhandle on Sunday."--THE NEW YORK TIMESCHAPTER 1A secluded Louisiana bayou. A sexy pirate. Seduction and deceit. My Friday afternoon had the makings of a great romantic adventure, at least in theory.In practice, angry mosquitoes were using me for target practice, humidity had ruined any prayer of a good hair day, and the pirate in question--the infamous Jean Lafitte--was two hundred years old, armed, and carrying a six-pack of Paradise condoms in assorted fruit flavors.I wasn't sure what unnerved me more--the fact that the historical undead had discovered modern prophylactics, or that Lafitte felt the need to practice safe sex.Nothing about the pirate looked safe. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had dark-blue eyes and a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth as he watched me set two glasses and a bottle of dark rum on a rickety wooden table. A tanned, muscular chest peeked from his open collar, and shaggy dark hair framed a clean-shaven face. A jagged scar across his jaw reminded me the so-called gentleman pirate also had his ruthless side.He'd arrived by way of a stolen boat at this isolated cabinnear Delacroix, a half hour outside New Orleans, to pursue two of the world's most timeless pleasures: sex and money. I'd met him here to play the role of a gullible young wizard falling under the spell of the legendary pirate, at least for a while. Then I'd do my duty as deputy sentinel and send his swashbuckling hide back to the Beyond, where he could rub shoulders with other undead legends and preternatural creatures unfit for polite human company.My hand shook as I poured the rum, sloshing a few drops of amber liquid over the side of the glass. I'd finally been given a serious assignment, and I needed it to go without a hitch.Lafitte's fingers brushed mine as he took the drink, sending an unexpected rush of energy up my arm. "Merci, Mademoiselle Jaco--or may I address you as Drusilla?"Actually, I'd prefer he didn't address me at all. Despite his obvious hopes for the evening, this wasn't a date. "Most people call me DJ.""Bah," he said, taking a sip of rum. "Those are alphabet letters, not a name."From beneath the red sash that accented his waist, Lafitte pulled a modern semiautomatic handgun and set it on the table next to the rum bottle. I knew how he'd gotten it--he'd rolled the Tulane student who summoned him, lifted the kid's wallet and iPod, rode the streetcar to a Canal Street pawnshop, and made a trade for the gun. Enterprising guy, Lafitte.I pondered the odd spike of energy I'd gotten from his hand. Touching increases the emotional crap I absorb from people as an empath, but Lafitte was technically a dead guy. Still, I'd like to say if he touched me again, I'd demand double pay from the wizards' Congress of Elders. Triple if it involved lips.But who was I kidding? My bargaining position was nonexistent. My boss, Gerry, only sent me on this run because he hadsomething else to do and thought Lafitte might respond to my questionable seduction skills.I'd pulled my unruly blond hair out of its usual ponytail for the occasion, loaded on some makeup to play up my teal eyes, and poured myself into a little black skirt, short enough to show off my legs while not offending Lafitte's nineteenth-century sensibilities.It must have worked, because the pirate was giving me that head-to-toe appraisal guys do on instinct, like they're assessing a juicy slab of beef and deciding whether they want it rare, medium, or well-done."You really are lovely, Drusilla." The timbre of Lafitte's voice shivered down my spine, and I fought the urge to check out the biceps underneath that linen shirt.Holy crap. This was just wrong. I should not be absorbing his lust.I forced myself to take a step back and put a few inches of distance between us. He was at least six-two and I had to crane my neck to make eye contact. Plus, distance was good. "Shouldn't we discuss business first, Captain Lafitte?"He took another sip of rum. "Very well. Business then, Jolie. After all, you are the first sentinel to realize how beneficial a relationship with me could be.""You've tried doing business with my boss?" That conversation should have been entertaining. Gerry had probably zapped him back to the Beyond faster than he could say walk the plank."Gerald St. Simon is an arrogant man who exaggerates his own importance," Lafitte said, and if that wasn't a case of a pot and a black kettle I'd never heard one. Although it did make me wonder how often he'd met Gerry."Present-day businessmen such as your antique merchantswould profit greatly by selling goods from the Beyond," he continued. "And an experienced trader like myself could procure valuable items from the past. As my business partner, you would of course receive a generous percentage without having to involve your Elders."I swallowed hard as he shortened the gap between us again. "And you and I could forge a most enjoyable personal partnership as well."He regarded me with a slow smile, and I found myself smiling back, heart pounding. My damned eyes were probably twinkling as my gaze lingered first on his mouth and then the fine line of his jaw. I wondered if the scar would feel rough under my fingertips ...Good grief.I've spent most of my twenty-five years learning to manage my empathic abilities, to guard against emotions I don't want and channel the rest into my magic. I hadn't performed my grounding ritual today because, really, who'd expect to absorb emotions from a dead guy? Yet Lafitte's lust and anticipation shimmered across my skin. Touching ramped the empathy to warp speed.He stepped close enough for me to feel the heat from his body and answer that age-old question: No, the historical undead, powered by the magic of memory, did not have cold skin like vampires.Setting his glass on the table with one hand, he used the other to lift a stray curl from my cheek and tuck it behind my ear. His breath heated my neck as he leaned over and swept a soft kiss just below my jaw, and another across my lips.I closed my eyes and returned the kiss--until some kernel of sanity finally reminded me to reach in my skirt pocket and finger the slim packet of herbs Gerry calls my mojo bag. Basically, it's a magic-infused ruby for emotional protection plus ablend of acacia and hyssop to clear my mind in an emergency, which this definitely was.My pulse slowed as the warmth from my hand released the calming energy, and in a few seconds I felt only my own chagrin and a blush creeping up my cheeks that had nothing to do with the hellish temperature.Maybe I'd ask for that bonus after all. Gerry liked that I could harness outside emotion to fuel my magic, but if I had to let myself be pawed by the undead, he would by God pay for it.I stepped back, handed Lafitte his glass again, and offered a vague toast: "To our mutual satisfaction."He tossed back the rest of his rum in one swallow, and I pretended to sip. I should have sprung for something better than the cheapest rum on Winn-Dixie's shelves, but the Elders are tightwads when it comes to reimbursable expenses.I gazed off the porch of this ramshackle cabin near the edge of Bayou Lery. Lafitte hoped to establish his headquarters here once we consummated our partnership, so to speak. The orange-gold sunset