Category Archives: Demons
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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publishing Date: September 2, 2014
Hardcover: 432 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Absolutely disappointing. For this story Sherrilyn Kenyon chose such an obscure legend to base her story off of that I had a hard time keeping up with all the names and all the bad guys. A boatload of cameo appearances from the series wasn’t enough to make me enjoy this story.
Son of No One is the most recent release by Sherrilyn Kenyon who has given us such wonderful stories in the Dark Hunter/Were Hunter/Dream Hunter series.
We meet Josette Landry who is cousin to the Devereaux clan. She is recently divorced from her cheating husband, who although he is unemployed, managed to walk away with all their money. Her house has been foreclosed and all she has in the world is her beat up 1964 Ford Falcon. She is in New Orleans to live with her cousins until she can find a job and rebuild her life.
Jo and cousin Amanda are the only paranormal skeptics in the clan, but Karma Devereaux has offered her a job as a videographer while they investigate paranormal happenings in some of the local homes. Since they already lost several camera people, the offer is something that the cash strapped Jo can’t refuse.
While setting up in one of the local homes, Jo trips and goes crashing through the large mirror like Alice through the Looking Glass. In this new reality where everything is in black and white, Jo is saved from attack by zombie like creatures by Cadegan
Cadegan Maboddiumun (which translates to “Cadegan Son of No One”) is a demigod/demonkyn since his mother was the goddess Brigid, and his father was the demon Paimon, who is the son of the demon, Noir. (Said like we should know how bad that is.) In fact this story is chock full of listings of relations. “I’m Talon of the Morrigantes. My wife is the granddaughter of the Mórrígan and the Dagda. We’re cousins.” All I could think of was the Spaceballs speech where Dark Helmet tells Lonestar.
At his birth Cadegan is left in a local monastery to be raised in the hopes that he won’t come across evil amongst the brothers. But we know that evil lurks everywhere and even in this tiny monastery, Cadegan was accused of stealing money and was severely punished for it although he wasn’t the thief. One of the Brothers let him take the fall. Cadegan couldn’t hide in the monastery forever and when war came through their town, twelve-year-old Cadegan was conscripted by the King to join his army. Unaware of his demon side, Cadegan was surprised how well he fought even when no one bothered to train him.
At this point, Cadegan’s brother Leucious finds him and convinces him to come fight with him against the demons. Eventually even Leucious turns on him because he believed that Cade’s demonside was winning out and he condemns him to this limbo world of Terre Derrière le Voile where he is trapped in the mirror. We have been introduced to Leucious in the Hellchasers stories and we know him better as Thorn.
Now when Cade and Jo meet, we have only just started on all the crazy names that we need to know for this story. And by God, everyone has at least one accent over their name so much so that now I want to change my name to Ľűćŷ. Cade takes Jo home until daylight when it is safer to go out. In the morning, he tries to return her through the portal and it is closed. So he goes to the dark wizard Brenin Gwyn ap Nudd to make a deal for the wizard to create a dragon key to the world of men so that Jo can leave before the autumnal equinox when she will be stuck here forever. He can’t go to another of the other named wizards or demons because he trusts them even less than Gwyn even though the price he will need to pay to free Jo is pretty steep.
I thought, “Okay the story will be quest for the items”, not so much. Overnight the back stabbing has begun and the dark wizard switches Cade and Jo’s bodies, which leads to having sex in each other’s bodies so they know what it feels like for the other. Ewww. Ewww. Ewww. I was a quite uncomfortable about the whole having sex with yourself aspect and felt a little creepy about the whole thing. The point of body switching first includes Gwyn being able to capture Jo as Cadegan since they will torture her for Cadegan’s memories to get the treasure he is protecting. The second point is that Jo’s family with the help of Thorn and Asheron pull Jo from the mirror realm. Cadegan as Jo goes batshit crazy on Thorn/Leucious until a rescue party is sent back in for Jo.
The remainder of the book includes back and forth trips and rescue parties first to rescue Jo and return her body to her and then to go back to rescue Cadegan who ended up getting left behind, with many, many strange named people popping up who all want to get their hands on Cadegan either to get their hands on the treasure he protects or to turn over Cadegan for the huge bounty that his demon father has placed on his head.
It comes up in the story that Cadegan/Jo’s story mirrors the story of ancient Goddess, Britomartis, cousin of Artemis, who had a magic mirror and saw the Welsh prince and fell in love with him and traveled through the mirror where they lived happily ever after as mortals and that Cadegan and Jo are descendants of the original goddess and Welsh price and are reliving their story. She screwed up her face in distaste. “Please don’t tell me we’re related. Honey, I ain’t that Southern.”
I can tell you that after 150 pages I was ready to toss this book and move on but decided to tough it out. The dozen unpronounceable and similar names was making me crazy and the story itself wasn’t all that exciting and it included several sidetrip flashbacks to Cadegan’s youth in the middle of scenes.
I would recommend that even fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon pass this one by and save yourself several hours of disappointment.
“How big is this dragon, anyway?”
He paused to consider it. “I’ve only seen him from a distance. When he’s flying in the sky, hunting for prey. But from nip to tail, I’d say about twenty-five to thirty feet.”
“That’s a big-ass dragon. Does he breathe fire?”
“I know naught, but would assume it.”
Great. A giant, fire-breathing dragon. Just what she’d put on her Christmas list.
Suddenly, Jo realized they weren’t entirely alone in the woods. Trying not to panic or be an alarmist, she reached out quietly and put her hand on Cadegan’s arm. “What would his range be on that fire?”
“No idea, lass, why?”
She held him by her side. “Because I’m looking at him and he doesn’t appear happy that he has guests.
Cadegan froze as her words hit him. The blood drained from his face as he turned to see the dragon crouched low, watching them.
“Nice, draggy, draggy,” Josette breathed in a singsongy tone. “You don’t want to eat the nice people. Do you?” She shook her head. “No, you don’t. We’re not even snack size.”
His jaw dropped. Was she out of her gourd? “What are you doing, lass?”
“Shh,” she snapped. “I’m being a dragon whisperer.”
He was even more aghast at her words. “A what?”
“Dragon whisperer.” She slid her gaze to Cadegan. “I’m assuming that if you fight him, it’s going to be a bloody mess. Right?”
“Could result in both our guts and entrails flying?”
She patted his arm kindly. “Then let’s try my way first. Shall we?”
He snorted at her offer. “I’m not sure I like your way, Josette. It seems even more dangerous than mine.”
She winked at him. “Not sure I like my way, either. Just promise me that if he starts to eat me, you’ll flash us out of here.”
“I shall do me best.”
“Cool, now shush and let me do something galactically stupid.”
Amused and horrified, Cadegan held his breath as he watched her bravely and slowly make her way toward the dragon. He wanted to stop her, but she was right. Battle wouldn’t get them anywhere except wounded for him and probably dead for her.
Jo stopped before she reached the nose of the creature. Swallowing her fear, she knew she had to do this, even though what she really wanted to do was run screaming in the other direction.
“Hi, Mr. Dragon. How are you today? Feeling in a good mood, aren’t you? Yes. Yes, you are. You don’t want to eat people, do you? No. No, people taste icky. They’re sinew and gross. No eat people.” She shook her head to emphasize her words. “You’re gonna be a sweetie, aren’t you?” This time she nodded.
Maybe it was wishful thinking on her part, but the dragon seemed to be scowling at her as if he understood her words yet was baffled by her context. It was an expression she saw often on Cadegan’s face.
She took a step forward.
The dragon actually inched back. he made a strange, rumbling sound. Not quite a growl.
“Shh, it’s okay, Mr. Dragon. We’re not going to hurt you. No. We like dragons. I used to draw you all the time when I was a kid. I did. I had a whole collection of toy dragons. ‘Cause you’re a cutie, you are.”
It cocked its head.
Jo drew up short as she realized one of its wings was on the ground at a weird angle. “You got a boo-boo, Mr. Dragon?”
Cadegan drew closer to her. “Its wing’s broken.” He started to unsheathe his sword.
The dragon turned on him with a hiss.
“No!” she said to both of them. “Cade, keep your sword down.”
“Why? Now’s the time to strike.”
She shook her head. “I think he understands me.”
The dragon turned its head back toward her.
“You do, don’t you?”
He appeared to nod.
She inched closer and closer, until she was able to reach out and touch the gray scales around his nose. Treating him like a dog, she allowed him to smell her skin. “See, I mean you no harm, little big dragon.”
He didn’t move as he eyed her warily. As if he was as suspicious of her as she was of him.
She moved her hand slowly to pet his head, near his ear. “It’s okay.” She cradled its massive head against her chest and stroked his dry, leathery skin. Then she looked over at Cadegan. “See? He’s harmless.”
“I wouldn’t go that far. But I can understand his motivation. I’d be quiet too for a chance to rest me head on your breasts.”
The dragon growled at him.
“Now, boys,” she teased. “Play nice.”
ORDER A COPY: The Cage King: A Novella of the Entwined Realms
Publisher: Romantic Geek Publishing
Publishing Date: August 11, 2014
eBook: 135 pages
Rating: 5 stars
USA Today Bestselling author Danielle Monsch invites you back to the magic of the Entwined Realms with The Cage King. Esh is the undisputed ruler of the underground fight scene, but five years ago a decision not to fight cost him his best friend and the woman he loves. Now Nalah is back, a member of the Guild and in need of his help to get into the greatest cage match in the New Realms. Oh he’ll help, but it will be on his terms, and Nalah had better get ready because when Esh fights for something, he always wins.
