Monthly Archives: January 2013
Author Jessie Lane (also known as the writing team of Melissa Pahl and Crystal Leo) are here talking about their top 10 favorite shifters. Stop by and say Hi!
ORDER A COPY: Big Bad Bite
Publishing Date: January 28, 2013
eBook: 271 pages
Rating: 3 stars
What would it be like to live in a world where you are considered abnormal to those who are above the norm?
Jenna O’ Conner has been taught her whole life to hide from everyone. Never to let anyone to close enough to know that she would prefer a shotgun for her birthday over of a bouquet of roses. She’s been smothered by her over protective family so that no one learns what she truly is. Which is not human. Nor, is she considered the norm for the supernatural Other community that is benevolent enough to share this world with the humans.
In a desperate attempt to live her own life away from the small town she was raised in, Jenna obtains her dream job as the newest member on the Wilmington Police Department’s SWAT Team. What she didn’t predict was that she would run into trouble her first day on the job, in the form of a deadly, mouthwatering man named Adam McPhee. Who is also not human, but more like a wolf walking around in human skin. He’s determined to figure out exactly what Jenna is, which unbeknownst to him, could very well put her life in danger. He’s also determined to have her all to himself.
As if that wasn’t enough for Jenna to deal with, bad news blows into town. A group of extremist Shifters who think humans are cattle and factions of Others worldwide should stay within their own species – never to intermingle. Chaos ensues. Jenna has to find a way to shut them down, but in the process of trying to do that, discovers things about herself that even she never thought was possible.
Who said the wolf was what you had to worry about?
Welcome to the real world.
Jenna O’Conner was always told by her mother and her Uncle Owen to keep out of sight, never call attention to herself and never, never let a shifter know what she was. Shifters as a general rule aren’t too happy when a shifter mates with a human and creates a half shifter/half human child. Even worse for Jenna, she’s half shifter/half…not human. Which makes her a walking target for Others.
But Jenna’s had enough of hiding, after five years of working as an officer for her small Town Sheriff’s Department for her Uncle Rick, Jenna has transferred to the Wilmington Police Department and is the newest member of the SWAT team. Everything is going well on her first day, including taking down a dangerous criminal, until she runs directly into the path of a shifter and not just any shifter, but the local Alpha. Adam knows with one sniff that something’s not right about Jenna, and he plans to find out just what she’s hiding.
When her next assignment brings even more danger in the form of terrorist shifters, Jenna can’t help being dragged into the world of the Others and after years of hiding, she just isn’t prepared. As if a new job, new town, new partner, terrorist shifters and coming out of the proverbial “Other” closet isn’t enough stress for Jenna, Adam has decided that Jenna will be his perfect mate and he isn’t going to stop until he makes her his.
THOUGHTS (W/ TINY SPOILERS):
There were many parts of this story that I enjoyed. We start out on Jenna’s first assigned with the SWAT team. She starts off with a bang, she know what she is doing, and she ends up with a new partner. There was great banter between her and the partner. There was also a great scene when they go interview someone and considering shifters don’t age, Grandma walks in, who is still all hot and sexy, and she’s looks at Jenna’s partner and she gets all flirty, and they are all like “Eww, Grandma stop.” (See favorite scene below for part of that scene.)
Unfortunately, this story tried to do too much and it started to feel like I was reading more than one book. We quickly deviate from the fact that Jenna is a member of the SWAT team and we loose that great banter with her partner.
The characters kept flip-flopping: one moment Jenna is a kick-ass, in-your-face cop/woman, but the next she’s like an insecure teenager. When she was tough, she was more interesting and the difference in character was such a swing, it was like two different characters.
As we start the story, Jenna makes some really stupid decisions with regard to Adam, that after a lifetime of “beware of shifters” she does a complete 180 listening to whatever Adam says. If we weren’t told in the description that Adam was our romantic hero, he could have easily been the slick-talking, archvillian here. He convinces Jenna to get to know him, his sister and his best friend by meeting them in a shifter bar…maybe not a safest place if you are trying to hide from shifters, and then Jenna goes off the next day to have a run with the sister (that she just met) on private shifter land. HEY, DANGER WILL ROBINSON. I could have easily seen her as a naïve girl being conned into stepping onto guarded shifter land and ending up chained in a basement at the orders of the Alpha with no one ever knowing where she disappeared to. It seemed a little off for an experienced police officer, raised to be afraid of other shifters to just go trotting off to be surrounded by them. There is a difference between wanting to give them a chance to show they are not dangerous and being an idiot.
Shifters in general are portrayed as sexy and sensual. Adam is no exception, but it’s almost like they are trying too hard and when, after about 4 days with very little conversation between them yet one hot and heavy make out session, Adam decides he has to have Jenna as his lifelong mate, the only thing keeping us from thinking Dangerous Stalker is the fact that he is our “hero” here. When her friends and family find out Adam’s desire to mate with Jenna, they are actually angry with her for not agreeing to it right away and making Adam “suffer” even though they have just met.
Adam jumps back and forth from being an understanding sweetheart to over-possessive jerk as quickly as Jenna switches gears.
Male shifters in this story are referred to by Jenna as “man whores” always looking for the next piece of ass, which at first was very funny, but then was continuously harped on and many references such as “if an Other could get an STD…” was so overused and overemphasized, it became annoying.
Having your characters do things that don’t make sense bothers me a lot in a story. If your vampire can turn into a bat, I’ll work with you. If your werewolf shifts back with all his clothes on…okay then. But in this case, things that don’t make sense includes Adam buying Jenna an outfit to go out to all Other club (remember the man whores) which is mainly just a leather bustier, a leather micro-miniskirt and F-me leather boots, then he freaks out at Jenna because some horny vampire is trying to pick her up. Well, DUH! Put your girlfriend’s goodies on display in a horndog factory and what do you expect and why is it her fault, you dressed her like that!!!
There is also a big internal shifter matter which takes Jenna away from her brand new job after only two days, and although it introduces us to many interesting characters, I don’t feel like we learned anything with all the investigating.
It started off well and had a lot of potential, but then it tried to do too much, it tried to be sexy but came off as desperate and very in your face, and it had very funny moments, but you can’t just keep repeating the same jokes. I would have liked it better if they stuck with the SWAT aspect of the story and kept Jenna’s character in her bad-ass mode. She could be snarky and I love the snarky heroines. This book sets up for the next story and leaves us hanging for answers to all our questions. With the next book focusing on new characters, I am hoping we won’t be distracted by the flip-flopping attitudes.
For the $2.99 pricetag, it wasn’t a bad story. The problem was it tried too hard to be really hot and sexy and it us took away from the better storyline and the great banter.
Received ARC from the authors. Thank you.
“Privyet Babushka. Did my little brother bring you out to have a good time?”
Gage slapped his brother on the back of the head after their grandmother was done hugging him. “Just because you’re ten minutes older than me doesn’t mean you’re a big brother.”
Gage’s brother slugged him playfully in the arm. “That’s precisely what it means little brother. Besides, that’s not the only way I’m bigger than you. For one, I’m taller than you by two inches, and for two, according to the last little morsel we played with together, I’m also bigger where it counts.” The blond fighter shot her a lascivious look. “Is this our new morsel brother?”
Gage smirked. “She doesn’t seem to play well with others, so we better leave that one alone. No, this is Kent’s lovely new partner, Jenna. They’ve come to ask a few questions we might be able to answer. Jenna, this is my brother Alec.”
