Our monthly round-ups of new speculative fiction and new crime fiction releases by indie authors are a perennially popular feature. Therefore, we now offer you a round-up of our favourite Valentine’s Day science fiction, fantasy and horror by indie authors.
These Valentine’s Day stories cover the broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have urban fantasy, a lot of paranormal romance, paranormal mysteries, science fiction mysteries, science fiction romance, space opera, space colonisation, horror, alternate history, time travel, dragons, werewolves, wizards, ghosts, demons, aliens, robots, magical greeting card writers, crime-fighting witches, crime-fighting ghosts, Viking ghosts, dinners with demons, grumpy cupids, love potions, Valentine’s Day in space and much more. But one thing unites all of those very different books. They’re all set on or around Valentine’s Day.
As always with my round-up posts, this round-up of the best indie holiday speculative fiction is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.
As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.
And now on to the books without further ado:
Dinner With a Demon: It’s Valentine’s Day After All by Iokasti Argiriou
Apparently it’s Valentine’s day. A day dedicated to love? What in Aphrodite’s name is happening?
Anath – or Leda to Persa as she always refuses to call her by her demonic name – approaches Persa after all this time and she chooses this specific day. Is it a coinsidence? And then, out of the blue, the strangest thing happens. She asks Persa out on a date. A real date.
Ok, it was Persa’s suggestion, actually, but she never thought that Leda would go along with it. Now Persa cannot bow out and…she really hopes that this Valentine dude knows what he’s doing. Please, don’t let him be a sham!
She is an alien with silver-blue skin and a sexy tail, he is human and sometimes she doesn’t quite understand his customs. Like that strange human event of Valentine’s Day. He has something special planned for that day and it involves Zero G. But maybe he hasn’t quite thought this through. Sex in Zero G has some unique challenges.
This short story has previously been published in 2017 as part of the “Red Hots” anthology, which has been unpublished.
Valentine’s Day: A Charlie The Cupid Short Story by Zack Brooks:
Meet Charles Vefflin. A cupid stuck as a drone within a corporate company run by the Fates in Boston, he is doomed to cause people to fall in love with their soulmates for all of eternity. He hates his job and most people of the world. But a job is a job, and he isn’t going to let a little thing like people ruin the few pleasures in his life.
Join Charlie on the worst day of the year, Valentine’s Day, where he must make a young couple fall in love at a most unconventional party. See him deal with the idiocy of his co-workers, the lunacy of humans, and even run into a perverted old god. But, one thing’s for sure, he’ll see the job through. Even if it takes some liquid courage just to get through the night.
Valentine’s day is short story, about 6,500 words or 22 printed pages
Ballroom Blitz by Cora Buhlert:
Anjali and Mikhail go on a Valentine’s Day date. Trouble ensues.
Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.
Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.
It’s Valentine’s Day and so Mikhail and Anjali enjoy a well-deserved romantic dinner. But their date is rudely interrupted, when they find themselves caught in the crossfire of a turf war between two rival gangsters.
This is a Valentine’s Day novella of 23200 words or approximately 78 print pages in the “In Love and War” series by Hugo finalist Cora Buhlert, but may be read as a standalone.
Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime by Cora Buhlert:
Kai and Maisie are about the celebrate their first Valentine’s Day on the planet Iago Prime. However, the holiday traditions they established back on Earth such as celebrating Valentine’s Day with a picnic on the beach are impossible to maintain in the hostile environment of their new home. But in spite of the many limitations imposed by living on Iago Prime, Kai pulls out all the stops to give Maisie an unforgettable Valentine’s Day.
This is a science fictional Valentine’s Day story of 2200 words or approx. 10 print pages.
As a Cupid, Orel has plenty of experience helping other people find love, even if he’s unlucky in that department. But when he ends up covering for another Cupid at a speed dating event for singles in the leadup to Valentine’s Day, he dares to hope.
Can a lonely Cupid find love?
Or will he fall victim to the Cupid curse, too?
A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day by Jo-Ann Carson:
To feed her three children, Widow Abigail Jenkins takes the only job available in Sunset Cove: night cleaner in the notorious, haunted tea-house. She figures the wild, supernatural rumors about the place are pure fiction. After all, ghosts don’t exist.