Esh, Nalah and her brother Jac were three street kids who banded together and created their own family. They took care of each other and protected each other.
But Five years ago Nalah walked away from Esh. He refused to fight in her brother’s place and her brother lost his life. Esh let her down and she walked away from him and was found by The Guild. They trained her to build mental shields and helped her control her abilities.
Now The Guild needs her to find one of the artifacts stolen from their vault. And in order for her to find it, she needs the help of the one man who she never expected to see again. Nalah needs to get to the underground fights and the Guild wants her to get Esh, The Cage King, to accept his invitation to the Underground Tour and take Nalah with him.
Esh knows that Nalah will find a way to get there without him, but she walked away from him once. He’s not allowing her to walk away again. Especially not into a dangerous situation without him to protect her. He’ll help the Guild recover their missing magic treasure and the only thing he expects is return is Nalah. She was everything to him…she still is and he won’t lose her again.
I love the Entwined Realms series. The Cage King is like a magical Mission Impossible. The Guild always seems to be two steps ahead and even though it seems like things are going wrong, they end up exactly where the Guild wanted them to be.
Nalah and Esh are definitely a couple meant to be together, and although it is heartbreaking that Jac had to died, I think Nalah and Esh needed that time apart in order to grow and to appreciate each other. They wouldn’t have gotten to the place they ended if they had just continued together from kids to teens to adults.
We can understand Nalah pain and heartbreak at losing her brother and her feeling that Esh could have done something to prevent it and she feels he failed her. Then we see the same scenario with Esh’s view, trying to protect Nalah and Jac, losing Jac and Nalah disappearing and him not knowing what happened to her and it is heartbreaker to see what Esh went through. Nalah (and the readers) are given a good shake up after Esh has been portrayed as being to blame for everything.
Although this is only a novella, it is all part of the build up of the items stolen from the Guild and all the baddies who are trying to get their hands on everything.
Great series. Great characters. Can’t wait to read more.
Those gorgeous dark-brown eyes were wide with surprise as he rolled her under him. No reason why they should be. He told her this was where she was going to be for the duration of the Tour.
“Esh,” she started, and in response he pushed his hips against her pelvis, rubbing hard against her.
Her mouth parted. A long, deep breath met the movement while her eyes went half-lidded. Her hands went to his shoulders, her fingers half digging into the muscle, her arms both pulling him closer and pushing him away.
His Nalah was conflicted? Well, he was going to put an end to that real quick. By the end of the Tour she was going to be back in his bed and standing by his side, where she belonged now, and where she’d belonged these last five years before she’d run away.
To the Guild. Of all fucking people, she had gotten involved with the Guild. He growled, the need to mark her as his and not theirs growing in him, and he lowered his mouth to her throat.
She panted and moaned as his lips and teeth ravaged the sensitive skin below her ear, the sounds tightening his belly and ratcheting up his arousal. He wanted her to make those sounds all night, he wanted her hoarse tomorrow and embarrassed because everyone would give her a knowing look each time she spoke. He sucked the dark skin into his mouth, wishing the small bruise would show.
How had he lived without this these last years? She even smelled the same, summer nights on the beach. He told her that after their first kiss, and she laughed, saying they’d never been near the ocean in their lives.
Didn’t matter. That was what she reminded him of. Her scent was always a mix of citrus and salt where her eyes and skin glowed under moonlight. She was wondrous, his escape from a shitty life, and always had been. Her eyes alight with pride as he fought in the ring, making him a hero and a warrior instead of a thug. Or how she never stopped teaching him or acted like he was too stupid to be bothered with.
He nipped her, a little harder, teeth a little deeper into her velvety skin, and her answering moan had his cock beating against the zipper of his jeans, demanding to be let out.
“Esh, let go,” she whispered, those long fingers still digging into his upper arms.
She wasn’t saying anything he wanted to hear, so he concentrated on licking the tang from her skin and listening to that tiny hitch in her breathing.
“Warned you.” And before his brain processed, Nalah shifted, using her leg to dislodge him while those fingers twisted his body and had him on the floor.
She got off the bed and now stood above him, hip cocked to the side and fists on them, her eyes sparking in an all-too-familiar way, one that used to mean he was sleeping on the cough that night. “Damn, woman, who taught you that?”
“Who do you think? I might not be a warrior, but do you think I’d let myself be totally vulnerable?”
She was vulnerable. Any of Beylor’s men could have her on her back with either a sword in her belly or them crawling on top of her in five seconds flat. But right now, with her foot that close to his balls, he wasn’t going to point that out. Instead he rolled and got to his feet, watching her watch him the entire time.
There was appreciation mixed with the earlier anger, the way she followed the bunching of the muscles in his thighs and his arms. Nalah wasn’t immune to him any more than her was to her. “Why’d you stop me?”
“Again, why do you think? I’m not here to be your personal amusement. Already told you.”
He snorted. “When have you ever been that? If that’s all I considered you good for, do you think I’d be here?”
That stopped her, her mouth closing, her face scrunching up in a V of confusion. She collapsed on the nearest chair, her arm draped across the table. “You and I need a little clearing of the air. Cards on the table?”
Yeah, that didn’t promise a good time. He shrugged, going to sit across from her.
She waited until he was settled before she began. “Why did you agree to do this?”
Talk about denial. He met her gaze, held it, until she was near fidgeting but still didn’t look away. “You aren’t stupid. You know why. I’m not changed.”
At that, Nalah did look away, out a window that overlooked the nearby forest. “It’s been five year,” she said, her voice as low as he’d ever heard from her.
“So? Fuck does five years mean? You’re it for me, always have been. Knew it as soon as you looked at me with those big brown eyes and I told you so back then. Told you the same before we came here, though you wanted to pretend that wasn’t what it meant. If it won’t change in fifty years. why do you think five years is some magic number?”
She swallowed the movement doing little to hide the slight quiver of her chin. “‘Cause I haven’t been around.”
He snorted. “Yeah, like that changes shit.”
ORDER A COPY: Souls of the Damned
Publishing Date: June 19, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Kat Redding would love to take a break from the gruesome, dangerous work of hunting down rogue vampires and werewolves, battling for innocent lives. But there’s no peace for Lady Death. Until Kat’s young charge, Sienna, appears on her doorstep, escaped from the shadow-paradise of Delai. Sienna is weak, confused, desperate–human in the utmost. If Kat is going to have any hope of breaking the hold of Delai, she’ll have to infiltrate the walls around the false sanctuary. And the only way she can do that is to trade in her battle-hardened, bloodthirsty vampire’s body–for Sienna’s human form.
With no weapons but her wits, Kat has to trust a demon, defeat an angel, and wrestle with her own rebel soul–because with all the fear and death she’s conquered, no one has ever offered her another day under a warm yellow sun.
Kat has tried several times unsuccessfully to find Delai. She promised Sienna that she wouldn’t leave her there to the mercy of Levi. Sienna doesn’t even know that Levi isn’t a man. He’s an angel. But angels are not the heavenly, kind of creatures we have all been brainwashed to believe they are. Levi is no better than the demon Beligral who has marked Kat and her human friend, Ethan.
So imagine how surprised Kat is to come home one night to find Sienna sleeping in her bed. Beligral helped break Levi’s bond long enough for Sienna to escape Delai, but what Kat can’t figure out is why? The only thing she is sure about is that Beligral wants Kat to send Levi back to his own realm, and he’s willing to make Kat human in order to accomplish that. But then again when negotiating with a demon, there is always a catch, to make her human, Beligral will swap Kat and Sienna’s souls.
Kat isn’t willing to make Sienna suffer vampire hunger and rage no matter how much Kat would like to be human. But she didn’t count on Levi being able to call Sienna and the only way to keep Sienna from running back on her own would be to lock her in a cage for the rest of her life.
With no other way to save Sienna from returning to Delia, Kat agrees to the soul swap. If she can make it back out alive, will she have the strength to give Sienna back her body, or will the lure of once again being human be too much of a temptation for Kat to resist.
I knew when I picked this book up that it was a storyline focusing on the Twilight Zone town of Delai. I didn’t enjoy that storyline when it was presented in Book 2, but I understand and the author (1) isn’t writing just for my personal pleasure, and (2) he has to wrap up this loose thread since Kat isn’t the type of character to abandon an innocent young woman after promising to come back for her.
E.S. Moore left us reeling at the end of Book 4 with an ending which will bring big changes, but we couldn’t really get into what’s going to happen yet because we had to wrap up the Delai storyline. Kat’s character had improved in Book 4 and she was continuing with her personal growth in Book 5. Kat hates being a vampire and wants to be human again, but even with how tempting it was to take Sienna’s body, she didn’t give in until she had no other choice. Sienna was being force back to go back and she wasn’t strong enough to have been able to stop Levi herself. Once she takes Sienna’s body and becomes human again, Kat comes to realize how much weaker humans are, how much slower, eyesight, etc. So maybe the time spent in Sienna’s body will help her re-think her deep desire to be human again. Kat has made many enemies and becoming human again would make her too weak to protect herself and her friends for the powerful Supes who would be gunning for her.
Now that the Delai storyline is dead, Kat still has to deal with the new threat by Countess Basset who wants Kat to walk away from her old life and move into her House and for Kat become her full-time assassin. She also has creepy, gross Adrian, the psycho werewolf Alpha, who wants Kat to mate with him (ewww) still stalking her. He wants Kat to pass on a message of Jonathan that he wants Jonathan to join his House. I think he just wants to keep on eye on Jonathan because he knows that there are feelings between Jonathan and Kat.