illuminated a pair of white egrets splashing around the murky water and accentuated the fierce, wild beauty of the place. Here, surrounded by marshes and alligators, it would be easy to forget metro New Orleans lay only a few miles away.Lafitte poured himself another drink and relaxed in one of two old wooden chairs we'd retrieved from the cabin's dusty interior. "I know you don't want to betray your mentor, Jolie, but ..."He frowned and set the wine glass on the table, flexing his fingers and looking at them as though they belonged on someone else's hands. "Something is amiss," he muttered, and cast a suspicious glance at me.I stepped away from his chair, just in case he could still move when he figured out Jolie had caused his sudden loss of dexterity.Within seconds, he'd lost use of his hands and feet. He stared at me in outrage. "You ... You ..."A word rhyming with witch was probably about to roll off his tongue, but he stopped mid-sentence, eyes widening as he realized his body had frozen in place. He did the only thing he could unless I came within biting range--bombard me with a torrent of French most likely filled with expletives. Glad I couldn't understand a word of it.Note to self: Next time you make an immobilization potion, add an accelerant and a silencer.I knelt and retrieved my silver dagger from its sheath inside my boot, avoiding eye contact.He lapsed into English. "Damnable wizard, treating me with such treachery when I come to you in good faith. You will rue the day you crossed me."Definitely add the silencer next time."I have to admit you made a tempting case for yourself, Captain Lafitte, but I'm a licensed sentinel and I've trained under Gerald St. Simon since childhood. I'd never betray him or the Elders."As I talked, I cleared the area around Lafitte's chair, kicking aside branches and leaves to ensure ample space on all sides. I prodded a tiny brown lizard back into the swamp with the toe of my boot. Better for him to stay here in Delacroix, munching mosquitoes.From the bag I'd used to bring the rum and glasses, I retrieved a small syringe of mercury and a half-pint mason jar of sea salt. "You know, this is all Johnny Depp's fault," I told Lafitte, glancing around to see if he was still listening. "People summon you thinking they're going to get this loveable movie pirate, and you show up."Anger darkened his eyes till they were almost black, and the energy coming off him sent a warm tingle across my scalp. "I donot know this Depp." He spat the words. "But there is always someone in Louisiane who wants to meet the famous privateer Jean Lafitte. When I am summoned to the modern world again I will find you."Terrific. Something to look forward to. While Lafitte ranted, I formed a triangle of salt around his chair, leaving a gap of about six inches. I considered throwing another pinch in his smirking face for good measure, but unrefined sea salt is too expensive to waste."Drusilla," he said, his voice sliding from anger to sarcasm. "Why must you use your magic to bind me like a prisoner, and make your silly little figures on the ground? Your Gerald simply points a finger at me and sends me back to the Beyond."One corner of his mouth edged upward in a sly smile. "You must be a very poor wizard. That is a good thing to remember when we next meet."Big undead jerk."I'm just a different kind of wizard." I stopped working and treated him to a saccharine smile. "Besides, if I were so weak, you wouldn't be stuck in that chair like a big old Jean Lafitte statue, would you?"That earned me another spate of name-calling, in Spanish this time. Couldn't understand that, either."You might as well calm down," I said. "I don't have to send you back to Old Orleans, after all. I'm sure the vampires would enjoy a nice pirate snack after they played with you a while. Or I could send you to the elves."He narrowed his eyes and shifted his gaze back toward the swamp. At least he was fuming in silence. He didn't even look when I lifted the handgun from the table with two fingers and eased it into my bag. I raised my hand to toss the condoms in the water, thought about the ecological implications, and threw them in my bag as well.I drew a triangle in the air over the pirate's head with my dagger and used more salt to close the one around his chair. Finally, I used the syringe to release small beads of mercury at three points along the triangle. The air shimmered as the third drop of mercury fell, and I released a small burst of magic along with it. With a final glare in my direction, Jean Lafitte disappeared.My limbs felt heavy and the headache started within seconds--part adrenaline drain, part the cost of physical magic. Green Congress wizards like myself, who specialize in rituals and spellwork, can muster enough juice to do summoning and dispatches, but it takes a toll. I was tempted to rest on the porch awhile and watch the egrets, but dark had begun to settle in and I didn't want to be gator bait.On the porch outside the triangle lay a gold doubloon, an unintended souvenir from Lafitte. I picked it up for Gerry's antiques collection, thinking it might butter him up for better assignments. More jobs like Lafitte and fewer crap jobs like pixie retrievals and research.Today was a turning point--I could feel it. Lafitte had been dispatched as planned, despite the little lust problem, and it would prove to Gerry I could handle myself."Yo-ho-ho," I muttered, smudging a break in the triangle with my boot. The air solidified, and I retrieved my cell phone from my bag, punching in Gerry's speed dial."Ahoy, matey." He sounded chipper. Whatever his mystery job had been, it must have gone well."Ahoy to you, too. All's done on this end, and I'm on my way back.""No problems with the dispatch?""Strictly textbook," I assured him. "But did you realize I'd be able to absorb Lafitte's emotions?""No, I didn't." Protracted silence. "Interesting. Meet me atSid-Mar's and you can regale me with the ghastly details over dinner. Oh, and pick up a case of bottled water, would you? Looks like we might be in for a little hurricane after all."In Gerry's British accent the word sounded like "herrikin," even after almost thirty years in New Orleans.I tried to remember the last report I'd heard on the storm, which was so small it barely rated a name. "It's not supposed to come here, is it? This morning, the weather guys said it was headed for Florida."I loaded my bag in the back of my dusty red Pathfinder, phone tucked between shoulder and chin, and paused before climbing in. "What's it called, anyway? Kitty? Koko? Kelly?""Just as bad," Gerry said. "Katrina. Not exactly a name that inspires fear, is it?"Copyright © 2012 by Suzanne Johnson


Excerpted from Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson Copyright © 2012 by Suzanne Johnson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Royal Street 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Brewsters_Bookshelf More than 1 year ago