Eric Eklund a sexy spirit from Sweden is over a thousand years old. Having missed his chance at Valhalla, the Viking spends his time roaming the world and gambling. That is until he sees Abby whose feisty earthly-spirit turns his ghostly world upside down.
When the two meet sparks fly, but their romance is interrupted by a poltergeist hunting children.
What happens when you mix a naughty, Viking ghost built like a Norse god, a strong woman who suffers no fools and a nasty poltergeist? Answer: another fun, Gambling Ghost story.
A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s is a lighthearted novella filled with love, laughter and just enough ghouliness to thrill and chill you to the bone.
Quill Me Now by Jordan Castillo Price:
What if the words you wrote came true?
Spellcraft isn’t exactly a respectable business, but it does pay the bills. At least, it should. Unfortunately, Dixon Penn failed his Spellcraft initiation. Instead of working in his family’s shop, he’s stuck delivering takeout orders in his uncle’s beat-up Buick.
Winning a Valentine’s Day contest at the largest greeting card company in the tri-state area would be just the thing to get his life back on track—but something at Precious Greetings just doesn’t add up. And despite numerous warnings to quit pestering them about his contest entry, he simply can’t stop himself from coming back again and again.
It doesn’t hurt that the head of security is such a hottie. If Dixon had any common sense, he’d be scared of the big, mysterious, tattooed Russian.
To be fair, no one ever accused him of being too smart….
A Werewolf’s Valentine by Zoe Chant:
Curvy cat shifter McKenzi Enkel gave up on love after one too many heartbreaks. What’s more, she declared war on Valentine’s Day. But then a handsome, whiskey-voiced stranger comes to town.
Sexy singer West, a lone wolf who lost his pack as a child, never stopped searching for his missing family. He sings when he can, fights when he must, and always moves on—until he meets the scorching hot McKenzi in the diner she reluctantly decorated for Valentine’s Day.
In a small town of shifters where anyone can find a refuge, West and McKenzi still feel alone. But as they begin to open their hearts to each other, he can’t make himself leave… and she can’t let him go. With Valentine’s Day approaching, can West and McKenzi forge a new pack… and find a love even they can’t deny?
My Maggie Valentine by Kate Danley:
Valentine’s Day is terrible. Especially when you’re Maggie MacKay and tasked with chaperoning the local high school Valentine’s dance. Join Maggie and Killian on a holiday, short story adventure. Sometimes you wrestle with demons. And sometimes they just want to cuddle…
A part of the Maggie MacKay: Holiday Special short story series. This stands independently from the main Magical Tracker series and can be read at any time and in any order.
WARNING: This adventure contains cussing, brawling, and unladylike behavior. Proceed with caution.
Love Potion Sold Seperately by Nicole DragonBeck:
Maggie Baker can’t think of anyone to ask to wear her corsage at this year’s First Days Celebration. After a visit from her fairy godmother, Maggie concocts her own Prince Charming, but when Charle arrives, things get more complicated than she bargained for.
Vintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner:
Romance and time-travel meet Pride and Prejudice in this utterly romantic modern story. Step back in time to WWII-era for a sweet Valentine’s Day.
What begins as a begrudging visit to Time & Again antique shop turns into so much more than discovering trinkets from the past. The unexpected happens! Love and lessons await Lizzy Bennet when she leaves her mobile device in the future. Travel with her through a portal to timeless romance back in 1943 where she’s looking up into the eyes of one dashing G.I. at U.S.O dance.
An 8,500 word sweet paranormal romance.
The Dragon’s Valentine by C.D. Gorri:
“She’s given up on love, but he’s just begun…”
After five hundred years of servitude, Dragon Shifter, Callius Falk and his three brothers are finally freed from their bonds. Callius has one mission, to find his true mate.
Winifred Castillo spends her nights tending bar at The Thirsty Dog, a local favorite in Maccon City, New Jersey. After her boyfriend skips town with her rent money, she’s sworn off men. For good!
