Liquid Silver Books, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-62210-227-3
Fantasy Romance, 2015
Talk about a confusing first chapter. If you do not know that Marie Laveau is both the name of the famous Voodoo Queen of New Orleans back in the 19th century and the name of her daughter as well, you are going to spend a while scratching your head at that chapter. You see, the author mentions that “old” Marie Laveau is sick and has taken to bed. And yet, our hero Mark Afton is having fortune read by a “young Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau”.
“Let me take your hands, Mr. Afton. Please relax your mind.”
Marie Laveau’s tender dark fingers closed around his rougher white ones.
“This won’t hurt, I assure you,” she said with a hint of teasing. “I’m sure you have a bright future ahead of you, sir. Let me peer into your soul.”
Mark tried to relax, focusing on her sonorous voice, but his inner wolf remained alert, afraid to let his guard down. When he’d received word that Marie Laveau had taken to bed with fever, he’d jumped at the chance to have his fortune read by her daughter. He didn’t trust any of the other Voodoo practitioners in New Orleans. Hell, he didn’t even trust her mother.
See what I mean? A simple clarification, such as calling the daughter “the younger Marie Laveau” or “Marie Laveau the second” would have made things clearer. I don’t know why the author didn’t do that or her editor didn’t suggest that.
Alpha’s Voodoo is about Mark, of course. He is the werewolf leader of the Bayou Pack, and he learns from Marie Laveau the younger that his family has been cursed by the older Marie Laveau. So, no wife for Mark. However, he will have a mate! Mark is like, wait, is there a difference? Marie the younger insists that there is, and he’d find out soon enough, as soon as he finds this mate, which has a “heart-shaped birthmark above her derriere”.
Three years later, Violet Creed sneaks out to listen to Marie (the older or the younger, I have no idea) and, from what I understand (since things happen off-stage), she gets voodoo’ed and ends up giving away her virginity to some guy in front of an audience. Her parents find out and, aghast at how their daughter had carried herself, throws her out of the house and onto the streets. She ends up in the care of a pimp, and it is time to make her debut as a lady for hire. Guess who turns out to be her first customer.
I have a hard time believing that Violet would be so innocent if she had been living with a madam, but that’s what happens in this story. Mark teaches her basic things, like touching herself here and there, and she’d go wide-eyed and ooh, people touch themselves there, ooh-ooh-ooh when she’s not crying and weeping because her life is so sad. And then, all of a sudden Mark’s enemy shows up out of nowhere to menace everyone – I guess that’s so that the story has some semblance of plot. But really, that guy just pops out, he may as well be wheeled into the story as some kind of jack-in-a-box.
Alpha’s Voodoo reads like a story in which the author is just making things up as she goes along. After all, new twists and turns pop up in the story without any preliminaries. While Mark is a nice guy for an alpha – he is really concerned about Violet’s feelings and what not – Violet jettisons anything interesting Mark brings to the story by being a one-dimensional victim whose submissiveness and innocence don’t feel real at all, unless I’m to believe that she must have been born just the day before, sprung full-grown from her mother’s womb. If Violet is not shedding tears or crying or gasping in confusion, she’s going all wide-eyed as Mark shows her the fun she can have by playing with her body. This isn’t a person – Violet may as well be one of those Japanese robot girlfriend things.
This one also suffers from numerous mistakes (“duel nature” when it should be “dual nature”, for example) and some inflammatory sentences. I can’t figure out whether the inflammatory passages are deliberate or accidental, given how amateurish and poorly edited the entire story is. Here’s a taste:
Growing up she’d only mooned over men of her own race. Marie Laveau’s magic had caused her to only crave those of a fair complexion. Ever since that night she hadn’t given a second thought to any of the handsome black men she’d passed and there were plenty of strapping men of her race working on the Southern Rose. It was a curse. It had to be a curse.
Mind you, it wouldn’t be so bad if these things have been addressed adequately after the author brought them up, but this story is basically on a linear train track straight down into a chasm: sex, sex, sex, bad guy gone, heroine’s issues over, happy ending now. The whole thing reads like an underdeveloped, inadequately proofread first draft of some half-baked ideas doodled onto toilet paper while the author is enjoying her quiet time in the toilet.
Could Alpha Voodoo be interesting if it had been put through a few more rounds of polishing? Maybe. In its current form, though, I’d need some powerful voodoo done on me to convince myself that this story is even a little readable. It’s really that bad. First draft, lock it in a drawer, and burn the drawer at once kind of bad.