Monthly Archives: June 2012
ORDER A COPY: Echoes at Dawn
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publishing Date: July 3, 2012
Paperback: 307 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Grace Peterson is desperate, in hiding, and on the run after escaping a shadowy group determined to exploit her extraordinary ability to heal others. Her only lifeline – an unerring telepathic ability she shares with her sister – has been severed, leaving her alone and vulnerable. And time is fast running out…
Enlisted to bring Grace home is Rio, relentless member of the KGI. He’s unprepared for his reaction to this wounded, damaged woman, and he’s fiercely determined to protect her from those who nearly destroyed her. In Rio, she finds a safe haven, and for the first time…hope. But the mission is far from over. The danger Grace has eluded is fast closing in. And now it’s pitching two lovers toward an unfamiliar horizon, with no place left to hide.
This story takes up where Whispers in the Dark left off. Rio and his team have been sent to find Shea’s sister Grace after Shea loses her telepathic connection to her. Grace had been captured by an unknown enemy and was being forced to heal subject after subject to test her healing abilities. She manages to escape when another faction bombs the facility she is being held in. Rio and his team finally locate her up in the mountains and reach her just as the enemy manages to track her down.
Grace has been so weakened by her constant testing, that she is barely holding on. Unable to contact the rest of the KGI teams Rio decides that it is best to keep Grace and Shea separated for now and he takes Grace “off the grid” so that she can have time to heal her own body and mind.
Grace has been on the run for so long, she is not sure who she can trust, but she so wants to trust Rio, especially when he talks to her about being reunited with her sister and finally being safe for the first time in her life.
But those who want Grace’s special healing abilities aren’t going to give up the search so quickly, and they are desperate enough to call in Titan, a supposedly non-existent black ops government team who are known for their motto “Failure isn’t an option.” Rio and his team know they are up against the best and it will take all of KGI to keep Grace safe.
We all have inner strength to get us through the rough times: lost job, death of a loved one, experimental testing…but how much easier is it to get through those rough patches with someone at your side? Maya Banks writes great characters that may bend, but they never break and they show us that you can survive anything and truly heal with the help of someone special.
This was a book I just could not put down! I wanted to know more about Grace after reading her character in Whispers in the Dark. In this story, just reading the torture Grace goes through and the dark places it takes her mind and her soul is painful, but Maya gives her Rio, who knows just when he needs to be tough and when he needs to be gentle to help Grace recover from her torment both body and mind.
This was another captivating story in the KGI series and should definitely be on your must read list.
Received ARC courtesy of Penguin/Berkley. Thank you.
Check out our review of Whispers in the Dark.
“You’ve been through hell, Grace. You can’t expect to come out unscathed. You have to heal. Not just physically but mentally as well. Especially mentally. Your body will take care of itself but your mind has been deeply bruised by all you’ve endured. It’s likely shut down to protect you. It’s in survival mode just as you are.”
“You make me feel hope,” she whispered against his chest. “I’ve been without hope for so long, but with you, I can remember what it feels like to believe and have faith.”
He held her for a moment longer and then finally pulled away. “We’ve talked enough for one night, I think. I’m sure you’ll have more questions when you’re not falling-down tired. You need to rest and completely heal. I’m not going anywhere. We can continue this conversation tomorrow.”
She nodded and he tucked her back underneath the covers. Then he went to the closet, pulled out several blankets and some extra pillows. After arranging a comfortable spot on the floor, he turned back to her. “Ready for lights out?”
“Yeah,” she murmured.
Already she’d snuggled into the pillows and was lying on her side facing his direction. She looked tired. Worn down. Like she’d been through hell. And yet he’d never seen a woman who looked more beautiful to him. Maybe it was because he’d seen the heart of her. Her spirit and resilience.
Grace had made a huge impact on his life in the very short time he’d known her, and he knew he’d never forget her.
He reached for the light switch and doused the room in darkness. Then he crawled beneath the covers he’d arranged and closed his eyes. His muscles screamed their protest, and fatigue beat relentlessly in his head.
