Category Archives: Paranormal Romance
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Publisher: Forever Yours
Publishing Date: April 1, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages
Rating: 4 stars
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil—or all hope will be lost.
Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she’s summoned something dark and sinister. She’s unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her . . . except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can’t stop fantasizing about.
As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in, Duncan vows to protect Kimber. He can keep her safe from others—but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she’s unleashed, Kimber can’t afford any distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan’s seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse.
In Cynthia Garner’s new Awakening series, the police use necromancers in their murder investigations to question the deceased. Kimberly Treat has been brought in to see who murdered Richard Whitcomb. This time when she taps into the magic of the Unseen, something dark takes a ride with Whitcomb’s soul. Before she returns his energy to the Unseen, Whitcomb bites the M.E. and begins an outbreak of a zombie virus which takes over the world.
Our story fast forwards to six months later where Kimber, her friend Natalie, are hold up in an apartment building with Duncan and his fey friend Aodhán. Supplies are running low and Duncan’s vampire Queen will offer safety to Kimber and her friends in exchange for Kimber raising her murdered vampire lover from the dead. Kimber has no desire to live in a nest of vampires, even if it is more secure and lush than her current space. Especially not after Maddalene sent her vampires to kill Kimber’s parents.
Even if Kimber wanted to help the Queen, the Unseen hasn’t acted right since that fateful day six months ago. Kimber has tried again and again to pull the zombie virus from the infected and each time she feels the pull of something dark and evil when she touches the Unseen.
When Madeline threatens the life of her friends unless Kimber comes to her compound, Kimber might just be stuck between a zombie hoard and a hungry vampire army.
This was a quick story that draws you in and before you are ready, it’s over. Worse, when you think about it you still have questions. The good thing is that there is a Book 2, Vampire Thirst, coming out next month.
I also realized once we got to the end that there was probably as much sex as there were zombies in the story. When Kimber and the gang stayed in their apartment and kept quiet with the windows covered, they didn’t seem to be bothered by the zombies. We never saw them scouting for supplies, only traveling between the vampire compound and their apartment. There were a few zombie fights, but I never felt tension of any real danger.
There was also the added interest in blending vampires, fey, magic and zombies (but so far no sign of werewolves). Kimber and Duncan were interesting characters and we get a hint of sexual interest and snarkiness between Natalie and Aodhán.
It was a light read and I am interested enough to see where Book 2 takes us.
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
And that was the other thing that had changed. The two-bedroom apartment where she used to live with Natalie now housed four people from time to time—two humans, one fey warrior and a vampire who was thankfully absent for the moment. With only half a cup of coffee she wasn’t sure she’d be able to put up with bossy-pants Duncan MacDonnough.
Even if his bossiness made her want to roll over and do whatever he wanted.
She’d thought about suggesting they all get a place of their own. It wasn’t as if there weren’t plenty of empty apartments available. And she’d sure as hell thought plenty about telling Duncan to stay at his own place at Maddalene’s complex. But while having people living with her was aggravating at times, she could still recognize there was safety in numbers. If for no other reason, she and Natalie could sleep while Aodhán or Duncan kept watch, and vice versa.
From where he sat on the sofa, Aodhán said, “I know I don’t need to remind you to keep your voices down.” The lovely Irish lilt did nothing to mask the slight ring of condescension in his deep voice.
“No, you don’t,” Kimber muttered. She finished her coffee and placed the mug on the table. “Although it does sound quite lovely when you don’t remind us.”
He turned his head and looked at her. She only knew it because the light from the candles on the table glinted in his eyes.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” She picked up one of the candles and carried it carefully into the living room. She set it on the coffee table and sat down on the other end of the sofa. “I can’t even see you from in there.” Curling her legs beneath her, she rested her head against the back of the sofa and stared at him. He picked up a soft cloth and stroked it along the sword blade. She frowned. “You cleaned that thing yesterday, and you haven’t used it since.”
“A sharp, clean sword is a warrior’s best friend.” He lifted a brow. “It also makes it much easier to lop off heads. Or, if you’d prefer, I can let it get dirty and dull and then hack away at the hordes when we face them. Take five minutes to do a job that should only take a few seconds.”
“Are you sure that’s it?” Natalie asked as she walked over to them. “Or do you just like fondling your sword?”
Kimber pressed her lips together, her gaze going from Natalie to Aodhán. These two had struck sparks from the moment they’d met, and it had only gotten worse with their close living quarters. She wasn’t sure if she should fix some popcorn or take cover.
“Oh, I’m like any other man, lass,” he rejoined with a smirk. “I’m not averse to fondling my mighty sword. Of course, I’m also highly inclined to allow those of the feminine persuasion the opportunity to wrap their hands around it, to stroke along the hard shaft all the way to the tip.” He gave a lecherous waggle of his brows.
Natalie rolled her eyes and shook her head. Kimber snorted back a laugh.
Without taking his gaze off Natalie, he asked, “Do you have something against fondling a man’s sword, then?” He stretched his long legs out under the coffee table.
“I like fondling plenty. With the right weapon,” Natalie added without missing a beat. “But that’s something you’ll only find out in your dreams, fairy boy.”
Rather than be incensed by her derogatory name calling, Aodhán grinned, his teeth flashing white in the dim room.
ORDER A COPY: Bite Me (The Pride Series)
Publishing Date: March 25, 2014
Paperback: 382 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.
That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge.
Livy Kowalski is petite, shapely, vicious and all Honey Badger in Shelly Laurenston’s latest book in the Pride series.
Livy’s family is disappointed by her. From the cradle she has been taught by her family how to steal, how to pick locks, how to appraise valuables and instead of stealing art, Livy wants to waste her time creating it. Her art is everything to Livy but with a big show coming up, and she feels like her art has dried up and if a dry spell isn’t bad enough, somehow she has been dragged in to shoot the wedding of Bo Novikov and Blayne Thorpe. Artist to wedding photographer, could things get any worse.
Oh, but they can. Someone let her cousin Melly out of prison a few months early. It seems you can get good behavior even if you fake your own kidnapping to get more attention from your boyfriend. And now Melly has decided to move into Livy’s place for now. So going home is not an option.
And that’s why Vic has found Livy hiding up in his kitchen cabinet eating the rest of his honey. He wouldn’t mind so much if she used the key he gave her, but she keeps digging holes into the side of his house and the shifter-contractors are starting the jack the price up for fixing them.
Vic is more like his laid back bear father than his tiger mother, and like most hybrids, he has a few quirks of his own. But it’s his laid back nature that makes him able to roll with Livy’s volatile and usually violent nature. She’s not one for sharing anything–emotions, feelings, thoughts…honey, yet Vic is always there when she needs him.
Vic has been sent to find Frankie Whitlan, the man who has been organizing shifter hunts. He asks Livy to use her B&E skills to break into Allison Whitlan’s apartment to see if her father has contacted her. Livy finds something in that apartment that has her seeking out the family that she usually avoids, but Vic can’t get her to open up.
After weekend trip to the bear town of Honeyville (yeah, they know it’s quaint) to gorge on some gourmet honey and do a little jousting (yes, I said jousting), Livy finally confesses what she found in that apartment and it is enough to anger every shifter so that they agree to work with the honey badgers to bring in Whitlan to finally face shifter justice.
What I love best about Shelly Laurenston’s shifter series is how true to the animal nature she keeps the characters. The bears are either laid back or loners or aggressive, depending on the type of bear. The cats are sultry and protective. The wolves stick with packs. The honey badgers are all petite and aggressive and nothing says party like a backyard full of poisonous snakes.
I love the introduction of Vic’s new partner, Shen, who is very laid back and always snacking on bamboo.
This book could be read as a stand alone, but there are many past characters who show up in this story that you won’t understand the relationships if this is your first Pride book. We even get a surprise Smith showing up. And it is more fun when you understand that the Smith’s are the hillbilly/moonshine running wolf pack vs. the rich and powerful Van Holtz wolf pack vs. the prodigy-filled jackal family.
