Review: The Witch Queen of Halloween by Kresley Cole

Posted March 25, 2024 by Lucy D in Book Reviews, Paranormal Romance / 1 Comment

Review:  The Witch Queen of Halloween by Kresley ColeThe Witch Queen of Halloween (Immortals After Dark, #18.5) by Kresley Cole
Series: Immortals After Dark #18.5
Published by Valkyrie Press on March 26, 2024
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 190
Format: eBook
Source: Author
amazon b-n

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

The next spellbinding installment in the #1 New York Times bestselling Immortals After Dark series .
A demon soldier of fortune . . .Rök Kours dives into a dangerous job, only to cross swords with the one woman who bewitched him.
A Wiccan mercenary . . .Poppy Dyer has never let her uncontrollable magic interfere with her work, but she can barely withstand one demon's charms.
Trapped in a terrifying lair.If the two rivals can defeat Halloween's worst nightmares to escape a haunted castle, can they overcome their pasts to claim a future together?


Has a haunted house ever been so much fun? At least to us.

Poppy Dyer is a witch with a curse, and she is told that the only way to resolve it is to go the Raven’s Murk Castle in the Wilds of Canada.   The castle itself is warded and only opens on a full moon Halloween night. That’s tonight. She just has to make sure she gets out when the door opens again at sunrise or else she will be trapped inside until the next full moon Halloween, in 19 years. Since she only brought a muffin and a thermos of pumpkin spice tea with her, that might be a problem.  But maybe not more of a problem when being trapped inside with hot smoke demon/mercenary, Rök Kours.

Poppy was almost certain that she was Rök’s fated mate when their date two years ago resulted in the hottest kiss the world has ever seen.  But as a smoke demon, Rök can be summoned by any of the SWIMBOs (she who must be obeyed) that he has had sex with, and with Rök being over thirteen hundred years old, that’s a lot of SWIMBOs.  Their amazing date halts abruptly as Rök suddently disappears when he was summoned by one of said SWIMBOs, and doesn’t return.  Poppy realizes their connection can’t be as strong as she believed or why would he leave her in the middle of their date for sex with another female–because why else summon a hot demon like Rök. if not for sex.

As a mercenary,  Rök is obviously at the Castle trying to find something for a client but Poppy was warned if she finds what she needs “not to let anyone take if from her.”  Now she is trapped until morning with the one male who makes her crazy but she refuses to become just another SWIMBO in his lineup damn it!

Rök knew Poppy was his from their first kiss but he was convinced, under threat of deadly violence, that if he cared for Poppy that he would leave her alone to grow into a stronger witch.    Everyone knows that once a demon finds his mate, walking away from her is torture so between the most brutal gigs he can find, Rök spends his free time pacing his cabin and making holes in the walls smashing his horns against them.    Rök had just decided that he was done denying himself and Poppy when he overhears where Poppy has gone–all alone.    There is no way he is going to let his mate face that level of danger by herself.

But the biggest dangers seems to be coming from Poppy herself.  Every Halloween Poppy spends the day cursed by the spookiest things the human imagintion can dream up.  Except  this time the magic of the castle is feeding the illusions she is creating and giving them physical forms, all of them focused on getting to Poppy and Rök.   Suddenly fighting about their failed date or even worrying about making it out of the castle by sunrise seem silly, since they might not make it out of the next room.

I forgot how much I love this series.  There is always the blend of pop trivia, adventure and Kresley’s own Lore world building.  The woman are snarky and bold and the men charming and protective.  These stories are fun, exciting and sexy.

It has been two years since Munro was released and seven years since Wicked Abyss.  I started doing a re-read last year but only got three books in before I had to switch back to my growing TBR pile. But once upon a time, before I started blogging, I had done several re-reads of this series and still remembered most of the characters.  I certainly hadn’t forgotten Rök and his SWIMBOs.

While I wouldn’t want to try and take on some of the fictional nightmares that humans have created spook us, from vampire bats to Aliens to slasher movie killers, it was fun to watch Rök and Poppy work together to take them down.

There is an opening scene with Nïx, Loa and La Dorada which you will have to come back to after you finish.  It will make a little more sense after.    I found it funny that after La Dorada’s resurrection, even the Lore was running from her and now that she is almost completely resurrected (think: The Mummy) , she is now part of the “meeting of alpha bitches.”

There is also a happening at the end of the story and I have no idea where that is going but I can’t wait to find out.

Favorite Scene:

He knew his Alien lore! As the proud co-owner of a black cat named Newt, Poppy was impressed. High from Rök’s undivided attention, she leaned forward in her chair, chin propped on her hand, hearts in her eyes. Fellow diners kept staring at them, must sense the chemistry sparking between Rök and her.

For the umpteenth time tonight, she mused, What if I am his mate? He might not even realize it. Or was he feeling the same connection?

They’d shared similar interests, swapping merc tips and movie trivia. He’d laughed at her jokes and genuinely seemed to like her. And the attraction…Well, they hadn’t even made it to the front steps of the restaurant before they’d assailed each other. A selfie in the parking lot had turned into the best kiss of her life–and it’d only whetted her appetite for more of him.

When she was getting ready for the night earlier, her sisters had gathered in her room, warning her against going out with one of the Lore’s most notorious players. Lea had said, “You told us you wanted to settle down, right? You know you’re destined for a warlock. A demon can’t protect you from magic, but a warlock could. A fellow wiccan could even help you defeat your curse.”

This was…a good point. Their parents were an example of how witches and warlocks could amplify each other’s abilities. In any Wiccan calculation, more magic was always better than less magic. “It’s just a casual date,” Poppy had assured everyone.

After the four sisters had taken bets that one of Rök’s lovers would hail him before the dinner concluded, Sage had summed up their thoughts: “Demons are like bulls: horned and raring to chase any old red cape.”

Ha! How wrong they’d been. I’m not any old red cape.

And this was not just a casual date; something was happening here.

Keeping up with the conversation, Poppy pointed out, “Biship II’s offer to remove the alien from Ripley could have been real. Though I don’t think her character would have ever accepted that the alien inside her might live.”

“Exactly.” The gleam in Rök’s eyes made her feel praised. “Just like the priest who dove out of the window in The Exorcist. He couldn’t live with the idea that the demon might survive, which, by the way, stung a little.”

She chuckled at his aggrieved look. “So, what’s your best character sacrifice?”

He thought for a moment. “The dad in A Quiet Place. His chances before his death were better than nil, but he would do anything to save his beloved children.”

“You would’ve yelled and drawn the monster away from them?”

Rök held her gaze. “When you love something, you protect it.”

She swallowed, so caught up in this demon she could drown in him.

Caution warned, Just dip a toe.

Desire whispered, Heartfirst and make a splash.

Rök reached across the table and took her hand, leaning in to press his lips to the pulse point at her wrist.

“Player,” she murmured. “You’ve got your moves down, don’t you?”

He grinned against her skin. “And you keep calling me out on them…” He trailed off, his body beginning to blur. “Poppy–“

Her name seemed to echo for a beat as he vanished, leaving her hand in midair and the chair across from her empty.

She straightened, collecting herself. He would return directly; he just needed to tell the summoner that he was on a date. Rök had warned her that he sometimes disappeared.

Still, she wondered what he’d find when he answered that call. A naked temptress already in the throes? Would a player resist?

Pouring herself more pricey wine, Poppy waited for him.

She waited.

She waited.

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