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Brothers At Arms by Desiree Lee
Tease Publishing
Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Short Story, M/F, BDSM
Review by Buttercup


For 250 years, the Arcée brothers have been in conflict. The vendetta between these two powerful vampires has shown no signs of resolve or waning. The concession made between the two is that the location of their ongoing war is moved every five decades to help prevent hapless mortals from discovering them. It was determined that the new locations would be chosen by a delegated Keeper, symbolized by a custom-made tarot card. Where the card goes, so do the Houses and also the war.

When the card changes hands, each house sends out Seekers, specially trained vampires who race against each other to be the first to discover the card’s new location. The first one to find the card and take control of the new keeper has the upper hand in the battle for that duration as they gain first foothold in the new city.

This year is a turning year. Julio Mendoza receives the card in the mail, unaware of its meaning. When he learns of the history of the card, he realizes he has been thrust in to a war that holds nothing for him, yet he cannot escape his fate. Still he will not accept his role meekly.

Michelle Bryson is a Seeker for the House of François Arcée. She is pitted against a ruthless rival from the House of Pierre Arcée to get to Julio first. Michelle is a young Seeker and if she fails to capture the Keeper, her life may be forfeited. What Michelle did not plan on was to find the Keeper to be a sexy, rebellious man who has a spirit in him unlike any Keeper she has seen in the past.

Julio knows the vampires are coming for him. He knows that he cannot hide forever. When the Seekers find him though, he cannot deny his attraction toward Michelle – an attraction that they will both pay dearly for if the Seeker from the House of Pierre Arcée has anything to do about it.

♥ ♥ ♥

Unsuspecting Julio Mendoza receives a ‘Chariot’ Tarot card in the mail and wonders what it could mean and why someone from California would send it to him. He is familiar with Tarot because his mother makes her living at reading and is quite proficient at the art.  After mulling over it for a while, he decides to take the card to his mother for her thoughts on the matter. Instead of shrugging the errant piece of mail off, his mother becomes visibly upset. That is the precise moment his heritage comes into play and his life becomes a quest for peace and survival―His.

Meanwhile, new ”Seeker” Michelle Bryson from the vampire house of Francois Arcée is hot on the trail of the card.  She must find the “Keeper” before Francois’ twin brother Pierre’s seeker finds him. Pierre and Francois have been feuding for over 250 years.  She is in for a few surprises herself after she does find the card and the “Keeper” first. 

This story grabs you immediately and moves quickly along building to a nice crescendo.  Ms. Lee has woven a wonderfully unique story with likeable characters.  The only pitfall I found was the weak editing.  This author tells a fabulously imaginative and unique story but it lacks an element of imagery and a system of beats to place the reader within the scenes.  The dialogue is true and realistic though it seems to ramble without little side actions and beats to keep the reader ‘seeing’ and ‘feeling’ the scene. Other obvious edit issues pop out throughout.

Even with the above-mentioned issues, which brought the overall rating down, this book is definitely worth the read. When Seeker, Michelle, and Keeper, Julio, get together under one roof, things explode.  Between the warring brothers, the past romance issues and the attraction these two discover for one another there is never a dull moment.  Will Julio still the dueling brothers from senseless killing amongst the two houses and will Michelle deal with the lost of her first love turned traitor?  The only way to find out is pick this one up and give it a hearty read.

Kudos to Desiree Lee for a unique and enthralling tale. I’d definitely read more from this author. 

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