Monthly Archives: August 2012
ORDER A COPY: Nowhere to Hide
Publishing Date: August 31, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
“Do unto others…” Carefully, he carves the words into their flesh. The victims are all young, brunette, pretty. But she’s the one he really wants. The others are just a way to ease the rage that has festered for years, until the only thing that calms him is his knife slicing through skin.
Detective September Rafferty—Nine to her friends—recognizes the artwork that arrives in the mail. She created it back in second grade. Now a killer’s words are slashed across it in what looks like blood. He knows her. September’s investigation leads to her old classmate, Jake Westerly. She wants to believe Jake is innocent. But trusting anyone could be her last mistake.
Every slight, every slur, he remembers them all. They turned him into a monster, and now they will suffer for it. Starting with September, he’ll show them that the past can never stay hidden, and the time of vengeance is at hand.
Detective September “Nine” Rafferty is new to the Laurelton Police Department and she is now in charge of the “Do Unto Others” case. The big question is–did the murders begin when she started her new job in Laurelton, or because she started her new job in Laurelton. As Nine and her partner interview friends and acquaintances of the murdered women, the facts keep circling back to Nine and her youth. September doesn’t know if she’s paranoid or if the killer really does have something to do with her own past and is she just a catalyst or a future target?
When her former high school love, Jake Westerly’s name keeps coming up, she knows she will have to speak to him about the murdered women, but just seeing Jake stirs up old feelings in Nine and she just can’t be thinking about that now, not when Jake is on a short list of those who knew the women.
Lover or murderer? September needs to work fast to find the murderer, or she might find that she lost her heart to a killer.
I am definitely going to be keeping my eye out for more Nancy Bush novels. I was again drawn in to the story and the characters and spent a lot of time going back and forth with “It’s him—No, it’s him!” Although I will say that I was drawn to Auggie and Liz a little bit more in Nowhere to Run, but Nowhere to Hide is a great follow up story to the case begun in Nowhere to Run.
If you enjoy thrillers, add Nancy Bush to your list of authors to check out!
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you!
September made herself meet his searching eyes. There was humor in their grey depths. Teasing. She felt herself prickle up and had to remember that this wasn’t high school, or even grade school.
“Are you married?” he asked.
“Engaged or involved?”
“You keep up with Bambi?”
She snapped out of the trance-like feeling surrounding her and said shortly. “Barbara’s the one who’s married and she’s got two kids, a boy and a girl.”
“She live around here?” he asked.
“We keep in touch on Facebook,” September said. Before I deactivated it.
I’ll take that as a no. I think I have a Facebook account,” Jake said reflectively. “Might have to try using it more.” He got to his feet and peered at her speculatively. “Anything else, Officer?”
September gazed at him seriously and said, “Didn’t you have Mrs. Walsh in the second grade?”
He gave her a long look, thinking that over. “Mrs. McBride.”
“Ah. Do you remember an art project we did at the beginning of the school year? The whole class did it. It was of cut-out crayon-colored leaves pasted onto construction paper. The leaves were falling into a pile of more leaves on the ground.”
“And the leaves on the ground were just crayoned in, not pasted. Sure. My mother saved everything, and that ‘piece of art’ was one of her favorites. I kinda peaked out in second grade, so she hung onto that one for years.” He squinted at her. “Okay. You got me. Why…?”
September’s gaze searched his eyes, but he seemed completely lost. “Someone recently sent me my leaf picture with a message scrawled on it.”
He frowned. “What do you mean, ‘my leaf picture’?”
“It was my art project. From second grade. Someone sent it to me.”
“Your art project.”
He was as pedantic as Auggie, for God’s sake. “Yes. It was a warning.”
If he was faking his confusion, he was doing an excellent job. “But how? Who would…how could they get it?”
“I don’t know.”
“What did it say? The message.”
They were walking toward the parking lot now and September drew a breath. She wasn’t sure what she wanted from him. Proof that he wasn’t involved in either Sheila’s death or the warning to her, she supposed, thought she couldn’t believe there was any connection, really.
“You said you saw me on my interview with Pauline Kirby?”
“Yes, I did. I thought you looked young.”
“Huh.” That seemed to be the general consensus.
“You were holding your own though…” He stopped suddenly and said, “was that the message? That phrase that Pauilne quoted? Do Unto Others as she did..or something?”
“Do Unto Others As She Did To Me.”
“Holy Christ, Nine.” He stopped short, stunned. “You were sent that same message on your second grade artwork?”
ORDER A COPY: Archangel’s Storm
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publishing Date: September 4, 2012
Paperback: 337 pages
Rating: 5 stars
With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.
Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.
With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.
As the angels and vampires celebrate the wedding of Dmitri and Honor, not everyone is full of joy. Halfway around the world, the Archangel of India, Neha, has found her consort dead. When Spymaster Jason (angel), one of Archangel Raphael’s most trusted seven, receives a call from one of his sources that Neha’s grief might be dangerous for all those in her region, Jason knows that he must help solve the mystery of who would dare to kill an Archangel’s consort.
