Category Archives: Magic
ORDER A COPY: Winterblaze (Darkest London)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 5 star
Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.
In the third installment of the Darkest London series, Poppy Lane, also known in the supernatural world as “Mother”, finds herself alone. Her husband Winston has left her after 14 years of marriage after his nearly deadly attack by a werewolf. As a Police Inspector, Winston faces liars every day. He can’t stand liars and he is devastated that his Poppy has been the biggest liar of all. She has hidden the supernatural world from Winston, right under his nose—hidden her true self from him, and it is more than he can bear.
When a deadly demon is freed from his hellish prison, sent there by Poppy herself, he has sworn to pay back Poppy by destroying “her heart.” So whether Winston wants her or not, Poppy will be there to protect Winston from the evil which his coming for him.
But unbeknown to all, Winston is hiding the worst secret of all. A lie so great it could prove their whole lives as a lie.
Now they will have to play the demon’s game in order to fight for their very lives.
It is undeniable that passion still flare between Winston and Poppy, but can they both look past the lies and betrayals and rebuild the lives they once had full of undying love and mutual respect.
When I first read Firelight (which I loved), I wasn’t at all interested in Poppy and Winston. After Moonglow (which I didn’t like as much), they suddenly had my full attention. I was a lot more interested in Poppy and Winston and wanted to see if they could repair their shattered marriage.
Since this story mostly involved the fact that Winston and Poppy were separated and had an emotional wedge between them, I liked how we kept jumping between the present and the past so we could see how Winston and Poppy met, how they overcame their differences in station so that they could get married, and how much they wanted to be with each other before things went so wrong.
I was disappointed, as I usually am, that our hero and heroine both wanted to get past this chasm in their relationship, that they both missed each other and that they both loved and desired the other, BUT when it came to putting themselves out there and possibly to be hurt again, neither one of these brave, strong people were willing to be the one to take that step. My little brain keeps going, “You’re facing evil that wants to hurt you. You might die shortly, but you can’t tell the person you love the most in the world that you love them and miss them in what could be the last hours before you might die? Really? What are you waiting for the regretting part as you lay dying?” Stupid characters.
I also liked the fact that our secondary characters weren’t content to stay in the background as secondary characters are supposed to do, part of that is the set up for the next story. I am excited to say that there will be more stories now that we have finished with the tales of the Ellis sisters.
I am looking forward to seeing where we go next.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“You do not think it romantic that her love for Hamlet was so great that she fell into unending despair when he left?” he asked.
Sharp red brows snapped together, and he wanted to kiss the little furrow between them. His hand curled into a fist as she, oblivious to his lust, proceeded to lecture him. “Romantic? Bah. Such a man’s idea of how a woman ought to love. By all means, let us poor, emotionally weak females fall into utter helplessness for the want of a man. Especially a man who couldn’t be bothered to treat her with any sort of—“
He kissed her. Because he couldn’t stop himself and didn’t have to. Her lips were soft, her tongue tart and slick and he slid an arm about her slim waist and suckled her lower lip before breaking away. “You’ll soon have me in despair,” he whispered, smiling against her mouth, “if you don’t believe in all-consuming love.”
Her arm snaked around his neck, her cool fingers slipping into his hair to toy with it. Had he the ability to purr, he would.
“That isn’t love,” she said.
He nuzzled closer, brushing his mouth against hers. “Kiss me again.”
“We are in public.” But she sipped at his upper lip as though she liked the taste of it.
Winston chuckled and reluctantly stepped back a pace. His gaze landed again on the storefront window beside them, and he looked back at a wonderfully flushed and mussed Poppy. “Do you realize you take us past this empty shop with every walk we take?”
Her cheeks darkened more. “Do I?” She moved to go, but he blocked her way with his shoulder.
“Yes.” He nudged her chin with his knuckle. “And you won’t get me to believe it’s by chance, either. Confess, Boadicea. Why this shop?”
Standing straight and smoothing her hair back into place, she attempted to look past him, her sweet lips pressed into an annoyed line. But then a noise of defeat sounded in her throat, and she glanced at the shop before meeting his eyes. “I want to let it.”
When his brows rose in surprise, she pushed on. “It is a book shop. Or was.” Her nose wrinkled as she made herself speak. “I would like to see it reopened. I—I have always wanted…It is a silly dream, I know.”
Her words cut into him. He hadn’t expected her to have dreams. Why? Why hadn’t he thought of her wants? It shamed him that he’d been so oblivious. Putting a staying hand around her waist when she squirmed to get away, he looked over her shoulder and studied the shop. “Have you any experience in running a book shop?”
Poppy’s expression closed. Tension tightened the muscles along her back. But she did not drop her gaze from his. “No.”
He looked into her dark eyes, his hand firm upon her. “Then you shall learn.”
She flinched. “What?”
He smiled then, tucking a stray lock of fire-bright hair behind her ear. “We have need of funds and a place to live. There is a flat attached to the shop, I see. You want this shop. So you will have it.”
Her breath left in a gust. “Win..How can you…” She drew herself up. “What if I fail?”
Slowly he shook his head. “My love, I have no doubt that if running a bookstore is what you want to do, then you will do it. And do it well. You are too strong-willed to fail at anything.”
She gaped at him, and he cupped her cheek. “I believe in you, Pop. I always will.”
