Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.
The Heckmasters, Book 1
Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.
Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.
The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.
With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.
Warning: Contains a take-no-prisoners sheriff, a woman who can’t outrun her supernatural secrets, and a dusty town where hope is as thin as dust in the wind. Author recommends keeping a glass of cool spring water at your elbow while reading.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the first book in The Heckmasters series. I absolutely loved it!
First off, I absolutely love the cover! It fits the story perfectly.
Rhia Duke is a wonderful character. I liked her very much. She is a schoolteacher by trade. She is a very determined woman, with a stubborn streak a mile wide. Desperate to leave her past behind, she sets off, along with her young sister and a companion they pick up en-route, to answer an advertisement in the newspaper for a job in New Mexico. But things are not all they seem and danger lurks in every corner.
Wystan Heckmaster is a fantastic character. I liked this man very much. He is quite gruff and tough, but as I got to know him a little better, realised that he hides a softer, gentler, not to mention honourable, side. He is the sheriff of a town where the citizens are reformed demons. Being a half-demon himself, his life has not been easy. However, he has taken it upon himself, along with his two brothers, to keep the earth and humans protected from the demons trying to escape through a portal called the Pit. When Rhia appears in his town, he realises that things are about to change forever.
This is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! Set in the late 1800's, this book quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is told through various points of view, which made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.
I liked meeting Sylvie, Rhia's twelve year old sister. She is full of curiosity and is extremely bright. I also liked meeting Beryl Brookshier, a young woman the two sisters had befriended on their journey. However, she is also a mystery and, when her secret is revealed, it completely threw me. I certainly didn't see that twist coming! I also loved meeting Wystan's two brothers, Eban and Tell. Eban is the healer and Tell is the hunter. The three Heckmasters make a formidable team as they tackle the evil escaping from hell. We also get to meet the other residents of Berner, some of whom I liked and some not. The heat between Rhia and Wystan fairly sizzled on the page and their chemistry is extremely explosive! The story has several twists and turns, not to mention a villain that sent a shiver down my back. Noem is a vile character, but even he pales in comparison. You'll have to read the story to find out for yourself as to whom I'm talking about. However, I will say that I didn't suspect a thing and their betrayal actually brought a pang to my own heart. Although, in hindsight, I should have realised that they were up to no good. There is a battle between several demons and the Heckmasters that is quite intense, with a surprising twist that had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I finished the story and sat for a while as I contemplated and absorbed what I had just read. I love books that make you go "wow" at the end, and this is one of them. It took me on a journey that I didn't expect. I am now looking forward to reading Eban's story as soon as possible.
Allison Merritt has written a wonderful paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story, the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. I have never read any other books by this author, but I would definitely love to read more of them in the future.
Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong characters. - Lynn Worton
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A life-long love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an indie author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
She serves as the newsletter editor during the 2013-2014 year for Ozarks Romance Authors in Springfield, Missouri and has been a member since 2009.