Friday, July 3, 2009

Review – “The Highwayman” by Michele Hauf (and a giveaway)

Max Fitzroy, the legendary Highwayman, had slain scores of demons with a razorlike whip and a burning need for revenge. Now, to rid himself of the demon inside him—who'd cursed him with immortality and stolen all sensual pleasures—Max needed a witch's familiar, the one creature he'd made a career of killing.

But the Highwayman wasn't prepared for the familiar named Aby. The sleek and sexy conduit to the demon world saw past his swirling shadow as easily as he scaled the walls she'd erected to protect herself. Max needed Aby to grant him his freedom, and then he needed to slay her. But how could he destroy the only creature he'd desired in centuries?
The Highwayman is the first book in a new paranormal romance series by Michele called Wicked Games that is set in the same universe as her Bewitch the Dark series. This was the first book I picked up on the start of my summer break and it was the perfect choice – breezy and fun, sexy and satisfying.

Named the Highwayman because of his profession in 18th century France, Max is also a demon hunter and immortal.. Because familiars are conduits for witches to bring demons into the world, they are also his prey. Kill a familiar and he may save multiple lives by preventing demons entry to the world. Problem is Max himself is infected by a demon that deprives him of basic human comforts – he doesn’t sleep, dream or eat and while he can perform sexually he cannot climax. After centuries of this, Max desperately wants to rid himself of his demon taint and regain his mortality. And he needs the services of a familiar (a cat shapeshifter) to achieve this, and then of course he will kill her.

Aby is the familiar that Max approaches to assist him in his quest. She has been warned by her protector Severo, a werewolf, to avoid The Highwayman at all costs, that he is her enemy. In fact she has a tattoo on her arm to remind her of that fact. Aby has recently come out from under Severo’s protective shadow and in wanting to exert her new found independence, considers Max’s proposition to assist him. She also feels a certain attraction to him. Despite the fact that familiars require extended bouts of satiating sex to become a conduit for demons, Aby is innocent when it comes to intimacy and matters of love.
"The two of you don't kiss when you summon a demon?"
"Never. Kisses are too personal, Max. Jeremy respects me. He understands what we do together is a job." She clasped her hands beneath her chin. Her eyes absolutely twinkled. "Kiss me again."
"Again?" Max swallowed. He gripped his chest. Mercy.
How in hell did a woman who had lived four lifetimes manage to go without a kiss? It astounded him.
"The first for this life, right?"
She shrugged. "I think it's the first for all of them."
Max gulped audibly.
The Highwayman delivers a perfect blend of action and romance as Max and Aby set out to Paris to locate his ex-partner, who also shares the demon infection. Intrigue and betrayal follow. Max begins to fall for Aby and his resolve to kill her falters. Max and Aby have a great dynamic that makes you root for their success. Does Aby survive? Does Max regain his humanity? Is there a happily ever after? Read The Highwayman for answers to these questions. The Wicked Games series continues in September as Severo meets his match.

If you are looking for a perfect beach read for your own summer vacation, I have an autographed copy of The Highwayman up for grabs that Michele Hauf has generously provided. Michele remarks that “The apartment Max and Aby stay at in Paris is her dream apartment. A chaise, a bed, a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower”. To enter the giveaway leave a comment telling us what your ideal place and view would be on summer vacation. Contest open until Friday, July 10 at Midnight. Blog about the giveaway and leave a link for an extra entry.

Behind the Scenes Tidbits About The Highwayman (from Michele’s Blog)
  • The heroine started out as a white Persian cat-shifting familiar. Halfway through the book I thought "I so cannot see a fluffy white persian kicking butt" so I switched her to an Abyssinian, which, through research, I learned was a breed that is very chummy with dogs. Worked out perfect because her best friend is a werewolf.
  • This was originally a love triangle story, featuring Max, Aby and Severo. I wanted Aby and Severo to have had a sexual relationship. But, you know, after you've written a good part into the story, you can see the forest for the trees. Or is that the trees for the forest? Anyway, it was best she didn't have that kind of relationship with the wolf.
  • I was going to buy absinthe (for research purposes) but do you know a bottle is like $80? I decided to just imagine, and Google it.
  • Max drives a Mustang because I wanted to somehow work in the image of a highwayman riding a horse (mustang; horse; get it?) I know. Don't complain, just accept it. :-)
  • Harlequin actually made up a nifty little graphic of Aby's tattoo (how it looks at the END of the story) and was going to insert it on the last page. It got missed, and instead it's just depicted using regular text.
  • The name of the dude at the beginning who gets wasted... That's my hubby's first and middle name. Hee. I like to use names of people I love for the dead guys. Used my son's name for In The Event Of My Death, a Harlequin Audible read.


Official Michele Hauf Website
Michele’s Blog – Dusted by Whimsy

Read the Prologue and Chapter 1.

Harlequin/Silhouette Nocturne
Published: July 1, 2009
ISBN #: 9780373618156
Format: Paperback
Pages: 274

Wicked Games Series:

  1. The Highwayman (July 1, 2009)
  2. Moon Kissed (September 2009)
  3. Her Vampire Husband (April 2010)

"After The Kiss" (ebook – September 2009)

Bewitch the Dark Series:

  1. From The Dark (2006)
  2. Kiss Me Deadly (2007 - available as a free download from Harlequin)
  3. His Forgotten Forever (2008)
  4. The Devil To Pay (2009)


  1. My ideal summer place would be my grandfather's place in Tabina, Philippines with a picture perfect view of clearest waters of the beach on the front and the untouched jungle in the back with the sounds of the jungle in the background! And a book in my lap. No telephones (no landlines anyway), no malls, no pollution, no traffic and honking cars.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi there! My ideal summer place to visit would be Pompeii, Italy. I've actually been there before, and we had a lovely hotel, but I think this time I'd choose a place with a view of the ruins, not the train station!