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: Going Under (A BOUND BY MAGICK NOVEL)
Publisher: Berkley Sensations
Publishing Date: February 5, 2012
Paperback: 298 pages
Rating: 4 stars
In the wake of the Magister’s rampage, chaos rules. Left reeling, the Others and the humans scramble to create a some sort of unity in the face of growing unrest and violence from anti-Other hate groups federation—and ruthless PR guru Molly Ryan is the witch who can do it. She grew up in the human world but there’s nothing left for her there. She’s lost her PR firm, her friends and she’s decided to put all her fight toward aiding the Others in this dark, new reality. If there’s anything left for her there, she’s going to fight for it. But Gage Garrity, one of the few Others who survived the massacre, fears that the crusade will expose Molly to greater dangers than ever before.
Now, together, with magick on their side, they’re on the road in a desperate struggle to unite a torn world. From state houses to television news to legislative conference rooms across the country, they’re fighting the good fight. And it’s bringing out a passion in both of them they never expected—one as volatile, intense, and all-consuming as their relentless battle for world unity. A battle that could be their undoing.
In the aftermath of Book 2, Chaos Burning, Lauren Dane leaves us in a world reeling. The Magister has been defeated, but the death toll to the Others has been high. While the Others should now be able to mourn their dead, their loss of family members and friends isn’t the only problem they face. Humans now know they are not alone on this planet. They are trying to grasp the fact that their mailman is a shifter, their best friend is a witch and that weird guy next door really is a vampire. For the humans, their fears are growing, and there are always those people ready to fan the flames of those fears for their own gain. Hate groups like PURITY and Humans First are growing stronger.
In this new world of television and internet, the Others need someone who can convince the humans they have nothing to fear. Molly Ryan is the head of a large Media Relations firm in Chicago—or at least she was—until she was outed by PURITY to be a witch, and now she is being forced out of a company that she started. The timing though is perfect since what the Others are in need of is PR person who can help show that even though your neighbor is a vampire, he is still the same guy who mowed his lawn once a week; yeah, okay, only night, but…that doesn’t make him a danger to anyone.
Molly has her work cut out for her. With groups like PURITY trying to have Others declared non-citizens, the Others are in serious jeopardy of losing all their rights as Americans.
Since Molly is now on the frontlines as the new face and voice of the Clan Owen and Counsel of Others, it is Gabe Garrity’s job to protect Molly from the hate groups. As the violence against Others begins to increase, Gabe will have to work very hard to keep Molly safe.
When talk begins of encampments, tracking and sterilization, the Others have had enough. Will a PR Guru be enough to hold off civil war between the humans and the Others?
What a thought provoking concept for a paranormal series. We usually have series that involve the secret society of supernatural or an all out knowledge of the supernaturals, whether or not they are living in peace is another question. This is an interesting concept to see the process of humans learning they are not alone and the aftermath of that knowledge.
The story is well written so you can feel the build up of fear. You understand the type of people and groups that would encourage the fear and violence against the Others. You can feel the frustration and fear of the Others who just want to go back to their jobs and their lives which were already in turmoil after the Magister’s arrival. They don’t want to live in fear of being harassed in their own homes, being attacked. You can feel the frustration of their suddenly being treated as non-citizens, and when the attacks on them are being ignored by police, or worse, being supported.
This was a very interesting storyline that is well thought out and brought to life by very well written characters.
This is definitely worth reading and definitely a series you want to go start with Book #1 and work your way into this aftermath.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!
“Ms. Ryan, if you’d like to go next.”
“Thank you, Senator Albright, for having me here today. I’m thirty years old. Up until a few weeks ago I was a lifetime resident of Chicago, Illinois. Though I hope you won’t hold that against me.” She smiled. “I’ve even stopped carrying an umbrella and I can order my coffee like a real northwesterner now. I was born here, in this country. My mother and father were born here. My grandparents were born here. My boss Meriel Owen’s family has not only been here in the country for generations, but they helped build this entire region. We are not creatures. We are not monsters. We don’t call demons and we don’t worship Satan. What we are, are citizens of the United States. Just like Ms. Freed, Mr. Sawyer and Ms. Moore.”
Moore snorted. “You’re pretenders and liars.”
“I allowed Ms. Moore her time plus a minute. It’s my turn to speak and I’m sure we can all agree, no matter our perspective, that democracy means we don’t speak over each other. How can we understand each other if we don’t listen? Now, back to my points. We understand why the human community is uncomfortable and afraid. We’re happy to be as open as we can about what we do and who we are. We want nothing more than to be left alone to live our lives as we did before. Yes, before you knew about some of us.”
Senator Albright gave her a considering glance. “Just why did you keep your existence a secret? If you’re not a harm to the rest of us?”
“Senator, all you need to do is look back over recorded history for your answer. We’ve been burned at the stake. Drowned. Tortured to death. Imprisoned. Every time humans found out about us, they tried to wipe us out. So we learned from that and kept what we were private. Not to trick anyone, but to protect ourselves. And as many of us have begun to suffer from the reaction to our existence, yet again, it can’t be that hard to understand why we did it.”
She sipped her water. “We too understand your fear of the unknown. Of finding out overnight that not only were there werewolves, who you’ve known about for several years, but witches and vampires too. And yet, you can also look to see we have not harmed you. When you didn’t know about us we did not perform satanic rituals in your yards. We did not steal your children. We lived our lives just as you lived yours.”
“How do we know you didn’t? How do we know all our criminals weren’t witches or vampires or whatever else unholy things? Animals disappearing, serial killers, war, famine! How do we know you people aren’t responsible for everything bad?”
