Category Archives: Demons
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.”
ORDER A COPY: Tall, Dark, and Vampire
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: August 6, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
We’re talking today with author Sara Humphreys about her new series, Dead in the City, her new Demon serials, and saying goodbye to the Amoveo Legend. Check it out.
The last person Olivia Hollingsworth expected to see at her Greenwich Village vampire club was her one true love, Doug Paxton—whom she believed to be dead for centuries. Olivia thought she had moved on, but when Doug reappears, her heart knows she’d rather die than lose him again.
Ever since Doug can remember, a red-haired siren has haunted his dreams. He never thought she could be real until he goes to investigate a murder at Olivia’s night club. However, as the bodies keep piling up at her feet, he must fight to prove her innocence—even if it costs him his life.
Det. Douglas Paxton knew there was something off when he arrived at the nightclub known as The Coven and saw the redheaded beauty standing outside the club. The same beauty who has been haunting his dreams for years now. There was no possible way that she was real. But Doug also knew trouble when he saw it and this place was sending his cop-senses screaming that something was just not right. He had to get his head back into the game and stop focusing on her. People we dying and the killer’s trail was leading right to her doorstep. She might look like his dreamscape beauty, but she was also a possible suspect in the brutal slayings.
Doug wasn’t the only one reeling from their first meeting. To Doug, Olivia was simply a woman he met in vivid dreams. For Olivia, Doug looks just like her great love who she lost the night she was made vampire 300 years ago. As Olivia comes to realize that Doug doesn’t just look like her true love, he is her love reincarnated. She also comes to realize that unless she is willing to turn him, she will be forced to someday watch him die once again.
Although forcing a vampire life on Doug is the last thing she wants to do, when the killer leaves Doug for dead behind her nightclub, Olivia knows she won’t lose him again. When he wakes, Olivia finds that in fact Doug might never forgive her, especially when his turning is…off. He wakes too early from his turning, he has an older vamp’s control of his bloodlust, and his new abilities fall to him naturally…too naturally. Is there such a thing as a naturally born vampire?
As Doug tries to adjust to what is happening to him, they still have a killer to find. A killer who seems to be bringing death right to Olivia’s front door.
A great start to a great new series. There are a few campy vampire abilities, like flying; not changing to a bat, but just flying. Overall, the story was well told and kept your attention, and the characters were well written.
Doug was a stand out character here: dedicated cop unaware of the supernatural, who drawn to the heroine through dreams. He was flawlessly turned into a vampire as if he had been turned hundreds of years ago and not just this morning. That alone kept you guessing as to what was up with Doug, let alone the whole “who is the killer” mystery.
We also met many other characters who I am sure will be the focus of future novels.
A great new paranormal series.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!
“I need to know if you’re real, or if I’m making it all up, like that kiss in the alley.” His erection pressed against her lower back as his hands brushed down her bare arms. “Was that you, Olivia? Was it another dream or a hallucination from hitting my head?”
He didn’t know what was real and what was imaginary and probably felt like he was going insane. Olivia wanted to tell him, but where would she begin? How could she explain something she was still trying to understand?
Doug licked the hypersensitive skin along her neck as he murmured, “Even if it is all just dreams, I don’t care. It feels pretty fucking real.”
He gripped her shoulders and nuzzled her curly red hair off her neck. She arched back, lifted her hands through his short hair, bathing in the feel of his masculine hands as they massaged her breasts. A lusty moan escaped her lips as Doug trailed hot kisses along her neck, and he pinched her nipples as they peaked in response. She pressed herself further into his grasp, desperate to get closer, while he nibbled on the exposed skin.
“I feel like I’ve been looking for you forever–my whole life,” he murmured. “Every time you get closer, but no matter how much I get, it is’t enough. I want more. I want it all.”
His hands wandered to her waist and rested on the gentle curve of her hips. She pressed back and ground against him, which elicited a moan of pleasure as his lips pressed against the crook of her neck.
“Then what are you waiting for?” Olivia spun in his arms, grabbed his face with both hands, and whispered against his lips, “Take it.”
He captured her mouth with his greedily, and she opened for him, letting him plunder. Devouring her as though she might vanish from his embrace at any moment, he scooped her up and carried her toward the abandoned taxi parked at the curb. Olivia kicked off her stilettos, wrapped her arms around his neck, and deepened the kiss–licking and nipping at his firm, warm lips–all the while wishing it were more than a dream.
He sat her down on the hood of the cab and stood between her legs, which she promptly wrapped around his waist, tugging him harder against her. Heat pressed enticingly against heat. Doug cradled her head in his hands and suckled on her lower lip before breaking the kiss. He rested his forehead on hers and brushed his thumb along the skin of her cheek as her hands rested on his ass.
He pulled back abruptly and lifted her chin, forcing her to look him in the face, and when their eyes met, all the breath rushed from his lungs. Familiar turquoise eyes stared at her beneath a furrowed brow, and she watched as the pieces came together.
“It’s you,” he said under his breath. “I’m not crazy, am I, Olivia? The second I laid eyes on you tonight outside the club, I knew you were mine. I’ve dreamt of you since I can remember, but I never though you could be real.” He moved closer, brushing his lips along the corner of her mouth. “And then, there you were on a New York City sidewalk in living color.
Our winner was Melissa L. Thank you to Kensington for the givewaway.
ORDER A COPY: Avenging Angel (The Fallen)
Publishing Date: May 28, 2013
Paperback: 337 pages
Rating: 5 stars
With a messed up family background and a tendency to grow claws and fangs, Tanner Chance isn’t exactly the boy next door. But he’s a decent cop, and he keeps himself on the side of the good guys. Convenient, because when he rescues a survivor of a horrific shifter attack he finds himself instantly smitten—with an honest-to-goodness angel, as innocent as she is irresistible.
Marna may be angelic, but she’s not stupid or weak. She can take care of herself. Tanner is more temptation than protection anyway. Or so she thinks, until someone wearing her face starts taking out some of New Orleans’ more unsavory paranormals. With police and predators both gunning for her blood, Marna has no choice but to trust Tanner…even though what’s sparking between them is hotter than anything holy.
Marna was an Angel of Death. Being an Angel of Death wasn’t something that she loved to do. She hated seeing all the pain, suffering and fear associated with death, but it was all she knew. Except Heaven is closed to her now. An Angel without wings can’t fly back to Heaven and her wings were shredded off her body by a half-shifter/half-angel named Brandt. He’s dead, killed by another Fallen, but that doesn’t stop the pain that Marna suffers each day for her loss. The loss of everything that she has ever known. The unbearable pain of having her delicate wings ripped from her body. And suffering the overwhelming emotions which are plaguing her, a Fallen Angel, rage, pain…lust.