There is a lot of wit mixed in this paranormal series and the pack, pride or clan being featured has a lot to do with how the story goes.
Shelly Laurenston offers a lot of fun for anyone looking for a lighthearted paranormal series.
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
(Livy and Vic attend a Renaissance Faire in the bear town of Honeyville, and Livy decides to work out some of her aggression by jousting.)
Livy stared up at the horse one of the faire employees held for her. She glanced over and said, “You can’t be serious.”
“These are horses bred for two things. Handling the weight of big guys in armor…and not panicking at the scent of shifters. Helping some tiny feminist trying to prove something was not on our list of things to accomplish during the breeding process,” he finished.
Livy looked under the horse and asked, “Huh. What’s this? It looks bad.”
The faire employee bent down to see what Livy was looking at and that’s when she rammed the pummel of her sword into the employee’s tibia. She heard something snap, and he went down with a roar onto one knee. Before he could fall back, Livy climbed onto his shoulders and mounted the horse that was way too big for her.
She looked down at the now-sobbing bear. “Thanks for the help.”
Vic walked into the prep area and stopped when he saw her.
“Have you ever ridden a horse before?” he asked.
“No. There were horses at the private school I went to. Riding lessons were mandatory and were part of our gym grade, but every time I got close to them, the horses tried to stomp me into the ground. Eventually, I had to be excused.”
“But now you’re going to ride one that’s too big for you so you can…joust?”
“That’s the plan.” Someone put a lance in her hand. It was heavy and too long, but livy held on to it. “How do I look?” she asked again.
“If you’re going to be negative…”
Livy moved around in the saddle.
“What?” Vic asked.
“I wish I didn’t have to wear this armor. It’s making my skin itch.”
“Take that armor off, female, and still try to joust, and I’ll beat you to death myself.”
Livy nodded. “Subtle.”
“I’m not subtle. Never said I was subtle. Worried you’re about to do something stupid? Yes. That is accurate.”
“Honey Badger’s up!” someone called out.
“I’m up.” Livy stared at the back of the horse’s head. “You can go now,” she told the beast.
Vic dropped his head into his hands.
Chuckling, she tapped the sides of the horse’s flanks with her heels and rode to the field. True, she might not have ridden the horses at her fancy private school, but that didn’t mean the gym teacher wasn’t a bitch who hated Livy so much she made the fourteen-year-old sit and watch the others for the entire period. At the time, Livy hated Mrs. Webb, but at the moment, she’d discovered a new found appreciation.
Once Livy was led into position, she looked around at the crowd. The faire was surprisingly big and had a lot of attendees. Even the cats from the town next door came to the Honeyville Annual Renaissance Faire.
And apparently the joust was the most popular attraction; the makeshift arena was already packed, with the audience continuing to grow.
A seven-foot older grizzly stood next to her, his face obscured by an enormous beard and long brown and gray hair. Another hippie, she was guessing. Like Rita.
Livy took the offered honey stick, bit off the tip, and sucked out the honey inside while the grizzly studied her a moment before asking, “I know you honey badgers are tough and all, but you do know that we’re going to crush your tiny little body into the dirt, don’t ya?”
“Yeah. I know that.”
“You don’t mind?”
“Not as much as I probably should.” She shrugged. “Trying to work out some issues.”
“Ahhh. I see.” The grizzly leaned in. “Well, me and the guys had a thought. You see, the reason we have this first night of jousting is because we always have to work through the cats from next door before we can get to a good rousing joust with the rest of us. The felines bring a lot of money to this faire, so we put up with ‘em. But it gets a bit boring.”
Livy again looked around at the audience, which was still growing…with bears.
“You want me to take out the cats…don’t you?” Livy asked.
“Cat humiliation and bear entertainment all rolled in one. Think you can do that?”
“What do I get out of it?” Because at the end of the day, Livy was still her mother’s daughter.
“Year’s supply of your favorite honey from Rita’s story?”
Livy immediately thought of the cinnamon-infused honey and she sort of shuddered. A good shudder, though. A delicious, honey-filled shudder.
The grizzly patted her leg. “Have fun, sweetie.”
Livy planned to…
ORDER A COPY: Shadow Spell: Book Two of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publishing Date: March 25, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages
Rating: 4 stars
With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken…
A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss.
Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle.
Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves.
When we finished Dark Witch, the three O’Dwyer cousins, Branna, Connor and Iona along with their friends, Meara, Boyle and Fin, had cause the evil Cabhan a great deal of pain, but they were not successful in killing him.
A few months have past and Cabhan is back and wielding a shadow spell which keeps him lurking and protected in the shadows and where he has started making sneak attacks on our witches in an attempt to destroy their circle. When he almost succeeds in dealing a death blow to Connor, Meara and Connor realized that they have stronger feelings toward each other which have been lurking beneath the surface for some time. As Connor’s interest in Meara grows, Cabhan takes more a notice of her as both a weaker target of attack (since Meara has no magic) and also as a way to destroy Connor.
After several attacks are directed at Meara, the group decide that they need to stop waiting around to defend against Cabhan’s attacks and prepare their own offensive. After they manage to wound Cabhan in one of his shadow attacks, they have his blood to use against him in a spell of their own. But will it finally be enough to destroy the evil which gives Cabhan his power?
This was of course my favorite type of story – friends to lovers. Can’t help it. Love them! There no shocker that since this is book 2 of a trilogy, we will not defeat Cabhan in this book, and although I am interested to see how they defeat him (and I believe there is a strong hint how they will ultimately succeed), what I am really, really dying to find out the story behind Branna and Fin.
We have had hints that they fell in love as teenagers and many hints that they still hold strong feelings for each other (especially poor Fin) but that once Branna learned that Fin was a blood descendant of Cabhan, she turned him away. She is still resentful of the fact that they became lovers before Fin allowed her to see the mark on his body showing his was Cabhan’s descendant. So she felt deceived and she has been slightly untrusting of him and allowing him to participate in their circle. I think Fin was just hoping that if Branna loved him enough, she wouldn’t turn on him once he told her, but it didn’t work out for poor Fin. Personally, I can’t wait to see the sparks fly between them in Book 3.
If you are reading this series, come back when you are done and we’ll talk about the possibilities of how to defeat Cabhan.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“And what are you going to do about Alice?”
“Alice Keenan, who’s signaling her churning lust across the pub like one of those flag people.” She waved her arms to demonstrate.
“A pretty face, for certain. But not for me.”
Meara put on a look of amazement, sent it around the table. “Are you hearing that? Connor O’Dwyer saying a pretty face isn’t for him.”
“Wants a ring on her finger, does she then?” Finn asked, amused.
“That she does, and as that’s more than I can give, she’s not for me to play with. But it is a pretty face.”
He leaned toward Meara. “Now, if you were to snuggle up here, and give me a kiss, she’d think, ah, well he’s taken, and stop pining for me.”
“She’ll have to pine, as other foolish women do.” She scooped up more chicken. “My mouth’s occupied at the moment.”
“You put it on mine once.”
“Really?” Iona pushed her plate aside, leaned in. “Tell all.”
“I was but twelve.”
“Just shy of thirteen.”
“Just shy of thirteen is twelve.” she feigned stabbing him with her fork. “And I was curious.”
“It was nice.”
“How could I tell?” Meara countered. “It was my first kiss.”
“Aw.” Iona drew in a sighing breath. “You never forget your first.”
“It wasn’t his.”
Connor laughed, gave Meara’s braid a tug. “It wasn’t, no, but I haven’t forgotten it, have I?”
“I was eleven. Precocious,” Iona claimed. “His name was Jessie Lattimer. It was sweet. I decided we’d get married one day, live on a farm, and I’d ride horses all day.”
“And what happened to this Jessie Lattimer?” Boyle wanted to know.
“He kissed someone else, broke my heart. Then his family moved to Tuscon, or Toledo. Something with a T. Now I’m going to marry an Irishman.” She angled over, kissed Boyle. “And ride horses all day.”
Her eyes sparkled when Boyle linked his fingers with hers.
“Who as your first, Branna?”
