Category Archives: Paranormal Romance
ORDER A COPY: Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Hardcover: 384 pages
Rating: 5 Stars (Loved it!)
As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.
Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?
Romeo and Juliet have nothing on the tale of Lanthe and Thronos. Melanthe, the Queen of Persuasion and Thronos Talos, Knight of Reckoning and Prince of the Skye, should have been mortal enemies. Vrekeners have always sought to curtail the activities of the evil Sorceri. Lanthe and Thronos met as children and enjoyed an easy friendship. Thronos recognized Lanthe as his fated female and knew that someday their friendship would grow into something much more.
Yet it only took a moment of hate and fear to destroy their future. Thronos’s father, the King, brought his knights to murder Lanthe’s parents. Although they were only children, Lanthe and her sister, Sabine, used their powers to fight back and killed the King and his men. Believing that Thronos betrayed her, Lanthe turned her power of persuasion on him, and commanded him to jump out of the high tower and not use his wings to stop his fall. As a young Vrekener, Thronos had not yet come into his immortality. It is a miracle that he survived at all. His face and body bear the scars from the glass and his deformed leg and wing are physical reminders of the betrayal of that night.
Vrekener’s never abandon their hunt and a male never lets go of his fated female. She is his only chance for children. So for 500 years Thronos has been chasing Lanthe across worlds and dimensions, but she has eluded him every time. Now they have both escaped from the Order’s prison and Lanthe is still wearing the torque which dampens her sorceri powers. She can’t create a portal to escape and she can’t persuade Thronos to leaver her alone. After 500 years of the chase, he finally has her in his arms. Now that he finally has her, he needs to decide what to do with her.
There is a part of him that wants to torture her for the wrongs she has done him. While he tried unsuccessfully to capture her, he had to watch his fated female take male after male to her bed while Lanthe tried desperately to find true love. There is also a part of him that still yearns for the friend he lost and the family they should have had together. Is there is too much pain and betrayal between them to ever get past?
As Thronos tries to get Lanthe to his home in the sky, they will need to fight as a team, instead of each other, to survive the perils surrounding them. They each feel the loss of their past connection like an ache, but is it enough to get them past 500 years of betrayal and treachery and find the friendship they left behind?
Thank you, Kresley Cole, for finally giving us the story we have all been dying to read.
I have been desperate for this story since we first met Lanthe and Thronos in Kiss of a Demon King. We were tortured further in Demon from the Dark, when we left off with Thronos capturing Lanthe. Being so desperate for this story, I was both thrilled and terrified when Kresley Cole announced that Dark Skye would be her next book. Thrilled that it was coming out and terrified that it would not be as fabulous a story as I needed it to be. I received a copy on late Friday afternoon and had it finished to Saturday afternoon and I am so happy to say that Thronos and Lanthe’s story will be on my list of top ten favorite stories ever.
My favorite part of this story was that Thronos gets pissed off every time Lanthe calls him a demon. Thronos is very black and white with his thinking and Lanthe forces him to see that life is mostly gray. He was raised to believe that Vrekeners were not demons, but Lanthe keeps pointing out everything that Thronos does that is demon-like.
“One more time, sorceress: I am not a demon! Vrekeners are descended from gods. We have purpose. His tone was harsher than he’d intended, because…because he had felt an affinity for the beast.
“I thought Vrekener horns were only for show,” Melanthe said with obvious glee. “Yours straightened when I began to undress.”
“I’m to take your word on that?” But how they’d ached!
“I’ll bet you have a demon seal. You won’t release seed until you’re inside your mate.”
“So I have a couple things in common with demons.” He ran his fingers throug his hair. “I also have fangs—does that make me a vampire? My eyes turn silver, so I must be a Valkyrie.”
Deny, deny, deny.
Much to his frustration, Lanthe is the only one who could challenge his rigid mindset and make him acknowledge the gray.
What I had disliked in the last two IAD books, Lothaire and especially, MacRieve, was that the heroes were sexually attracted to their heroines, but afterwards they acted disgusted by the fact that they gave in to those desires and touched a female like her. Before starting Dark Skye, I was afraid we would have more of the same especially since we are starting the story knowing that there is a lot of pain and anger between these two characters. The book starts off with a seething Thronos barely able to control his wrath against Lanthe. But we see as the story progresses that just having her with him is starting to calm him down. As his rage passes, we start to see that Thronos is naturally a calm and rational guy. He assesses each new danger or challenge before acting. Although we are still a long way from love, as he starts to think clearer he starts to work through his feelings of betrayal. He wants to get Lanthe home with him so that he can have a family since Lanthe is the only one who can have his children. Once he truly works through his feelings, he wants a family with her because she matters to him.
Thronos’s biggest issue is that Lanthe has been sexually active with many, many partners trying to find someone who will love her, and Thronos is a virgin. Vrekeners are very, very conservative and have a giant book of rules of what is taboo or an “offendment” to his people. Kissing Lanthe before they are married is considered an offendment so you can see why her promiscuity is a problem for him. By the time we get to anything really sexual, they are already working through their problems and Thronos is never in any way disgusted by what he wants to do with Lanthe, even when he is angry with her.
Lanthe has no problem with Thronos scars. She thinks they make him look warlord-y and sexy. But it is not until Lanthe takes a peek into Thronos’s mind and starts to see what happened between them from his point of view that she softens her heart and forgives him a little, but whenever he continues with the slut-shaming, he loses her again.
It is such a good story and there is such a gradual working through their issues which brings them a complete 180 from where we started that you almost forget how dark the story starts and how much seething hatred they had when we began.
All Immortal After Dark followers will be delighted with this next chapter in the series, and if you haven’t tried an IAD story, you are missing out on a truly fun and sexy series.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!!!
So many scenes, which one to pick…
Lanthe hadn’t caught her breath since she’d entered, her captivated gaze taking in every detail.
Happiness coursed through her veins. How had clever Thronos found this place?
Though she was in a room full of gold, her attention veered to him, crouched on that shelf. The muscles of his torso flexed with his movements. His stern, intense expression and that gargoyle-like position made him look very demonic.
She’d never bedded a demon before. Huh.
Yet as she strolled the temple, his constant scowl eased. Without that scowl, he was…gorgeous.
There was no more denying it—or her attraction to him.
Some females might consider his scars unsightly. Lanthe though they made him look tough and warlord-y. Besides, who could care about them when those silver eyes were so compelling? When his warrior’s body seemed to have been sculpted from granite?
He’d once believed that she was “everything missing” from his life. Could he still feel that way? And why was she contemplating these things—instead of how to transpo this gold to Rothkalina or calculating karats?
Why did she have the urge to peer up at him with equal captivation? She surrendered to her impulse, turning to him. He seemed surprised by her perusal but held her gaze.
They were—dare she say it?—having a moment.
“You face me when surrounded by gold? Perhaps I rate after all?” The scowl returned, as if he was hardening himself. She wanted to cry, No, no, no, just a few more minutes!
“We had a deal,” he said. “I grow impatient.”
She could imagine—he’d waited so long to see her. And now she knew he’d already been struggling with his lust and curiosity when he’d been a young man.
A deal was a deal. She would take the sight of this gold into her, a memory to last forever. Unless I can return…
“Be about it, sorceress.”
Since she’d planned on enthrall him, this would be a good start, but the way he was crouching forward, as if on the verge of pouncing, made her hesitate. “If I do this, how do I know you won’t try to touch me? You’re not supposed to, right?”
“I only intend to look,” he said, though she could sense his aggression mounting.
“Do it, then.” When she still hesitated, he said, “Don’t feign shyness—I know you’ve done this with a horde of males before me.”
And just like that, her interest was checked. Though she was neither ashamed nor proud of the number of men she’d been with, his cruel jabs wounded her.
At least now she better understood his resentment. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to put myself in a sexual situation with you.”
He growled at that. “After your purported year of celibacy, I would expect you to be climbing the walls for any male’s attentions. And if I’m not mistaken, you’re in season.”
She flushed, lips thinning.
“I’ve heard tales of females like you.” At her raised brows, he enunciated the words, “Easy quarry.”
How could a maddened Vrekener hurt her so much?
Because he once looked at you with perfect acceptance, Lanthe. And she feared she’d been searching for that look ever since she’d lost it.
In order for her to be interested in a male, he needed to make her feel special—even if she knew it was a ruse. Despite Thronos’s mind-blowing body and heartbreaking past, he stood no chance. “Even we ‘easy quarry’ girls have standards. And you, Thronos Talos, are leaving me cold.”
He scoffed. “I could seduce you with ease. You’ve welcomed scores before me with only minuscule effort on their part. but I’ve no intention of taking you, nor even of touching you. Both are offendments. I only want to see my female.”
“You think you can resist seeing your mate naked?”
“You think I can’t?” A cunning light shone in his gaze. “You Sorceri like to gamble? To make bets? Then I’ll enter into a wager with you—my first.”
Dudley Do-Right makes a bet.
“If your body tempts me to touch it, then I’ll tell you how I found this temple and opened the door.”
“And if it doesn’t tempt you?”
“The blow to your enchantress pride would be reward enough.”
That is it! Now it was imperative to wipe that smirk off his face. “I’ll take your bet.” She thought she spied a flash of surprise in his expression. “No sex, though.”
He glowered, as if she’d suggested something ludicrous. “I’ll breed no bastards! Already my offspring will be half Sorceri. Do you think I’d allow the first to be illegitimate on top of that?”
Asshole! Only Thronos could ruin this: her, in a temple full of gold with a physically attractive male. He was like the anti-Sorceri—created to repel her.