I never fully connected with this book. It just didn't excite me. Drusilla is a Green Congress wizard living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hits. She leaves the city before the hurricane hits, but her mentor Gerry sticks around. At first, the two remain in touch, and Gerry appears to be fine. But then Gerry disappears. The wizard Elders demand that Drusilla return to New Orleans, locate Gerry, and address the crack in the divide between the Beyond and the real world. To help her, they send Alex, an enforcer whom Drusilla finds to be very sexy. What I loved about the book was seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through Drusilla's eyes. It's clear to me that the author did a lot of research on this topic, and it showed. After having read this book, I actually feel a bit more educated about the hurricane. So kudos to the author for that. I also loved the idea of "historical undead." These are undead people who remain alive in the Beyond (and sometimes manage to sneak their way into the real world) because their memories are still alive in the real world. The historical undead who made appearances included the pirate Jean Lafitte, musician Louis Armstrong, and voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau. It was cool to see these people brought to life with personalities and weaved into the story. Unfortunately, there was little else that I found to be special about this book. Drusilla was your usual, feisty heroine. She didn't completely understand her powers. And although her powers were cool enough, I was annoyed that Drusilla figured them out later than I did. Actually, Drusilla figured out everything later than I did, and there were times when I wanted to shout at her through the pages of the book. I also did not like the love triangle. There was Alex, and there was his cousin Jake. Drusilla was attracted to both of them, but her feeling toward both men came across as being superficial. She was immediately attracted to both despite having any deep connection to either. In contrast, I got the impression that both men had real, growing feeling for her, and I found her attitude toward them to be fickle and selfish. I understand this is the first book in a series. While I will add the next book to my to-read list, I'm in no big hurry to read it.
Therecanbeonlyonepenname More than 1 year ago
I'm having trouble getting through this book. The concept sounded great, but the writing just isn't grabbing me. Mostly it's our heroine. I'm finding her to be very unlikable. She's disagreeable and dismissive - just to show she knows best - to the point of stupidity. I assume the author was trying to give her independence and depth, but it's not coming across. After paying a ridiculous $10 for this book, I'm really hoping it gets better. I liked the pirate (the one saving grace).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And a good read. Learned quite a bit about New Orleans as well. I'd definitley recomend this as a book to read for fun and if you enjoy paranormal/fantasy.
Reader2369 More than 1 year ago
Incredibly satisfying read. If you are a fan of Karen Marie Moning's Fever series or the earlier Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series you will not be disappointed. There is great character development in a different genre of paranormal fiction. Most mass market PF offerings tend to rely heavily on insipid romance or violent fighting these days. It's refreshing to read a good story that has deeper plot development. Sure there is romantic flirtation and the occasional battle but this book has so much more. I read this novel in a day and wanted to give my thoughts before starting the next one. I'm hopeful that this series won't devolve as the Sookie Stackhouse novels have. If you are on the fence about purchasing it, go for it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!  
Magluvsya03 More than 1 year ago
I got this one from net galley so I gotta say extra thanks to them This story is a version of magical wizard meets cops, with a side of Hurrican Katrina. Now I will start with, being in south Louisiana, I lived through Katrina, not terribly like New Orleans, as I live more to the western side, but all the way at the bottom on the west side, however I really lived through Rita… My house got it pretty bad. But, hurricanes are a way of life… we have summer-aka hurricane season, almost all year, and a slight fall, with a small side of wet, cold, windy winter. *sigh* I miss winter, it’s so hot down here LOL I will give it to this author, she is either familiar-in a “I was there” way, or she did some really good research. I also like the dated times from the local Times-Picayune paper quotes. I also thought she was fantastic with landmarks I normally stay away from books about/based in/having to do with NOLA (yes, we say NOLA when we talk about New Orleans, LA). Drusilla is a junior wizard sentinel. This job entails her guarding her territory from breaches of the Otherworld-they call it the Between- and making sure those supernaturals that do cross over don’t cause any trouble, or get sent back when they do. It’s a very fine line to walk. She is a green level-this means she does potions and retrieves the easy level things. Red levels have all the physical magic magic-aka can throw fire balls and things like that. All she wants to do is become a senior level sentinel, and she is willing to prove it. She’s tired of being treated like the new rookie, and a child. And then tragic strikes, and all hell breaks loose-literally. The walls are crumbling from the Between, and all kind of creatures are coming through, and to make matters worse, her mentor has gone missing. The Elders-like a government type of council-send over Alex-hot, rugged, carrying enough fire power to supply a small nation with weaponry, and a real FBI agent- over to become her partner, as she is now in charge of the New Orleans territory. This is all she ever wanted, but not how she wanted to get it. She is literally falling apart and has a very big job to do. I love her strength, her courage, her fantastic sarcastic attitude, and most of all, her growing abilities. I think she is a fantastically built character! So, let’s talk about Alex, and his FANTASTIC cousin Jake- yeah I think I’ve got the hots for Jake! Alex is all tall, dark and broody, with a side of gun power. Jake is like the sun-kissed surfer southern boy. I can’t help but wanna hug him. I do like Alex, but he’s kinda predicatable, so I’m trying out the cool sweet-HUMAN- kid for once. Jake has no idea about any of the supernatural things in the world. I kinda like that about him. Trust me, Alex is pretty awesome, but I can’t help but gravitate towards Jake. And maybe that will change as the series grows. Drusilla makes it clear she has no time or emotional capacity right now for any kind of relationship, but that doesn’t stop those lovely cousins from trying! Along the way, she also meets some very fascinating characters. This is very well written, it’s definitely an easy read, as it’s fast paced and action packed. And boy, were there some major twists and turns. I cannot wait to see where this series is going to go, and being a born-raised-and never leaving- native south Louisiana girl, I’m glad that she didn’t make us sound like stupid idiots, nor did she get crazy with the discriptions of New Orleans. Sorry, a lot of people write about us like we aren’t edumacated Yes, we are weird, crazy, whole different culture, but most of us are decently smart LOL This one gets an excellent 4.5 stars from me!