(Little more spoilers) The big positive in this story was that we got some Jonathan and Kat (as Sienna) action. What do I mean by that? After Kat switches bodies with Sienna, she realizes she might not come back and she goes to see Jonathan for possibly the last time. They have sex (Yay!) and Jonathan is suddenly out of his funk (not surprising). He doesn’t know what Kat is up to, but obviously he wants to see more of her when she comes back. Knowing she won’t be keeping Sienna’s body if she survives, Kat starts with the “we can’t mix vampires and werewolves” BS fear she keeps falling back on, and Jonathan pleads that they not go backwards in their relationship now that they finally have taken a step forward.
Now I don’t know if this was intentional by the author or not, but Jonathan and Kat/Sienna have sex. I’m gonna guess that no condom was used since Jonathan is currently displaced and in a funk and probably not thinking about sex. I am sure Kat/Sienna didn’t show up with one and since Sienna has been living in Delai, I’m gonna guess she isn’t taking birth control to control her cramps which is the lame excuse in several books. Is the author just glancing over this oversight or will Sienna start the next novel suddenly feeling out of sorts or nursing a case of the “flu” and asking Kat what she was doing with Sienna’s body while she was out? Additionally, Kat’s BFF Ethan has a crush on Sienna. I don’t think he’s gonna be happy to find out Kat got his new love knocked up with a half werewolf baby. That would make awkward breakfast conversation. We’ll have to see if that turns into something in the next book.
I’m still in on this series for now and since we’ve gotten rid of the Delai storyline, we can concentrate of Kat extricating herself from the clutches of both the vampire Countess and Adrian the creepy werewolf. I must admit that I fear for my beloved Jonathan now that he and Kat have upped their relationship. I said all along she should mate with Jonathan since she was so attached to him and that would get Adrian off her back. Now that there is a relationship between them (including sex) will Adrian kill Jonathan or simply threaten Jonathan’s life to get Kat to mate with him (ewww!). If Jonathan’s gone, I’m out. :( He’s my favorite character here.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The sound of birds chirping woke me. I stretched and sat up in bed, somewhat dazed. Sometime during the night, I’d been moved so that when I woke, my head was on the pillow and a blanket covered me. I’d somehow slept through it, which wasn’t like me at all.
With a yawn, I rose and sludged my way across the dark bedroom, into the bathroom. I flipped on a light and jumped back in surprise when I saw my face.
Sienna stared back at me. It was strange knowing I was looking into a mirror and yet, not recognizing the face as my own. I ran my fingers down my cheek, stretching the skin as if I thought it might slough off, revealing the same old face I was used to.
“This is fucking weird.” Even my voice didn’t sound right.
I turned away from the mirror with a grimace. Smells and sights were muted from what I knew. I couldn’t hear as well as before either. It made me feel as if I was wrapped in cotton, or crippled, perhaps.
And then there was the whole washing thing. I really didn’t want to see Sienna naked, but if I was stuck with this body for any length of time, there was no helping it. I doubted I’d be able to go to Delai, find the summoner, kill him, and then get back to switch bodies before I started to stink.
I quickly stripped out of Sienna’s clothes, stepped into the shower, and tried to wash her body without actually touching anything. It’s my body now, I reminded myself. I needed to start thinking of it that way so that if I came across a situation where I need to react quickly, I didn’t try to act like the vampire I once was. That would only get me killed.
Once I was clean, I dried off and hurried into my room to get dressed, pointedly not looking in the mirror as I passed. There wasn’t much that fit me right, but I managed to find an old T-shirt in the back of my closet that wasn’t too big and a pair of shorts that worked well enough once I strapped on a belt. I felt like a little girl playing dress-up with her mom’s clothes.
The sound of birds continued. My eyes were drawn to the sound.
My heart in my throat as I crossed the room to the window. The blinds were taped to the wall so that no light could penetrate them. Heavy curtains hung over them for added protection. Ever so slowly, I pushed the curtains back and pulled the blinds away from the window.
Light struck me square in the face. I cringed back, expecting to feel burned and weak, but instead, the sunlight on my skin felt warm and comforting. I opened the blinds wider and looked out on a sunlit world I never thought I’d see again.
Tears sprung suddenly to my eyes, so I closed them. The sun warmed my flesh, sent my heart soaring. While I couldn’t see it directly, the sunlight lit up my eyelids so that they seemed to glow bright pink.
With a cry of pure joy, I spun and ran out of my room. I was crying hard now and couldn’t make myself stop. I didn’t know if it was the body or if I was just that overjoyed about what I’d felt. Either way, my emotions were getting the better of me. And right then, I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was feel the sun directly on my skin, revel in the light of day for the first time in a very, very long time.
I threw open the front door and ran out into the yard, heedless of anyone that might be lurking in the surrounding trees. I spread my arms wide as I raised my face to a sun that shone so bright, so strong, it was a wonder the entire world didn’t burn. A breeze played across my skin, warm and reassuring. I fell to my knees and cried.
“Could you remember what it was like before now?”
Jeremy’s voice startled me, but I refused to rise. I shook my head and smiled into the sun.
The world smelled different during the day. Even with my weaker sense of smell, I could tell. It was as if I’d walked into another reality entirely. Everything was so strange, and that included myself. It was all I could do not to be overwhelmed.
Jeremy didn’t move from where he stood a few feet back. I had a feeling I’d woken him with my shout before I’d run from the house. He was probably out here making sure no one took advantage of the idiot girl.
I finally rose and turned to face him. He looked tired, but oddly happy. The sun did strange things to his face, made him look older somehow. I’m not sure if it was that the shadows were thinner here or if it was how the lines of worry were more defined in direct sunlight.
“I’m glad you got to see this,” he said, scanning the trees. “I think if vampires could actually come out and spend sometime in the sun, they wouldn’t be so goddamn pissy all of the time. That big orange ball up there has a soothing effect on people, you know?”
I nodded, but didn’t trust myself to speak just yet. The waterworks had shut off, but I still felt full to bursting. I wanted to scream and run naked through the trees, to feel the grass beneath my toes. If it wasn’t for the fact that there might still be werewolves camped out there and that it wasn’t my body I’d be exposing to the world, I very well might have done it.
ORDER A COPY: Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Hardcover: 384 pages
Rating: 5 Stars (Loved it!)
As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.
Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?
Romeo and Juliet have nothing on the tale of Lanthe and Thronos. Melanthe, the Queen of Persuasion and Thronos Talos, Knight of Reckoning and Prince of the Skye, should have been mortal enemies. Vrekeners have always sought to curtail the activities of the evil Sorceri. Lanthe and Thronos met as children and enjoyed an easy friendship. Thronos recognized Lanthe as his fated female and knew that someday their friendship would grow into something much more.
Yet it only took a moment of hate and fear to destroy their future. Thronos’s father, the King, brought his knights to murder Lanthe’s parents. Although they were only children, Lanthe and her sister, Sabine, used their powers to fight back and killed the King and his men. Believing that Thronos betrayed her, Lanthe turned her power of persuasion on him, and commanded him to jump out of the high tower and not use his wings to stop his fall. As a young Vrekener, Thronos had not yet come into his immortality. It is a miracle that he survived at all. His face and body bear the scars from the glass and his deformed leg and wing are physical reminders of the betrayal of that night.
Vrekener’s never abandon their hunt and a male never lets go of his fated female. She is his only chance for children. So for 500 years Thronos has been chasing Lanthe across worlds and dimensions, but she has eluded him every time. Now they have both escaped from the Order’s prison and Lanthe is still wearing the torque which dampens her sorceri powers. She can’t create a portal to escape and she can’t persuade Thronos to leaver her alone. After 500 years of the chase, he finally has her in his arms. Now that he finally has her, he needs to decide what to do with her.
There is a part of him that wants to torture her for the wrongs she has done him. While he tried unsuccessfully to capture her, he had to watch his fated female take male after male to her bed while Lanthe tried desperately to find true love. There is also a part of him that still yearns for the friend he lost and the family they should have had together. Is there is too much pain and betrayal between them to ever get past?
As Thronos tries to get Lanthe to his home in the sky, they will need to fight as a team, instead of each other, to survive the perils surrounding them. They each feel the loss of their past connection like an ache, but is it enough to get them past 500 years of betrayal and treachery and find the friendship they left behind?
Thank you, Kresley Cole, for finally giving us the story we have all been dying to read.
I have been desperate for this story since we first met Lanthe and Thronos in Kiss of a Demon King. We were tortured further in Demon from the Dark, when we left off with Thronos capturing Lanthe. Being so desperate for this story, I was both thrilled and terrified when Kresley Cole announced that Dark Skye would be her next book. Thrilled that it was coming out and terrified that it would not be as fabulous a story as I needed it to be. I received a copy on late Friday afternoon and had it finished to Saturday afternoon and I am so happy to say that Thronos and Lanthe’s story will be on my list of top ten favorite stories ever.
My favorite part of this story was that Thronos gets pissed off every time Lanthe calls him a demon. Thronos is very black and white with his thinking and Lanthe forces him to see that life is mostly gray. He was raised to believe that Vrekeners were not demons, but Lanthe keeps pointing out everything that Thronos does that is demon-like.
“One more time, sorceress: I am not a demon! Vrekeners are descended from gods. We have purpose. His tone was harsher than he’d intended, because…because he had felt an affinity for the beast.
