Book Review: Shades of Black ~ The House Phoenix Book Series Book 4

Title: Shades of Black ~ The House Phoenix Book Series Book 4
Author: S. W. Vaughn
Author Website: Readers note that currently unavailable
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Price: $5.50
Link to purchase

What I liked: “At the moment, we all have to accept that Dell Ramone does not exist. Including me.” The statement emerged as a groan. “You use that name, and all this is for nothing.”


Eluding an enemy requires always staying a few steps ahead. Dell Ramone usually keeps a safe distance from her nemesis, Loyal, who has vowed to hunt down and kill Dell. Loyal is getting closer and Dell’s closest friends are paying with their lives. Will Dell have enough strength after all this time to face Loyal? Is she up for the challenge?

Or make that, is he?

Dell Ramone reverts to her ‘other’ in the male form Randall Tyler. Dell, or rather Randall, acts out of unselfishness to thwart the force of evil unleashed by the despicable Loyal who will not rest until he has what he wants. Dell/Randall’s self-sacrifice of identity goes against everything Dell believes in, but only as Randall can Dell hope to throw a wrench into Loyal’s plans. Dell triumphs in true loyalty in ways that Loyal (with a whole other notion of loyalty) never can.

This fourth volume of the House of Phoenix Series is the latest release from author S. W. Vaughn who keeps the suspense flowing from the first few pages. Vaughn’s two adversaries and a supporting cast bring the battle of wits to a strong climax but with just enough time to catch your breath until the next promised chapter. Vaughn’s anticipated fifth book of this series follows shortly.


Book blurb: The hunted must become the hunter.

For the past fifteen years, Randall Tyler has lived as Dell Ramone—glamorous transvestite, international smuggler, and leader of House Dionysus, the Queens branch of an organization for underground street fighting. Dell’s constant companion and bodyguard is Ania, whom she rescued from a vicious human slave trader in the process of putting him away for life—or so she thought. 

Now the slaver, Loyal Sims, is out of prison and hungry for Dell’s blood. As Loyal tortures and slaughters his way through Dell’s loved ones, she is forced to become Randall once again, and take refuge with Angel—the organization’s newest House leader, and the only one Loyal doesn’t know. 

But soon, even Randall isn’t safe any more. With Loyal and the NYPD scouring the city for Dell in any form, male or female, Randall is forced to turn the tables and hunt the hunter—because this time, if he doesn’t bring Loyal down first, everyone he cares for will die.

Warning: Contains violence, torture, and human slavery.

Book excerpt: You’re dead, bitch.

More from anger than fear, Dell’s hands shook as she stood before the sink in Angel’s too-bright bathroom. Damn it, how in the hell did Loyal get out? Somebody must have pulled some serious strings to cut him loose. The fact that it took five years to do it just proved how dangerous he was.

She turned on the cold water, bent and splashed some on her overheated face. It didn’t help. She closed her eyes and saw Eddie’s brains blowing out the back of his head. If only she could have gotten to him, warned him somehow…

But Ania had been right. By then he was already gone. Once Loyal Sims marked someone for death, they were dead. Period.

The only way she could survive now was to kill him first. And for that, she needed time.

A knock on the door drew her attention. Maybe that Umekai chick needed the bathroom. She seemed all right, and Dell hated not being able to explain anything to her. But she’d learned the hard way to limit her trust only to those who earned it. She didn’t know this woman yet. Angel, she trusted.

It wasn’t Umekai on the other side of the door. Ania stood there looking like a wartime telegram messenger, and Dell knew she wasn’t going to like whatever her bodyguard had to say. Peering past her, she said, “Where’s the chick?”

“She went downstairs.” Ania slid between her and the door, then stood by the shower and waited until they were closed in. “He’ll find you,” she said in muted tones. “You know what you have to do.”

Nausea rolled through her stomach. “He doesn’t know Angel,” she insisted. “I can just lay low for a while, keep my head down.”


She met Ania’s gaze and sighed.

“Guess you’re right,” she said after a minute. “Me and low profile just don’t mix. All right, sugar, I’ll do it. But unless you want to stop by the house, we’re gonna have to go shoppin’.”

Ania frowned at the enthusiasm behind the word “shopping.” Jerking her head toward the door, she said, “Take some of his.”

“Angel’s?” Dell glanced around the bathroom. “I don’t know,” she said slowly. “He probably wouldn’t mind, but…”

“You trust him?”


“There’s a closet in the living room.”

Dell flashed a melancholy smile. “Nothin’ gets by my foxy lady, does it?” Ignoring the fresh wave of disgust filling her at the thought of what she was about to do, she said, “Okay, then. If there’s a closet, I guess that’s where I’m headed… back in.”

Determined, Dell went out to borrow a few things from Angel.

By: Tammy Elizabeth Southin

Denise Alicea
the authorDenise Alicea
This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc

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