Category Archives: Book Reviews

Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young


ORDER A COPY: Echoes of Scotland Street: An On Dublin Street Novel

Publisher: NAL
Publishing Date: October 7, 2014
Paperback: 384 pages

Rating: 5 stars


You couldn’t help but fall in love with young Cole in Down London Road. Now Cole Walker is all grown up and it’s time for him to find true love. In an interesting twist, the story is told by Shannon as she overcomes past traumas and re-learns how to trust the man in her life.


At first, I thought that this book should have been told by Cole, but telling this story from the point of view of Shannon was an interesting choice since we were already familiar with Cole and this gave us an insight in the mind of Cole’s love interest.   Yet, I did find myself constantly thinking, “But it’s Cole. Cole is amazing. Don’t be stupid.”

Shannon MacLeod knew that the turning point in her life occurred when she was only 15 and she took the wrong turn. Instead of staying to talk to the boy who lived next door to her grandmother’s house, she got in the car with her then boyfriend which lead her on a journey of losers and abusers. His name even sounded like the name of a hero, Cole Walker.

We flash forward nine years and Shannon has to get away from her family in Glascow and she decides to return to Edinburgh where she had spent time with her Grandparents long ago. She walked into INKarnate to apply for the receptionist position and never expected to once again be face to face with Cole Walker, or that he would have grown up to be so incredibly hot. But the one thing that Shannon is determined to do right this time is to avoid tattooed bad boys at all costs. The last one she dated was the worst of all. He abused her physically and mentally.

Cole comes off as cocky and aggressively flirtatious to the wounded Shannon, but from prior books we know that Cole’s role models are all confident men who were outrageously flirtatious with their women. He will of course learn to be overly demonstrative to a woman he is interested in.  But not knowing Cole the way we do, Shannon is turned off by his focused attention.

After several hours of heightened sexual tension, Shannon fears that she new found willpower will breakdown and she goes on the attack letting Cole know that she isn’t interested in being with a player like him. Her verbal attack brings back memories for Cole echoing the years of verbal abuse he was subjected to by his own mother.

Intervention on Cole’s behalf by Hannah, Shannon’s coworker/roommate Rae, and just about every other character we’ve met so far convinces  Shannon just how wrong she is about Cole.

Except by the time Shannon realizes that she has misjudged Cole, he has decided that no matter how attracted he is to Shannon, Cole refuses to ever be subjected to verbal abuse again and he won’t entertain a relationship with a woman who would be just like his mother.  In this story, it is Shannon who is going to have to work hard to reclaim Cole’s affection.  If Shannon wants any chance at a relationship with Cole, she is going to have to spill all the secrets she has carefully hidden away.

THOUGHTS:
I really enjoy this series, and you can’t help but love Cole.

In Fall from India Place, I had a little issue seeing young Hannah all grown up and having sex and being a bit of a bitch. It might also be that Hannah’s story jumped back and forth from child Hannah to adult Hannah. Maybe it was because we were used to grown up Cole from Fall from India Place who is now BFF with Hannah so we were eased into grown up Cole being all sexy and sweet. All I know is that I was all in on Cole having his HEA.

We like Shannon because she’s a nice person who has been hurt many times. We hate Shannon because after a string of losers, of course she decides when she meets Cole that she’s going to use her brain instead her heart. But she in fact hides behind her fear and treats our Cole badly.

I highly recommend the whole On Dublin Street series.   Some of the stories are better than others, but Cole’s story is one of the top of the list.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

I’d only been standing at the bar a few seconds when a bartender freed up and took my drinks order. I was in the middle of trying to think of ways to resist the attraction to Cole when I felt eyes on me. I turned my head to the right and found two guys around my age, maybe a little older, smiling at me. Although I glanced away quickly, my noticing them seemed to invite their attention.

They slide their drinks down the bar and came to a stop at my side. I very deliberately ignored them. It didn’t deter them.

“Having a nice night?” the one closest to me said.

“Yeah, thanks.”

“I’m Gordon. This is my mate Barry. What’s your name?”

I didn’t answer because I didn’t want to encourage them. As it was I could feel their eyes crawling all over me. I was wearing jeans and my olive green cami and matching cardy. My makeup was subtle, and I was wearing flat-heeled boots. There was nothing about my appearance that screamed I was out on the town. I had no idea why I’d attracted their attention, and frankly I didn’t care. There was nothing that turned me off more than guys who sat at bars and constantly hit on anything that moved. There was a desperation about it, a soullessness, that the romantic in me revolted against.

“Oh, come one, we’re harmless, sweetheart,” the other one said.

I frowned. “I’m not interested.”

The one farther away shrugged and began to retreat, but his friend actually moved close to me. “Sounds like you’re having a bad day. I’m a really good listener.”

Eh…apparently not.

I snorted. “All evidence to the contrary.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means I’m not interested.”

He laughed, like I’d said something funny. My eyebrows drew together in confusion.

“You look like that actress,” he said, shifting even closer. “That Australian actress. You look like her when she was younger. I had the biggest hard-on for her.”

Really?

Before I could follow up my look of disgust with a verbal “get lost,” a sudden heat engulfed me and a shadow fell over me. Two strong, tattooed arms caged me in as they came to rest on the bar at either side of mine, and a hard chest pressed against my back.

I relaxed immediately and glanced up over my shoulder at Cole’s handsome face. Currently it was turned away from me as he glowered at the persistent barfly.

Although the friend instantly backed up even farther than he already had done, the “good listener” just stared dumbly at Cole.

Cole raised an eyebrow at him. “What part of this doesn’t say ‘fuck off’ to you?”

The idiot studied Cole for a moment as if he was considering ignoring him, and then his brain finally seemed to compute what his eyes were telling him. Cole was bigger and much, much scarier than he was. He lowered his gaze. “Sorry, mate. Didn’t know she was taken.”

He shuffled off down the bar, already searching the pub for a new target.

Cole bent his head, his lips brushing my ear. “You okay?”

Unable to form a coherent sentence with him pressed up against me, I nodded.

Seeming to sense that, Cole hesitated a second. “Am I making you uncomfortable?”

My pulse raced with that feeling of anticipation I’d had earlier. “Yes. But not like you think.”

I heard his sharp intake of breath and braced myself.

His lips were at my ear again. “Do you want me, Shannon?”

My legs began to tremble. “Yes.”