“I thought Vrekener horns were only for show,” Melanthe said with obvious glee. “Yours straightened when I began to undress.”
“I’m to take your word on that?” But how they’d ached!
“I’ll bet you have a demon seal. You won’t release seed until you’re inside your mate.”
“So I have a couple things in common with demons.” He ran his fingers throug his hair. “I also have fangs—does that make me a vampire? My eyes turn silver, so I must be a Valkyrie.”
Deny, deny, deny.
Much to his frustration, Lanthe is the only one who could challenge his rigid mindset and make him acknowledge the gray.
What I had disliked in the last two IAD books, Lothaire and especially, MacRieve, was that the heroes were sexually attracted to their heroines, but afterwards they acted disgusted by the fact that they gave in to those desires and touched a female like her. Before starting Dark Skye, I was afraid we would have more of the same especially since we are starting the story knowing that there is a lot of pain and anger between these two characters. The book starts off with a seething Thronos barely able to control his wrath against Lanthe. But we see as the story progresses that just having her with him is starting to calm him down. As his rage passes, we start to see that Thronos is naturally a calm and rational guy. He assesses each new danger or challenge before acting. Although we are still a long way from love, as he starts to think clearer he starts to work through his feelings of betrayal. He wants to get Lanthe home with him so that he can have a family since Lanthe is the only one who can have his children. Once he truly works through his feelings, he wants a family with her because she matters to him.
Thronos’s biggest issue is that Lanthe has been sexually active with many, many partners trying to find someone who will love her, and Thronos is a virgin. Vrekeners are very, very conservative and have a giant book of rules of what is taboo or an “offendment” to his people. Kissing Lanthe before they are married is considered an offendment so you can see why her promiscuity is a problem for him. By the time we get to anything really sexual, they are already working through their problems and Thronos is never in any way disgusted by what he wants to do with Lanthe, even when he is angry with her.
Lanthe has no problem with Thronos scars. She thinks they make him look warlord-y and sexy. But it is not until Lanthe takes a peek into Thronos’s mind and starts to see what happened between them from his point of view that she softens her heart and forgives him a little, but whenever he continues with the slut-shaming, he loses her again.
It is such a good story and there is such a gradual working through their issues which brings them a complete 180 from where we started that you almost forget how dark the story starts and how much seething hatred they had when we began.
All Immortal After Dark followers will be delighted with this next chapter in the series, and if you haven’t tried an IAD story, you are missing out on a truly fun and sexy series.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!!!
So many scenes, which one to pick…
Lanthe hadn’t caught her breath since she’d entered, her captivated gaze taking in every detail.
Happiness coursed through her veins. How had clever Thronos found this place?
Though she was in a room full of gold, her attention veered to him, crouched on that shelf. The muscles of his torso flexed with his movements. His stern, intense expression and that gargoyle-like position made him look very demonic.
She’d never bedded a demon before. Huh.
Yet as she strolled the temple, his constant scowl eased. Without that scowl, he was…gorgeous.
There was no more denying it—or her attraction to him.
Some females might consider his scars unsightly. Lanthe though they made him look tough and warlord-y. Besides, who could care about them when those silver eyes were so compelling? When his warrior’s body seemed to have been sculpted from granite?
He’d once believed that she was “everything missing” from his life. Could he still feel that way? And why was she contemplating these things—instead of how to transpo this gold to Rothkalina or calculating karats?
Why did she have the urge to peer up at him with equal captivation? She surrendered to her impulse, turning to him. He seemed surprised by her perusal but held her gaze.
They were—dare she say it?—having a moment.
“You face me when surrounded by gold? Perhaps I rate after all?” The scowl returned, as if he was hardening himself. She wanted to cry, No, no, no, just a few more minutes!
“We had a deal,” he said. “I grow impatient.”
She could imagine—he’d waited so long to see her. And now she knew he’d already been struggling with his lust and curiosity when he’d been a young man.
A deal was a deal. She would take the sight of this gold into her, a memory to last forever. Unless I can return…
“Be about it, sorceress.”
Since she’d planned on enthrall him, this would be a good start, but the way he was crouching forward, as if on the verge of pouncing, made her hesitate. “If I do this, how do I know you won’t try to touch me? You’re not supposed to, right?”
“I only intend to look,” he said, though she could sense his aggression mounting.
“Do it, then.” When she still hesitated, he said, “Don’t feign shyness—I know you’ve done this with a horde of males before me.”
And just like that, her interest was checked. Though she was neither ashamed nor proud of the number of men she’d been with, his cruel jabs wounded her.
At least now she better understood his resentment. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to put myself in a sexual situation with you.”
He growled at that. “After your purported year of celibacy, I would expect you to be climbing the walls for any male’s attentions. And if I’m not mistaken, you’re in season.”
She flushed, lips thinning.
“I’ve heard tales of females like you.” At her raised brows, he enunciated the words, “Easy quarry.”
How could a maddened Vrekener hurt her so much?
Because he once looked at you with perfect acceptance, Lanthe. And she feared she’d been searching for that look ever since she’d lost it.
In order for her to be interested in a male, he needed to make her feel special—even if she knew it was a ruse. Despite Thronos’s mind-blowing body and heartbreaking past, he stood no chance. “Even we ‘easy quarry’ girls have standards. And you, Thronos Talos, are leaving me cold.”
He scoffed. “I could seduce you with ease. You’ve welcomed scores before me with only minuscule effort on their part. but I’ve no intention of taking you, nor even of touching you. Both are offendments. I only want to see my female.”
“You think you can resist seeing your mate naked?”
“You think I can’t?” A cunning light shone in his gaze. “You Sorceri like to gamble? To make bets? Then I’ll enter into a wager with you—my first.”
Dudley Do-Right makes a bet.
“If your body tempts me to touch it, then I’ll tell you how I found this temple and opened the door.”
“And if it doesn’t tempt you?”
“The blow to your enchantress pride would be reward enough.”
That is it! Now it was imperative to wipe that smirk off his face. “I’ll take your bet.” She thought she spied a flash of surprise in his expression. “No sex, though.”
He glowered, as if she’d suggested something ludicrous. “I’ll breed no bastards! Already my offspring will be half Sorceri. Do you think I’d allow the first to be illegitimate on top of that?”
Asshole! Only Thronos could ruin this: her, in a temple full of gold with a physically attractive male. He was like the anti-Sorceri—created to repel her.
Forget enchanting him! He didn’t deserve her beguilement. “I’ll remember this.”
“That you kill joy wherever you find it.” She gave him her back as she unfastened the first of three clips on the side of her breastplate.
Had his breaths quickened?
She gazed over her shoulder, saw his claws digging into the gold shelf, his throat working. His voice dropped an octave when he commanded, “Off with it.”
She unfastened the second clip.
“That’s it,” he murmured, his words dripping with pent-up lust.
As she was undoing the last clip, she heard something from beyond the main cave, and paused. The sound came again, growing in volume—movement down the mountainside. Something big was approaching. “Thronos, what was that?”
“Heard nothing. Continue.”
“Come on, demon!” She began fastening the clips again.
“There’s nothing to fear out there!”
When the entire temple rocked, she snapped, “Oh, really?”
He made a coarse sound of frustration; then she heard the swoop of his wings. She whirled around to find him charging toward her, that determined look in his grave face.
His eyes appeared to have darkened, and she could swear his horns were straightening—just like a demon’s would when he became aroused.
In other words, Thronos doesn’t live here anymore.
Reaching for her, he bit out, “To tide me over.”
A roar sounded in the cave. Seeming to wake out of a daze, Thronos dropped his hands. And she could have sworn upstanding Dudley Do-Right grated “Fuck.“
ORDER A COPY: Under The Final Moon (Underworld Detective Agency)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 3 stars
It’s not the end of the world–until it is. Sophie Lawson may be a mere human with no special abilities except a strong immunity to magic. But the havoc she’s wreaked on the supernaturals who come up against the Underworld Detection Agency have earned her plenty of enemies. Still, a girl can’t freak out every time a horribly barbecued corpse is found with her business card in its hand. Or see a sudden glut of earthquakes, wildfires and three-headed dogs as just another day in California. But Alex Grace, her favorite fallen angel, is concerned–or saying he is to see more of her. Getting Sophie to see all the signs of the Apocalypse is an interesting way to heat things up. Or maybe what’s making everyone hot under the collar is the fact that all Hell is about to break loose. . .
Arsonists are lighting up San Francisco and they all have one thing in common, they all appear to be trying to bring forth Satan. When a vampire lights himself up, and just happens to be holding onto a card belonging to one, Sophie Lawson, Det. Alex Grace comes knocking to find out of Sophie knows anything about Daddy-Dearest trying to get in touch with her. Oh yeah, did we mention that Sophie’s Dad is Satan himself, and that as some celestial joke, the Vessel of Souls holding all the souls that haven’t traveled on to heaven has been hidden inside Sophie.
There is also a group known as the Grigori who are trying to kill Sophie before Satan can get the Vessel of Souls from her.
As if Firestarter vampires, three-headed dogs, Grigori and a home visit from Satan isn’t enough to keep Sophie snacking on chocolate pinwheels, she still hasn’t made any decision on her choices of men…Will or Alex?
Armageddon is coming is something you say, not something that’s actually happening on Tuesday, but as the signs start added up, it appears that Dear Old Dad might just be trying to come for a visit, but is he looking to spend time with his little girl, get Sophie to join the family business or just do a snatch and grab of the souls hidden inside her?
