Book Title: Nightway Chant, Coulter & Woodard 3
Author: M.J. Calabrese
Cover Artist: Jessica Henshall
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic Suspense
Trope/s: Murder and mayhem
Themes: Detective and Criminal Profiler
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 60 000 words
This is a trilogy and should be read in order
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
There was a time in Detective Eagle Woodard’s life that he would like to forget, but Eagle’s past catches up with him and it’s threatening to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear.
Dr. Adam Coulter is recovering from a cancer diagnosis and Adam and Eagle’s relationship is stronger than ever, but the continued disappearance of their son, Michael, overshadows their happiness. A new threat appears in the form of a man Detective Eagle Woodard thought dead. Sergeant Dean Kessler aka ‘The Viking’ is on a mission to destroy his old Black Ops team mate. Secrets held in silence by Eagle for over a decade come to the surface, threatening his relationship with Adam and with Eagle’s family.
Not only is The Viking after Eagle, but when Dean Kessler finds his younger brother is in Albuquerque, he becomes a target for his older brother’s revenge as well. Eagle wants to deal with Dean on his own, but the people who care for Eagle the most aren’t about to let him do this by himself.
The question is, will Eagle be able to keep the worst part of himself locked away or will he need ‘The Skinwalker’ to help him defeat ‘The Viking’?
Author’s Note: This book begins about six months after the end of Book 2 in the Coulter/Woodard series. This is the third planned book in the Coulter/Woodard series. No others are planned at this time, but who knows if the muse will strike. There are secondary characters who might need to have their stories told, but if they do, then the stories will be standalone novels.
PLEASE NOTE: This story contains some scenes of BDSM, drug abuse, and violent death. If these are triggers for you, this book may not be for you.
“Oh, God, Eagle. I wasn’t ready. Grace told me I wasn’t ready, but I thought I was. Oh, God, Eagle! I wasn’t ready to hear those words.” A tearful Dr. Adam Jonathon Coulter-Woodard walked quickly away from the entrance of the LGBTQ Health Clinic. He had circled the desert landscaped courtyard in front of the building by the time Eagle Woodard placed his foot on the last step.
Detective Eagle Woodard stood silent, watching his husband freak out. He knew if he let Adam run off some of his nervous energy then they’d be able to talk. They’d prepared for this moment for six months… or so he thought. Adam saw his psychotherapist, Grace, twice a week, and once a month Eagle joined them for a co-session. After all the trauma his lover had suffered in his life and the revelations of the past few years, in Eagle’s opinion, his mercurial husband needed all the help he could get.
He watched as Adam flopped down on a concrete bench and he buried his shaking head in his hands. Eagle rolled his eyes at the dramatics. He’d married a diva. He’d known that from the start, but couldn’t the man, for once, be normal? Eagle sighed and turned as he heard footsteps on the walkway behind him. Rick Kessler’s face told him everything he needed to know and the large, white envelope in his hand confirmed it. It would contain test results and a referral to an outside physician. Rick made too much money for the Center’s programs. He could see the younger man trying to hold it together, but the closer he got to Eagle the more his face crumpled.
Eagle opened his arms and Rick walked into the embrace, burying his face against his partner’s shoulder as he started to cry. Eagle reached up, stroking Rick’s soft, blond hair, swaying side to side, trying to soothe him. Rick didn’t have to say the words, he knew his friend was HIV positive. The tears subsided and the younger man pulled back. “I swear, I haven’t been with that many guys in my life, but of course one of them had to be positive. Eagle…” His words failed him as he fell back into his former lover’s arms.
As Eagle held the younger man, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. It was an old warning. He hadn’t felt something this strong in a very long time. Raising his eyes, he checked the perimeter, but nothing seemed amiss. Only a lone coyote trotted across the street, turning for an instant to look at him before moving on. The feeling grew stronger and he knew they were being watched by a hostile. His time in Special Ops had helped him hone this sixth sense. Slowly, tilting his head, he glanced up at the parking garage across the street. For a fleeting instant, he thought he saw a ghost, a Ch’íindii, but then he blinked and there was nothing there. He had a sick feeling in his stomach. Something was here. Something formidable and this feeling was a harbinger, a warning to him to be very careful because death was close by.