The minute the words were out, the sparkle changed to regret. She knew. Of course she knew even before Branna flicked a glance a Fin.
“I was twelve as well. I couldn’t let my best friend get ahead of me, could I? And like Connor for Meara, Fin was handy.”
“That he was,” Connor agreed cheerfully, “for he made sure he was where you were ever possible waking minute.”
“Not every, because it wasn’t wasn’t his first kiss.”
“I practiced a bit.” Fin tipped back in his chair with his pint. “As I wanted your first to be memorable. In the shadows of the woods,” he murmured, “on a soft summer day. With the air smelling of the rain and the river. And of you.”
She didn’t look at him now, nor he at her. “Then the lightning struck, a bolt from the sky straight into the ground.” She remembered. Oh, she remembered. “The air shook with it, and the thunder that followed. We should have known.”
“We were children”
“Not for long.”
ORDER A COPY: Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: March 11, 2014
Hardcover: 352 pages
Rating: 5 stars
An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.
Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.
Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.
Mercy has fought vampires, grey lords, demon-vampires, river devils, fae queens, government mercenaries, but this time she might be facing the one enemy she has no power to fight – Adam’s ex-wife.
Adam receives a call from his ex-wife, Christy. Her new lover has turned out to be a psychotic stalker and she thinks he killed a man she had dated. She needs Adam’s help and protection and she wants to come ‘home.’
Not all of Adam’s pack has welcomed Mercy with open arms and now the line is drawn between those who support Mercy and those who would rather see Adam take Christy back. Christy is demanding and manipulative. She knows when to use tears to get the protective wolves in her corner, and if Mercy fights back, she will come off as jealous and petty. Mercy might be losing the pack to Christy’s half-truths and gourmet cooking, but she’ll be damned if she’ll let Christy try to take Adam back. Christy walked away and now Adam is Mercy’s, for better or for worse.
When Christy’s stalker can’t get to her, he arrives at Mercy’s shop ready to take away Adam’s love since Adam is responsible for keeping him from his. In a fight for her life, Mercy learns that there is nothing human about Christy’s stalker and there just might be nothing that Adam and the pack can do to protect either Mercy or Christy.
I have spent the last few weeks immersed in the world of Mercy Thompson-Hauptman and I am heartbroken that I have caught up with the series. It will be a year before I will be back again with Mercy, Adam, Stefan and the gang. *sob*
Here Mercy have to deal with Adam’s ex-wife (Jesse’s mom) who comes racing back to Adam for protection, a man she divorced because she couldn’t deal with his being a werewolf. Now that werewolves are out in the open, Christy is happy to shout that she was the ex-wife of pack Alpha, Adam Hauptman, and even without the stalker, she might come back so she could share the spotlight with Adam since he has become such a familiar face. Poor Mercy is avoiding her own home because can’t stand Christy and she can’t even hit her with the walking stick. Speaking of the walking stick (who is making an appearance on this cover), the fae have come looking for the walking stick that Mercy gifted to coyote after it seemed to be getting a little blood thirsty. Opps…now she has a week to try and find coyote to get it back.
In this story Mercy finds out she has a half-brother, another one of coyote’s children, and Gary Laughingdog is no fan of coyote. In fact, he tells Mercy not to do anything interesting which will catch coyote’s attention and she might just be able to live a long and healthy life. Since trouble always finds Mercy, we know that’s not going to happen. Like Mercy, Gary turns into a coyote and sees ghosts, but he also is cursed with ‘seeing’ and foresees what is coming for the pack.
The fae are still on lock down and the reservation is still ‘missing’ after the fae confrontation with the government, so Mercy can’t get any help from Zee or Uncle Mike.
Mercy once again escapes death, but as the only non-immortal in the group, she takes a hell of a beating. Since she has had one in every book, there soon won’t be a bone she hasn’t broken. We do learn that half-brother Gary is much, much older than he looks so Mercy can look forward to a long and happy life with Adam if she can stop getting her ass handed to her by more powerful preternatural creatures.
We do learn for certain that Stefan has been hiding the fact that he still has a bond with Mercy, which we find out from creepy vampire-boy, Wulfe, who wants just a taste of Mercy’s blood in exchange for some information that the pack needs.
I do have several questions about the series, but I haven’t been able to finagle an interview with Patricia Briggs. One of those questions would be ‘How the hell did Adam ever wind up married to Christy?’ That pair just doesn’t go. She is manipulative and maybe before she realized Adam was a werewolf, his looks and money were enough of a draw. She hates that he is werewolf and I haven’t figured at what point in their relationship she found this out. And how did an alpha werewolf have a wife who wasn’t his mate? Questions, questions, questions, but not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the story.
I still think Olivia Wilde would make an incredible Mercy, but I haven’t been able to pin down the perfect Adam. If anyone reads this series can think of a perfect Adam, let me know. :)
We will have to wait another year to find out what else Patricia Briggs has planned for Mercy and the gang.
This is a definite must read series for the paranormal lovers out there.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Christy went right for Adam as if none of the rest of us were there.
“This is your fault,” she said viciously. “I felt so horrible, bringing my troubles here, and it was your fault.”
“Careful,” I murmured, but she didn’t pay any attention to me–which was foolish of her.
“I should have known when Troy was killed.” It took me a second to figure out who Troy was, I’d never heard the name of her boyfriend who’d been killed. “The only time bodies start appearing around me is when there are werewolves involved,” she continued.
“Juan Flores isn’t a werewolf,” I said, but again I spoke quietly, and she didn’t appear to have heard me.
Adam didn’t say anything. He took a deep breath and just–accepted what she said. It was the first time I’d ever seen a real fight between them. Watching him as she spewed guilt all over him, I realized that he enjoyed our fights almost as much as I did. When we fought, he roared and stalked and fought back. He didn’t let his face go blank and wait to be hit again. Being willing to accept responsibility for the well-being of others was part of being Alpha, part of who Adam was, and she was very, very good at using that against him.
Tears leaked artfully down her face. “I tried. I tried, then I had to run. But I can’t get away from you, can’t get away from the monsters. They follow me wherever I go, and it is your fault.”
Adam wasn’t going to defend himself. Honey wrapped her arms around her stomach and turned away. Honey believe herself to be one of the monsters, too, and so Christy’s venom spread over Honey as well.
“Adam didn’t make you go sleep with some complete stranger because he was handsome and rich,” I said coolly, but this time at full volume. There wasn’t a wolf in the house who hand’t heard Christy, so they could listen to me, too.
“Stay out of this,” she snapped at me, wiping futilely at her cheeks. “This isn’t your business.”
“When you blame Adam, whose only fault that I can see is that he has poor taste in wives, you made it my business,” I told her.
Honey cleared her throat. “You do know you are one of his wives, right?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Happily, he doesn’t know how bad off he is with me–and I intend that he never will.”
Life came back into Adam’s eyes with a wicked glint, and I saw a hint of his dimple. Better, I thought, better.
Christy knew she’d lost control of the scene. Her eyes narrowed at me, and she lost the tears. “Juan came after me because of Adam.”
“You slept with a complete stranger,” I said. “Not Adam’s fault you”–Jesse had come down the stairs, with Ben and Darryl trailing behind her, so I didn’t call Christy a slut–”made a poor choice.”
“He was a friend of my best friend,” she said. “Rich, charming, and handsome, he wasn’t a ‘complete stranger.’ I had no way to tell that he was monster.”
“You didn’t know enough about him for Warren to find him. You didn’t know where he lived, what country he was from. I bet you didn’t even check to see if he was married or not before you chased after him. How long did you know him before you hoped into bed with him? An hour?”
It probably wasn’t fair to use what Jesse had told em about her mother’s dating habits against Christy, but she hadn’t been playing fair, either. The tears had been cheating, and when she’d realized just how many of the pack had started to filter into the kitchen behind her, she would doubtless use them again.
“He approached me,” she said defensively–not to mention falsely.
“Are you stupid? How long did you live with the wolves?” I asked her incredulously. “You do know that most of the people in this room can tell that you are lying, right?”
