Chaos & Communion
Book V of The Master Chronicles
Stopping a murder that happened forty years earlier may be the only way to heal a tortured mind...
Six months after Jesse Madding is brutally tortured by Marcus Brooker, he is still experiencing flashbacks, panic attacks, and jumping at his own shadow. His lovers, Gideon Keel and Emma Coolidge, would do anything to help him, but Jesse cannot tolerate the thought of being alone, and refuses to be hospitalized for treatment. Desperate for a change, Gideon and Emma suggest a radical solution.
Jesse wants to fix his life. More than anything, he wants to be normal again. He doesn't want to live in fear. He doesn't want to be ashamed of his scarred and mutilated body. He doesn't want to shy away from Gideon's touch. Certain that the holding pattern will kill him, he agrees to Gideon and Emma's proposed solution: travel to an alternative dimension and save Marcus Brooker from witnessing Mary's grisly murder...in order to save Brooker's soul.
Advisory: This book contains graphic violence, hardcore bondage and punishment, torture and blood play. May not be suitable for the more sensitive reader.
5 hearts from Dee Dailey, The Romance Studio:...Gideon's character may be the brawn and half the brains of the duo but Jesse is the heart. He's the kind of character you just want to cuddle with. Seeing him recover from the brutal treatment in the last book is welcome. This is a great read for any fan of eroticism, suspense, great storylines and well done players.
5 nymphs from Scandalous Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews:...What I appreciated most about this book is that Jesse finally meets the woman who showed Gideon love. I don’t think he expected their meeting to go as it did, but I think that helped him heal as much as facing Marcus. Emma wasn’t really in this one, but I tell you that little spit fire has picked up a few habits from her men. I really felt for Jesse and his pain this go-around. I know it was hard to move forward when every dark corner can hold something that could hurt you, but I was proud of his willingness to try and heal his own hurts. The book gives us a heady dose of action, suspense, and two Gideon’s for the price of one! Not to mention BDSM the way that only Gideon and Jesse can bring it!
4 1/2 stars from Prisilla Alston, Just Erotic Romance Reviews:...This is the fifth book in a series from this author, but without having read the other four books, this one can definitely stand on its own. The theory of the book made sense, and I was able to follow along with where the author was going with these engrossing characters. Clearly, Emma and Gideon are in the relationship for the long haul as they work diligently to heal the man they both love. They see he's not the same, and so do we, as he struggles to come to terms with what happened in his life. There are other secondary characters that are eager to fill us in on the entire novel. While we feel the love as it surrounds us by the main characters, this is not a "cutesy" romance. The sex scenes were strong and pulsing page turners that easily drew me into their erotic web. As this is a story about a dominant vampire and his submissives, I fully expected to see some blood play, and it definitely didn't turn me off. In fact, those not into the lifestyle may be surprised at how turned on you are by some of the sexual acts. The book was very well-written...
From Ley, Joyfully Reviewed:...Chaos & Communion is fascinating. The story opens with a sad, broken and confused Jesse. He’s nothing like the full of life man of the previous installments of this series. Marcus Brooker broke him and left a man who barely ate and was afraid to sleep for fear of reliving the hell he went through. I hurt for him, as well as Emma and even Gideon, who is not one of my favorite people but he loves Jesse and Emma and that is honestly the greatest reason of the short list as to why I care for him. Every time I read one of these books the talent of Jamie Craig amazes me. Chaos & Communion is a rather complicated story of alternate universes and altering lives to change the outcome of future events. Ms. Craig did a fantastic job with this complex story.
4 stars from Carole, Rainbow Reviews:...let me assure you that these hot scenes will leave you looking for a cool cloth to put on the back of your neck. Even if this is not your cup of tea, the erotic, exotic web of desire between all three people, but especially between Gideon and Jesse, will make you not want to put the book down for a second.
...Hoping that the door would be locked—though not knowing why a church would be locked at all—he marched up the steps. But the knob turned easily in his hand, and he slipped out of the noon sun and into the church’s cool recesses, the door shutting softly behind him. At first, he thought he was alone, but as his eyes began to adjust, he saw the figure of a woman standing near the altar.
Though her back was to him and he’d only had the picture in his possession for a few days, Jesse would have recognized Mary Straughn anywhere. She haunted his nightmares, the specter of everything that had gone wrong and everything that could have been. The sole reason he had the life he had. But the picture hadn’t prepared him for how dark and smooth her skin really was, or the fact that she was nearly as tall as him, or how penetrating her eyes were when she glanced back to notice him, frozen in the entry.
“Hello. Can I help you with something?”
“No…I…I was just…” He hadn’t been prepared to meet her now, and his brain refused to supply any sort of adequate response. He didn’t know if he wanted to hate her or love her. Somehow, the thought of hating her seemed blasphemous. “I didn’t mean to…bother you.”
Something in her face softened, but it didn’t lessen the force of her gaze. “I’ll only be bothered if I scare you off.” She stepped down into the aisle, her hand outstretched. “I’m Mary.”
Jesse took her hand politely, and was immediately struck by the warmth of her smooth skin, the firmness of her grip. He knew he needed to pull himself together and begin behaving like a civilized person, but all he could think was I’m shaking hands with a dead woman.
But she wasn’t dead. And she wouldn’t be. At least, not that night.
“I’m Jesse.” Suddenly, the details of the cover story he planned to tell came back to him. “I’m new to town, and I’m looking for a new church. A few friends suggested I come here.”
A smile curved her wide mouth. He wouldn’t have thought it possible, but it made her even more arresting. It reflected sincerity and intelligence, an even better welcome than her greeting.
“It’s good to know the word is spreading,” she said. “I’m probably biased, but I don’t think you’ll find a better place to call home than right here.”
Jesse looked around the building for the first time. It was smaller than he expected. He imagined the pews full of people, tried to imagine Gideon shouldering his way in and terrorizing them just because he could.
“It looks like a fine place to call home. When is the next meeting?”
“Tonight. Who’re your friends? Maybe I know them.”
“Michelle.” It was the only name that occurred to him, though he wasn’t even sure Mary would know her. “Michelle. She owns a bookstore.”
But Mary nodded, like Michelle referred people to her church every day of the week. “Meetings usually start at seven, but if you’d rather not have to come after sunset, Pastor Brooker always opens the doors early. He’s here, if you’d like to meet him.” Before Jesse could stop her, Mary turned and called for him, her voice filling the small space.
Before the other man even stepped into the room, Jesse knew he couldn’t deal with this. He wished Emma were there. He wanted Gideon. Brooker’s not the same. He’s not the same man. And he believed that. He believed the man who acted as pastor in this church wouldn’t harm him. But the past six months hadn’t been dictated by logic, by what he believed. The past six months had been dictated by the physical memory of violation. A memory that seeped into flesh and went to his bones.
Marcus stepped out of the rectory, smiling pleasantly. But it was the same face. And Marcus had smiled at him often. Why shouldn’t he? He had thoroughly enjoyed every second of the torture. Everything went cold.
The greeting died on Brooker’s lips as concern darkened his tawny eyes. His gaze flickered to Mary, who turned back to see the perspiration beading on Jesse’s forehead, the way all the color had suddenly leeched from his skin.
“Are you all right?” she asked. She stepped forward and took his arm without waiting for an answer, her grip surprisingly strong as she guided him into a pew. “Put your head between your knees. You look like you’re going to be sick.”
He was going to be sick. Please, no, not here. Not here. Please. But his silent prayer evaporated as the first wave of images crashed over him...