Jenna held her hand out to Alec to shake. Alec took her hand in his, but ignored the concept of shaking it. He brought the back of her hand up to his lips and kissed it instead. When he let go, she brought her hand back to the top of the table in front of her before leaning across the space to get closer to the randy tiger.
“Charming. Really. But you can give up all of your attempts to get into my undies because it’s not going to happen. I see you for what you are; a card carrying member of those determined to prove that it is possible for men of the supernatural species to get STD’s. I’m just not sure who’s President of the club yet, you or Kent. Not to mention that I’ve discovered I’m basically allergic to you, and at least all other tiger shifters, if not feline shifters in general. Frankly, I don’t feel like taking an allergy pill just so I can see this big dick you claim to carry. It’s nice to meet you though. Really.”
Alec’s mouth hung open in shock while Gage shook his head and Vera laughed her ass off at her grandson getting a verbal smack down. Gage finally patted his brother on the back and murmured, “I tried to tell you that she didn’t play well with others. Besides, Kent mentioned something about that Alpha McPhee. Better luck next time through bro.”
Alec finally closed his mouth, and then shrugged his shoulders as he looked at Gage. “Oh well, can’t blame a guy for trying. She is hot.” The white tiger looked around them, “You said Kent’s here. Where is he?”
Jenna used her thumb to point over her shoulder at where Kent had one of the waitresses in the corner, and wandering hands were roaming freely on both sides. “He’s over there providing a fabulous example of why he should be President of that club I mentioned.”
ORDER A COPY: The Autumn Bride (A CHANCE SISTERS ROMANCE)
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publishing Date: February 5, 2012
Paperback: 310 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Governess Abigail Chantry will do anything to save her sister and two dearest friends from destitution, even if it means breaking into an empty mansion in the hope of finding something to sell. Instead of treasures, though, she finds the owner, Lady Beatrice Davenham, bedridden and neglected. Appalled, Abby rousts Lady Beatrice’s predatory servants and—with Lady Beatrice’s eager cooperation—the four young ladies become her “nieces,” neatly eliminating the threat of disaster for all concerned!
It’s the perfect situation, until Lady Beatrice’s dashing and arrogant nephew, Max, Lord Davenham, returns from the Orient—and discovers an impostor running his household…
A romantic entanglement was never the plan for these stubborn, passionate opponents—but falling in love may be as inevitable as the falling of autumn leaves.
After an afternoon walking in the park, Abigail Chantry was just returning to her post as Governess for a London family when she was stopped by a frantic young woman. She told Abigail that Abigail’s sister Jane was in great danger and being held in a London brothel against her will. Although Jane is supposed to be miles off on her way to her new job as a companion, Abby follows young Daisy, who, with the help of another captive girl, rescues Jane from the brothel.
Abigail then learns the tale of how her sister was drugged and kidnapped and that Damaris was dragged off her ship in the middle the night, and if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of Damaris and Daisy’s bravery, her lovely sister Jane would even now be being defiled in a seedy brothel. Since Damaris and Daisy are orphans like Abigail and Jane, Abigail is determined that they shall stay together and although they are not all sisters by blood, they were now sisters of the heart.
Their plans to start over in Bath are thwarted by the reality of four girls trying to earn a living, pay for rent, and buy food in London. When Jane falls ill, with no money for medicine, Abigail becomes desperate enough to try and break in to the neighboring house. She has been watching and the window is always open, but there are never any lights from inside. She only needs to get in and get out and grab a small trinket to pawn for Jane’s medicine.
But when she crawls into the window she is surprised to find the room barren of objects, more importantly she is shocked to find a feisty old lady wasting away in the dark. There is no doubt that she is a lady of breeding, and it is just as obvious that she is being abused by her servants.
Together they figure a way to help Abigail and her sisters have somewhere to live and to save Lady Beatrice from her abusive servants. The next morning, Lady Beatrice’s four nieces arrive on her doorstep and immediately take over the care of Lady Beatrice. The ruse has been God send to the sisters as well as Lady Beatrice, who begins to recover and flourish in the care and society of Abigail and her sisters.
These five woman have come together to create a new family not of blood, but of love. All is going quite well until the one person who is well aware the Lady Beatrice does not have four generous, caring nieces arrives on the doorstep. Lord Max Davenham, Lady Beatrice’s only nephew doesn’t trust these women. He knows they can’t just be acting kindly to his aunt out of the generosity of their hearts. They must have an alternative motive, and he is determined to get to the bottom of their plot, especially their beguiling ringleader Abigail.
What an absolutely enchanting story!! Normally I would say that the romance novel should have more romance between the hero and heroine, but I was so enjoying the interaction between the girls and especially between Abigail and Lady Beatrice that the quick affection which blooms between Abby and Max (once he stops believing they have a notorious plan) just flows nicely with the story.
Lady Beatrice absolute steals this show. I love when she is finally feeling up to seeing her old friends and she gets so into inventing a story of her connection to the girls, while Max blusters that it was all nonsense. But the best is that word passes among Lady Beatrice’s friends until one gentlemen pulls Max aside to tell him quite frankly that scandals happen in families all the time, and Max is just embarrassing himself by trying to deny the relationship to the girls. Priceless!
Of course Abigail and Max go head to head quite passionately over the girls being there and what they are trying to get out of Lady Beatrice, and who was abusing Lady Beatrice, and once Max realizes that no matter what the situation truly is, that Lady Beatrice is more herself and loves the girls and they love her back, he stops fighting against them. Once he is no longer fighting Abigail, he quickly admits to his romantic interest in her.
Although it was notably light on Max and Abigail time, the captivating storyline involving the five woman more than makes up for the quick romance.
This is book 1 of the series and Abigail has three more sisters and Max has three more single business partners, I am going to guess we are going to work a match up here between those six although I can’t even guess yet who will end up with who.
I say “Bring on more Lady Beatrice! She’s a hoot!”
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!
“Before we met you, I mean. You’re the best thing that’s happened to us…ever.” She suddenly realized how that sounded. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean you’re a thing, of course; I meant—“
The old lady patted her on the hand. “I know what you meant, my dear, and you gels are the best thing that’s happened to me in forever too. So, young Jane, you’d make a practical marriage, would you?”
Jane nodded. “The very best marriage I possibly can.”
Lady Beatrice turned to Abby. “So, Abby what kind of marriage would you dream of?”
Abby looked down and smoothed the fabric of the lovely old dress. “As you said before, Lady Beatrice, we don’t all get the choice—“
“What on earth…?” a deep voice interrupted. Lord Davenham stood in the open doorway, lord of all he surveyed.
The bedchamber was an explosion of color and fabric and garments, a feminine Aladdin’s cave. Even more so than usual. “What are you doing?” he asked, eyeing the pile of fabrics cautiously. Presumably there were kittens buried under it somewhere.
“Max, my dear.” His aunt’s eyes were a little red rimmed, as though she’d been weeping.
In two strides Max reached her. He took her hands in his. “Aunt Bea, what is it? What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, nothing. We’re going through all my old gowns, and oh, the memories.” She waved a crumpled wisp of lace. “A few sentimental tears, that’s all, but mostly tears of laughter.”
“I see.” He gaze roamed over the tumbled mass of clothing.
“No, you don’t, dear boy, but never mind. I’ve had the most delightful time reliving my youth. The gels have had me in stitches.” She chucked. “Stitches, gels, did you hear? I made a pun.”