Molly looked at Alison Moore, not surprised by her ignorance, just exhausted by it. “This is small-minded and petty nonsense. We’re not trying to track humans or take away your basic humans rights. We’re simply asking the same of humans. Anything else is waste of precious time and energy. And as one of the others who has lost loved ones, along with Mr. Sawyer and pretty much every single Other I know, we understand just how precious that time is now. This is our moment, as Americans, to shine. To set an example, as we have over and over through our history. It is not time to crawl back into factions and throw rocks. We want all that we had before the Magister showed up. That is all.”
ORDER A COPY: The Winter Witch
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publishing Date: January 31, 2013
Paperback: 340 pages
Rating: 4 stars
In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She has never spoken, and her silence as well as the magic she can’t quite control make her a mystery. Concerned for her safety, her mother quickly arranges a marriage with Cai Jenkins, the widower from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumours that swirl around her. After their wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving, but she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the rugged mountains that surround it, while slowly Cai himself begins to win her heart. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her love, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.
Morgana Pritchard was a wild child who loved to roam the hills of her little town. But more than her love of the hills sets her apart from the other children of the town. Odd things happen when Morgana is around. It was her Dada who explained to Morgana about her magic blood. When her father died, she refused to speak again, adding even more to the whispers of the strange little girl.
Morgana’s mother knew she would never have a full life in this town where everyone looked at her with mistrust, and when drover Cai Jenkins sees Morgana in Town while passing through, he is enchanted by her, and Morgana’s mother knows this gentle man could be Morgana’s chance for a real life. Cai does not object to her silence and he is not aware of the whispers in the Town about Morgana.
Although Morgana’s inability to cook and lack of housekeeping skills do not make her the best choice of mistress of Ffynnon Las (“The Blue Well”), her calming ways with the farm’s prized ponies, makes her the perfect choice to assist Cai on the farm and in the drove to London. Woman do not work as drovers, but Cai is willing to go against custom both for the success of his first drove and to encourage a bond with his new wife. Not all goes well for them. It is almost like there is a dark force working against them.
When they return to the town with a strong bond of the love growing between them, they find that someone was has working hard to destroy Morgana’s reputation in the town.
It is not just her love for the ponies and her growing affections for Cai that draw Morgana to Ffynnon Las, there is great magic here on the land which calls to Morgana’s magic blood, and the spirits of the witches of the well want Morgana as their guardian of the blue well’s magic.
But there are darker powers at work who can also feel the power of the well. The power that belongs only to the owner of Ffynnon Las, and that evil will do anything to remove the little witch and possess the Grimoire of the Blue Well, including turning the whole town against Morgana.
When Morgana’s farm, her life and her beloved Cai are put into jeopardy, the little witch will show that behind her silence there hides a great power all her own.
In Paula Brackston’s second novel, The Winter Witch, she brings us the little witch who lives her life in silence, but who has a heart that shouts as loud as a lion’s roar.
This was a heavier story than I usually read, but I sped right through it. The story was captivating and entertaining.
I did find it hard to get into at first. Morgana is only 18 and acts like a petulant child in many ways, and although Cai is 25 and a widower, he is still rather shy himself. He wants to give Morgana a chance to settle in and get to know him before he asks for husbandly rights, but he bungles in his attempts to build affection between them. He is constantly saying things like, “I wanted to put my arms around her and comfort her, but the moment passed.”
I would say that for the first third of the book I was frustrated by their failed attempts to bond with each other, and although it only implied at this point, there were darker forces working against them. Someone wants the little witch to leave before a bond grows between her and Cai.
When things go badly for Cai and Morgana on the farm and they are forced to sell their prized ponies, Cai does break from tradition and take Morgana on the drove to handle the ponies that she has come to love. Although selling the ponies is heartbreaking to Morgana, working the drove is perfect for the freespirited Morgana and forges the bond between Morgana and Cai, although it is not without its problems and dangers.
This was well written story, and although it took me a bit to get into it, it was definitely enjoyable.
Received ARC from publisher. Thank you.
“A toili comes as a message from the spirits, from those passed over. ‘Tis a message for him as sees it and none other. Someone is in danger,” he states, baldly. “Someone close to you is going to die, and there’s not a thing you or anyone else can do about it.”
Cai opens his mouth to argue further with the man, but a coldness has gripped his heart. He knows the superstition well enough. And he knows what he saw. He is tempted to retort that there is no one close to him any longer; that death has already claimed the woman he loved. And then he remembers Morgana, and a fresh pain stabs through his heart as keen and as agonizing as anything he felt for Caitlin. Morgana!
He runs. He runs so hard and so fast that even Bracken is left trailing behind him. He runs though the air sears his lungs and his chest might burst from the effort. He runs though the muscles in his legs scream and his head becomes giddy from the doing of it. His hat flies from his head but he does not pause to retrieve it. He can think only of Morgana, and that he has judged her harshly. He sees now that it is unfair of him to take against her strange ways—they have always been a part of her. He has simply been choosing to ignore them; how can she be to blame for that? The realization comes to him that he does not care, not about magic or mystery or things he cannot explain. He cares only about her. Morgana, with all her wildness and her curious gifts. Such talents as she has cannot be bad, he reasons, because they are part of her and she is a good person, he is certain of that. Why should these gifts not be God sent, after all? The thought that she might be in danger, that something might happen to her before he can reach her, drives him on.
He runs until at last he can Ffynnon Las, and then he runs harder up the drive, past the pond meadow and into the house itself, flinging wild the front door.
He all but collides with Morgana as she emerges from the parlor. Standing in the hall, panting, fighting for breath so that he can speak, he grips the startled girl by the shoulders.