Stupid. She wasn’t stupid, just self-absorbed and unwise. She didn’t like people thinking badly of her, so she lied.
ORDER A COPY: To Catch a Vampire (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation)
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: September 8, 2012
Paperback: 288 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Mission #2 brings sizzling kisses and deadly vengeance.
Beatrice Alexander is still adjusting to life as a secret special agent, wiping out zombies and other supernatural threats. Now, a new case requires partnership with her annoying and gorgeous vampire co-worker Oliver. To infiltrate the goth vamp scene in Dallas, Texas, they must go undercover as a married couple and, Oliver’s convincing public affection has Bea swooning in her bustier and fishnets. Clubbing with the undead turns bloody when Oliver’s old enemy, the vampire lord of Dallas, turns up.
Beatrice has been working for F.R.E.A.K.S. for a few months and she’s enjoying learning investigation from her fellow agents…ok, she likes spending time with hot, sexy Team Leader/werewolf Will Price. But Will is on vacation spending time with the some werewolf alphas doing who know what: marking trees, killing deer…hmmm, let’s not think to much about that. Bea misses him and although he calls her to get updates, it’s just not the same.
When the boss, Dr. George Black, calls her into his office to tell her she’s being sent on a special assignment…just her and the annoyingly flirty, vampire pain-in-the-butt Oliver Montrose, Bea isn’t too certain she is ready for undercover work, especially being alone with Oliver. She is really starting to wonder when she is told they are going undercover as husband and wife and the bustier and fishnet stockings which make her look like an Elvira reject are part of her disguise. Not only is the hotel one that caters exclusively to vampires and their friends, and which is run by a gorgeous (of course) vampire Marianna, an old friend of Oliver’s, but she’s getting really suspicious of his motives and his need for Beatrice to be the one to accompany him when she sees the four poster bed they will have to share.
She agrees to stay on the mission because she wants to help find out if there really is a vampire cabal who are responsible for all the missing people, and put a stop to them. At least she thought the cabal was her biggest concern until she finds out Will knows she’s missing from the mansion and she’ll soon have to face an angry, jealous werewolf who thinks she snuck off for a vampire tryst with her co-worker. She’s just not sure who’s fangs she needs to be more concerned about: Marianna, the cabal, Oliver or Will’s.
And just when they think the danger is past, the local Lord is holding a centuries old grudge against Oliver and thinks Beatrice is the perfect lure for his trap.
These characters are so much fun. I love the fact that every time Beatrice calls the mansion with an update on the case, the others are saying odd things like “do us all a favor and be careful.” We find out this because Will has found out Beatrice was on a mission with Oliver and no one will tell him where they are and he is furious. He gives a dozen excuses for why he’s unhappy, but you know it boils down to jealousy since Will and Oliver don’t get along and both want Beatrice.
This is also the mission where Oliver and Beatrice eventually bond and Oliver goes from being an annoyance to Beatrice to their being best friends (which also annoys the hell out of Will).
It also shows that although Oliver is sexy and flirty with Beatrice, Beatrice does finally get a look at true vampire nature which is cold and brutal although Beatrice does hold her own.
I do so hope there will be a Book 4.
“What do you want, Freddy?”
“You seem a clever woman. I believe you already know the answer to that.”
I do. “He’s not that stupid. It’s obviously a trap. He won’t come.”
“You do not think he cares enough for you to risk his life?”
I don’t know. “He’ll know what you have planned. He’ll send someone else, most likely one of my fellow federal agents. If you let me go right now, maybe the men with guns won’t storm this place and shoot you on sight.”
“I am well aware of your affiliation with the F.R.E.A.K.S., Agent Alexander,” he says with another smile. “However, if you recall your vampiric law, by assaulting me last night during a legally sanctioned duel, I can by all accounts shoot you on sight and your organization could not lay a finger on me. I have no desire to harm you, mind you, but I will if your lover does not show his cowardly hide here this evening, Once again, I ask: Do you think he will?”
The exhaustion isn’t strong enough to mask the fear anymore. My heart rate doubles. “I really don’t know.”
He’s satisfied with the answer, giving me a half smile. “He was always selfish. Never gave any thought to others, your lover.”
“For the nine hundredth time, he isn’t my lover,” I say through gritted teeth. “We’ve never even really kissed, okay?”
Freddy pulls up a chair to sit beside me. He crosses his legs and holds his hand on his knee. “And yet he showed such devotion last night.”
“We’re friends. That’s what friends do for each other. You should get some.”
“I learned the heart-wrenching way what closeness with others brings,” he said coldly. “Misery. Contempt. Even those we hold above all others, whom we never thought could harm us, are not above betrayal. I choose mine carefully now. And as this current situation shows, you should have as well.”
“They really hurt you. Oliver and Jules.”
“Oh, yes,” he says, eyes haunted. “More than words can express.”
“Oliver told me a little about it. They ran off together?”
“Yes. He swanned in and seduced the love of my life in less than a fortnight. I thought I could trust them, my blood brother and lover.” He wrings his hands. “Jules paid for that betrayal at the hands of executioners, and now two hundred years later, so will Oliver.”
“It was forever ago,” I say. “How can you still be—”
“If you knew the first thing about true love, you would not make such an asinine statement. I ache for Jules every day. Part of my soul died when Jules did,” Freddy says, as if each word physically hurts.
“I’m sorry,” I say, meaning it.
“Thank you,” he says, patting my bound hand. “I would have understood if they were truly in love, but Oliver just used him as he does all. Poisoned him against me. He—”
Huh? What? Did he just… “Wait,” I say, holding up my hands as high as they would go, being tied down and all. “Whoa. Did you just say him? Who is him?”
If this were a cartoon, my head would spin around with steam coming out of my ears. “Jules is a dude?” I ask, flabbergasted. “Oliver stole your boyfriend? A man? With a…” Holy heck.
“You seem surprised,” Freddy says, puzzled.
“Um, yeah! He hits on anything with boobs! I’ve never seen him even look at another man that way Women, yeah, like…all the time. Non-stop. It’s just…huh.” Oliver’s bisexual. Didn’t see that one coming, and I’m from Southern California.
“He always favored women over men. That was why I thought nothing of a minor flirtation between them. The many times I have looked back on it, I suppose I should have suspected, especially after the night we were all in bed together. He and Jules–”
“Wait! Whoa. You two slept together? All three of you? At the same time? How does that even work? Where does everything go? Who—”
Freddy chuckles. “How innocent you are, Agent Alexander.”
“Stop laughing! I just found out one of my good friends is bi and into threesomes! It’s a lot to take in!”
Freddy continues chuckling. “You know, I finally do believe you and Oliver have not made love. Quite a shame. I will say one thing in his favor, he was quite a lover. Tender, yet rough all at once. I am sorry you will not have a change to experience it before I gut him.”
Freddy stops smiling, as do I. Vivisection is a terrific mood killer.
ORDER A COPY: Mind Over Monsters (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation)
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: October 8, 2011
Paperback: 280 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Beatrice Alexander is no ordinary schoolteacher–she can move objects with her mind, an embarrassing skill she hasn’t yet mastered or embraced. After nearly killing her brother by accident, she joins the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, the Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals. This top-secret branch of the FBI combats ghosts, ghouls, and other monsters threatening humanity.
With her teammates–among them a handsome former-detective werewolf and an annoying Don Juan vampire who’s dead-set on seducing her–Beatrice investigates her first case. Disgustingly dismembered bodies have turned up, bearing bite marks of the undead. Someone–or something–is raising a horde of hideous, bloodthirsty zombies. Armed with Bette, her trusty machete, Beatrice takes on the master of the flesh-devouring corpses, who’s guarding a horrifying secret.
Featuring a team of monster hunters with unique paranormal abilities, the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series combines humor, suspense, and supernatural crime-fighting.