All the girls except Daisy were dressed in old-fashioned clothing, the dresses sagging a little, as if they were children dressing up. But Abby was no child. She was dressed–half dressed, he saw with leap of his pulse—in an eighteen-century brocade gown with panniers. She moved slightly, defensively.
Her back was to the freestanding cheval looking glass and he saw at once that the dress was not properly laced…
She was naked from the nape of her neck to just below the small of her back. His breath caught in his chest as his gaze traced the graceful outline of her spine.
Unaware of what the looking glass revealed, she faced him calmly, secure in the belief that the gown she held to her chest protected her modesty. Her shoulders and arms, as well as her back were completely bare. She was wearing no chemise.
If she dropped the gown…
A delicate wild-rose color flushed her just concealed breasts, and slowly spread to her cheeks. She’d noticed him staring.
With an effort he dragged his gaze off her. Off her image in the looking glass.
Abby hitched her gown higher. As he watched, she stole an arm around behind her. Had she felt a draft? She gasped again and stepped behind a screen, blocking his view of her slender, creamy back and shoulders.
From behind the screen he could hear rustling noises, and in his mind’s eye he saw the green silk dress ripple down her body and settled in a puddle at her feet. He imagined her, like a Botticelli Venus, rising naked from a green pool. He swallowed to get rid of the hard lump in his throat, and force his mind off the image, telling himself the sounds he heard were nothing but that gray woolen dress being dragged over her body.
Hi, everyone. Happy Friday! Some free eBook suggestions for you to fill your weekend. I haven’t had a chance to read them myself yet, but they have been highly reviewed by others. Give them a try!
Maddy, Christine and Amy are thrilled that their old college suite-mate has written a bestselling book, How to Have the Perfect Life—until they realize she used them as examples of how women let fear screw up their lives. The worst part is…it’s sort of true. Together they make a pact: they each have one year to face down their fears—and maybe show Miss Perfect a thing or two!
Book One: Almost Perfect
A Free Spirit and a Reformed Bad Boy — a Perfect Match?
Maddy was always the artistic one of the group, alive with color and mischief from her saucy red curls to her vintage hippie skirts. Her challenge, the friends decide, is to get her artwork accepted at a gallery. A job as arts director at a summer camp near Santa Fe—with its multitude of galleries—seems like a start in the right direction.
There’s just one catch: The camp is run by Maddy’s high school flame, Joe, whose heart she broke—okay, smashed—and his anger towards Maddy hasn’t cooled one bit. But neither has their attraction.
Old desires burn hotter than ever as Joe makes it clear there’s only one way back to his heart: She has to get serious about her art. But will falling in love help or hinder Maddy as she struggles to meet her challenge?
In Covet, they’ve burned for each other for two years, the forbidden attraction between them growing each night. Now resisting the sinful desires of their hearts is becoming impossible.
Javier knows better than to succumb to his hunger for Lilah. The mortal female belongs to a powerful aristocrat patron of Vampirerotique. A single touch is all it would take to break the sacred law of his kind, sentencing himself to death, but his passion for her has become too fierce to ignore and he will risk everything to make Lilah his.
In Crave, his mind has been set on his work for the past one hundred years. Now a forbidden beauty has stolen his attention und is threatening to steal his heart too.
Callum has come to the city of romance on business, not pleasure, but when he sets eyes on a gorgeous werewolf in a nightclub, he can’t ignore the dark carnal craving she ignites in him. His work for Vampirerotique can wait. The only thing that matters now is satisfying his sinful hunger for a woman who most vampires would consider an enemy.
An angel without a mission, Apollyon lives trapped in Hell guarding the bottomless pit. Surrounded by endless darkness, he longs to fly free on Earth once more but his master hasn’t called him in centuries. When the call finally comes, it’s to serve a new master, a beautiful woman he has often watched over, a woman who has always captivated him.
Serenity is shocked when a gorgeous black-winged angel shows up in her city of Paris claiming that she called him when she was only casting a simple vengeance spell. He’s no other than the angel of death! When Apollyon offers to obey her and help her have revenge on her cheating ex-boyfriend, she can’t resist the temptation, but can she resist him? Can an angel as dark as Apollyon ever fall for a mortal woman like her?
Their charade as lovers quickly becomes reality when one dance leads to another and Apollyon proves that he’s as sinful as he looks. His sensual and hungry touch brings Serenity back to life, freeing her from the hurt of being betrayed and reigniting her passion, but she can’t ignore her growing fear. Lost in their moment together, Apollyon realises that there is a reason he heard her call—he’s in love with her.
But will Serenity see past the wings and believe that Apollyon returns her feelings and won’t hurt her? When her ex-boyfriend asks her to forgive him and be with him again, will she take the easy route or will she find the courage to fly away with her dark angel?
ORDER A COPY: Going Under (A BOUND BY MAGICK NOVEL)
Publisher: Berkley Sensations
Publishing Date: February 5, 2012
Paperback: 298 pages
Rating: 4 stars
In the wake of the Magister’s rampage, chaos rules. Left reeling, the Others and the humans scramble to create a some sort of unity in the face of growing unrest and violence from anti-Other hate groups federation—and ruthless PR guru Molly Ryan is the witch who can do it. She grew up in the human world but there’s nothing left for her there. She’s lost her PR firm, her friends and she’s decided to put all her fight toward aiding the Others in this dark, new reality. If there’s anything left for her there, she’s going to fight for it. But Gage Garrity, one of the few Others who survived the massacre, fears that the crusade will expose Molly to greater dangers than ever before.
Now, together, with magick on their side, they’re on the road in a desperate struggle to unite a torn world. From state houses to television news to legislative conference rooms across the country, they’re fighting the good fight. And it’s bringing out a passion in both of them they never expected—one as volatile, intense, and all-consuming as their relentless battle for world unity. A battle that could be their undoing.
In the aftermath of Book 2, Chaos Burning, Lauren Dane leaves us in a world reeling. The Magister has been defeated, but the death toll to the Others has been high. While the Others should now be able to mourn their dead, their loss of family members and friends isn’t the only problem they face. Humans now know they are not alone on this planet. They are trying to grasp the fact that their mailman is a shifter, their best friend is a witch and that weird guy next door really is a vampire. For the humans, their fears are growing, and there are always those people ready to fan the flames of those fears for their own gain. Hate groups like PURITY and Humans First are growing stronger.
In this new world of television and internet, the Others need someone who can convince the humans they have nothing to fear. Molly Ryan is the head of a large Media Relations firm in Chicago—or at least she was—until she was outed by PURITY to be a witch, and now she is being forced out of a company that she started. The timing though is perfect since what the Others are in need of is PR person who can help show that even though your neighbor is a vampire, he is still the same guy who mowed his lawn once a week; yeah, okay, only night, but…that doesn’t make him a danger to anyone.
Molly has her work cut out for her. With groups like PURITY trying to have Others declared non-citizens, the Others are in serious jeopardy of losing all their rights as Americans.
Since Molly is now on the frontlines as the new face and voice of the Clan Owen and Counsel of Others, it is Gabe Garrity’s job to protect Molly from the hate groups. As the violence against Others begins to increase, Gabe will have to work very hard to keep Molly safe.
When talk begins of encampments, tracking and sterilization, the Others have had enough. Will a PR Guru be enough to hold off civil war between the humans and the Others?