“Morgana! Morgana, you’re all right. Oh, thank God. Thank God!” With one more gulp of air to sustain him he pulls her close, pressing his mouth over hers, kissing her with the passion and longing of a man starved of love for a very long time. A man who has only just realized what he has. A man shaken by the fear that he might lose what he has finally found. He stops kissing her but does not loosen his hold on her. Mrs. Jones has come out of the kitchen and is staring at him in astonishment, but he doesn’t care. Morgana looks shocked. He tries to explain, gabbling on about the toili and the old man in the hedge, making no sense at all. In the end he gave up and pulled her close, kissing her again, this time more slowly, with less desperation, savoring the sweet moment.
When she pulls back it is to look at him, questioning still, her expression uncertain.
Cai smiles and says gently, “Well, at least you didn’t bite me this time. I call that progress, my wild one.”
ORDER A COPY: Sealed With a Curse: A Weird Girls Novel
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: December 31, 2012
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…
The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren’t aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?
Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha’s family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.
Cecy Robson’s debute novel, Sealed with a Curse, focuses on Celia Wird and her sisters, brutally nicknamed “the weird sisters” since school. The sisters were just plain old humans who were cursed at birth. But that curse became a gift…sort of. Celia can shift into a tiger. Just don’t get her too close to any other animal spirit, or she can end up shifting against her will. No new puppies for these sisters. Taran is the supersexy/badass sister who can harnesses the power of fire. Shayna can turn any metal into a blade and any wood into a weapon. (“Luke Skywalker could suck it. He had nothing on Shayna.”) Little sister, Emme, has the ability to heal her sisters. She can also use The Force…I mean, she can move things with her mind. Together these sisters are formidable, but they have been trying all their lives to stay under the supernatural radar, not wanting their odd presence known to be the weres, vampires and witches that live nearby.
That was going well for them until Taran had a date gone bad with a vampire and it took all four sisters to bring him down. They were then “requested” to show up to Vampire Court to be held accountable for their actions. When it was determined that the vampire was acting under bloodlust, they were excused with the Court’s apologize, but now it is too late. Nowadays they have supernatural stalkers hiding in their bushes trying to get a look at the weird sisters of Tahoe.
Now the very elegant, powerful and very rich Master Vampire, Sir Misha Aleksandr is fascinated by the lovely and spirited Celia and he wants her help to find out who is attacking his family. Of course, he would also do anything to get Celia into his bed.
While helping Misha hunt down infected vampires might not be every girl’s dream date, it does bring Celia face to face with the gorgeous, sex-on-a-stick Alpha werewolf, Aric Connor. Aric and his pack of werewolves believe themselves to be guardians of the earth and it is their duty to protect the humans from the bloodlusted vampires, not Celia’s. So Aric will do anything to keep Celia safe…and out of Misha’s bed.
Although Celia attempts to get these two powerful, supernatural alpha males to work together to protect the poor, unsuspecting humans who are being treated like blood-filled tic-tacs by the infected vampires, it seems Misha and Aric are more concerned about who gets to play patty cake with Celia.
With vampires and werewolves drawing battle lines in the sand, it is up to Celia and her sisters to find out who is behind the bloodlust, keep the locals safe…and to keep that wereraccooon out of their garbage. Dude, put on some pants!
This was an incredibly entertaining story. It had a great blend of humor, action and romance. It was written in a first person perspective, told by Celia, who is funny and quirky and it is delightful to be in her head. You can see why all the delicious supernatural hotties want a bite out of the charming Celia. This 20-something is not as popular with the boys as her sisters, due to her inner-tiger scaring them away, so she is uncomfortable with all the attention she is receiving, but not to the point it is awkward. She’s more baffled.
There is a prequel that I have to pick up which I am sure focuses on all the sisters.
I don’t know yet if this is a series or a trilogy, but it seems Book #2 (which comes out July 2nd) is also told by Celia. I can’t wait to see where that goes.
Although I don’t believe this is marketed at a young adult book, I will note that there are no sex scenes and only a few subtle sexual references such as “making my girly parts tingle”. It was delightful and entertaining without the full sexual assault that some books have. Maybe you could share this with your older teens (parent’s discretion).
Definitely pick this up if you like your paranormal with a twist of fun.
Received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
This is one of those stories with a little of great little scenes all throughout the book, so trying to pick one favorite was really hard.
“Have you done this before?”
Aric nodded. “Fairly frequently. Our young wolves like to roughhouse. Learning to realign bones prevents them from mending incorrectly, since our healing ability is so fast.” He shrugged. “Otherwise we’d have to re-break their bones every time they got hurt.”
I didn’t know Aric. Not really. But for some odd reason, I trusted him. “Okay. Whenever you’re ready.”
And that’s when Aric took of his shirt.
The soft fabric skimmed over perfectly golden skin and rock-hard abdominals tight enough to launch a brick into orbit. A whisper of hair traveled the length of his belly button to where his jeans hung low on his hips.
Aric stopped removing his shirt when he pulled it just above his small, erect nipples. This wasn’t real. This was some kind of Hollywood hottie video shoot on TV and all I wanted to do was hit pause.
“What’s wrong, Celia?”
I whipped around to face Mrs. Mancuso’s house, mortified to be actually gawking and possibly drooling.
I focused hard on Mancuso’s lawn jockey. It was forty freaking degrees and the breeze from the lake had picked up. I should have been cold, but Aric and his eight-pack warmed my core just fine and dandy. “Wha—what are you doing?” I managed to stammer, whereas my tigress insisted I should shut the hell up, turn back around, and enjoy the show.
