Folk Lore: Where the Devil Says Goodnight – K.A. Merikan
— Forgive me, Father, for I will sin —
Adam. Catholic priest. Celibate. Does not yield to temptation.
Emil. Sinner. Seducer. Snake. Hot as hell itself.
After a sheltered childhood ruled by religion, all Adam wants is to be a good priest and make his parents proud. But it’s hard to stay virtuous in a big city like Warsaw, and when he makes one slip up, his life spirals into ruin. He is sent to a tiny mountain village where he hopes to live down his shame and work on restraint.
But staying celibate becomes far from easy when he meets Emil, a local man with long dark hair, a mysterious past, and as little morality as he has luck. Emil has no qualms about flirting with a priest. Worse still, he seems hell-bent on tasting forbidden fruit and unearthing the desires Adam has always kept hidden.
The odd village hides secrets far more sinister than Adam’s insatiable lust for Emil. Old Slavic magic looms everywhere. Superstition mixes with reality. Someone is watching his every move. Someone follows him in the dark, lurking in the shadows of the ancient forest. Adam is plagued by disturbing events, and Emil could be his only salvation even if he is the devil himself.
Can a priest shepherd the black sheep to safety or has he been the wolf all along?
Genre: Dark, paranormal M/M romance
Erotic content: Scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes
Themes: Occult, witchcraft, Slavic superstition and myth, folklore, priest, forbidden love, hurt/comfort, metalhead, little town, temptation, religion, paganism, cult, old gods, possession, demons, magic, homophobia, bigotry, prejudice, coming out, fish out of water, soul mates, mysterious man, tease and denial
Length: ~ 120,000 words (standalone)
WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, self-harm, and morally ambiguous characters.
I’ve wanted to read this ever since they unveiled that gorgeous cover. The thing is, K.A. Merikan is a hit or miss with me. It took two tries before this book finally stuck.
Where The Devil Says Goodnight has a setting rarely seen in MM romance. The story mostly took place in a small Polish village of Dybukowo, picturesque, eerie, and timeless in a way that feels jarring whenever they mention modern technology like internet or cellphones.
Father Adam, a young priest caught with a porn mag in his room, was sent from Warsaw to the village to keep him away from temptation. But temptation came in the form of a tattooed metalhead and village pariah Emil. At first, Adam tried offering just his friendship, but the lure was too strong, and with a dark entity giving him all his deepest, darkest desires, it wasn’t long until Emil and he became secret lovers.
I was ready to dive deep into everything the story promised to offer. Occultism, Slavic paganism, dark magic and how they blend and clash with Catholicism is fascinating to someone whose own country, halfway across the world from Poland, is similarly influenced. These are the best parts of the story, and they made the horror elements extra creepy.
Sadly, the book didn’t delve deeply enough into these, just touching the surface. The plot straddles the line between paranormal and horror. The midnight church scene scared me the most when narrator Wyatt Baker used special effects for his demon voice. Man, it gave me a jolt! And that was when I fully committed.
The paranormal elements were mostly lowkey, the kind that Adam would shrug off as his imagination or thought he was being gaslighted. I preferred the paranormal to be more overt, just so there would be excitement to keep the plot from dragging. The story moved slowly, with only the narrator’s energetic delivery to keep me going. And it’s a long ass book too.
I am not a fan of religious officials as gay romantic leads because they tend to be miserably hard on themselves. The story is in dual POV. Adam’s internal dialogue is childishly naive, self-flagellatory and mistrustful, making him pathetic rather than sympathetic. The man willingly sleeps with Emil, then gives me whiplash with his denials and accusations right after.
I hate it when people, cheaters especially, don’t take responsibility for their actions. Instead they blame the “seducer,” the “tempter,” or the devil for leading them into sin. Almost always after they do the deed, Adam would blame Emil for leading him away from the righteous path, even accusing the poor guy of putting a spell on him. Dude, you can always say no and walk away. Emil wasn’t holding a gun to your head.
Emil is the more interesting character, a country bad boy who’s more worldly than the virgin city mouse while also a cinnamon roll of sorts. The villagers consider him as a cursed good-for-nothing. He comes from a family of whisperer women, a kind of witch or shaman dealing with the old gods of the land. His most loyal companion is his black stallion, Jinx.
Emil tries his hand at various endeavors, from palm reading to wine making, so he could earn enough money to leave. The man really tried but with his abysmal bad luck, there’s always one reason or another he cannot leave the village. A lonely gay man with few options and a non-believer, he has no qualms sleeping with a closeted priest he soon fell in love with.
The romance was my least favorite simply because I wasn’t convinced it would work. There’s too much lack of trust for them to function as a couple. But I’m glad I stuck around till the end, because when Adam let his beast out, and a fabulous beast he is, he was way more likable. I wish he did it earlier, because it was almost too late, but he and Emil finally convinced me they were it.
Where The Devil Says Goodnight was a tough read but worth it in the end. The almost unconvincing romance and unlikable MC was offset by the atmospheric setting, the fascinating glimpse into Slavic culture, and a satisfying conclusion that made all the difference. YMMV but all in all, a mix bag of blessings and curses.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
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Monstrous: Soul Eater – Lily Mayne
Twenty years ago, monsters rose on earth and began a new age of civilization.
One where humans live in military-controlled, cramped and dirty cities along the coasts, and the majority of the United States is known as the Wastes. A lawless, desolate and dangerous place, teeming with monsters that have claimed the land for their own.