What a thought provoking concept for a paranormal series. We usually have series that involve the secret society of supernatural or an all out knowledge of the supernaturals, whether or not they are living in peace is another question. This is an interesting concept to see the process of humans learning they are not alone and the aftermath of that knowledge.
The story is well written so you can feel the build up of fear. You understand the type of people and groups that would encourage the fear and violence against the Others. You can feel the frustration and fear of the Others who just want to go back to their jobs and their lives which were already in turmoil after the Magister’s arrival. They don’t want to live in fear of being harassed in their own homes, being attacked. You can feel the frustration of their suddenly being treated as non-citizens, and when the attacks on them are being ignored by police, or worse, being supported.
This was a very interesting storyline that is well thought out and brought to life by very well written characters.
This is definitely worth reading and definitely a series you want to go start with Book #1 and work your way into this aftermath.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!
“Ms. Ryan, if you’d like to go next.”
“Thank you, Senator Albright, for having me here today. I’m thirty years old. Up until a few weeks ago I was a lifetime resident of Chicago, Illinois. Though I hope you won’t hold that against me.” She smiled. “I’ve even stopped carrying an umbrella and I can order my coffee like a real northwesterner now. I was born here, in this country. My mother and father were born here. My grandparents were born here. My boss Meriel Owen’s family has not only been here in the country for generations, but they helped build this entire region. We are not creatures. We are not monsters. We don’t call demons and we don’t worship Satan. What we are, are citizens of the United States. Just like Ms. Freed, Mr. Sawyer and Ms. Moore.”
Moore snorted. “You’re pretenders and liars.”
“I allowed Ms. Moore her time plus a minute. It’s my turn to speak and I’m sure we can all agree, no matter our perspective, that democracy means we don’t speak over each other. How can we understand each other if we don’t listen? Now, back to my points. We understand why the human community is uncomfortable and afraid. We’re happy to be as open as we can about what we do and who we are. We want nothing more than to be left alone to live our lives as we did before. Yes, before you knew about some of us.”
Senator Albright gave her a considering glance. “Just why did you keep your existence a secret? If you’re not a harm to the rest of us?”
“Senator, all you need to do is look back over recorded history for your answer. We’ve been burned at the stake. Drowned. Tortured to death. Imprisoned. Every time humans found out about us, they tried to wipe us out. So we learned from that and kept what we were private. Not to trick anyone, but to protect ourselves. And as many of us have begun to suffer from the reaction to our existence, yet again, it can’t be that hard to understand why we did it.”
She sipped her water. “We too understand your fear of the unknown. Of finding out overnight that not only were there werewolves, who you’ve known about for several years, but witches and vampires too. And yet, you can also look to see we have not harmed you. When you didn’t know about us we did not perform satanic rituals in your yards. We did not steal your children. We lived our lives just as you lived yours.”
“How do we know you didn’t? How do we know all our criminals weren’t witches or vampires or whatever else unholy things? Animals disappearing, serial killers, war, famine! How do we know you people aren’t responsible for everything bad?”
Molly looked at Alison Moore, not surprised by her ignorance, just exhausted by it. “This is small-minded and petty nonsense. We’re not trying to track humans or take away your basic humans rights. We’re simply asking the same of humans. Anything else is waste of precious time and energy. And as one of the others who has lost loved ones, along with Mr. Sawyer and pretty much every single Other I know, we understand just how precious that time is now. This is our moment, as Americans, to shine. To set an example, as we have over and over through our history. It is not time to crawl back into factions and throw rocks. We want all that we had before the Magister showed up. That is all.”
ORDER A COPY: Demon Hunting In a Dive Bar
Publisher: Kensington Books/Brava
Publishing Date: January 29, 2012
Paperback: 351 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Rebekah “Beck” Damian runs a demonoid bar where everyone’s welcome—even a reformed flesheater who’s strictly vegetarian, a musical ghost who’s looking for a piano bar, and a feline harbinger of doom named Wampus Kitty who’s scaring the customers. So when a big strapping demon-hunter walks into the bar, Beck knows it’s not the end of the world. She’ll treat him like any other customer.
If only she could. Conall Dalvahni is the toughest, meanest, sexiest demon-hunter Beck’s ever seen—and she’s finding it hard to hide her attraction. As far as Conall’s concerned, the feeling is mutual. But how can he trust a beautiful half-demon babe like Beck—when her demonic friends have the perfect weapon to destroy every hunter on earth?
Conall is the leader of the Dalvahni. As such, it is his duty to investigate these new demonoid abominations he has only just learned about. They are the spawn of a human and a human possessed by a demon. He must determine if they are as dangerous to the universe as the demons themselves. It is because of this that he keeps returning night after night to the little demonoid dive bar in Hannah, AL, known as Beck’s. It is for observation only that he watches the lovely Beck so intently. She is a demonoid and of course, must be evil, so he is confused why he likes to watch her smile and why he feels the need to return night after night to watch out for her—No, no, watch her! He must watch her in case she decides to do evil against the humans.
As if Beck doesn’t have enough on her plate just running the bar, her partner turns into a bloodhound and her cook turns into a bear. Now she’s got a vegetarian zombie and a piano playing ghost both looking for jobs. Sure, it’s all just another day at the office, and it wouldn’t worry her so much, but he’s back—again! sitting in the corner, watching her. He doesn’t say anything. He just stares. She would have Toby throw him out, but God! He’s sex-on-a-stick gorgeous! And the women do keep coming back just to look at him, and that’s good for business, right? It doesn’t bother her at all that they sit there and drool over him—Hey, back off, no touching—nope, she doesn’t care at all.
Man, what she wouldn’t do to get him out of that shirt—No, no, out of her bar. She definitely wants him out of her bar and out of her life! So why does she agree to allow him to “work” at her bar so he can keep an eye out for demons. Damn hormones! Is it too late to just go back to bed and forget this day even happened?
I really love this series! Although I am still calling Evie and Ansgar from Demon Hunting in the Deep South my favorite couple, Beck and Conall come in a very close second.
Beck is a fearless, kick ass woman, who, much to Conall’s frustration, has no problem jumping into the fray and kicking some demon butt.
I love Conall’s confusion about his attraction for Beck, since she is a demonoid, but I will give him kudos for getting over it and accepting his feelings for Beck, much faster than Ansgar or Brand who both fell for plain old humans, not demonoid abominations.
I loved the additional characters here: Tommy Henderson, the vegetarian zombie; Annie, the little lost kittie; Hank, the grumpy cook/bear; and even creepy Evan had some moments.
Can’t wait to see where we go next.
Received an ARC courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you!
In case you missed it, check out our recent interview with Lexi George.
“I concede the rationality of your argument that my presence at this gathering might draw attention—“
“Duh, you think?” Beck said. He was big and beautiful and he radiated power and menace. Showing up with Elvis in drag might create a bigger stir, but she doubted it.
“—therefore, I will make myself invisible.”
“No,” Beck said. “The place will be crawling with kith. Just because I can’t see you when you’re wearing your invisible Underoos doesn’t mean no one else can. The kith have different abilities. Right, Toby?”
“Yup,” Toby said.
“Toby and I will go to the meeting,” Beck said. “Alone. We’ll be your eyes and ears.”
“Rebekah, I do not think—“
“I want your promise.”
Conall fell silent. “Very well,” he said at last. His mouth thinned. “We will do it your way this once. But not unless I get a promise of my own.” He slipped a silver ring off his hand and slid it on her left index finger. It was way too big, but the band magically shrank until it fit. “At the first sign of danger, speak to the ring. Do not hesitate. This you must promise me.”