Cole exhaled, as though he was relieved, and to my surprise he buried his nose in the crook of my neck, relaxing into me. The scratch of the bristle on his cheeks against my skin caused tingling in all my feminine places. He breathed me in and lifted his head just as the bartender served up the drinks.

It broke the moment between us.

Cole stepped away from me and I shivered at the loss of his heat.

Chained by Night by Larissa Ione

ORDER A COPY: Chained by Night (Moonbound Clan Vampires)

Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: September 30, 2014
Paperback: 400 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Wow. Wow. Wow. Larissa Ione kicks up the excitement in Book 2. Hunter has to make a choice – marry one twin and bring peace with ShadowSpawn or marry the twin he wants and kick off an all out war with a larger and more brutal Clan.   But first he has to break an ancient agreement with a demon.   He has to pick one twin to take with him on a trial through Hell or give up his first born child.  Chose the wrong twin and he’ll never make it out alive.


At the end of Bound by Night, Hunter makes a deal with the barbaric leader of ShadowSpawn in order to save Riker’s mate, Nicole. He agreed to mate with Kars’s oldest daughter, Rasha. Rasha is a warrior in her own right. Growing up in ShadowSpawn’s more vicious camp where disagreements were settled by bloody battles where the victor is in the right, she has always had to prove her value to the Clan. Rasha doesn’t approve of Hunter’s more lax leadership which allows learning, playing, and for injured Clan members to sit and eat amongst the strong warriors, even though one of those injured is her own sister who was born with a deformed leg. Rasha plans to make changes once she becomes Hunter’s mate and one of those changes might just be a change of leadership.

Hunter’s head is spinning with all the problems laid at his feet right now. For the good of the Clan he will mate with Rasha, even if he can’t stand the sight of her. Well, actually it’s not really the sight of her that is the problem, is it? Hunter can’t stop lusting over her identical twin sister, Aylin.  For a brief moment, Hunter believes that his future might not be so bleak when he mistakes Aylin for Rasha and a kiss turns toward passion. At least until they both realize the error.  Now they know what they want and what they can’t have. Aylin is everything her sister is not: sweet, caring, thoughtful, intelligent, but with a bad leg she is considered worthless in her father’s camp of warriors.

Before any mating can happen, Hunter and Rasha have a task they must perform. Vampires did not come to be as legend has always told. The story of the raven and the crow mixing their blood with the blood of two fallen Chiefs is a myth and the modern day rumor about a virus creating vampires is also wrong. The original vampires made a deal with the demon Samnult for strength to fight their enemies and they promised their first born child as well as the first born of the first generation of vampires as payment. As a first generation, Hunter will be expected to give up his first born to Sumnult and Hunter will do whatever is required to break that contract. Samnult has agreed if Hunter brings his intended to complete a series of tasks, and if they both survive, they can keep their first child. Hunter’s best scene was at the end of Book 1 when he contacts Samnult and tells him that Hunter will do whatever is necessary to break the contract. Samnult says What if I tell you to blow me? and Hunter drops to his knees and says I’m gonna get very drunk when it’s over, but I said I would do whatever it took. The demon was actually frazzled by Hunter’s willingness to do whatever was necessary to keep his child, something no other vampire was willing to do.  Samnult obviously did not accept the blow job in favor of the more exciting trial storyline.

Rasha refuses to risk her own life and is willing to let the demon have her first born. Both Hunter and Aylin are disgusted with her behavior and because Aylin is an identical twin, Samnult allows her to go in her sister’s place. And we’re barely a third into the book. Obviously they survive the quest, or do they? Samnult offers Aylin a deal asking her to make an ultimate sacrifice for Hunter and her sister so they win the quest, and of course she agrees.

They might have won the trials, but it has also strengthened the bond between Hunter and Aylin. Not only does Hunter not get to mate Aylin, but after his mating ceremony to Rasha, Aylin will be sent to mate a vampire more vicious than her father who has a harem of wives. Hunter is in a frenzy and the only way to save Aylin would be for her to lose her virginity…and Hunter will need to chose one of his own men to do it.

Except it might not be so easy after all. Samnult has gifted Aylin with something very special for her sacrifice and now both her father and her intended are knocking on the door to take Aylin away. So the questions we need answered are:  How can Hunter mate Aylin instead of Rasha without causing a war that MoonBound Clan will doubtless lose? Who is giving information to ShadowSpawn about MoonBound business? And what the heck is Samnult doing with all those first borns?

THOUGHTS:
This book was really exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat.  It was the age old romance storyline between sacrifice and want.  Hunter wants Aylin but he needs to sacrifice for his Clan and mate Rasha.

First of all, I couldn’t tell what we were supposed to be feeling about Rasha. Oh, we hated Rasha and we don’t trust her, but every once in a while she would be so nice to Aylin and you would start to think, maybe she’s not all bad. Then she would do something else awful and it was no question, she’s a bitch! But I just couldn’t figure out how Hunter was going to possibly get out of mating Rasha so he could mate Aylin instead, because obviously we all wanted Aylin.

The first half of the book was the quest and leading up to the quest which was all very tension filled, and after that was introducing BitchyPoo and Aylin to the MoonBound Clan and everyone’s reactions. The buzz between Hunter and Aylin kept intensifying and he kept wanting to pull away for the good of the Clan and the quest gave Aylin a boost of confidence that she has never had before to stand up to Hunter’s torment of I want you but I can’t have you which made him even crazier about her than before. Aylin was an incredible heroine at the start of the book and the fact that she was so selfless as to sacrifice her own dreams for Hunter (and her bitch sister) just makes her stand out as extraordinary.

This story was sensational. I couldn’t put it down and the fact that I couldn’t figure a way for them to be together was making me crazy.

I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this and Bound by Night. I had a Twitter conversation with Larissa Ione over the star of the next book who will be…wait for it…<strong>Myne</strong> (Yay!) and you’ll never guess who his lady love will be.  (Not Rasha thank God!)  I will be looking forward to Myne’s story next year.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

The scene I wanted to share gave away too much information, so you get the next best. :)

“Do you know what kind of alliances your father has made with other clans recently?”

“No why?”

“I think he’s up to something. He might be trying to unite the clans.”

“Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Samnult said war with the humans was coming.”

“Uniting the clans is vital if we want to save ourselves from extinction. But your father wants more than allied clans. He wants the allied clans under his control.”