Rick turned his head as he looked over at Adam then he snickered. “I knew he’d react like that when he got the news. He’s a fucking drama queen.” He looked up at Eagle, “And I knew you’d be a rock. You always are.” Again, he dropped his head. “My life is over, Eagle. I’ve fucked up one last time and my life is over.”
Eagle laughed, “Now who’s being a drama queen. Your doctor will get you started on meds if you need them. You’ll have a normal life span, Rick. It’s not like it used to be.”
He felt Rick’s shoulders droop a little further, “But the job…”
“You’d be surprised how many on the force are positive and a number of them aren’t gay, by the way. If you don’t tell anyone, all this information is confidential, and no one needs to know.”
Again, Rick stepped back, but this time he started to walk away. Eagle took a few hurried steps and caught up with him, grabbing his arm. Suddenly, Rick whirled around, bringing his hands up, he captured Eagle’s face between his palms and kissed him passionately. Eagle took hold of his former lover’s hands and brought them down between them as he broke the kiss. “I don’t want to be alone, Eagle, please….” Just then Eagle’s phone rang. The Detective snatched it from his pocket and was surprised to see the name of the caller on the screen. He took the call as he turned away from Rick.
“Detective Woodard, you’d better get to Presbyterian’s ER. Your son was just admitted, and his asshole boyfriend is trying to get him out of here. He’s in bad shape. Someone’s beaten him half to death. Hurry.”
About the Author
My mother now regrets her fateful words she offered the day I came home from our small town library in Palm Springs, California (yes, I’m a Cali girl) complaining that there were no more books to read. “Then why don’t you write some.”
My father never saw his old Remington portable until I entered college and they gifted me an IBM Selectric. By then I had produced at least two dozen unpublishable novels which make me cringe when I read them today.
I found inspiration in innumerable odd jobs (from migrant work as a Date palm pollinator to the person who cleans the washing machines at the launderette to professional Dominatrix) for stories. After a stint in Rehab for Alcohol and Heroin abuse (so when I write those scenes, I know what I’m talking about), I cleaned up and have stayed that way for 29 years. (Me and Sir Elton, LOL). My gypsy lifestyle gave me a unique perspective on the different people who inhabited the Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California, and New Mexico areas where I have lived.
After 3 very bad marriages to men, I finally figured out what was wrong and fell in love with a woman when I lived in Portland, OR 23 years ago. We’ve been married since 2008 (yes it was legal in California at that time). We now live in Asheville, NC and love the people in this liberal and accepting corner of the mountains of North Carolina.
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Rating: 3.5 stars
After the events in book 2, Eagle and Adam’s relationship has gone from strength to strength. Adam is recovering from his battle with cancer however they are both still troubled by the disappearance of their son, Michael. Things take a much darker turn when a man from Eagle’s past returns. The Viking – Sergeant Dean Kessler – is killing all his former black ops teammates and their families. He has set his sights on Eagle next. Eagle, whilst battling his own demons, must find the strength to protect himself and those he loves, whilst also ensuring that he does not lose himself in the process.
This series always has me scratching my head about what rating to give it. As with Books 1 and 2 there are parts I enjoyed and parts that I didn’t so much.
Starting with the parts I liked. The premise for book 3 differed a lot from the previous books in the series. The stakes were higher and it made for a gripping reading. The character of the Viking is an extremely disturbed and sadistic individual who presented a very credible and dangerous threat to the protagonists. At one point it could have gone either way with who was ultimately going to survive and the final confrontation keeps the reader on a knife-edge up until the last second. I liked the role that Adam played in this final confrontation. It was completely unexpected and I don’t think any of the other characters saw it coming either! The writing has continued to improve although there was some info dump in places that would have been better shown to the reader rather than told.
I didn’t like the continued additional drama. The novel, like the last one, would have benefitted from having a lot of this cut out. It would have made a sharper and more thrilling read if it was less complicated. Also I still had trouble keeping track of how all the relationships fitted together. Some of this was getting a little ridiculous by the time I reached the end (who would be happy that their husband slept with their sister/niece? just to get them pregnant? There are clinics for that nowadays and it would be a far less complicated solution too!).
So yes this was another mixed bag for me. This is now the end of the series. There are going to be further books featuring the supporting characters but I am undecided whether or not I would read them.