Although Neha has kept Eris imprisoned for 300 years for the unforgiveable crime of infidelity, she loves him too much to kill him, as she did her betraying sister. But Neha will not trust one of Raphael’s spies into her territory without a blood oath swearing to do no harm to Neha or her people. Jason cannot make a blood oath with an archangel, so Neha offers the Princess Mahiya. Neha expects Mahiya to spy on Jason to make sure that the Jason lives up to the blood oath.
Mehiya (angel) is the illegitimate child of Eris and Neha’s sister, and Neha has not raised her as a beloved daughter. Neha has raised her as a tool to serve as a constant reminder to Eris of his infidelity. Mehiya has been the model daughter to Neha and has been quietly biding her time to escape from Neha’s territory so she can live a life free of hate. Now that Eris is dead, Mehiya knows that her every breath is precious. Neha has no further use for her as punishment, and she will use any excuse to kill Mehiya. While Jason and Mehiya investigate Eris’s murder, Jason quickly discovers Mehiya is not the simple court adornment that the archangel has led him to believe. She is as intelligent and brave as she is beautiful.
Mehiya and Jason are drawn to each other, but Jason survived a traumatic childhood, his parents’ deaths left him abandoned on a tropical island far from any others, and it was decades before Jason was strong enough to fly to any civilization, so long that he had completely forgot how to communicate. Jason does not believe he is capable to truly connecting to another person. He does not believe he can feel the love and connection that his friends have been finding lately. Although he is attracted to Mehiya’s beauty and her intelligence, he warns her often that he will not be able to commit to a relationship.
When the killer shows a power almost equal to the archangel, Mehiya and Jason will need to work together to keep these powers from destroying each other as well as the world around them.
I have only read a few Nalini Singh’s stories, but I truly enjoy the characters that she writes. They are so vivid and multi-dimensional. Although most of the characters are angels, they are not the usual type of halo wearing angels. They have the same emotions as humans, love and joy but also sadness, fear, betrayal and vengeance.
Jason is a strong, self-made man, surviving his childhood trauma but not without psychological damage. Although he had strong love for his mother, he feels that he is damaged and cannot love like normal people. He has avoided any type of commitment and he seriously fights any thoughts of a permanent attachment. We see that Mehiya’s simple thoughtful gestures mean so much to him, such as making dinner for him.
Mehiya is another strong heroine who has not allowed the harsh treatment she has received all her life to change the person she is, and her greatest desire is to leave and just simply live a life that is happy, and where she might meet someone who will show her love.
This is no fluff romance story. The storyline is almost Shakespearean with the betrayal of the husband and the sister, the illegitimate child, the traumatized childhoods and the epic battle between archangels. Although this is my first Guild Hunter story, I had no trouble following the back stories.
I have been wanting to read the Guild Hunter series for some time now and after reading this book, I am definitely going to find the time to squeeze in the rest.
Received an ARC from Penguin/Berkley. Thank you.
He wondered if Mehiya had truly heard what he said to her the night before, or if she, too, harbored dreams of fixing the broken pieces of him. The truth was, no matter how she compelled him, she would soon realize what was shattered in him was nothing that could be healed, the damage done at such a young age that it had become part of his very psyche.
Yet instead of backing off, he did a selfish thing then. Lowering his head, he claimed the lush intoxication of her kiss, his hands thrusting into her hair to tumble black silk over his skin. She opened for him with a sweet sensual generosity that enticed without design, and made him want to caress her every secret pleasure point until her desire was a shimmer across her skin and he knew her like no other man ever would.
Tugging her head with the hand fisted in her hair, he forced himself to release lips swollen from his kisses. “Open your eyes.” It was a harsh order.
Thick lashes rose to reveal tawny eyes hazy with passion. “I see you, Jason.”
“And what do you see?” He stroked his free hand up her side, rubbing his thumb gently back and forth over her nipple through her clothing.
Her breath caught, but she didn’t break the eye contact. “A man who is a storm, who belongs to no one and who will never be tamed. To expect otherwise would be to ask for agonizing disappointment.”
Open eyes, he thought, she had wide-open eyes. “Some might say you’re attempting to seduce me in order to lead me on a leash.”
Laughter, warm and startled, spilled over the hilltop. “Only a fool would attempt to contain or direct a storm. I’m far too smart.”
He took her lips in an open-mouthed kiss in an attempt to drink of her laughter, steal some of her dazzling warmth of spirit to hoard inside him. Her nails dug into his chest through his shirt, her breast pushed into his hand, and her scent, it tangled around him in an exotic wildness.
The gut-deep sense of connection was an intense shock that made his nerve endings burn. He had never felt more real, more a part of the world.
