Dana reviews Haven (The Magic Emporium Series) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Book Title: Haven
Author: Morgan Brice
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza
Release Date: April 8, 2021
Genre/s: MM paranormal romance/mystery
Trope/s: Action, mystery, hurt/comfort, geeks in love, supernatural secrets, a brave historian and a lovelorn private detective, plus a guaranteed HEA. Old secrets, hidden psychics, secret shifters, ghosts, scandals—and true love.
Themes: Age gap, starting over, friends to lovers,
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 60 000 words/200 pages
It is a standalone book, but there are soft ties to Morgan’s Fox Hollow series. Other than the shared elements of the magic emporium, it does not connect to any of the other books in the Magic Emporium series.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
Old secrets, hidden psychics, secret shifters, ghosts, scandals—and true love.
A series of long-ago disappearances leads cold case private detective Austin Williams to investigate a troubled sanitarium. Jamie Miller is new in town, temporarily running the local historical association, and he willingly signs on to help solve Austin’s mystery. Sparks fly between them as they dig into the hospital’s troubled past. But someone wants the past to stay buried—and is willing to bury Austin and Jamie to keep it that way.
Haven is part of the Magic Emporium series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains explicit scenes, action, mystery, hurt/comfort, geeks in love, supernatural secrets, a brave historian and a lovelorn private detective, plus a guaranteed HEA. It is loosely connected to my Fox Hollow series.
The alarm on Jamie’s phone went off, telling him it was time to lock up. “I have to close on time,” Jamie said, sorry to bring the conversation to an end. “Our insurance company won’t let me stay open beyond the posted times or have anyone inside after we’re closed.”
Austin rose. “I understand. Thanks for listening. I’ll be glad for any help.” He paused. “One more question—where’s a good place to get a bite to eat?” he asked with a slightly shy smile that sent a surge of heat to Jamie’s groin.
“Do you like pizza? Moosehead Inn is a locals’ joint that serves great food. I was going to head over once I lock up—you’re welcome to join me if you don’t have other plans,” Jamie offered, trying to sound nonchalant.
Did I just ask him out? Holy shit. I haven’t done that in…forever.
Austin brightened, and his smile grew broader. “I’d like that. I’ll wait outside. Can we walk there? I didn’t bring my car.”
Jamie nodded, still a little surprised at his own boldness. “Sure. See you in a few minutes.”
He ushered Austin out the door and locked it behind him. Fortunately, Jamie had gotten a head start on the lock-up checklist before the sexy stranger arrived. He powered down the computer and started flipping off light switches as he made his way toward the back door.
This was the part he really disliked. Once he turned on the alarm system, the security lights would come on. But on the way to the back door, the old house got darker, and the shadows stretched longer with every switch he flicked.
I thought I knew what I was getting into when I took the job. But it’s just temporary, and I’m still sending out applications for something better, he reminded himself.
An old house like this was likely to have ghosts, even without being turned into a museum of sorts. Bring together the personal belongings of hundreds of people, bits of local history, journals, and letters, and it didn’t surprise Jamie that the place was haunted. Even if no one else seemed to believe it.
Click, click, click. He turned off the lights in the foyer and the former sitting room and dining room. Jamie had closed up the upstairs rooms early since it was a slow day. It held a storage area, a library of books written by local authors and books about the Saranac Lake area, as well as a conference room and a small classroom for lectures. The attic and basement were storage areas that weren’t open to the public, which made Jamie very happy since both gave him the creeps.
Click. The lights in the old parlor went dark, and Jamie braced himself. On the nights the ghosts felt frisky, this was when the shenanigans started.
A cool breeze out of nowhere made the hair on the back of Jamie’s neck rise. He heard the glissando of crystal pendants gently bumping together, the decorative dangles on a vintage oil lamp in the parlor that shouldn’t have any reason to move.
Jamie resolutely ignored the shadow gliding just at the edge of his peripheral vision as he hurried down the hallway. The kitchen doubled as the staff room and was the least haunted place in the building. Jamie heard footsteps on the stairs and forced himself to breathe. He knew there was no one else in the old house—at least, no one living.
In the room to his left by the back door, the former sewing room for the ladies of the house, he glimpsed a familiar gray figure and heard the swish of crinoline and linen. To his right, in the small office that was once the cook’s room, a rocking chair creaked.
Jamie’s hand shook as he set the alarm. The ghosts didn’t act up every night, and some evenings they were more riled than others. So far, none of them had tried to hurt him. As unsettling as the ghostly manifestations were, Jamie couldn’t object to spirits wanting to stay in a place that meant something to them. He didn’t mess with them, and he really hoped that meant they would return the favor.
The alarm beeped, and the security lights came on, dim but enough to send the shadows scurrying. The sounds stopped, and the house grew quiet. Jamie slipped out the back door and checked the lock, then let out a long breath. The halogen light above the door made the area around the steps almost as bright as day. He shook off the weirdness and smiled, excited about dinner with Austin.
It’s not a date. But I wish it was. Maybe…
This could be a pleasant diversion, Jamie told himself. Austin was just in town to look up some family history, and Jamie’s role with the archive was temporary. Nothing said they couldn’t have a little fun while their paths crossed.
I signed up for the blog tour because I am a big fan of the author. I’ve only read one novella of the Fox Hollow series the author indicated this story was loosely related. Also, the concept of The Magic Emporium series had my interest peaked. The Magic Emporium’s appearance in very brief and I imagine it would be the same in other books, but the shop is there to provide something needed for the main characters in the book and while it is unclear how the item will help, it will definitely find a purpose by the end of the story.
Both Austin and Jamie are very likable characters right off the bat. Austin arrives in Saranac Lake, a town where the psychiatric hospital, Havenwood, was located. Austin is looking to find out what happened to a great uncle who disappeared after being admitted there. The small town folks don’t like the newcomer asking questions and his search bears little fruit until he meets Jamie. Jamie is kind of new town and not so invested that he wants to keep its secrets, though he doesn’t exactly know any of them either. With a little search of the historical building where he is working, though, they begin to uncover some history of the hospital. The patients might not have been “crazy” like their family members thought, but were teens experiencing the beginning of psychic or paranormal abilities, instead.
I should mention that Austin and Jamie have some “gifts” of their own, as well as some ties to helpful people. Austin is on friendly terms with Brent Lawson, a character from the author’s Night Vigil series, and Jamie knows Simon Kincaid from the Badlands series. Both Brent and Simon prove to be some help to Jamie and Austin, even though they find themselves in some hot water when their questioning riles up some older townfolk who were around when the hospital was running. The ending felt good. Jamie and Austin can’t blow the case wide open, because the world isn’t ready to accept the existence of people with supernatural abilities, but the bad guys all seem to get their due and Jamie and Austin end up starting over in Fox Hollow where they find their own abilities to be much more useful.
I have to say I enjoyed the crossovers with the authors other series. For the series that I haven’t read yet, I look forward to checking them out even more, as well of the rest of the Magic Emporium books. The world-building was fun and it was a non-angsty read that I would definitely recommend.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
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!