Mother_Gamer_Writer More than 1 year ago
Royal Street is part paranormal and part alternate reality. This is a world where magic is real, those with fame can live forever, and every supernatural being you could dream of lives in the Beyond – or on Earth. Fascinating sexy pirates, deadly vampires, and even famous jazz musicians all grace this thrilling, mysterious, funny read and of course our main star, DJ the little wizard. It starts mere days before New Orleans fell to Hurricane Katrina. DJ is a young Green Wizard who is forced to leave her post before the onslaught of the hurricane hits. She leaves behind her home, the mentor whom she loves as a father, and is forced to evacuate on the orders of the Wizard Congress. She complies though she voices her opinion with Jerry; after all she just dispatched an ancient pirate who tried to seduce her into making a bargain. She hadn’t been gone long, and she watched in horror as the city she loved fell when the levees broke. If anything could have been worse, she wouldn’t expect it to be Jerry. Her mentor had gone missing, and upon the Wizard Congresses orders, DJ would have to return and find him quickly before the breaches between Earth and the Beyond allowed more supernatural’s to waltz on in. DJ would have to do the impossible, but not alone, no, the Congress sent in an enforcer, a delectable enforcer as both her partner and protector. Alex has many of his own secrets, his own talents, and one is to infuriate DJ. But when his cousin comes into the picture jealousy rears-up when DJ shows interest. Oh but this is so much more than a love story, or a triangle, and no I won’t give a single thing away beyond this point! You’ll have to nab yourself a copy and get your read on! I really loved this story, and I sure hope the author will be writing more. There weren’t any real loose ends, but I could see it continuing here and there. This story was very well written and filled with facts, lots of paranormal, fantasy creatures and ideals, and it all worked well together. I even enjoyed the humorous bits that were nicely splayed into the story. A lot of times they seem awkward, but no these really meshed nicely. Character, world, and plot creation was superb. I actually got sad when I watched the book come to an end. I’ll say it again, I want more of DJ, Alex, Jake and oh even Jean, loved him – and hated him at times too! So, please, please, please keep writing more! Originally Reviewed at: Mother/Gamer/Writer Reviewer: Heather
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
The tale takes place against the backdrop of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Johnson beautifully captures New Orleans, some of its most famous citizens and creates a fresh new fantasy world. While this first novel deals a lot with establishing this new world, I found the tale and the characters to be delightful. This tale contains wizards, assassins, Fae, elves, vampires, shape-shifters and more. With Kim Harrison’s series the Hollows winding down, I am excited about this new series. The protagonist is twenty-five year-old Drusilla Jane Jaco.( DJ for short.) She is a junior wizard and empathy. She is employed as the deputy sentinel in New Orleans. Gerald St. Simon has been her mentor and father-figure since the age of seven. DJ is a Green Congress wizard who specializes in rituals and spells. She is eager to learn more and take on more responsibilities. She gets her first chance when Gerald asks her to send pirate Jean Lafitte back to the other realm after he was summoned. Jean Lafitte offers DJ a deal, one she refuses. After trapping him she sends him back to the Otherworld. As he leaves he swears revenge. When warnings start coming in of a hurricane bearing down on New Orleans, Gerry orders DJ to head out of town to her grandmother’s in Alabama. Gerry stays behind to watch the borders of the Beyond. When fluctuating barometric pressure happens during a hurricane, it opens doors that keep the Pretes (supernatural beings) in their world. Left unchecked they would begin crossing over and causing problems for the humans who reside in New Orleans. Reluctantly she agrees, but when Gerald ends up missing, she is ordered back to New Orleans. DJ returns home, to find her home spared and Jean Lafitte in her home seeking revenge. Without time to invoke a spell, DJ has to use her wits to save herself, and just when it looks like she might have the upper hand, Alex an enforcer for the Elders rushes in like Rambo and shoots Lafitte, sending him back to the Otherworld. She learns she is now the Sentinel for New Orleans and the Elders have sent Alex to assist her. DJ’s main concern is finding Gerry and GI Alex is not about to stop her. The tale that unfolds is actions packed, as DJ and Alex search for Gerry and try to stop a killer using voodoo. The characters in this novel are interesting and unique. I easily connected with DJ. She is bright, feisty and determined. The thoughts that pop into her head were a riot and reminded me of a younger Charley from Darynda Jones fantastic Charley Davidson series. I cannot thank Johnson enough for creating a heroine who isn’t winey and doesn’t need a man to make it all better. DJ is not a tough in this novel. In fact she spends almost the entire novel in various shades of black and blue. Johnson hints of DJ’s untapped powers and we learn some unique things about her that have me excited to watch this young protagonist grow into a warrior. Combine that with her ability to piece things together, negotiate with those in the Otherworld and think outside the box, DJ has the potential to be one of my favorite heroines. Alex is a likeable guy and while his FBI training can make him act like a neanderthal, he respects DJ and listens to her. We learn a little about his history, but I have a feeling there is more. His buddy Jake owns a bar called Gators and is ex-military. Watching the two of them try and stake a claim on DJ was delightful. Jean Lafitte is a giant flirt and a true pirate. I
Lavinient on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A paranormal series that takes place in New Orleans - not very original. But two things made me decide to request this book through NetGalley. One, it takes place during Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to see how the author incorporated the Katrina disaster into this book. And two, the main character is a wizard. I've been craving more magic users in my paranormal reads lately. I enjoyed most everything, except the love triangle. Love triangles rarely bother me. I usually find it fun guessing who she will end up. But the one in this book bothered me. I guess, I didn't see any reason for a love triangle. There was enough conflict without DJ going back and forth between Alex and Jake. I think Alex's seriousness and being a stickler for the Council of Elder's rules produced enough conflict in their relationship. No need to throw Jake in there. I hope this love triangle is resolved quickly in this series.I liked the magic system. There are different types of wizards in this world. DJ is a Green Wizard, which means she does magic through spells and rituals. As DJ says, "Green Congress wizards were the geeks of the magical world, hell on rituals and potions but always last to get picked for wizard dodgeball, so to speak." Her mentor, Gerry, is a Red Wizard; he can do physical magic, no need for him to create a spell or ritual. I like it when there are limitations or different specializations of magic. I thought the author did a good job setting the book during Hurricane Katrina. I sympathized with DJ as she not only dealt with finding her mentor and dealing with supernaturals throughout the city but also as she dealt with the destruction of the city she loves. I think it makes sense that next major life change for DJ would happen during a disaster that very much changes the city itself. Very interested to see where Johnson is taking this series. ARC provided through NetGalley.