The worst part is being a Fallen Death Angel that no longer has the killing touch. Oh how she wanted to use it to kill those shifters to just watched and laughed as her life was torn from her. She tried to touch them and failed, and they laughed at her some more. Now everyone knows that the fragile, helpless little Angel has no power to protect herself. And every predator is looking for her wanting a taste of Angel’s blood, of the power that blood can boost their supernatural abilities. She No. 1 on every supernatural’s hit list whether they want a taste or just want the fortune to be had selling her blood to the highest bidder.
Detective (and shifter) Tanner Chance has been trying to protect Marna since his brother, Brandt, left her broken and bleeding in the swamp. Now that those shifters have turned up dead and eyewitnesses are pointing to the little blonde angel as the killer, Tanner has to work fast to keep Marna from being locked up in the human jail. He will do whatever he must to protect her, even go against his training, because every sense he has tells him to protect her…to protect what is his. Marna isn’t his yet, but she will be. Both the man and the beast know she is his.
Cynthia Eden never disappoints. Although Azreal gets to keep the crown for most awesome Angel, this story kept me guessing the entire time, Who could we trust? Who is watching? Who is after them? After three stories featuring powerful, bad-ass Angels, I loved that Marna is portrayed as small and helpless. Unlike the other Fallen, Marna has not regained her Angel powers since loosing her wings. This makes her a prime target for all the vampires, demons and shifters prowling New Orleans who want to take or cash in on her powerful and very addictive angel’s blood.
There has been something between Tanner and Marna since he picked her up off the ground in the swamp in Angel In Chains and it was a great story to read. Watching Marna go from being afraid whenever she saw Tanner’s claws to her coming to trust him not to hurt her and finally their budding relationship was so enjoyable.
Another great story by Cynthia Eden!
Received a review copy from the publisher. Thank you.
Marna swallowed and lifted her chin higher. Of course, she lifted the covers higher, too. “I want to be alone now. I don’t want–”
In two seconds, he was on that bed with her. Marna tried to scramble back. Too late. He grabbed her hand and forced it against his bare chest.
Her breath rasped out, and she tried to jerk away from him. “Stop it!”
“Make me.” A cruel taunt, but he had to see what would happen.
Marna’s blue eyes widened as she tried to yank her hand away again. He just tightened his hold. Her palm was soft against his chest. Her splayed fingers pressed right over his racing heart.
“Let me go!”
The covers had dropped. She had on a black bra–one he’d raced out and bought for her before they’d gone to Hell. He’d picked up clothes for her, fantasizing a bit about her in the silk panties, and–
Her left hand plowed into his face.
He shook his head, barely feeling the sting of that blow as realization settled heavily in his gut. “You can’t do it.”
No wonder the vampire had been so close to her.
Her breath rushed out, far too fast, and he could see the frantic race of her pulse at the base of her neck. “Don’t push me.” Her words were loud, rushed. “I don’t want to hurt you!”
“You can’t.” Certain now. “You can’t hurt me.” She was touching him. Flesh to flesh.
Her skin was so pale. Her eyes wide. And the scent of her fear was driving him freaking insane. “You can’t kill me. You can’t use the Death Touch.” Fuck. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me? That vamp could have drained you dry!”
But, even as he asked, Tanner knew why she hadn’t told him. The lady didn’t trust him, not for one single minute.
“I could have handled him,” Marna gritted out.
He still held her hand pinned against his chest. “Oh, yeah? How? The way you’re handling me right now?”
Then she moved, so fast that he didn’t even see the motion of her body. Angels could always move so quickly. Marna just hadn’t moved that way in a while, and he’d forgotten…
She shoved him back on the bed and straddled him, and Marna shoved a knife against this throat.
Now where the hell had she gotten that little trinket?
The silver began to slice into his flesh.
“I found this back at Hell,” she told him, fingers clenched tightly around the hilt of the blade. “I had it when that vamp came at me. I could’ve used it on him.”
“A little knife wouldn’t stop him.” Or me. Silver would hurt like a bitch because the old tale about shifters and silver not mixing so well was true, but she wouldn’t have time to do any permanent damage. Permanent like cutting out his heart.
“It would have slowed him down. Vampires get weaker with blood loss. I would have been sure to make him plenty weak.”
Strange to hear such bloodthirsty plans come from her lips. He had to remember, the lady was far deadlier than she appeared.
Even if she’d somehow lost the Death Touch.
“When did you know?” Her legs straddled him. Did she feel the swelling cock shoving again her? Probably. Tanner didn’t really see how she could miss that. Not like it was a small thing.
The blade dug a bit deeper into his skin. “I went after those bastard panther shifters, LaRue and Stokes,” Marna confessed. “I went after the jerks because I wanted to kill them.”
So she had been seeking some vengeance. Tanner tried to keep his body perfectly still beneath her. He had one hell of a view, and other than the stinging pain in his neck, being beneath her was pretty damn pleasurable.
Being in her, that would be even better.
A hungry growl slipped from him.
Marna frowned down at him.
Tanner cleared his throat. “What happened?”
Her tongue swiped over her lips. His cock jerked.
“I–I tracked them in the Quarter,” she said. “I followed them for days. I waited, wanting the perfect moment.”
Definitely a bloodthirsty angel. He’d have to remember that little tidbit about her. Marna sure wasn’t all sunshine and light, no matter how she appeared.
“I was going to walk right up to them. Look them straight in the eyes, and watch as their lives drained away.”
He would have done the exact same thing. He liked for his kills to be personal. Those getting payback, well, they needed to see just who was delivering the justice to them.
“They always went to the same place for drinks. I waited until the bar on Bourbon Street was almost empty, and then I went inside.”
Tanner heard the echo of pain in her voice. “What did they do to you?”
“Nothing.” A laugh, heavy with bitterness, slipped from her. “I marched up to Stokes. Put my hand on his chest and waited for him to look at me with fear in his eyes.”
Beau Stokes had always been a sadistic prick. So eager to attack weaker prey. So quick to slice with his claws and laugh when his prey begged for mercy.
“But he didn’t even know who I was,” Marna whispered. did she realized she still held the knife to his throat? “He tried to kiss me. Tried to pull me closer to him, like I was another body to screw in that dark bar.”
Tanner didn’t speak.
“I wanted to kill him. I was trying to. LaRue was coming toward us, laughing, and I wanted them both to die.” Her head dipped further forward, and the curtain of her hair hid her face.
