20 January 2015

Shattered Illusions by Brenda Cothern

 The Tampa nightclub Shadows, in Ybor City, is the refuge for those who are not quite normal. Simon finally found a home away from home where he ‘fit in’ but he was still the only single person in his new family. Being different made dating a nightmare.

John was still hung up on his best friend but when a bartender rescued him from a gay bashing, he never expected his life would go in such in a bizarre direction. Learning about himself and accepting who he was, was a challenge and one he wasn’t sure he could handle.
Having read a couple of Ms. Cothern’s contemporary m/m romances, the most recent being Guns & Hoses in which I first “met” John, I jumped at the chance to read Shattered Illusions. As it has been a couple of months since I read the book’s blurb, I forgot that it was a paranormal m/m romance, but within a few pages the paranormal aspect was front and center so I hunkered down to find out whether or not Ms. Cothern would be a successful cross-genre writer. I am pleased to report that she absolutely is.

After Simon interrupts an assault, saving John from even more pain and possibly death, he helps him get home and calls in John’s estranged friend, Flame, to take over. While Simon finds John attractive, he refuses to ask for his number because he is disturbed that his libido is targeting a badly beaten man. Through a series of events, John and Simon begin communicating via text and spending time together … in their dreams. Oh yes, in their dreams. Simon is a dream walker (among other things) and is able to enter John’s dreams. As John engages in lucid dreaming, he and Simon have a couple of “dream dates” that don’t stop at the front door. Good grief! Who knew astral sex could be so freaking hot? Unfortunately when Simon informs John of their shared dreams and his ability to dream walk, John assumes that Simon is crazy and breaks off their budding relationship. When presented with proof that Simon is not nuts, John must figure out what to do, how to proceed, and whether or not he can open his mind to the possibility of Simon and his abilities.

I absolutely loved this book. The interactions between Simon and his supernatural co-workers were great. The camaraderie and protectiveness revealed how tight-knit of a group they are – they are one another’s chosen family. This is very apparent when they begin to meddle in his personal life – especially when it comes to John. As the cherry on top, Flame and Tig (from Guns & Hoses) make several appearances in Shattered Illusions, giving its readers a chance to catch up with the guys. While this is the fifth book in the Shadows series, it can be read as a stand-alone book without issue. However, I enjoyed this book so much and the other employees of Shadows that I have to go back and read the previous books in the series so that I can find out their stories. Once again Ms. Cothern you have delivered a wonderfully written novel that has been added to my re-read list.


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