Aric edged his way around to face me, removing and twisting his shirt around his neck with each step before fully slipping it on backwards to the clean side. “I have to hold you against me in order to adjust your shoulder. There’s blood all over the front of my shirt. I didn’t want to get any on you.” He explained.
“Thanks,” I said a little too high-pitched for my normally husky voice. “I appreciate that.”
Aric quirked a brow, but when he inhaled my scent his eyes widened with surprise. He was silent for several seconds before gesturing to my arm. “Are you sure you want me to do this?”
There were many, many things I wanted Aric to do, and none of them pertained to my busted shoulder. Yowza. I needed to take a cold shower, and possibly invest in electronic devices.
Right. I focused on the pain and hoped I wouldn’t go down like a wimp. I nodded and closed my eyes. “Go ahead.”
Aric’s strong arms wrapped me in a bear hug, his contact hard and gentle all at once. For the second time that night, his body heat encased me. My face fell against his muscular chest. My God, the aromatic blend of his scent mixed with musk from battle drove my tigress insane. Don’t purr. Don’t purr. Oh, Jesus, please don’t let me purr.
Aric’s voice tightened. “Your heart’s racing…”
Check out our interview with Cynthia Eden. We’ll be talking about her many, many, many new series out now and coming in 2013.
ORDER A COPY: The Better to Bite
Publishing Date: November 4, 2012
eBook: 300 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Don’t go into the woods.
Sixteen-year-old Anna Lambert knows that the woods near her new home aren’t safe. She’s seen the wolves that stalk through that dark forest, but Anna doesn’t scare easily.
Anna is cursed–or gifted, depending on how you look at it–with the ability to find anyone or anything that is lost. So when folks start disappearing in the small town of Haven, Anna’s father, the sheriff, has to use her special skills as they begin to hunt for a killer.
But the killer isn’t exactly human. As Anna is pulled deeper into the secrets of Haven–a town that is truly cursed–she finds herself falling for two, equally mysterious boys. With the danger closing in, one of those boys may just turn out to be her savior. And the other? He could be a very big, very bad…beast.
Beware of beasts…and boys…with bite
Anna Lambert and her father have just moved from Chicago to the small town of Haven, SC. Maybe she’s just not used to small towns, but it seems that there is something odd going on in Haven. And Anna knows all about being odd, or as her father calls her…different. Anna can always find things that are lost, whether it is lost keys, a lost earring, or even lost people.
When Anna goes to visit her father, the new local sheriff, she sees all the missing person’s fliers and she immediately knows where to find the “lost” people but none of them are coming home alive. They have all been the victims of animal attacks…more particularly, a wolf. Maybe even the same wolf that chased Anna herself through the forest.
Anna’s father forbids her from getting involved in the searches, and just wants her to get settled into her new school. That sounds simple enough, but being the new girl in town isn’t always easy. Aside from a few new friends, Anna isn’t the most popular girl in class, especially after she catches the attention of not only the hot football quarterback, and gorgeous, boy-next-door, Brent Peters, but also the sexy bad-boy, Rafe Channing.
But as more people go missing, Anna’s special abilities are needed to help find them before it’s too late. When discussions start turning to witches, magic and werewolves, Anna thinks she might just be been safer on the mean streets of Chicago.
This was a spellbinding tale of a young woman, first loves and paranormal mystery. A perfect example of great storytelling.
There was no hot werewolf sex in this book, barely so much as a kiss, but I didn’t miss it at all. There was so much going on and so many questions running through my head that I never felt the loss. I also realized that there were several questions left open once we got to the end. But even before I knew it was the first in a trilogy, I didn’t feel short-changed about the unanswered questions which would usually piss me off. Really, don’t get me started on Lost!!!
You knew that there were a lot of secrets in this little town, but you were never sure who was hiding a secret and if everyone was actually in on them but Anna.
Definitely pick up a copy for your favorite teen, as well as a copy for yourself. I am looking forward to getting some more answers in the upcoming books.
A long, mournful wail jerked my attention from the Trig book on the kitchen table. Who was I kidding? I wasn’t into Trig right then. I kept peeking out of the window and hoping to see some sign of my dad.
The howl had me rising and creeping once more to the window. I pulled backthe curtain and peered outside. I didn’t see anything.
I turned away.
Seconds later, something slammed into the front door, and I gasped.
Hard, heavy. The whole house seemed to shake with the impact.
Very, very slowly, I turned back around.
Once more, I looked outside, but I couldn’t see anything. From this angle, I wouldn’t be able to see what was on the other side of that door.
I crept toward the door and risked a fast glance out of the peephole.
I could hear a faint scratching. Like nails, digging into the wood.
I jumped back, then I turned and ran as fast as I could for the closet in my dad’s room.
I knew my dad. Knew how he thought. Knew where he hid his weapons. It took me about three seconds to shove a chair into his closet and climb up on it to find the back-up gun he’d tucked onto the top shelf.
Dad had taught me to use a gun, and I really was a very good shot. I loaded the bullets, climbed down, and carefully inched back toward the living room.
I heard the scratches instantly. Scratches and a low whine.
An animal in pain. Possibly dying. But weren’t those the most dangerous types of animals?
I didn’t open the door. “Get out of here!” I yelled, hoping my voice would scare the beast away. “Just get out of here!”
I didn’t hear the sound of fleeing feet, but I did hear…”Anna.”
My name, so soft, barely slipping past the locked door.
Not an animal. Oh, crap. I kept my hold on the gun and fumbled with the lock. I jerked and twisted and the door creaked open, but not too much. Just a few inches.