Forget enchanting him! He didn’t deserve her beguilement. “I’ll remember this.”
“That you kill joy wherever you find it.” She gave him her back as she unfastened the first of three clips on the side of her breastplate.
Had his breaths quickened?
She gazed over her shoulder, saw his claws digging into the gold shelf, his throat working. His voice dropped an octave when he commanded, “Off with it.”
She unfastened the second clip.
“That’s it,” he murmured, his words dripping with pent-up lust.
As she was undoing the last clip, she heard something from beyond the main cave, and paused. The sound came again, growing in volume—movement down the mountainside. Something big was approaching. “Thronos, what was that?”
“Heard nothing. Continue.”
“Come on, demon!” She began fastening the clips again.
“There’s nothing to fear out there!”
When the entire temple rocked, she snapped, “Oh, really?”
He made a coarse sound of frustration; then she heard the swoop of his wings. She whirled around to find him charging toward her, that determined look in his grave face.
His eyes appeared to have darkened, and she could swear his horns were straightening—just like a demon’s would when he became aroused.
In other words, Thronos doesn’t live here anymore.
Reaching for her, he bit out, “To tide me over.”
A roar sounded in the cave. Seeming to wake out of a daze, Thronos dropped his hands. And she could have sworn upstanding Dudley Do-Right grated “Fuck.“
ORDER A COPY: Under The Final Moon (Underworld Detective Agency)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 3 stars
It’s not the end of the world–until it is. Sophie Lawson may be a mere human with no special abilities except a strong immunity to magic. But the havoc she’s wreaked on the supernaturals who come up against the Underworld Detection Agency have earned her plenty of enemies. Still, a girl can’t freak out every time a horribly barbecued corpse is found with her business card in its hand. Or see a sudden glut of earthquakes, wildfires and three-headed dogs as just another day in California. But Alex Grace, her favorite fallen angel, is concerned–or saying he is to see more of her. Getting Sophie to see all the signs of the Apocalypse is an interesting way to heat things up. Or maybe what’s making everyone hot under the collar is the fact that all Hell is about to break loose. . .
Arsonists are lighting up San Francisco and they all have one thing in common, they all appear to be trying to bring forth Satan. When a vampire lights himself up, and just happens to be holding onto a card belonging to one, Sophie Lawson, Det. Alex Grace comes knocking to find out of Sophie knows anything about Daddy-Dearest trying to get in touch with her. Oh yeah, did we mention that Sophie’s Dad is Satan himself, and that as some celestial joke, the Vessel of Souls holding all the souls that haven’t traveled on to heaven has been hidden inside Sophie.
There is also a group known as the Grigori who are trying to kill Sophie before Satan can get the Vessel of Souls from her.
As if Firestarter vampires, three-headed dogs, Grigori and a home visit from Satan isn’t enough to keep Sophie snacking on chocolate pinwheels, she still hasn’t made any decision on her choices of men…Will or Alex?
Armageddon is coming is something you say, not something that’s actually happening on Tuesday, but as the signs start added up, it appears that Dear Old Dad might just be trying to come for a visit, but is he looking to spend time with his little girl, get Sophie to join the family business or just do a snatch and grab of the souls hidden inside her?
This was the last book of the series and I can’t tell you how absolutely disappointed I was while I was reading it.
Poor Sophie, being the only human in a bunch of paranormals, usually ends up being beaten up and crying. Sophie had so many breakdowns in this story and a lot of them a constant pity party of “Why didn’t my Dad love me and come to the Father/Daughter dance” or “to my play” or “come to my graduation” or “what does he want from me now.” Most of her crying jags were with Alex and she ended up crying in his arms. This happened so many time that if I was listening to an audiobook, I would have assumed I messed up the download and was repeating scenes.
We also kept having scenes where someone was attacking Sophie and then they disappeared, never to be heard from again, and then someone else would attack her and again, that storyline just disappeared. The story starts with fires, fires, fires everywhere…and then suddenly there are no more fires mentioned again. There were also several of the usual scenes where everyone was there to protect her, and then they all just stepped away giving the bad guy time to attack. “We’re here to protect you.” “No, I’m okay.” “Alright, see you tomorrow.” Knock, knock, Bad guy calling.
There was also many, many references to Satan being “a trickster” and I kept waiting for the big trick Sophie would do to fight him at his own game, but the ending happened so fast and ended up being pretty anticlimactic.
After listening to Sophie constantly bounce back and forth between Alex and Will for five of the six stories, in the end Sophie doesn’t pick one over the other so much as one leaves town, leaving her choosing the other by default. I think it would have been funnier after all these books of her lamenting which hottie will I choose, if they both left her at the end.
Although the humor was still there, the story itself seemed to just circled around and the plot was not very cohesive. For the last book in the series where she could have done anything that she wanted with the characters, it was totally disappointing.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I heard the murmurings and a few stepped forward to pat me on the back or touch my arm gingerly, and I was basking in the warmth of this weird, horned, extended family that cared, and gave a damn whether I lived or died.
And then, the elevator dinged.
Alex was standing there and it was like the first time I’d ever seen him: his shoulders were thrown back, chin hitched one lock of wavy hair impishly falling over his forehead. His chest looked impossibly broad, Greek-God like, and when his badge winked from his hip, I felt my mouth water.
Once again, I was: Sophie Lawson, turned on in the face of danger.
Alex’s icy eyes cut across the waiting room until he saw me. I saw him suck in a breath, and I was ready to shimmy out of my panties—all the demons cared and Alex, too—when the other elevator dinged.
We all waited, no one breathed, until the doors slid open.
Then I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.
Will was in the second elevator, leaning against the back wall and looking relaxed and comfortably cool, as though he were in an Abercrombie ad just awaiting his scantily clad co-model. His hazel eyes were slightly hooded in that “hey, baby, I’m holding a kitten” kind of way that made my heart bloom and ignited something low in my belly. Between the two of them I was a pile of supercharged horny goo while the whole of the world trembled on the precipice of holy hell.
As I clamped my knees together and gritted my teeth, I was fairly certain that my inappropriate sex drive was half the reason the city was vaulting toward our brimstony demise.
Both Alex and Will stepped out at the same time, each with a set of eyes fixed on me for a brief second before they glanced at each other. Then each seemed to get an inch taller. Suddenly, chests were puffed out and, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m fairly certain that arms were flexed. I would have paused to scrutinize further, but both made a beeline for me, talking at the same time.
“Wanted to make sure—”
“—you were okay down here.”
They stopped talking at the same time, too, glared at each other, then swung to face me and my army of Underworld associates.
“We’re all okay down here,” I said, feeling suddenly overwhelmed with domestic love and nearly throwing my arms around the armless zombie and the troll who had kicked me out from under the coffee table.
ORDER A COPY: Better Homes and Hauntings
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: June 24, 2014
Paperback: 318 pages
Rating: 4 stars
When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”
But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.
But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
As a self-made billionaire, software genius and only successful Whitney in the last 100 years, Deacon Whitney wants to prove once and for all that there is no family curse against the Whitneys. What better way than to reclaim the family estate which he just inherited out on Whitney island. But anyone within 100 miles has heard the rumors that the mansion is haunted, and so in order to keep his key people working, he needs to keep them with him on the island, before the houses creaks and moans scare them from the job for good.
He has chosen his friend Jake Rumson, to be his architect, Cindy Ellis to help with the clean up and restoration, and Nina Linden to design the landscaping. Deacon hired Nina for her talent, but he will admit that there is more to his interest in the lovely gardener than just her choice of plants.
Everything is going well once everyone arrives and the work begins. Is that because the “ghosts” are quiet or because no one wants to be the first to admit that they’re the crazy one who is seeing ghosts?
The real question is whether there really is the ghost of Catherine Whitney, supposedly murdered by her jealous husband Gerald, haunting the island or are the things going bump in the night made of flesh and bone? There are several family members and overlooked competitors who have various reasons why they don’t want this job to be completed.
Whether the ghost is real or not may be the least of their problems since the attacks are getting more and more violent as the days go on. These meddling kids better hurry up and solve this mystery quickly before they become the next victims of the Whitney curse.
There are no werewolves and vampires this time, but Molly Harper has definitely written a ghost story which is a grown-ups version of a Scooby Doo mystery. Although I miss her beloved characters, her writing is still as entertaining in this stand alone novel as in her Nice Girl and Naked Werewolf series. But unusual in a Molly Harper novel is the various POVs. It jumps between Deacon, Nina, Jake, Cindy and Deacon’s cousin, Dotty. Her novels are mainly 1st person narratives with a few exceptions.
Deacon Whitney may be a billionaire software genius, but he is still deep down a geek and Geeks in Love are always adorable as he tries to awkwardly flirt with Nina and gets excited when told that Nina likes him. Nina is just as much a geek as Deacon and she gets all his SciFi and fantasy references which just makes more cartoon hearts float around Deacon’s head.
Cousin Dotty just shows up in the middle of the renovation determined to document the renovation for her book while she searches for Catherine’s missing diaries. Dotty wants to prove that Catherine’s husband, Gerald, didn’t kill her. Dotty is quirky and flaky and hasn’t finished one project yet, but you can’t help but love her.
We also have a secondary love interest story going on between Cindy and Jake which was interesting. Jake keeps trying to get close to Cindy, but all she does is growl at him. What Jake doesn’t remember is that he dated Cindy years ago, and never called her again after their second date. Now he’s looking at Cindy with interest and Cindy refuses to tell him why she’s so pissed of at him.