Beatrice Alexander is an ordinary elementary school teacher, that is normal and ordinary for a teacher who is psychokinetic and can raise the furniture in her room during a bad dream. Two things have happened that will change Beatrice’s life. First, she saved a student from being run over by knocking him down,…and lifting the car over their heads (no one noticed, right?) and she almost killed her brother during an argument. Her brother—half-brother—may have been the first person to call her a freak, but that doesn’t mean she really wants him dead.
Now she has been approached by the FBI branch, F.R.E.A.K.S. (Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals). They want her to come train to focus her ability and join their squad which investigates unusual occurrences—which usually involve attacks by vampires, werewolves, ghouls, witches, zombies or some other nasty that goes bump in the night.
Her team mates include a blind man who can see ghosts, a teenager teleporter who can walk through locked doors (especially helpful when her parents used her for heists), a pyrokinetic who looks like a supermodel, and Carl, a psychometor. But the two men who are making Beatrice crazy is the hot and sexy team leader, former detective now werewolf, William Price, (Is it too soon to ask if we can name our first child, Elizabeth?) and flirty vampire, Oliver Montrose (If he’s talking, he’s flirting.) It appears that Will and Oliver can’t get along, and when both men set their sights on Bea, the tension between them escalates.
Beatrice’s first assignment is a suspected animal attack, but when she accidentally links her powers with Carl, they relive the victim’s last few moments of a zombie attack. But someone has to be pulling the zombie strings, and they need to look for a necromancer who is raising the dead. The first thing to do is to try to connect the victims and see who had a grudge against them both.
As they get closer to their killer, he raises the whole cemetery and attacks the Town. Beatrice grabs a machete and starts hacking. Ok, maybe it would have been better to ease into the job more slowly.
I really love these characters. I had an opportunity read Book 3 last year and have been waiting for an opportunity to read the first two of the series.
Beatrice is adorable and she fell for Will from the first moment she saw him. I love that the hot, sexy werewolf blushes when they are alone and they both start getting a little nervous. Although the hotter choice for Beatrice is Will, Oliver is hysterical with his flirty banter with Beatrice. In this first story, Beatrice is more annoyed with Oliver than friendly toward him. Their deep bond of friendship develops towards the middle of the second book. So in this first story, Oliver is intrigued by Beatrice since he has slept with all of his teammates and Beatrice is immune not only to his flirtation, but to his vampire persuasion. This is what allows a connection to grow between them instead of Oliver’s usual “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, it’s time to move on” approach. Even if his original purpose was simply to sleep with the woman that Will obviously wants, once he gets to know Beatrice, his own love for her grows.
As much as I like to see Beatrice and Will’s relationship grow, Beatrice spending time with Oliver is just so much funnier.
Last year’s review of Book #3, Death Takes a Holiday
“What should we look for?” I ask.
“Evidence of a ritual,” Will says. “Most necros need to perform a ritual to raise the dead. A salt circle, dead animals, blood, charms.”
“There is no evidence of anything like that at the fresh crime scene,” Oliver says. “Do you honestly believe there will be anything at a two-week-old one?”
“Just look,” Will commands. “And make a list of the corpses you think were raised. There could be a pattern. Two teams. I’ll—”
“I will take Agent Alexander,” Oliver cuts in. Oh, goody.
He glances at me, but I just glare. “Fine,” Will says, looking away. “Stay in radio contact. We’ll meet back here in half an hour. You take west, we’ll take east. Any trouble—”
“We will scream like little girls,” Oliver finishes. “Come on, Trixie.” He begins towards the cemetery.
Will grabs my arm before I can take a step. “If he gives you any trouble…”
I yank my arm away. “I can handle him, thank you very much.”
His lips purse. “Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t wait for you. I just wanted to—”
“Can we have this conversation later?” I click on my flashlight, pointing it right into his eyes. “I have to follow the bloodsucking vampire into the dark, creepy cemetery.”
So I do. My partner waits by a black tombstone with that smirk on his face. “Lover’s quarrel?”
“Shut up, and let’s get this over with.”
“For you, Trixie dear, anything.”
I trudge down the small hill, sweeping my flashlight over the graves as I pass. Grass, grass, grass, grass. I walk and sweep in silence for a few minutes, Oliver is staying a short distance behind me. I swear I can feel his eyes on my butt. Grass, grass fresh dirt. “Found one.” Putting the flashlight under my arm, I find my pad and scribble down her name and date of death. Jane Etheridge, dead three months. “No signs of salt or dead animals. Do you smell blood?”
“No. And I would not bother looking for any type of ritual. I do not think our necromancer has need of one.”
“All the books say a blood sacrifice has to be performed.”
“My dear, when you have been alive as long as I have, you come to learn there is no such thing as ‘always.’ People are never predictable. I believe that our necromancer is one of the most powerful puppet masters living today.” He walks to the next grave, then the next. “More times than not, a necromancer requires power and focus to animate the dead. The blood adds power and the ritual helps him focus on the task. The one we are pursuing has all the focus and power he needs, hence no salt circle to protect him and no dead chickens laying about. Here is another one.”
I jot down the name and date. Another recent corpse. We start walking again. “Then why are we looking for signs of one?”
“William has no imagination. His mind is placed squarely in a box with no use for the outside. All black or white. Not an ideal characteristic for a lover. I, on the other hand, live in a world filled with gray, blues and especially reds.”
I stop walking but he strolls on. “Eww. Are you really hitting on me in a cemetery? Because that is wrong on so many levels.”
“Some find cemeteries highly erotic.”
“And some people sleep with sheep.”
“Touché. I will try to contain myself until we reach the parking lot.”
“You can try afterwards too.”
ORDER A COPY: Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book 4)
Publisher: Penguin group
Publishing Date: January 26, 2010
Paperback: 287 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Marsilia, the local vampire queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan. Now, she’s out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack-and her relationship with its sexy Alpha-it’s not Mercy’s blood Marsilia is after..
As if the panic attacks aren’t enough stress for Mercy, Marsilia drops a starved and tortured Stefan into Mercy’s living room hoping he would do her a favor and kill Mercy for her. Lucky for Mercy, both Adam and Samuel were at her trailer and helped keep the starving vampire off her. When Stefan comes to, we learn that Marsilia knows that it was Mercy that killed the vampire and she has tortured Stefan, killed his “sheep” and turned him out of the seethe as punishment for bringing Mercy to the seethe and protecting her.
Adam and his wolves are indebted to Stefan for what he did for them while they were all captured by the vampire-demon. But when Adam realizes that the blood exchange between Stefan and Mercy leaves her vulnerable to be “called” by Stefan, he acts to protect her by making her part of the pack. He will not lose Mercy to a vampire.
It all gets more complicated when Mercy tries to get out of the Tri-Cities area, knowing Marsilia won’t attack her friends if Mercy isn’t there to witness the fun. Although it seems too coincidental when an old college friend shows up at her door asking for help removing a ghost from her house, Mercy decides a trip to Spokane might just be what she needs right now. There is no question that there is a ghost in her friend’s house, but Mercy has never seen one act to violently before.
Mercy might have also just jumped from the frying pan into the fire. The Spokane area has been held by a centuries old vampire named James Blackwood. Blackwood doesn’t allow other preternaturals into his territory and he might not be so happy when he finds Mercy visiting without his approval. When she wakes up to find bite marks and no memory of a vampire visit, it seems that Blackwood might be forcing a blood exchange with Mercy so that he can control her. Does he think he can control Adam’s pack through Mercy’s mating bond with Adam, or is he working with Marsilia to kill Mercy?
Mercy keeps getting drawn into situations which over her head. In this story, the vampires have painted crossed bones on her shop which indicate she is an enemy of the vampires and open for attack by whatever creature wants her. Stefan has been tossed from the seethe for protecting Mercy and not letting Marsilia know that there was a walker in her territory. I think it is more Marsilia’s jealousy of Mercy than any real offense.
Several of the top vampires in the seethe want the now outed Stefan to work with them to kill Marsilia and take over the seethe. Stefan’s refusal doesn’t help situations, it just adds up the list of enemies that Stefan and Mercy are facing.