Tanner lifted his hand and pushed back her hair. He could barely feel the sting of the knife now. “But they didn’t die.”
Her lashes slowly lifted. “Angels of death–those Fallen and those who still have their wings–all of them can kill with a touch. That’s our power. Our one, unbreakable gift. Death.”
Death was a gift?
“I ran from the shifters. They were laughing at me while I ran away.” Her breath rasped out. “When Brandt took my wings from me, he took away everything that I was. I have nothing now. Nothing.”
But fury. A rage so dark it had sent her after the panthers–ready to kill and destroy.
“Angels have magic. They can do so much–conjure, stir fire.” A bitter laugh came from her. “I can’t even make smoke.” She shook her head. “So what am I supposed to do now?” Marna asked him and then she blinked, seeming to finally realize that she still had a knife at his throat. Her hand lifted as she took the knife away from his jugular. “Just wait around for a vamp to drain me? Wait for a shifter to slice me and–”
It was his turn to have her flat on her back. Tanner crushed her into the mattress. He didn’t have to worry about a Death Touch now. She wasn’t going to lose control.
Maybe it was time he did.
ORDER A COPY: Twisted (Dark Protectors)
Publishing Date: June 20, 2013
eBook: 103 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Maggie is a wolf shifter who was captured and experimented on by the Kurjans. Now that a cure has finally been found for shifters (although not for vampire mates or witches), she can concentrate on creating a new life for herself and finally accepting that her memories are gone forever. Most memories, that is. Sometimes in the hazy world between dreams and dawn, she hears a Scottish voice, dark and deep, that sounds suspiciously like wolf-shifter Terrent Vilks. A man she happened to anger by kidnapping a few years back. Hey, it was for a good cause.
Terrent Vilks knows more than he’s let on for the past several years. After digging for answers, he knows exactly why the demons want Maggie dead. And he remembers his past with Maggie…very well. She is finally where he wants her. Now all he has to do is discover what exactly the Kurjans did to her, beat the demons into so much submission they leave her alone, and get her to fall in love with him. Again. Good thing he’s used to wrangling monsters.
We first meet Maggie in the book #1, Fated. When Talon breaks into the Kurjan’s laboratory to save Cara, Maggie was also being held captive and experimented on by the Kurjans. Whereas Cara was a vampire mate, and their intent for her was to break her mating bond and steal her as a mate for a Kurjan; Maggie was a shifter and the Kurjans were trying to use their Virus-27 to turn shifters into mindless, slaves or werewolves. Kurjans had been using humans turned werewolves for centuries, but they only live for about a year before they go mad and need to be destroyed. An army of turned shifters would have more power and survive for decades.
With the help of the vampires, Maggie escapes their laboratory, and with the help of the mountain lion shifters, Jordan Pride and Katie Smith, they were able to help Maggie shift to her true form, that a wolf. Although she didn’t turn into a werewolf that first full moon, the fear is that Maggie could lose the fight against the virus at any time. That concern is shared not only by the vampires, but of the Bane’s council which was headed by Terrent Vilks. The job of the Bane’s council is to hunt down werewolves and destroy them. When Terrent arrives to take over the care of Maggie since she is a shifter and not a vampire, the vampires will now allow Terrent to take her.
Thanks to the hard work of Kane and Emma, a cure has been created to help the shifters, and Maggie no longer has to fear succumbing to the draw of the virus, but she has not been able to shake off Terrent Vilks. He has been determined for the past 10 years to get Maggie to the wolf shifters, and now we finally know why.
While no one knows why the virus caused Maggie to lose her memory, the oddest thing about Maggie’s memory loss is that no shifter clan has ever come forward to claim her. Shifters are large families that keep their members close, so why wouldn’t they come forward to claim a lovely, young healthy shifter female like Maggie. Terrent not only knows what happened to Maggie’s pack, but he knew Maggie before her abduction, a lot more intimately than he ever let on before. Not only were they lovers, but Maggie had agreed to become his mate before she disappeared.
Acting under the guidance of the vampire King, Dage, Maggie has agreed to go with Terrent to the Raze wolf pack to try and uncover who has been tampering with the shifter’s inoculations, while Terrent’s sole desire is to uncover Maggie and once again convince her to be his mate.
You know I love Rebecca’s Dark Protectors and I just loved Maggie’s story. I have been waiting for this one for awhile now. Once we started getting some serious hints that Terrent wanted more than just a blood test from Maggie, and especially after Terrent started calling her “Little Wolf” with just enough sexual purr that you knew something was brewing.
Although there were still some unanswered questions at the end of the story, we finally learn more about Maggie and her missing pack as well as her previous life with Terrent. While Terrent does a very nice job of seducing Maggie back into his life.
Received an ARC through netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“I’m so sorry,” Maggie whispered.
He lifted a shoulder. “I was only two years old and barely remember. Somebody hid me, and three days after the massacre, your grandpa found me.”
Maggie blinked. “My people raised you?”
Terrent coughed out a laugh. “No. Your people don’t mix well with other wolves because of their weird ability. Your grandpa brought me to Gerald, and I was raised with his pack until I was eight.”
“What then?” Had the poor guy found a home?
“I had skills—fighting skills that were beyond the norm. Plus, I came from an Alpha bloodline but lacked a pack. So I trained to sit on the Bane’s Council. All of the world, I trained with the best shifters, vampires, even a couple demons in order to fight.” He checked the rearview mirror. “Since the age of eight, I was trained to kill.”
The matter-of-fact tone chilled her more than the actual words. “Sounds lonely.”
“It was.” His dark eyes warmed as he glanced her way. “Then I found you, and I wasn’t lonely any longer.”
Her heart thumped. Hard. “I wish I remembered us.”
“I wish you did, too.” His hands tightened on the wheel. “You need to believe that even though we argued, and you took off for a bit, we didn’t break up. You just needed to cool off.”
Relying on somebody else to fill in her past flared her instincts into awareness. “I don’t know many wolves, but it seems we’re ruled by emotion. If we really wanted to mate, why didn’t we?”
His upper lip quirked.
Cute. Way too cute.
“You wanted to get married first,” he said, shaking his head. “Totally unorthodox, kind of silly, but you’re a true romantic.”
Well, yeah. The whole white dress, veil, walking down the aisle sounded sweet. She wanted sweet. “You agreed?”
He scratched his head. “I agreed to anything you wanted except allowing you to fight.”
She’d ignore that word for now. “You didn’t trust me.”