This is all part of the POV changes throughout the story, which includes the different romances and the various ghost sightings by the various characters.
As always Molly Harper gives us fun story with great dialog and this time with a little spooky added in.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
As the newcomer gushed over how thrilled she was to be involved and that she just couldn’t wait to get started, which was why she’d shown up weeks ahead of schedule to present Deacon with her design ideas for the interior, Cindy rolled her eyes. Typical. Now that this barracuda with the telltale red-soled shoes was in the picture, he’d dropped Cindy and moved on.
Cindy pursed her lips, steadied herself against the banister for a moment. It sucked to be right all the time.
Resolving to forget the entire “tripping” episode, Cindy made her way to the opposite site of the room, where Dotty and Nina were whispering quietly.
“The insecure preadolescent girl inside of me is curled up in the fetal position,” Nina grumbled, noting with inexplicable irritation the way the new arrival was practically standing on Deacon’s feet, murmuring to him in low, familiar tones; until the moment Jake had walked in, anyway, which was the moment she launched herself at him. Poor Anthony had been standing off to the side, intently staring at the blueprints of the house so he could look anywhere besides at his boss getting kitten-whispered. And Deacon looked…
Well, maybe Nina didn’t know Deacon well enough to gauge his facial expressions. He seemed impassive, even bored. He hadn’t exactly been leaning into the lady’s aural assault, but his face didn’t give of a Get thee away from me, you fashion-forward she-beast! vibe, either.
In Nina’s mind, Indignant Deacon spoke like a character from Game of Thrones.
“Oh, honey, she doesn’t deserve your head space.” Dotty sighed. “That’s just Regina Van Hauten. We’ve know her since, oh, two or three noses ago.” When Cindy lifted an eyebrow, Dotty clarified, “Since high school Her family is close to Deacon’s and Jake’s parents.”
“And why is she here?” Cindy asked.
Dotty’s facial expression wasn’t hard to decipher at all, with her mouth pinched into a derisive frown. “Regina’s supposedly an interior designer, but judging by the hatchet job she did on Deacon’s corporate offices, I’m betting she got her training from one of those videos you can order from an infomercial.”
“Uncomfortable seating and abstract art?” Nina guessed.
“There’s an ‘installation’ of discarded Starbucks cups in the lobby by some artist from Hoboken. It’s called ‘The Globalization of Mediocrity.’ The janitor kept trying to throw it away, so Regina’s idea was to put up a sign that says, “Please don’t recycle the art.”
Cindy bit her lip before a snicker could escape. Dotty grinned at her, even as Regina sent the pair a scathing look. Nina noted that Regina hadn’t bothered introducing herself to Nina or Cindy.
Dotty muttered, “I told Deacon not to hire her, but he said he ‘has his reasons’ for letting her ruin both is offices and his home. And when I press him, he refuses to answer, which is saying something, because I can always get Deacon to fess up. Just for your information, he is very ticklish.”
“How will that information ever be of use to me?” Nina asked.
Dotty wriggled her eyebrows. “I can think of a few ways.” Nina stared at her, adopting Deacon’s “impassive” expression. “Oh, come on, I’ve seen the two of you together. It’s like watching a nature documentary on scientists trying to get the two most socially awkward people in the world to mate.”
“Not true!” Nina whispered back. “We talk about work-related subjects, that’s all.”
Just then, Deacon looked up from Regina’s papers and gave Nina a lingering look, as if she were the only thing giving him the strength to continue his conversation with his decorator. Nina’s face flushed bright red, and Dotty fanned her cheeks with Cindy’s clipboard.
“Oh, hush the both of you,” Nina muttered.
“You made my cousin smoulder,” Dotty whispered in awe. “Until two years ago, he didn’t wear matching socks half the time. He actually pays someone to match his clothes for him. So for him to throw any sort of swagger at you, that’s sort of a miracle.”
“He probably just had something in his eye,” Nina protested softly. “Now, be quiet before someone hears you. This is a foyer, not a cone of silence.”
“You’re right, he did have something in his eye,” Cindy singsonged. “You.”
“Sweetheart, I’m going to insist that you ride that man like a pony,” Cindy added. “For the good of mankind, technological advancement, and America’s place in the world economy. Think of the gadgetry he could come up with if he had a little stress relief.”
Nina poked at Cindy’s arm. “You are all class, my friend.”
ORDER A COPY: Vampire Trouble (Dead in the City)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: July 1, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Shane Quesada, a four-century old vampire sentry, is known for cold, unemotional precision when hunting rogue vampires.
Maya Robertson is a youngling vampire who will not be controlled—and to prove it, she rejects Shane’s protection—only to find herself in over her head with an alpha werewolf.
Soon, a war between the coven and the werewolf clan ignites, and Maya and Shane flee to Louisiana, where their passion for each other grows—as does Maya’s power. When she finds herself at the center of the conflict, will she finally trust Shane with her life—and her heart?
Maya Robertson has been a vampire of only five years. She is a young vamp by immortal standards and like any other youngster, she has a problem keeping herself out of trouble. She does exactly what she is told not to do, she gets angry when she is told to behave by her maker and she likes to play with her food.
On the night of her turning, she was raped, beaten and left for dead in an alley. Since Olivia turned her, she has been plagued with nightmares of the night of her death. The constant feeling of powerlessness makes her seek out some control of her life. She often feeds from the type of men who would take advantage of a weaker female and then she toys with them. She is not happy when Olivia gives an order that they are not to hunt for awhile. Werewolves have come to town unannounced and uninvited and that can only mean trouble.
Of course, the first thing Maya wants to do is get a closer look at these werewolves. When she is almost attacked by one, it is 400-year-old Sentry, Shane Quesada, who steps in to take Maya by the hand to help the baby vampire grow up.
He knows that Maya’s best defense against the dreams is to fight off her attacker in her dreamscape, and in reality, to be able to fight off the werewolves who are now seeking her out. He takes Maya away to train her in self-defense and weapons. He know that once Maya feels confident enough that she can take care of herself, she will finally be able to move beyond the past which still haunts her.
This is an enjoyable series and a quick read for anyone who likes paranormal romance. Understandably, Maya has issues with men when the story begins. We know from the first book that Maya likes to glamour and play with the human men she feeds from. We learn in the beginning of this story exactly why she does it. Still you do want to shake Maya in the beginning because she makes emotionally motivated decisions without thought. She is told to stay away from the werewolves, so of course she takes a new job at a club where they are hanging out. She is told not to trust them and to stay away from them, so of course she agrees to go to their hotel suite alone with the pack. *shake, shake, shake*
I liked Shane a lot until he starts to have the “I’m getting too obsessed with Maya to do my job” talk with himself, just after Maya starts to trust him, and we see her start to mature. Then it is our turn to start shaking Shane for being stupid.
This is the second story of the series and brings the second pair of Bloodmates to the series. The supernatural world is already having a summit to discuss Olivia and Doug who are the first Bloodmates in forever. The supe world is concerned about the fact that they can walk in the daylight, and have also created a child. Tensions are high as they await the birth of Olivia’s child, and with the supernatural world up in arms about what their bond could mean to the future of the supernatural world, a second pair is going to ratchet that concern way up.
Overall it was an enjoyable story and a good addition to the Dead in the City series.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“I knew you like to watch.” Her voice, quiet and edged with bitterness, cut into the silence of the night. Maya spun around and stormy, dark blue eyes latched onto his. “Do you get off on that?”
“You are the one who challenged me to follow you.” Perplexed by her obvious anger at his presence, Shane knit his brows together. He inched closer, his gaze wandering over her face, memorizing every curve. “Or did you forget?”
Maya’s eyes widened with every inch of personal space that he invaded, yet she didn’t retreat. “I remember telling you and everyone else that I’m tired of having my every move monitored.” She placed her hands on her hips and met his challenging stare. “You’re a sentry and supposedly some badass warrior, but you’re spending the last hours of your night spying on me? What’s your deal? Are you trying to get brownie points with Doug and Olivia? Do you get some kind of bonus for following me around and messing with my life?
“Then what’s your damage, dude?”
“Actually”—Shane tilted his head slightly to one side and folded his arms over his chest—”that was going to be my question for you.”
“What?” Maya blinked and took a step back. “Me? What are you talking about?”
“Yes, you.” Shane leaned closer and his voice dropped low. “Why do you insist on hunting but barely feed on your prey?” Maya said nothing and took another step backward, but Shane persisted. He dropped his hands and continued moving toward her, even though she moved farther away.
“You only hunt men, and from what I’ve observed over the past few months, your taste in human men is…Well, let’s just say it’s questionable. You don’t just hunt, Maya. You court, seduce and lure them in much the way one would with a lover, and yet you clearly don’t love them. In fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite.”
“I like the hunt.” Maya tilted her chin defiantly but gasped when she backed right into the trunk of a massive oak. “What’s wrong with that?” she whispered through trembling lips. “Besides, what would a stodgy old vampire like you know about love?”
“Nothing.” Shane place his hands against the tree on either side of Maya, caging her in. He leaned in so his face was just inches from hers. “I know little of love but I’m well schooled in hunting, whether it’s to feed or in battle. It’s not what you’re doing that intrigues me, Maya, but why you’re doing it.”
“I-I’m hunting, like any other vampire does.” Her voice lowered to a whisper, but the anger and defiance had been replaced by fear and uncertainty. “For the blood.”