He had almost drifted off when he heard her soft whisper.
He opened his eyes and half turned in her direction so he could hear her.
“Are you awake?”
It was said so softly he almost didn’t hear her.
“Yeah. You okay?”
There was a long pause.
“Would you…” She trailed off like she was having difficulty asking what it was she wanted. “Would you sleep with me? On the bed, I mean? I feel…safer…when you’re near.”
His chest did funny things. His heart turned over at the fear and hesitance in her voice. Hell, he’d move a damn mountain for her.
He pushed himself upward and then flipped on the lamp. She blinked and then peered anxiously up at him.
Then he pulled the covers back and crawled into the bed. He reached back to turn off the light. Once again darkness settled over the room, and he turned back so they were facing each other, though he could barely make out her features.
They lay there silently, so still he couldn’t hear her breathe. She was stiff and completely immobile but he could tell she hadn’t relaxed or gone to sleep.
“Come here,” he said quietly.
He lifted his arm and she immediately snuggled into his embrace. Her body was a warm shock to his, flush against his chest, her legs touched his.
He remained still, waiting to see if she’d react or if she seemed uncomfortable with his proximity, but to his surprise, she burrowed farther into his embrace, emitted a sweet-sounding sigh and then settled limply against him.
“This better?” he asked.
She nodded against him, her head bobbing just underneath his chin.
For several long moments, he lay there, unsure of what to do next. Finally he lowered his arm, curling it around her midsection and anchoring her to him. She didn’t even stir. She’d already fallen asleep.
We will be giving away a copy of Book #1 in the series, In the Barrister’s Chamber, courtesy of Kensington Books. Just tell us the name of your favorite historial author and your favorite book.
Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only. 18 years and older please. Giveaway ends Friday, July 6th.
ORDER A COPY: In the Barrister’s Bed (Regency Barrister)
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publishing Date: July 3, 2012
Paperback: 344 pages
Rating: 5 stars
A Hotly Contested Claim. A bastard by birth, James Devlin lives on his own terms—until a twist of fate reveals that he is the true Duke of Blackwood. Though the brooding bachelor swears to hold on to his freedom, he does intend to take back his childhood home. But once at Wyndmoor Manor, he discovers an arresting adversary in Bella Sinclair. Her hot-blooded claim to his home is amusing…and arousing. Which is why he isn’t leaving until he takes possession of everything—starting with the bewitching Bella…
A Sensual Surrender. Bella is furious when the Duke barges into her home, declaring it rightfully his! The willful widow is not about to give up her haven without a fight, no matter how determined the Duke is—or how sensual the battlefield. But once she’s sharing a house with the beguiling barrister, she is in danger of losing everything—one deep, slow kiss at a time.
James Devlin was raised to believe he was a bastard child; the product of the affair of his titled father and his chambermaid mother. Although he was a bastard, he was given the opportunity to receive a good education and he used that education to become a barrister. He earned his own living so he would never need to depend on his unwanted family ever. James can’t determine what is more shocking; that his disapproving grandmother comes calling, that she advised James of his father’s passing or that she advised him that his parent’s were in fact married at the time of his birth and that makes him the new Duke of Blackwood. After a lifetime of being scorned by his family, the only thing he wants is the country estate where his father used to take him during summers and where for those few precious weeks, he was treated like a real son. He learns that his father sold the property and James is determined that his first duty as the new Duke is to buy back Wyndmoor Manor.
After he finally arrives at Wyndmoor Manor after tracking down the new owner and making him an offer he couldn’t refuse, he is surprised when he is attacked in his own home by an angry woman brandishing a fireplace poker. Although she is beautiful, she is obviously mad since she believes the house belongs to her.
Bella Sinclair, now—thankfully–the Widow Sinclair, has found the beautiful county estate after leaving behind her loveless life as wife to an abusive man. She can finally write as she always dreamed to do and purchasing Wyndmoor Manor is just the beginning of the life she has dreamed of, until the madman showed up at her door claiming that he was not only a Duke, but that he as the owner of her new home.