“It wasn’t about trust.” His brow furrowed. “You have many fine skills, but you’re, I mean, you’re—“
“Clumsy?” she muttered.
He snorted. “Horribly clumsy. I tried to train you in blade fighting once, and you almost took off your own foot.” He laughed, the sound deep and free. “God, you were a menace.”
ORDER A COPY: Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (SSTB)
Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback: 338 pages
Rating: 1 stars
There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart…
Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.
Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.
But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough.
As we say a last goodbye to Sookie Stackhouse, Sookie is still reeling from watching Sam Merlotte die–actually die in front of her. Thankfully Sookie still had the cluviel dor (a fairy magic wish) and she used it to bring Sam back to life.
You would think that saving her friend’s life would make things wonderful for Sookie. But now Eric is unhappy with her because he wanted her to use the dor for his benefit to get him out of the arranged marriage to the Queen of Oklahoma. Eric then summons Sookie to Fangtasia to divorce her and release her from their vampire binding.
And if that is not enough to leave Sookie an emotional wreck, Sam has been acting very odd toward Sookie since he returned from the dead. You’d think he’s at least say thanks.
As if her friends acting odd wouldn’t be bad enough, Sookie has accumulated quite a few enemies over the last few years. Amelia’s father, Copley Carmichael sells his soul to a devil (no, not the devil) so that he can have Sookie’s cluviel dor, only to learn that Sookie has already used the dor and now he has sold his soul for nothing, and he plans on taking out his anger on Sookie.
There are another two men who have returned from Sookie’s past who have plans to ruin Sookie’s life as well and their first move is to have Arlene Fowler released from prison. Arlene, who had previously been arrested for her part in setting up Sookie to be crucified by her racist friends. Arlene is just happy to be released, and she doesn’t know that she is being set up as a pawn in a game to frame Sookie for Arlene’s murder.
When Sookie is arrested, she finds out who her true friends are when they rally around her and help her to find the real culprits.
In what should be an epic conclusion to a popular series which has been turned into a TV show to make it an even more popular series, you would think Charlaine Harris would go out with a bang as explosive as the 4th of July. This book fizzled more like a cheap, wet sparkler.
Although I had given up on this series and didn’t read the last two books, I had no problem keeping up with the happenings of this story. There is a guest appearance from almost every character that has ever shown up in this series, except for Bubba (f/k/a Elvis). Bubba seemed to have been written out of the series about halfway through which was sad, because I liked him. He was always there to help out Sookie or protect her if needed. Even Quinn, the pathetic weretiger, showed up to help out and support Sookie, and just as quickly disappeared again.
I started out enjoying this series, and then quickly became bored with the characters and storylines. I got disgusted with Sookie after the fairy fight where Bill said he would gladly die to protect her and when she looked at her love, Eric, he was “Mmmm, not so much.” Then in the next book, the witch Amelia indicated that Sookie might just be with Eric because of the blood bond, and maybe they could see about breaking it before Sookie changed to a vampire, and Sookie’s concern about that was “Meh.” Then I was thinking “meh” about the whole series.
I don’t know that I have read such a boring, tedious finale to a series ever. If you haven’t purchased your copy, save yourself the time and the money and don’t. If you weren’t planning on it, you are that much smarter than I. I purchased an audiobook copy and wasted almost 11 hours and several days listening to this torture.
Good-bye Sookie. I don’t think anyone is going to miss you.
I can’t say that I had a favorite scene, but just as an example of the excitement presented in this story…Here’s Sookie inventorying her nightstand.
No one at all was at my house when I unlocked the back door. That was strange, since it had been such a beehive that morning. Moved by an impulse, I went into my bedroom and perched on the side of the bed, close to my bedside table. Thanks to my compulsory cleaning during my three days off, neatly located in the top drawer were all the things I might need at a moment’s notice during the night: a flashlight, Kleenex, ChapStick, Tylenol, three condoms Queen had left when we’d dated, a list of emergency phone numbers, a cell phone charger, and old tin box (full of pins, needles, buttons, and paper clips), some pens, a notepad…the usual mixture of handy items.
ORDER A COPY: Under the Gun (Underworld Detection Agency)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: February 5, 2013
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 4 stars
When you’re near the top of the Underworld Detection Agency, the claws really come out…
Quick thinking and loyalty have taken human Sophie Lawson a long way in the UDA—along with a healthy dose of magic immunity. But when her old boss Pete Sampson asks for help after a mysterious two-year disappearance, she’s determined to find out what high-placed demon has put two ruthless werewolf killers on his tail. Of course, sucking up to her icy vampire department head and negotiating a treacherous inter-office demon battle are the kind of workplace politics that could easily get a “breather” way worse than reprimanded. And sexy fallen angel Alex is doing whatever it takes to heat up Sophie’s professional cool and raise feelings she’s done her best to bury. Too bad their investigation is about to uncover the Agency’s darkest secrets…and powerful entities happy to sign one inquisitive human’s pink slip in blood.
Sophie Lawson is on the job again. But as the new head of the Fallen Angel Division at the Underworld Detection Agency, there really isn’t much to do. Unless you count the fact that her past has come knocking on her front door. Her former boss, werewolf and frequent star of Sophie’s sexy daydreams, Pete Sampson, has returned. Sophie’s not sure what’s more shocking, the fact that he’s not dead or the fact that he let her think that he was dead all this time. Someone has put out a contract for Sampson’s life and he has been hiding out from the fiercest werewolf killers on the west coast—even if one of them does dresses like an anime character…
When bodies start to turn up, not just dead, but mauled to death by say…a werewolf? Sophie is torn between her loyalty to her old boss and her devotion to fallen angel now Det. Alex Grace. Hey, yeah, I know where we could find a possibly killer werewolf—on my couch. Oh, that would go over well.
If she tells Alex that she’s hiding a werewolf in her apartment, he’ll have no choice but to bring Sampson in for questioning. She just can’t do it. Not only won’t a human jail be able to hold a werewolf, but then the hunters will know exactly were to find Sampson. But is her loyalty to Sampson getting people killed?
It’s just a typical Monday in the life of Sophie Lawson…
I love Sophie and the gang! After the last book when Sophie and Will get a little bit closer and Alex finds her sneaking out of Will’s apartment, I couldn’t wait to see how Alex reacted in this book. I wasn’t disappointed especially when Will and Alex play a game of She’s My Girl. I do think Alex is still a little too noble with his “but I’m a fallen angel” bit. Stop being such a tease.
I did miss Nina a bit in this book. San Francisco is hit with a heat wave and sunny skies are keeping the vampires inside and they’re getting more than a little batty (he, he). Nina goes on a QVC spree, but her cabin fever seems to tone her down a bit in this book.