Speak to the ring? What was she, Gollum? She’d feel like an idiot.
“Sure. Whatever you say.”
He stepped closer, his eyes hard as agate. “I gave you my word, Rebekah. Now I want yours.”
“Okay, okay, keep your panties on. I promise to speak to the fricking ring if there’s a problem. There, satisfied?”
“No. I am not accustomed to sitting idly by whilst others ride into battle. But I am inured of this course, for the moment.”
“Relax. Nothing’s going to happen. It’s beer and barbecue. Says so on the invitation. People will get drunk and run around naked and throw up, and somebody will get their truck stuck in a ditch. I’ve seen it a million times.”
“Proceed with caution,” Conall said. “’Tis an age-old trick to lull one’s enemies into complacence by plying them with food and drink.” He made a slashing motion in the air. “Once they are sleepy and replete, you move in for the kill.”
Hoo boy—Mr. Look on the Bright Side of Life.
ORDER A COPY: The Winter Witch
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publishing Date: January 31, 2013
Paperback: 340 pages
Rating: 4 stars
In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She has never spoken, and her silence as well as the magic she can’t quite control make her a mystery. Concerned for her safety, her mother quickly arranges a marriage with Cai Jenkins, the widower from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumours that swirl around her. After their wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving, but she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the rugged mountains that surround it, while slowly Cai himself begins to win her heart. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her love, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.
Morgana Pritchard was a wild child who loved to roam the hills of her little town. But more than her love of the hills sets her apart from the other children of the town. Odd things happen when Morgana is around. It was her Dada who explained to Morgana about her magic blood. When her father died, she refused to speak again, adding even more to the whispers of the strange little girl.
Morgana’s mother knew she would never have a full life in this town where everyone looked at her with mistrust, and when drover Cai Jenkins sees Morgana in Town while passing through, he is enchanted by her, and Morgana’s mother knows this gentle man could be Morgana’s chance for a real life. Cai does not object to her silence and he is not aware of the whispers in the Town about Morgana.
Although Morgana’s inability to cook and lack of housekeeping skills do not make her the best choice of mistress of Ffynnon Las (“The Blue Well”), her calming ways with the farm’s prized ponies, makes her the perfect choice to assist Cai on the farm and in the drove to London. Woman do not work as drovers, but Cai is willing to go against custom both for the success of his first drove and to encourage a bond with his new wife. Not all goes well for them. It is almost like there is a dark force working against them.
When they return to the town with a strong bond of the love growing between them, they find that someone was has working hard to destroy Morgana’s reputation in the town.
It is not just her love for the ponies and her growing affections for Cai that draw Morgana to Ffynnon Las, there is great magic here on the land which calls to Morgana’s magic blood, and the spirits of the witches of the well want Morgana as their guardian of the blue well’s magic.
But there are darker powers at work who can also feel the power of the well. The power that belongs only to the owner of Ffynnon Las, and that evil will do anything to remove the little witch and possess the Grimoire of the Blue Well, including turning the whole town against Morgana.
When Morgana’s farm, her life and her beloved Cai are put into jeopardy, the little witch will show that behind her silence there hides a great power all her own.
In Paula Brackston’s second novel, The Winter Witch, she brings us the little witch who lives her life in silence, but who has a heart that shouts as loud as a lion’s roar.
This was a heavier story than I usually read, but I sped right through it. The story was captivating and entertaining.
I did find it hard to get into at first. Morgana is only 18 and acts like a petulant child in many ways, and although Cai is 25 and a widower, he is still rather shy himself. He wants to give Morgana a chance to settle in and get to know him before he asks for husbandly rights, but he bungles in his attempts to build affection between them. He is constantly saying things like, “I wanted to put my arms around her and comfort her, but the moment passed.”
I would say that for the first third of the book I was frustrated by their failed attempts to bond with each other, and although it only implied at this point, there were darker forces working against them. Someone wants the little witch to leave before a bond grows between her and Cai.
When things go badly for Cai and Morgana on the farm and they are forced to sell their prized ponies, Cai does break from tradition and take Morgana on the drove to handle the ponies that she has come to love. Although selling the ponies is heartbreaking to Morgana, working the drove is perfect for the freespirited Morgana and forges the bond between Morgana and Cai, although it is not without its problems and dangers.
This was well written story, and although it took me a bit to get into it, it was definitely enjoyable.
Received ARC from publisher. Thank you.
“A toili comes as a message from the spirits, from those passed over. ‘Tis a message for him as sees it and none other. Someone is in danger,” he states, baldly. “Someone close to you is going to die, and there’s not a thing you or anyone else can do about it.”
Cai opens his mouth to argue further with the man, but a coldness has gripped his heart. He knows the superstition well enough. And he knows what he saw. He is tempted to retort that there is no one close to him any longer; that death has already claimed the woman he loved. And then he remembers Morgana, and a fresh pain stabs through his heart as keen and as agonizing as anything he felt for Caitlin. Morgana!
He runs. He runs so hard and so fast that even Bracken is left trailing behind him. He runs though the air sears his lungs and his chest might burst from the effort. He runs though the muscles in his legs scream and his head becomes giddy from the doing of it. His hat flies from his head but he does not pause to retrieve it. He can think only of Morgana, and that he has judged her harshly. He sees now that it is unfair of him to take against her strange ways—they have always been a part of her. He has simply been choosing to ignore them; how can she be to blame for that? The realization comes to him that he does not care, not about magic or mystery or things he cannot explain. He cares only about her. Morgana, with all her wildness and her curious gifts. Such talents as she has cannot be bad, he reasons, because they are part of her and she is a good person, he is certain of that. Why should these gifts not be God sent, after all? The thought that she might be in danger, that something might happen to her before he can reach her, drives him on.
He runs until at last he can Ffynnon Las, and then he runs harder up the drive, past the pond meadow and into the house itself, flinging wild the front door.
He all but collides with Morgana as she emerges from the parlor. Standing in the hall, panting, fighting for breath so that he can speak, he grips the startled girl by the shoulders.
“Morgana! Morgana, you’re all right. Oh, thank God. Thank God!” With one more gulp of air to sustain him he pulls her close, pressing his mouth over hers, kissing her with the passion and longing of a man starved of love for a very long time. A man who has only just realized what he has. A man shaken by the fear that he might lose what he has finally found. He stops kissing her but does not loosen his hold on her. Mrs. Jones has come out of the kitchen and is staring at him in astonishment, but he doesn’t care. Morgana looks shocked. He tries to explain, gabbling on about the toili and the old man in the hedge, making no sense at all. In the end he gave up and pulled her close, kissing her again, this time more slowly, with less desperation, savoring the sweet moment.
When she pulls back it is to look at him, questioning still, her expression uncertain.
Cai smiles and says gently, “Well, at least you didn’t bite me this time. I call that progress, my wild one.”
ORDER A COPY: Not Planning On You: A Danvers Novel (#2)
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: February 5, 2013
Paperback: 304 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Suzy Denton seems to have it all together. She loves her job as an event’s planner for Danvers International, and she loves her high school sweetheart and fiance Jeff. Fast forward a month and it’s all gone to hell in a hand-basket. She finds out Jeff’s dentist has been doing more than drilling his teeth, and Danvers is in the process of merging with Mericom creating the largest communications company in the US and also bringing Gray Merimon, the CEO of Mericom into her life.