“Like a king? That’s crazy.” But was it really? Kars had always been power-hungry, and she’d often wondered why he spent so much time digging into the affairs of rival clans. “You know, now that I think about it…remember I told you about the competitions ShadowSpawn has been holding? We’ve had more than usual, and clans have been coming from farther away than ever before. JaggedSky from Montana and BoneSworn from New Mexico. They’d never been to one of my father’s competitions before, but they’ve both been twice in the last three years. He’s even arrange for truces with sworn enemies. Like you.”

“Damn,” Hunter breathed.

For some reason, she pictured him saying the same thing, just as softly, against the skin of her throat. Her breasts. Her inner thighs.

As if he knew, his dark gaze sparked. He swore again and inhaled raggedly. “You okay? How have you been?”

“Do you really want to chitchat?”

A low, pumping growl vibrated the air and rumbled through her in an erotic wave. “What I want to do is strip you, throw you onto the counter, spread you thighs, and lick you until you scream. That’s what I want to do. I want to be the male who takes you for the first time. And every time after that. The thought of you being with someone else tonight is killing me, to the point where I’m tempted to have Riker lock me up so I don’t do something stupid. I don’t understand it, and frankly, it’s pissing me off. But there it is.”

His stark, raw honesty stole her breath. She wanted all of that too, could relate to everything he’d said. Here he was in front of her, and she couldn’t have him. And in this moment, she was ashamed to admit that if he offered her even the smallest scrap of his attention, she’d take it. Without thinking, she reached for him, but he stepped back with a hiss, his massive fangs bared.

“If you touch me, I’m lost.” His big body trembled as he continued backing up. He took panting breaths and his eyes were as wild as a cornered cougar’s. “I…have to go.”

“Hunter, wait.” She moved toward him. He stopped, and she had a feeling he was fighting a battle with himself deep inside. Good. Now he knew how she felt every time she saw him. “Don’t have sex with her. Not tonight.”

He barked out a laugh. “Really? Just yesterday you told me to get it over with. Now you get jealous?”

“This isn’t about jealousy,” she said. Okay, it was, but there was also the fact that Rasha mentioned getting pregnant. “You can’t…” You can’t trust Rasha.  Aylin didn’t say it.  She couldn’t.  As true as it was, she would sell out her sister like that.

“Can’t what?”

Aylin closed her lids. “Nothing. Just trust your instincts.”

“I got news for you,” he said roughly.  “I can’t trust myself right now.”

He took off in a rush, and something told her he was heading straight for Rasha.

Hunter had always been one to play with fire, had never minded the burns. But Aylin burned hotter than any flame, and if he hadn’t left when he did, he’d have turned to ash.

Holy Spirit, she tested his self-control. Samnult’s trials were a piece of cake compared with the challenge of keeping his hands off Aylin.

Cover Reveal – The Demon Who Loved Me by Jessie Lane

TDWLM CR Badge


TDWLM ebook cover

He’s a gambling man…
One brunette bombshell with a devious mind and a potty mouth has thrust Kent smack dab in the middle of where he never wanted to be—his family. He’s spent most of his life avoiding his familial responsibilities, especially the one that required him to join the Ninth Circle Council—the demon society’s equivalent of judge, jury and executioner. Then one lost bet with the little Amazon flipped his entire life upside down. With worries about retaliation from the remnants of a rogue pack of wolves in Germany, he doesn’t have time to deal with his family, or his obsession with Chloe Demos.

And she’s the biggest risk he’ll ever take…
After her mother’s death, Chloe’s world crashes down around her. A secret Amazonian heritage. Aunts and a long lost brother she never knew about. Supernatural beings. With all of the sudden changes, she’s decided it’s time to step out from behind her façade of an air-headed, materialistic bimbo and show her sisters she truly does love them—she only hates their wardrobes. What better way to show she cares about her family than to help prove someone close to one of them is innocent of the bogus murder charges from some ridiculous council? Chloe has no scruples about calling in the marker the demon Kent owes her in order to do just that. It’s only too bad she’s underestimated Kent’s intelligence, and his playboy charm.

Contains mature themes.


BBB 99 cent NEW


Find out more about the BIG BAD BITE Series!

The series has had a complete makeover with brand new, smokin’ hot covers and a can’t-miss sale!

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]Big Bad Bite

Book #1 – Jenna & Adam’s Story

Published January 28, 2013

 

 

 

 

What would it be like to live in a world where you were considered abnormal even to those who were above the norm?

Jenna O’Conner 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. On her first day as the newewst member of the Wilmington Police Department’s SWAT Team, Jenna runs into trouble in the form of a deadly, mouthwatering man named Adam McPhee, who is also not human. He is determined to figure out exactly what Jenna is, which could very well put her life in danger. Furthermore, he is determined to have her all to himself.

As if that weren’t enough for Jenna to deal with, a group of extremist Shifters who consider humans to be cattle and who think that factions of Others should stay within their own species—never to intermingle—come to town. Jenna has to find a way to shut them down, but in the process of trying to do that, she discovers things about herself that even she had never thought were possible.

Who said the wolf was what you had to worry about?

Welcome to the real world.

 

Contains mature themes.

Amazon ♦ Barnes & Noble ♦ AllRomanceEbooks ♦ Kobo ♦ Smashwords ♦ Tantor Audio

 

 

WOTSSWalk On The Striped Side

Book #2 – Gage & Elena’s Story

Published February 24, 2014

 

 

 

 

Does he have his claws in her for good? Or is she just yanking his tail?

Elena Demos’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother has passed away, leaving Elena and her two half-sisters to deal with their mother’s will and the crazy stipulations it contains. For the three sisters to inherit the substantial amount of money left behind, they have to go to work with two aunts they’ve never met in a family business—Amazons Inc.—they know nothing about. If that isn’t bad enough, Elena runs into the man who once broke her heart, and it’s only their first day on the job.

Gage Ivanov is a stupid beast. He let the woman who should be his mate go because she couldn’t be told of his Other identity. Now Elena’s back, but she refuses to give in to his demands for her to be his mate. The timing for all of this couldn’t be worse, either, because Gage and his circle of friends are trying to subdue a rogue pack of wolf shifters in Germany who threaten to out the Others to the world of humans. Will he be able to juggle the oncoming conflict and win back his mate?

Claws, love bites and handcuffs – OH MY!

 

Contains mature themes.

Amazon ♦ Barnes & Noble ♦ AllRomanceEbooks ♦ Kobo ♦ Smashwords ♦ Tantor Audio

 

 
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Jessie Lane is the best-selling author of The Star Series, Big Bad Bite Series and the Ex Ops Series. She writes paranormal and contemporary romance, as well as Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.