Also with Sophie’s new position as head of fallen angels (as there aren’t very many registered fallen angels with the UDA), she doesn’t have much interaction with the clients in the last two books and I miss that novelty of the mundane registration of supernatural creatures. It was a very quirky and funny part of the series. See my notes from Under Attack.
Hannah Jayne is an entertaining storywriter and I enjoy her quirky cast at the UDA.
Don’t forget to check out our past interview with the cast of the UDA.
Received ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
We pulled up to a stoplight just off Union Avenue and I listened to the car idle, to the faint sounds of someone playing a saxophone on a distant corner. And then there was something else.
A wail—or a moan.
“Did you hear that?” Alex asked, ear cocked toward the open window.
I turned the stereo off and leaned out my own window, holding my breath for a silent beat. A lazy wisp of oregano scented air wafted into the car, and on it, a chorus of low moans. They were desperate, insistent rumbles that cut through the city noise.
I furrowed my brow. “What is that?”
Now the moans and rumbles were joined by thumps, then a shallow scraping as though something—or someone—was being dragged.
Alex’s eyebrows went up. “Lawson?” I saw his hand hover around his concealed gun.
I held up a silencing hand. “Wait, Alex. I thing it might be—“
They engulfed the car before the word was out of his mouth, their fingers scraping against the paint, lifeless limbs thumping against the mangled exterior of my vampmobile. Alex’s eyes were wide, distressed, his face ashen as their fingers came through the open window, clawing at him, touching his skin, ruffling his hair. Zombie fingers brushed at my face, too; a clammy hand landed on my arm, grabbed a fistful of my shirt.
I couldn’t help myself. I started to giggle.
Alex, swatting at the grey, rotting arms that waved at him, looked at my incredulously. “You’re laughing? This is funny to you?”
One of the zombies had curled his fingers under my neck and was actively tickling me now, giggling back at me as my laughter grew, his grin wide and goofy. I clamped my knees together and tried not to wet myself. “They’re—they’re—they’re real!” I squeezed out, throwing the car into park and doubling over myself.
“Of course they’re real!” Alex said. “How the hell do we kill them?”
“Double tap!” A zombie on Alex’s side of the car yelled. “Cardio-oooo!”
“Beeeeer!,” another one groaned, a rivulet of black-red blood dribbled out the side of his mouth. “Beeer!”
Alex wrinkled his brow. “Is that zombie asking for beer? Can they do that!”
I was laughing so hard now that tears were pulsing from my eyes and I started to cough. Finally, I got hold of myself. “They’re real, Alex. They’re real people.”
Alex paused, his lip curling up into a snarl as another zombie wannabe poked her full torso through my window. “Graiiiins!” she moaned, stiff arms waiving. “Graiiins!”
“She’s a vegetarian,” I said by way of explanation.
“What the hell is going on here?” Alex wanted to know.
Veggie-zombie bared a mouth full of grayish teeth, half smeared with a thick coat of shiny black greasepaint. “Zombie pub crawl,” she informed. “We’re only on our second pub.” She craned her neck to look out the windshield. “Light’s green.” She wriggled out of the car and I inched forward. Veggie-Zombie’s undead brood wailing and flailing in the street behind us.
“There’s hundreds of them,” Alex said, staring out the back window incredulously.
“You’re not the slightest bit spooked by that?” Alex said.
“Why should I be? Those zombies are in way better spirits than the ones from the Underworld. And they can be satiated with beer. The ones at the office? Ugh. They’re supposed to have eaten before they come in, but if you even look the slightest bit intelligent, they’re salivating all over your desk. I had a guy suck the hair tie right off of my ponytail once.”
Alex shook his head in disbelief. “I’m hearing the words, but they don’t make sense.” He was silent for a beat and I glanced at him from the corner of my eye, his serious expression starting my giggles all over again. He gave me a dirty look. “Look, you’ve got to cut me some slack.”
I shot him a devious smirk. “And why’s that?”
“Come on. It’s ninety degrees in San Francisco, we processed a murder scene that was right out of a Wes Craven film, you were shish-kebabed by a hoarder, and suddenly, the streets are overrun with the thirsty dead.” He brushed the zombie-fist marks out of his shirt. “It’s perfectly normal that a guy would get a little unnerved.”
“Or that a guy could scream like a little girl.”
ORDER A COPY: Demon Hunting In a Dive Bar
Publisher: Kensington Books/Brava
Publishing Date: January 29, 2012
Paperback: 351 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Rebekah “Beck” Damian runs a demonoid bar where everyone’s welcome—even a reformed flesheater who’s strictly vegetarian, a musical ghost who’s looking for a piano bar, and a feline harbinger of doom named Wampus Kitty who’s scaring the customers. So when a big strapping demon-hunter walks into the bar, Beck knows it’s not the end of the world. She’ll treat him like any other customer.
If only she could. Conall Dalvahni is the toughest, meanest, sexiest demon-hunter Beck’s ever seen—and she’s finding it hard to hide her attraction. As far as Conall’s concerned, the feeling is mutual. But how can he trust a beautiful half-demon babe like Beck—when her demonic friends have the perfect weapon to destroy every hunter on earth?
Conall is the leader of the Dalvahni. As such, it is his duty to investigate these new demonoid abominations he has only just learned about. They are the spawn of a human and a human possessed by a demon. He must determine if they are as dangerous to the universe as the demons themselves. It is because of this that he keeps returning night after night to the little demonoid dive bar in Hannah, AL, known as Beck’s. It is for observation only that he watches the lovely Beck so intently. She is a demonoid and of course, must be evil, so he is confused why he likes to watch her smile and why he feels the need to return night after night to watch out for her—No, no, watch her! He must watch her in case she decides to do evil against the humans.
As if Beck doesn’t have enough on her plate just running the bar, her partner turns into a bloodhound and her cook turns into a bear. Now she’s got a vegetarian zombie and a piano playing ghost both looking for jobs. Sure, it’s all just another day at the office, and it wouldn’t worry her so much, but he’s back—again! sitting in the corner, watching her. He doesn’t say anything. He just stares. She would have Toby throw him out, but God! He’s sex-on-a-stick gorgeous! And the women do keep coming back just to look at him, and that’s good for business, right? It doesn’t bother her at all that they sit there and drool over him—Hey, back off, no touching—nope, she doesn’t care at all.
Man, what she wouldn’t do to get him out of that shirt—No, no, out of her bar. She definitely wants him out of her bar and out of her life! So why does she agree to allow him to “work” at her bar so he can keep an eye out for demons. Damn hormones! Is it too late to just go back to bed and forget this day even happened?