But what’s a Werewolf to do when a dark-haired stranger with golden eyes and rippling muscles claims her as his mate?
A Very Klagan Valentine by Holly Hanzo:
From being jilted at the altar, to being ghosted by a blind date, Mia held onto the hope that one day, she’d finally be the bride and not the bridesmaid. The Elodian invasion of Earth and Mia’s subsequent capture changed everything. Mistaken for a Sudabian, and dropped on Sudabia, a pleasure planet she’s never heard of, Mia finds herself smack in the center of their annual hedonistic mid-winter celebration – and – up for auction.
Klagan Warrior Rylan’s mission takes a turn for the worse after a firefight with a lone Elodian cruiser over a remote planet in the middle of nowhere. His worst nightmare comes true when he’s forced to land on Sudabia. As a virtuous man who doesn’t mix business and pleasure, his only goal was to get off-world, and fast, until he stumbles across the auctions – and the frantic pleas of an unwilling participant in the auctions stirred something within him. Against his better judgement, Rylan rescues Mia from the auction block.
She wants to leave. He can’t let her go.
The Ghost of Valentine Past by Bobbi Holmes:
A romantic weekend at Marlow House Bed and Breakfast turns deadly when Earthbound Spirits founder, Peter Morris, is murdered. Plenty of people had a reason to want the man dead—especially Danielle’s current guests.
But it isn’t Morris’ ghost distracting Danielle on this deadly Valentine’s Day weekend, it’s her late husband Lucas. She has her hands full with suitors coming from all directions—both living and dead—while she tries to figure out if there’s a killer in Marlow House.
Ghoul You Be My Valentine? by Olivia Jaymes:
It’s time for another Ravenmist Whodunnit! A tiny Midwestern town with charming covered bridges, quirky residents, delightful antique shops, and more than their share of haunted activity.
Tedi has another packed inn of people for the Ravenmist Valentine’s Day Ball. The evening was a complete success until she and Jack find a dead body on the back patio with a Cupid’s arrow through his heart. There’s no shortage of suspects for his murder either. Jack will have his hands full paring down the list.
And Tedi? She’s staying out of this. No way is she going to be pulled into it. Not after last time. She has her own investigation. She and her friend Missy are trying to find why the town has suddenly been infused with paranormal energy. Ghosts are literally getting up and dancing around. It’s all going well too. That is until the investigation starts to hit just a little bit too close to home.
Hop into your ghostmobile and take a ride with Tedi as she meets a spirit who doesn’t think he’s dead, two ghosts in love, and a hard partying specter who just might have witnessed the murder. It’s a hauntingly good time in the little town of Ravenmist and you’re invited to the party.
Bear Valley Valentine by T.S. Joyce:
Colin Cross is a lone bear shifter living on the outskirts of Bear Valley. He likes his reclusive lifestyle, but when he musters the nerve to talk to the woman he has feelings for, being alone just doesn’t seem like enough anymore. When he finds Hadley on an online dating site, it’s the perfect way to build a relationship with her without dragging her into his dark past. Hadley is human, and humans don’t belong in his world, but a little online flirting never hurt anyone.
Hadley Bennett has had it with dating local townies. Determined to cast her net a little wider, she enters the chaotic world of online dating. When she finally secures a face-to-face date with the elusive Bearman28, it’ll be a Valentine’s Day to remember.
And if Hadley can handle his real identity, they just might find what they’ve both been searching for.
Bear Valley Valentine is a 20,000 word story with heart pounding romance, a thoughtful alpha bear, and spicy Valentine’s Day surprises.
For the Love of Cupidity by Raven Kennedy:
First comes love, then comes mating, then comes the baby and some cupid training.
Cupidville is overrun with new cupid recruits, and it’s up to me to train them in time for Valentine’s Day. Too bad I have four mates who keep insisting that it’s time for me to take a break.
Juggling my role as the cupid boss, being a mate, and handling motherhood isn’t always easy, but it’s sure as hearts worth it. Let’s just hope I can get these cupid flunkies trained in time.