Gray pursues her from almost their first meeting. Even though he looks like sex on a stick, Suzy is afraid of being hurt again, and she thinks Gray is just another stuffed shirt looking for a relationship. When he calls her bluff, Suzy agrees to one night of sex, hoping that he will be terrible in bed and she can finally get him out of her system.
When circumstances throw them together for more than one night, can Gray convince Suzy that two complete opposites can be a perfect fit?
Suzy Denton is the quirky and delightful event coordinator for Danvers International. Known as Suzy-Q to her fellow employees, you never know just how she’ll dress or what excitement she’ll be up to next.
But always sunny and upbeat Suzy was devastated last year when she found out that her fiancé and former high school sweetheart, Jeff, was cheating on her, and even worse he was relieved when she found out so he could finally leave her. She has sworn off men, especially Grayson Merimon, who has been trying to get her to go out with him since Mericom started its merger with Danvers International last year. He is rich and gorgeous so there must be something wrong with him, right? He’s used to dating all those snooty, high society women, so he’s probably a just a boring, stuffed shirt under all that thick wavy hair and sparkling eyes. If only she could find something wrong with him, then she could finally convince herself to stop fantasizing about him.
When Suzy finally decides that that if she sleeps with Gray, maybe she’ll find that flaw she’s been looking for, but their date doesn’t end up like either of them hoped for when Suzy takes a tumble down the stairs and brakes her ankle.
Although Grayson didn’t get the chance to sleep with Suzy after a year of his own fantasies, taking care of Suzy while she recovers gives Gray the time and the intimacy he needs in order to convince Suzy how much he needs her in his life…forever.
Just as Gray and Suzy begin to move forward with their relationship, someone from Gray’s past comes around to put a damper on their growing romance. Will past decisions come back to haunt Gray and ruin everything between them, or will they work together to build a future?
Sydney Landon writes such delightful characters and some wicked scenes you can easily excuse the clumsy plotting of this book.
We saw the first meeting of Gray and Suzy in Weekends Required and noticed the spark, especially on Grayson’s part. When we start Not Planning on You, a year as passed and we learn that over this time, while working on the merger with Danvers, Gray has been trying to flirt and charm his way into Suzy’s life. Gray is enchanted with Suzy’s vibrancy and he knows he wants to spend his life with her. Now that he has moved to Myrtle Beach to begin running Danvers, it is all a matter of convincing Suzy to give him a chance. When Suzy is hurt, Gray jumps in to take care of her, finally giving him that chance to convince her they should be together.
All of this is absolutely delightful, and the time they spend together sizzles with sexual tension and their growing affection.
The clumsy part comes (and its right in the beginning so its not really a spoiler) when we learn that Gray has a former date (not girlfriend) who is stalking him. He doesn’t want to tell Suzy because he is afraid she’ll be upset since her fiancé cheated on her, etc. He didn’t do anything wrong, but because he dated the stalker while he was trying to convince Suzy to go out with him, he doesn’t want to tell her. It was just way too obvious a set up that our couple’s time playing house will be destroyed when Suzy finds out about the hidden woman who she will obviously mistake for a lover before Gray can confess his problem to her.
(Little bit more of a spoiler here, so you can jump to the bottom. Your choice.) It also didn’t make sense to me why they couldn’t work out their problems and Suzy turns it into a reason why they can’t be together. It seemed unnecessary to break things off completely. It seemed so contrived that it was like the author had an outline of the proper way to write a plot…#4. Separate your couple to add drama. As I read, I was trying to figure out how our couple would work around the psycho stalker problem, but the solution came so quickly, out of the blue and with so little fanfare, it was like waiting for 4th of July fireworks and getting someone popping a paper bag. Again, back to the plot outline of…#5. Quickly get them back together so you can end the story.
(Spoiler free!) Watching Gray and Suzy spend their time together was so enjoyable, that I could forgive the clumsy attempt to add drama to the story. I believe the author could have just left us with Gray taking care of Suzy, her being laid up (which added the sexual tension) and a story of how their bond and love grows and it would have been a sweet love story.
The next story involves Gray’s brother Nick (the sexy, womanizer) and Suzy’s sister Beth (who after years of being overweight has lost her weight, but still suffers from low self-esteem). Beth and Nick were helping to take care Suzy whenever Gray was not around. At first they don’t get along, then they start to work together without the friction. It is hard to know if something was happening between them, behind the scenes, so their story will coincide with this story or if the next story starts from the end of this book. I can’t wait to find out.
Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
The best scene was when Suzy is finally feeling well enough to seduce Grayson (I love his blown away reaction), but I had to end it early since it is much to hot for our little blog quotes. :)
Suzy prowled around with restless energy. It was just after ten and she’d showered, layered her body with scented lotion, and dressed in her Victoria’s Secret lingerie. She still had hours left until Gray was going to be home and was far too wired up to watch television. She walked into the kitchen and headed straight for the one thing that always settled her nerves. There sitting on a shelf of honor in the freezer was her pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. She never made the mistake of taking it to the table or anywhere away from the freezer. If she did, she’d eat the entire thing. If she stood near the cold confines of the freezer, she could only stand so much before she had to put it up and shut the door. She grabbed a spoon from the nearly drawer and closed her eyes in bliss at the first explosive taste on her tongue.
Gray walked in the front door wondering if he should call out his arrival or try to surprise Suzy without scaring her to death. The house was quiet and there was no sign of her. As he was walking towards the bedroom he noticed the kitchen light was on so he quickly detoured there and stepped in the doorway to a sight that dam near made his heart stop. Suzy was standing in front of the refrigerator with the freezer door open and a pint of ice cream in one hand and a spoon in the other. A black thong showcased the cheeks of her ass and a matching black top in the same lace barely skimmed the top of the panties. Even the cast on her ankle looked sexy. Her crutches were leaning on the counter next to the refrigerator as she stood propped against one of the doors for balance. From his angle, he could see her eyes close as she stuck the spoon in her mouth and moaned in pleasure before slowly pulling it out to repeat the process.
Gray was afraid he was going to literally explode in his pants if he stood there for much longer. He dropped his briefcase on the floor, watching as she startled gaze flew to his. The air practically sizzled around them as he strode purposefully toward her. He took the ice cream from her hand and shoved it back in the freezer with a spoon still inside. He wanted her here and now, on the kitchen floor or the counter, he didn’t really care which as long as he was inside of her. The sight of the crutches reminded him that he’d have to be careful, but there was no way he was being denied.
Neither of them spoke as he reached for her, pulling her close and taking possession of her mouth. His hands slid down and cupped the cheeks of her bottom squeezing her against his rigid length. He’d no idea if he had enough control to make their first time last. He’d wanted her for so long that he felt incapable of gentleness. He reached down to hook his arms under her knees and carried her to the bedroom before he took her against the refrigerator.
ORDER A COPY: Weekends Required: A Danvers Novel (#1)
Publisher: Penguin Publishing (formerly self-pub)
Re-release Date: July 21, 2012
EBook: 189 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Claire Walters has worked for Jason Danvers as his assistant at Danvers International for three years, and he has never thought of her as a woman until the day she jumps out of a cake at his friend’s bachelor party.
Claire is forced to work a second job at a party planning company to support her ailing mother. She is horrified when Jason not only finds out, but has a front-row seat to the action. With Danvers in the process of merging with another company, Claire is forced to travel with Jason as well as work weekends. Suddenly all the fantasies she has entertained for years about her boss seem to be coming true. Her outspoken best friend Suzy thinks that just getting laid will solve everything. The problem is, Claire sees much more in Jason than just sex.