I really love this series! Although I am still calling Evie and Ansgar from Demon Hunting in the Deep South my favorite couple, Beck and Conall come in a very close second.
Beck is a fearless, kick ass woman, who, much to Conall’s frustration, has no problem jumping into the fray and kicking some demon butt.
I love Conall’s confusion about his attraction for Beck, since she is a demonoid, but I will give him kudos for getting over it and accepting his feelings for Beck, much faster than Ansgar or Brand who both fell for plain old humans, not demonoid abominations.
I loved the additional characters here: Tommy Henderson, the vegetarian zombie; Annie, the little lost kittie; Hank, the grumpy cook/bear; and even creepy Evan had some moments.
Can’t wait to see where we go next.
Received an ARC courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you!
In case you missed it, check out our recent interview with Lexi George.
“I concede the rationality of your argument that my presence at this gathering might draw attention—“
“Duh, you think?” Beck said. He was big and beautiful and he radiated power and menace. Showing up with Elvis in drag might create a bigger stir, but she doubted it.
“—therefore, I will make myself invisible.”
“No,” Beck said. “The place will be crawling with kith. Just because I can’t see you when you’re wearing your invisible Underoos doesn’t mean no one else can. The kith have different abilities. Right, Toby?”
“Yup,” Toby said.
“Toby and I will go to the meeting,” Beck said. “Alone. We’ll be your eyes and ears.”
“Rebekah, I do not think—“
“I want your promise.”
Conall fell silent. “Very well,” he said at last. His mouth thinned. “We will do it your way this once. But not unless I get a promise of my own.” He slipped a silver ring off his hand and slid it on her left index finger. It was way too big, but the band magically shrank until it fit. “At the first sign of danger, speak to the ring. Do not hesitate. This you must promise me.”
Speak to the ring? What was she, Gollum? She’d feel like an idiot.
“Sure. Whatever you say.”
He stepped closer, his eyes hard as agate. “I gave you my word, Rebekah. Now I want yours.”
“Okay, okay, keep your panties on. I promise to speak to the fricking ring if there’s a problem. There, satisfied?”
“No. I am not accustomed to sitting idly by whilst others ride into battle. But I am inured of this course, for the moment.”
“Relax. Nothing’s going to happen. It’s beer and barbecue. Says so on the invitation. People will get drunk and run around naked and throw up, and somebody will get their truck stuck in a ditch. I’ve seen it a million times.”
“Proceed with caution,” Conall said. “’Tis an age-old trick to lull one’s enemies into complacence by plying them with food and drink.” He made a slashing motion in the air. “Once they are sleepy and replete, you move in for the kill.”
Hoo boy—Mr. Look on the Bright Side of Life.
ORDER A COPY: Angel In Chains (The Fallen)
Publishing Date: November 27, 2012
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 5 stars
As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.
Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower. She’s spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions.
Azreal was an Angel—The Angel. Az was in charge of the Angels of Death. Except that was before—before he fell for trying to take a soul that was not on his List. Now Az is a fallen angel looking for a way back.
When he comes across Jade Pierce being attacked in a back alley by three shifters, he realizes that protecting her, a human, might be Az’s chance at redemption. He will use her helplessness to his advantage and earn his wings back.
Az isn’t the only one looking to use someone for his own advantage. Jade knows that Azreal is more than the average Other and he might just be what she needs to save her from her ex. Her ex-boyfriend is no ordinary stalker. He is the Alpha of a pack of panther shifters and he believes that he and Jade are destined to be together. He has killed her parents and anyone else who Jade has tried to get close to while she has been running from him and his vicious pack for the last ten years.
If she can get Az to kill Brandt, Jade can finally stop running. But there is more to Brandt than even Jade knows and it won’t be so easy to kill him. Especially when Heaven’s #2 comes staking with a List of his own, and he is as zealous as Azreal was to make sure that all souls on his List are accounted for. When Jade’s name comes up, Brandt might just be the least of her problems.
Absolutely incredible! Action packed and exciting with an ending that had me out of mind. I picked it up and didn’t put it down until I was finished. I am amazed when an author can take the antagonist from one book and make him the hero in the next, and I actually like him.
In Book #1, Angel of Darkness, Az was after Keenan and Nicole because Nicole’s name had come up on the List to die the night Keenan interfered and Nicole was turned into a vampire. Azreal was determined that Keenan kill Nicole so he could return to heaven and when Keenan refused, Az was determined to take her soul himself. Azreal fell because Nicole was no longer on the List and he was just chasing a personal vendetta against her for tempting Keenan. Now it was Az’s turn to protect Jade from the death angel who is marking her for death.
Now after Angel Betrayed, I didn’t think we could get an angel more badass then Sam. Sam and Az have been enemies of a sort since Sam fell a millennium ago. Sam has been on earth growing wealth and power. All the Others know to be afraid of Sam, but even Sam is weary of the power that Az holds in check. Sam is cool and confident as a powerful man would be, but Az is cold and uncaring as a VERY powerful man would be, one who knows there is no one more dangerous around. Except he isn’t cold to Jade. She has been the first woman to tempt him from his mission to return to heaven.
There is a set up for the next book and I am excited to see how that next story plays out.
Received an ARC courtesy of Kensington books. Thank you.
“I was…just…” The demon rose and winced. “I was merely checking her out.”
“I saw that.” A lethal edge underscored Az’s words. He spun to face the doctor, giving Jade his back, and that was when she actually paid attention enough to notice his wings.
Not real wings. More like shadows. Thick, black, they rose from his bare shoulders and extended high above him.
They were dark and so beautiful.
“She was scared,” Az snarled as he closed in on the demon. “I heard her fear.” His hands were clenched into powerful fists.
Uh, oh. Jade kept a hold on her sheet as she hopped out of bed. Her knees didn’t so much as jiggle when her feet touched down on the wooden floor. That angel blood sure packed a powerful punch.
“Because she realized—we both realized—“ Cody spoke quickly now as he pressed his back against the wall in an attempt to put more distance between him and Az. “We realized that she’s healed.”
Jade crept up behind Az. Tanner didn’t move. She reached out and her fingers skimmed over those shadowy wings. She could almost feel them against her skin. Like silk.
Az stiffened. He’d loved it when she stroked his scars before. What effect would it have on him when she touched these shadowy remnants of his wings?
“Jade…” Her name was a rasp, heavy with need, lust.
She stroked the shadows once more.
This time, he shuddered.