Including Wyn the Soul Eater.
He appears every three years, making his way across the country and slaughtering humans randomly, sucking them dry until they’re nothing but husks.
I’ve only been in the military for six months, but now I’m part of a unit tasked with trying to stop and capture him. And when I’m the only soldier out of hundreds that the Soul Eater leaves alive, I realise that… something about me has intrigued him.
But what is it? What could a twenty-three year old guy from the south, with no one and nothing in the world, have possibly done to capture the attention of a death monster with horns, blackened fingertips and a face hidden in the dark depths of his hood?
Soul Eater is the debut novel of Lily Mayne. It is the first in a planned post-apocalyptic fantasy series featuring monsters and human men falling in love. This m/m love story contains explicit content and is not suitable for young readers. It also contains scenes of violence, but don’t worry—they get their happy ending.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
Monstrous: Edin – Lily Mayne
I was just a boy when the monsters rose on earth, forcing humans to flee to the coastlines and live in cramped, dirty, military-controlled cities. I enlisted as soon as I could to escape.
Now, I’ve been in the military for twelve years and have the scars—and missing body parts—to prove it. As a hardened soldier who’s spent his fair share of time out in the Wastes—the dangerous place where monsters roam free—I didn’t think anything could surprise me anymore.
But then circumstance forced me together with a big, annoying purple monster who’s arrogant and bossy and pushes all my buttons in the worst—and best—ways. I need his help, and I hate needing anyone’s help. But the more time I spend with him, the more I realise that maybe there’s more from him that I need. And that he might need things from me too.
But I’m still a soldier. I still have responsibilities. It doesn’t matter how I feel about Edin, because we can’t be together. It’s too dangerous.
That doesn’t stop me wanting him, though.
Edin is Book Two of the Monstrous series, a post-apocalyptic m/m fantasy series that focuses on monsters and human men falling in love. It is best to read the series in order. Warning: This m/m love story contains explicit content and is not suitable for young readers. It also contains graphic depictions of torture and violence, and mentions PTSD.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Monstrous is a series that piqued my interest because I saw some eye-catching monster/human fanarts. The next thing I knew, I was swept away into the wastelands of post-apocalyptic America, where an interdimensional tear allowed monsters to come to Earth. Humans’ only sanctuary was to live on the coastlines. The army controls everything.
The series opens with Soul Eater, told from the POV of new military recruit Danny Sullihan, a soldier woefully ill-suited to the job. This Southern boy is too innocent and laid-back.
For some reason, the recently captured and much-dreaded serial killer, known as the Soul Eater kept asking to talk to him. Then one day, the Soul Eater busted out of his cage and let loose all the other monsters the military kept in captivity. Danny chooses to go with him rather than risk the wastelands alone.
Majority of the plot is Danny and Wyn the Soul Eater traveling the wastelands and avoiding the army while Danny learns why Wyn is killing people. He also discovers the person behind the dark hood might be a grumpy bastard, but a grumpy bastard who always makes sure to find him his favorite food, a.k.a. peanut butter, whenever they go scavenging.
The chemistry between Wyn and Danny went from simmering to nuclear, and I loved them so much! I especially loved how Wyn is so ferociously protective of his sweet human, especially that innately pure part of Danny who wouldn’t even pull a gun on another monster.
There is so much more than romance here. There’s an endless adventure and eye-opening exploration, an utterly endearing friendship between Wyn and his best friend, the purple giant, Edin, and gut-wrenching scenes that were almost too much to bear. It made me infinitely glad, Danny has the Soul Eater in his corner. All in all, this is monster romance done to perfection!
The second book, Edin, is told from the POV of Hunter, a 12-year military veteran with a prosthetic leg and a spec ops of some sort. He and his best friend, Charlie, came across the ruins of the base destroyed by the freed monsters. Then Charlie was captured by a new group of monsters. Edin found Hunter in a bind and after helping him, agreed to assist in rescuing Charlie.
This is what I loved most about Edin. The big guy goes around the wastelands helping people he stumbles across. Just because. He’s an adorable teddy bear who loves taking care of people. The part where he helped Hunter with his prosthetic was such a tender moment.
Hunter might be a surly, sarcastic, anti-social bastard, but he’s loyal to a fault. Very determined to get Charlie back at all costs, he took Edin’s help for granted. But the longer they were together, he had a better appreciation of Edin’s kindness. I wasn’t too keen on him at first, but as his character grew, he endeared himself to me.
Edin and Hunter have different dynamics, but their chemistry is as sizzling as Wyn and Danny’s. There is a bit of a size difference power play here, but I’m glad Hunter is a big guy himself too. At first, Hunter struggled with his attraction to Edin, but after seeing Edin’s best friend and his human boyfriend, he shed all his qualms and took the leap. They went nuclear too!
The plot delves deeper into the Monstrous world, revealing more monster+human interactions, mostly the violent type, and a few romantic ones that surprise Hunter. The rescue mission was a thrilling, action-packed adventure and a long overdue comeuppance to those who hurt Danny, courtesy of Wyn. The ending was a lovely, cozy domestic affair, and I couldn’t be happier for our gentle purple giant and his Hunter!
I wish like hell narrator Michael Lesley would be able to finish the entire series because his monster voices are delightfully spine-tingling! The books should be read in order and best consumed as audiobook.
If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Monstrous. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.