This was the last book of the series and I can’t tell you how absolutely disappointed I was while I was reading it.
Poor Sophie, being the only human in a bunch of paranormals, usually ends up being beaten up and crying. Sophie had so many breakdowns in this story and a lot of them a constant pity party of “Why didn’t my Dad love me and come to the Father/Daughter dance” or “to my play” or “come to my graduation” or “what does he want from me now.” Most of her crying jags were with Alex and she ended up crying in his arms. This happened so many time that if I was listening to an audiobook, I would have assumed I messed up the download and was repeating scenes.
We also kept having scenes where someone was attacking Sophie and then they disappeared, never to be heard from again, and then someone else would attack her and again, that storyline just disappeared. The story starts with fires, fires, fires everywhere…and then suddenly there are no more fires mentioned again. There were also several of the usual scenes where everyone was there to protect her, and then they all just stepped away giving the bad guy time to attack. “We’re here to protect you.” “No, I’m okay.” “Alright, see you tomorrow.” Knock, knock, Bad guy calling.
There was also many, many references to Satan being “a trickster” and I kept waiting for the big trick Sophie would do to fight him at his own game, but the ending happened so fast and ended up being pretty anticlimactic.
After listening to Sophie constantly bounce back and forth between Alex and Will for five of the six stories, in the end Sophie doesn’t pick one over the other so much as one leaves town, leaving her choosing the other by default. I think it would have been funnier after all these books of her lamenting which hottie will I choose, if they both left her at the end.
Although the humor was still there, the story itself seemed to just circled around and the plot was not very cohesive. For the last book in the series where she could have done anything that she wanted with the characters, it was totally disappointing.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I heard the murmurings and a few stepped forward to pat me on the back or touch my arm gingerly, and I was basking in the warmth of this weird, horned, extended family that cared, and gave a damn whether I lived or died.
And then, the elevator dinged.
Alex was standing there and it was like the first time I’d ever seen him: his shoulders were thrown back, chin hitched one lock of wavy hair impishly falling over his forehead. His chest looked impossibly broad, Greek-God like, and when his badge winked from his hip, I felt my mouth water.
Once again, I was: Sophie Lawson, turned on in the face of danger.
Alex’s icy eyes cut across the waiting room until he saw me. I saw him suck in a breath, and I was ready to shimmy out of my panties—all the demons cared and Alex, too—when the other elevator dinged.
We all waited, no one breathed, until the doors slid open.
Then I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.
Will was in the second elevator, leaning against the back wall and looking relaxed and comfortably cool, as though he were in an Abercrombie ad just awaiting his scantily clad co-model. His hazel eyes were slightly hooded in that “hey, baby, I’m holding a kitten” kind of way that made my heart bloom and ignited something low in my belly. Between the two of them I was a pile of supercharged horny goo while the whole of the world trembled on the precipice of holy hell.
As I clamped my knees together and gritted my teeth, I was fairly certain that my inappropriate sex drive was half the reason the city was vaulting toward our brimstony demise.
Both Alex and Will stepped out at the same time, each with a set of eyes fixed on me for a brief second before they glanced at each other. Then each seemed to get an inch taller. Suddenly, chests were puffed out and, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m fairly certain that arms were flexed. I would have paused to scrutinize further, but both made a beeline for me, talking at the same time.
“Wanted to make sure—“
“—you were okay down here.”
They stopped talking at the same time, too, glared at each other, then swung to face me and my army of Underworld associates.
“We’re all okay down here,” I said, feeling suddenly overwhelmed with domestic love and nearly throwing my arms around the armless zombie and the troll who had kicked me out from under the coffee table.
ORDER A COPY: Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 2)
Publishing Date: January 30, 2007
Paperback: 292 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen…
Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.
But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.
Mercy should have known that nothing is simple when dealing with vampires. She owed her friend Stefan a favor for helping her find Adam’s daughter, Jesse, when she was abducted. She knows she should have said no when the favor involved changing into her coyote form and putting on a studded harness. She definitely should have said no when he explained that he needed her to witness him warning a vampire who was trespassing in his seethe’s territory in case something unusual happened, since Mercy is immune to vampire’s powers. But how can another vampire enthrall a vampire of Stefan’s age?
Except there is more to the vampire they go to see. He is definite more than just a newly made vampire. There was a smell of oily evil that surrounded him—evil and death unlike anything she has ever smelled on a vampire before. That smell was enough to make Mercy want to turn tail and run, but then he enthralled Stefan and Mercy, stuck on a leash in coyote form, was forced to watch the vampire kill in blood lust.
Someone had turned a demon-possessed human into a vampire and let this creature with the strength of a vampire and the powers of a demon loose on the Tri-Cities. The vampires and the wolves are working together to find this killer because his slaughtering brings the attention of the humans. Now that the werewolves have joined the Fae in coming out to the humans, they know that the police will be looking at the wolves for the unexplained violence and deaths which are increasing around the city.
When Stefan, Adam and Samuel all go missing and Mercy’s friend Warren is found near death, Mercy is frantic to find them but doesn’t know who else to turn to since the Fae don’t want to get involved. Mercy is more surprised when she is summoned by the Mistress of the seethe. Marsilia thinks that Mercy would be able to defeat the demon. What does the Mistress know about Mercy’s Walker abilities that Mercy doesn’t. It has to be more than not be able to be enthralled by vampires since Mercy has only a little more strength than a human, and no healing abilities like a were or a vamp.
Mercy is going to have faith that Marsilia is sending her out because she wants to find Stefan and not just as a way to get rid of Mercy. Mercy is willing to risk her life if necessary to get Stefan, Adam and Samuel back safely and destroy the monster before he destroys more innocent lives.
I really like Mercy Thompson and her friends. The demon-vampire is really creepy, especially when he comes visiting Mercy. Mercy gets a little help of her Fae mentor, Zee, and her human/cop friend, Tony.
We learn a little more about the vampires and their strengths and weaknesses so we do have some slower parts to the story while Mercy tries to figure out how to kill a vampire and where the demon-vampire is hiding and trying to figure out who created it.
Added to Mercy’s headaches is the fact that Adam and Samuel both want Mercy. Two dominant males vying for the same female makes tensions a little high around the three of them. Add to that a very interesting kiss from Stefan, who obviously has some feelings for Mercy as well. It keeps things a little interesting the romance department.
I am definitely enjoying this series.
“What did I do to deserve that look?” he asked.
“Why don’t I feel like obeying you now?” I asked.
He smiled at me and turned on the bypass highway that ran along the outskirts of Richland. It was four thirty and the road was clogged with traffic.
“Being the Alpha is different from just being dominant,” he said.
I snorted. “I know that. Remember where I grew up.”
“If I’m away from the pack, I can make the Alpha go dormant. Bran can do it whenever he feels like it, but for the rest of us, it takes real effort.”
I don’t know how he expected me to react to that, but it didn’t make me happy. “So it was deliberate, the way you made me feel?”
He shook his head and I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. I don’t like being manipulated at all, and being manipulated by paranormal means is worse.
“No. I told you it takes an effort—and the…effect you have on me makes it difficult.” He wasn’t looking at me now. He was a product of his times. He might look like he was in his late twenties, but he’d been born just after WWII, and a man raised in the 1950’s didn’t talk about his feelings. It was interesting watching him squirm. I was suddenly feeling much more cheerful.
“I can’t help how I’m wired,” he said after a moment. “I don’t even know how much is being an Alpha werewolf and how much is just me—but being around you brings out the predator in me.”
“And so you had to make me want to please you?” I made sure he heard how I felt about that.
“No!” He sucked in a big breath and then said, “Please don’t antagonize me right now. You want an explanation. You want me to stop influencing you. I’m trying to do both—but it isn’t easy. Please.”
It was the “please” that got to me. I leaned my back against the door so I was a far from him as I could get. “Tell me, then.”
“Bran can control his Alpha effect until he can fool werewolves who don’t know who and what he is. I’m not so talented, but I can stuff it down so it doesn’t interfere with my everyday life. When I negotiate contracts, I don’t like to exert undue influence on the people I’m dealing with. Even in the pack, I don’t use it much. Cooperation is always better than coercion—especially when that coercion only lasts until they’re out of my presence. I only bring out the big guns when there’s trouble in the pack that can’t be solved by talking.” He glanced at me and almost hit the car in front of him when traffic stopped unexpectedly.
If my hearing hadn’t been so good I wouldn’t have heard him when he said, “When I am with you, my control is shot. I think that’s what you’ve been feeling.”
So he could command my obedience whenever he wanted to. Only because he chose not to do so was I left with my free will.
“Before you act on that fear I can smell,” he said more confidently, “I’d like to point out that you had no trouble turning Samuel down when you were sixteen—and he’s more dominant than I am.”
“He’s not an Alpha and I didn’t turn him down to his face. I left without talking to him.”
“I’ve seen you go toe-to-toe with Bran and not back down.”
“No, you haven’t.” I wasn’t stupid. No one faced off with Bran.
He laughed. “I’ve heard you. Remember when Bran told you to be a good little girl and let the wolves deal with the scary stuff and so ensured that you would go out and find the bastard who’d taken Jesse?”
“I didn’t argue with him,” I pointed out.
“Because you didn’t care if you had his permission or not. The only reason you submit to me is because some part of you wants to: I’m willing to admit that my being an Alpha brings that part of you to the forefront, but it is you who relaxes your guard around me.”