pollywannabook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyWith it¿s gorgeous cover art from Cliff Nielsen, and a sultry sounding description featuring a fledgling wizard in post Katrina New Orleans, ROYAL STREET was one of my Top 12 most anticipated releases for 2012. Unfortunately, it ended up coming in short of my expectations on just about every level. It¿s a little like a mix between The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, except not as clever as the former nor as sexy as the latter.The worldbuilding was the real strength of ROYAL STREET, with a fascinating bureaucracy of Wizards governing all the preternatural creatures worldwide and policing the beings who crossover from the Beyond (like sexy, violent pirates who sadly didn¿t get anywhere near enough page time), and a really intriguing idea to play off the Hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005. Wonderfully realistic and perhaps unknown details are woven throughout ROYAL STREET to convey a high level of authenticity to the setting that I thoroughly enjoyed.Aside from the setting and worldbuilding, there were too many apathetic elements in ROYAL STREET to win me over. The beginning was a bit slow, and unfortunately DJ¿s voice rang a tad immature and a little too antagonistic (without legitimate reasons) towards the guys in her life. The plot also never really grabbed me and I had to fight the urge to skim constantly. There weren¿t any obvious pitfalls that I can point to, but there weren¿t any real high points either. Scenes and setups that could have gone in extremely fun and entertaining directions never did. For example the game of Truth or Dare between DJ, her new partner Alex, and his ex-marine cousin Jake started out promising some juicy revelations, but then just ended. It felt like a tease. Similarly, DJ and Alex have to pretend to be a couple at one point (which I was hoping would lead to Alex taking advantage of the situation, or maybe DJ getting a little too caught up in her role etc.), but again, nothing really came of it. These aren¿t criticisms per say, but they are indicative of my overall underwhelming impression of the book.To be clear, ROYAL STREET isn¿t a bad read, and there will be plenty of readers who enjoy it (see `Also Reviewed By¿ section below). It¿s just not as good as it could have been. The worldbuilding was very creative and the time period/setting was tactfully handled and perfectly suited to the urban fantasy genre. But DJ was a little too immature and lacked a strong voice, the romantic entanglements/love triangle was devoid of excitement, and the overall plot was on the staid side. Hopefully, those issues will improve in the next Sentinels of New Orleans novel titled RIVER ROAD when it¿s published in Fall 2012.Sexual Content: Kissing
Readaba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I adored the opening scene of this book! DJ, our heroine, is on a mission to send Jean Lafitte ¿ one of New Orleans¿s historical undead ¿ back to the beyond and she finds herself very disturbed that he¿s adapted to the modern era by carrying around fruit-flavoured condoms on his person! I think it takes guts to open with a scene like that but Suzanne Johnson pulled it off flawlessly!The world building was fairly strong, though with some plot holes. The biggest one of these was that it¿s mentioned that the wizards from Europe and America step in to help each other in dire situations ¿ be this the American wizards travelling to Europe to fight in a war between wizards and other preternaturals (¿pretes¿), or the European wizards travelling to the US to deal with the preternatural aftermath of a hurricane in Florida a few years before. And yet, after Katrina hits and devastates the New Orleans area, only one other human preternatural ¿ European or American ¿ steps in to help this deputy with the task of getting things back under control.Other than this most glaring problem, the world building could easily stand on its own two feet despite the fact that we didn¿t meet many of the various preternatural races that exist here. There¿s no rush of course; in fact, I believe that it was much better this way with lots still left to explore in future books. The series has a lot of potential to be one that hooks UF readers across the board. It certainly succeeded in hooking me!In this first book, the pretes that are dealt with the most are what are called the historical undead. These are those people who lived and died in a certain area during their natural life and even after their deaths they remain in the collective memory of current society. So long as people remember their names, they are essentially immortal but if their names are forgotten then they will disappear. I have, of course, come across ideas like this before but I¿m pretty sure it¿s the first time I¿ve seen them used to this extent in a book. It was actually a very interesting idea as it allowed for use of such historical figures as Louis Armstrong, Marie Laveau and Jean Lafitte (though I have to admit that I hadn¿t heard of Lafitte before ¿ I¿m not exactly ¿up¿ on New Orleans culture).I actually really liked Lafitte¿s character. He was the sort of baddy that you can really root for as the reader. For a while I even entertained the prospect of him as a potential romantic interest. He might be several centuries dead, in it for himself and a reprobate (he¿s a pirate ¿ what pirate isn¿t a reprobate?) but he was quirky and fun. Hey, I¿ve read books where the romantic interest was much worse than Jean Lafitte in Royal Street! He wasn¿t the romantic interest, but he was still a fun character.It was also interesting to view hurricane Katrina through the eyes of a local. I don¿t think it really packed the emotional punch that the author was aiming for, but it was certainly a very different experience to the one I went through at the time. Still, I didn¿t really feel complete despair at the loss of human life or the death of a beloved city. I was, however, able to build these emotions up for myself through what was not said in the narrative. The quotes from the newspapers were a good touch as well.DJ was a good character, if slow at times. She so desperately wanted to reach that happy ending where she¿d get her mentor back and no one gets hurt that she was willing to overlook some blindingly obvious evidence. This said, I have to admit that she did often allow herself to get distracted by her feelings towards her new partner, Alex, and his cousin, Jake. It meant that sometimes the plot would stagnate as she floundered in waters that she tried very hard to pretend didn¿t even exist. She was frustrating at times, but in the long run I liked her and I suppose that¿s what¿s most important.All in all, I found this book to be an interesting introduction to a new series that I want more of