“No.” Shane shook his head slowly. Brushing a lock of blond hair off her face, he ran his thumb along her jaw. Her skin was warm and smooth beneath his. Although vampires felt cool to the touch to humans, they felt warm to other vampires because their body temperatures were the same. Although Maya’s flesh seemed hotter and more enticing than any Shane had encountered.
He tiled her chin, forcing her to look him in the eye, and to his surprise, she didn’t resist. “If it were only about blood, youngling, then you would simply glamour a human, feed, and release him. No.” Shane traced the line of her full lower lip with the edge of his thumb, and sadness tugged at whatever was left of his heart. “We both know there is much more at play here than the need for blood.”
“Then spill it.” Maya’s features hardened, and her hands balled into fists at her sides. Dark blue eyes glittered up at him with fierce determination. “What is it that you think I’m after?”
Memories of Maya being dragged into the alley and the look of pure terror and helplessness in her eyes came roaring back—and in that instant he knew. He felt like a fool for not realizing it the moment he’d woken from the dreamscape. When the realization dawned, something deep inside him shattered into a million tiny pieces.
“Power,” Shane whispered. His fangs burst free, and Maya let out a gasp of pleasure. “Control.” He placed a gentle kiss at the corner of her mouth. “Domination.”
ORDER A COPY: Pia Saves the Day: A Novella of the Elder Races
Publisher: Thea Harrison
Publishing Date: June 23, 2014
ebook: 90 pages
Rating: 5 stars
In the latest story of the Elder Races, two mates face their deadliest challenge yet—each other…
Pia and Dragos’s magical young son Liam (the Peanut), is growing at an unprecedented rate, and if that isn’t enough, he is also exhibiting new, and unpredictable, magical gifts. To protect him, the concerned parents decide to move to upstate New York.
Both Dragos and Pia relish the idea of leaving behind the city. They finally have the space to indulge their Wyr side, and Liam can grow in safety. It’s a breath of fresh air—literally—but their idyllic situation is shattered when Dragos is injured in a freak accident.
Stripped of his memory and bereft of Pia’s taming influence, there’s nothing holding back Dragos’s darkest side. And in order to restore her family and save her mate, Pia must confront the most powerful menace in Elder Races history.
It’s going to take more than a penny to fix this.
Pia and Dragos have decided to move to Drago’s property in upstate New York on a more permanent basis. They want Liam to grow up in the fresh air and open spaces that Manhattan just can’t offer. In order to move the Wyr headquarters upstate, additions need to be made to the sprawling property. The mansion needs some updating, but more importantly, they need housing for the sentinels as well as the security and Drago’s office staff.
As part of the project, the construction crew needs to level the bedrock for the new housing building. When an explosion goes wrong, Dragos is covered in rubble and an angry and injured dragon emerges. It is obvious from his actions that there is more to Drago’s injuries than just the bleeding head wound. The wounded Dragos takes off and Pia must first protect his demesne before she can take off to find her mate.
Pia’s blood has the power to heal but she has to get the wary and cunning dragon to trust her enough to get close. She tries to get his attention with gold and jewels to tempt his acquisitive nature. Dragos doesn’t remember Pia but her scent is stirring something deep down inside him. Dragos is looking at the golden beauty before him and he sees a treasure more valuable than baubles which he wants to keep for himself.
I absolutely love that Thea Harrison has once again brought us a story of Pia and Dragos. This would be the third story that has come back to focus on these major characters of the series. Series either focus on the continuing story of a main character or characters or they focus on a group and each pair gets their day in the sun. It is rare that an author will bring the spotlight back to characters who have already had their story told, and I love that she does this. I talked with author Thea Harrison just before the Lord’s Fall was released two years ago.
In this series Pia and Dragos are the backbone of this group and obviously they still have a lot of story to be told. Dragos is the most powerful Wyr in existence, no question. See favorite scene from Kinked. In Dragon Bound, he was pushy and domineering to a degree that should have pissed me off, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the dynamics of Dragos and Pia and that has only increased as the series progressed and Pia brings out a gentleness that is surprising even to the dragon himself. They are a very dynamic power couple in the paranormal world.
If you are a fan of the series, you have probably already purchased this novella and have finished it and don’t need my review to sway you in any way. But most interesting about this novella, I believe, is that there are several things occurring here that are going to bring interesting, if not major, changes to the series and to the dynamics of the characters.
This is not something that an author of a well liked series does unless they’re desperate or creating a spin off, and especially not in the form of a novella rather than a major novel release. This is pretty brave shake up on the part of Thea Harrison. I am absolutely fascinated to see how the ripples created by this novella is going to effect the future stories.
There is one more novella featuring the Cuellebre family coming out this summer and it is Peanut Goes to School. Here is another delightful character in the series who brings a great big question mark about how he will change things. Peanut is the nickname of Pia and Dragos’s son Liam and he is the only other dragon to exist since Dragos was “born” at the creation of the world millennia ago. He is growing at a phenomenal rate, but since there are no other dragons, no one knows what is normal for him. He turns into a tiny baby dragon which is absolutely adorable! Since everything about Peanut’s dragon nature being combined with Pia’s gifts is up in the air, anything can happen. He is a great big surprise and no one knows how he will affect the future of the series.
The other characters and stories have been very entertaining, but the big stars of this series are no question Pia, Dragos and Liam.
If you like paranormal romance and haven’t tried the Elder Races series, you are definitely missing out.
Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Dragos bent his head and kissed her, softly because their sleeping son nestled between them. His firm, warm lips parted hers, and he dipped his tongue into her mouth in an erotic promise for later. Awash in the love that burned through her veins, she steadied herself by gripping his bicep. With obvious reluctance, he pulled away.
In the fourteen months they had been together, the desire had never changed. Elemental as necessary as breathing, it dictated the rhythm of their lives. They orbited around each other, always looking, always reaching for the other, but it never ceased to amaze her that he looked at her this way.
His brutally handsome face could be so hard, so ruthless, but his need for her always won through. She never doubted what he felt for her. She could see it in everything he did.
You want me, she breathed.
She’d meant to say it in a cocky and flirtatious way, with a wink and a saucy Marilyn Monroe wiggle of the hips. But she forgot to wink, the hip wiggle turned into a slow, needy roll against his, and the words came out breathless and awed.
He rubbed the calloused ball of his thumb across her soft, moistened lips. A dark flush stained his high cheekbones, and his gold eyes glittered. I’ll die before I stop wanting you.
Me too. She closed her eyes at his touch.
They were both immortal Wyr. Maybe, just maybe, that would be long enough to express the depth of what she felt for him.
He kissed her forehead. Here, take Liam.
She glanced down at the top of Liam’s head and said softly, “I’m going to tuck him into his crib.”
Dragos nodded, his expression softening as he looked down at Liam too. “Now that you’re back, I’ll head out to the site. I want to see how much headway they’ve made in the blasting today.”
“Okay.” She smiled at him. “See you later.”
He answered her with a slow, wicked one of his own. “But not too much later. I fancy an early bedtime tonight.”
She watched him walk away, thinking happy, comfortable thoughts. Dinner then bed, and who knew when they would finally fall asleep? They could take their time tonight. They had all the time in the world.
Less than an half an hour later, she would give anything to call him back to her again. Anything to keep him from walking away.
Oh gods, anything.
ORDER A COPY: Hunger (Vampires Realm Romance Series Book 8)
Publisher: Felicity Heaton
Publishing Date: May 10, 2014
eBook: 223 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Betrayed by one of her own and turned into a vampire, hunter Eve is consumed by her hunger for vengeance and has spent five years surviving hell, driven to take the life of the man she once loved. But just as she is about to close in on the hunter-turned-vampire, an event is set in motion that threatens to see him slip beyond her grasp forever—the leader of her bloodline has sent an escort to bring her to the family’s mansion. To a nest of the very creatures she once hunted and loathes.
A vampire assassin hardened by centuries of service, Tor is a man of discipline and loyalty, never straying from his mission or the rules set out for him, and has purged all his weaknesses, including his emotions.
But the moment he meets the broken, fiery female he is to escort to Oslo, something dangerous awakens in him, something possessive and powerful, and when he is pulled into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who betrayed her, Tor discovers he will do anything to protect the woman slowly claiming his heart and give her the vengeance she desires—even break all the rules.
Can Eve embrace her new vampire nature in order to have her revenge and find a reason to live again in Tor? Can Tor and Eve stop the man who betrayed her and the deaths of thousands of innocents? Or will he succeed in creating a new army of hybrid vampires who will rise up against the purebloods?
Eve was a Hunter. A hunter of vampires until she was betrayed by the one man she thought she could trust. Because of him she is now everything that she hated. She refuses to drink from humans and will only drink enough animal blood to survive because she has one thing she has to do before she throws herself into the sun—kill Adam for his betrayal.
Tor is an assassin for his House and he has never failed in a mission. When his Lord Vincent sent him to retrieve his love’s sister and bring her home so she will be safe, it was a simple assignment although babysitting seemed a bit below his skill set. But Tor understands revenge and for this first time in hundreds of years, Tor will not be fulfilling his mission without first helping Eve get her revenge against Adam.
When Tor meets Eve, she is not alone, several weaklings are trying to kill her. As a pureblooded vampire, Eve should have dispatched them easily, but her refusal to drink from a human is making her weak. Tor wants to convince Eve that vampires aren’t evil and that she would live a long and happy life if she will only come to accept her new life. And for the first time in centuries, Tor wants more in his future as well.