ORDER A COPY: Edge of Passion (Cloak Warriors #1)
Publishing Date: March 7, 2012
eBook: 208 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Able to render themselves invisible, immortal Cloak Warriors like Aiden have been protecting humans from the dark power of the Demons of Fear for centuries. But the demons might soon have a powerful tool in their hands to seduce humans to the dark side. And the person to provide them with this elixir is the human scientist Leila. Unbeknownst to her, the drug she’s developing to cure Alzheimer’s has the unexpected side effect of weakening the mind’s resistance to the influence of demons.
The Council of Cloak Warriors is divided, some of them believing the only safe way to eradicate this threat is to eliminate its inventor, others are bent on protecting the human scientist. Aiden is a loyal Cloak Warrior who accepts the assignment to protect her despite his own beliefs that humans can’t be trusted. However, when her life is endangered, his beliefs shift, and he’s drawn into a battle whose participants are unknown: is he fighting the demons or his fellow Cloak Warriors?
Forbidden desire flares between Aiden and Leila as they are forced to rely on the only people they can trust: each other. And even if he can save her and defeat their enemies, a union between them might be the most dangerous undertaking of all.
Dr. Leila Cruickshank was on the verge of a breakthrough. Her formula to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s was almost ready. Finally a chance for people like her parents to regain the memories and lives they were losing to this horrible, debilitating disease. She was also on the verge of the downfall of humanity.
It seems that her formula would also make the human brain more susceptible to demon mind control. With Dr. Cruickshank’s formula, the demons would easily control the humans and take over control of the Earth, and if they can’t get the formula, taking the pretty doctor into the netherworld would be the next best thing. Endless torture is just the thing to get the good doctor talking.
Aiden is the Cloak Warrior sent to protect Leila from demons and convince her to destroy her formula for the good of the world. Aiden dislikes humans since they are so weak. They can’t be trusted and will always succumb to the temptation of the demons.
Leila isn’t sure she can trust Aiden and his stories of demons and mind control, but she does know that she is not ready to give up her dream of saving her parents based solely on the ravings of this madman.
Aiden needs to quickly earn Leila’s trust since the demons are closing in on them and Leila’s formula.
I enjoyed this new series from Tina Folsom. Like all first books in a series, it goes a little slow in the beginning while we are introduced to Cloak Warriors and their world, but as the story progresses and we are on the run with Aiden and Leila, the story definitely picks up. Aiden enlists several of his fellow Cloak Warriors to protect Leila and fight the demons, so we are also introduced to several very interesting characters and we learn just enough about each of the other warriors to draw our interest for further stories.
Edge of Passion was an interesting and quick read, and I see a lot of potential for future stories. I will be interested to see where the series goes next.
Read more in our interview with author Tina Folsom.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author. Thank you.
Aiden held his palm over Leila’s mouth, making sure she wouldn’t scream. His other arm snaking around her waist, pulling her tightly against him.
It hadn’t been hard to find her. She’d really had only two options: her apartment and her lab. Sure, she could have gone to any hotel, but knowing what he knew about her life, what he’d read in her file, he guessed she would choose a familiar place, somewhere where she felt safe.
He’d figured she’d choose the lab for obvious reasons. One being that her apartment was uninhabitable right now, the other that she deemed her office to be safe from intruders. It wasn’t.
He’d had no problem sneaking past the security guard. In his cloaked state, he was invisible to the unsuspecting man.
Aiden moved his mouth to Leila’s ear, a strand of her hair brushing his cheek in the process. “Quiet, Leila.”
He felt her body jolt at the realization that it was he who was keeping her captive once more. A muffled word he didn’t catch bounced against his palm. Her warm breath nearly torched him, sending a hot flame into his groin.
“That’s right, it’s me. It was very stupid of you to run away. Didn’t I tell you I’d protect you” He felt himself getting angry again. “Will you remain quiet if I take my hand off your mouth now?”
She moved her head up and down in agreement.
Slowly he lifted his hand and turned her toward him in the same instance. Her lips instantly parted, her throat tightening. Clearly, she wasn’t going to comply with his wishes. There was only one thing he could do now.
With a low curse, he yanked her flush against him and slid his lips over hers, capturing her mouth in a searing kiss, one he’d been craving all night.
The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.
Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world. When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim.
Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full. As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.
An unlikely partnership…Demon hunter Liz Marlowe and vampire Jack Morgan have hated each other from the moment they met. But when a powerful enemy threatens their beloved city of Boston, they form a reluctant alliance. It’s supposed to be temporary—just one night, in fact. But as the tension between them builds to the breaking point, neither is prepared for what happens next. Taming the Vampire is Book 1 of the Blood and Absinthe series.