“She’s healed,” Cody said again. “And—“
Az turned to face her. His jaw was locked, and his eyes still burned hot enough to scorch her. And the man looked like he could eat her.
“I think it’s time for us to get out of here.” Tanner hurried over and grabbed Cody’s arm. “They need to…talk.”
“Talk? I don’t think talking is what—“
Tanner knocked his brother’s head into the wall then hustled him out of the room.
The shifter made sure to slam the door closed behind him.
Az’s wings were out of her reach now, but she wanted to touch them again. “I can see them” she whispered.
He shook his head. “Nothing’s there. The wings burned away when I fell.”
Maybe. But those shadows were still there. She stepped closer to him. Jade kept one hand on the sheet that she’d hurriedly wrapped around her body while her left hand lifted and touched those shadows. “What does it feel like when I touch them?” Jade whispered.
“They aren’t there.”
Something was. Her fingers went right through the silken remnants.
He stepped back and put enough distance between them so that she couldn’t touch his wings. When he caught her hand and held it tight. “You’re seeing what was,” he gritted. “My blood’s in you. Only those with an angel’s blood can—“
“Thank you,” her soft words cut him off.
He blinked. Shook his head.
“You saved me.” That she knew with certainty.
His fingers tightened on hers. “I was afraid I was too late.”
No. Leave it to an angel to know just how to cheat death. “Are you afraid of me?” Az asked as his eyes searched hers.
She let the sheet drop. It pooled on the floor between them. “No.”
ORDER A COPY: Shadow’s Claim (Immortals After Dark: the Dacians)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: November 27, 2012
Paperback: 496 Pages
Rating: 5 stars
Shadow’s Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament—to the death.
Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people—striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself—until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore’s most fearsome villains.
Desperate to earn her guardians’ approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails—even though she’s lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.
Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina’s heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium’s worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away—or stoke Bettina’s own desires to a fever pitch.
Shadow Claim is the first book in a spinoff series of the very popular Immortal After Dark series which focuses on the Dacians and the Realm of Blood and Mist. Oddly though, in this first book Kresley Cole does not take us to the Realm of Blood and Mist, she takes us the Abaddon, the land of Death Demons, the Deathly Ones.
Prince Trehan Daciano, the Prince of Shadow, has followed the demon Caspion here. By law, otherlanders who come to Dacia can never leave. Thereby otherlanders cannot ever return with an army to take over their secret mountain lands. By leaving Dacia and returning to Abaddon, Caspion has sentenced himself to death at the hands of Trehan, the sword of the kingdom and the keeper of the law.
Once Trehan arrives in Abaddon and is awaiting his chance at his target, he is inexplicably drawn to a room in the castle spire. Vampires being a curious sort, Trehan goes to investigate what is drawing him about this room. There he finds the lovely Bettina Abaddon, half demon/half sorceri, and all drunk on demon brew. As Trehan approaches Bettina his heart begins to beat for the first time in almost 900 years. Bettina is his Bride. Now we know that a vampire becomes quite obsessed with his Bride and the very drunk Bettina and Trehan have quite the sensual tryst. Things are going very well until Trehan realizes Bettina thought he was Caspion come to bed her and save her from her fate.
The hand of the virginal Princess Bettina has been offered as the grand prize in a blood fight to the death, along with the crown of Abaddon. Bettina has long been in love with the handsome and charming Cas and hopes that he will agree to divest her of her virginity, thereby saving her the humiliation of being handed over as a prize. See as romantic as this gesture may seem, it is not just an attractive selection of studly demons who have entered the contest, most are homeless outcasts who have entered to win the crown and not the elfish looking Bettina. Her choices of suitors include an alligator shifter with scaly skin, Cerunnos (a snake like humanoid), an almost rabid lykae, and even a pus demon, and those are some of her better choices. She wants more than anything to spend her life with Cas.
As you can imagine, the very obsessive vampire does not like that his Bride is in love with another man and wants to give herself to him. Trehan has to choose between entering this contest and fighting to the death for right to have his Bride or returning to his home, for once he is seen by otherlanders he too is prohibited ever from returning to his secret home realm. As a trained killer and the enforcer of Dacia’s laws, Trehan has no doubt he will emerge the victor.
Trehan has learned one thing watching his cousin Lothaire and that is how to bargain to get what you want. As the contests begin, Trehan convinces Bettina to grant him a boon for each contestant he dispatches–lady’s choice. Bettina gives in to remove some of the more loathsome suitors. Trehan uses his boons to negotiate private time with Bettina so that he can seduce her heart from Cas. He had better work quickly since Cas too has entered the contest. If Trehan can’t win her heart before he has to kill Cas to win her hand, his Bride’s love might be lost to him forever.
This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. In a story that bounces between bloody fights to the death, and sensual encounters between Trehan and Bettina as Trehan tries to seduce her heart, you will not be able to decide which parts of this story are more exciting.
Trehan is a great hero–strong, thoughtful, protective and sexy.
Bettina starts the story off nearly being beaten to death by Vrekeners (who hate the evil scorceri) and she has her powers stolen by them. So she is very fearful for an immortal. Although she is half demon, she has none of their strengths or natural defenses. Scorceri have no more strengths than a human besides their powers and their immortality. Other than their magic, their eyesight is no better, they have no real strength for fighting, no claws or sharp teeth or other natural defenses. So once Bettina loses her power, she is like a human in an immortals world and absolutely afraid that the Vrekeners will find her again and finish the job. This brings us to why Bettina would agree to be the prize in this battle to the death. Her demon godfather and her scorceri godmother have indicated that they will kill the Vrekeners and return her power once she is married to the winner of the battle. They also believe the strongest winning warrior will give Bettina a sense of security that he can protect her and thereby alleviate her fears.
If Shadow Claim is an example of how much further Kresley Cole can take her Immortal After Dark series, then I say spin away to your heart’s content. I cannot wait to see where she will take us next.
Received an ARC from the author. Thank you!
All she could think over and over: That vampire was in my bed, touching me as no other had before.
As he closed the distance, she felt increasingly weak and breathless, as if a flash-fever had taken hold.
How could merely looking at someone make her react physically? One word arose in her consciousness. Daliz. In Demonish, it meant lightning—in addition to another quaint, old-timey meaning.
“Who is that gorgeous male?” Morgana asked.
Bettina had never heard her sound so interested in a stranger.
The vampire wasn’t gorgeous to Bettina, but he was…striking.
“Oh, my gold, is he a Forbearer?” Morgana asked.