With Stefan’s sheep dead, it leaves Mercy as the only person with a blood bond to Stefan, but when Blackwood tries to establish a blood bond with Mercy so he can control her. More blood transfers with Stefan is the only option that Mercy has left. When Adam realizes how strong a bond Stefan is creating with Mercy, he won’t lose her to the vampire and he makes Mercy a member of the pack, giving her a bond of blood and flesh with him.
I definitely don’t understand why a smart woman like Mercy would have gone to Spokane when the whole thing smelled fishy to her from the start. Her friend, who was barely a friend in college, conveniently shows up with a reason to get out of town when the vampires are threatening Mercy. She saw that it seemed to be a set up, but she ended up walking right into it. Mercy ends up bonding with her friend’s 10 year old son and therefore, she doesn’t want to leave him when the dangers presented by the ghost and Blackwood put Mercy in danger.
This was definitely a problem caused by Mercy’s bad decisions more than outside issues such as the demon-vampire and the Grey Lords.
Maybe I needed to leave, money or not.
My stomach was back in knots, and if I didn’t bottle everything up, I was going to have that stupid panic attack, and not safely behind the sound of water and the closed bathroom door. Right here where anyone could see. Next to the poor beat-up Rabbit, with Adam’s phone number painted on the roof. For a good time call…
He stopped. “Mercy? What are you so angry about?”
He would know. Even I could smell it: anger and fear and…I had it all, and I had nothing.
It was too much. I closed my eyes and felt my body shake helplessly and my throat close, refusing to let air through…
Adam caught me as I fell and pulled me against him, in the shadow of the old car. He was so warm, and I was so cold. He put his nose against my neck. I couldn’t see him, lack of air left me with black dots impairing my vision.
I heard the growl shake Adam’s chest, and his mouth closed on mine—and I sucked a deep breath through my nose. I could breathe again, and the weight on my stomach lifted, and I was left shaking, with blood…no, snot running down my face.
Embarrassed beyond anything, I jerked free of Adam’s hold—knowing with humiliating certainty that he let me go. I wiped my face with the bottom of my shirt. And settled in the shelter of the Rabbit, my cheek against the cooling metal.
Weak. Broken. God damn it. God damn me. I felt the wave of it hovering, ready to descend upon me again. Despair and helpless anger…They were all dead. All dead, and it was my fault.
But no one was dead. Not yet.
All dead. All of my children, my loves, and it was my fault. I put them at risk and failed. They died because of my failure.
I smelled Stefan.
Adam’s golden eyes met mine, the color proving the wolf ascendant. He kissed me again, pressed something against my lips, forcing it between my teeth with a forefinger and thumb without removing his mouth from mine.
It was such a small scrap of bloody meat to burn down my throat as it had. It meant something.
“Mine,” he told me. “You aren’t Stefan’s.”
The dry grass crackled under my head, and the coarse dirt made a noise like sandpaper that echoed behind my eyes. I licked my lips and tasted blood. Adam’s blood.
The Alpha’s blood and flesh…pack.
“From this day forward,” said Adam, his voice pulling me out of wherever I had been. “Mine to me and mine. Pack and only lover.” There was blood on his face, too, and on the hands he touched my face with.
“Yours to you, mine to me,” I answered, thought it was a dry croaking voice that made the noise. I didn’t know why I answered, other than the old “shave and a hair cut” involuntary response. I’d heard this ceremony so many times, even if he’d added the “only lover” part.
By the time I remembered why I shouldn’t do it, what it meant, it was already too late.
Magic burned through me, following the path of that bit of flesh—-and I cried out as if tried to make me other than I was, less or more. Pack.
I felt them all through Adam’s touch and Adam’s blood. His to protect to govern. All of them were mine now, too—and I theirs.
Panting, I licked my lips and stared at Adam. He let me go, coming to his feet and taking two steps away from me where I lay against the side of the old car. He’d bitten his forearm savagely.
“He can’t have you,” he told me, his gold eyes telling me the wolf was still speaking. “Not now. Not ever. I don’t owe him that.”
Belatedly, I realized what had happened. I wiped my mouth with my wrist to give myself time to think. My wrist was pink with Adam’s blood.
Stefan was awake…and somehow he’d invaded my mind. It had been his panic attack I’d felt.
ORDER A COPY: Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 2, 2008
Paperback: 287 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape – but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it’s up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.
Mercy’s loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can’t decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her.
Mercy Thompson has always tried to keep out of the way of other preternatural creatures. When you know that goes bump in the night, you know it is best not to let them notice you. Growing up in a werewolf pack, Mercy has always been in and around pack business. Recent events have caused Mercy to now owe favors to the vampires and to the fae and she is making a lot of friends and enemies with both groups. The vampires calling in that favor didn’t go so well for Mercy, so what makes her think helping out the fae would be any better?
The Grimm brothers had it right. Fae are not nice creatures and everything they do comes with a price.
Uncle Mike and Zee, Mercy’s friend and mentor, have asked for Mercy’s help to find out who has been killing fae on the fae reservation. In her coyote form, Mercy’s nose can pick up the scent of anyone who has been at all the crime scenes. Except Mercy’s immunity to some magic allows her to see some things on the reservation that the fae don’t want outsiders to know about.
When Mercy points out the killer, Uncle Mike and Zee go to have a talk with him (fae code for make him disappear forever) only to find out someone beat them to it. Someone with enough strength to rip off a man’s head. Surprising the police arrive at the door just as Zee and Uncle Mike arrive and Zee is arrested for murder.
The Grey Lords who rule over the fae are more than willing to sacrifice Zee to the humans so that no more attentions is focused in on the fae, but Mercy is not willing to sacrifice her friend and let the real killer go free and the Grey Lords aren’t very happy with Mercy’s decision to get in their way.
I am really getting into this series, but this was a much darker story than the two prior books. In the last one Mercy is helping the vampires but learning things that the vampires don’t want her to know, like how to kill a vamp. In this one Mercy is learning too much about the secretive and mysterious fae. Vampires each have different gifts and abilities, but that is nothing to the broad spectrum of the fae.
Even Zee becomes angry with Mercy in this story, but whether it is because she is drawing the attention of the Grey Lords by fighting Zee’s imprisonment or whether he is angry because Mercy tells fae secrets to the attorney she hires, Mercy isn’t sure. When Zee calls due the note on the garage (which is a serious fae spit-in-the-face), Mercy is heartbroken that she has lost her friend and mentor.
It is a much darker story since Mercy does not get away unscathed from this adventure. Fae magic is used against her in the most brutal way. This leads to anxiety attacks and PTSD issues in the next story. She is now being watched by the Vampire Mistress and the Grey Lords and being under the protection of the wolves may no longer be enough to keep Mercy safe.
“You are telling me that Zee went to O’Donnell’s house to murder him?”
I took a deep breath. “You aren’t going to understand this. You don’t know the fae, not really. Imprisoning a fae is…impractical. First of all, it’s damned difficult. Holding a person is hard enough. Holding a fae for any time at all, if he doesn’t want to be held, is near impossible. Even without that, a life sentence is highly impractical when fae can live for hundreds of years.” Or a lot more, but the public didn’t know that. “And when you let them go, they aren’t likely to shrug it off as justice served. The fae are a vengeance-hungry race. If you imprison a fae, for whatever reason, you’d better be dead when he gets out or you’ll wish you were. Human justice just isn’t equipped to deal with the fae, so they take care of it. A fae who commits a serious crime—like murder—is simply executed on the spot.” The werewolves did the same.
She pinched the bridge of her nose as if I were giving her a headache.
“O’Donnell wasn’t fae. He was human.”
I thought about trying to explain why a people who were used to dealing out their own justice would care less that the perpetrator was human, but decided it was pointless. “The fact remains that Zee did not kill O’Donnell Someone got there first.”
Her bland face didn’t indicate belief, so I asked, “Do you know the story of Thomas the Rhymer?”
“True Thomas? It’s a fairy tale,” she said. “A prototype of Irving’s ‘Rip Van Winkle.’”