I didn’t talk to him all the rest of the way home. I was fair enough to admit to myself that I was angry because I was pretty sure he was right, but not fair enough to tell him so.
Being a master stategist, he let me stew. He didn’t even get out of the car open my door—which he usually did. I hopped out and stood with the door open for a minute.
“There’s supposed to be a good movie coming out,” I muttered. “Would you like to come with me Saturday afternoon?” I hadn’t intended to ask. The invitation just popped out.
He smiled, that slow smile that started in his eyes and never quite made it to his mouth. I shifted my weight uneasily becuase that smile had a unsettling effect on me.
I swallowed. This was not a good idea. Not at all. “The one behind the mall, I think. I’ll check.”
“Fine. Call me later with the time.”
“Okay.” His lips were curling up now.
Dumb, I thought, dumb sheep waltzing right into the slaughterhouse. I shut the door without saying anything more and went into the house.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I thought, meeting Samuel’s gaze.
“Going to the movies?” he asked, having obviously overheard what I’d said to Adam.
“Yes.” I jerked my chin up and refused to give in the tight feeling in my stomach. Samuel wouldn’t hurt me. The problem was, I didn’t want to hurt him either.
His eyes were half-shut and he breathed in. “You smell like him again.”
“He picked me up when I was running in coyote form, so he brought me clothes.”
Samuel moved with the speed of a boa constrictor and he put his hand behind my neck. I stood very still when he put his nose under my ear. I couldn’t help but smell him also. How could his scent have as powerful an effect on me as Adam’s smile? It was wrong.
“When you go with him,” he growled, his body trembling with readiness or pain—I couldn’t tell which because I could smell both, “I want you to remember this.”
He kissed me. It as utterly serious, beautiful—and, given the rage in his eyes when he started, surprisingly gentle.
ORDER A COPY: Vampire for Christmas
Publisher: Dark Rose Publishing
Publishing Date: November 10, 2010
ebook: 73 pages
Rating: 4 stars
It was one last mission. Shannon, a demon hunter with the agency, is looking forward to leaving behind the small town and the vampire she’s been stuck with for the past two years. Things are getting complicated fast and she wants out. A fresh start, free of her vampire partner, awaits her if she can survive their final mission and the lonely Christmas holidays.
It was one last mission. Rafe, a vampire doing time with the agency, watches it approach with dread weighing heavily in his stomach. Two years of working with Shannon has been difficult, especially since he started falling for her, but he doesn’t want their partnership to end. He has barely a few days to make her face her feelings and stop her from leaving, and he intends to do just that.
When a slimy demon threatens the season of peace and goodwill, it’s the chance Rafe has been waiting for and the moment Shannon secretly fears. Rafe’s determination to prise open her heart and her own resolve to keep it closed clash as violently as they do with the demon, and threatens to end as messily.
Can Rafe make Shannon see that his love for her is real and that she feels something for him too? Can Shannon face her fears and her past, and stop herself from running away from both? Will a wish on a star bring her what her heart truly desires—a vampire for Christmas?
I have had Felicity Heaton on my Wanna Read list for awhile now and was happy to find this short story before the holidays.
This was a great read and a great storyline for a short since the characters have worked together for two years and know each other very well so there was no awkward “we just met yesterday, but I know you’re my soul mate” story that is always so hard to get into when its only a short story.
Since Shannon was a demon hunter and Rafe was a vampire, she works hard to resist any feelings she might have had for him, but he has acknowledged his feelings since they first met. The story begins with their last case just before they will be reassigned. Rafe is the scholar of the two and I like that we find out that he is always learning and researching so he is prepared to protect Shannon from whatever comes at them. You feel sad for him and his unrequited love. He would do anything for Shannon to return his feelings for her.
I would have enjoyed a full story with these characters and the whole demon hunter/vampire team storyline but I didn’t feel shorted at all. And you can’t beat the price of Free. Grab a copy today.
“Have it your way.” Rafe stepped away from the door. “Just tell me one thing.”
He frowned at the door, his heart aching over the thought that she didn’t trust him and that he would never see her again. If he finished this mission, their time together was over. Maybe it was better that way. Maybe it would hurt like Hell and he would spend eternity with a hole in his chest where his heart used to be.
“Did they get the bastard that did that to you?” The venom in his tone surprised him. He had tried to keep his fury out of his voice, his lust for vengeance and desire to track down the vampire to tear him to pieces, but the force of the emotion was too strong to contain.
Rafe smiled a thin-lipped smirk of satisfaction. He only hoped they had butchered the vampire for it.
The smile fell from his face.
What right did he have to hope such a thing?
Shannon was right. He was a monster. He was no better than the vampire who had hurt her. He had attacked people and fed off their struggle and fear. He had killed them without a moment’s regret. He had no right to wish vengeance on another vampire who had done the same.
No. He had atoned for his sins against mankind. He protected them now and had saved more lives than he had ever taken. Maybe he had been a monster once, but he had changed. He was a man now, or as close to one has he could be, and he needed her to see that.
But she never would.
He turned on his heel and walked down the porch steps. When he reached the path, he swept his long black coat back and jammed his hands into his jeans pockets. He tilted his head back and looked up at the starlit expanse of winter sky.
He wished she would.
He wanted to be a man for her.
Yellow light streamed out of her house, throwing his shadow out long until it reached the bottom of the garden path in front of him.
He halted and waited. She had only opened the door to retrieve her clothes. He told that to himself over and over, filling the expectant silence, dampening the anticipation swirling inside him.
“Rafe?” Her voice was soft, his name spoken with trepidation. He kept his back to her, giving her time to find her courage and to say whatever it was that she needed to. Her steps on the porch were loud in the silence of his mind. She wasn’t barefoot. “I…I don’t think you’re a monster.”
Rafe closed his eyes and dipped his chin, breathing slowly to stead himself. Warmth chased through him, easing away his anger and the chill that had settled in his heart.
The light disappeared, leaving him in darkness again, and he sighed at the soft click of the door. It was a start, he supposed, but not quite what he had wanted. Perhaps he could come back later, after completing the mission, and try to speak with her again. He looked over his shoulder at the house and frowned.
Shannon stood on the porch, wearing her black coat. She walked down the three steps and stopped at the bottom of them. The moon shone on her hair and Rafe fancied the golden glow was the halo she deserved for being able to look at him after what had happened to her.
“We have a demon to hunt, right?” Her voice shook but she managed to hold his gaze, and even tilted her chin up.
He loved it when she put on her best poker face. It could fool humans and some demons, but not him, and not because he was a vampire. He could see in her eyes even from where he was standing that she was nervous about coming out with him again, worried that he would try to make her talk. He wouldn’t push her. He would do what he had always done with her. He would wait for her to talk to him. When she was ready, she would tell him why she had joined the agency and what had happened to the vampire who had attacked her.
Our giveaway winner was Elizabeth. Congratulations. Thank you to author Cecy Robson.
ORDER A COPY: Cursed By Destiny: A Weird Girls Novel
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: January 7, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Celia’s a girl in trouble. Her heart is bound to Aric, but he is a pureblood were who must deny her or risk condemning his species to extinction. And that’s just her love life. She’s also been called to take down a group of demon terrorists looking to overthrow the paranormal world. (No pressure.)
In order to bring them down, Celia must ally herself to Misha, the master vampire who has made no secret of his desire for her. And if that weren’t enough misfortune for one girl, a clairvoyant’s prediction could destroy Celia and Aric’s love for good. The only way to protect the world from unbridled supernatural terrorism is for Celia to bind herself to her destined mate. And that doesn’t appear to be Aric .
Warning: Contains Spoilers if you aren’t up on the series!
Celia Wird is still nursing a broken heart after left behind by her true love. Aric is from a long line of purebloods and he has been ordered by the Elder counsel to marry another pureblood to help replenish his species. But Celia has more problems than just Aric’s upcoming wedding to Barbara the bitch.
Since she is unwelcome at the were‘s Den, Celia has been living in guesthouse on the property of Master Vampire Misha and training with his vampires. The vampires’s fighting style is different from that of the wolves and Celia’s training is giving her an edge she didn’t have before and making her quite the powerful oddball. Living with Misha isn’t without it’s drawbacks, and I don’t just mean the fact that his family dress like the catholic school girls out of Bren’s favorite porno. Misha wants Celia to forget about the whipped Alpha dog and join him in his bed. Yet, even Misha’s constant attempts at seduction and the vamp’s pool on how long before Celia submits to the Master’s desires, isn’t Celia’s biggest problem.
Celia is not the girl with the most popular dance card at the Den’s Alliance celebration, not with the Elders wanting her out of Aric’s life, but she has caught the interest of another big cat shifter, Tye Gris de Leone, especially once the soothsayer, Destiny, declares to all at the party that it is Tye and Celia’s children who will save the world. As you can imagine, the news isn’t welcomed by the two men already fighting for Celia’s affection. But even her destined future with a poser like Tye isn’t Celia’s biggest problem.
The Tribe, which consists of evil witches and shifters who are releasing demons from Hell to impregnate unfortunate human women, has turned their full focus on Celia. Every creepy enemy whether all-powerful witch or newborn demon is whispering Celia’s name. Someone has ordered a Contract Hit straight out of Hell on Celia.
With too many men vying for her attention, except the one man she wants, and every evil demon coming for Celia personally, Celia has too much to handle and just when she had reached the end of her rope, her world is again turned upside down.