Jason is determined to know how the beautiful, sexy woman in the cake could also be his Plain Jane assistant who tries her best to blend into the background from 8-5 every day. Now not only does Jason see her as a woman, he fully intends to give her the fairy-tale ending that she deserves!
Claire Walters loves her job for Danvers International, and she can’t imagine a better boss than Jason Danvers. She has been there for three years now and has made great friends.
Unfortunately for Claire, her mother’s rising medical bills and the costs of the upkeep of her mother’s house has forced Claire to get a weekend job. She couldn’t ask for an easier job than her friend Julie’s catering company. All she has to do is jump out of a cake, kiss the groom to be and then help serve the rest of the party. Easy money and it doesn’t conflict with her job at Danvers.
That is until she is asked to work one weekend with Jason at his friend’s house to meet a deadline. When Jason and his friend leave for a party, Claire is free to run and fulfill her obligation to Julie. It’s going well until she jump out of the cake and recognizes Jason and see that his friend is the bachelor of tonight’s party. Jason can’t help but notice that the pretty girl jumping out of the cake looks too much like his assistant, Claire.
Now that Jason finally sees that there is more to his assistant than her quiet demeanor and her bland dress, he won’t stop until he gets to know her a lot better.
This was a great story and a great beginning to a new series, including some interesting characters.
My only problems storywise would not only be Claire’s awesome Clark Kent/Superman disguise–all she had to do was pull her hair in pony tail and were appropriate office wear, and Jason can’t see what an attractive woman has been working for him for the last three years.
Also when Jason finds out about her situation and offers assistance, Claire is offended that he’s trying to buy his way into her bed and it takes her friend Suzy to inform Claire that Jason is often generous with is employees who are experiencing financial trouble. These people work closely together for the last three years all alone in a separate office, but she seems to be the only one in the company who had no idea how generous her boss is to his employees who are in trouble, and Jason who is aware of the many problems that any of his employees are having is not aware of the family problems of his own assistant? That seemed a little far fetched.
Other than a few issues making me go “Really??”, it was an enjoyable story and a quick read.
Received an ARC from abovethetreeline.com, courtesy of the publisher.
Claire leaned against the restroom stall shaking. How could this have possibly happened and why didn’t she make a connection that this could be Harold’s party? Julie had said the name was Winthrop, and she’d never given it another thought. She hoped against hope that she was wrong and Jason hadn’t recognized her. She began undressing and vowed to stay in the kitchen the rest of the evening, no matter what.
Dear God, she would lose her job with Jason over this. He would never understand why it was necessary to work this job, as well as for Danvers. Panic started to set in and she was shaking so hard her finger were fumbling trying to unsnap the garters. At just that moment, she heard the door open.
“Julie, give me a few minutes. I’m having hard time with these darn snaps.” Not thinking anything of the silence, she continued on. “God Julie you will never believe what just happened, my boss and his friends were at this party. I thought you said the bachelors name was Winthrop? I need to stay in the kitchen for the rest of the evening and steer clear of Jason.” As those words were uttered, she was suddenly aware that Julie hadn’t made a single reply. She looked up and was looking in to the blue eyes that had haunted her all day.
Time seemed to freeze as she slowly became aware that she was standing in the ladies’ restroom practically naked with her boss leisurely lowering his gaze to the corset that barely contained her breast. She could feel her nipples standing up and saluting. His gaze lowered to the skimpy matching panties and, heaven help her, she could feel her body continue to betray her as heat pooled between her thighs. She squeezed her legs together to try to control the fire that seemed to be spreading through her body like an inferno. She finally gathered her wits enough to sputter. “What’re you doing in here? This is the ladies’ restroom.”
“I thought I would visit with the stripper for the evening, how much for a private lap dance for my friends and myself?”
“Wha…What?” She stammered. “What do you mean?”
“Well, you’re the stripper who jumped out of the cake, correct?”
“No. No, I’m not a stripper. I just jump out of the cake with clothes on. I don’t strip!”
“Clothes, ugh? I’m not sure that qualified as clothing.” Jason replied with sarcasm dripping from his voice.
It finally dawned on her that she was still standing in a restroom with her boss, almost naked. She averted her eyes from his and tried to cover herself with her hands. “Could you please leave? I need to dress and this is the ladies’ restroom.” She made the mistake of looking up into Jason’s eyes and could feel herself melt. Heat blazed there and with a muttered oath, Jason gripped her arms and dragged her against his hard body.
She went rigid at the sudden contact and tried to pull back as she felt Jason’s palms start gliding lightly up her arms leaving a trail of fire as they settled on either side of her face, His thumb gently rubbing her bottom lip. By this point, she had given up any thought of getting free and was mesmerized by the smoldering look in his eyes. As if almost against his will he leaned forward and gently laid his lips against hers.
ORDER A COPY: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: July 31, 2012
Paperback: 356 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow’s only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she’d like. Running all their daylight errands—from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled O neg—gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vampire life. Her rules are strict; relationships with vamps are strictly business, not friendship—and certainly not anything else. But then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and only Iris can help.
Cal – who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris allowed herself to think that way – offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place until he figures out who wants him permanently dead. Even though he’s imperious, unfriendly and doesn’t seem to understand the difference between “employee” and “servant,” Iris agrees, and finds herself breaking more and more of her own rules to help him – particularly those concerning nudity.
Turns out what her quiet little life needed was some intrigue & romance—in the form of her very own stray vampire.
When her parents died leaving Iris Scanlon to take care of her younger sister, a very ambitious Iris decided to open a business as the daytime assistant to newly burgeoning vampire population. Her new company, Beeline, gave Iris a chance to show off her organization skills and the flexible hours are great so she is available to be there for her teenage sister, and she filled the growing need that Vampires had with dealing with things that can only be handled during daylight hours.
When she goes to meet her newest client, Mr. C. Calix, and drop off her service contract for his review, she immediately falls for him…I mean, literally falls over him when she finds him passed out on his floor. Someone has tried to poison Mr. Calix, the new investigator for the vampire counsel. It appears Cal’s investigation is getting to close for someone’s comfort.
Now weakened from his attempted poisoning, Cal convinces Iris to take him to her house so he has time to recover, and like it or not, Iris is drawn into Cal’s investigation since the sooner he solves the mystery of who is tampering with the vampire Faux Type O blood supply, the sooner she can send her stray vampire packing. Living with a vampire can be nerve-wrecking, especially when he looks like a Greek God—and he could even be one since he’s old enough to remember fighting in the Trojan War.
Molly Harper certainly writes some great characters. We first met Iris as the coordinator for Jane and Gabriel’s wedding in Nice Girls Don’t Bite their Neighbors. Now we get to meet Iris’s younger sister, Gigi, and the dynamic of the two sisters is wonderful.
Now throw in a several century old Greek warrior/vampire, who, of course, starts out with that “I’m a really old vampire” pompous attitude and it’s great to see the changing attitudes as he recovers and starts to blend into the household with Iris and Gigi and becomes part of their family dynamic, including warning Gigi’s date about curfews and proper use of seatbelts. There is not just the romantic interaction with Iris, but the surrogate father role he slides into with Gigi. I just love this grouping.