She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in the making and her over protective alpha husband. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.

You can follow Jessie at: FacebookTwitterPinterestGoodreads & her Amazon Author Page

Friday Giveaway – Audiobook Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

Happy Friday! Hey, didn’t September just start? I just finished Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs which is a mix of short stories from the world of Mercy Thompson. I really like the narrator Lorelei King. She does a wonderful job narrating and giving voices to the characters. This is the first time I heard Alexander Cendese, who narrated a few of the short stories, including the stories told by Samuel but he did a great job as well.

If you have read the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, no question you have to read (or listen) to these stories. I listened to this entire series and I enjoyed the flavor that Lorelei King’s narration brought to the stories.

I will be back next week with a full review of this collection of short stories, but there are enough non-Mercy stories so you can get a taste of Patricia Brigg’s writing if you haven’t tried Mercy’s stories yet. There are some stories featuring Mercy or her friends which will give away some spoilers so you might want to skip those if you want to jump into Mercy’s world after you have had taste. I liked that Patricia Briggs also had an introduction to each story explaining why she wrote them or why they were left out of stories and a warning if they had spoilers for the series.

In this collection is the prequel story of Charles and Anna who star in Alpha & Omega which is a spinoff series, and I knew I wanted to add those to my list.  After listening, I already downloaded the three stories in the series.

Since Fall has officially arrived, this week’s question for you is – What is you favorite part of Fall? Apple picking? Halloween? Watching the leaves change? Getting together with the family at Thanksgiving? Please share and if you are making apple pies, please share those too. :)

Giveaway ends Thursday, October 2nd. Open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older please.

Rock Courtship by Nalini Singh


ORDER A COPY: Rock Courtship: A Rock Kiss Novella

Publisher: TKA Distribution
Publishing Date: September 30, 2014
EBook: 125 pages

Rating: 5 stars


The courtship of Schoolboy Choir’s drummer, David Rivera, and publicist, Thea Arsana, is the perfect choice for a novella. Since these characters know each other, and we have met them both in the prior book, we can jump right into the romance and we are already invested in these characters and the HEA.


David Rivera is the known as the Gentleman of Rock for a reason. He dresses well and never removes his clothing unlike like his band mates. He is still close with his family and takes care of his parents who sacrificed so much for him. He is absolutely loyal to those he loves, and he fears the woman he loves most will never give him a chance to prove that unlike her cheating ex, David would always be loyal…always be true.

She has already shot him down once declaring that she cannot date a client. Thankfully, David has a secret weapon…Thea’s sister, Molly. Molly can see how much David loves Thea already and convinces him the best way to approach her business minded sister is to write a memo outlining all the reasons why Thea should agree to be with David. This begins the war of the memos which starts out full of subtle sexual innuendo and builds into memo sex until Thea can’t do anything but fan herself with them to cool down her blood.

Both David and Thea come from close knit families. Thea trusts her mother when she convinces Thea not to let fear ruin her future, and David’s love for Thea is only reinforced when he sees her interaction with his family.

But love with a rock star can’t be that easy and a woman comes forth with some accusations against David in a pay me to shut up approach, Thea will be forced to face what she fears most about a long distance relationship with a man who has women throwing themselves at him. Will she stand by her man and trust that David has been true to her or will she fear history repeating itself?

THOUGHTS:
Novellas are tricky. It’s like the story of Goldilocks, sometimes they feel so rushed you don’t really feel the connection. Sometimes they are too short. You are just starting to enjoy the characters and you feel they didn’t get enough story. Rock Courtship felt just right.

We already met and had a pretty good idea about David and Thea. We were already aware from the opening chapter of Rock Addition that David has been in love with Thea for some time. We also knew that Molly was encouraging David to write the memos to Thea and that it got her attention. In Rock Courtship, we only need to learn Thea’s feelings for David, read those sexy memos for ourselves, and then we got to see David win his woman’s heart.

We started this story full of momentum and all the background info we needed so the novella just needed to concentrate on rounding out David and Thea’s characters and then bringing them together and bonding them.

It was an enjoyable companion novel to Rock Addition and I am still waiting anxiously for Charlotte and T-Rex’s story.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

David sends flowers to Thea to convince her they should be together.

When she finally had a chance to check her phone again, she saw David had sent one more message: The red one reminds me of you. It’s so fucking beautiful.

Thea went to the bouquet, and touched her fingers to one of the flame-red blooms. It was glorious. The petals were soft and velvety, curling gently outward from a golden core that held another, hidden core of opulent cream. Heart sighing, she pulled out one from the bouquet, intending to clip off the stem so she could tuck it behind her ear.

“Ow!”

Glancing down, she saw a red bead of blood on her skin; the stunning flower had tiny green thorns all down the stem.

Laughter shook her shoulders. He had to have made a special request that the thorns not be stripped or the florist would have done it as a matter of course. “Okay, David,” she muttered, “points to you.” She could get on board with a man who saw beauty in her thorns.

Catwalk by Sheila Webster Boneham


ORDER A COPY: Catwalk (An Animals in Focus Mystery)

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: October 8, 2014
Paperback: 336 pages

Rating: 3 1/2 stars


This series reminds me a little of the Mattie Winston Mysteries by Annelise Ryan. Janet MacPhail and her search and rescue dog, Jay, as well as her boyfriend Tom Saunders are once again stuck in the middle of a murder investigation. No one is going to miss this victim, but more than likely the killer is going to be a friend of Janet and Tom’s.


Janet MacPhail and her Australian Shepherd, Jay, and once again embroiled in a not really that exciting murder investigation, all while balancing her relationship with fellow dog lover, Prof. Tom Saunders.

Janet’s friend Alberta from the Dog Dayz training center is looking for Janet’s help. Alberta believes someone abducted her cat and she wants Jay’s clever nose to find her. Jay manages to track down Alberta’s cat, but she hasn’t been kidnapped. She slipped into the neighbor’s shed to give birth to her three little kittens. Unfortunately, the neighbor isn’t a big fan of cats in general, let alone Alberta and her crusade to trap, neuter and release the feral cats which are living on the property that Charles Rasmussen and his development company want to turn into condos.

