When it comes to the gay romance I like them best with at least a touch of magic; it can make for fascinating worlds and thrilling conflict. But sometimes it’s tough to find a book that’s just right. That’s when picking up an anthology is the perfect solution.
So when I considered the selection of magical heroes I would like to recommend I decided to spotlight one of my favorite anthologies: Charmed & Dangerous, edited by Jordan Castillo Price. From shape-shifting princes to hard-boiled detective mages these short stories and novellas represent a fabulous mix of magic and romance. They also serve as appetizers to the longer novels and numerous series.
First, Rhys Ford serves up, “Dim Sum Asylum,” a fast paced urban fantasy set in a magical San Francisco, where the faeries aren’t what you’d expect and Det. Roku MacCormick is in for a very rough ride on his first day working with his sexy new partner.
Rhys Ford has written several other stories set in similar worlds. Her Kai Gracen series features a delightful mix of dragons, urban elves and adventure. Her Hellsinger books revolve around paranormal investigations and her supernatural novels Ink and Shadows and Hanging the Stars are award-winners.
“A Queer Trade,” by K.J. Charles takes place in a Victorian England filled with secret magicians and dangerous spells. When several such spells go missing it’s up to would-be magician, Crispin, and waste man, Ned, to track them down before they wreak havoc on London.
This story takes place in the same setting as the wildly popular Charm of Magpies series, so there is lots more magic and romance. And for those who love K.J. Charles’ characters but aren’t fans of magic there’s also the historical romance series, Society of Gentlemen, which serves up a trilogy of Regency fun.
Nicole Kimberling’s, “Magically Delicious,” is a great introduction to the hilarious and spooky world of supernatural food inspector, Special Agent Keith Curry—who made his first appearance hunting goblins in the Irregulars shared-world anthology. Since then he’s gone on to star in the podcast, Lauren Proves Magic Is Real.
Nicole Kimberling’s other fantastical works include Hell Cop, Ghost Star Night, Heir of Starlight and the Lambda Literary Award winning Turnskin. But she also pens a terrific romantic mystery and her Bellingham Mystery Series can’t be beat.
Jordan Castillo Price’s “Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns,” follows Victor and Jacob from her iconic Psycop series. The men are in for one wicked Halloween stroll down memory lane.
Fans of this story will be delighted to know that not only is the Psycop series still going strong, but that Jordan Castillo Price has also explored the gritty world of fine art and vampires in her book Hemovore, as well as memory palaces in her Mnevermind books.
Jordan L. Hawk’s, “The Thirteenth Hex,” introduces Dominic, a would-be member of the Witch police (if only he possessed a shred of magic) and Rook, a crow familiar. When circumstances throw them together to solve a murder they soon discover that the sparks between them aren’t just romantic.
This novella launched the Hexworld series, so there’s much more to read! And if you burn through those books then you have to check out the nineteenth century adventure and romance of the Whyborne & Griffin series, where a shy librarian finds himself battling curses and other unnatural creations. Lucky for him a certain sexy Pinkerton agent is happy to be of service.
“The Soldati Prince,” by Charlie Cochet sees the unassuming, if snarky, Riley whisked away into a strange otherworld where he is supposedly fated to be the partner to a powerful and arrogant prince. But neither Riley nor his prince is too pleased with the situation or the dangerous journey that they must undertake to change their fates.
Like the “Soldati Prince,” Cochet’s Thirds series focuses on shape shifters, but instead of placing them in a mythic setting the heroes of the Thirds series belong to an elite paramilitary police force tasked with keeping the peace between human beings and the Therian shape shifters who live among them.
Lou Harper’s “One Hex too Many,” feels like a paranormal romance wrapped around a noir mystery and Det. Mulligan is one of my favorite characters of this entire collection. (I’m hopeful that Lou Harper will one day return to Mulligan and Fox and I’ll get to read more of their investigations.)
But in the meantime, Lou Harper has written two other series! The Dead Man books feature a reluctant psychic and provided a surprising number of laughs along with the ghosts and vampires. The Sanguine series is set in the same world but is a little more serious in tone and focuses on the attraction between a hardened vampire hunter and the delightfully eccentric vampire whom he just can’t seem to kill.
Andrea Speed’s, “Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom,” delivers gonzo weirdness, snark and quick-paced action. And if this shorter story isn’t enough, there’s the Josh of the Damned collection awaiting avid readers. But there’s also the much more serious Infected series, which follows detective Roan McKichan as he takes on the cases that are often overlooked in a world where much of the population has become infected by a dangerous werecat virus.
Astrid Amara’s, “Trouble with Hexes,” features a curse breaking tattoo artist (the guy on the book cover, in fact) as he battles to save his ex from a hex, while also struggling not to fall for the guy all over again.
If you loved Astrid’s mix of fantastic elements and high-stakes drama then her Song of the Navigator and her Trust duology, Trustworthy and Policy of Lies, both offer up futuristic romances that will hit the spot. If you’re looking for something a little more historical her book Devil Lancer introduces magic to the Crimean War and The Archer’s Heart explores swords and sorcery in a setting inspired by the mythology of India.
And yes, I too have a story in this collection. “Swift & the Black Dog.” If you enjoyed it you might like some of my darker, grittier novels, such as Wicked Gentlemen. But if you’d rather join the magical adventures of a more idealistic bunch of young men then I’d recommend my Lord of the White Hell books and Champion of the Scarlet Wolf books.
But no matter which stories delight you most or open up a whole new world of magical romances for you, I wish you happy reading!
Award-winning author Ginn Hale lives in the Pacific Northwest with her lovely wife and their ancient, evil cat. She spends the rainy days admiring local fungi. The stormy nights, she spends writing science-fiction and fantasy stories featuring LGBT protagonists. (Attempts to convince the cat to be less evil have been largely abandoned.)
Her latest book is The Long Past & Other Stories.