I receive a daily newsletter from Felicity Heaton and with the exception of Manday Monday, I try not to read them. Why you ask? Because most of them contain scenes from one of her many books and when I read them, I always get caught up in what’s going on. It is my ever growing TBR list that keeps me from buying a copy and finishing the story. In fact, I have several of her free books already downloaded. I just don’t have the time to read them. But when I read the first chapter scene and book information for Hunger, I was hooked and had to have it.
As much as I like the friends to lovers stories and my damaged heroes, I also love the dark, dangerous hero with the soft-gooey inside. Tor fit this bill well. As a long-time assassin, he doesn’t speak much. He walks in, kills who he needs to and goes home. He doesn’t seem to have many friends, but he is unflinchingly loyal to those he does. He falls quickly for Eve, but as the sister of Lilith, who is Lord Vincent’s mate, Eve is marked to be the successor or Chosen Daughter. As an assassin, Tor is treated as a servant by the vampires of his House. Once they get to other vampire, he walks behind Eve and tries not to be seen alone with her. I love that Eve will have none of that, and she is adamant that Tor stands by her side and that “things will be changing around here” and that the vampires will give Tor respect he deserves for the work he does to keep them all safe.
Although it was Book #8 of the series, it worked well as a stand alone. There wasn’t a flurry of past characters stopping by beside Vincent and Lilith, and you really didn’t need to know all her world building. The only other book I have read by Felicity Heaton was Vampire for Christmas, which I had also liked very much. Her stories are interesting and they are quick reads. I wish I had more time to start her series, and she is not available in audiobook yet which is how I usually catch up.
If vamps are your thing, try one of Felicity’s books. I would definitely recommend giving Hunger a try.
And yes, I actually bought this one myself.
I’m giving you the scene that sucked me in —
A bolt of awareness shot down Eve’s spine and she stiffened. Oneiric tensed too and lifted his head. Crimson fire flickered around the edges of his dark irises.
“We have company.” The note of warning in his deep voice said it wasn’t her escort.
Eve grabbed the two large hunting knives on the round black table close to her and reached out with her senses, scouring the area around the club. People were coming. Close to a dozen of them.
The double doors of the main entrance burst open, the heavy steel panels crashing into the walls on either side, allowing a rush of cold damp air to bring tangled unfamiliar scents to her. Behind her, another bang sounded as the back door of the club shot open. Male voices poured into the darkness.
Four ahead of her and seven behind.
She took a deep breath to steady herself and flexed her fingers around the grips of the short blades to stop them from trembling. It wasn’t fear making her hands shake. It was hunger. It gnawed at her insides and clouded her mind, dampening her senses and stealing her strength. She almost started to wish she had taken the animal blood Oneiric had offered her on waking tonight, but she had been so angry about being shipped off to Oslo that she had refused.
“I will handle the back,” Oneiric said and then he was gone and she was alone in the dimly lit room, only a dozen tables and chairs between her and the four advancing men.
Eve cursed her weakness and shifted her booted feet, adopting a stance that was second nature to her, preparing for the fight ahead.
The vampires emerged from the darkness, golden eyes flickering with hunger as they landed on her and lingered.
The same breed of bastard that had killed her.
A growl curled up her throat and she launched herself forwards, leaped up onto a table and pushed off from the top. She clutched both blades and brought them down as she descended, aiming straight for the man leading the charge. He reacted in an instant, strafing to his left, avoiding her attack. Eve landed in a crouch and immediately twisted towards him, lashing out with the knife in her right hand as she hurled the one in her left at the next man. That one embedded itself deep in his shoulder before he could evade it and he hissed in agony.
She shot to her feet and slashed across the first man’s biceps, cutting deep enough to feel her blade scrape bone, and ducked as he swung at her with his claws, growling low in his throat. Eve kicked forwards, rolled and came up behind the vampire with her other blade embedded in his shoulder. He snarled as he pulled the knife free of his flesh.
She didn’t give him a chance to use her own weapon against her. She swept her hand out, catching him across his throat with her knife, and he howled in pain and dropped the weapon in favour of slapping his hand over the wound on his neck and staunching the river of blood flowing down it.
Eve exhaled hard and blocked the wild swing another of the men threw at her. The first male’s fist slammed into her back at the same time and propelled her forwards, into another of her attackers. He grabbed her by the arm she held the blade in and hurled her into the black bar. Her head connected hard with the brass rail around the edge of the curved bar and pain ricocheted through her skull.
One of the men chuckled as she tried to get her bearings and fought to stop her head from spinning. Her senses reached out to monitor the men and her head cleared. She took her time pretending to gather herself and pinpointed each of her opponents. The one she had cut across the neck was still down, muttering black things to himself, detailing all the ways she was going to pay.
Nothing he came up with was any worse than what she had already endured at the hands of vampires.
The other three men were waiting. How very chivalrous. She pushed against the bar and grimaced as her head ached, the deep throbbing pain the result of more than her collision. Her hunger was growing, roused by the heavy scent of blood in the air. It pressed her to feed, every dark instinct she possessed demanding she take blood from the men behind her.
Eve shook her head and struggled against that dark desire.
She turned to face the three men waiting for her. The dark-haired one who had made her intimately acquainted with the bar stooped and picked up her knife. She palmed the one she held and calculated her chances of survival.
Slim at best.
With her head pounding and dampening her senses, hunger riding her mercilessly and weakening her, she wasn’t up for a fight against one strong vampire, let alone three. If the fourth chose to join the fight, she was definitely dead.
Eve inched to her right, towards the open space where she had been speaking with Oneiric before the intrusion. The sounds of his fight carried through the darkness and her dull senses said that he had already dealt with three of his foes. She had yet to dispatch one.
It marked the vast difference between them. They were of the same pure bloodline and she should be strong enough to fight these weaklings, but she wasn’t. She was weaker than these men before her, and it was her own fault. She could have easily dispatched them if she had been feeding. If she had been strong.
Her stomach turned at the thought of taking human blood and she kept edging away from the men, buying herself space and time. A fourth vampire disappeared from her senses. Oneiric was down to three. If she could keep her four occupied while not giving them a chance to kill her, Oneiric could make it back to her. She hated having to rely on him to fight her battles, and knew he would use it to illustrate his point about her need to feed, but she had no choice. She couldn’t die here. She wasn’t ready to go to Hell yet.
The three vampires tracked her and the fourth stumbled to his feet. He pulled his hand away from the deep slash across his throat. It had stopped bleeding.
Eve turned with them, her back to the dance floor now.
She readied her knife and called on her senses, allowing them to stretch out and encompass the men. Silver lines shimmered over their bodies, forming ghost versions of each of them. Those ghosts moved, her senses predicting the paths they would take, giving her a shot at taking at least one of them down. Three of them had multiple paths, a blur of motion that made it dangerous to act on.
The path of the fourth, the one with the neck wound, was as clear as night and he was about to make a grave mistake.
He disappeared from behind the other three vampires, a shadow of movement through the tables. Eve waited for the critical moment and then thrust her right hand in a sharp diagonal arc at her side, burying her knife to the hilt under his chin. He gagged and cold wet gushed over her hand and trailed down her arm.
Eve pulled the blade free and swept it across his throat, throwing all of her strength into the blow. The knife cut deep, severing his spine, and he dropped hard.
The remaining three weakling vampires snarled and launched themselves as one at her. Eve did her best to block each blow they threw, her forearms taking the brunt of their wrath, and tried to get some attacks of her own in. They were relentless, driving her backwards, crowding her and making it impossible for her to escape.
She bit her tongue to silence her cries as claws cut and fists slammed, each blow weakening her a little more.
She couldn’t die yet. She needed peace. She needed to make the bastard pay.
It couldn’t end here. Now.
A cry escaped her as sharp talons sliced through her right biceps and she dropped her only weapon.
A deep male voice rolled over her like a storm, his foreign tongue dark and sinister.
The three vampires crowding her eased back and turned as one to face the newcomer. Eve withdrew, clutching her arm. Blood spilled from between her fingers and the ever-present hunger grew worse, bringing out her fangs as it demanded she taste the sweet, coppery liquid.
A fifth male melted out of the shadows at the entrance of the club, a six-foot-five wall of lethal muscle and deadly grace, his face obscured by the hood of his oversized black sweatshirt. Calm laced with malice rolled off him and she felt his gaze flicker to her.
A hot shiver went through her in response to the intense feeling, the incredible awareness that shot an arrow straight through her heart and made the rest of the room fall away in an instant, drawing every shred of her focus to him.
He calmly set his black duffle down on the bar and strode forwards with purpose, his black army boots loud on the wooden floor. She felt his eyes leave her. The room crashed back into existence and air rushed into her lungs again.
The low lights flickered over the lower half of his face, giving tantalising glimpses of firm, sensual lips and a defined jaw. The corner of those lips quirked, a split-second shift that she would have missed had she not been staring so intently at them.
Panic began as a low thrumming in her belly, a turbulent swirling that made her take another step back for each one he advanced, placing more distance between them. The malice and darkness he emanated grew stronger and her instincts warned her away, screamed that she stood no chance against this newcomer.
He was stronger than the other four combined.
Stronger than Oneiric.
Her panic exploded into outright fear as the man reached behind his back, whipped out a black pistol and fired off a round, nailing the vampire she had tagged as the leader between his eyes. His head snapped backwards, blood spraying from the gaping wound in the back of his skull, and he fell into a table, crushing it under him.
The other two rushed the man.
They didn’t stand a chance.
He took the first out with lethal efficiency, kicking him hard in the balls and then catching him with a diagonal uppercut as he doubled over, snapping his neck.