There’s no question after spending five minutes in the story with Charles Rasmussen, who is our eventual victim, that he’s an ass, no one likes him and that the list of suspects is huge, including Alberta, Charles’s abused wife, Charles’s tortured and infirmed father-in-law, people who he has forced out of properties he wanted, local environmentalists and just about everyone in town. So actually it’s a bit grasping at straws when they question Janet for the murder just because he was trying to press charges for trespassing. Rescuing a lost cat wouldn’t have equated to a life sentence or even a fine so why she should be on the list of suspects let alone be concerned about proving her innocence is the real mystery.

Other than the murder, we go about Janet’s life with her while she spends time with her dog, Jay, and cat, Leo, and her friend, Tom. Janet is over 50 so Tom’s status is a little in question since boyfriend is a little childish. Janet is trying to determine if she wants to take the next step and move in together when she overhears Tom making plans to vaccinate his dog so he can leave the country. She knows he was thinking of a sabbatical but she doesn’t know where that will leave her relationship.  Tom tries to talk to Janet, but she appears to have a habit of zoning out in the middle of conversations and being too embarrassed to mention she wasn’t actually listening to you, so she jumps to a lot of conclusions.

We meet all of Janet and Tom’s pet owning friends and attend an agility trial with them, including something I never heard of before – cat agility.  Janet is training her cat in agility as well as her Australian Shepherd.

If there was ever a book that I should have written or that was written specifically for me, this would be it.

I competed in agility for several years with my American Eskimo Dogs. My girls and I spent many lovely days (and many rain drenched, muddy weekends) competing in agility. This was mostly pre-children. Winter and Dakotah both have been gone a few years now and I have started training my 2 year old Australian Shepherd, Bowen. We haven’t gone out to competitions yet since time and money are limited for Mommy Funtime, but I don’t doubt he will be quite successful once we get in the ring.  Well, that is if my daughter lets me have a turn. Now that he knows the basic equipment, she takes over my classes. What I am impressed with is that my dog understands that he needs to work slower with her than he does with me.

But even with my love of the topic, and I am one of the few who will get all the inside comments like recognizing the other competitors by their dogs names but not theirs, the story line wasn’t that exciting to grasp anyone’s attention who isn’t reading it because it was about a murder at an agility competition. I know lots of people who would enjoy this, but it is more geared to a very specific group of my friends who compete in obedience, agility and tracking. I don’t know that this has such a general audience appeal.

I did have one issue with her writing style. On several occasions she gives you a hint of something near the end of a chapter, and then the next chapter you started somewhere else. For example, when Alberta wanted Janet to read a letter she received and was very angry about. She hands the letter to Janet who couldn’t believe it…and then the next scene started the next day and we had to backtrack to the information in the letter. Doing it once as a way to build suspense is fine, but she did it at least three times just in the beginning of the book. She also had a habit of making Janet comment to herself like a schizophrenic  — We can manage this, snarked Janet demon. He knows that, countered good Janet. He wants to help, not take over. I just found it odd to Jekyl and Hyde your inner monologue.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Dakotah 2002 Collage

Winter Collage

Bowen #2 Giphy


Favorite scene:

I chose this scene because this was me at dog trials with Winter. She was so confident and had such drive and she was just so happy to be jumping that she always took the Judge’s course map as more of a suggestion than a hard fast rule. She had an incredible stay at the start line, but after she was released, all bets were off. Usually I just stood in the middle of the ring laughing and waited for her to remember why I was there :) , but not everyone is out there for just the fun of it.

“Let me get one run in, okay? I’m after the next dog,” I gestured toward the course-practice ring. “There are only two of us at this height,” meaning I couldn’t switch with anyone because they would be changing the jump heights after my run. Giselle nodded and started her little dog back through the weave poles. Precious may hit nine inches at the shoulder and seven pounds dripping wet right after a meal, but he’s a big dog on the agility course. I stopped to watch him rip through the weaves. His tail wagged the whole way and as he tore past the last pole he let out three sharp “Yippee” yaps.

Jay also had a happy run when his turn came. A little too happy. He held his stay at the start line, but the instant I signaled him to run, he switched to I-have-a-better-idea mode. Like many lighting-fast, shockingly smart dogs, he likes to make up his own challenges if the human is too slow with the next directive. I had positioned myself at the third obstacle, the chute, so was able to signal the three obstacles easily enough–bar jump, tire jump, chute—but after that I played a game of catchup and redo. If we had been competing, we’d have scored a nonqualifying run when Jay flew up and over an unscheduled A-frame. After that, I was late arriving at another bar jump, so my goofy dog jumped it, jumped back toward me, spun around, and jumped it again. He also took an extra trip through the tunnel and a nonplanned on-and-off at the pause table. When we left the ring I was panting Jay was bouncing and grinning, and everyone else was laughing.

Almost everyone. Peter Birdwhistle, a recent transplant to Fort Wayne, spoke as we passed him, “You need to discipline that dog and tighten up your run. I can help you if you like.”

Yeah, right, I thought. Peter’s Golden Retriever was a nervous wreck. Obedient, yes, and fast and accurate. But he lacked the joy we see in most Goldens and most agility dogs.

“Or I could run him for you sometime.”

That made me turn around and ask, “Why would I want you to do that?” Because I’m too old and fat and, wow, treat this dog-sport thing like a great way to have fun with my dog, win nor lose?

“Well, you know, to get the best scores…”

“Peter, I know you’re pretty new here, so let me put your mind at ease. I don’t do this to win. I don’t do it for scores. And I don’t have a dog so that someone else can play with him.”

Top 10 Books Coming This Fall

Top 10 Fall books

Today is officially the first day of Autumn so what better time to talk about the books I am looking forward to reading this Fall. Let us know what upcoming books you are looking forward to reading. You can click the pictures for more information or to order a copy.

Contemporary/New Adult:

Echoes Release Date: October 7th

Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young is Cole Walker’s story. Cole is the younger brother to Jo Walker who we first met in Down London Road and BFF to the now grown up Hannah as we see in her last novel Fall From India Place. Cole was an impressive character and I am looking forward to his HEA.


maybe christmas Release Date: October 28th

This story follows the O’Neill family and their delightful family run Vermont resort of Snow Crystal. In this story, Brenna will finally get her love story with Tyler, who so far has kept her in the friend catagory.


standing Release: November 4th

Must be something about being snowed in all the time to make a Vermont families so bonded and large! This Vermont family consists of ten children and in the latest story Cameron’s (from book 1) friend Lucy (what an awesome name) the computer wiz seduces the almost hermit-ish Colton Abbott off his syrup making mountain and gets him into the big city. I want to see how NYC Lucy and her computers and merge her life with Colton who lives up in the mountains with no electricity where he makes the maple syrup for his family’s store. Interesting!