The porch light fell on his dark hair.
He was lying on his stomach, with his arms outstretched toward the door. He was naked, totally naked and blood gushed from wounds on his back.
I dropped to me knees. “What happened?” But I knew what those wounds were on his back. No way could I mistake gunshot wounds, not with my dad’s job.
He grabbed for my leg, and that was when I realized something was very, very wrong with is hands. Because he didn’t just have hands. Long, thick claws—actual freaking claws—burst from his fingertips. Claws like an animal would have. Not fingernails like a human would possess.
I stopped breathing.
His head lifted, and he looked up at me. His face…it was different, too. His cheeks were sharper, his jaw longer, his whole face thinner. And his eyes weren’t blue anymore. They were bright yellow. Glowing.
The wolf’s eyes.
”Help…me.” The voice wasn’t his. That hard, desperate grating seemed more like an animal’s growl than anything else.
His claws were wrapped around my knee. His eyes burned into mine. His blood dripped onto my porch.
I lifted my gun and pointed it right between his eyes. “What are you?” But I knew–I knew.
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: Forbidden
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Publishing Date: October 30, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 3 stars
The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.
When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . . not without risking the very survival of the Bodywalkers.
In her new spinoff series, Jacquelyn Frank builds us a new World of Nightwalkers. These new Nightwalkers include Gargoyles, Djynn, Night Angels, and in this first story, she gives us Bodywalkers. When the ancient Egyptians were worshiping their Gods and practicing their art of preparing the dead for life eternal in the afterworld, they did not realize that this grab for eternal life would anger the God, Ra, and as a punishment, they would be eternally barred from heaven and their mummified bodies would tether them to the mortal world. Every time they die, they are returned to the Ether, a type of limbo, where they would wait until they were strong enough to Bodywalk again.
At that moment between life and death, the Bodywalkers could intercept a soul and offer that person a chance to live but in return they would need to share their body with the soul of a Bodywalker. Once taking a Bodywalker into their body, their lives would change dramatically including an ability to heal and an almost immortal existence. But the Sun God has not only denied them heaven, he has denied them the ability to walk in the sun, making them forever Nightwalkers.
It is easy to find a newly returned Bodywalker. All you need to do it watch the news and wait for a story of a miraculous tale of survival. This is usually a person, “an original,” who has cheated death and is now Blended with a Bodywalker.
Ram, more commonly known as Ramses the Second, Blended with his original, Vincent, about 30 years ago. Since then he has been waiting. He knows that the time for the return of the Queen is soon upon them and he has been sent to the small town of Saugerties, NY to await her arrival. He knows at once when he hears the tale of survival of The Bridge Girl who was pushed from the bridge into the freezing Hudson River, declared dead and miraculously resuscitated. He know that this Docia Waverly is now the original for the Queen, Hatshepsut, and it is Ram’s job to protect her until the King Menes returns from the Ether. For the first time in all the centuries Ram has protected the Queen, he now finds his attraction to her original too much to resist but he can’t determine which is worse—denying this attraction or betraying his King.
I get a little put off on reincarnations stories. I always feel cheated with a “who do you really love” feeling. This story also left me with a bit of the same feeling. Ram presumes that it is the bodywalker in Docia that he loves (seeming to forget that Docia and/or Vincent might have something to do with the feelings of attraction). I want to be there in 100 years after they come out the Ether again to look at each other lovingly and go “Hmmm, I guess I really loved Docia/Vincent, not you. Now they’re dead. This sucks!”
Although I am not 100 percent sold on these bodywalkers, I was very quite intrigued with the set up for the next story and I definitely have to read it.
This new series not only contains some interesting new characters, but one of the most outrageous scenes in a paranormal series has to be when Vincent (the original) is jealous of Docia’s feelings for Ram and he wants to be the one to seduce her. (See below.)
Jacquelyn Frank has taken the opportunity to branch off from her very popular Nightwalker series, giving us the chance to enjoy a surprising new group of supernaturals, and the sky’s the limit where she will take us now in the new World of the Nightwalkers.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
”You’re supposed to be protecting me, not manhandling me!” she whispered fiercely.
“Oh, but you’ll let Ram manhandle you until the cows come home,” he growled as he closed in on her.
“Do you even hear what you’re saying? You’re the same person, you space cadet!”
The phrase gave them both pause. Yeah, she had to admit, that was a fairly decrepit choice, even for her.
“Not according to you,” he said through his teeth, just as she backed herself into an inescapable corner of the living room. His hands slammed against the wood walls on either side of her shoulders, and then there was the rapid follow-up of his strong body leaning along hers, blocking her from moving. “According to you, there’s all kinds of different.”
“Would you just let it go? In a few more hours none of this is going to matter. A few more days and neither of us will be who we are right now. So what does anything I say or do matter?”
She had grown increasingly agitated with every word, with every statement. She wanted to blame it on him and the way he was harassing her, the infuriating way he was pressing at her, but even she knew it went beyond that.
Vincent settled back a little…calmed, it seemed, as he cocked his head and studied her briefly. Then his right hand came away from the wall and he took her chin, tipping it up until she was looking straight into the golden eyes she would have preferred to avoid.
“Docia, are you afraid of disappearing?” he asked her quietly.
There was no need to define what he was talking about. She knew what he meant, just as he knew what she meant by her remarks. She nodded into the touch of his fingers, loosening their grip on her a little.
“Don’t you disappear when Ram is there?”
It wasn’t an unfair question. Nor was it based on inaccurate observations, he thought with a frown. But she had it wrong. Just as his frantic behavior to delineate himself outside of Ram was wrong.