With his clear eyes, Daciano looked like one. No one would ever guess he was from the fabled Realm of Blood and Mist.
Once he neared the lower grandstand, Bettina subtly shook her head, warning him away, but he didn’t break his stride.
Earlier when Caspion had approached the sign-in table, the crowd had cheered for one of their own. As the vampire approached, everyone grew silent.
Crickets. A dog barked in the distance. A demon cub gave a cry.
“Your name?” Raum asked in puzzlement.
“I’m called the Prince of Shadow,” Daciano answered in that resonating voice.
“Where do you hail from? What is your standard?”
“I hail from nowhere you know.” The vampire retrieved a beautiful antique-looking banner of red and gray from his coat, handing it to Raum. “This is my standard. I enter for the hand of Bettina.”
He can’t lie? Then he’s not here just to kill Cas? He wants to marry me? She just stopped herself from fanning her face.
Why can’t I catch my breath?
Her godfather cast him a studying glance. Raum couldn’t bar the vampire entrance, but surely he would demand more information.
Instead Raum examined the standard, returned it, then offered Daciano the blade and quill. “Well then, Prince of Nowhere. Sign your name.”
Still holding her gaze, the vampire dragged the blade across his palm, never looking down at the contract, never taking his penetrating eyes off her.
Bettina could tell Morgana was glancing from the vampire to her and back, but didn’t acknowledge her godmother’s curiosity.
Once Daciano’s entry was complete, Raum announced, “The lists are filled! The tournament has officially begun.”
Cheering sounded from the spectators before Raum quieted them once more. “Now, on the first night of the tournament, we will have a melee, All competitors will go in unarmed, race to reach strategically placed weapons, then kill at will.”
“Oh, I’ve always enjoyed a spirited melee!” Morgana said, as if she were talking about a potato-sack race. Then she glanced past Bettina, her eyes gleaming with approval—no doubt ogling the vampire.
When Betting refused to look at him, Morgana tapped her chin with a metal claw. “You don’t appear to be an afterthought with that one, dearest freakling. You appear to be the only thought.
Bettina’s gaze darted to Daciano. His overall demeanor was bored. But she could see his cunning gaze taking in his enemies. She suspected she was about to witness the lethality she’d only sensed before.
Would he target Cas immediately?
Turning to Bettina, Morgana said, “I believe the Prince of Shadow is particularly motivated. He looks like his heart is in this. His beating heart.”
ORDER A COPY: Edge of Passion (Cloak Warriors #1)
Publishing Date: March 7, 2012
eBook: 208 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Able to render themselves invisible, immortal Cloak Warriors like Aiden have been protecting humans from the dark power of the Demons of Fear for centuries. But the demons might soon have a powerful tool in their hands to seduce humans to the dark side. And the person to provide them with this elixir is the human scientist Leila. Unbeknownst to her, the drug she’s developing to cure Alzheimer’s has the unexpected side effect of weakening the mind’s resistance to the influence of demons.
The Council of Cloak Warriors is divided, some of them believing the only safe way to eradicate this threat is to eliminate its inventor, others are bent on protecting the human scientist. Aiden is a loyal Cloak Warrior who accepts the assignment to protect her despite his own beliefs that humans can’t be trusted. However, when her life is endangered, his beliefs shift, and he’s drawn into a battle whose participants are unknown: is he fighting the demons or his fellow Cloak Warriors?
Forbidden desire flares between Aiden and Leila as they are forced to rely on the only people they can trust: each other. And even if he can save her and defeat their enemies, a union between them might be the most dangerous undertaking of all.
Dr. Leila Cruickshank was on the verge of a breakthrough. Her formula to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s was almost ready. Finally a chance for people like her parents to regain the memories and lives they were losing to this horrible, debilitating disease. She was also on the verge of the downfall of humanity.
It seems that her formula would also make the human brain more susceptible to demon mind control. With Dr. Cruickshank’s formula, the demons would easily control the humans and take over control of the Earth, and if they can’t get the formula, taking the pretty doctor into the netherworld would be the next best thing. Endless torture is just the thing to get the good doctor talking.
Aiden is the Cloak Warrior sent to protect Leila from demons and convince her to destroy her formula for the good of the world. Aiden dislikes humans since they are so weak. They can’t be trusted and will always succumb to the temptation of the demons.
Leila isn’t sure she can trust Aiden and his stories of demons and mind control, but she does know that she is not ready to give up her dream of saving her parents based solely on the ravings of this madman.
Aiden needs to quickly earn Leila’s trust since the demons are closing in on them and Leila’s formula.
I enjoyed this new series from Tina Folsom. Like all first books in a series, it goes a little slow in the beginning while we are introduced to Cloak Warriors and their world, but as the story progresses and we are on the run with Aiden and Leila, the story definitely picks up. Aiden enlists several of his fellow Cloak Warriors to protect Leila and fight the demons, so we are also introduced to several very interesting characters and we learn just enough about each of the other warriors to draw our interest for further stories.
Edge of Passion was an interesting and quick read, and I see a lot of potential for future stories. I will be interested to see where the series goes next.
Read more in our interview with author Tina Folsom.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author. Thank you.
Aiden held his palm over Leila’s mouth, making sure she wouldn’t scream. His other arm snaking around her waist, pulling her tightly against him.
It hadn’t been hard to find her. She’d really had only two options: her apartment and her lab. Sure, she could have gone to any hotel, but knowing what he knew about her life, what he’d read in her file, he guessed she would choose a familiar place, somewhere where she felt safe.
He’d figured she’d choose the lab for obvious reasons. One being that her apartment was uninhabitable right now, the other that she deemed her office to be safe from intruders. It wasn’t.
He’d had no problem sneaking past the security guard. In his cloaked state, he was invisible to the unsuspecting man.
Aiden moved his mouth to Leila’s ear, a strand of her hair brushing his cheek in the process. “Quiet, Leila.”
He felt her body jolt at the realization that it was he who was keeping her captive once more. A muffled word he didn’t catch bounced against his palm. Her warm breath nearly torched him, sending a hot flame into his groin.
“That’s right, it’s me. It was very stupid of you to run away. Didn’t I tell you I’d protect you” He felt himself getting angry again. “Will you remain quiet if I take my hand off your mouth now?”
She moved her head up and down in agreement.
Slowly he lifted his hand and turned her toward him in the same instance. Her lips instantly parted, her throat tightening. Clearly, she wasn’t going to comply with his wishes. There was only one thing he could do now.
With a low curse, he yanked her flush against him and slid his lips over hers, capturing her mouth in a searing kiss, one he’d been craving all night.