DarkFaerieTales on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A story of a woman that is in over her head in the devastated city of post-Katrina New Orleans. Lots of magic and testosterone thrown in for good measure.Opening Sentence: A secluded Louisiana bayou.The Review:When Hurricane Katrina hit, I watched it from the relative safety of my living room, far removed from the path of destruction. I live in a town that is relatively natural-disaster free. Watching the levees break was like watching a movie; completely unreal. Royal Street brings the reader into the emotional and physical trauma of watching your beloved city turned inside out.Dursilla Jaco, better known as DJ, is a junior wizard sentinel that helps guard this world from the creatures and spirits from the Beyond. Her job, until now, has been relatively simple. Since Katrina¿s appearance however, the line between Here and the Beyond are in flux; allowing more creatures to travel to our world. During all this, DJ is valiantly searching for her missing mentor and friend, the Sentinel of New Orleans Gerald St. Simon; one of many who have gone unaccounted for since the break in the levees. Until Gerald is found, it is up to DJ to keep the supernatural peace. With the help of a gun happy Enforcer, Alex Warin, DJ must learn to balance between personal mission and professional duty.Alex has been sent to New Orleans to help out the new Sentinel to keep the peace in the now hectic town. He knows how to kill and is there to help clean out any ¿undesirables¿ trying to take advantage of Katrina¿s timing. Being a shapeshifter helps him be successful at his job, even though he doesn¿t advertise that fact. So when the Elders give him his new assignment, he has no idea that the woman he meets would tie his emotions up like a knot. He didn¿t come to New Orleans to fall in love, no matter how much DJ intrigues him. But just because it isn¿t planned, doesn¿t mean it won¿t happen. Though he tries, he can¿t help but be jealous of the attention DJ gives to his cousin. Is Alex willing to make the effort it will take to secure DJ¿s heart? Or will he allow his sense of duty get in the way? What will he do if she chooses his cousin over him? Is he willing to just be her co-sentinel or will he leave because he wouldn¿t be able to cope?Even though there is the potential, the overshadowing story is not about love; it is about magic and sacrifice. When there is a string of murders of some of the soldiers that have been sent to help the city recover, DJ and Alex discover that it is tied to beings from the Beyond trying to gain a foothold in our world. An old Voodoo god wishes for sacrifices of people with magical abilities, and he has his sights set on DJ. Can she and Alex stop this loa from entering our world, or will DJ die for a god¿s rebirth?Within DJ¿s personal story, the metaphor of life-altering changes cannot be better represented than by Katrina¿s similarities. Her feelings of betrayal by her mentor and friend can be mirrored by the feelings of betrayal by the government¿s lack of foresight and slow response for help. Like the people affected by Katrina are left to deal with losing everything, DJ must make do for herself without relying on others to provide it for her.It is a story of loss and renewal; a time of change, both good and bad. DJ must move on or be swallowed whole, just like the survivors of Katrina. A truly heart-wrenching tale of struggle and triumph, leaving the readers with a sense of a brighter future ahead, for both DJ and her town.Notable Scene:¿So, boy, we¿re going on a field trip,¿ I said, scratching the top of his head between his ears, which made him zone out in some kind of doggy stupor. I liked having a dog. He let me speak my mind, and never talked back or argued. He thought I was the smartest, coolest person on earth, and didn¿t cast judgment because I didn¿t have a lot of experience and couldn¿t shoot a gun. He like to share my junk food, protected me while I slept,
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
DJ returns to post Katrina NOLA with a new assignment as sentinel of the devastated city. Her mentor and former sentinel (Gerry) is missing in the storm and she fears the worst. Her new partner, and enforcer sent by the Elders, thinks Gerry may have used the cover of the storn to join in a dark pact with the undead of Old Orleans. But whatever is happening with Gerry there is no doubt that the borders between the natural world and the supernatural one have weakened, and and the historical dead are walking the streets. And a series of murders are pointing directly at some voodoo ritual intended to strengthen the power of a voodoo god.OK, it is a bit hard to explain. But, it is really fun and entertaining. I love books set in NOLA and this one was great. The world is interesting and unique. DJ is a cool character. And the concept of the historical undead, is original and works really well in a setting like NOLA. I hope to see more of Jean Lafitte, that sexy, dangerous pirate. Oh, and that sexy, dangerous enforcer too.
momgamerwriter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Originally Reviewed at: Mother/Gamer/WriterRating: 4.5 out of 5 ControllersReview Source: NetGalleyReviewer: HeatherRoyal Street is part paranormal and part alternate reality. This is a world where magic is real, those with fame can live forever, and every supernatural being you could dream of lives in the Beyond ¿ or on Earth. Fascinating sexy pirates, deadly vampires, and even famous jazz musicians all grace this thrilling, mysterious, funny read and of course our main star, DJ the little wizard.It starts mere days before New Orleans fell to Hurricane Katrina. DJ is a young Green Wizard who is forced to leave her post before the onslaught of the hurricane hits. She leaves behind her home, the mentor whom she loves as a father, and is forced to evacuate on the orders of the Wizard Congress. She complies though she voices her opinion with Jerry; after all she just dispatched an ancient pirate who tried to seduce her into making a bargain.She hadn¿t been gone long, and she watched in horror as the city she loved fell when the levees broke. If anything could have been worse, she wouldn¿t expect it to be Jerry. Her mentor had gone missing, and upon the Wizard Congresses orders, DJ would have to return and find him quickly before the breaches between Earth and the Beyond allowed more supernatural¿s to waltz on in.DJ would have to do the impossible, but not alone, no, the Congress sent in an enforcer, a delectable enforcer as both her partner and protector. Alex has many of his own secrets, his own talents, and one is to infuriate DJ. But when his cousin comes into the picture jealousy rears-up when DJ shows interest.Oh but this is so much more than a love story, or a triangle, and no I won¿t give a single thing away beyond this point! You¿ll have to nab yourself a copy and get your read on!I really loved this story, and I sure hope the author will be writing more. There weren¿t any real loose ends, but I could see it continuing here and there. This story was very well written and filled with facts, lots of paranormal, fantasy creatures and ideals, and it all worked well together. I even enjoyed the humorous bits that were nicely splayed into the story. A lot of times they seem awkward, but no these really meshed nicely.Character, world, and plot creation was superb. I actually got sad when I watched the book come to an end. I¿ll say it again, I want more of DJ, Alex, Jake and oh even Jean, loved him ¿ and hated him at times too! So, please, please, please keep writing more!