Release Date: November 4th

I am intrigued by Cade, the muscled, tattooed, bad boy who bakes cupcakes. It’s probably hard to look tough when you have some pink frosting on your cheek and have to walk away from a fight to check on your soufflé. I want to check out this story.


Release Date: December 2nd

This is the last of the Cocktail series and we met Chloe briefly in Screwdrivered as the cousin of librarian Clark Barrow.  I love Alice Clayton and am not going to miss this story.


Paranormal:

chained by nightRelease Date: September 30th

I’ve already read Chained by Night but I can’t wait until you read it to so we can talk about it. My review will post next week. I am intrigued by these characters and was so distressed because I couldn’t figure out a way for Hunter to keep the twin that he wanted rather than the twin we hated who he was supposed to mate to avoid a war. I am looking forward to next year’s book already.


blood Release Date: October 28th

This is the final book in the Cousin O’Dwyer trilogy so not only are we finally going to get the big show down with the evil blood wizard, Cabhan, but we finally get the love story between Branna and Finn who have almost a Romeo and Juliet story. Branna is an O’Dwyer and a descendant of Sorcha and Finn who is a descendant of Cabhan. Their feelings for each other are strong, but Branna has trust issues with Finn only because of his blood connection to Cabhan. I have been looking forward to this story since I read Dark Witch.


Release Date: October 28th

I’m a big fan of Nalini Singh. The last story Archangel’s Storm included an epic battle between Raphael and another Archangel which devastated NYC so I am interested in seeing the recovery and the new supernaturals who showed up at the end of the story and where they will be fitting into this world. This is also one of the few stories which doesn’t appear to be told through Elena’s POV so that will be interesting as well.


Release Date: November 25th

I loved Stone Guardian and The Cage King have been waiting anxiously for more in the Entwined Realm series. We really don’t know these two characters and have only just met Merc briefly, but I am certain they will both becomes favorites before the end of the story.


Action/Adventure:

Midnight actionRelease Date: November 4th

I’ve only read one book in this series, but already I am panting for the back story of the two leaders of the rival groups. There was enough hint dropping on Midnight Pursuits so you know there is a hot and heavy passion between the two but some misunderstanding had Morgan backstabbing Noelle on a mission.  Someone’s put out a contract on Morgan and Noelle is gunning to be the assassin that brings him down.  There is so much tension between the two where they can’t even have a civil conversation that you know there is still smoldering passion between them. Again, I am intrigued to find our more.


Friday Giveaway – Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

TGIF! It’s been another crazy week around here with Back to School nights and afterschool classes. That all adds up to very little time for mom to read which has thrown off my TBR list. *Grrrr*

That also equates to an easy giveaway this week. Just leave a comment, whatever you want, to enter to win a copy of the upcoming Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young which features the all grown up Cole Walker.

Giveaway ends Thursday, September 25th. Open to U.S. Residents, 18 years and older please.


Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good.


Stone Cold Lover by Christine Warren

ORDER A COPY: Stone Cold Lover (Gargoyles Series)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publishing Date: August 26, 2014
Paperback: 336 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Stone Cold Lover had a much more interesting story plot than the first book in the series, Heart of Stone, but so far the overall series plotline isn’t exciting enough to warrant my going out of the way to follow it. I didn’t grab a copy of this book until I was asked to do a First Look for Heroes&Heartbreakers. I am certain there will be big epic battle at the end of the series after all of the guardians are awoken, but seven semi-interesting stories to get to one epic battle is more of a commitment than I want to make on this series.


Felicity Shaltis thinks she is just doing a favor for her college friend, Ella Harrow. She doesn’t realize yet how looking for a gargoyle statute is going to change her life forever.

Fil can’t blame her new obsession with the unbelievably hot statue on Ella either. Ella just asked Fil to find the statue, not to have a burning need to touch it and she certainly didn’t ask Fil to break in to the monastery in the middle of the night so she can see it again. Maybe if she gets arrested for the B&E she they’ll get her some therapy for her crazy behavior. But Fil isn’t the only one creeping around in the dark. The nocturnis have also found the Guardian and plan to blow up the statue while the Guardian is helpless.

While protecting the statue (by hiding behind it) Fil is hit by a bolt of magic from the creep in robe just before the Guardian is roused from his slumber and creepy nocturnis guy blows himself up. The next question is who is more confused Fil looking at the gorgeous, half-naked man that used to be a statue or Spar who is suddenly out of his slumber with no Warden around to wake him.

Using her iphone, Fil gets Ella on facetime who explains to Fil and Spar about what she and Kees have learned so far about the missing Guardians, Wardens and the nocturnis’s evil plot to destroy the sleeping Guardians so evil can win. I find it ironic that a guy named Spar has a problem with the name Fil. His feeling is Fil isn’t feminine enough, but the last time Spar was awake Gertrude, Agnes and Winifred were the popular girl names. No offense meant Gertrude, Agnes and Winifred! I’m just saying it was an odd thing for him to be so upset about.  Dude, your name is Spar. Don’t judge.

Fil and Spar take up the task of finding Wardens in hiding on their side of Canada.   Once they find one, they just missed him (he saw them coming) but he leaves a present of information that directs them toward their next task and the next missing Guardian.

They are also trying to locate a witch or someone with enough magic to help remove the spell put on Fil by Creepy Nocturnis Guy who apparently put the equivalent of a GPS cow brand on Fil marking her as dinner for one of the demons when it arises.

THOUGHTS:
The marking of Fil which attracts all the bad guys added more of an interest to this plot, but overall I haven’t  found enough romance or interesting plots in the first two books to be all that exciting a series. If we have to wake all seven Guardians by using the same plot of women who all have just enough of a magic to do it without actually being a Warden and who will all be the great love of the Guardian’s long, long life, before we can do more than just drive around looking for Wardens in hiding, then I’m out!

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

“Spar, my getting hurt wasn’t your fault,” she told him after a minute of uncomfortable silence. “You realize that, right? I mean, you can’t keep your eyes on me twenty-four seven, no matter what you feel your duty is. I just went into another room. You were only a few steps away, and when I got hurt, you were right there to keep it from being any worse. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

He grunted and reached for her left hand. “I have done nothing right from the moment I awoke. If I had, this would not be here.”