“Uhm,” I said. “Actually, I’m under the impression that it was mostly a true story, Thomas’s I mean. Thomas was, at any rate, a real historical person, a noted political entity of the thirteenth century. He claimed that he’d been caught for seven years by the queen of the fairies, then allowed to return. He either asked the fairy queen for a sign that he could show his kin so they would believe him when he told them where he’d been, or he stole a kiss form the fairy queen. Whatever the reason, he was given a gift, and like most fairy gifts, it was more curse than blessing—the fairy queen rendered him incapable of lying. For a diplomat or a lover or a businessman, that was a cruel thing to do, but the fae are often cruel.”
She didn’t sound happy. I guess she didn’t like thinking any of the fairy tales were true. It was a common attitude.
People could believe in the fae, but fairy tales were fairy tales. Only children would really believe in them.
It was an attitude that the fae themselves promoted. In most folktales, the fae are not exactly friendly. Take Hansel and Gretel, for instance. Zee once told me that there are a lot of fae in the rez, if left to their preferred diets, would happily eat people…especially children.
“He was cursed to become like the fae themselves,” I told her. “Most fae, including Zee, cannot tell a lie. They are very, very good at making you think they are saying one thing, when they mean another, but they cannot lie.”
“Everyone can lie.”
I smiled at her tightly. “The fae cannot. I don’t know why. They can do the damnedest things with the truth, but they cannot lie.”
ORDER A COPY: Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 2)
Publishing Date: January 30, 2007
Paperback: 292 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen…
Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.
But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.
Mercy should have known that nothing is simple when dealing with vampires. She owed her friend Stefan a favor for helping her find Adam’s daughter, Jesse, when she was abducted. She knows she should have said no when the favor involved changing into her coyote form and putting on a studded harness. She definitely should have said no when he explained that he needed her to witness him warning a vampire who was trespassing in his seethe’s territory in case something unusual happened, since Mercy is immune to vampire’s powers. But how can another vampire enthrall a vampire of Stefan’s age?
Except there is more to the vampire they go to see. He is definite more than just a newly made vampire. There was a smell of oily evil that surrounded him—evil and death unlike anything she has ever smelled on a vampire before. That smell was enough to make Mercy want to turn tail and run, but then he enthralled Stefan and Mercy, stuck on a leash in coyote form, was forced to watch the vampire kill in blood lust.
Someone had turned a demon-possessed human into a vampire and let this creature with the strength of a vampire and the powers of a demon loose on the Tri-Cities. The vampires and the wolves are working together to find this killer because his slaughtering brings the attention of the humans. Now that the werewolves have joined the Fae in coming out to the humans, they know that the police will be looking at the wolves for the unexplained violence and deaths which are increasing around the city.
When Stefan, Adam and Samuel all go missing and Mercy’s friend Warren is found near death, Mercy is frantic to find them but doesn’t know who else to turn to since the Fae don’t want to get involved. Mercy is more surprised when she is summoned by the Mistress of the seethe. Marsilia thinks that Mercy would be able to defeat the demon. What does the Mistress know about Mercy’s Walker abilities that Mercy doesn’t. It has to be more than not be able to be enthralled by vampires since Mercy has only a little more strength than a human, and no healing abilities like a were or a vamp.
Mercy is going to have faith that Marsilia is sending her out because she wants to find Stefan and not just as a way to get rid of Mercy. Mercy is willing to risk her life if necessary to get Stefan, Adam and Samuel back safely and destroy the monster before he destroys more innocent lives.
I really like Mercy Thompson and her friends. The demon-vampire is really creepy, especially when he comes visiting Mercy. Mercy gets a little help of her Fae mentor, Zee, and her human/cop friend, Tony.
We learn a little more about the vampires and their strengths and weaknesses so we do have some slower parts to the story while Mercy tries to figure out how to kill a vampire and where the demon-vampire is hiding and trying to figure out who created it.
Added to Mercy’s headaches is the fact that Adam and Samuel both want Mercy. Two dominant males vying for the same female makes tensions a little high around the three of them. Add to that a very interesting kiss from Stefan, who obviously has some feelings for Mercy as well. It keeps things a little interesting the romance department.
I am definitely enjoying this series.
“What did I do to deserve that look?” he asked.
“Why don’t I feel like obeying you now?” I asked.
He smiled at me and turned on the bypass highway that ran along the outskirts of Richland. It was four thirty and the road was clogged with traffic.
“Being the Alpha is different from just being dominant,” he said.
I snorted. “I know that. Remember where I grew up.”
“If I’m away from the pack, I can make the Alpha go dormant. Bran can do it whenever he feels like it, but for the rest of us, it takes real effort.”
I don’t know how he expected me to react to that, but it didn’t make me happy. “So it was deliberate, the way you made me feel?”
He shook his head and I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. I don’t like being manipulated at all, and being manipulated by paranormal means is worse.
“No. I told you it takes an effort—and the…effect you have on me makes it difficult.” He wasn’t looking at me now. He was a product of his times. He might look like he was in his late twenties, but he’d been born just after WWII, and a man raised in the 1950′s didn’t talk about his feelings. It was interesting watching him squirm. I was suddenly feeling much more cheerful.
“I can’t help how I’m wired,” he said after a moment. “I don’t even know how much is being an Alpha werewolf and how much is just me—but being around you brings out the predator in me.”
“And so you had to make me want to please you?” I made sure he heard how I felt about that.
“No!” He sucked in a big breath and then said, “Please don’t antagonize me right now. You want an explanation. You want me to stop influencing you. I’m trying to do both—but it isn’t easy. Please.”
It was the “please” that got to me. I leaned my back against the door so I was a far from him as I could get. “Tell me, then.”
“Bran can control his Alpha effect until he can fool werewolves who don’t know who and what he is. I’m not so talented, but I can stuff it down so it doesn’t interfere with my everyday life. When I negotiate contracts, I don’t like to exert undue influence on the people I’m dealing with. Even in the pack, I don’t use it much. Cooperation is always better than coercion—especially when that coercion only lasts until they’re out of my presence. I only bring out the big guns when there’s trouble in the pack that can’t be solved by talking.” He glanced at me and almost hit the car in front of him when traffic stopped unexpectedly.
If my hearing hadn’t been so good I wouldn’t have heard him when he said, “When I am with you, my control is shot. I think that’s what you’ve been feeling.”
So he could command my obedience whenever he wanted to. Only because he chose not to do so was I left with my free will.
“Before you act on that fear I can smell,” he said more confidently, “I’d like to point out that you had no trouble turning Samuel down when you were sixteen—and he’s more dominant than I am.”
“He’s not an Alpha and I didn’t turn him down to his face. I left without talking to him.”
“I’ve seen you go toe-to-toe with Bran and not back down.”
“No, you haven’t.” I wasn’t stupid. No one faced off with Bran.
He laughed. “I’ve heard you. Remember when Bran told you to be a good little girl and let the wolves deal with the scary stuff and so ensured that you would go out and find the bastard who’d taken Jesse?”
“I didn’t argue with him,” I pointed out.
“Because you didn’t care if you had his permission or not. The only reason you submit to me is because some part of you wants to: I’m willing to admit that my being an Alpha brings that part of you to the forefront, but it is you who relaxes your guard around me.”
I didn’t talk to him all the rest of the way home. I was fair enough to admit to myself that I was angry because I was pretty sure he was right, but not fair enough to tell him so.
Being a master stategist, he let me stew. He didn’t even get out of the car open my door—which he usually did. I hopped out and stood with the door open for a minute.
“There’s supposed to be a good movie coming out,” I muttered. “Would you like to come with me Saturday afternoon?” I hadn’t intended to ask. The invitation just popped out.
He smiled, that slow smile that started in his eyes and never quite made it to his mouth. I shifted my weight uneasily becuase that smile had a unsettling effect on me.
I swallowed. This was not a good idea. Not at all. “The one behind the mall, I think. I’ll check.”
“Fine. Call me later with the time.”
“Okay.” His lips were curling up now.
Dumb, I thought, dumb sheep waltzing right into the slaughterhouse. I shut the door without saying anything more and went into the house.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I thought, meeting Samuel’s gaze.