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in a new urban fantasy series called The Sentinels of New Orleans. I got an eARC for review through NetGalley(dot)com. The second book in the series will be titled, River Road, and is scheduled for a November 2012 release. This was an okay urban fantasy. The story has a unique setting and some of the magic is very interesting, but I found the plot and characters to be a little bland for me.Druscilla Jaco (DJ) is a Junior sentinel, as a green wizard she spends more of her time mixing potions than confronting baddies. When she finally gets a more important assignment she ends up on the bad side of the dangerous undead pirate named Jean Lafitte. Not a big deal as long as the gates between their world and ours remain closed. Then Hurricane Katrina hits; not only does it tear apart New Orleans it also rips a number of tears in the Gates letting a number of supernatural baddies into the world. DJ's mentor and the lead Sentinal, Gerry, is now missing. To make it worse the Elder's have sent Alex to help out DJ; Alex is a grenade totting assassin and he is more likely to blow things up than ask questions. Now DJ has to close gates, dodge Jena Lafitte, solve a series of murders, and do it all with Alex at her side. Yep, it's going to be a long week for DJ.There are some things I really liked about this story. The idea of setting it during Hurricane Katrina was an interesting one. It makes the characters deal with a number of real life issues that normally they would never have to deal with. It was also a good way to get a look into how things were in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina went through. The world created here is solid, although not super creative, basically the Sentinels guard humanity from the evil creatures that live on the other side of the Gates. This is kind of explained, but not in great detail.Making DJ a green wizard is an interesting choice; DJ definitely isn't about flash and bang but more about planning ahead and being resourceful with the small magics she does have. This leads to some interesting scenes, but at times made DJ feel like too much of a victim to me. In face I never really grew to respect DJ as a character. She rushed into bad situations more than once and never seemed to learn from her mistakes. She was very flighty about which guy she liked best throughout the book; she kind of played with both of them and I just can't get into a character that does that.Alex is a much more interesting character, he adds a lot more to the story than DJ. Still though I had trouble engaging with him. Him and DJ never felt like they had great chemistry to me and they didn't fight well as a team. The romance is thankfully limited in this book, because I don't think it would have worked well to make Alex and DJ any more engaged with each other.The plot was very predictable. The main storyline involves DJ trying to solve a series of murders that look like they might be the work of a ritualistic serial killer. The way it all wrapped up was very predictable, I guessed it would involve Gerry in a certain way and it totally did. I was a bit disappointed to be right. DJ also spends a lot of time doing research, which really isn't all that interesting to read about. It made the story really drag at certain points.The books wraps up decently enough with some loose plot threads for future books. The writing is decent and easy to read. Overall this is a decent urban fantasy. I liked the interesting setting and the world-building that went on here. It's not super creative, but it was interesting to have the whole thing set during Hurricane Katrina. The idea of a parallel type of world that house the supernatural was interesting too but has been done before. I had a lot of trouble engaging with the characters; they were just too vanilla for me and never had great chemistry together. The plot was also a bit too predictable for me. Those things combined kind of left with a "
STACYatUFI on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
ROYAL STREET takes place during and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Druisilla takes off to safety at her Grandmas house but her mentor Gerald St. Simon goes missing. Now that the borders between her world and the Underworld have crumbled Druisilla becomes the target of a dead pirate as well as a voodoo god. To make matters worse a sexy new partner walks into her life sent by the wizard elders.Druisilla (DJ) is a junior wizard trying to figure her way through what she is capable of. She tended to jump before thinking, and made bad decisions anyways but I still found it enjoyable to follow her. I loved Alex. He jumps into the book by rescuing DJ from a dead pirate Jean Lafitte and never left. He was always surprising me with what was revealed about him next. There was a great array of characters, we had bar owners, dead legends, pirates, voodoo gods and assassins. The author does a great job of incorporating the events around Hurricane Katrina and using real life descriptions that brought everything into picture. There is a bit of a love triangle between DJ, her bodyguard/partner Alex and his cousin Jake. I have to say it was a bit of an annoyance because all along I could really only see her with Alex so Jake ended up annoying me when he probably wouldn't have otherwise.Book one is filled with a lot of background and what I would consider build up for book two. The ending is left open but isn't cliffhanger-ish. Overall I enjoyed it and will be reading book 2.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Royal Street is an enjoyable urban fantasy series debut from Suzanne Johnson. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina has caused breaches in the border between this world and the Beyond and Drusilla Jaco, a Green Wizard, is charged with banishing the undead back to the ether. DJ though is distracted by her missing mentor, Gerry, who is suspected of betraying the Elder Wizard Council, an undead pirate seeking revenge and the Enforcer, Alex. With a voodoo God and a serial killer on the loose the new Sentinel of New Orleans has her hands full.What I particularly like about Royal Street is the world building. Set in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, Johnson sensitively incorporates the tragedy into her story. The devastation makes an interesting background throwing up natural obstacles like a lack of electricity and transport which her protagonists have to work around.New Orleans history is rich with iconic characters which Johnson works in to the story including voodoo gods, pirates and even musicians. While there is mention of vampires, fae and werewolves it is the historical undead that feature in Royal Street. Known in general as Pretes, the otherworldly beings reside in the Beyond in `Old Orleans¿, a historical alternative to the modern city.The magic system of Royal Street focuses on wizardry with a system that is headed by the Elders and then tiers of wizards with different abilities. As a Green Wizard, DJ is only able to wield potions, spells and charms, Red Wizards have mastery over physical magic while Yellow Wizards have psychic abilities. Enforcers are the muscle for the council dispensing justice where necessary.Unfortunately Royal Street was let down by the protagonists of the story, especially DJ who lacks the smarts I prefer in my urban fantasy genre. There are too many instances where she makes poor decisions, ignores obvious clues or acts so slowly as to put herself or others in danger. This is particularly true at the climax when she inexplicably fails to act to prevent injury to her allies. The romantic element of Royal Street includes Alex, the Enforcer sent to assist DJ, Alex¿s cousin Jake, a war vet, and the pirate, Jean Lafitte. DJ is attracted to all three men but I didn¿t like the way in which she seemed to be toying with Alex and Jake in particular. The relationships are another example of DJ¿s immaturity.While I think the characters of Royal Street need to be stronger, I did enjoy the book. There are often teething problems for a new series and ultimately I think the original aspects of the world building and potential of the story outweigh the flaws. Royal Street is a promising debut and I will be interested to see where Johnson takes it.