This story is packed with drama, heartache and non-stop supernatural action. I don’t know whether to applaud or fear an author that has no problem throwing her characters under the bus. In A Cursed Embrace, Cecy Robson doesn’t hesitate to have the demon lord toss Celia’s sister, Shayna, out as live dinner for demons. But having your body chewed on while you scream is tame compared to where Cecy takes her characters in this book.
Although werelion Tye comes off as a pompous jerk, as he gets to know Celia, he drops the suave wereGod fascade and he becomes a wonderful and brave character. We can definitely get behind this were. The whole Aric, Misha and now Tye love quadrangle is getting a little soap opera-ish. And between the fun and flirty Tye and the sexy, hot Misha, I never understood why Celia went for the moody, and now untouchable Aric. I am still holding a grudge against Aric not only for walking away from Celia, but for his being jealous and possessive even though he is supposed to marry someone else. He walked away from Celia. He has to marry and start a family with someone else, but he looses his mind at the thought of her being with anyone else. Really?? If you can’t be with her, let her move on with her life.
I guessed who was behind all of Celia’s problems and don’t understand why it is not as obvious to everyone in the story. I can also see where the soap opera story arch is setting us up for the next story.
I like the characters in this series and I like the mostly fun storyline and banter. There are some very dark aspects of this story and I am hoping we soon see the end of the Demon/Tribe storyline.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.
All I wanted was to go back to the guesthouse and lock myself in. Yet, when I saw Misha waiting for me in the garden, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make my escape. Misha stood along the freshly swept stone path like a man who could crush the pyramids to dust, despite holding a Cavalier King Charles spaniel in his arms. The dog was completely enamored with Misha. It must be a girl. The bitches love Misha.
“Hello, kitten. It pleases me that you made it back safely–despite your lack of escorts.” He pointedly glared at his bodyguards. Rivers of sweat ran down Hank and Tim’s faces and fear of Misha’s rage made them quiver. The Catholic schoolgirls wore smiles, obviously delighted they weren’t the ones in trouble for once.
My hands fell to my sides. I didn’t want to deal with any of this crap. “Misha, don’t be mad at Hand and Tim. I’m the one who ditched them. And what the hell’s up with the dog? I told you I don’t want to participate in your freaky science experiments.”
Misha sped to my side before I could blink. “Come now, my darling. How bad can it be?” He swatted my shoulder with the dog’s tail. I already had my guard up in an attempt to block the dog’s essence. It didn’t help. Either i was too upset or too distracted. Whatever the reason, I crashed to the ground in a violent seizure.
Hank swore. Maria said something like, “If she dies, I call dibs on de master.” A huge commotion ensured and everything became a dizzying blur of images and noise.
As my world and teeth rattled, someone lifted me from the ground. I screamed from the torturous agony the contact inflicted. In mere moments, I found myself on a very large bed. My body shrank and my ears elongated. I panted profusely, tasting merino wool as my lolling tongue scraped against the expensive fabric.
My vision cleared slowly. When I finally focused, I didn’t like what I saw. Misha and his vampires had me surrounded. Most had big grins and some were shaking, trying to hold in their laughter. Misha leaned over the end, his fists digging into the mattress, his shoulders rigid. A sinister shadow darkened his stone cold features. “Whoever laughs first shall die by my hands,” he said in a deadly whisper.
There was such an immediate silence, I feared I’d gone deaf. I tried to sit up. Big mistake. The supersized room spun in a stomach-lurching whirl. I quickly flopped back down and shook my head to clear it. My long ears slapped against my fuzzy face. The shake had helped some, but by then I was royally pissed off.
What the hell, Misha? I told you this was a bad idea. I can’t believe you freaking did this to me. Just when I thought we were friends you had to pull a prick move like this!
That’s what I was thinking. What came out was, “Woof, woof. Yip, yip, bark growl, bark!”
Liz leaned in close to my face, her ice blond hair hitting my little wet nose. “I think she’s trying tell us something. Do you need to go for a walk, Celia?”
Agnes Concepcion adjusted her glasses and peered down her nose at me. “No, she wants a biscuit. Celia’s always hungry.”
I growled at both of them.
“She does not want a damn biscuit,” Maria spat in her thick accent. “She wants ah steak.”
“Is that it, Celia?” Edith asked. “Do you want a steak?”
No, I don’t want a steak! I just want my body back! You all suck! Once again, “Yip, bark, bark, bark, woof,” was all they heard.
Someone wanted to kill me, Aric was getting married, and I was a damn dog. I wanted to pee on the fire hydrant I called life. What I didn’t know was that thing were about to get much, much worse.
Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is a full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest. A member of Romance Writers of America, she attributes her passion for storytelling to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing in May 2009. Her Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series is published with Penguin Random House’s Signet Eclipse and released to stellar praise from multiple reviewers including: Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, and Romantic Times. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella, SEALED WITH A CURSE, and A CURSED EMBRACE are now available. A CURSED MOON: A Novella, releases December 3, 2013, followed by CURSED BY DESTINY, January 7, 2014.
ORDER A COPY: Unclaimed (The Amoveo Legend)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: December 3, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Tatiana Winters loves the freedom of her life as a veterinarian in Oregon. It’s only reluctantly that she agrees to help cure a mysterious illness among the horses on a Montana ranch—the ranch of the Amoveo Prince. Tatiana is no ordinary vet—she’s a hybrid from the Timber Wolf Clan, but she wants nothing to do with the world of the Amoveo shifters.
Dominic Trejada serves as a Guardian, one of the elite protectors of the Prince’s Montana ranch. As a dedicated Amoveo warrior, he is desperate to find his mate, and time is running out. He knows Tatiana is the one—but if he can’t convince her, he may not be able to protect her from the evil that’s rapidly closing in.
Tatiana Winters and her twin brother, Raife, were raised by the same foster mother as Layla Nickelsen. All three are half-human/half-Amoveo and they promised to protect each other from the Amoveo and stay out of their world. Even though Layla has since found happiness with her Amoveo mate, William Fleury, Tatiana was doing everything to avoid the Amoveo male who is seeking her in her dreams. She refuses to let fate dictate who she can love. She just wants to stay quietly in her Oregon home, caring for sick animals. It is only her love for Layla that can get Tatiana to agree to go anywhere near the home of the Amoveo Prince to determine if someone is trying to kill the Prince’s horses.
Once Tatiana arrives on the property, she immediately realizes her error. The man she has been trying to avoid in her dreams is standing right in front of her and from the look in his eyes, he knows exactly who she is. He might be tall, dark and gorgeous and he might be making her tingle in all the right places, but she is not fool enough to think that an Amoveo male like Dominic is going to agree to some hot sex and let her walk away from him.
Dominic is finding his loyalties being torn between his duty as guardian to the Prince and protecting his mate now that he has found her. Although he may war between his own duty and his desire to claim his mate, he is not going to let an opportunity to be with Tatiana pass him by. Just when Tatiana is ready to submit to a night of passion in Dominic’s arms, they all find themselves in the midst of a war but with the enemy hiding in the shadows, it is hard to protect the ones you love when you don’t know if you are being attacked by an enemies or someone you thought as a friend?
I have enjoyed this series. I have enjoyed the characters Sara Humphreys has created and some of the interesting twists that she has introduced. I even enjoyed the new characters introduced in her new vampire series. This book just rubbed me the wrong way.
I will start by reminding you that in the last book, Undone, the Amoveo were fighting the humans who wanted to wipe out the Amoveo “animals,” but now they had the Purists, who didn’t want the half-breeds mating with the full-bred Amoveo and polluting the bloodlines to contend with. The Purists were kidnapping selected full-blooded Amoveo women and trying to impregnate them with sperm from full-blooded males to help increase the dying Amoveo population. Mariana was rescued from this facility before she was experimented on, but upon rescuing the women (most of whom died from bearing children not from their mates) they also found Steven (from Book #1 and #2) and his mate who had been experimented on and impregnated with his sperm.
Steve and Courtney are a big part of this story. From conversations with the author, I thought I understood that Steven’s story would be the last of the series. I honestly checked Goodreads twice to see if I had missed Steven’s story. It wasn’t until the very, very end that I understood why they were introduced as a couple before their own story was released, but it bugged me the entire story that this couple was focused on without having their story. By the time I understood why, I had been annoyed by this the entire time I was reading.
I was also pretty confused by why the Prince and his family, especially during a time of civil war, only had two guards for his entire property. His prior guard, Dominic’s sister, left for the purist cause. Although all the characters from the prior books showed up to help defend against the assault, they were not as powerful as some of the Purist leaders and number-wise, a civil war shouldn’t come down to about 9 guys on each side. That’s not a war, that’s a baseball game.
We also find out that the purist are all fighting in rags and living in the woods since their research facility was destroyed. What the heck? These purists were made up of some of the more powerful families and being shifters, who live longer than humans, and has plenty of time to amass a fortune. That not-very-secret facility must have cost a pretty penny if they were all poverty stricken now that it was destroyed.
There were too few good guys defending the Prince, including the Prince doing his own fighting, and too many enemies with too many issues. On top of all the chaos, we are trying to balance the romance storyline where the Dominic and Tatiana sizzled when they came near each other, but neither one wanted to upset their lives with the commitment of mating,, even though by not mating they would both lose their Avoveo powers.
All of her stories, this one just didn’t grab me.
Received ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Tatiana strode toward the back of the cabin and tugged open the glass sliders. She stepped out onto the small deck and leaned on the railing. Dominic’s gaze skimmed up her well-shaped legs, which were bronzed from the summer sun, then wandered along the curve of her hip and up her toned arms.