When James and Bella finally determine that they have both been swindled by the seller, neither is willing to give up the estate. James offers to buy out Bella if they find out they cannot recover all the money, but she refuses. Although it is shocking for her to live alone with a bachelor in the manor, she refuses to leave; and the war (and the fun) are just beginning.
Even James’s barrister friends are torn between who should be the proper owner of the house. And it was not just tension over the ownership of the house sparking tempers, the fierce attraction between Bella and James grows the longer they are together.
This is a wonderful story which grabbed my attention right from the start. I love no nonsense female characters, especially when they pop up in historical/regency novels. Even though Bella’s first marriage was abusive, she was now older, wiser and financial independent and was not going to allow anyone to interfere with her dreams, not without one hell of a fight. Bella’s former nursemaid now confidant has the wisdom of Yoda and she’s a frisky, old bird. I loved all of the characters, including all of James’s barrister friends. I am looking forward to reading the story of Anthony, the jaded matrimonial attorney, and Brent, the retired spy.
This is definitely a book for your must read list.
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
Don’t forget to tell us your favorite historical author and their best book. Thank you to Kensington Books for the giveaway.
“I should head back.”
His eyes darkened, and he reached out to cup the side of her face with his hand. “No,” he said softly. “Not yet, Bella.”
Whatever rational thought she had flew from her mind as his head slowly lowered. Then his mouth covered hers in a kiss as tender and light as a summer breeze. For several heartbeats he simply shared her breath. Then his lips brushed hers, back and forth, and he traced her full bottom lip with the sweep of his tongue. Her response was shameless, instant and total. A wild surge of pleasure spiraled through her.
Her lips parted of their own accord, and his tongue slid into her mouth. His kiss was skilled and seductive, coaxing and encouraging her response. Tentative at first, she met his tongue with her own, and her heart fluttered wildly in her breast. Then his kiss changed, became more demanding. He turned her head to one side as he plundered her mouth, sending fire through every nerve in her body.
Never had she been kissed like this by a man. Her experience was limited to Roger, and he had been demanding and hurtful. His affections had been a brutal performance of dominance. He had never been concerned for her pleasure, only her capitulation. She had learned early on to tamp down her defiance, or he would prolong his torment.
But James. He didn’t touch her with anything but his lips and the hand cradling her face. She was free to step away should she wish to. Only she did not.
For the first time in her life, she felt true lust. It was a heady emotion, a dangerous weapon in this battle of wills. A small warning voice cried out in the back of her mind that if she allowed him to treat her like a common dalliance she would lose whatever footing she had at Wyndmoor Manor. Yet, this rising passion could not be denied. How could a kiss be this potent, trigger such primitive yearnings?
Leaning forward an inch, she brushed against the hardness of his chest, felt the warmth of his body, and in haled the alluring scent of his cologne, sandalwood and cloves.
A groan rumbled from deep in his throat. He lifted his head, his dark eyebrows slanted in a frown, and looked down at her.
“I hadn’t expected that,” he said.
“No, your response.”
ORDER A COPY: A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)
Publishing Date: February 8, 2011
Paperback: 578 pages
Rating: 5 stars
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
Dr. Diana Bishop is a historian, and she is currently doing research at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library on the history of alchemy. Diana is also the daughter of a witch, and a sorcerer, but she has no desire to practice witchcraft. She wants to earn her successes or failures in her academic career without the use of magic. While she is reviewing old manuscripts, she is given an odd manuscript. All of the alchemy pictures are slightly wrong, but that is not the only oddity. It is locked with a spell and when she finally opens it, she can see that the pages shimmer with hidden words like someone erased the pages and drew the new pictures over them. Diana has no interest in this bewitched book and sends it back to storage. Then she starts to notice all of the other creatures who have started to hang around the library; witches, demons and vampires are all watching her and waiting for her to recall that manuscript. Most particularly, one gorgeous vampire named Matthew Clairmont who is not only watching her, but has taken up the duty as her personal protector.