Eve stood frozen to the spot, unsure what to make of the deadly new combatant, and unsure whether he was friend or foe.
She hoped to God he wasn’t foe.
She wasn’t even sure he was a vampire. Her scrambled senses said that he was but he didn’t fight like any vampire she had ever met. None of them had used guns for a start, and none of them fought dirty as this man did.
The remaining male bravely faced off against him, brandishing both of her fallen knives.
It didn’t help him.
The huge male cupped his hands and stepped forwards, nothing more than a blur as he closed the distance between him and the remaining vampire. He slapped his hands over the vampire’s ears, the crack as they connected startling her into moving, placing even more distance between them. The vampire unleashed an agonised snarl and thrust with one of the blades. The man sidestepped, caught his arm and twisted it hard, bringing his other hand down in a devastating blow that shattered the bone.
The vampire’s agonised snarl became a scream.
The man calmly grabbed him by his throat, pressed his free hand against his face, and shoved forwards, snapping his head backwards and breaking his neck.
Eve took another step backwards, towards the door to the back rooms. Maybe she should have made a break for the exit while the man had been occupied with neatly defeating three vampires in under three minutes.
He advanced on her, the sense of malice coming from him not abating. If anything, it was getting stronger.
ORDER A COPY: Vampire’s Thirst (The Awakening Series)
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publishing Date: May 6, 2014
Paperback: 224 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Starting where Book 1 left off, Duncan MacDonnough has assumed leadership of the local vampire conclave and changes are being met with resistance.
Kimber Treat, the necromancer everyone (including her) blames for starting the zombie apocalypse in the first place. Duncan and Kimber are new in their love and the complications of zombies and hungry vampires puts stress on an already shaky relationship. Duncan wants to keep her safe, but Kimber still believes she can end the Outbreak. Will the cost be too great?
In the continuing story from Vampire’s Hunger, we find that the vampires, now lead by Duncan, have moved several humans into their compound. The humans can stay in the safety of the compound, protected by the vampires, in exchange for blood to feed the vampires.
Safety is still a concern especially since they need to get food to feed all the humans staying in the compound and scavenging is becoming more difficult. Duncan is working with other vampires leaders to wall off corridors between compounds to travel between cities.
Kimber is still focused on trying to use her power as a necromancer to try and push the Unseen out of the zombies but she is finding the strain to much to handle this by herself. While running from zombies, Kimber trips and grabs onto Duncan’s second in command to keep from falling inadvertently draining the Unseen (which also reanimates the vampires) from him and using it to push the Unseen out of the zombies. Although Kimber is excited about the boost of power, she almost killed Duncan’s second. Now the vampires not only blame her for starting the apocalypse, but now they are afraid to get near her, including Duncan.
As a last attempt, Kimber locates other necromancers among the saved humans and attempts to combine their strengths to send the dark power back to the Unseen. If this works, Kimber might just put an end to the zombies, but even if it works, what will the vampires do the Kimber, now that they know she could kill them with just a touch?
I was terribly disappointed in this Book 2 of the story.
Warning: some spoilers here!!!!
We find out at the beginning that Kimber is now pregnant by Duncan which is not unheard of but it is still just short of a miracle baby between human and vampire. Instead of telling Duncan (for most of the story), she first needs to risk lives to get a pregnancy test at the pharmacy in zombietown, using the excuse that she needs tampons. Now, I’m gonna guess that basic hygiene products like tampons should be part of the pharmaceutical/first aid raids and stocked up on along with food stuff so you don’t have to risk lives each time one of the many females in the compound starts their period. Duncan falls for this because deep down he is a guy and doesn’t ask tampon questions.
It is during this pregnancy test raid that she finds out that she can use the power inside of the vampires to help destroy the zombies (almost killing the vampire in the process), obviously none of the vampires want to touch her, including Duncan, which puts a strain on their relationship. Kimber is also experimenting with the other necromancers to see if they can work together. Kimber feels the power of the baby while she is working to push out the Unseen.
It is only after she finally tells Duncan about the baby, that he confronts her that maybe she is stealing the life from their baby when she does this. Now, by the time she finally confesses about the baby to Duncan, Kimber has gone on several raids, worked her body to stroke levels to push out the Unseen from the zombies and was possibly stealing power from the baby…the miracle human/vampire baby. I am unsatisfied that Duncan, the strong and powerful vampire leader, didn’t have a stronger reaction to the fact that Kimber not only hid his child from him, but was risking herself (and the child) over and over again. There should have been anger, yelling, screaming, threatening, betrayal. There should be been a nuclear blow up fight between them, but he just took it in stride and continued to let her risk herself and his child to destroy the Unseen. What??? What kind of alpha male vampire doesn’t go bat shit crazy when he finds out (1) he is going to be a father, (2) she’s neglected to mention it, and (3) she’s been risking her life for awhile now without discussing those risk to the baby with him? It just doesn’t make sense.
There was also several secondary characters that showed promise in Book #1, and we started Book #2 with a possible love triangle between Kimber’s friend Natalie, the fae Aohdan and Duncan’s second, which fizzled out quickly, when the vampire (previously drooling over Natalie) declares her returned desires for him as just a side effect of the feedings and would disappear in a few days.
I can’t find any information about whether this Book #2 was the end of the story line or not. There are several things settled, yet several questions left unanswered. Except I don’t believe that I even care anymore to continuing reading if there is a Book #3. This was a very unsatisfying story. :(
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
ORDER A COPY: Shield of Winter (A Psy/Changeling Novel)
Publishing Date: June 3, 2014
Hardcover: 448 pages
Rating: 5 stars (Awesome!)
Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.
For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…
Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness.
Last year’s Heart of Obsidian left us at the dawn of a new Psy world. Kaleb Krychek had declared the fall of Silence as a new way of life for the psy people. There would be no more rehabilitations and no more training out emotions by pain or torture. The psy people would be allowed to once again free to feel love and joy, anger and pain and they would no longer be persecuted for these imperfections. But has the fall of Silence come too late?
There is a virus which is oozing its way through the psy-net and when it finds a weakness, it breaks through into the minds of the unsuspecting psy and is causing madness on a mass scale. And it is not just those who are infected that are suffering. The maddened psy are going on a violent rampage and no one is safe from their attacks, not human, changeling or other psy.
Kaleb believes it is the missing E designation, the ones Silence tried to breed out, that hold the answer to stopping the virus but with 100 years of suppression and hiding, he must first find powerful E’s hiding among the population and then train them how to use the abilities they were always told didn’t exist.
Kaleb brings in the Arrows to help locate his test group of E designation and get them to agree to train with Sascha Duncan. He has made an agreement with the cats and wolves of Dark River and Snow Dancer to create a training camp for the E psy near Sascha and far from an infected site of the psy-net.
Kaleb needs the Arrows not just to locate the E’s but to protect them since not everyone is in agreement that the E’s can save the failing psy-net. There are many who fear that the re-emerging E designation are the cause of the infection itself.
Vasic has been trained as an Arrow since he was four. The Arrows have always worked in the shadows, being used by the now fallen Council as assassins. After two decades of bringing death and pain at the command of those who lied to bloat their own power, Vasic is at the precipice of darkness. He carries too much guilt on his soul and he can’t imagine anything further in his life but his own death. But it is his training and his loyalty to his fellow Arrows, that makes Vasic take the assignment to protect the E’s who he believes will save the psy people.
As the E’s learn and stretch their abilities, an usual side-effect is occurring, the emotional E-psy are bonding with the Arrows and healing the most Silent of the psy race.
Vasic’s charge is Ivy. Ivy was a gradient 9.8 on the scale for the “non-existent” designation of E, and after years of trying to suppress that power, in her late teens she volunteered for rehabilitation only to have her brain nearly butchered. If she can work past the damage done, she could be an asset in repairing the psy-net.
When the man who’s Silence is such a part of him meets the woman who has never been able to submit to the harsh structure, she sees past the blackness in his soul and accepts Vasic shadows and all, and he vows to protect this most precious treasure with his last breath. But choices Vasic has made on his descent into darkness are coming back to haunt him, and now that he has finally found a measure of peace, he might not be around long enough to enjoy it.
Nalini Singh shows us that gaining freedom is just the beginning. You then need to learn what to do with it. Kaleb Krychek announced the end of Silence, but after 100 years of the protocol, the psy people don’t know what is the next step. The psy were trained not to show feelings so those who survive the attacks by the insane psy are just as afraid of the rescuers as the attackers since showing fear would have gotten you rehabilitation for your flawed Silence. They are also afraid that maybe the announcement was just a way to get the flawed to reveal themselves. There are also those who fear that the fall of Silence and the re-emergence of the E-psy are the reason for the infection through the psy-net so the E’s are constantly under attack.
After 100 years of suppression, these hidden E’s are also being asked to fix an escalating and deadly flaw when they don’t understand the powers that they have and were always told didn’t exist, only to find out that different E-psy have different abilities and they don’t all accomplish the same purpose.
I like the fact that the fall of Silence doesn’t mean just rainbows and puppies. “Great, we’re free to live without fear of failing, but now what?” We see that even Kaleb has to sit down and figure out what needs to be done next after the fall of Silence. Where do they go from here?
As far as Vasic’s story, I find that I have enjoyed most the stories which involved Kaleb, Judd and now Vasic, the three most powerful psy’s who were basically tortured into accepting and being controlled by Silence, but who found a way to break that control for the right woman. I actually thought this would be a story of Vasic and Aden who is his best friend. Even under Silence, there was a strong emotional connection between the two men which shouldn’t have existed under Silence, and we will understand better the two young boys who should have trained against each other and competed against each other, and who grew a bond that made them the strong leaders they are of the Arrows. Aden has been watching Vasic spiral into a depression for the last few years and not knowing how to save his friend. Even he is amazed by the transformation after only being around Ivy a short time.