He traced a finger over her palm, following the lines of the demon’s mark. Fil followed his gaze and choked on a gasp. The reddened henna-like lines of the mark had darkened again, now appearing a dark, dark brown, almost black, with a charred look on the outer edges. It no longer pained her, she realized but it was starting to freak her the hell out.

“What’s going on, Spar?” she demanded in a whisper that threatened to break into jagged pieces. “It’s getting worse. Why is it doing that?”

“It is the way of the mark. I had hoped I was wrong, that it hadn’t fully settled on you.” He looked up at her, pinning her with his gaze. “The mark is attempting to claim you.”

“Claim me?” She choked on the words, and a sense of foreboding swept through her. “What the hell does that mean?”

Spar grasped her other hand and tugged her closer. His knees closed around her, but instead of making her feel trapped the pressure comforted her on a visceral level. Without Fil realizing it, in the past twenty-four hours, this man had become a safe haven for her. Somehow that frightened her almost more than everything else put together.

“Listen to me,” he said, squeezing her hands to focus her attention back on him. He waited for her to take a shaky breath before he continued. “I want you to understand that I will protect you from this moment forward. I will allow no other enemy to touch you, no other harm to come your way, and we will find a way to remove the mark.  I swear this to you.”

“Okay, I know you’re trying to reassure me, Spar, but you’re just kinda freaking me out even worse.  What the hell is up wit this mark thing? Why is it changing?”

“The mark was placed on you to try to claim you in the name of Uhlthor, one of the Seven. By placing his symbol in your skin, the nocturnis hoped for one of two outcomes: either you would become an offering for the demon to feast upon, or you would surrender yourself to his power and become another of his army of minions.”

A hysterical laugh bubbled out of her chest. “Uh, neither of those options really works for me, you know?”

High Moon by Jennifer Harlow

highmooncvr
ORDER A COPY: High Moon (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation Series) (Volume 4)

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: September 16, 2014
eBook: 234 pages

Rating: 4 stars=story – 1 star=series ending


This was a great series with an adorable, self-deprecating heroine and her two very interesting love interests. A big part of the fun was the flirty banter between Beatrice and (vampire) Oliver, while Beatrice chased after serious and sexy team leader (werewolf) Will. Unfortunately, once Beatrice finally catches Will, we lose all the Oliver banter while Oliver sulks in the corner. Beatrice also learns that there are some serious issues to deal with once you catch your man who has his own PMS from hell every full moon.


Beatrice is a woman who knows what she wants and for the last year, she has wanted the love of her F.R.E.A.K.S. team leader, werewolf William Price. She doesn’t care that he gets furry and chases his tail once a month. She has their future children already named, she just needs Will to acknowledge his own feelings for Beatrice. The few kisses they have exchanged tell her that Will isn’t as immune to her as he tries to make her believe. But no matter what she does, Will keeps pushing her away. Yet a slipped “I love you” will bring about a change to her future that she might not have been as ready for as she thought she was.

Not everyone is happy for Willitrice. The team is once again fracturing over what their new relationship will mean to the team. The biggest casualty to this new romance is Beatrice’s friendship with partner and BFF, vampire Oliver Montrose. Oliver and Will have been enemies and reluctant teammates for decades, but their animosity to each other exploded over their mutual feelings for Beatrice. Oliver was aware that Beatrice was in love with Will. She cried on his shoulder many a night over Will. But watching her unrequited mooning is different than watching the smooching lovers.  Knowing he lost her to a man whose “condition” could cause Beatrice to be ripped to shreds if they aren’t careful is making him act irrationally.

In between kissing Will and arguing with Oliver, Beatrice and the team are still on duty. Their latest case takes them to the woods of Appalachia Summit State Park in North Carolina. Part of a leg is found by hikers, but where is the rest of the body? When evidence shows several werewolves hunting in the woods, the team knows that are trying to find a sadistic pack hunting humans for sport. It also looks like this pack is being lead by a female werewolf who is using magic to keep her pack in an perpetual state of lust for her.

Local packmasters join the hunt for the rogues and we can add them to the list of those who are not happy to find Will cavorting with a Beatrice. Bea is having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that her dream relationship with Will is suddenly speeding ahead faster than a two-man luge and it seems no one is in their corner.  Although to be fair she does have to admit that she and Will have been a bit…distracted on this latest case and maybe they aren’t being fair to the rest of the team.

It seems that finally getting the man of her dreams might be the worst thing that has ever happened to Beatrice. Now that she has him, will she have to give him up in the name of public safety?

THOUGHTS:
My inner girly-girl was squealing with joy when we finally get Will to admit his feelings for Beatrice. Between being down about himself about being a real monster…a deadly werewolf, and the fact that he was not able to save his wife when they were attacked all those years ago, Will is always carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. If it was up to him, he would continue to live in a constant state of self-punishment. But we knew that there was a buzz in the air from the moment he met Beatrice, and that any anger toward Beatrice was focused more on her relationship with Oliver, especially when he thought that they were sleeping together. So after Book 3 when Beatrice told him she would get him to admit his feelings for her, I waited on pins and needles not sure if there would be a Book 4 or if Jennifer Harlow was ending the series as a trilogy and leaving us hanging.

There is part of me that now wishes she has left us with the three book series imaging what would happen upon Beatrice’s return. You will note that although I gave the story a 4 star rating, I gave the series ending only 1. The investigation and story were as good as her other books. It was odd to read big, strong, dangerous Will Price texting “Love U. Love U. Love U.” messages. I think I would have lost all respect if there was a “Shmoopsie” in there.

I like that Bea was the one to finally watch over the caged Will while he changed to werewolf at the next full moon. We finally got to see the change happen.  Everything went as I imagined it would, including Will’s freak out when an angry Oliver (his nemesis) shows up to confront Bea when he finally learns that Will and Beatrice became a couple while he was in his death sleep.

Investigation aside, what was really missing in the story was the great rapport between Bea and Oliver. Oliver freaks out that he lost Beatrice to Will and becomes the psycho vampire everyone has been warning her about since she got there in Book 1. Beatrice is the only person Oliver has cared about since…ever. He behaves very badly upon learning the news and Beatrice refuses to speak to Oliver until he can apologize and be happy for them. So instead of the usual fun, flirty banter, we barely hear from Oliver at all unless his is yelling and pointing out how dangerous it is for Beatrice to be with a werewolf. I missed Oliver. I missed Oliver/Beatrice a lot.