“Going to the movies?” he asked, having obviously overheard what I’d said to Adam.
“Yes.” I jerked my chin up and refused to give in the tight feeling in my stomach. Samuel wouldn’t hurt me. The problem was, I didn’t want to hurt him either.
His eyes were half-shut and he breathed in. “You smell like him again.”
“He picked me up when I was running in coyote form, so he brought me clothes.”
Samuel moved with the speed of a boa constrictor and he put his hand behind my neck. I stood very still when he put his nose under my ear. I couldn’t help but smell him also. How could his scent have as powerful an effect on me as Adam’s smile? It was wrong.
“When you go with him,” he growled, his body trembling with readiness or pain—I couldn’t tell which because I could smell both, “I want you to remember this.”
He kissed me. It as utterly serious, beautiful—and, given the rage in his eyes when he started, surprisingly gentle.
ORDER A COPY: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 31, 2006
Paperback: 288 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.
Mercy is a “walker” who can turn into a coyote, but who was raised by werewolves, and not just any werewolf, by Bran, the Marrok (or leader of all the werewolves).
Mercy lives an ordinary life, well, sort of…she owns her own garage which she bought from a retiring Fae named Zee, and she is friends with a vampire named Stefan who has a VW bus painted to look like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.
She also shares a property line with the local Alpha of the Columbia Basin pack named Adam Hauptman and his teenage daughter, Jesse. Adam keeps a powerful Russian witch on retainer for hiding the werewolf’s presence from the humans. Pretty much an average, ordinary life.
When a runaway teen shows up at her garage, she quickly smells that he is a werewolf and this young werewolf is not part of a pack. Mercy offers him a job so she can keep an eye out for him. When a werewolf and a human come looking for him, Mercy is forced to help him defend himself. After blood is shed, Mercy calls Adam in to take care of the young Wolf and introduce him to pack life.
But things aren’t that simple. The people who are looking for Mac are daring, or just stupid enough to attack Adam in his home. Mercy helps Adam defeat the intruders, but not before Adam is seriously injured and his daughter, Jesse, is kidnapped. Mercy needs to find a more dominant werewolf fast because once Adam regains consciousness, his injured wolf will be uncontrollable until he is healed. The only ones Mercy knows that are strong enough to control a powerful Alpha like Adam is Bran and his sons.
Mercy might not be part of Adam’s pack, but she is now embroiled in what might be a pack war. She has to find out who attacked Adam and who would have taken his daughter.
I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Night Broken (which is Book #8 in this series) so I did a search of the Mercy Thompson series and it sounded right up my alley. I decided to take some time to catch up and get to know some of the characters.
This is a much better Sookie Stackhouse type of story plot, meaning she is not part of any specific group, but she keeps getting dragged into pack or vampire business. In this series, Mercy is a preternatural creature since she is half human/half walker. She is immune to some magic and she can shape shift into the form of a coyote. She is not a part of Adam’s pack (even though Adam told his pack Mercy was his) but she gets drawn into pack business when Adam is badly injured, and something makes her afraid to call in his pack for fear that there is a traitor in the pack. Who else would try to attack an Alpha in his own home?
She has several preternatural connections who she contacts to assist her in helping Adam heal as well as tracking down who would abduct his daughter.
I like that although Mercy is brave, she is not stupid. She doesn’t just jump into a fight unprepared. For example, when Mac is tracked down by a werewolf and a human. Mercy knows she can’t out power the werewolf and the human has a gun. She watches and observes and it isn’t until Mac is being attacked that she jumps in, using the element of surprise and getting the werewolf to chase her while using her brains to outmaneuver his bulk.
This story wasn’t non-stop action since it was the first in the series and involves a lot of introduction of characters, including explaining the dangers of the werewolves and the vampires in general, and how the Fae have been forced into the public eye and how the werewolves are considering joining them. We are also introducing the base characters of the story: including Mercy, Adam, Jesse, Zee, Stefan, Bran, Samuel, several members of Adam’s pack as well as Bran’s pack, and Mercy’s relationship with each of these characters.
It was good storytelling and interesting world building and it held my interest throughout. I have already started Book 2 where we start by Stefan asking Mercy to make good on the favor he did her helping find Jesse.
Personally, I think Olivia Wilde would be a perfect Mercy Thompson. Can someone get casting on the phone?
“What happened?” he asked, his voice softer than the first snowfall in winter.
“It’s complicated,” I said, holding his gaze for two full seconds before I turned my head and gestured toward the body. “The dead one is there. If he belongs to you, he is new—and you haven’t been doing your job. He was as deaf and blind as a human. I was able to take him by surprise, then he was too ignorant to realize that the wound wouldn’t close as fast as usual if it was given by a preternatural creature. He let himself bleed out because he was too caught up in the chase to—”
“Enough, Mercedes,” he growled as he strode over to the dead wolfman and knelt beside him. He moved the body and one of the corpse’s arms flopped down limply on the ground.
Mac whined eagerly, then bowed his head and pressed it against my thigh so that he couldn’t see.
The sound drew Adam’s attention from the body to the boy at my feet.
He growled. “This one isn’t one of mine—and neither is that.”
“So gracious,” I said. “Your mother should be complimented on your manners, Hauptman.”
“Careful,” he whispered. It wasn’t a threat, it was a warning.
Okay. He was scary. Really scary. He’d probably have been scary even when he was just a human. But it wouldn’t do to let him know he intimidated me.
“Adam Hauptman,” I said politely to show him how it was done. “Allow me to introduce you to Mac—that’s all his name I know. He was attacked by a werewolf in Chicago about two moons ago. The werewolf killed his girlfriend, but he survived. He was taken by his attacker and put in a cage. A man who sounds a lot like the Chicago Alpha Leo sold him to someone who held him inside a cage in a semitrailer and used him for what sounds like some sort of drug experiments until he broke free. Last Friday he showed up at my door looking for work.”
“You didn’t inform me that you had a strange wolf on your doorstep?”
I gave him a put-upon sigh. “I am not one of your pack members, Adam. I know this is difficult for you to fathom, so I’ll speak slowly: I don’t belong to you. I am under no obligation to tell you anything.”
Adam swore harshly. “New werewolves are dangerous, woman. Especially when they are cold and hungry.” He looked at Mac, and his voice changed completely, the heat and anger gone. “Mercy, come here.”
I didn’t look down to see what he’d noticed in Mac’s face. I took a step, but Mac was wrapped around my left leg. I stopped before I fell. “Uhm. I’m a little stuck for the moment.”
“For a smart girl, you’re pretty stupid sometimes,” he said, his voice rich and gentle so as not to startle the werewolf by my side. “Locking yourself in a garage with a new wolf and a dead body isn’t the smartest thing you could have done. I don’t have a connection with him yet. It would help if you have his real name.”
“Mac,” I murmured. “What’s your name?”
“Alan,” he said dreamily, coming up to his knees so his face was pressed against my belly. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier after my grandfather who died the year I was born.” The friction of his movement rucked my shirt up and he licked my bare skin. To an outsider it might have looked sensual, but the abdomen is a vulnerable spot on the body, a favorite of predators. “You smell good,” he whispered.
He smelled like werewolf, and I started to panic—which wasn’t a very useful thing to do.
“Alan,” said Adam, rolling the name on his tongue. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier, come here to me.”
Mac jerked his head away from me but tightened his arms painfully on my hips. He looked at Adam and growled, a low rumble that caused his chest to vibrate against my leg.
“Mine,” he said.
Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”
It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other. While Adam had Mac distracted, I reached behind me and grabbed my big crowbar from the shelf directly behind us. I brought it down on Mac’s collarbone.
It was an awkward hit because I didn’t have much leverage, but the collarbone, even on a werewolf, is not hard to damage. I heard the bone crack and wrenched myself out of Mac’s grip and across the garage before he recovered from the unexpected pain.
I didn’t like hurting him, but he would heal in a few hours as long as I didn’t let him eat me. I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would recover from murder as easily as he would a broken bone.