Reviewed by Stephanie D. for Readers' Favorite
"Stone Kisses" by Tessa Stokes is a gentle yet very sensual paranormal romance. Stella makes a trip to the garden centre, and takes a fancy not only to a stone statue of the handsome Mercury but also to the assistant there, Justin. However, Mercury is well out of her price range but Justin sees how struck she is with the statue and so delivers it to her. An act of incredible kindness? Yes, and no. There is an ulterior motive and a bet which involves Greek and Roman gods winning the hearts of mortals. Stella is caught up in this, but not unfavorably. She loves both the men who enter her life, even though one is a garden ornament. Little by little Mercury becomes more than that, and the fun and adventure really begins. Mercury goes missing and it is surprisingly tricky to find a large, lost statue.
This is a quirky and very imaginative story. Tessa Stokes has a rather understated style, so the whole story appears simpler than it is. It develops slowly but surely and the reader is pulled into this modern fantasy. We gradually learn more about our sympathetic characters and become very involved in their lives, mortal and immortal. There is plenty of fun at the heart of this story, but there is sadness, seriousness and real tension too at times. It is entertaining, unique and far from predictable, thanks to the author’s bright creativity. A highly enjoyable novella that is hard to put down.
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Read a fun excerpt (I usually post romance but this book has some fun within too)
It was very dark as there was no moon to be seen and the air was satin with unshed rain. Mercury heard them before he saw them. Two people, a man, and a woman. They had a torch and a wheelbarrow, which kept catching on the bushes that edged the path leading to this side of the building. When the path widened out to the square of concrete and the little access road, which meant the truck for the skip collection could get in, he heard the trundling sound of the wheelbarrow. Mercury thought they had two wheelbarrows when he could hear the sounds properly.
The people stopped and the woman held the torch whilst the man climbed into the skip.
Mercury listened to them.
“Frieda point it a bit further over here I can’t see what this is.” The man’s voice came.
“Okay Gabe but it’s not the strongest beam. I told you we should have got the other one too. What have you got there?” The woman answered.
“Rabbits, three of them and not too damaged either. Here take them. I’ll pass them one at once and there’s a gnome here too, just the top of his hat is missing. Two small frogs with chunks out of the back. Hey, a nice set of blue stone pots, oh wait a minute they are all cracked down one side, but no matter we can salvage them. Get a move on Frieda,” the man admonished, and Mercury if he could have, would have laughed. They were stealing the broken stuff.
He listened as they loaded their wheelbarrows and thought what does it matter? It was only going to be broken up for road fill anyway. If they want it who cares?
They trundled off with their wheelbarrows, but Gabe came back about five minutes later and looked around the other side of the skip.
Mercury heard the woman approach too.
“Gabe what are you up to? Come on don’t stay too long, and don’t stray in too far or the alarms will go.”
Mercury agreed with her and then Gabe was in front of him.
“Frieda check this out. They’ve tossed out a bloody great statue,” the man said peering at Mercury’s face.
Frieda appeared and lit the place up with her torch. The two were older than Mercury had expected maybe mid-fifties. They both had graying hair and were dressed almost identically in dark blue trousers and padded jackets. The woman had a kind face and she looked hard at Mercury.
“He’s a handsome specimen and no mistake. I can’t see anything wrong with him Gabe. Do you reckon you could lift him? Let’s take him; we could definitely sell him on.”
Gabe chuckled. “I’ll never lift him Frieda. Go and get the sack trolley we’ll manage him that way.”
Frieda left with the torch, but Mercury had heard the words ‘sell him on’, and was feeling decidedly uplifted by these events.
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