I gave the series ending a 1 simply because I have never been so upset and absolutely angry finishing a story before in my life. I was going to let a friend borrow my Nook on her vacation because she too is a big fan of the series. I texted her as soon as I finished and told her I would not allow her to read it until she returned so she would not ruin her vacation.

After she finally read it she texted me this:

the book was  :D then it went to  :) to  :| to   :(    to  :'( :'( :'(

I always enjoyed this series as a fun and entertaining series. Beatrice is very self-deprecating and Oliver is flirty and charming. Even the serious Will you knew was grumpy because he wanted Beatrice but had his “woe is the werewolf” thing going. There are some paranormals and Urban Fantasies that you know take themselves very seriously, for example, The Black Dagger Brotherhood and Mercy Thompson. Maybe the author always intended her series to be dark, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the fun parts of the series. The ending was so dark and awful I am still angry about it a month later. I tried to re-read one of the prior stories just to enjoy the camaraderie but it was so tainted by the ending, I couldn’t continue.

There is no doubt in my mind that the author was simply done with this series.  I am so sorry she felt that way. I would have read these stories for several more years and enjoyed the characters she created. I truly wish I had a talent for writing. I would hit the fan fiction sites and carry on writing my own saga of the F.R.E.A.K.S.

We don’t know why an author chooses how their characters will react, but even if Jennifer Harlow wanted to walk away from the F.R.E.A.K.S., she didn’t need to be so gruesome. I could think of several different endings which could have left us maybe without a perfect Hollywood happy ending or simply one open to use our own imagination.

For paranormal lovers, I would still highly recommend the first three books in this series. As far as High Moon, you will have to read it at your own risk.

Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Watching the man you love suck face with a gorgeous woman is not the best way to start a birthday. Welcome to my world.

He sits at a back booth, lips and every other body part pressed against that succubus, appearing to love every second and caress, the rat bastard. And how can he not be? The evil slut queen of doom has everything I don’t. Long, straight hay-colored hair, big blue eyes, big breasts, long lean legs, tight body all encased in a skintight black dress clinging to her perfect curves that only a plastic surgeon could ever recreate on me. I’ve envied women like her all my life, and now that succubus has my future husband in her enticing clutches. Literally. An actual succubus is clutching his soft brown hair and kissing him as if her life depended on it. Which I guess it does—as she feeds off sexual energy to live—but still. Does he have to frigging enjoy the whole experience so much?

Howdy. The jealous, insecure, emotional wreck before you is Special Agent Beatrice Alexander of the covert branch of the FBI known to the underworld as the F.R.E.A.K.S. We fight the monsters under your bed: the vampires, the ghosts, and the soon to be decapitated succubi of the world. Those terrors in horror movies? Real. Trolls, zombies, even giant snakes. Killed them all so the citizens of American can go about their normal lives. Why am I so lucky? Because technically I’m one of them. I can move anything with my mind. It’s called tele or psychokinesis. I can carry in groceries or stop hearts without lifting a finger. And let me say doing the latter is mighty tempting right about now.

The man having his tonsils examined by the succubus is my teammate Special Agent Will Price. He’s technically a monster too, at least once a month. He’s a werewolf, not that I hold that against him. After all us freaks can’t help who or what we are. We’re actually a lot alike everyone else. Though Will did literally eat my last boyfriend. The psycho was trying to kill me at the time, so I gave Will a pass on that. But this…

Will shifts in his seat to get closer to her. They haven’t broken apart in over forty-seven seconds. Forty-seven! He’s kissed her longer than he’s ever kissed me all three times combined. I don’t care that she’s more or less bewitched him. I don’t care that its all for a case. My hands ball into fists, fingers digging so deep in my own flesh it hurts. A cool hand touches mine. I look away from this nauseating PDA toward the hand’s owner. My friend, the delectable Oliver Montrose gazes at me, his gray eyes warning me not to put into action what I’ve been contemplating. Namely storming over there and cold cocking that female dog with the butt of my Glock. Though she so deserves it. In Virginia Beach alone she’d been linked to two deaths. Two young seamen were found naked and dead in their own beds of apparent heart attacks after going home from a club with a hot blonde. Who knows how many others she’d sucked dry over the years?

For those not in the monster killer business, a succubus is a woman who Hoovers up the life-force from her lovers, much like a vampire feeds off blood. Now, I don’t begrudge a life form getting whatever they need to live. I watch Animal Planet. Sometimes it’s kill or be killed. But a succubus doesn’t need to kill anymore than a vampire does. A little can go a long way. Some people are just evil. And right now evil has Will in a head lock.

“Whatever course of action you are contemplating inside that beautiful head of years, I suggest you forget it post haste,” my vampire friend warns. His hand remains heavy on mine, a reminder about restraint. We don’t want to blow our cover. While Will plays doctor, Oliver and I sit at the bar, just another couple enjoying the Virginia nightlife. A few stools down, Agents Rushmore and Wolfe, in their chic Ralph Lauren polo shirts and buzz cuts, nurse ginger ales, and keep their eyes locked on the same booth. Chandler is lucky enough to be out in the parking lot waiting for the signal to take her down. Darn you, innocent bystanders. Darn you.

Lord, I hate clubs. They’re loud, crowded, expensive and filled with hormone crazed men and women with no sense of shame or decorum. I’ve lost count of how many strange crotches have rubbed up against my backside while “dancing.” I’d only been a handful of times before I joined the F.R.E.A.K.S., and now it seems as if I live in one. Why preternaturals feel so at home in these places is beyond me. I guess to them it’s nothing but a smorgasbord. Easy picking. Everyone’s mind is so filled with sex and booze they forget basics like safety and common sense. And now Will has joined their ranks.

“I wasn’t contemplating anything,” I snap, downing my screwdriver. “I’m not bothered by them. Not a bit. It’s work. We’re working. Another drink, please! Now! Now!

“That is not a wise idea, my dear.”

“Wise is so overrated,” I mutter.

I glance back at the couple. Still making out, still…oh, no she isn’t! Her graceful hand slides up Will’s thigh, resting on the bulge in his pants. At first she just traces the outline with her fingertip, and then rubs against him with her whole harlot hand. He doesn’t push it away.

Rage boils over. Involuntarily I leap up, every inch of me tense and ready to rip her shining hair out at the roots. Before I’m totally upright, a hand on my shoulder presses me back into my seat. “No.”

“But she—“

No,” Oliver says as if I’m an ill-behaved dog.

“But he—“

“No.”

Torture.

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