No Surrender: Badlands Book 5
An MM Psychic Detective Romance Adventure
by Morgan Brice
Publisher: Darkwind Press
Cover Artist: Natania Barron
Release Date: April 22, 2022
Genres: Urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, psychic detective
Tropes: Hurt/comfort, established relationship, evolving relationship, learning to trust, grumpy-sunshine, cold case, ghosts helping/interfering, lots of magic, wedding planning
Themes: Found family, loyalty, not keeping secrets, dealing with unresolved issues, putting the past to rest
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 224 pages
It is a standalone book in the Badlands series and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Cold cases, hot leads, a psychic psychopath, a copycat killer, cursed objects, the trial of the century--and wedding plans.
Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and sexy homicide detective Vic D'Amato met hunting a supernatural serial killer. Since then, Simon has become a police consultant on cases involving the paranormal, and Vic has gotten over his doubts about Simon's abilities being real. Along the way, they fell in love and got engaged. But it seems like the danger never ends.
Now, the first case Simon and Vic worked together comes back to haunt them as the killer goes to court and all hell breaks loose. The killer has a crazy fan setting curses on key players in the upcoming trial. Ghosts from an old cold case suggest that someone got away with murder. And a supernatural creature attracted to fear and death is using the Grand Strand as its feeding ground. Simon and Vic feel like they’re waging a war on all fronts, but with the stakes so high, there can be No Surrender!
No Surrender is a fast-paced thrill ride MM paranormal romance packed with supernatural suspense, haunted tourist attractions, monsters, visions, hot sex, hurt/comfort, loyal friends, wedding planning, found family, ghosts galore, dark magic, and an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.
No Surrender is Book 5 in the Badlands series but can be read as a standalone.
“Since when do serial killers get fan mail?” Homicide detective Vic D’Amato fumed. “How f*cked up is that?”
“They don’t just get fan letters; they get marriage proposals,” his partner Ross Hamilton replied, shaking his head in disbelief. “I don’t get it, but that doesn’t stop it from being true.”
Vic took a slug of coffee from his stained mug and barely kept from grimacing at the bitter taste. Hospitals and police precincts always made the worst java. “I guess it’s like the people who follow all the true-crime podcasts. We get paid to be hip-deep in the worst humanity has to offer, but doing it for fun? People are weird.”
“You’ve been a cop for how long, and you’re just figuring that out now?” Ross teased.
Vic shrugged. “Every time I think that I’ve lowered my expectations too far, reality says—‘Here, hold my beer.’”
“Yeah, well. I’m right there with you on this one.” Ross chuck‐ led. “Have you heard whether you and Simon will have to testify at the trial?”
“Pretty certain. Of all the charges, Fischer shooting Simon is the most ironclad, with plenty of witnesses,” Vic replied. “I’m not in any hurry to be part of the media circus, but I don’t see a way to avoid it.”
“Lucky you—the Slitter trial is shaping up to be the biggest deal Myrtle Beach has had in a long time.”
Vic grew up in a family of cops back in Pittsburgh. For generations, D’Amatos had been proud to serve. His father, brothers, and other relatives were still on the force up north while his sister was studying criminology. But an encounter with something supernatural Vic couldn’t explain had made him unwelcome with the Pittsburgh police. Vic had relocated, started over in Myrtle Beach—and met the love of his life.
“I don’t want to put Simon through what happened the last time,” Vic confided.
“Not sure you’re going to have much choice about it.” Ross finished his coffee and set the cup aside. “The closer we get to the trial date, the more reporters will be angling for a scoop. I’m surprised there haven’t been some camped out in front of the store already.”
“I suspect Simon boosted the wardings against nuisance as well as malice. I tried talking him into going down to Charleston to spend some time with his cousin, but he flat-out refused to leave me here alone during the run-up to the trial.”
“Alone—with me and the captain and the rest of the depart‐ ment, plus a squad of lawyers and witnesses?” Ross joked.
“And not one of you with any magic, in a trial where the killer used spells to help him get away with murder,” Vic answered. “Simon doesn’t want to be in the spotlight—or the crosshairs—but if it comes to that, I don’t doubt he and his friends will come up with ways to protect us.”
Simon Kincaide, Vic’s fiancé, ran Grand Strand Ghost Tours. The boardwalk shop also offered psychic readings and séances, showcasing Simon’s abilities as a psychic medium as well as his knowledge of the spooky side of local history and his background as a former folklore and mythology professor.
When an impasse in the hunt for the Strand Slitter brought the investigation to a standstill more than a year ago, Vic tamped down on his deep skepticism about the paranormal and asked for Simon’s help as a psychic. Their first encounters with each other were prickly, and Vic accepted much of the blame for that since he had doubted Simon’s abilities and hated needing his help.
Simon turned out to be the real deal, and his visions plus the ability to communicate with the ghosts of the Slitter’s victims cracked the case—nearly costing Simon his life. In the year since then, Simon became an official police consultant, working cases with Vic and Ross when a supernatural connection seemed likely. Vic and Simon fell in love and now had a wedding to plan.
It’s always a pleasure to return to Vic and Simon for another round of paranormal intrigue. This time around, they’re waiting on the trial from the Slitter case from the first book of the series, but there are strange things happening that seem to be tied to the case, possibly putting it in jeopardy. Everyone involved in the case has become a target, so it’s a race to figure out what’s going on.
To complicate things, there is also a set of cold cases from the eighties brought to their attention that may be tied to what’s happening…and you know that means more ghostly contacts to keep things interesting. We’re also treated to an appearance by Simon’s own ghost relative, Dante, to try and help with the cold cases.
As I’ve come to expect from this author and this series, there’s enough going on to keep you on your toes and guessing through much of the story. I did feel like the resolutions to the different aspects going on felt a little rushed this time in the last quarter of the book, like things were jumping quickly from one thing to another so to me it seemed more tell than show, but I still enjoyed the reveals as they happened.
A fun bonus was the wedding planning for Vic and Simon…I kinda hope to get an invite as it sounds like it’s going to be a great time ;-)
No Surrender was a strong 4-star read for me, and added a nice twist to the series by revisiting their first case. While you probably could read this one on its own, my recommendation would be to read the series in order for a more complete background on the prior events and a better feel for the fierce connection between the two main characters.
About the Author
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!
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