“No,” he said softly, touching her forehead and the contours along the side of her face. “It’s as true a symbiosis as you can ever imagine,” he promised her. “Ram would falter without me, just as I’m faltering and fucking up without him. Selena knew that. That’s why she did this to us.” And by “us” he clearly meant Ram and himself. “Ram knows things, amazing things, and thinks in ways far beyond what I knew on my own. And Ram doesn’t know half the modern fighting techniques that I do, nor does he have a head for computers and electronics. But together we know it all. And together we make up for each other’s weaknesses in other ways. For instance, when I was just Vincent, it was all about winning, no matter who go trampled in the process.” He sighed. “I don’t want to trample you, Docia.”
“Y-you confuse me,” she stammered, the warm nut brown of her eyes tugging at him in peculiar ways, making him feel guilty when he didn’t want to…when he rightly deserved to.
ORDER A COPY: Storm’s Heart (A Novel of the Elder Races)
Publisher: Berkley Sensations
Publishing Date: August 2, 2011
Paperback: 305 pages
Rating: 4 stars
He’s a Wyr warrior, a god of storms. She’s the heir to the Dark Fae throne. But desire will bring both to their knees in this 2nd Novel of the Elder Races.
During the rule of her murderous Dark Fae uncle, Thistle “Tricks” Periwinkle found sanctuary among the Wyr in New York. Her ethereal beauty and sparkling personality won the hearts of the public, but after her uncle’s death, there are those who don’t want to see her ascend to the throne.
Able to wield thunder and lightning, Wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries. His massive build and thunderous power make him one of the Wyr’s best weapons. And he’s sent to protect Tricks when she’s almost assassinated in Chicago.
Soon, both Tiago and Tricks will fall prey to the stormy hunger that engulfs them—a passion that will shake the very foundation of all the worlds.
When Drago Cuelebre, leader of the Wyr kind, killed Urien Lorelle, the king of the Dark Fae, who was holding Drago’s mate, Pia, hostage, he started a chain of events that would bring his public relations guru, Tricks Periwinkle, into the limelight. Trick’s real name is Niniane Lorelle. She is the sole surviving royal heir, and she had been in hiding with the Wyr since her Uncle Urien slaughtered her family 200 years ago.
Now that Urien is dead, Niniane is meeting with the Dark Fae delegation in Chicago to discuss taking over as the rightful Queen of the Dark Fae and returning to the Other land to the Dark Fae castle. Urien had forbidden the Dark Fae from traveling to our world and was stealing the beautiful works of the Dark Fae artisans and selling them here and keeping the profits for himself. Many are hoping that the return of the true heir might again shine a prosperous light on the Dark Fae. But there are a few who had already hoped to claim the crown for themselves if ever Urien was killed, and they are not happy to find Niniane still alive and standing on their doorstep.
When assignation attempts are made against Niniane, forcing her into hiding, Diago’s most fierce sentinel, Tiago Black Eagle, insists on going to Chicago to find her and protect her on her travel to the Dark Fae realm. Even those who support Niniane, do not like the idea of a Wyr sentinel acting as guard to their future Queen. It appears too much like a Wyr takeover of the Dark Fae kingdom. But Tiago is not going to let anyone have another try at murdering Niniane, so like it or not, he is going to accompany her and protect her.
While both Niniane and Tiago know that his protection of her is causing enough of an uproar, they soon find that their insane attraction to each other cannot be denied.
Like Drago in Dragon Bound, Tiago is almost as old as the earth. He has lived centuries and in certain cultures he has been worshiped as a God. But unlike Drago, Tiago seems to be a little more flexible. Not that he’s not an alpha male, but he isn’t completely a “do as I say, now!” type of guy. I LOVE this big strong guy who understands that his tiny fae is a real girly-girl and he appreciates and loves that about her and he buys her fru-fru things that he knows she will like.
I am loving this series and can’t wait to hear more. This is part of my catch up to a series by audiobook project. I have already downloaded the next audiobook, Serpent’s Kiss, which features the sentinel Rune, a griffin, who is a little more modern day than our two prior heroes, and the Vampire Queen, who we meet in this story. I am looking forward to it.
“Come on, Niniane. Open the door.”
“Wait, I’m in hiding. Don’t use that name either.”
He put his hands on his hips. “Then what the hell do you want me to call you?”
“Nothing. Thank you for stopping by and go away. I’m okay. Everything’s okay. It’s all taken care of now. Just don’t watch any TV for a while, okay? You can go back to New York, or wherever it is you lair when you’re not killing things.”
He scowled. No, thank you and don’t watch any TV? What the hell did she mean by that? He muttered, “I do not live in a lair.”
He settled his shoulder against the heavy metal door that was constructed to meet fire-safety codes and keep thieves out. After pushing with a steady increase of pressure, the lock and chain broke.
The motel room was a pigsty. Shopping bags were piled on the bed nearest the door, with clothes and other items spilling out. Clothes tags littered the floor. Niniane lay on her back on the other bed, which was rumpled. She had kicked off the pillows, and they were on the floor too. She was dressed in some kind of porno version of camouflage, in very short shorts and a tiny stretchy T-shirt that left her narrow waist bare. Her head was hanging off the end of the bed. She held a bottle of vodka in one small hand. It was significantly low in liquid. She clutched a remote control in the other hand. A cigarette smoldering in a half-full ashtray and an open bag of Cheetos lay on the bed beside her.