Ivy’s complete lack of Silence is why her parents kept her hidden from the net. After the brutal rehabilitation, she managed to reclaim her mind but still couldn’t even maintain a pretense of Silence as many others did. Just Ivy being herself around Vasic is what draws him to her. She doesn’t have to beat at his shields or fight to break him down. She accepts him as he is with his shadows and with his Silence and you see the subtle changes in their relationship in allowing a touch or leaning into her when she speaks or the telepathic contacts which he allows with her. The building bond comes through in simple things like getting Ivy a warmer jacket; as a TK Vasic can pull one from anywhere, but he brings her his jacket. He even learns to accept her dog when Psy don’t keep pets since that would require an emotional connection but it is all done subtly where Vasic is having a conversation with Ivy and picks up the stick to throw for the dog. No fanfare, no big declaration, just a subconscious decision to play with the dog, which is something the well-trained Arrow should never have been able to do.
Psy don’t have sex. They sign conception contracts and use in vitro to make children. It is fun to watch the previously unfelt sexual attraction build between them and the slight fumbling to get it right. Vasic keeps teleporting them out of the room any time things start getting out of control so they need to keep building up things between them.
Especially moving is that this subtle change in Vasic to accept and show affection for Ivy has a rippling effect through the Arrows since for the first time these trained killers and assassins can see that maybe they too can have a regular life some day. Maybe they aren’t all lost to a dark future in the new world.
This was a very enjoyable story and a wonderful addition to the series. I wasn’t sure where Nalini Singh would take us after Heart of Obsidian, which was a highly anticipated book and tipping point for the series, but there is no disappointment to be had for fans of the series. She is taking us in a whole new direction and it will be a bit of a bumpy and intriguing road for all.
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Ivy, Aden said you asked after me.
A crowd of butterflies took flight in her abdomen at the sound of Vasic’s telepathic voice, her nipples going painfully tight in a response that left her breathless. Intellectually, she’d known about sexual attraction—but no one had ever told her that all it would take was the sound of a certain male voice to make her lower body clench, her breasts aching and swelling as her pulse rate rocketed.
She thought of how he’d looked at her the previous night, pure Arrow concentration and ruthless focus, and bit down hard on her lower lip as her mind whispered that she should’ve pushed the strap down instead of pulling it up. Maybe then, he’d have put those strong fingers on her needy flesh.
I just missed you, she said through the sensual storm, unable to see him in the compound.
It was a simple errand, he said after a pause, and a good time to take care of it with Aden free to cover me. I’m walking in from the sentry line.
Heart skipping a beat at the fact her Arrow had actually explained himself to her, as if she had the right to question his movements, she flexed and unflexed her fingers atop his jacket…and then she did something either very brave or so stupid she’d never live down the humiliation. She sent him the erotic visual her mind had created, of her peeling down both straps of her camisole to reveal her breasts.
The silence echoed.
Groaning, she hid her flaming face in her hands. What had possessed her to, to—”Oh, God.”
Ivy…I may have caught an accidental image from your mind.
He was giving her an out. Chest heaving as her blood scalded her skin from the inside out, she grabbed some snow and pressed it to her cheeks. It wasn’t an accident, she admitted before the knots in her stomach tied her up into an incoherent ball. It was for you.
Vasic remained on his knees in the snow where he’d fallen when the picture of Ivy had slammed into his mind. It might as well have been a roundhouse punch to the jaw, his head was spinning so hard, his heartbeat erratic and a roar of blood in his ears.
It was for you.
No one had ever just given him something he wanted so much. Even though he knew he should erase the image from his mind, that it went against every one of the rules that helped him stay sane, stay stable, he opened it again. This time, the punch hit him directly in the solar plexus.
She was all shy smile and a peach-colored blush as she tugged down the straps of her top to reveal plump breasts topped with dusky pink nipples. The flesh of her breasts was a creamier shade than the skin of her shoulders, and he knew it’d mark easily Unable to resist, he ran a mental finger over one of those nipples, felt his rigid penis throb. The line of her neck drew his gaze, the curve of her shoulder, the slenderness of her arms. The lush softness of her lips.
Overwhelmed and incapable of processing the sensory input, he did the only thing he could: He shut it all down with jaw-clenched focus, sense by sense. It took several minutes, but he had both body and mind under control when he rose to his feet—after using a handful of clean snow to wash the sweat off his face and the back of his neck.
Then, instead of reprimanding Ivy for doing something that had cut his legs out from under him, he said, Thank you. He wasn’t going to erase that image. Not now, not ever. It was his.
No one could take it from him now, steal the piece of herself she’d handed him. He would keep it in his private mental file of all things Ivy Jane, and he’d look at it any time he needed an instant of beauty in the darkness.
ORDER A COPY: Tamed (Dark Protectors)
Publishing Date: May 15, 2014
ebook: 115 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Caleb Donovan was never meant to be a prophet. At heart he’s a conqueror, his appetites far more carnal than spiritual. He’s not inclined to repress his passions and surrender to fate. After all, that’s what cost him Lily—three centuries ago. She married another, because it was ordained. Now that he’s in the same benighted calling—and forced into proximity with her—all the old desires are roaring back to life. . .
After widowhood and centuries of celibacy, Lily is eager to explore the wild side of life, except now she’s vulnerable to another forced relationship, with an enemy. But this time she’s determined to choose her own path. And if hot, furious Caleb comes charging to the rescue, it might just change both their destinies.
Caleb Donovan has been hated by the demons for backing his relative who had forsaken an intended demon bride. When Dage Kayrs, the King of the Realm, decided he would no longer go along with the demon’s demands that he shun Caleb, his decision drew the demons into the war which was already raging between the Realm and the kurjans. Dage needs the Realm Rebel on his side if he has any hope to ever win this war.
Fate has given Caleb the mark of a prophet but Caleb is a warrior, not a peacemaker. The kurjans and the demons are declaring that they want to sit down and discuss an end to the war. As one of the other prophets, Lily Sotheby is willing to do anything to broker peace between the nations, but Caleb and Dage are more wary of the olive branch being offered.
Caleb might believe that the offer for peace is just a ruse but he is happy to spend time with his lost love, Lily. Centuries ago Lily chose duty over love and mated with the prophet Miles, it was at his death that Lily received the mark of the prophet. Although her mate was dead, vampire mating bonds are forever and any male who tried to even kiss her would fall ill. That was before Lily was infected with the kurjan’s weapon, Virus-27, which breaks the mating bond. Now for the first time in centuries, Caleb has hope that he can once again claim the only woman who has ever held his heart.
Except Caleb isn’t the only one delighted by a chance to claim Lily. The kurjan leader has had his eye on Lily as well. To bring peace, he wants the one thing that Caleb is not willing to give…Lily.
Caleb and Lily were great characters who have appeared throughout the series. Lily is a prophet but she is also a counselor who has helped Jase to work through his PTSD from the torture he received at the hands of the demons.
Caleb joined right in with the fighting with his men to protect the King and the Realm, and he has been a great help to the Kayrs in planning strategy and keeping our vampires and their mates safe.
Although this novella wasn’t huge in pushing the Dark Protector storyline forward, it was a passionate story which gives Caleb and Lily a second chance at the love they didn’t get to explore in their youth. Lily chose to follow duty rather than her heart and mated with Miles who is killed shortly thereafter. The mating bond in this series is very strong and is permanent, and as romantic as that is, it does pose a problem in cases like Lily who is a lonely widow. She has been alone and celibate for centuries because the bond keeps females safe from other males. Unlike the shifter Katie and Talon’s mate Cara who were adversely effected by being infected with the Virus-27, to Lily being infected is a almost a blessing and it gives her a chance to be Caleb which would never have been able to occur without her broken bond.
This unexpected second chance is the reason I feel the characters are so exciting. Caleb is all in for a second chance from the beginning and Lily really doesn’t need too much convincing. Lily just wants to be treated like a woman and not like a lady so Caleb shows her the difference between making love and hot sex. Sizzle!
These were great characters and I love putting them together for a HEA.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
They emerged into the chilly night. She shivered in the night air, and he quickly shrugged out of his jacket to drape it around her. The darn leather covered her almost to her knees.
The woman looked small, fragile, and definitely kissable.
He turned and pressed her against the worn brick building, startled yet again by the delicacy of her petite frame. He stood at least a foot and a half taller, but the woman had such a presence he often forgot her stature. Slowly, he slid his hand up to cup her chin. Curiosity and need glimmered in the depths of her mysterious eyes.
Even so, he allowed several seconds to pass in case she wanted to move away.
She didn’t twitch.
Her chin held a delicate stubbornness that tempted him far more than he’d ever admit. Would she still taste like strawberries?
He lowered his head, giving her plenty of time to stop him. His lips met hers, and heat slid through his veins. The rightness of the connection clicked somewhere deep inside him.
Then she sighed, and his head spun.
He pressed harder, his tongue sweeping inside her mouth. Fire, need, and strawberries became the center of his world. The leash he constantly kept on himself snapped. He stepped into her, his body caging her, his erection brushing against her warmth.
He tangled his hand in her silky hair, tethering her taking all he could. She sighed and kissed him back, a soft sound of surrender emerging with her breath. Fisting her hair, he angled her so he could go deeper, invading her mouth. Possessive and fierce, he wanted all of her.