Images of her naked body curled around his flooded his mind…
“Can we swim in that pond?” She looked at him over her shoulder and smirked as she caught him checking her out.
“What?” He blinked and shook his head, but those images of her still wandered through his imagination. “I’m sorry. What?”
“Dominic?” Smiling, she looked back out to the mirrorlike body of water in the distance. “That pond? Can we swim in it?”
“It’s not a pond, actually. It’s a swimming pool.” He moved closer so he stood next to her, but not close enough to accidentally touch her. “It’s a freshwater swimming pool complete with heat in the winter and lights at night. Salinda had it designed to look like a pond so it wouldn’t ruin the natural landscape.”
Heat radiated form her body, and even amid the thick summer air, he could feel it rippling over him like a siren song. Calling him. Daring him to touch her again. Tempting him to break the stupid deal he made with her, throw her on the ground, and kiss her silly.
Why did he make that deal? That was the dumbest fucking move ever.
Dominic tightened his grip on the railing and squared his shoulders against the all-consuming urge to stroke that gorgeous skin. Instead, he focused on the setting sun and grit his teeth against the driving physical need to connect with her.
“Are you alright?” Tatiana’s voice, soft and delicate, drifted over him with the breeze.
“No,” he said, his voice tight with restraint. Dominic looked down into those huge brown eyes, and he knew he was a goner. “I’m not alright. Not at all.”
Without thinking he brushed a lock of dark hair off her forehead, and as her warm skin rushed beneath his fingertips, a wave of static electricity rippled up his arm and shot through his body. Her eyes widened, and those red lips that tasted like cherries, parted temptingly as she sucked in a slow, quivering breath.
“I’m doing my best to be a gentlemen and keep my word,” he whispered as he trailed one finger along her jawline. Her body wavered closer, her eyes searched his for answers, but none came as the ripples of nerve tingling electric slowed. “I have a feeling I’m going to welsh on our deal.”
“I think we should try to stay clear of each other,” Tatiana murmured. She nodded slowly. Her tongue darted out, moistening her plump lower lip.
“It’s really the best way to handle this situation. Neither of us wants a mate, so the smart thing to do would be to forget it. We still have free will. Don’t we?”
Tatiana inched nearer in spite of what she was saying. Her hand brushed his as it curled along the weather wood railing, and that same zapping sensation fired through his body. An odd buzzing filled Dominic’s head as their energy signatures whipped through the air like an invisible tornado, dancing around them like a whirling dervish. The buzzing reached a crescendo, and with one final pass, their energy waves merged with a jolt.
Tatiana cried out in surprise and stepped back, but Dominic linked one arm around her waist and pulled her up against him. Her hands gripped his shoulders, and although she didn’t push him away, she gaped at him like a deer in the headlights.
“Wha–what was that?” She asked breathlessly, her voice edged with fear. “I don’t think I can handle this.”
“I’m no entirely sure, but I think our energy signatures merged, and we’ve imprinted on each other. There is one thing I am sure of.” Dominic kissed the corner of her mouth and murmured against her cheek. “The only woman I’m looking to handle…is you.”
ORDER A COPY: The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo (Love at Stake)
Publisher: Avon Books
Publishing Date: August 27, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Dougal Kincaid has something to prove. After being injured in a battle with the Malcontents, he’s ready for active duty protecting unsuspecting mortals from these villainous vampires who want to rule the world. But first he has to get control of himself . . . because just the sight of a certain lovely doctor has his injured hand doing some peculiar things, not to mention the sizzling sensation that burns along his dragon tattoo.
Vampires? Vampires?! As a scientist, Leah is having trouble believing that these immortal creatures exist. But there they are, standing in front of her, asking for help in solving a genetic puzzle that can save mankind. There’s even one in a sexy kilt! Just one look into Dougal’s gorgeous green eyes sets her pulse racing. But can she trust him—and the overwhelming desire that refuses to be ignored?
Dougal Kincaid had a rather rough life. He was kidnapped as a boy and was pressed into service on a ship. When his ship was overtaken by pirates, he was sold into slavery. It was only through the love of the master’s daughter that she helped him escape his bondage, but Dougal couldn’t save her in return. Her death has haunted him for the last 300 years.
After being turned into a vampire in 1749, his life had improved. He had friends and he was always able to enjoy playing his beloved bagpipes. But his life once again took a dismal turn when he lost his right hand during a battle with the malcontents. Now all anyone wants to talk to him about is his missing hand.
Dougal had to learn to sword fight left handed and then after he received a prosthetic hand, he learned to again fight right handed. Being ambidextrous makes him value to MacKay S&I, but Dougal wants more from his life than the next bloody battle.
Dougal lost more than just his hand that day. He lost his ability to play his bagpipes. His music was part of his soul, and without it he has felt lost.
When Roman brings in geneticist, Leah Chin to help deal with Master Han’s superhuman slaves, Douglas is captivated by her from the moment she walks into Romatech. Something about her reminds him of the woman he lost 300 years ago, and he is not about to let anything happen to her again.
But Leah isn’t too sure that she can deal with a relationship with a vampire, although Dougal’s quiet manner and green eyes haunts her dreams.
More than anything Dougal wants to be able to woo Leah with his music and show her that there is more to the man than just the vampire she sees.
i really love this series and now it is Dougal’s turn. Dougal is a very deep and complex character. I really liked the way his story unfolded. He is quiet and awkward, even with his fellow vampires, and that has only increased since he lost his hand.
Leah is a genius and completed her doctorate at age 21. Starting college at 14 after being homeschooled, left Leah socially awkward and not used to having any friends. She is used to people showing a friendly face, only so they can use her knowledge.
They understand each other and this quickly forms a bond between the two of them.
I was a little disappointed in Howard’s story, although I can’t explain exactly what bothered me about it, maybe it was the fairytale aspect, but I enjoyed Dougal’s story. Usually I don’t like the reincarnated storyline, but in this story it was presented more that Leah reminded him of the woman he lost and what is what caught his initial attention. He declares often that Leah is quite different from Li Lei and he wants Leah.
There was also the continuing storyline where we are trying to defeat Master Han who is being helped by the demon Darafar.
Received an ARC from abovethetreeline.com courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A wailing sound echoed in the distance, and she turned her head toward it. It sounded familiar somehow, like a distant memory. A chill skittered down her back, and she pulled on her thick cardigan sweater.
She crossed the basketball court, headed for the gazebo. The sound grew louder, more confident. More beautiful. She halted with a gasp. It was pipe music. Just like Grandpa had played that magical summer. She’d thought the pipes were the most beautiful sound in the world.
She closed her eyes to listen, and the plaintive melody enveloped her, seeped into her skin, and settled in her heart. So much emotion. She didn’t know how the pipes could sound like they were crying, but they did.
Tears filled her eyes as flashes of memory returned from fourteen years ago. The green fields of Ireland. Her grandfather’s lilting voice and warm hug. She’d never had to earn his hugs with straight As. He had loved her for simply being herself. He would have loved this music.
Was it Dougal? It had to be him. How could she resist such a man? His handsome face touched her heart, and his music lured her soul. As she followed the sound of the pipes, her skin pebbled with goosebumps. Was she following her destiny?
Leah, I’ve waited so long for you.
His voice whispered in her mind. He was still thinking about her, still wanting her. She passed the gazebo and headed for the woods. A white shirt came into view.
It was him. She didn’t want to disturb his playing, so she remained halfway hidden behind a tree. He was seated on a bench, his head bowed and forehead furrowed as he concentrated on his hands. His left hand moved easily and gracefully, but the fingers on his prosthetic hand were jerky and slow.
Leah’s heart ached for him. How it must hurt him to struggle with his music. He ended the plaintive melody and sighed.
“Enough of sadness,” he whispered. “I need joy in my life.” I need Leah.
Her breath caught. Should she tell him she was here? Did she dare? In a split second, she knew that if she approached him now, her life would be forever changed. She would fall for a vampire, and he would never let her go.
Her feet froze, unable to move.
He launched into a happy jig, but after a few bars, his prosthetic hand couldn’t keep up. She grimaced as the music soured and declined into a jarring noise.
“Dammit!” He tossed the pipes onto the ground, and they let out a dying wail as leftover air fizzled from the bag. “Damn it to hell.” He strode toward the building, his kilt swishing about his knees.
She stood still, watching him go, then her gaze shifted back to the pipes where they rested on a bed of dead leaves. A breeze stirred up more leaves, and they settled on the bag. In another hour, they might be completely covered with dead leaves. Buried.
A surge of anger shot through her. How dare he give up! He played from his soul. Without music, how would his soul survive?
She wouldn’t let him quit. She strode toward the pipes and gathered them up in her arms. Her grip caused the remaining air in the bag to escape, and the pipes protested with a forlorn wail.
“What are ye doing?” he asked softly.
She whirled around. “I-I didn’t think these should be left outside.”
His brow furrowed with a deep scowl. “How long have ye been out here?”
“Long enough.” She lifted her chin. “You came back awfully fast.”
“I can move verra quickly.” His mouth thinned. “At least my feet can.”
“I know you were having trouble with the jig, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from playing. The slow music was absolutely—“
“Sad,” he interrupted her, his eyes flashing.
“I was going to say beautiful.”
“Nay. It was melancholy. And pathetic. Should I spend the rest of my miserably long life with only sad music to fill my soul?”
“Better to have a sad soul than an empty one.” She held the pipes out to him. “And you have to believe that it will get better. You can’t give up on yourself.”