Iris does go over to Jane’s bookstore to find some books to help Cal’s investigation so we do get to spend time with Jane, Andrea and Jolene. Yay!
Once we got into it, I just loved the dynamic of Iris, Cal and Gigi, so much that I was sorry to finish their story.
I tilted my head to the side and studied my charge. Although his feet dangled over the end of the sofa and his head was bent at a weird angle, his face was relaxed. He looked sort of sweet and untroubled…when his mouth was closed.
The nearly drained blood packet rested precariously against his chest. At that angle, it was in danger of dripping onto my upholstery, so I reached over him to take it away. His eyes snapped open, and he hissed at me, fangs in full play, as his fingers circled my left wrist and squeezed. Even in his weakened state, the crushing force of his grip dropped me to my knees. I braced my feet against the chair legs and tugged frantically as he pulled my arm toward his mouth. I threw all my weight back, hoping to knock him off balance, but he didn’t budge. Finally, I bopped him on the end of the nose with my other hand, shouting, “No!” in my sternest voice.
His grip loosened as he stared up at me, dark eyes boring into mine as if there were secret codes scribbled on my corneas. He blinked rapidly as my face came into focus.
“Did you just slap me on my nose like a mischievous dog?” he asked incredulously as I tried to rub circulation back into my wrist.
I nodded, cringing away from him. “I think I did.”
His tone was at once menacing and amused. “And am I mistaken, or did you poke me in the eye earlier?”
“I saw it on Shark Week,” I murmured.
“What was that?” he asked, although I knew good and well that he could hear me.
“I saw it on Shark Week,” I repeated in a louder, irritated tone. “The narrator said that if you’re attacked by a shark, you should jab it in the eye, and it might distract the shark long enough to let you go. I figured as another apex predator, it might apply to you, too.”
He chuckled, a hoarse noise that rattled in his chest like a cough. “So I went from shark to dog in a matter of hours? That’s a considerable demotion. Do you always apply animal-behavior techniques to interactions with clients?”
ORDER A COPY: Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight)
Publishing Date: November 20, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Long ago, Sophie Lawrance chose prudence over passion, rejecting a rebellious young rogue for the sake of her family-no matter the ache it left in her heart. But after a specter from her father’s past resurfaces, threatening to destroy all she holds dear, the desperate beauty knows there is only one man whose shadowy skills can save her.
Cameron Daggett is a man of many secrets…and many sins. He’s never forgotten the pain of losing Sophie. But now, with a chance to win her back, Cameron sets aside his anger and agrees to help Sophie save her father’s honor. Together they embark on a perilous masquerade, leading them to a remote country estate near the sea. There, they must battle a cunning adversary-and their own burning desires. Will they be consumed by the flames? Or can they prove that true love conquers all?
Cameron Daggett is the most secretive of the Hellhounds, even his fellow Hellhounds only know what little Cam has decided to share over the years. That’s because Cam has come a long way from Cameron Fanning, the young boy of his childhood, the bastard son of the Marques of Wolcott. Cam has left that life long ago and has remade himself into the man he is today. With a little help from his quick fingers and clever tongue, he has stolen or seduced his way to some of the best treasures to be found…and to be sold for the right price. In fact, the only thing Cam was not able to steal was the heart of the girl he loved.
Sophie Lawrence might be on her way to being a rather young spinster, but she knows she made the right choice for her family in refusing to elope with her childhood friend and sweetheart Cameron. Cameron was too wild, too carefree, and Sophie’s mother had just died leaving her family in desperate need of her. She couldn’t abandon her father and young sisters, even for love.
A chance meeting has brought Cam back into Sophie’s life. They are both a little older, and hopefully a little wiser, even if Cam is still a little wild. But maybe a little wild is just what Sophie needs in her life before she accepts the mantle of spinster.
As they work together to save Sophie’s family, will they take the second chance they have been given or walk away from the only person they have ever truly loved?
I just loved Cameron and Sophie together. Cameron was always a question mark in this trilogy. You knew he “acquired” things that didn’t really belong to him, and although he was not Robin Hood (since he stole from the rich to give to Cameron), you never felt he was bad since he wasn’t swindling little old ladies out of their savings. Cam would steal art and jewelry from the rich and sell it to other rich people for a tidy sum. He was also very good at cards and was able to increase his funds that way. But we never really knew anything about him, since the other characters in the story only knew so much about him.
Spending time with Sophie brings out a side of Cameron that is not so jaded. He makes fun of the other Hellhounds for finding love and settling down, but you can tell that Sophie was that one great love for Cameron.
I love that she didn’t judge Cameron for what he has been doing with his life since he left her. She enjoys his stories and isn’t shocked or upset and she doesn’t shame Cam for being who he is.
It was just so sweet that they were both still in love with the other but we’re trying not to get their hopes up that things could be different this time.
It was a lovely end to this trilogy and I truly enjoyed this series.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“Come along, Sophie,” he said a little roughly. “I need to get you out of here as quickly as possible.” Two swift strides and he was back at her side. “Where’s your cloak?”
She gave a vague wave at the bed. “I left it over there.”
Averting his eyes from the temptingly plump pillows, he took her hand. “Well. Let. Us. Find. It.” He said through gritted teeth.
“I know, I know.” With a sigh, Sophie slumped against his side. “I look absurd. Me, a Damsel of Desire?” Her lust-red lips pursed. “Ha—and pigs might fly.”
“You don’t look absurd,” growled Cameron. “If you must know it, you look ravishing.”
“I—I do?” Her lashes fluttered. “I rather like the way my eyes appear when they’re all smudgy.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “They are as…seductive as sin.” A loud commotion in the corridor outside the door drew his attention from the intriguingly dark, dappled shadings. Wrenching his head around, he listened for a moment before letting out a low oath. “Damn, we had better wait for a bit before trying to leave.”
Several distinctly off-key male voices were raised in a bawdy song, their efforts encouraged by the titter of female laughter and demands for another chorus. By the sound of it, the performance might go on for a while.
Sophie leaned back against the velvet-draped mattress and looked up at the gently swaying brass lanterns. “It’s really quite pleasant in here.”
“Yes, well, it’s meant to be.”
“And the bed is exceedingly comfortable.” She bounced her bum against its side. “Have you tried it?”
Coming from anyone else but Sophie, the comment would be a flagrant come-hither invitation. She, however, was blithely unaware of what she was saying.
Or was she?
Fanning a hand over the deep “V” of flesh exposed by her unbuttoned bodice, she gave a cat-like stretch. “Aren’t you warm in that coat? Why not take it off?”
“Because,” answered Cameron, trying not to watch the slide of patterned muslin pull taut over her breasts, “we are going to be leaving here in another moment.” He crossed the carpet and took hold of her arm.
“What’s the rush?” she asked, shaking off his grip. “I have been thinking it over, and appearing on my uncle’s doorstep at this late hour might provoke too many unwanted questions. Perhaps we should stay here for the night and then I will go on in the morning.”
God must be punishing me for my many misdeeds.
“Sophie, this isn’t an inn, it’s a bordello.”
Her hands set on his shoulders and slowly slid inward. “Yes, and if truth be told, I find that rather exciting.” A sigh tickled his neck. “I’ve so rarely done anything reckless, anything naughty.”
Cameron drew a ragged breath as she twined her slim fingers in his hair. His self-control was hanging on by a mere thread. “While I, on the other hand, have spent my life breaking most every rule in Creation.”
“So break another,” whispered Sophie.