Author’s Note: This is a Heart Hassle novella just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Love Potion, edited by Graceley Knox and D.D. Miers:
A valentines day charity anthology featuring 8 exclusive stories from your favorite bestselling Paranormal and Fantasy romance authors! All proceeds will be donated to Room to Read!
How to Capture a Demon’s Heart – Graceley Knox & D.D. Miers
A Demon’s Plaything (The Elite Guards) – Amelia Hutchins
Deep Blue Sea – Pippa DaCosta
The Hellhound’s Legion: A Kit Davenport Novella – Tate James
The Heart Cantrip: a Family Spells Novella – C.M. Stunich
Eternal Hearts – A Forsaken Gods Series Novella – G. Bailey & Coralee June
A Damsel and a Demigod (The Guild Codex: Spellbound) – Annette Marie
The Fox and the Wolf – Clara Hartley
An Immortal Valentine’s Day by Monica La Porta:
Once a playboy, Alexander Drako is now the happy father of three and eager to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special party held on Friday night to accommodate his nocturnal vampire friends. Everything is ready except for a small detail. Alexander has forgotten to buy the roses and orchids for his beloved Ravenna. Unable to disappoint her, and accompanied by his loyal friends, Marcus and Samuel, he sets out for Wolf’s Haven, a rehab center for paranormals, hoping to find some flowers left for sale in their greenhouse.
After a honeymoon around the world that lasted half a year, Peter and Ophelia have just landed back in Rome. While he would like to relax in their apartment, Ophelia is eager to see her friends. Most of all, she can’t wait to hug Quintilius, her adoptive father.
Ophelia’s call reaches Quintilius at Wolf’s Haven, where he’s volunteering, and he rejoices at finally seeing her again. However, he isn’t thrilled to see Peter, the man who stole the heart of his little princess. A sudden crisis at the rehab center forces Quintilius to focus his thoughts and energies on looking for Luisa, a girl who’s run away with a dangerous gang member.
By fate’s design, all the friends have reunited at Wolf’s Haven and agreed to help Quintilius in his quest. Will they be able to save the girl and return to their loved ones in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Moonshine Valentine by Tegan Maher:
It’s Valentine’s Day, and Noelle has no idea what to get for Hunter. While she’s getting her hair cut and tossing around gift ideas, Coralee’s long-term boyfriend pops in and declares his undying love via a marriage proposal, breaking rule numero uno of their relationship clause.
He’s only the first to fall, though. When the men of Keyhole Lake start acting like lovesick lunatics, Noelle and Rae have to put their heads together to figure out what happened before the whole town goes loopy in love, or someone ends up in jail.
This story falls in between book 4, Murder and Mayhem, and Book 5, Murder and Marinade, in the Witches of Keyhole Lake Mystery Series.
When Smelling Roses, Watch Out for the Thorns
Strange things are happening in Armstrong City right before St. Valentine’s Day. Several women who found roses on their doorstep passed out inexplicably. Carolyn and Mike must figure out how this happened, who is doing it, and why?
A fun little mystery for the holiday of love.
Valentines Day: Time Patrol by Bob Mayer:
“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity—or it will move apart.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
What does it take to change history and destroy our reality? Change events on the same date, 14 February, in six different years. The Time Patrol must send an agent back to each day, with just 24 hours for each to defeat the Shadow’s plan to disrupt our time-line, creating a time tsunami and wiping our present out.
Ivar: 1929. Gunmen massacre seven people in the infamous St. Valentines Day Massacre. Al Capone is consolidating his grip on the Outfit in Chicago. But what if it turns out very differently?
Eagle: 1945. President Roosevelt, heading home from the Yalta Conference, stops on the Great Bitter Lake to meet King Idn Saud of Saudi Arabia to discuss a relatively new topic: Arab oil. And a Jewish homeland.
Roland: 1779. Captain Cook, famed explorer of the Pacific, meets his fate in Hawaii.
Scout: 278. Saint Valentine is beheaded near the Milvian Bridge.
Doc: 1945. The Dresden Firebombing. Kurt Vonnegut is in a slaughterhouse as the first bombers appear overheard.
Moms: 1946. The ENIAC computer, programmed by six women, is unveiled to the public. The press thinks the women are simply models.