When Ashley Hunter inherits the Inn where her father mysteriously vanished years ago, she jumps at the chance to finally uncover the truth about his disappearance. But soon after taking ownership of the decrepit building, Ashley realizes she’s in for far more than she bargained. Not only has she inherited answers to many sought-after questions, she’s also inherited spirits, demons and even fallen angels! Then Cristian arrives, a gorgeous man who insists he merely needs a room to rent. She believes him, until one by one her ghosts start disappearing…
As a fallen angel destined for a life of servitude, Cristian Lucius is relegated to protecting earth from unwanted spirits. But he can’t accomplish this daunting task alone. He requires assistance from the very woman who frustrates him as much as she intrigues him. Cristian is determined to ignore his intense attraction for Ashley, and focus on his mission. If they don’t work together, they won’t have a chance in hell of defeating the demon threatening their lives. The problem is getting Ashley to trust him. No easy task, considering Cristian is the very man responsible for her father’s disappearance.
ORDER A COPY: Dragon Bound (A Novel of the Elder Races)
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publishing Date: May 3, 2011
Paperback: 312 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.
Pia Giovanni is a human/wyr half breed. Her mother always told her she must keep hidden and keep silent about who she was. That she should stay in the human realm and never travel to the ‘other lands’. To never let the humans know she was different and never, ever let any of the elder races know she existed. She should have listened better to her mother.
Now her stupid ex-boyfriend with his giant gambling debts, in his desperation, told his handlers that he could get them anything they wanted and it appears what they want is something that belongs to Dragos Cuelebra. So he blackmails Pia into finding Drago’s hoard and stealing one of his possessions. But Drago is no ordinary human. He’s a king and a dangerous wyr-dragon who is almost as old as the earth itself.
Now the wyr-dragon is seriously pissed and he wants the thief who dared to steal from him. He uses his vast powers to locate Pia and through her dreams he attempts to find her greatest desire so he can use that to trap her. When her greatest desire leads to an incredible sexual fantasy, Drago want to locate her for more than just punishment for stealing.
Pia thought she was safe, crossing into the elven domain where the wyr could not cross, especially not the wyr king, but she didn’t count on Drago’s determination to catch his thief. When the elves find out that he was crossed into their territory, they give him 12 hours to get out of town or they will declare war for his trespass.
But more dangerous forces are involved in the theft then a simple bookie, and now Drago and Pia are on the run from goblins, elves, and the Dark Fey King, who has been Drago’s nemesis for centuries.
Neither Drago nor Pia understand the unbelievable attraction for each other, but they are enjoying exploring it at every opportunity.
This series was highly recommended to me and I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Lord’s Fall, so I decided to give it a try and on a recent very long car trip I download an audiobook copy so that I could use my long drive wisely and catch up on this series.
I should be disappointed that this story had the standard H/H characters of the powerful alpha male, used to ordering everyone around and always getting what he wants, and who is fascinated by the one person who doesn’t do what he wants or what he expects, and Pia is constantly waffling between I trust him/I don’t trust him and I want him to take care of me/I want to be independent. So I am amazed that I found myself really enjoying the storytelling; the build toward what she stole from his hoard, who Pia really is and why her mother was hiding her, the romance between the H/H, as well as the whole cast of secondary characters.
This is the first of the series and the upcoming release is the fifth book. They appear to be a balance between the secondary characters getting their HEA and a continuing story of Pia and Drago. (Don’t quote me on that.) There are also four short stories in the series already.
I will definitely be downloading the audiobook for Book #2 for my trip home and will be getting back to you with a review of that and Book #5, Lord’s Fall.
The dragon lay spread-eagled where they had bound him. He was chained twice, first with the magical black shackles. The second set was attached in four points to the floor. He stared at the ceiling, thoughts weaving in a serpentine path. Every few minutes he would pull at the floor chains. He ignored his bleeding ankles and wrists. He could feel a weakness growing in the chain on his left arm and concentrated on that.
His cell door opened. He turned his head, the serpentine path turning lethal.
A battered, filthy Pia backed into the room, and Dragos became sane.
He began to shake. He watched her listening at the cracked door for a few moments before she pulled the door shut. She turned around. When she caught sight of him, her shoulders sagged.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” She rolled her eyes. “Two sets of manacles? Now I suppose we need two sets of keys. This day keeps getting better and better.”
“Come here,” he said. He gave the chain anchoring his left arm an enormous wrench. The chain groaned but didn’t break. “Come here. Come here.”
She cocked her head, her weary gaze becoming very sober. She limped across the cell and collapsed to her knees beside him. “They beat you too,” she said. She touched his ribs with a light gentle hand.
His shaking increased. Talking to her before the Goblins took her had been easy. He had explained to her with his usual calm ruthlessness how he thought things might go. Overall she had seemed to take it well. He approached the confrontation as he always did, ready and focused to meet any upcoming challenge.
Then that first Goblin had driven his fist into her stomach, and he had gone bat-shit crazy. Every kick, every blow she suffered was like corrosive acid in his veins. He wanted to howl and rage. The dragon strained to rip their hearts from their chests while they watched.
He had clung to his self-control by the merest thread, by the realization of how much worse it could get for her if they got the reaction out of him they were searching for.
They hurt her. They hurt her, and that hurt him inside somewhere, in a place he had never been hurt before. He had sustained physical injury and pain many times before. It meant little to him. But this new hurt—he was in shock. He had never realized just how invincible he had been until it was ripped away from him.
ORDER A COPY: Howl for It
Publishing Date: August 28, 2012
Paperback: 315 pages
Rating: 5 stars
“Like A Wolf With A Bone” by Shelly Laurenston
Quiet little Darla Lewis couldn’t be happier when the most-feared member of the South’s rowdiest pack kidnaps her. A girl gets real tired of being overprotected by her own shifter family, and there’s nothing like an oh-so-big bad wolf to start a pack feud, unleash her instincts–and have her surrender however and whenever she wants. . .
“Wed Or Dead” by Cynthia Eden
Gage Ryder knew his human bride had a wild side. But spending their honeymoon night on the run from hunters out to finish him and his pack is sure not the kind of fun he was looking forward to. No problem–Gage will do whatever it takes to lay bare Kayla’s secrets and find the truth. If he can keep from being captured by his own seductive game.
In this wolfy anthology, we are taken for a run through the woods by our big, sexy wolf protectors.
“Like a Wolf with a Bone.” Shelly Laurenston gives us a sexy wolf protector in Egbert Ray Smith. Eggie is a marine, part of a special division. Eggie specialty is killing. While home visiting his family, his brothers’ sister-in-law Darla Mae, the youngest Lewis sister, is targeted by a group of human killers. Now Eggie is not much of a people-person, but he has taken it upon himself to protect Darla from those who are hunting her, and he’ll do whatever is necessary to keep her safe.
“Wed or Dead.” Cynthia Eden takes us to the quicky Vegas wedding of wolf shifter Alpha Gage Riley and human Kayla Kincaid. Gage knows Kayla’s little secret. He knows that she is a Hunter and that she’s been sent in to get close to him to kill him. But he has plans of his own and they include having a bite of the delicious Kayla before he springs a trap of his own. When Kayla refuses to kill Gage, he now needs to protect them both from her own people.
These were both quick reads, great stories that drew you right into the action, and very enjoyable. They featured strong, sexy heroes and no nonsense heroines who can really hold their own. I like both writers and have read several of Shelly’s stories as well as Cynthia’s. These plots were simple (“protect the girl”) but very enjoyable and they had a lot of action (and hot wolf shifters). You can read them together or just enjoy each as a quick read between other books.
My only complaint – “Eggy” really??? A hot, sexy hero named Eggy??
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
Her hand clenched around the knife’s handle. Gage was supposed to be dangerous. Lethal. The strongest paranormal badass to claim Vegas in years.
Because he was a paranormal. The supernaturals were real and breathing…and many were hiding in the shadows of Sin City.
He was the perfect target right then. Tousled hair. Sated male. Defenseless. It would be so easy. Just lift the knife. Drive the blade into his flesh.
“Oh, I think I already know all the secrets you have, sweetheart,” he murmured, his voice a low and sexy growl.
Kayla shook her head. Damn tears. “No, you don’t—“
In a flash, he rolled toward her. He leapt up and came at her with claws ripping from his fingers.
Claws…because Gage Riley wasn’t human.
His blue eyes shined at her with the light of the beast and he put those too-sharp and too-long claws of his at her throat.
The move actually seemed only fair, considering that she had her knife pressed over his heart.
“Hello, hunter,” Gage whispered.
Her own heart shoved hard against her chest. “How long…” Kayla licked her lips. Why was her mouth so dry? “How long have you known?”
He brought his head in close to hers. Inhaled her scent. Pressed a light kiss to her cheek. Did he taste the salt of her tears? “Since the first time you walked into my bar.”
What? Kayla shook her head, lost, confused. He’d known since then, and he’d still—
His claws skated lightly over her throat. He didn’t break the skin. Didn’t hurt her. But she knew one slice would cut open her jugular.
“Are you really going to kill me now?” Gage asked as he pulled back to study her with a cocked head. “On our wedding night?”
She was supposed to.
That was her job. As a hunter, she was the one sent out to keep the humans safe in this world. When a supernatural crossed the line and started killing, her team was sent in. They delivered justice. They were the heroes.
Only she didn’t feel like any kind of hero right then.
“Was screwing me part of the deal?” Gage demanded as his voice roughened.
Her eyes slit at that. Maybe it was deserved, and maybe it damn well wasn’t. Instead of stabbing him, she wanted to punch him right then.
“If so, Gage continued with a shake of his head, “that was a rather fatal mistake.”
They were at a supernatural standoff. Claws versus silver. If he’d just sheathe his claws…
“Cause now that I’ve had you…” Gage smiled at her, and revealed his growing canines. sharp “I think I want another bite.”
More free books to try.
Anne Mason thinks she’ll be safe living in the Midwest building a wind farm. She may be dead wrong. Someone is dumping bodies in her corn field and telling Anne they are gifts—for her!
As the body count rises, Anne realizes a cold-blooded serial killer is patiently waiting and watching her every move. And he won’t stop until he ends her life. It is clear there are no limits to this killer’s thirst for revenge or how far he will go to get it.
Michael Brandt, the ruggedly handsome new County Prosecutor, is the last person Anne can trust, but may offer her only chance at survival from a psychopathic killer. But will she survive the passion that rages between them?
ORDER A COPY: Fear the Darkness (Guardians of Eternity)
Publisher: Zebra Paranormal
Publishing Date: August 28, 2012
Paperback: 377 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Her Visions Lead Her To Danger. Beautiful Cassandra is a Were, a prophet both vulnerable and defiant, blessed with visions that portend the fate of the world. A rare and delicate creature, Cassie must be protected at all costs. Enter Caine, a powerful cur turned pureblooded Were whose recent tangles with a demon lord have left him in serious need of redemption. Caine is duty-bound to keep Cassie out of danger—and that means resisting his potent urge to seduce her.
And Only He Can Save Her. As Cassie’s mysterious visions lead them in and out of danger, Caine believes he has found his true mate, the woman with whom he is bound for all eternity. Cassie is both charmed and frightened by Caine’s magnetism, and unsure if he—or her feelings for him—can be trusted. But Cassie can’t afford to doubt Cain now. A deadly enemy bent on destruction is closer than they realize—and only they can keep chaos from ruling the world.
This novel features Caine and Cassandra. Caine had started out in this series as a bad-guy. Caine was a cur (a human turned werewolf) and a cur, although stronger than a human with a longer life span, was still a mortal creature. Caine had been told a century ago that he would one day become a pureblood (or born) werewolf, stronger than a mere cur and immortal. Caine has been working toward finding a way to be come pureblood for decades, using whoever or whatever necessary to achieve his goal, even turning to modern science for a way.
As we have been following so far, when Caine finds Cassandra in the caves under the old church, being held by a demon lord (a minion of the Dark Lord), he fights the demon lord to the death and as Caine is dying, he absorbs the energy of a pureblood Were drained by the demon lord. Caine has finally fulfilled the vision and has been reborn as a pureblood, and now he knows why; to protect Cassandra, the missing pureblood sister to Harley, Regin and Darcy. She is also the first true prophet in centuries, and the most sought after being alive.
Now not only do the Weres and the vampires want to find the missing sister, but the Dark Lord is still lurking, trying to break out of his exile from this world. He wants his minions to bring him the prophet so she can prophesize his return to this dimension and his rule of the world.
I have been waiting for the story of Caine and Cassandra for some time now and was very excited to finally get my hands on a copy. I was 100 percent happy with Cassie and Caine’s story, but my only disappointment was that Caine and Cassandra pretty much disappear from their own book about half way through. Then the story focuses on the action between the Dark Lord, his minions and the vampires and Weres trying to find Cassie and Caine and preparing to fight the Dark Lord. So sadly, Caine and Cassandra’s love story ended up being more of a novella within Fear the Darkness.
Just be aware when you pick up your copy of Fear the Darkness that it is more like two novellas combined; one of our H/H Caine and Cassie and the other is an epic battle between our Guardians and the Dark Lord (but not necessarily the end??) . So judging them both, I would give them both 4 stars as both were good stories, I just would have been happier to know at the start that Cassie and Caine got relegated to the background of their own story just when things were getting real good.
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
With a frown of concern, Caine reached to cup her cheek in his hand, his warm touch the only anchor to this world. “Cassie?” he prompted.
“I’m sorry,” she said abruptly, her gaze skimming over his lean, finely chiseled features. He truly was a beautiful male with his pale hair shimmering like gold beneath the bright lights and his eyes as brilliant as sapphires. It was no wonder she could smell the desire coming from the numerous women staring at him with hungry eyes. “I haven’t been fair to you.”
His thumb pressed against her lips as he gave a shake of his head. “Don’t.”
She grasped his wrist, tugging his hand from her face. She had to speak now. Who knew how long her brief clarity would last?
“I become…lost in my visions and I have never truly stopped to consider what you’ve sacrificed to keep me safe.” Her fingers absently caressed the skin of his inner wrist, feeling the leap of his pulse at her soft touch. “Without you…”
His eyes darkened with a heat that Cassie felt to the tips of her toes.
“This isn’t necessary,” he growled.
Distantly she could hear the clanging noise of the machines and the deafening buzz of a hundred conversations, but in this moment she was aware of nothing beyond the man standing in front of her and the steady sapphire gaze that a woman could drown in.
“No, let me say this,” she pleaded.
His lips tightened, but he was smarter than the average Were. He knew better than to try and halt a determined female. “Okay.”
“For as long as I can remember I’ve been a prisoner.” She shivered, battling back the grim memory of the past thirty years. “I was not only held hostage by the demon lord, but also my knowledge that I could never survive on my own.”
He didn’t bother to protest. They both knew that she wouldn’t last a day without him. “That’s something you’re never going to have to worry about,” he gruffly promised.
She stepped closer, the sizzling power of his wolf calling to her most primitive instincts. Although she couldn’t shift, her beast still crawled beneath her skin, relishing the delectable male who had earned her trust. Something she would never have believed possible just a few weeks ago.
“If it wasn’t for you I would still be in that cave.”
“Don’t make me into a hero, Cassie,” He scowled. “We both know I started out as the villain of the piece.
Her lips twitched. She might not be worldly, but she knew that Caine was far more comfortable with his bad-boy image. And from what he’d confessed, he deserved the reputation.
But as far as she was concerned, he’d always be her champion.
“If you were a villain, then you wouldn’t be here with me,” she pointed out softly.
ORDER A COPY: The Demoness of Waking Dreams (The Company of Angels)
Publisher: Mira Books
Publishing Date: August 28, 2012
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Even ANGELS can be tough… Ex-cop Brendan Clarkson is an angel with an edge. His tough exterior is the perfect camouflage for his job-hunting down the most dangerous criminals on earth. Brendan’s a self-reliant and demanding lone wolf, constantly on the brink of clashing with his superiors at the Company of Angels.
Brendan is the perfect angel to track and capture demoness Luciana Rossetti. Luciana’s cool, green-eyed beauty masks her true nature: inside, she’s a dangerous and malevolent killer. Yet, she sees what most people don’t-that beneath the layers of Brendan’s rugged shell beats the heart of a passionate lover.
They are perfectly matched. Yin and yang. Angel and demon. Man and woman. But only one of them can win the battle of wills, of strength and of desire.
Brandon Clarkson was a good cop until the night he is shot in the back and left for dead in a back alley. A night he dreams over and over again each and every night since he became an angel ten years ago. Now he works for the Company of Angels as a Guardian Angel. His current assignment is to capture and bring back Luciana Rossetti, a rogue demon who uses poisons as her weapon of choice and who may now have created a poison strong enough to kill a demon (or an angel). She has fled back to Venice, Italy, after she failed to kill her ex-lover Julian Archer in Las Vegas. She is to be brought back to the Company headquarters in the United States to determine is she can be rehabilitated or if she needs to be disposed of.
Luciana Rossetti may not be an archdemon, but she is certainly dangerous and powerful enough. She has bargained her freedom from Hell with a yearly human sacrifice, always made during the Festival of the Redeemer. When she is interrupted and chased by Brendan and does not make her deadline, there will be Hell to pay for it, and Luciana is not going to go quietly.
Except for the night of his death, Brandon has never failed to capture a criminal, but Luciana is not your typical demon. She has spent centuries avoiding capture. Her home is hidden in plain sight, cloaked by a revulsion spell by Satan himself, so humans avoid it and don’t know why.
Now Satan wants Luciana to kill the Angel to make up for her mistake. Will she be able to kill a Guardian Angel or more importantly, will she want to?
Stephanie gives us an interesting look at the question are angels all good and demons truly all bad. Luciana is truly an evil demon but we do learn that her human life was never sunshine and roses and her life as a demon didn’t get much better until she worked her way out of Hell on the blood and souls of others. She does show a tiny bit of remorse here and there, and we can sympathize of how she ended up where she is and doing what she does.
Brandon was all cop and he has become all guardian angel. He usually keeps himself under control and on the right side of the line but you do see some slips into a gray area and he is confused whether he sees goodness and redemption in Luciana or if he just wants to see it.
It was a well written and flowing story. If you liked the first one, you will enjoy this one. I see some set ups for future stories which I found interesting. Because it is well written and a good build off of the last story, I gave this story 3 ½ stars. Personally, I didn’t really connect with the characters, and although I will definitely check out the next story, I don’t believe this book would ever be a re-read for me.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
He turned back to look at her, watched the last play of moonlight on her face turning to shadow as they passed beneath the bridge. Utterly without thinking, he leaned forward and closed the distance between them. With a brush of his fingers on the side of her jawline, turned her face toward him.
You’re on a mission here, said his mind. You must retain all of your faculties of reason.
Kiss her, screamed his gut.
So he kissed her.
A mere graze of his lips against hers, a flutter of contact as light as her butterfly touch. But he felt it as a visceral jolt that intimate connection of skin against moist skin, a shock that resounded in the depths of his being. He felt as though he had shifted into another reality, one that seemed as volatile and ephemeral as a dreamspace.
He felt her gasp.
Felt her lips part beneath his, felt her sharp intake of breath. Felt her mouth quiver against his before she want completely and utterly still. After a pause that seemed to last a lifetime, her breath escaped on a sigh so faint that it was almost outside the realm of perception.
Am I awake, or am I dreaming? He wondered.
The butterfly effect sprang to mind—the theory that something as light as a butterfly’s wings could change everything. That the mere presence of one small insect could alter weather patterns. Could lead to the creation or the absence of a hurricane, for instance.
What about a firefly? he wondered.
Whether it could or not, a hurricane sweep of desire was building inside Brandon, generated by that kiss. That gentle contact had stirred an internal fire that flared and raged, aching to get out. It was a desire he fought against with all the discipline of his calling, wrestling with his unruly passions.
From somewhere deep inside himself, a little voice said, Perhaps this kiss could change everything…
Make sure you check out our interview with author Julianne MacLean .
ORDER A COPY: Married By Midnight (A Pembroke Palace Novella)
Publishing Date: July 15, 2012
EBook: 146 pages
Rating: 5 stars
For seven years, Lord Garrett Sinclair– the ruggedly handsome illegitimate son of the Duke of Pembroke–has been traveling abroad with no intention of ever returning home to Pembroke Palace… until his father commands that he must marry by Christmas in order to thwart a family curse or lose his inheritance forever. Haunted by a tragic accident that has hardened his soul, Garrett entrusts his brothers to seek out a bride who will agree to a marriage in name only. Her reward? A sizable share of his inheritance–payable immediately after the wedding night.
Lady Anne Douglas has been ruined by scandal and disowned by her father. Facing a life of poverty and spinsterhood, she leaps at the generous terms of the marriage contract to ensure her independence. But the charade of a two-week engagement proves more of a challenge than either anticipated when they cannot resist the intoxicating lure of the marriage bed. Anne knows they will part ways after the wedding. Will she dare risk her heart for two weeks of pleasure in the arms of an irresistible rogue? Or will her surrender become her undoing after a most unexpected turn of events mere hours before the wedding?
This was a wonderfully written short story. I have not had the pleasure of reading any Julianne’s novels before but I certainly will try to find the time now, especially the original three Pembroke Palace stories. She has a very pleasant writing style, and I enjoyed her characters.
This fourth installment of her series is a sweet romantic short story and just the perfect in-between novel selection to break up all the thrillers and convoluted story plots that I have been reading lately. You didn’t need to have read the three prior novels to keep up.
Married by Midnight is simply a story about two people who didn’t believe they would find or deserve a HEA and were willing to accept an in-name-only, business proposal marriage. Garrett needed to fulfill his father’s terms in order to save the family’s fortune and a scandal kept Anne from having any real marriage prospects and this sham marriage would offer her financial protection and a husband’s name.
When Garret returns to his childhood home after seven years’ absence to marry the woman chosen by his family, he is pleasantly surprised by the woman he meets, and Anne, who has been shunned by her own family, fits in wonderfully with Garrett’s family and both find they have greatly missed that connection to family. While they are enjoying their time with the family, Garrett and Anne begin to build a connection with each other, until they both determine that they want more than just a sham marriage.
It is budding romance, pure and simple, no need for lurking scoundrels, scheming mistresses or disapproving dowers.
Usually short stories feel rushed or leave me feeling short changed. This was perfectly paced and left me feeling happy. I would recommend grabbing a copy to have for the next time you are between novels or when you need a nice pick-me-up story after a bad day (or worse, after a bad novel).
Received a review copy from the author. Thank you.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Garrett asked as he leaned back and rested an arm along the back of the seat. “You seem almost baffled.”
“I am merely surprised by your openness this morning, compared to last night,” she replied. “You seem like a different person.”
He shrugged. “I suppose now that I’ve met you, I am able to relax a little”
He considered her questions for a moment. “I think I was worried that any lady who would agree to a plot such as this would have to be unpleasant in some way, or undesirable, or perhaps possess some secret ulterior motive. I feared she might want to lure me into a real marriage. That has happened to me before, but you don’t strike me as any of those things.”
Anne spoke honestly. “I told you last night that I am here to gain my independence and freedom, not another yoke around my neck.”
His eyes narrowed, as if he wanted to look deeper into her character and study her. Find out why. Perhaps test her. “Yes, but some women say that when they don’t really mean it. Deep down, what they really want is a fairy tale.”
The sleigh jostled them about as they glided over a small knoll where patches of earth showed through the snow. Anne pulled one hand from her muff and pressed her winter bonnet more firmly onto her head. “It’s not that I don’t believe in fairy tales,” she said, “or want true love for myself one day. I do. It’s just not something I felt I could attain.”
She inclined her head a fraction, surprised that he had to ask the question. “Because I have been living a rather reclusive life in Yorkshire. I haven’t been to London in years and had no reason to expect or hope that anything would change.”
She was acutely aware of his arm resting along the back of the seat while he listened to her explanation.
“Did no one tell you about me?” she asked. “Do you not know why your brothers came to me with this proposition?”
He drew in a deep breath and let it out. “I must confess I left everything in their capable hands and preferred to be kept out of it, in the dark. But now that I have met you, I cannot help but wonder why you have chosen this path. You are not unattractive, Lady Anne. To the contrary you are a beautiful and charming young woman, and you seem to have your wits about you. I didn’t expect them to find anyone quite like you.”
Feeling unexpectedly flattered by his words of appreciation—especially after his behavior the night before—Anne shoved her fists back into her muff and hoped the cold air was enough to hide the rush of heat that suffused her cheeks.