Unknown to her, Diana has located and opened the missing Ashmole 728 manuscript. No one is sure what is hidden within this hidden manuscript. Some think it is the secret to turn iron to gold. Some think it is the origins of the creatures. Some think it is an outline of how to destroy the vampires. They just know they all want to get their hands on it. Suddenly Diana is in grave danger, not just from the vampires and demons, but from the witches as well. They try to force Diana to retrieve the book, but she didn’t call for it in the first place and she doesn’t know how to retrieve it again.
In an attempt to protect her, Matthew takes her back to his mother’s castle in France to hide out, but everything gets more complicated when Diana and Matthew start to fall in love. The Commission makes sure that witches stay with witches, vampires with vampires. A covenant was agreed to centuries ago that creatures would stick with their own kind; and The Commission is not very happy that a vampire and witch are hiding out together, let alone getting romantically involved.
Diana quickly learns that getting involved with a century old vampire involves secrets, LOTS of secrets, and every time she thinks she knows Matthew, she is hit with more facts about her vampire that she does not know how to handle.
As if their lives aren’t complicated enough, they finally figure out that Diana’s parents have spellbound her so that no one could force her magic, not even Diana. Suddenly Diana is coming into her magic, but she can’t control it or call up anything on command.
Now Diana and Matthew need to group together all their allies because they are fighting too many enemies who are coming from too many directions, and the creatures on now on the verge of war over the manuscript and over their mixed relationship.
I was offered an opportunity to review Shadow of Night, book 2 of the All Souls trilogy, but when I read that it began with Diana and Matthew’s Timewalk, I knew I would be lost if I tried to start with book 2. I was overwhelmed with the idea of trying to fit another 588 page book into my already overburdened TBR list, but it moved so fast, I was able to tackle in it only 2 days…alright 2 ½ days.
Admittedly, when we move from London to Matthew’s ancestral home in France, it was suddenly like the book switched to a historical romance since they were living in a castle and spent a lot of time riding horses and Matthew started getting very bossy and Diana got very submissive. I was a bit annoyed by this change of characters. I could understand that vampires might be a little bit territorial due to their predatory nature and they would also be controlling due to age and surviving from a time when women had no place except to bear children and care for the home, but it was annoying nonetheless; and I was disappointed that Diana, a well educated woman with a doctorate, who teaches at Oxford, only stood up for herself on occasion, other than that, she let Matthew tell her what to do.
Other than my frustration with pushy, know it all vampires, I truly enjoyed the story and the characters involved, and I finally understand the excitement over the story and the upcoming release of book 2, which I am thoroughly enjoying.
Anyone who has read paperback bestsellers or even watched television knows that vampires are breathtaking, but nothing prepares you to actually see one. Their bone structures are so well honed that they seem chiseled by an expert sculptor. Then they move, or speak, and your mind can’t begin to absorb what you’re seeing. Every movement is graceful; every word is musical. And their eyes are arresting, which is precisely how they catch their prey. One long look, a few quiet words, a touch: once you’re caught in a vampire’s snare you don’t stand a chance.
Staring down at this vampire, I realized with a sinking feeling that my knowledge on the subject was, alas, largely theoretical. Little of it seemed useful now that I was facing one in the Bodleian Library.
This one was tall—well over six feet even accounting for the problems of perspective associated with looking down on him from the gallery. And he definitely was not slight. Broad shoulders narrowed into slender hips, which flowed into lean, muscular legs. His hands were strikingly long and agile, a mark of physiological delicacy that made your eyes drift back to them to figure out how they could belong to such a large man.
As my eyes swept over him, his own were fixed on me. From across the room, they seemed black as night, staring up under thick, equally black eyebrows, one of them lifted in a curve that suggested a question mark. His face was indeed striking—all distinct planes and surfaces, with high-angled cheekbones meeting brows that shielded and shadowed his eyes. Above his chin was one of the few places where there was room for softness—his wide mouth, which, like his long hands, didn’t seem to make sense.
But the most unnerving thing about him was not his physical perfection. It was his feral combination of strength, agility, and keen intelligence that was palpable across the room. In his black trousers and soft gray sweater, with a shock of back hair swept back from his forehead and cropped close to the nape of his neck, he looked like a panther that could strike at any moment but was in no rush to do so.
He smiled. It was a small, polite smile that didn’t reveal his teeth. I was intensely aware of them anyway, sitting in perfectly straight, sharp rows behind his pale lips.
The mere thought of teeth sent an instinctive rush of adrenaline through my body, setting my fingers tingling. Suddenly all I could think was, Get out of this room NOW.
The staircase seemed farther away than the four steps it took to reach it. I raced down to the floor below, stumbled on the last step, and pitched straight into the vampire’s waiting arms.
We will also be giving away a copy of Angel of Darkness, courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you! Just leave us a comment below. 18 years and older please. US and Canada residents only. Giveaway ends Friday, June 29th.
ORDER A COPY: Angel Betrayed (The Fallen)
Publishing Date: June 26, 2012
Paperback: 310 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Sammael – call him Sam – was an angel once. An angel of death. But the dispassionate, watch-from-above thing just wasn’t working for him when it meant watching evil torture innocent souls day in and day out. It might have cost him his wings, but these days, he gets to apply the direct method on the bad guys. Problem is, what’s making his life difficult is a bad girl…
Seline O’Shaw needs protection, and with the hounds of hell on her tail, she’s not going to quibble too hard about where she gets it. Sam’s virtue is questionable, but he’s smoking hot, massively powerful, and owes her a favor. So what if she’s getting a little case of angel lust? There are some damn deadly sins after her hide.
We met Fallen angel Sammael (Sam) during book 1 of the Fallen series, Angel of Darkness. Sam is also a Fallen Angel, a former Angel of Death. Sam falls from grace after he decides to kill those who were preying on the weak and helpless. As a Fallen, Sam has retained most of his angel powers, including his ability to kill with just a touch.
Sam has been around a long time and when sexy succubus Seline O’Shaw comes into Sam’s club, asking for his help and his protection, he doesn’t agree to help her right away. He knows when he is being set up, and he’s not entirely wrong. Seline does need help. She was sent to bring down Sam by an Angel of Justice who believes all of the Fallen must be punished. Seline wants to get away from Rogziel, and Sam is the only one she knows that would have enough power to free her from an angel’s hold.
Sam isn’t the only Fallen Angel who is being targeted for punishment and although Sam and Seline don’t completely trust each other, they try to work together to get to the other Fallen before it is too late.
Cynthia Eden is one of my favorite authors. She is a favorite because she never disappoints. I have yet to pick up one of her stories and not be grabbed up by the story from page 1. This story is no exception. And her heroes, whether they are weres, shifters, demons or Angels and all drool-worthy.
In Cynthia’s list of sexy, badass supernaturals, Sam tops the list as the sexiest, badass in Town and he knows it! Although Sam will leave you weak in the knees, I have already pledged my devotion to Det. Colin Gyth from Hotter After Midnight, so I will leave Sam to you to fight over.
If you haven’t read one of Cynthia’s books, WHY NOT!!! Grab one…any one…give it a try!!
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
Check out our review of Book 1 of the Fallen series: Angel of Darkness.
And a guest blog from Cynthia from last Fall: Cynthia Eden Guest Blog
He threw open the door to his apartment, and it took the scene before him a bit too long to register.
Seline lounged on the bed, clad in an oversize white robe while Cole bent over her.
What. The. Fuck.
She’d been attacked, weak, so she would have needed power—
I didn’t give her enough.
So she’d turned to Cole? A snarl broke from Sam’s lips.
What. The. Fuck.
Sam lunged across the room and grabbed for Cole.
Seline saw him. She jumped up and knocked the demon back before Sam could touch him.
“Dammit, Seline, you didn’t have to—“ Cole broke off when he got a look at Sam’s face. Then the demon’s eyes darted from Sam to Seline. “Guess you did.” A long sigh slipped from his lips. “I am so screwed,” he murmered.
Seline’s clothes were tossed onto the floor. “Yeah,” Sam said very definitely, “you are.”
But Seline stepped between them before Sam could make Cole wish for death. “Ease up, Sam. This isn’t what you think.”
Doubtful. “That so? I am not staring at a succubus who decided to get a little power surge…and a horny-ass demon who is about to learn a whole new meaning to the word ‘hurt’?”
“Succubus? Cole repeated, and gave a low sigh. “Yep, that would explain some things.”
ORDER A COPY: Chase Me
Publishing Date: June 5, 2012
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Incubi, sirens, vampires, Valkyerie, faeries, and were-creatures live secretly alongside humanity in this gritty, sexy series.
In the second installment, Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger and werewolf geologist Garbriel Lupinsky are assigned to work together on a dig site. Gabriel’s methodical work practices and Lorin’s inexplicable attraction to him grate on the archaeologist’s nerves. But when she unlocks a cryptic box that sends a signal to intergalactic enemies, Lorin will have to set aside her feelings and work with Gabriel…or risk losing everything.
In the World of the Underbelly Chronicles created by Tamara Hogan, she presents us with a world of supernaturals (vampires, werewolves, sirens, icubus, etc.) who are all decedents from a spaceship which crashed on our planet over a thousand years ago. They live under the radar of the human race and they are self-governed by their own governing counsel which consists of two representatives from each race.
Chase Me is book 2 of the series. While on her current dig, Valkyrie Second and anthropologist Lorin Schlessinger comes upon a strange box which might just be the key to understanding the supernaturals’ past. When things start to go array at the dig sight, Sebastiani Laboratories sends up werewolf and current head of Sebastiani Labs, Gabe Lupinsky, to supervise the dig and begin testing on the odd metal box. Tensions have always been high between Gabe and Lorin, so neither are all to excited to be stuck together at the secluded dig site. As is easy to guess in a romance novel, Gabe and Lorin’s tension are caused by their underlying attraction to each other and once they give in to that attraction, the pages certainly heat up.
Although Lorin, Gabe and Sebastiani Labs are trying to keep the discovery of this box a secret, the box starts giving off its own signal which is being tracked from space by other supernaturals, and they are quite interested in the vast natural resources to be found on our planet.
I thought the crashed spaceship aspect was a great new twist to a paranormal series and a gives a believable background to the existence of paranormals here on earth. Of course, you would also have to believe in aliens as well, but if you couldn’t, you wouldn’t be reading a paranormal romance to begin with.
What I also found very interesting in this series is that most paranormal stories start with the basic fact that all paranormals are far superior to humans with enhanced senses, speed, healing abilities, etc. This series indicates that although they mostly have greater strength and senses, they are also suffering from genetic defects. This seems to be most prevalent in the werewolf population which has been suffering the effects of inbreeding, since the Alphas insist on wolf-only matings. Many werewolves, Gabe’s family in particular, suffer from genetic weaknesses. Gabe is nearsighted and is suffering from macular degeneration to a point he does not turn into a wolf since he cannot see without his glasses. This also adds to the strain in the relationship between Gabe and Lorin since Gabe’s family is seen genetically inferior and Lorin’s position on the counsel makes her the equivalent to a Valkyrie Princess.
Whenever I try to pick up a book which isn’t book #1 of the series, I always feel a step behind everyone else. But we are given enough of a glimpse into the last storyline so that we can keep up with the many, many other characters who we are introduced to in this series, and more than enough that I feel I definitely want to go back and read book #1 since it sounds like I missed a really good story.
I won’t say this is a “stop what you are doing and pick up this book” story, but between the well written characters, very interesting back story, the genetic twist, and the several unanswered questions, I will be looking out for Book #3.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher.
“Yes, yes, everyone’s fine. I didn’t mean to worry you.” Lukas fell silent, worrying him even more. “Are you seeing anyone right now?”
“What?” Gabe’s eyebrows flew into his hairline. “Lorin just made the find of the millennia and you want to talk about my sex life?” Or lack thereof?
“Ah, shit,” Lukas muttered over a thunk in the background. Gabe winced as he visualized the other man’s heavy boots being propped onto something delicate—probably Elliott Sebastiani’s prized Eames table.
“I told Scarlett she should call you instead.”
Lukas signed audibly. “Did you notice how agitated Lorin was at the meeting?”
“She usually is. Agitated, I mean. By me.”
“She was agitated—and aroused—by you.”
“What?” Blood rushed to his face and parts further south. “Lukas—”
“You two were spilling so much sexual energy during the meeting that I had trouble concentrating. Lorin really needs to get laid. So, if you’re not seeing anyone…” Lukas’s voice trailed off casually.
Gabe’s eyes bulged. Was Lukas really suggesting—
“She’s a Valkyrie, remember?” Lukas interrupted. “You have to do something, Gabe, because she’s bouncing off the walls.”
Do something? Like have sex with Lorin? “Are you serious? I think you brother might have a slight problem with what you’re suggesting.”
“Nah, Lorin and Rafe aren’t sleeping together anymore,” Lukas responded. “So, she isn’t involved with anyone right now, and I now you and Kayla broke things off awhile ago. If you aren’t seeing anyone, maybe the two of you can…scratch a mutual itch.”
Lorin wasn’t sleeping with Rafe Sebastiani. The information bounced in Gabe’s brain like a pinball on a hot table.
No. Gabe yanked the mental reins. Who Lorin was or wasn’t sleeping with didn’t matter—despite the incendiary offer she’d made to him in the sauna last night.
Food, fight, fuck. How many times had he heard the Valkyrie adage? It had new significance to him now, because damn it, Lukas was right—Lorin had a problem. He mentally scrolled through the options. Lorin appeared to have the food part handled. Fight? He shook his head. Nope. He’d run with her, sure—but hit her? Fight with her? Nuh-uh, not gonna happen. But fuck? Oh yeah, he could image that. Had imagined it, over and over again, in dozens of variations.
“I know you want her, Gabe.”
It would be useless to deny such a thing to an incubus of Lukas’s skill. “Who wouldn’t?”
“So, what’s the problem?”
“Lukas, she reports to me.”
“I provide her with work direction. I sign off on her budget, her salary, her bonuses, until Alka gets back.”
“And as a member of the Council, she makes decisions impacting all of our species on a regular basis. She could have you arrested with a single phone call.” Amusement filled his voice. “Do you really think she’s worried about bonus money?”
Probably not, and their relative financial standing was just one more roadblock standing between them. “How about the fact that she find me as annoying as I find her?”
Lukas had the balls to laugh at him. “Sexual tension, man. Off-the-scale sexual tension.”
He’d have to take Lukas’s word for it. He hadn’t had sex in so long that he’d almost forgotten what sexual tension felt like. “Don’t you think Lorin can find her own partner?”
“Sure she could, but you’re both there, both healthy, unattached adults who are attracted to each other. She has to leach off some energy somehow. I’d rather she does it with you than with some random guy she picks up at Tubby’s.”
Now he knew why she’d made a pass last night. Lorin didn’t necessarily want to sleep with him; she just had to sleep with somebody. The very thought of Lorin picking up a stranger at a dive bar enraged him. “So this is…a risk management recommendation.”
“If you like.” Lukas’s voice was dry as dirt. “She wants you. You want her. She needs to leach off some energy—soon—or she’ll be worthless. Sounds like a win/win to me.”
“I’ll take your recommendation under advisement.” Now that Lukas had planted the idea of having sex with Lorin in Gabe’s head, he wouldn’t be able to think about anything else.