Her compact, curvaceous body was laid out like some kind of offering to a pagan god. As someone who had once been a pagan god, he knew what he was talking about, and he definitely appreciated the view. As her head hung over the end of the bed, it accentuated the thrust of round luscious breasts that curved over a contrasting narrow waist. A gold ring glinted in her navel, just begging to be licked. Her graceful hip bones and the arc of her pelvis were outlined by shorts that Congress ought to make illegal. Slender, shapely bare legs tipped with toes painted a saucy pink completed the package, and his appreciative cock swelled to salute every visible succulent inch of her.
He glowered, thrown off balance by his own intense, unwelcome reaction. Rein it in, stud. Under the reek of smoke he could smell feminine perfume and—was that the scent of blood?
“Oh, you shouldn’ta done that,” Niniane said. Large upside-down Fae eyes tried to focus on him. “Breaking and entering. That’s against the law.” She sniggered.
Tiago took refuge from his strange feelings in the much more familiar emotion of aggression. “What are you doing?” he demanded. “What do you mean ‘go back to New York’? Do I smell blood?”
“I can only answer one question at a time, you know,” she said.
ORDER A COPY: Dragon Bound (A Novel of the Elder Races)
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publishing Date: May 3, 2011
Paperback: 312 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.
Pia Giovanni is a human/wyr half breed. Her mother always told her she must keep hidden and keep silent about who she was. That she should stay in the human realm and never travel to the ‘other lands’. To never let the humans know she was different and never, ever let any of the elder races know she existed. She should have listened better to her mother.
Now her stupid ex-boyfriend with his giant gambling debts, in his desperation, told his handlers that he could get them anything they wanted and it appears what they want is something that belongs to Dragos Cuelebra. So he blackmails Pia into finding Drago’s hoard and stealing one of his possessions. But Drago is no ordinary human. He’s a king and a dangerous wyr-dragon who is almost as old as the earth itself.
Now the wyr-dragon is seriously pissed and he wants the thief who dared to steal from him. He uses his vast powers to locate Pia and through her dreams he attempts to find her greatest desire so he can use that to trap her. When her greatest desire leads to an incredible sexual fantasy, Drago want to locate her for more than just punishment for stealing.
Pia thought she was safe, crossing into the elven domain where the wyr could not cross, especially not the wyr king, but she didn’t count on Drago’s determination to catch his thief. When the elves find out that he was crossed into their territory, they give him 12 hours to get out of town or they will declare war for his trespass.
But more dangerous forces are involved in the theft then a simple bookie, and now Drago and Pia are on the run from goblins, elves, and the Dark Fey King, who has been Drago’s nemesis for centuries.
Neither Drago nor Pia understand the unbelievable attraction for each other, but they are enjoying exploring it at every opportunity.
This series was highly recommended to me and I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Lord’s Fall, so I decided to give it a try and on a recent very long car trip I download an audiobook copy so that I could use my long drive wisely and catch up on this series.
I should be disappointed that this story had the standard H/H characters of the powerful alpha male, used to ordering everyone around and always getting what he wants, and who is fascinated by the one person who doesn’t do what he wants or what he expects, and Pia is constantly waffling between I trust him/I don’t trust him and I want him to take care of me/I want to be independent. So I am amazed that I found myself really enjoying the storytelling; the build toward what she stole from his hoard, who Pia really is and why her mother was hiding her, the romance between the H/H, as well as the whole cast of secondary characters.
This is the first of the series and the upcoming release is the fifth book. They appear to be a balance between the secondary characters getting their HEA and a continuing story of Pia and Drago. (Don’t quote me on that.) There are also four short stories in the series already.
I will definitely be downloading the audiobook for Book #2 for my trip home and will be getting back to you with a review of that and Book #5, Lord’s Fall.
The dragon lay spread-eagled where they had bound him. He was chained twice, first with the magical black shackles. The second set was attached in four points to the floor. He stared at the ceiling, thoughts weaving in a serpentine path. Every few minutes he would pull at the floor chains. He ignored his bleeding ankles and wrists. He could feel a weakness growing in the chain on his left arm and concentrated on that.
His cell door opened. He turned his head, the serpentine path turning lethal.
A battered, filthy Pia backed into the room, and Dragos became sane.
He began to shake. He watched her listening at the cracked door for a few moments before she pulled the door shut. She turned around. When she caught sight of him, her shoulders sagged.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” She rolled her eyes. “Two sets of manacles? Now I suppose we need two sets of keys. This day keeps getting better and better.”
“Come here,” he said. He gave the chain anchoring his left arm an enormous wrench. The chain groaned but didn’t break. “Come here. Come here.”
She cocked her head, her weary gaze becoming very sober. She limped across the cell and collapsed to her knees beside him. “They beat you too,” she said. She touched his ribs with a light gentle hand.
His shaking increased. Talking to her before the Goblins took her had been easy. He had explained to her with his usual calm ruthlessness how he thought things might go. Overall she had seemed to take it well. He approached the confrontation as he always did, ready and focused to meet any upcoming challenge.
Then that first Goblin had driven his fist into her stomach, and he had gone bat-shit crazy. Every kick, every blow she suffered was like corrosive acid in his veins. He wanted to howl and rage. The dragon strained to rip their hearts from their chests while they watched.
He had clung to his self-control by the merest thread, by the realization of how much worse it could get for her if they got the reaction out of him they were searching for.
They hurt her. They hurt her, and that hurt him inside somewhere, in a place he had never been hurt before. He had sustained physical injury and pain many times before. It meant little to him. But this new hurt—he was in shock. He had never realized just how invincible he had been until it was ripped away from him.