Shaiha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Will post review closer to release
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great start to an interesting urban fantasy series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GinsBookNotes More than 1 year ago
Book One of The Sentinels of New Orleans introduces us to DJ’s world and lays a firm foundation for future books to be built upon. The author’s love for New Orleans is apparent.  I think she takes an event that holds horrible memories for many people (Hurricane Katrina) and handles it with finesse and respect. She does a terrific job of blending fantasy, history, and the paranormal into a believable world of magic. I enjoyed the different variety of characters that we meet in book one (vampires, ghosts, fae, shifters, wizards, gods, and more). DJ is a great narrator and character. She is a tad bit on the impulsive side but I feel like she is someone that I would like in real life. She is down to earth and seems to have a good sense of right and wrong. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow as a character. I would say that the book moved along at a moderate pace. There is a mystery, suspense, and a light introduction to romance and the possibility of a love triangle, which I personally hope doesn’t play out. I enjoyed Royal Street and plan to continue reading the Sentinels of New Orleans series. I think Royal Street lays a firm foundation for future books.  The world building is well established, the struggle has been identified, love interests have sparked, and DJ’s character is obviously in for a lot of growth . I have a feeling that the books will only get better as we move forward and I’m looking forward to reading book 2, River Road, this month.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book. I like how the author worked Katrina into the story. I will be reading the second book in the series soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story will keep you reading. Could of had more something. Just sort of left me flat on emotional level.
JessicaLovesBooks More than 1 year ago
Royal Street is the first book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series by Suzanne Johnson. Knowing it was the first book in the series, I went into it expecting a lot of world building and the introduction of a lot of characters. I think that Johnson did a really good job handling these two chores. There was never a time where I felt overwhelmed by too much detail, or confused by the large addition of characters. Plus, Johnson added in real life details about Hurricane Katrina (the book is set in New Orleans at the time that Katrina hit), which added to the authenticity and depth of the world she was building. I really liked that part of the book. I felt like there were probably some subtle details and descriptions that I didn't pick up on because I am not all that familiar with New Orleans, but I definitely appreciated all of the layers that were incorporated into the story. The two main characters of Drusilla (DJ) and Alex were pretty solid. DJ is a junior sentinel wizard that helps her mentor Gerry police the New Orleans district when there is a breach between the Beyond and this world. Basically, when preternatural species find a way to cross the barrier from their world to the human world, DJ and Gerry go out and send them back to where they came from. When Katrina hits, the barrier is weakened exponentially and all kinds of fun characters make an appearance. DJ has fled the city to wait out the hurricane while Gerry stayed behind to keep an eye on things. However, Gerry goes missing, and weird voodoo graffiti tags start popping up around New Orleans along with several dead bodies that are killed in the manner of a voodoo sacrifice. Now that Gerry is MIA, DJ has to step up and take the place as Sentinel of New Orleans, and find out what is going on. The Congress of Elders send her an enforcer named Alex to be her partner and help her find out what happened to Gerry, and to help her reinforce breaches in the barrier. However, things get serious real quick when DJ discovers that Gerry is alive in the Beyond and is somehow involved with the voodoo god Baron Samedi in his plot to breach the barrier once and for all so that all preternaturals can cross back and forth into the human world at their own free will. (view spoiler) The question is, was Gerry forced to help Samedi, or is he up to his ears in the evil plan of his own volition? Along the way there are other twists and turns that are revealed that keep the plot line going in several different directions. I really enjoyed this story and all of the different layers of scheming and mayhem that were going on. I also liked the idea of the Historical Undead - historical figures that don't really die until everyone in the human world forgets about them. For instance, the pirate Jean Lafitte, who has a big "following" in the New Orleans area is able to cross the boundary between the Beyond and walk in the human world at will (as long as there is a weak spot to cross). Louis Armstrong and Marie Laveau also make appearances in the story. And you also have the usual assortments of wizards, vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters that are hanging around. DJ was a strong female character. Strong in that she was very headstrong and stubborn, and pretty much did whatever she wanted to, whenever she wanted to. I wish that she had a little bit more magic to back up her attitude. She is a Green Congress wizard that draws most of her power from potions and herbs instead of from purely physical magic like Red Congress wizards. In short, she is pretty much the weenie of the wizard world. More of a defensive player instead of an offensive player. However, I really hope that the discover of the Elven staff and bloodline will lead to more developments in this area in future books. Overall, my only complaint about the book was that I wanted more of a romance to develop between Alex and DJ. The quasi love triangle that was set up between Alex and Jake and DJ didn't really work for me, because there wasn't enough development between anybody to warrant jealousy or real emotions. I think towards the end of this book some progress was made in the romantic department, and I really hope that continues in book two. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a romance story (and a hot shapeshifter!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago