Monthly Archives: December 2012
ORDER A COPY: Sealed With a Curse: A Weird Girls Novel
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: December 31, 2012
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…
The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren’t aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?
Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha’s family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.
Cecy Robson’s debute novel, Sealed with a Curse, focuses on Celia Wird and her sisters, brutally nicknamed “the weird sisters” since school. The sisters were just plain old humans who were cursed at birth. But that curse became a gift…sort of. Celia can shift into a tiger. Just don’t get her too close to any other animal spirit, or she can end up shifting against her will. No new puppies for these sisters. Taran is the supersexy/badass sister who can harnesses the power of fire. Shayna can turn any metal into a blade and any wood into a weapon. (“Luke Skywalker could suck it. He had nothing on Shayna.”) Little sister, Emme, has the ability to heal her sisters. She can also use The Force…I mean, she can move things with her mind. Together these sisters are formidable, but they have been trying all their lives to stay under the supernatural radar, not wanting their odd presence known to be the weres, vampires and witches that live nearby.
That was going well for them until Taran had a date gone bad with a vampire and it took all four sisters to bring him down. They were then “requested” to show up to Vampire Court to be held accountable for their actions. When it was determined that the vampire was acting under bloodlust, they were excused with the Court’s apologize, but now it is too late. Nowadays they have supernatural stalkers hiding in their bushes trying to get a look at the weird sisters of Tahoe.
Now the very elegant, powerful and very rich Master Vampire, Sir Misha Aleksandr is fascinated by the lovely and spirited Celia and he wants her help to find out who is attacking his family. Of course, he would also do anything to get Celia into his bed.
While helping Misha hunt down infected vampires might not be every girl’s dream date, it does bring Celia face to face with the gorgeous, sex-on-a-stick Alpha werewolf, Aric Connor. Aric and his pack of werewolves believe themselves to be guardians of the earth and it is their duty to protect the humans from the bloodlusted vampires, not Celia’s. So Aric will do anything to keep Celia safe…and out of Misha’s bed.
Although Celia attempts to get these two powerful, supernatural alpha males to work together to protect the poor, unsuspecting humans who are being treated like blood-filled tic-tacs by the infected vampires, it seems Misha and Aric are more concerned about who gets to play patty cake with Celia.
With vampires and werewolves drawing battle lines in the sand, it is up to Celia and her sisters to find out who is behind the bloodlust, keep the locals safe…and to keep that wereraccooon out of their garbage. Dude, put on some pants!
This was an incredibly entertaining story. It had a great blend of humor, action and romance. It was written in a first person perspective, told by Celia, who is funny and quirky and it is delightful to be in her head. You can see why all the delicious supernatural hotties want a bite out of the charming Celia. This 20-something is not as popular with the boys as her sisters, due to her inner-tiger scaring them away, so she is uncomfortable with all the attention she is receiving, but not to the point it is awkward. She’s more baffled.
There is a prequel that I have to pick up which I am sure focuses on all the sisters.
I don’t know yet if this is a series or a trilogy, but it seems Book #2 (which comes out July 2nd) is also told by Celia. I can’t wait to see where that goes.
Although I don’t believe this is marketed at a young adult book, I will note that there are no sex scenes and only a few subtle sexual references such as “making my girly parts tingle”. It was delightful and entertaining without the full sexual assault that some books have. Maybe you could share this with your older teens (parent’s discretion).
Definitely pick this up if you like your paranormal with a twist of fun.
Received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
This is one of those stories with a little of great little scenes all throughout the book, so trying to pick one favorite was really hard.
“Have you done this before?”
Aric nodded. “Fairly frequently. Our young wolves like to roughhouse. Learning to realign bones prevents them from mending incorrectly, since our healing ability is so fast.” He shrugged. “Otherwise we’d have to re-break their bones every time they got hurt.”
I didn’t know Aric. Not really. But for some odd reason, I trusted him. “Okay. Whenever you’re ready.”
And that’s when Aric took of his shirt.
The soft fabric skimmed over perfectly golden skin and rock-hard abdominals tight enough to launch a brick into orbit. A whisper of hair traveled the length of his belly button to where his jeans hung low on his hips.
Aric stopped removing his shirt when he pulled it just above his small, erect nipples. This wasn’t real. This was some kind of Hollywood hottie video shoot on TV and all I wanted to do was hit pause.
“What’s wrong, Celia?”
I whipped around to face Mrs. Mancuso’s house, mortified to be actually gawking and possibly drooling.
I focused hard on Mancuso’s lawn jockey. It was forty freaking degrees and the breeze from the lake had picked up. I should have been cold, but Aric and his eight-pack warmed my core just fine and dandy. “Wha—what are you doing?” I managed to stammer, whereas my tigress insisted I should shut the hell up, turn back around, and enjoy the show.
Aric edged his way around to face me, removing and twisting his shirt around his neck with each step before fully slipping it on backwards to the clean side. “I have to hold you against me in order to adjust your shoulder. There’s blood all over the front of my shirt. I didn’t want to get any on you.” He explained.
“Thanks,” I said a little too high-pitched for my normally husky voice. “I appreciate that.”
Aric quirked a brow, but when he inhaled my scent his eyes widened with surprise. He was silent for several seconds before gesturing to my arm. “Are you sure you want me to do this?”
There were many, many things I wanted Aric to do, and none of them pertained to my busted shoulder. Yowza. I needed to take a cold shower, and possibly invest in electronic devices.
Right. I focused on the pain and hoped I wouldn’t go down like a wimp. I nodded and closed my eyes. “Go ahead.”
Aric’s strong arms wrapped me in a bear hug, his contact hard and gentle all at once. For the second time that night, his body heat encased me. My face fell against his muscular chest. My God, the aromatic blend of his scent mixed with musk from battle drove my tigress insane. Don’t purr. Don’t purr. Oh, Jesus, please don’t let me purr.
Aric’s voice tightened. “Your heart’s racing…”
Don’t forget to check out our interview with Cynthia Eden
ORDER A COPY: Alpha One (Shadow Agents)
Publishing Date: January 1, 2013
Paperback: 224 pages
Rating: 4 stars
“Julie’s missing. You have to get her back.”The minute he got the message, undercover agent Logan Quinn sprang into action. Getting Juliana James out of Mexico alive was the Elite Ops covert agent’s only priority. But once the senator’s daughter was safely back in their Mississippi hometown, Logan had a new mission: to get another chance with the woman he couldn’t lose again.
Juliana had never forgotten the day, ten years ago, when Logan left her heart in pieces. Now he was back in her life, sworn to protect her from the ruthless weapons dealer who wanted her dead. As passion blindsided her—and she was once again thrust into danger—Julie realized how much she’d risk for one more day in Logan’s arms.
Shadow Agents of the EOD, Elite Operations Division, an elite team from different branches of the armed forces who don’t exist on paper, but have been brought together to do the job others can’t, including hostage recovery. The EOD have spilled blood on many missions, both their enemies and their own, but this time it’s personal.
In Alpha One, Juliana James has distanced herself from her father, Senator Aaron James, more and more over the years. Her father was once a good man, fighting for everything that was right, but since her mother’s death, his only interest has been money and power and he no longer cares who he hurts to get them. This time around, it is Juliana who is paying the price for his dirty dealings. She has been kidnapped by Diego Guerreros, better known as El Diablo, a very dangerous arms dealer who will not hesitate to cut up Juliana and send her back to her father in pieces for stealing from him.
The Senator has called in the EOD to bring his daughter safely home. He knows that Logan Quinn with do everything he can to keep his daughter safe because it was the Senator himself who separated the two lovers ten years before and he knows Logan has just as much interest in keeping Juliana safe. EOD sweeps in and Juliana is safe from Guerreros’s knife, then she finds out the team leader is Logan—her Logan and the cut to her heart is deeper then those made by her kidnappers. Juliana was only twenty when she waited at the bus stop for the man who never showed, and the pain of his betrayal far exceeds any torture Guerreros had planned.
Now she’s back in the U.S. and she’s safe from Guerreros and safe from her feelings from Logan—right? She couldn’t be more wrong. Her father told the EOD that Juliana has proof of all of his involvements with Diego Guerreros and all his clients and that she would turn all that over to the government after she was saved from her kidnappers. Unfortunately for Juliana, she doesn’t know anything about her father’s dealings. Maybe the EOD believes her, but Guerreros isn’t planning on taking any chances. Logan and his team know that Guerreros won’t stop until Juliana’s dead so they need to lead him into a trap with the only bait they have—Juliana.
Juliana isn’t complete certain that Guerreros and his men are the biggest danger to her. Sure the EOD may save her life, but will she be able to survive watching Logan walk away from her again when this is all over?
This was an action packed story. There are some great subcharacters that you will find interesting who I presume will be the feature of the next few books. Logan and Juliana were likable characters and their story was heartbreaking and sweet.
I guess my only real problem is that after just finishing her The Wolf Within, which is a paranormal unit of the FBI, I did find this story was lacking…just lacking werewolves and vampires?…maybe that was it.
If you like you action sans hairy beasts, this was definitely a quick read and enjoyable story. You just can’t miss with a Cynthia Eden book.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher.
“He was going to tell you. He told me to leave, or he’d—“
“And that made you just walk away? His threat?” She wasn’t buying that line. Time to try another one.
But he gave a hard shake of his head. “No, I left because he was right. You deserved more than me. My father was right too, you know…In a lot of ways, I am just like him.” He lifted his hands, stared at his fingers. “I was made to kill.”
“Maybe you were made to protect.” She was tired of this bull. “You don’t have to be like him. Be your own person! You didn’t have to leave me alone—“
“You looked at me like I was a hero. I never wanted you to look at me…the way you are right now.”
She stepped back. “You should have told me from the beginning.” Everything could have been different between them. No secrets. No lies. “You just left me!”
Juliana took another fast step away from him.
“I came back.”
Her eyes narrowed.
“Six month,” he said, jerking a rough hand through his hair. “I’d joined the navy. Tried to forget you. I couldn’t.”
“You didn’t come back for me.” The lies were too much. Why couldn’t he ever tell her the truth?
“You weren’t alone.”
“You called him Thomas. He was blond, rich, driving a Porsche and holding you too close.”
“How do you know about him?” Thomas had been her friend; then after Logan left, he’d been more. She’d just wanted to forget for a while. To feel wanted, loved by someone else.
“You were sleeping with him.”
There was anger, jealousy—rage—vibrating in his voice now. She almost wished for the emotionless mask. “I couldn’t breathe without thinking of you, but you’d moved on. Gotten someone better.”
She and Thomas had broken up after a few months. He’d been a good guy, solid, dependable, but he hadn’t been…
ORDER A COPY: Shades of Gray: A KGI Novel
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publishing Date: December 31, 2012
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 5 stars
The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business. Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background. Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…
P.J. and Cole were sharpshooting rivals on the same KGI team and enjoyed a spirited, uncomplicated camaraderie. Until the night they gave in to their desires and suddenly took their relationship one step further. In the aftermath of their one-night stand, they’re called out on a mission that goes terribly wrong, and P.J. walks away from KGI, resolved not to drag her teammates into the murky shadows she’s poised to delve into.
Six months later, Cole hasn’t given up his search for P.J., and he’s determined to bring her back home where she belongs. Bent on vengeance, P.J. has plunged into a serpentine game of payback that will make her question everything she’s ever believed in. But Cole—and the rest of their team—refuse to let her go it alone. Even if it means sacrificing their loyalty to KGI, and their lives…
David “Cole” Coletrane knew from the moment he first laid eyes on her, that P.J. Rutherford was something special and he wanted her desperately. Their easy camaraderie and playful competition was all part of the closeness of Steele’s team at KGI.
When KGI received a request to assist in bringing down a powerful and dangerous player in the underworld of human slave trade, specializing in children, there was no question they wanted a part in the takedown. The op was to send in P.J. into a swanky party to get information from Carter Brumley’s second in command, a man whose lips loosened up when he started drinking. Get some information where to find the children and get out. P.J. was a sniper, not an undercover operative, but she would do whatever she could to get those kids home. But when P.J. catches the eye of Brumley himself, the operation starts to go south. P.J. is separated from her team, drugged and is now terrified and alone with a monster.
Although her team reaches her before she is “disposed of,” the damage has been done and P.J. sinks into mire of helplessness and rage. She feels she is a weakness to her team and she leaves the hospital to go into hiding. She doesn’t want be the weak link, and more importantly, P.J. has a new mission–revenge! She will not take her team down that road with her. But P.J. doesn’t give her team enough credit. They don’t see her as weak. They only see her strength for surviving the horrors of that night.
When Brumley’s people start showing up dead, the team finally knows where to find P.J. and they will do whatever they can to protect P.J. from herself and from Brumley. A dangerous man like Brumley isn’t going to sit quietly waiting for P.J. to show up and kill him. No way in hell will her team leave her alone to face the danger by herself.
This was a very emotional story. My heart was racing for most of the story. Maya Banks draws you into all the emotional turmoil. I could feel the frustration and pain of the team as they could hear over the transmitter what was happening to P.J. while they desperately tried to find her. You could feel P.J.’s fear, pain and rage over being drugged and raped by this monster. Then the frustration of the team trying to find P.J. after she disappears. She doesn’t glance over the darker issues. You feel it.
Although this was a darker story than I would usually go for, the emotions were so powerful that it is certainly not a story I will forget anytime soon.
I really like her KGI series and from the title of the next story, I am guessing that Steele is up next. It will be interesting to get into the head of this very cool and controlled team leader, especially after we finally see some real emotion as he too hurts for what P.J. went through.
Received an ARC from Berkley/Penguin. Thank you.
Cole turned and rammed his fist into the wall. He couldn’t even think for imagining P.J. alone, feeling God knows what. She’d quit the fucking team. They were family. And she walked away.
He drew back to hit the wall again and was nearly tackled by Baker and Renshaw. They took him down, pinning him to the floor.
“Get off me!” Cole roared.
“Chill your ass out,” Renshaw barked. “None of this is helping.”
“Enough!” Steele bellowed.
Cole flipped Baker off his chest and then swung at Renshaw. Renshaw ducked the punch, but it was enough to unbalance him, and Cole was back on his feet and staring a hole through Steele.
“I agree with Dolphin on this one, ice man. You blew it.” He advanced on Steele until it was virtually only the two of them. The others faded into the background as Cole faced his team leader down.
“Goddamn you, Steele, you knew I was looking for her. You knew I’d been all over Denver. You knew how fucking worried I’ve been. And you just let her go and you get around to telling us two days later? What the fuck, man?”
Steele’s jaw tightened. “I hoped she’d change her mind.”
“Yeah, well, how did that work out for you? What the fuck are we supposed to do? Pretend nothing happened? Move on? Take another mission? Hell, why don’t we just replace her since she’s so goddamn expendable?”
“Enough, Cole,” Steele said, his voice as cold as ice.
“Enough is right,” Cole said, fury rising, sharper, harder with every breath.
He turned and stalked toward the door.
“Whoa, wait a minute,” Dolphin said. “Where the hell are you going?”
Cole turned and looked at his team, that was no longer the same. It never would be. It wasn’t a team without P.J.
“I’m out,” he clipped out. “I’m going after P.J. I’m not leaving her to shoulder this alone. She needs us.”
“Don’t be so damn hotheaded,” Steele growled.
Cole’s lip curled in disgust. “Yeah? Why don’t you stop being so fucking coldhearted. What you did was wrong and you damn well know it. You should have sat on her if you had to until we could hash this out as a team.”
“She came to me,” Steele snapped. “Not you. Not the team. She came to me, so I can only assume she wanted it that way.”
Steele’s words dug deep because he was right. It was obvious P.J. had no intention of facing Cole, and it gutted him.
“I don’t give a damn what she thinks she wanted,” Cole said softly. “She’s not thinking straight and we all know it. Sometimes doing the right thing is all wrong. Giving her space and time and all that other bullshit is great on paper, but you and I know that the very last thing she needs is to be alone. We’re her family. Her only family. We’re supposed to give a damn. We’re supposed to stand up for her when no one else will. And we’re damn sure supposed to call her out when she’s making stupid choices and fucking up. That’s what family does. Live and die as a team, right? Well, you hung her out to dry, Steele. And you hung the rest of us out right along with her, because now we all look like a bunch of uncaring assholes who just let her walk away without a fight.”
“Hooyah,” Dolphin said quietly.
Check out our interview with Cynthia Eden. We’ll be talking about her many, many, many new series out now and coming in 2013.
ORDER A COPY: The Better to Bite
Publishing Date: November 4, 2012
eBook: 300 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Don’t go into the woods.
Sixteen-year-old Anna Lambert knows that the woods near her new home aren’t safe. She’s seen the wolves that stalk through that dark forest, but Anna doesn’t scare easily.
Anna is cursed–or gifted, depending on how you look at it–with the ability to find anyone or anything that is lost. So when folks start disappearing in the small town of Haven, Anna’s father, the sheriff, has to use her special skills as they begin to hunt for a killer.
But the killer isn’t exactly human. As Anna is pulled deeper into the secrets of Haven–a town that is truly cursed–she finds herself falling for two, equally mysterious boys. With the danger closing in, one of those boys may just turn out to be her savior. And the other? He could be a very big, very bad…beast.
Beware of beasts…and boys…with bite
Anna Lambert and her father have just moved from Chicago to the small town of Haven, SC. Maybe she’s just not used to small towns, but it seems that there is something odd going on in Haven. And Anna knows all about being odd, or as her father calls her…different. Anna can always find things that are lost, whether it is lost keys, a lost earring, or even lost people.
When Anna goes to visit her father, the new local sheriff, she sees all the missing person’s fliers and she immediately knows where to find the “lost” people but none of them are coming home alive. They have all been the victims of animal attacks…more particularly, a wolf. Maybe even the same wolf that chased Anna herself through the forest.
Anna’s father forbids her from getting involved in the searches, and just wants her to get settled into her new school. That sounds simple enough, but being the new girl in town isn’t always easy. Aside from a few new friends, Anna isn’t the most popular girl in class, especially after she catches the attention of not only the hot football quarterback, and gorgeous, boy-next-door, Brent Peters, but also the sexy bad-boy, Rafe Channing.
But as more people go missing, Anna’s special abilities are needed to help find them before it’s too late. When discussions start turning to witches, magic and werewolves, Anna thinks she might just be been safer on the mean streets of Chicago.
This was a spellbinding tale of a young woman, first loves and paranormal mystery. A perfect example of great storytelling.
There was no hot werewolf sex in this book, barely so much as a kiss, but I didn’t miss it at all. There was so much going on and so many questions running through my head that I never felt the loss. I also realized that there were several questions left open once we got to the end. But even before I knew it was the first in a trilogy, I didn’t feel short-changed about the unanswered questions which would usually piss me off. Really, don’t get me started on Lost!!!
You knew that there were a lot of secrets in this little town, but you were never sure who was hiding a secret and if everyone was actually in on them but Anna.
Definitely pick up a copy for your favorite teen, as well as a copy for yourself. I am looking forward to getting some more answers in the upcoming books.
A long, mournful wail jerked my attention from the Trig book on the kitchen table. Who was I kidding? I wasn’t into Trig right then. I kept peeking out of the window and hoping to see some sign of my dad.
The howl had me rising and creeping once more to the window. I pulled backthe curtain and peered outside. I didn’t see anything.
I turned away.
Seconds later, something slammed into the front door, and I gasped.
Hard, heavy. The whole house seemed to shake with the impact.
Very, very slowly, I turned back around.
Once more, I looked outside, but I couldn’t see anything. From this angle, I wouldn’t be able to see what was on the other side of that door.
I crept toward the door and risked a fast glance out of the peephole.
I could hear a faint scratching. Like nails, digging into the wood.
I jumped back, then I turned and ran as fast as I could for the closet in my dad’s room.
I knew my dad. Knew how he thought. Knew where he hid his weapons. It took me about three seconds to shove a chair into his closet and climb up on it to find the back-up gun he’d tucked onto the top shelf.
Dad had taught me to use a gun, and I really was a very good shot. I loaded the bullets, climbed down, and carefully inched back toward the living room.
I heard the scratches instantly. Scratches and a low whine.
An animal in pain. Possibly dying. But weren’t those the most dangerous types of animals?
I didn’t open the door. “Get out of here!” I yelled, hoping my voice would scare the beast away. “Just get out of here!”
I didn’t hear the sound of fleeing feet, but I did hear…”Anna.”
My name, so soft, barely slipping past the locked door.
Not an animal. Oh, crap. I kept my hold on the gun and fumbled with the lock. I jerked and twisted and the door creaked open, but not too much. Just a few inches.
The porch light fell on his dark hair.
He was lying on his stomach, with his arms outstretched toward the door. He was naked, totally naked and blood gushed from wounds on his back.
I dropped to me knees. “What happened?” But I knew what those wounds were on his back. No way could I mistake gunshot wounds, not with my dad’s job.
He grabbed for my leg, and that was when I realized something was very, very wrong with is hands. Because he didn’t just have hands. Long, thick claws—actual freaking claws—burst from his fingertips. Claws like an animal would have. Not fingernails like a human would possess.
I stopped breathing.
His head lifted, and he looked up at me. His face…it was different, too. His cheeks were sharper, his jaw longer, his whole face thinner. And his eyes weren’t blue anymore. They were bright yellow. Glowing.
The wolf’s eyes.
”Help…me.” The voice wasn’t his. That hard, desperate grating seemed more like an animal’s growl than anything else.
His claws were wrapped around my knee. His eyes burned into mine. His blood dripped onto my porch.
I lifted my gun and pointed it right between his eyes. “What are you?” But I knew–I knew.
Free Elizabeth Naughton suspense novel. Don’t know how long it’s free to grab one today.
A woman without a past…
After a tragic accident left her with no memory, Kate Alexander struggled to fit in with a husband and world that didn’t feel right. She’s had no reason to question what friends and family have told her, not until her husband is suddenly killed and she finds a photo of a young girl in his office. A girl who can’t be anyone but a daughter Kate didn’t know she had.
A man desperate for a reason to live…
Ryan Harrison lost his wife in a plane crash five years ago. To cope with the pain of her loss, he dedicated himself to his job and to raising their daughter. Now a successful pharmaceutical executive, Ryan has everything a man could want—money, fame and power—but he’d give it all up in a heartbeat for just one more day with the woman he still loves.
Two lives about to converge.
As Kate begins to dig into a past she doesn’t remember, evidence leads her to San Francisco and puts her on the path toward Ryan, a man who sees in her the woman he loved and lost. Kate feels a draw to Ryan, one she can’t explain, but is that feeling enough to convince her this is where she’s supposed to be? As Ryan and Kate search for answers, they uncover lies long buried, a passion hotter than either expected and a danger that threatens…even now…when the second chance they’ve both been searching for is finally within reach.
ORDER A COPY: The Trouble with Fate: A Mystwalker Novel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publishing Date: December 24, 2012
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
My name is Hedi Peacock and I have a secret. I’m not human, and I have the pointy Fae ears and Were inner-bitch to prove it. As fairy tales go, my childhood was damn near perfect, all fur and magic until a werewolf killed my father and the Fae executed my mother. I’ve never forgiven either side. Especially Robson Trowbridge. He was a part-time werewolf, a full-time bastard, and the first and only boy I ever loved. That is, until he became the prime suspect in my father’s death…
Today I’m a half-breed barista working at a fancy coffee house, living with my loopy Aunt Lou and a temperamental amulet named Merry, and wondering where in the world I’m going in life. A pretty normal existence, considering. But when a pack of Weres decides to kidnap my aunt and force me to steal another amulet, the only one who can help me is the last person I ever thought I’d turn to: Robson Trowbridge. And he’s as annoyingly beautiful as I remember. That’s the trouble with fate: Sometimes it barks. Other times it bites. And the rest of the time it just breaks your heart. Again…
Helen Stronghold believed her father when he told her that “Strongholds Hold Strong.” At least she did until the night her werewolf father and her fae mother were killed and her twin brother was kidnapped and taken to the Fae world of Merenwyn and the portal between worlds were closed and locked forever.
Helen, now going by the name of Hedi Peacock, is trapped in between worlds. She is blocked for every going to her mother’s people in Merenwyn. Being half fae, she is unwanted by the father’s were pack. Hedi is forced to hide in plain sight and live among the humans. Never getting close to anyone since the touch of a human male will burn a female fae, a sort of mystical birth control to keep humans from muddying the fae lines.
The only ones Hedi has in her life is her Aunt Lou who reluctantly raised her after being trapped here as well, and Merry, the charmed amulet that her mother gave her just before she died. But Aunt Lou has started show signs of decline, a sort of Fae dementia.
When Hedi leaves for her job this morning, she thinks the worst thing that could happen to her is the mental pictures her aunt keep bombarding her with as she declines further. That is until she finds out her Aunt has been taken by the Alpha werewolf. He wants a fae amulet and he thinks Hedi’s aunt is his best chance of obtaining it. Hedi doesn’t have it, but she knows where it is. The last time she was it was the night her parents’ died. It was hanging around the neck of the Robson Trowbridge, son of the then Alpha, and the boy Hedi had loved from afar.
But before Hedi can save her aunt, she has to pull Trowbridge out of the bottle of alcohol he is hiding in and help him find the man he should have become before that tragic night that took not only Hedi’s family, but Robbie’s as well.
It took me a long time to read this book. I had a lot of trouble getting into this story. I don’t know if this is the first of a series or a trilogy, but there is a Book #2 coming out in July. This would definitely qualify as a set up book and didn’t really pick up my interest until maybe the last 100 or so pages.
I felt no emotional ties with the characters, nor did I feel any real emotion build between Robbie and Hedi. One minute he is calling her a kid and telling her to go away and suddenly, he has to have her. The first sexual encounter between them was awful, and it just went up to awkward from there.
It is a personal pet peeve when fae or witches in the story can’t use their magic. What makes them cool then? They’re just people who could have been cool. In this story, Hedi tamps down both her fae side and her werewolf side and is not only uncomfortable with them, but whenever she uses her magic, her hands are left severely burned and she collapses into unconsciousness. She’s like having a one shot pistol.
Trowbridge was such an anti-hero that I just couldn’t pull up the interest to root for him. He was maimed the night his family was killed, including his wife, so I am confused why he didn’t mate with his wife. According to him, they tried to bind to each other, but there was never any magic between them.
I will say that Leigh Evans knows how to leave you with a cliffhanger and I will have to debate whether or not I am curious enough to continue the story now that the foundation has been set down.
Received ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
“Do you want to talk here or outside?”
The lights on the stage behind him turned from red to purple-pink. “The discussion’s closed.” He jerked his chin in the direction of the shadowed doorway. “Take off, kid. You should have been long gone by now.”
“How about that drink, honey?” said the brunette.
“Go away or lose those extensions,” I snapped.
“Give us a minute, will you?” Trowbridge sent her a brief smile. Oh yeah, send a smile out to the cheap seats. “Then I’ll see about buying you a drink.” Even her ass looked sulky as she left.
“Okay, I’ve been thinking.” I said. A lie, I’d been soul-traveling. But I’m always doing that, aren’t I? Lying to Trowbridge. Dropping balls.
Trowbridge had gone back to studying the line of drinks in front of him. “It’s always good to try something new.”
New is not always good I briefly closed my eyes, and banished Threall. When I opened them he was studying me with his head tilted to one side. “I’ve been trying to come up with a plan that solves all my problems, but you know what? I’m no good at that. I’m good at finding things. Food. Jobs. Money for the rent. I haven’t had time for plans. I just run from problem to problem, plugging up holes the best I can. This time running isn’t the answer, and stealing isn’t going to work, because I don’t even know where to find Scawen’s Alpha.” I swallowed to loosen the knot in my tight throat. “Help me, Trowbridge.”
“I have helped you.” With a small frown, he reached for the first of the three shots of Jack lined up on the bar. “You’re alive, wandering around the world spreading some more Stronghold bad luck. This is the last time I’m going to tell you. Get a box, put the piece in it, and send it to Creemore. Then take your round little ass as far away from here and me as possible.” He raised the drink in a salute and downed the glasses’ contents in one gulp. “I’m done. You’re too much work. I’ve lost my invisibility, my van, and most of my cash. I’m down to my last pair of jeans.”
But he still had his soul.
“You keep showing up at the worst times of my life, but you never do much good, do you? You just take in the scenery and walk out again. How’s that feel? I inhaled slowly through my nose, and steadied my voice. “I need help, Trowbridge. I need someone who can guide me through this. Someone who understands the Creemore pack intimately. Someone who knows the Alpha, and the way his mind works, and is strong enough to stand up to him.”
The thin blue vein pulsed under his eye. Its beat was the only thing he couldn’t control His mouth, his eyes, even that telling muscle in his jaw, they had shut down, but he couldn’t control the flutter of the pulse under this skin. “Do I look suicidal? Give him what he wants. That’s all you can do.”
“I can’t.” It came out the way it felt: near desperate.
I studied his unyielding face and then said in a hard voice, “If you can’t be Robbie Trowbridge anymore, can’t you at least be Jacob Trowbridge’s son?”
This is a reprint of a short story in the Jane Jameson series which was written between Books 3 and 4. Reprinted with permission of Molly Harper.
Make sure to check out our interview with Molly Harper. We’ll be talking about Nice Girls, Naked Werewolves and new her new novel, then enter our Fangs or No Fangs giveaway.
Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease without a Wedding Ring by Molly Harper
All of Gabriel’s boxes were marked, “Boring Crap.”
Moving Lesson Number 1: Never give the vampire Dick Cheney access to a Jumbo Sharpie.
“I realize that moving in the afternoon isn’t an option, considering the whole ‘burst into flames’ factor, but do we literally have to do this in the dead of night?” my best friend, Zeb, grumped, hefting a box marked “Even More Boring Crap” up the front steps of River Oaks.
“Zeb, as I’ve told you, three times now, we’re not moving Gabriel at this hour because of solar issues. This is a full-on covert operation.”
“Because you’re still afraid of your mother finding out that you’re ‘living in sin,’ you wuss,” Zeb shot back.
It was true. My mother had made her feelings about pre-marital co-habitation very clear in a series of lectures entitled, “Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring.” Subtitled, “The Cautionary Tale of Jamie Beth Hartwell.”
Jamie Beth Hartwell’s mother went to church with my parents. She dated Junior Murphy all through high school and community college. And while Junior couldn’t afford an engagement ring, he could afford a nice single unit in the Garden Ridge Apartments, as long as Jamie Beth moved in and paid half the rent. They lived together for four years, with Junior promising Jamie Beth that a proposal was just around the corner… until he met a girl who could help him afford a two-bedroom unit. Suddenly, Junior wasn’t sure about marrying her any more. And now Jamie Beth was living with her parents again. After talking about the impending Hartwell-Murphy nuptials non-stop for four years, her mother could hardly show her face at the church potlucks.
“So you’re afraid of your mommy,” Zeb said. “That’s a great reason for me to be out this late instead of, say, sleeping in my bed under my own roof.”
“Which we wouldn’t have if Jane hadn’t given it to us as a wedding present,” Zeb’s gorgeous werewolf wife, Jolene, reminded him. Zeb’s mouth twitched into an apologetic frown. I held my hands up as if to ward off his guilt.
“’Lose’ the hideous hunting print Gabriel wants to hang in the living room and we’ll call it even,” I told him. He shrugged, and jogged down the steps to retrieve more boxes from Big Bertha.
“We would help if we could!” my ghostly Aunt Jettie called from where she and her equally deceased beau, Mr. Wainwright, sat on the porch swing. “But we’re old and frail… and non-corporeal.”
Zeb grumbled and waved them off as he hauled a rolled up carpet to my den.
“Don’t mind him, Jane,” Jolene said, patting my back as her white teeth flashed in the darkness. “He always gets antsy when we leave the twins with his parents.”
“Because he doesn’t like to be away from them?”
“No, because we left the twins with his parents,” she said, shuddering delicately. “It’s took six months for them to prove that they wouldn’t intentionally put the kids in harm’s way. Now, we just have to worry about the danger they unintentionally put the kids in.”
“Sorry,” I told her. “I really appreciate your help.”
“Oh, hell, Janie,” Jolene huffed, using her werewolf strength to effortlessly lift a carton of Gabriel’s books . “I’m just happy to be out of the house. So far, no one’s peed or spit up on me. In my book, that’s a banner evening.”
“Your book is very sad,” I told her solemnly. She snickered and called me a “pain in the ass” under her breath while she hefted the boxes into the house.
I laughed as I mentally checked another item off my move-in checklist.
Recruit hapless friends willing to be paid in beer/blood and pizza. Check.
Schedule move during Mama’s REM cycle. Check.
Get rid of Gabriel’s ugly-ass hunting print? Check.
It wasn’t as if I wasn’t making compromises in this arrangement. I’d renovated two bedrooms upstairs so it could actually be called a sunproof “master suite.” I’d cleared out quite a bit of space in my library for Gabriel’s collection. It wasn’t that difficult a choice, considering that most of his books were valuable antiques, whereas most of mine were well-worn paperback versions of Jane Austen and Roald Dahl novels. I’d also packed most of my unicorn collection away in the cellar, threatening Gabriel with permanent sunburn if he so much as breathed a word about it to Dick.
I’d even given my older sister, Jenny, several heirlooms I’d denied her for years, to make room for the pieces Gabriel was bringing from his family’s manse on Silver Ridge Road. It was the same house Gabriel was deeding over to Jenny, I suspected, to cement the tentative sororital ceasefire we’d established a few months before.
Moving in together was the last stop on the road to “Commitmentville” for Gabriel and me. With the recent passing of the federal Undead Marriage Act and the recent nuptials of Dick and Andrea, I was feeling the pressure to let Gabriel make an honest woman of me. We’d agreed to move in together because I’d told Gabriel months before that I wasn’t ready to be engaged yet. I was still adjusting to being a vampire. I was still recovering from Zeb and Jolene’s wedding from hell. And oh, yeah, Gabriel’s psycho-childe had just tried to murder me in my own home.
I needed a bit of a breather.
Gabriel proposed again, a few weeks later, and I wasn’t ready. And then again, on my birthday, and I still wasn’t ready. Then he promised not to ask me again until I was ready. And when he said that, I suddenly felt ready. And then I felt like an idiot, because by then, he’d stopped proposing.
This is what happens when you date a guy who saves you from a gun-shot wound in a muddy ditch. There’s a certain amount of drama expected in your relationship. Gabriel and I had the opposite of a meet-cute. We had a meet-casualty. The short version is that when I was (unfairly, unceremoniously) fired from the library, instead of getting a severance check, I got just enough of a gift certificate to get rip-snorting drunk at Shenanigans. I met Gabriel, sobered, and flirtation ensued. My car died half-way home. I was spotted walking home by the town drunk, who mistook me for a deer and shot me. I was left in the ditch to die, only to be found and turned by Gabriel.
But when I tell the story in public, Gabriel had to turn me because of wounds I suffered rescuing blind orphans from a flaming, totaled van.
So, here I was, on the edge of co-habitation, trying to figure out how to propose to my boyfriend, whose pre-Civil War gender sensibilities probably wouldn’t accept such a gesture. I trod down to Big Bertha to snag a few more boxes and realized Gabriel and his sensibilities were coming down the driveway.
I could practically hear Dick and Gabriel bickering, even with the car fifty yards away. Andrea, Dick’s recently turned wife, had her face pressed against the window and seemed to be trying to beat herself unconscious against the glass.
“I’m just saying,” Dick grunted, hopping out of the car as soon as Gabriel screeched to a stop. “Fixing a game’s not wrong if they’re the only ones losing out.”
“The game of baseball lost out!” Gabriel insisted, slamming the driver’s side door as he followed his childhood friend to the trunk of the car. “The Black Sox scandal made people lose their faith in the great American pastime! I was so shocked, I disavowed popular culture all together. Because of Chick Gandil, having a conversation with Jane is almost painful on occasion.”
“Hey!” I exclaimed. “I’m standing right here.”
Gabriel grinned at me, and I was instantly reminded that all of this moving hullabaloo was totally worth it. In the looks department, my new “roomie” had always left me simultaneously flustered and drool-y. Black hair that curled around the collar of his work shirt. Flashing silver eyes. A lush mouth equally skilled at reading sonnets aloud and saying filthy things I will never, ever be able to repeat without spontaneously combusting in shame.
I smiled back as Andrea tumbled out of the car and threw herself at me. I thought she was coming in for a hug, but she wrapped her hands around my throat and tackled me.
“Yipe!” I shrieked, tearing at her hands as she shook my head back and forth like a rag doll’s.
“They’ve been going round and round like this the whole damn drive!” she yelled. “Whether Lee would have won the war, if Vicksburg had held the siege a little longer. Whether the moon landing was a fabricated video. And I had to sit through all of it, because of you!”
“You’re strangling someone who doesn’t need to breathe,” I wheezed. “And you didn’t have to ride with them.”
“No, I’m blaming you, because you got them together again. They’d been actively ignoring each other for decades before you started your meddling,” she hissed like an old-fashioned Scooby Doo villain.
“Hi, sweetheart,” Gabriel said blithely as he passed us, as if our friend wasn’t pinning me to the ground and throttling me. “I think this is the last load. Your sister’s already at the house, measuring for curtains,”
“How long have they been at that?” Dick asked Zeb, nodding toward Andrea and me. “And none of you had the presence of mind to video tape it?”
Jolene sighed and then smacked the back of Dick’s head.
“Thank you,” Andrea and I chorused.
Gingerly massaging the spot where Jolene had connected, Dick muttered. “I don’t like to throw these things up in your face, Stretch, but when I moved in with my lady love, I didn’t ask you for help.”
Andrea said, “Well, honey, I will remind you that you never officially moved in with me, you just slowly, over time, snuck your belongings into my house.”
Dick smirked. “Oh, yeah. Damn, I’m good.”
“Did you take Rhinehardt Lane?” I asked Gabriel. Andrea grunted as I shoved her off me and sprang to my feet. She landed in an undignified heap on the ground. Dick helped Andrea up and assured her that she would have had me if Gabriel hadn’t split us up.
Gabriel kissed me and gave me cheeky little grin. “Jane, I love you, but I will only do so much to humor you. Taking a twenty-mile detour around your mother’s house seems a little excessive.”
“Gabriel, I’m telling you, she has this bizarre sixth sense when I have something going on in my life that I don’t want her to know about.”
Andrea snorted as she brushed grass clippings from her slacks. “Well, you could always just tell her about your life, like a grown-up.”
I pointed my finger at her nose. “Shut it, you. Now that you have vampire strength, all bets are off in the ass-kicking department.”
“Five bucks on Jane!” Jettie yelled.
“Ten on Andrea!” Dick countered. When I glared at him, he shrugged. “I’ve seen you fight, Stretch… Wait, is that why we’re out here so late? Your mom doesn’t know Gabe’s moving in?”
“No, she doesn’t,” Gabriel muttered, rolling his eyes. “She knows that I’m giving Jenny the house, but Jane told her I’m relocating to an apartment complex nearby.”
“Somehow, I just don’t see you as a ‘communal laundry room’ guy,” Zeb said, shaking his head.
“Ohhh,” Dick groaned, his face somehow paler as he turned to me. “This is going to end in you hitting me. Again.”
I dropped the box marked “Gabriel’s Boring Breakables,” making Gabriel curse fluently in Mandarin. “What did you do?”
“Well, I sort of appointed myself the head of the refreshment committee for this shindig, so I went to the SuperSaver to pick up some beer.”
“Which he drank earlier tonight,” Andrea interjected,
“I told you, honey, I always have a beer when wrestling is on!” Dick cried indignantly. “Anyway, I get in line to pay-”
“Which I am now forcing him to do as more than just an occasional gesture,” Andrea said.
“Would you stop interrupting me, woman?” Dick demanded. Andrea lifted her elegant auburn eyebrow in a movement Jolene had deemed, “the bitch-brow.”
“Ignore her, Dick,” I insisted, which made Andrea scoff indignantly. “You can crash on our couch if you want, just finish the damn story!”
Dick blew out an unnecessary breath. “Anyway, I’m at the check-out line and who should appear, but Jane’s mama. And of course, being the nice young man that I am, I make conversation with her. To keep her from thinking I’m some sort of drunk- can it, Gabe – I explained that the three cases of beer were for all of us while we helped Gabriel move his stuff into River Oaks.”
“You drank three cases of beer?” Zeb exclaimed. “How are you still standing?”
“Years of practice,” Gabriel muttered.
“So she knows?” I shrieked. “She knows!” I grabbed Dick by his t-shirt and shook him.
“She seemed really happy about it!” Dick exclaimed. “She was smiling!”
“That’s her ‘I just got bad news in public face!” I yelled. “What’s she supposed to do? Wail ‘my daughter’s a scarlet woman!’ and gnash her teeth in the check-out aisle?”
Zeb seemed to be way-too-seriously considering what clearly was intended to be a rhetorical question until he caught my glare.
At that instant, a chill ran up my spine. My ears rang and my vision sparkled with a scary sort of clarity. “My mother’s on her way here.”
“You’re psychic range isn’t that good,” Gabriel chuckled.
“She’s coming,” I whispered in a high, breathy voice straight out of Poltergeist.
Dick shuddered. “Damn it, Stretch, I’ve told you not to do that voice.”
“Everybody!” I yelled, grabbing a large blue pottery vase and a random throw pillow. “Pick up whatever you can get your hands on and just throw it in the house!”
Gabriel wrapped his hands around my arms. “Jane, calm down. It’s going to be alright.”
“You don’t know what we’re in for. The nagging. The guilt trips. The questions. ‘Why are you doing this to me?’” I said, mimicking Mama’s martyr tone. Gabriel did his own creeped-out shudder. “’Don’t you know what people are going to think about you two living together? Why aren’t you two getting married? You don’t think it’s hard enough to see your daughter die and not have the chance to bury her. Now you’re going to deny me the chance to see my youngest child married?’”
Gabriel shrugged and pulled me close, so my face was tucked against his collar. “We’re not getting married because you’re not ready yet.”
“But I am ready!” I wailed, my voice muffled against his chest.
Gabriel’s arms instantly went lax around my shoulders. “What? NOW? You’re telling me this now?”
“Yes!” I cried, ignoring Dick’s loud guffaw from across the lawn.
“I thought you were excited about moving in together? I thought we were doing this because you weren’t ready to get married!”
“But I am!” I cried. “I’m ready now. And I haven’t known how to tell you, since I made such a fuss of not being ready. But I trust you. You’ve stopped carefully editing information for me, and treating me like a child. You actually tell me when something’s bothering you or you’re angry or you just need a hug or your hair won’t do what you want it to. Frankly, I kind of wish you’d share a little bit less with me, but I don’t want to regress. I know that you love me. And I love you so much, I don’t think I could stand not being with you every day-”
Gabriel spluttered. “But- but, you’re telling me this now?!”
“Maybe we should go inside,” Zeb whispered.
Andrea shook her head, her eyes fixed on us. “It’s like a car wreck, I can’t look away.”
“Well, what if I’m not ready?” Gabriel countered.
It was my turn to splutter indignantly, “What!”
“Maybe I’d like to sow my wild oats for the next decade or so, stretch out my remaining bachelor days,” he said, his lips twitching into a smirk.
“Those days are dwindling, even as we speak,” I deadpanned.
Aunt Jettie snickered behind me. “That a boy, Gabriel. Give her hell.”
“Whose side are you on?” I shot back.
“So, just to clarify – because our conversations practically need subtitles – I’m free to propose again, at any time?” Gabriel asked.
“Well, yeah, but don’t feel like you have to do the whole down-on-one-knee, candlelight and roses thing.”
“Fair enough,” he agreed, nodding.
“Or the whole ‘scoreboard at a sporting event’ thing. I’ve always thought that’s kind of tacky.”
“When have we ever gone to a sporting event together?” he said, arching an eyebrow.
“I guess, it would be rude to mention my aversion to rings hidden in food products of any kind.”
“Jane, a lesser man would interpret this as you being a control freak.”
I threw my hands into a surrendering gesture “Shutting up now.”
He shot me a speculative look. “So just so I understand, the dangerous inner workings of your brain- we’re not engaged, in any official or unofficial capacity, but I’m free to press my suit at any time.”
“As long as you mean proposing and not pressing an actual suit of clothing, yes.”
“Thank you, I was confused for a moment,” he said.
“What are going to do next, call a damn notary?” Dick yelled. “Kiss the girl!”
Gabriel threw the box of boring breakables in Dick’s general direction and was about to do just that, when I heard my mother’s car pulling into the driveway. I could feel her brain vibrating at the sight of catching us “in the act” of moving Gabriel in.
“Not one word about proposals, no matter how much she pushes,” I told my friends. “No matter what she says or how loud she cries, don’t try to throw that up as a distraction.”
Gabriel’s lips twitched. “I don’t think it’s going to be that bad. It’s one woman against five supernatural creatures… And Zeb.”
“You laugh because you haven’t heard my mother’s thirty-minute verbal dissertation on appropriate seasonal flower choices. We’re better off letting her yell at us for being dirty, premarital fornicators.”
Before Gabriel- or Dick, mercifully- could respond to that, my mother screeched to a halt and cut her engine.
“Jane Enid Jameson!” my mother cried, stepping out of her sedan as her face turned an unnatural eggplant color. “What do you think you’re doing?!”
“Forget the engagement,” Gabriel whispered, “We’re going to tell your mother we’ve already eloped. She’ll have nowhere to go from there.”
“We’re going to lie to my mother?”
He cringed as she stomped toward us, her huge Aigner pocketbook flapping against her arm. “I think that would be for the best, yes.”
I nodded, kissing him just before I whispered back, “I’m OK with that.”
Congratulations to our winner Tina B.
Author A.J. Myer and Parasite Publishing asked us to share the news that Book #2 of the Mystic and Mayhem series is being released tomorrow, December 15th. Book #1 was very entertaining and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. It is published under the catagory of Young Adult, but you don’t need to be a teen to enjoy this great story. We were left at the end with a hint at Book #2 and we met several characters in Book #1 that we didn’t spend enough time with, and they were so interesting that I know that they have to see more of them in future stories.
A.J. and Parasite have offered us a great giveaway — a really nice messenger bag (which would be great to hold your e-reader) as well as your choice of Book #1 Something Witchy or Book #2 Something Wicked. Just let us know if you would like Book #1 or Book #2.
See our review for Book #1 – Something Witchy or the blub below for information on Book #2. Sorry I don’t have a review ready for you, but I’m a little behind. Damn Christmas cookies!
*Something Wicked** (Book Two in the Mystics & Mayhem series) Blurb*:
Welcome back to the World of Weird! I’m Ember Blaylock, and I’ll be your guide through this treacherous—sometimes downright deadly—world I call my own. Because if you thought our last trek through my reality was a rollercoaster ride, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
I thought I was going to get my life back. I swore off all things witchy. I lied to everyone I cared about. I was even dealing with the nightmares that plagued me every night—souvenirs of my first foray through this not-so-wonderful world of mine. Seriously, if the World of Weird doesn’t leave you with your fair share of issues, nothing will. I really thought I could go back to being a normal senior in high school.
I was *so *wrong.
Between my doubts about giving my heart to my vampire boyfriend, uncovering a whole new set of secrets and lies, and seeing my old friend Jack every time I turned around, there was nothing ‘normal’ about my life.
And if that wasn’t enough to keep a girl on her toes, Moonlight, Missouri just got its very own serial killer. A real psycho who seems to think it’s fun to turn his victims into Ember clones—and this creeper isn’t working alone. He’s got help. The witchy kind. Sucks to be me, huh?
And you thought just surviving *high school* was tough…
ORDER A COPY: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: February 22, 2011
Paperback: 371 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Northern Exposure Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.
For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.
If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated.
When Mo’s fiancé breaks off their engagement without even an attempt at an excuse, she knew she needed a change. Maybe going from Leeland, Mississippi to Grundy, Alaska seems like a long way to go just to get away from prying family members, but you haven’t met Mo’s hippie parents or sat through one of their lectures on the evils of processed sugar.
Grundy is like any other small town in the lower 48, just that it’s only one street long and summer means that you can strip down to only one layer.
She doesn’t even mind the black wolf with the striking blue/green eyes that is always hanging around her property, although she has no intentions to going out and petting him anytime soon.
Mo finds a job at The Blue Glacier Saloon, part restaurant/part bar/part general store and brings new life to the boring diner menu, earning her a place in many of the hearts of the Grundy residents. Especially the single men of Grundy, including very attractive U.S. Forestry Ranger, Alan Dahling.
In fact the only man Mo wants to avoid is that surly Cooper Graham. Even though her friend Evie says his good morning grunt is more conversation than Cooper has with most people, Mo is not interest in someone who sees her as only a temporary annoyance…if only she could get her hormones to agree. Stupid hormones!
Mo starts to wonder if she is suffering from a case of cabin fever when she starts to think that it’s more than coincidental that Cooper and her black wolf have the same blue/green eyes. That is until Cooper shows up on her doorstep quite naked, except for that bear trap on his ankle.
Everything is going well for Mo and her wolf, until hikers start disappearing and locals are being attacked by a wolf and Cooper admits that he can never remember what he does in wolf form. When the locals start pulling down their hunting rifles to go kill the wolf, Mo will do anything to protect her wolf, even from himself.
Although I don’t think it tops her Jane Jameson series, it is still a great story and very funny. I do think that Cooper is so surly and such a loner that he should have been a werebear and not a werewolf.
Mo leaving Mississippi to get away from her hippie parents is hysterical and very clever when you think how true it is that all those 60′s rebellious, free-love kids are now just your wacky parents with their weird ideals.
I am listening to this on audiobook. Molly Harper has such a great writing style and I get so into the story that I hate getting out of my car.
I would still say grab her Jane Jameson/Nice Girls series first but then start the Naked Werewolves series.
“Don’t mind Lynette,” Evie said, rolling her eyes. “She convinced herself a long time ago that she is always the hottest thing in the room, and she lives to prove it. It actually makes her a pretty great waitress. She knows how to go after the tips. But having every guy in the bar talk to you just to hear your accent must be annoying the hell out of her.”
“Is that why the kept asking me to say ‘ice?’” I asked, a little irritated. I’d worked for years to downplay my accent, a mix of my mother’s faint Texas twang and my classmates’ slow Delta drawl. I thought I had it down to where I only “got Southern” when I was upset. I grumbled, “Y’all sound Canadian to me, by the way.”
“Just enjoy it. It’s a little harmless flirting. You don’t have to worry about serious intentions until they start offering you meat.”
I arched my eyebrow. “Is that some sort of gross double entendre?”
Evie’s dark eyes twinkled. “No, actual meat. It’s sort of a tradition in Grundy, a macho provider thing. They want to show you that they can feather your nest, so to speak. It’s pretty Neanderthal of them but sweet at the same time. When a Grundy man offers you a rump roast, it’s the equivalent of asking you to go steady.”
“Wow,” I said. “And on that note, please excuse me.”
I hopped off the bar stool and was heading for the bathroom when my foot caught on an uneven floorboard and sent me pitching into the wall of a man standing behind me. It felt like my whole body burst into flame. My cheek tingled where it had brushed against his chest. I could feel the heat from his steadying hands searing through the sleeves of my shirt.
I exclaimed something like “Oof!” and looked up. It was the eyes that stunned me into silence—the same electric blue-green that had stared out at me from the woods the night before. I shook off the sleep-smeared memory and tried to smile politely.
“Mo, meet Cooper Graham. Cooper, this is my new friend, Mo,” Evie said in a bemused voice.
With a gulp, I swallowed the drool puddling in my mouth. You noticed the eyes right off the bat, wide and bottomless blue over sharp cheekbones, and a slim, long nose that had obviously been broken when he was young. His hair seemed both dark brown and black, not long enough for a ponytail but too long to keep under that faded maroon baseball cap he was wearing.
Cooper was exactly the type of guy I would have sex with before the first date back home. Dark, rough, athletic. Here I was faced with my own personal sexual kryptonite, and I’d abandoned my contraception.
Cooper offered me a brief view of brilliantly white teeth as he set me on my feet. He had the biggest hands I’d ever seen. I wondered how they would feel on my skin, whether his fingertips would touch if he had both hands on my hips. Whether he was that big everywhere—
I was snapped out of my subconscious ogling when Cooper looked at Evie. “Vacation?” he asked in a husky, no-nonsense tone.
Apparently, he wasn’t bothering to address me directly.
“New blood,” Evie said wryly, shaking her head. “Mo’s renting the Meyers place. With an option to buy.”
“I’ve heard that song before,” Cooper rumbled. His smile was sharp and not terribly friendly. He pressed his lips together and exhaled. With lips quirked, he told me, “Try Evie’s apple-raisin pie. It’s a life changer.”
My eyebrows shot up as he turned and walked toward the end of the counter without another word.
“Evie’s a disaster in the kitchen,” Pete explained to me, a conspiratorial note in his voice. “She stared a fire boiling eggs once.”
“But Cooper said to try her pie,” I whispered. Evie was too distracted with Buzz to pay either of us any attention. “He said it was a life changer.”
“Well being trapped on the can for a week probably would change your life,” Pete conceded. My jaw dropped, and I glared at Cooper. Well, that cinched it. He was an asshole. I was definitely going to end up sleeping with him.
ORDER A COPY: Obsession Wears Opals (A Jaded Gentleman Novel)
Publisher: Berkley Sensations
Publishing Date: December 4, 2012
Paperback: 320 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Darius Thorne has learned to use his wit and intelligence to strategize a better life for himself. He is the White Knight amidst the small secret circle of Gentlemen known only as the Jaded. The handsome scholar shields his heart by keeping a studied distance from the world…until he rescues a beautiful woman who literally falls into his hands.
Isabel Netherton isn’t merely a damsel in distress. A high born lady of quality unwilling to be a pawn, she is defiantly escaping an abusive husband. But under Darius’ protection she discovers an unexpected champion—a man who teaches her the power of true desire and what it means to be treated like a queen.
However, the law of the land supports her husband’s cruel claim. It will take all of Darius’ wit to keep one step ahead of their enemies and protect Isabel. In a deadly game of chess, Darius must defeat the Black Knight and sacrifice himself for his Ivory Queen or forfeit all.
Lady Isabel Netherton thought her life was perfect. She was the daughter of a Marquis, had a spectacular debut, beautiful clothes, the right friends, and a handsome new husband. On her wedding night, her perfect world fell apart. Her new husband was an abusive sadist who got great pleasure in hurting her. When an opportunity came to escape, she took it and ran with no money or clothing. Just her beloved horse, Samson. They rode until Samsom went lame and Isabel collapsed into the gardens of Darius Thorne.
Darius was well acquainted with the signs of abuse. His father was a vicious man who also took pleasure from beating his wife and children which is why Darius has vowed never to take a wife himself. He never wanted to harm another person. So he focused his life on his studies and on his education to better himself from just a dockworker’s son.
Darius have vowed to keep Isabel safe while she recovers from her injuries, both physical and mental. Even though the laws would indicate that Isabel is the property of her abusive husband and must return to him, Darius is determined to use his gift of puzzle solving to figure out how to save Isabel from the clutches of her husband.
What a delightful story! I loved these characters. The shy, bespectacled professor was the perfect match for the abused and frightened, Isabel. Darius is thoughtful and intelligent. He makes Isabel feel safe and gives her time to heal physically. His kindness goes a long way to helping her heal mentally.
Although she starts to feel empowered under the tutelage of Darius and she wants to stop hiding and living in fear, she doesn’t do stupid heroine things like throw herself into danger or sacrifice herself for the better good. She uses her intelligence and allows Darius to help her. Isabel in turn saves Darius when his plans to remove Isabel from her husband, leads Darius searching the darkest underworld of London. Darius becomes depressed from the ugliness he is finding and it is now Isabel’s turn to show Darius kindness and bring him joy to turn away the darkness.
This is Book 5 of a series and there was only basic information about Darius and his friends, now called The Jaded, who were held captive in India for about two years, and I am guessing they fell into a fortune in gems when they got free. I am sure this is all explained either in the first book or over the course of the prior four books. I know that they are being threatened by The Jackal to return a sacred item and they don’t know what he is looking for and now there is another faction that says they must not turn over the sacred item to The Jackel. So, once they figure out what he is looking for, it will be the proverbial rock and hard place of what to do next. This seems to be more of the premise to the other stories, but all this background wasn’t important to Darius and Isabel’s story.
I would love to start from the beginning, but unfortunately, there does not appear to be audiobooks on this series so I can’t put it on my Catch Up by Audiobook list.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
(FYI – Darius gives Isabel the name Helen when she refuses to give her name.)
“You should learn chess, Helen.”
“Should I?” she asked, mystified at his persistence.
“For one more reason I’ve yet to mention.”
“And what reason is that?”
“Because the most powerful piece on that board isn’t the armed knights on horseback or the brute soldiers or even the solemn-looking fellow wearing the crown.”
“No?” She held her breath, drawn in by the light in his eyes.
“It’s the queen. The singular female on the field has more power and freedom to move than any other piece.” He lowered his voice conspiratorially. “Imagine it, Helen. She is the strongest element on the board and every other piece is either struggling to make sure she is safe or to stay out of her way.”
“Oh, my!” Isabel let out the breath she’d been holding. “Really?”
“Here, I’ll show you. Bring your plate of food!”
The first game was less a battle and more a series of lessons on how a battle unfolded and the consequences of every choice she made. He held his black army in check, never striking aggressively against hers, but advising where he could have, letting her retrace her steps and weigh out her moves. The first loss of a knight made her almost tearful, but Darius walked her through the realities of a necessary sacrifice to achieve a greater goal.
“You must try to see all the pieces as part of larger entities, all working together.” He turned the board just a few inches to the left. “Take a deep breath. Sometimes I like to image that my men are all eager to do their duty and consider sacrifice a great honor—especially when I promise to resurrect them for the next battle.”
She laughed. “Such absolute power!”
“Heady, isn’t it?” He squared the board again between them. “When you play chess, nothing happens on the field without your command.”
“But I’m not commanding you.” She eyed the intimidating lines of his pieces. “And your men don’t look happy about dying just to please me!”
It was his turn to laugh. “True! The Black army seeks only to please their dark queen, but let’s see if you cannot outwit them.”
“I will do my utmost to make her rage in frustration.” Isabel bent her head in concentration, trying to see the board as he did. Her poor knight stood forlornly next to Darius’s hand—a captured piece. “But only if you sign a treaty not to mistreat any of my men who fall into your hands.”
“Agreed.” Darius solemnly held out his hand. “I shall be merciful.”
“Good.” Isabel took his hand to shake it, her bare palm pressed to his and the warmth of his firm touch enveloping her slender fingers. It was meant as a jest, her proclamation of the articles of their little war, but the spark of sensation she experienced drained her of humor. There was nothing funny about the seductive pull of the heat shimmering across her skin. Isabel knew it was forbidden, this pleasure, but suddenly—it was hard to accept why.
I’m married—and already so far down a path to scandal that I may never recover. But this—God, how is this even possible? When I thought never to want any man’s touch again for as long as I lived?
“And you?” he asked, still holding her hand across the board. His gaze was steady, the green in his eyes deepening as the contact between them lingered.
“M-me?” Isabel tried to regain her mental footing and ignore the sweet fire curling up inside of her.
“Will the White Queen also pledge to be merciful? My army stands ready to either case, but a gentleman must ask if the treaty is to be balanced.”
“Of-of course.” Isabel conceded, then reluctantly let go of his hand. “I’ll serve them jam and biscuits while they wait for you to pay their ransoms.”
“Very kind of you.” He dropped his hand too quickly and clumsily knocked over his rook and two pawns. “Whoa! Disorder in the ranks!”
Chess was a serious game but Darius had never played it without folding in a bit of drama.
Instead of laughing at him, Helen had openly approved, proclaiming herself enchanted, and revealed that her imagination outpaced his. Even now, she took his breath away as she announced, “My lone knight is melancholy to think of his lost twin, Mr. Thorne, but I warn you, he is getting a fireside speech from his comrades to rally his spirits. They’ve reminded him of our cause and inspire him to avenge his brother!”
Darius was entranced—a man held in thrall. “No less inspiring than the cries of my generals to my battered men-at-arms. He is promising them extra rations of ale and a parcel of land to the first common man to take down one of your bishops.”
“How wicked!” she exclaimed, her eyes gleaming. “The White army needs no such bribery.”
“Well”—he leaned in conspiratorially—“they do need one thing.”
“And what is that?” she asked, her attention instantly diverted to the board, her expression anxious. “Is someone in danger?”
“No, not necessarily,” he conceded. “But the White army does need the lady ruling the White Kingdom to make her next move, or my wicked forces will start to conclude that she has forfeited.”
“Oh, yes, of course!” Helen bit her lower lip, her gaze narrowing as she concentrated. She touched her rook, but hesitated. “Hold on the tapestries, gentlemen, for we are moving.”