The mission, as always for the Time Patrol, seems straight-forward: keep history intact. No matter the cost.
But this time, things go very differently than in previous missions and one of the team members must make the ultimate sacrifice.
Rainbow Bouquet, edited by Farah Mendlesohn:
Authors featured are Harry Robertson, Edward Ahern, Victoria Zammit, Erin Horáková, Cheryl Morgan, Sarah Ash, Kathleen Jowitt, Sean Robinson, Garrick Jones and MJ Logue, and the settings vary from a mediaeval monastery to the ‘final frontier’, give or take the odd supernatural realm along the way. Stories of love in the past, present and future – all as fascinating in their variety as love itself.
My Bloodiest Valentine, edited by K.A. Morse:
Roses are red. So is your blood. It’s Valentine’s Day, and we’ve brought you something good. Abandon the chocolates, forget flowers and wine. Because these authors stories are bloody divine. Demons from Hell or a vampires kiss, this collection of stories you don’t want to miss.
What my fellow countrymen do not realize is that the tales are true. From the leprechauns to the fairies, the banshees to the pooka, the merrow to the kelpie, the changelings to the far darrig, they all exist.
There are many more creatures; some of them are good and stand by us in the fight to keep the evil ones at bay. The others, the dark ones, try to destroy everything that is good in the world.
Now there is a new threat, one that I have never seen before. Thankfully, Tiamat sent word through the portals to warn me of what is coming.
It’s time to bring my forces together for the battle of a lifetime. It looks like it’s going to be one hell of a Bloody Valentine’s Day.
You would think I was living a fairy tale life. I live in my ancestral home high up in the mountains, and I am heir to the Ice Dragon throne. With the standard court drama and Prince’s trying to court me that don’t measure up to the man in my dreams, life can be quite stressful at times. But in the darkness, an old evil lurks, one we thought my mother Aurora had extinguished long ago. Villagers start going missing by my father Klaus’s pack lands, and all signs point to the Strigoi. Time to help mom and get my talons dirty; this will be one bloody Valentines Day.
“The day I met Derrick while playing my violin in the park was magical. Unfortunately, magic and love together don’t always mix.”
Oliver met Derrick while busking in the park, and they hit it off from the start. At first, Derrick’s “mysterious magician” vibe was intriguing, but after two botched dates, Oliver was ready to call it quits.
Fearing he lost his chance with Oliver, Derrick makes a last-ditch effort to win Oliver’s heart with a romantic Valentine’s date. But when love and magic collide, things tend to go awry. Will these two guys make it through the date unscathed?
Validated by Valentine’s by Joynell Schultz:
Ivory has the perfect man, from his microchip processor to his flesh-like exterior.
Ivory hated that she loved her Christmas gift this year. Her sister gave her the perfect humanoid companion, but there’s just one problem: he’ll never be able to say he loves her, no matter how much Ivory falls in love with him.
Was her dream man a present or a curse?
But when Ethan (Ivory’s Dream Droid) looks at her with those sweet blue eyes and secretly earns enough money to enter her in the city-wide bake-off, she realizes she doesn’t care. He’s hers. And that’s the best gift of all.
Ivory’s perfect world falls apart the closer she gets to the bake-off. It starts with a lost entry and Ethan having a few programming malfunctions, then she discovers someone’s deliberately sabotaging her. What started out to be a dream Valentine’s day, begins to turn into a nightmare. A large supportive family, a caring artificial companion, and the best cupcake recipe in the world might not be enough to uncover who’s setting Ivory up to fail.
My Wicked Valentine by Lotta Smith:
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… Love is in the air and so are the ghosts!
When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.
With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.
Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.
Dragon’s First Valentine by Emily Martha Sorensen:
There’s a new dragon visiting from Chicago, and she’s green, like Virgil! Unfortunately, this might cause a few small problems nobody anticipated.
As well as a few revelations and surprises.
And all while Rose is trying to figure out what to give her husband for Valentine’s Day.
The Dread Arrow by Grigor Weeks:
Dark Space is strange, and so are the hitmen who live there. Strap in sweetheart. Love never hurt so good.