Review: In the Company of Witches by Joey W. Hill

Posted May 16, 2012 by Vampbard in 4 stars, Paranormal Romance, Rating A Tags: , , ,

In the Company of Witches
Author: Joey W. Hill 
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Arcane Shot Series #2
ISBN: 978-0425250846
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (342 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
All witch and part succubus, savvy businesswoman Raina has converted a Southern plantation house into an extremely profitable old-fashioned bordello. Because of her abilities as a witch, the demons under Raina’s protection can feed off the sexual energy of their clients without killing them—definitely a good thing for repeat business.
But when a rogue incubus shows up on Raina’s doorstep begging for asylum, the witch’s well-run business is put in jeopardy. The incubus has stolen an object of great power from Lucifer, and Underworld Dark Guardian Mikhael will do anything to get it back—even if it means incinerating the incubus on Raina’s porch to get the answers he seeks.
Not to be trifled with, Raina enters a dangerous match of wits with Mikhael to achieve their mutual goals—only to discover that the reluctant attraction between them is the most hazardous game of all…
What VampBards talking about:
After reading Something about Witches, I couldn’t wait to read book #2 in Joey Hill’s Arcane Shot series, In the Company of Witches.  While I was expectant that either Ramona or Raina would be the focus, I sort-of hoped that we’d continue with the exploits of Ruby and Derek.  I really enjoyed them, and their cameo in this title did keep me connected to them, but not as much as I’d hoped.  S’all good, though.  Ms. Hill brought to life Raina and Mikhail in a way I’d never fathomed Mikhail would develop as a character!
Raina is the proprietor of a bordello, Sweet Dreams, …and incubi and succubi are her employees.  Raina maintains the peace – and keeps the local law out of her hair – by managing the sexual energy through her talents as a witch.  Half witch and half succubus, Raina has her own needs that have been unmet for a long, long time.  Pretty much forever.
Mikhail enters the scene chasing a ‘bad guy’ (not really).  His role as a Dark Guardian charges him with ensuring that Lucifer and all the little demons in Hell are happy about what’s going on top-side…and ensuring that those not following the underworld’s game plan are swiftly and appropriately brought to ‘justice’.  We learned about Mikhail in Something About Witches, as he was Ruby’s domineering ‘consort’.  He was there to help with the dark magic that Ruby was using.  Naturally, that all ended when Derek re-entered the scene.  Mikhail was touted as being cruel and heartless, a description that Raina gathered from her brief and broad discussions with Ruby.  Fortunately, Raina learned from first-hand experience that Mikhail wasn’t all that bad.  As matter of fact, he was able to suppress her succubus during coitus, and she was able to fully re-energize.  
Mikhail and Raina are into some BDSM, so if that makes you uncomfortable, this might not be the best title for you.  However, I do want to note that Ms. Hill did a fabulous job with the sex scenes.  There was enough description to get my own imagination firing on all synapses, but not too much that I felt as though I were a voyeur.  It’s a fine balance.  Kudos!  The BDSM is done in a tasteful manner, and without graphic detail.  Probably a good launching-point if a reader has ever pondered reading this sub-genre.  
The sweet romance between Mikhail and Raina truly touched my heart.  Raina, succubus that she is, has never been romanced by a lover.  Mikhail has never felt the drive to romance one of his conquests.  Mikhail appeared to be the polar opposite of the ‘f*ck-buddy’ portrayed in Something About Witches.  For example, Mikhail brought to life, for Raina, the simplicity of human courtship.  A date, while wrought with complications those of the human variety don’t have to factor, complete with movie and ice cream, appeared to be the turning point.  It was then that I knew FOR SURE that Mikhail was lost to love and passion.  Raina was coming ’round, too.  
I thought the way Ms. Hill used conflict in this title was excellent.  While there was tension between Mikhail and Raina – mostly sexual tension – the other external conflicts, such as between Mikhail and the incubi and succubi at Sweet Dreams, the need to cloak/suppress the succubi side of Raina while in public, as well as the whole demoness-attacking thing.  The rich internal conflicts within Raina and Mikhail were beautifully crafted, and brought a certain intensity through the inner monologues to which the reader was privy.  
If I were to choose one thing that bugged me about this title, I’d have to say that I have a hard time choosing a single thing that bothered me.  As with any well-written novel, there were no remaining questions at the conclusion of the title, and I felt the characters and the plot conflicts were adequately developed and resolved.  I feel a bit like Raina – post coitus with Mikhail – upon completing this title.  I feel sated and all comfy-cozy with the storyline…ready to snuggle in for a nap.  No residual anxiety from unresolved plot points or character traits.  No yelling at the author telepathically, begging for something different.  Just that sense of… ‘ahhhh…. that was nice.’
Raina and Mikhail are a SMOKIN’ HOT couple.  While we are privy to some of the ‘uncomfortableness’ of a blooming romance, I feel they fit together like the pieces in a puzzle.  One that’s put together properly, that is!
VampBard’s special note:  I think In the Company of Witches will hold a special place in my heart.  The Twilight Saga was my gateway series for the world of the paranormal genre.  Ms. Hill expertly weaves the movie, New Moon, into her plot.  I was very intrigued as to why she chose New Moon.  After all, it IS the title that holds the most heartache, in my opinion.  After reading further, and seeing more Edward/Bella/Jacob references, I figured it out.  Most of all, I love that an author included this important (to me) series, and used it in a way to parallel her characters.
VampBards Rating:
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)

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