  4. Ideal summer place would be a suite at Hotel Del in Coronado, CA, where I could lay on the beach and lounge and read all summer.

    I linked to your contest on my site:

  5. A rustic cabin in Denali, Alaska with a front porch picturesque view of snow covered Mount McKinley. Hey, it's after 7 PM CST and still 106 right now...

  6. That sounds delicious Cherry.

    Kimberly anywhere in Italy would be fine by me.

    Suzie I've visited (but not stayed ) there. Awesome hotel.

    Cybercliper it's only about 65 degrees here right now. Nice and cool *grin*

  7. Absinthe for research purposes. Thats's funny =)

    One of the perfect summer views for me would be a bacony on the edge of a cliff with an ocean view. You can smell the salty air and feel the breeze, making the curtains dance and your hair move like the patterns of the waves. Every morning would renew and rejuvenate, while every sunset would be gorgeous and unwordly. That's pretty perfect, don't you think?

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

    lindanmc (at)

  8. Copenhagen, Denmark. I absolutely love it there. Beautiful country.

  9. Ideal vacation/view/ summer: On any of the Greece Cyclade islands

  10. Thanks for the great review!

    My ideal summer place would be our summer cottage in the Finnish archipelago, just me and the sea and all the small, tiny islands and cliffs and some lonely seagull...And a beautiful sunset.

  11. My ideal summer place would be a seaside cottage in Nova Scotia

  12. My ideal summer place is right where I am Blacksburg, VA. I have the mountains, low humidity, great views and wonderful friends. Who can ask for anything more.

  13. My ideal place would be on the bottom and to the side of a mountain. Looking out I would see forest all around on one side and a huge lake or an inlet on the other side. Does this beautiful place have a name? Not yet but one of these days I will find it.

  14. A fine review! Don't enter me - I'm reading this book and really enjoying it myself. I am rooting for this couple, like crazy.

  15. Hard one, I would so visit the Seychelles. They look like paradise with those white beaches and clear blue ocean. A little house on that beach would be heaven

  16. My ideal place would be on a beach in Hawaii!

  17. My ideal place would be a rustic house (as in has heat and AC) set in the woods next to a babbling brook. I'd want some lawn area around one side where I could set up a lawn chair to plop down in and read.

    I also had to google absinthe.

    lynda98662 at yahoo cot com

  18. My perfect summer place would be in the Rockies in BC. I can imagine being in a cabin by a crystal clear lake and surrounded by mountains. None of the city sounds at all but instead birds, bugs and the water being the only noises I would hear. I think it would be a little bit of heaven on earth.

  19. We'll be driving up to Lapland with my man, so this summer that's my ideal place for summer vacation. Driving through thick forests, admiring the view, trying not to hit any reindeers...

  20. Hi Doug

    I'm running the same contest, so don't enter me. I did link your review and contest to mine to offer another chance to winning, hope you don't mind.

    Dottie :)

  21. My ideal place for a summer vacation would be a beach vacation in Hawaii.

  22. Small cabin on a remote beach somewhere on one of the Hawaii islands. Ahh...I can almost see it now.

    Thanks for the great contest!

    iiiioneloveiiii (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  23. My ideal summer place is to be on any beach where the water is clear enough to see my toes.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  24. My ideal summer place is my friends house on the beach. Curled up with a book and some pringles and cold ice lemon juice :) now that is my ideal holiday. Please add me into your competition.

  25. i tweeted your competition :)

  26. I would choose Sweden, on some of those pretty little lakes.

  27. We atayed in a timeshare in Delray Beach Florida. It was a townhouse and the large bedroom window faced the ocean. We could watch sunrise and the waves and the birds.... Loved it!

  28. Place: Ireland
    View: Lots of Green

    I've been wanting to make that trip for a long time now. Something always comes up to stop me. But maybe one day...I still hope.

  29. Ideal place: Isle of Capri in Italy

    Ideal view: The beautiful Mediterranean Sea & the coast of the mainland of Italy.

    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

  30. My idea summer vacation spot - would be someplace quiet - I would probably pick a cabin in the woods with lots of windows and lots of trees - so slightly dark. The cabin would have to have a comfy couch for reading lots of books.

    budletsmom at yahoo dot com

  31. My ideal place would be a cabin in the woods with a view on a river (that would be my best friends house ;)) No noise, no traffic, most important NO PHONES and lots of books to read.

  32. My idea summer place would be somewhere in Ireland looking at the scenery and greenery. Thanks for this great giveaway and please count me in.


  33. I am a follower

    My ideal summer place would be a bed & breakfast on the magical Hawaiian island of Maui.

    Please enter me and thank you for the giveaway

  34. My ideal summer place would be in my Uncle's Ranch where I can watch the sunrise and sunrise. Oh, its breathtaking.

    I blogged about this contest at my Lj:


  35. ===================================
    Thanks everyone for your participation. Some wonderful vacation spots. Sigh. Oh to live in the style to which I would like to become accustomed.

    CRYSTALGB is our lucky winner!



  36. شركات نقل العفش بالدمام نقل عفش بالدمام نقل اثاث بالدمام شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة شركة نقل عفش بجدة شركة نقل عفش بالرياض شركة تنظيف بالطائف شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.


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