A car alarm went off blocks away, dragging him back to the present.
The woman might kiss like the devil, but she was a lady, and he wasn’t going to take her the first time on a street corner. So he broke the kiss and slowly released her.
Her perfect blond hair was mussed and her lips were swollen from his. Rosiness covered her cheeks, and desire burned bright in her eyes. He bit back a groan at the need to bury himself in her. Even so, he couldn’t help running his knuckles across the breasts pushed high by the underclothing. The softness almost dropped him to his knees.
She breathed in, her entire body shuddering, a vulnerable look of surprise flashing across her face. “Caleb.”
His body rioted with the need to finish what they’d started. But his brain kicked into gear. One kiss, and reality had slapped him upside the head. He’d never be able to walk away this time, and the last thing he wanted was a mate–even one who couldn’t wear his mark because of the virus. Lily was a sweet, kind, gentle woman who deserved protection. Right now, he was needed on the front lines, peace talks or not.
We’re talking with author Danielle Monsch about her Entwined Realm series and her Fairy Tales and Ever Afters series.
ORDER A COPY: Stone Guardian (Entwined Realms)
Publisher: Romantic Geek Publishing
Publishing Date: July 3, 2013
Paperback: 374 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Gryphons flying past skyscrapers? Wizards battling it out in coffeehouses? Women riding motorcycles with large swords strapped to their backs? All normal sights since the Great Collision happened twenty-six years ago.
Well, not normal for everyone. Larissa Miller may have been born after the Great Collision, but as a history teacher who lives in the human-only city, she has never come into contact with any other race or species, nor has she wanted to. Her life is as ordinary as it gets – that is, until one day she walks out of her apartment and is attacked by a mob of Zombies, only to be saved by a Gargoyle.
Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but due to a cryptic prophecy, Terak, Leader of the Gargoyles, has been watching over the human woman for months. While he can find no reason why the woman has been singled out, something about her stirs every protective instinct within him. When the attack confirms that the threats against her exist and are real, he convinces Larissa that though their races have never been allies, the best chance of discovering why she has been brought into his world is by working together.
In the course of their investigation Terak becomes entranced by his little human. But when he discovers why Necromancers want her and the great reward that awaits him if he betrays her, he must choose between the welfare of his Clan and not only Larissa’s life, but the fate of this New Realm as well.
In Stone Guardian, Danielle Monsch recreates our world in a time after the Great Collision when the world of man collided with the realm of magic and has created a new reality where humans now live with creatures of magic.
In this first story, Terak, the Leader of the Gargoyle Clan has been advised by the Oracle that he needs to protect a human woman named Larissa Miller as she would be important to the future of his Clan. To Gargoyles, Clan is everything, and although he has no desire to serve at the beck and call of the Oracle, not putting faith in their cryptic foretellings is foolish.
For several weeks Terak has watched over Larissa and yet he still doesn’t understand her importance to his Clan. The pretty little human teacher lives a quiet life. Although she is kind, gentle and very loyal to her own Clan — um, family, she does not have much contact with any creatures of magic and certainly none with the gargoyles.
When Larissa becomes the focus of a necromancer, Terak must finally make himself known to her, and Terak is not the only trying to protect Larissa. The Guild also wants to know why a powerful necromancer is sending armies of zombies and Orcs after a simple human teacher with no magical abilities.
For centuries there has been mistrust between the human and the different species in the magic realm, and the secretive Gargoyles are still not trusted by many of the other factions. Terak will protect Larissa from the necromancer and keep her out of the safe keeping of the The Guild, who would choose to lock Larissa away for her own safety.
As the danger to Larissa increases, can Terak and The Guild work together to keep Larissa safe and determine why someone is trying to capture her?
Stone Guardian introduces very clever world building. I loved the premise of the different dimensions (or realms as they are called here) colliding to add the paranormal creatures and magic into our world. The collision occurred less than 30 years ago on the day that Larissa is born and there is still a lot of mistrust between the humans and even between the different paranormals. It is a very tentative truce as everyone tries to live together, and some who prefer to keep each race segregated.
The story begins as Larissa’s father, a police officer, is on duty and the world goes crazy in a single moment, Orcs are overrunning the city, and he is helped by werewolves, as he tried to get to the hospital to be with his wife since she has gone into labor. As he approaches, the hospital, he gives us our first view of the strange creatures which are now flooding into our world, and how quickly their reality is changing, such as do you trust hairy beasts who are fighting by your side when you don’t even know what they are?
I was drawn into this story from the very beginning as were are introduced to several fabulous characters, not only the ones who make up part of The Guild, but also some of Larissa’s human friends and family who are definitely hiding their own secrets.
You can’t help but love Terak, a strong warrior who would sacrifice his own happiness for his people, but becomes hopelessly drawn to a human woman, and Larissa, who is loving and sweet, and although she isn’t a warrior, she has a warrior’s heart.
You definitely know there is an interesting story between Guild warrior Fallon, with her special sword and her snarky attitude, and the Master Vampire Reign. There was only about 3 or 4 pages of confrontation between them, but my Nook was smoking with the sexual tension between those two. That is a story I am going to look forward to reading.
Overall, the storyline was intriguing, drawing you into the mystery of why everyone was after Larissa, and the romance blended well with the story, growing naturally between the main characters; add to that the world building and the secondary characters, and you have the basis for an exciting new paranormal romance series.
I have to kick myself on this one. When this novel was available as an advance review copy, I kept coming back to it and reading the book jacket over and over until I finally determined I didn’t have the time to toss it onto my constantly growing TBR list. A co-worker purchased a copy when it released and was telling me how much she enjoyed it. When I saw it on sale a few months ago, I treated myself to a copy and squeezed out the time to read it. This was so good that I am so sorry I didn’t grab this one last year.
Terak was leaning against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest, waiting for her return.
At least he put his pants back on. As tattered as they were, it was still a lot easier on her respiratory system seeing him in those versus the white towel.
She put her hands up, a signal to please let her talk before any yelling started. “I didn’t call him. He found my ID at the park when they were investigating the attack. I’m lucky it was him, otherwise there would have been a whole squadron of cops at my door.”
His features were a shade different, softened into human lines, but the intensity of his eyes and set of his mouth were pure Terak. She’d recognize both no matter what else changed. “I know this. I am curious why you did not tell him about me?”
“Why would I? The whole reason I agreed to your people guarding me was so that I didn’t get my family involved in this mess. Running to them would kind of defeat the purpose.”
He started shaking his head, his arms coming to his sides as he propelled himself away from the wall. “Why did you not tell your brother about my abilities, that the human male in front of him is in reality a gargoyle?”
There was a strange tension in Terak, his usual intensity magnified. He was waiting for her answer, his now-clawless hands clenching and unclenching at his sides. The question of whether she should be scared popped into her head, but she pushed it away. Nothing about him scared her. What he was…was…hopeful. “Why would you even ask that? This is your secret. I would never tell anyone about this.”
Terak challenged her, that deep voice still the same in this form. “He is a protector of the human world. Information on your enemies is what any protector would wish.”
Before she could stop herself, her hands went to her hips. “There is nothing I want less than to get into another fight with a stubborn male who is trying to drive me crazy. Now, I don’t know what’s going on in that human-looking gargoyle head of yours, but quit it. You saved me multiple times. We’ve fought together. More than that, I consider you a friend, and I trust you. I would never betray a secret I discovered from my friend.”
Terak reeled back as if someone hit him. “You would call me a friend?”
He looked so adorable and bewildered, and while the smile curling her lips couldn’t be stopped, there was a pang in her chest over what this male’s life was like that the thought of someone calling him friend elicited a reaction like this. “Shocking, huh? Kind of surprised me to. Maybe that kind of stuff only becomes apparent when you’re watching someone bleed and praying he doesn’t die.”
His face held wonderment. It was if he received a rare gift, something he always wanted but never thought he would get for himself. His gaze roamed over her face, like he was committing everything in this moment to memory.
“So,” Larissa said, wanting to stop the awkwardness creeping through her skin, “how does this work? You look pretty healed up, I’d say. Does this mean you are healed as a gargoyle? Your wing was torn pretty bad.”
He shifted. Strange, this big, bad secret, but it bordered on anti-climactic seeing it in action. He went out of focus — only for a second — and then became the other form. If Larissa took a long blink she would have missed it.
She walked behind him to check his wing, stroking her hand over the membrane. It felt like leather, but that soft, luxurious leather, the kind where a jacket would cost most people’s yearly salary.
Her hand traveled to the frame. Even this was warm, his body heat coming through. The muscles bunched under her hand as she took in the area where the frame met his back. This body was that of a warrior. He was hard, perfectly formed. This body was her salvation, her sword and shield in a world that made no sense.
Tiny tremors rippled under her fingertips as she stroked down his muscles. Which shook, her hand or his back?
Her thumb brushed over the tiny hollow in his back that separated his wings. She leaned closer, breathing in his smell as she did that night where he held her in his arms. She’d been so scared that the sensation of flying was a blur. She couldn’t remember if she enjoyed it, even on a subconscious level. Would he take her flying again if she asked?
Adding more pressure, she ran her thumb down the strong curve of his spine.
Would he let her follow it with her tongue?
Larissa pushed back even as her mouth parted to make the thought a reality.
Sleep, that was the ticket. She needed a break from this day in the worse way. Sleep would be good. Sleep would get her emotions back in line. Clearing her throat, she said, “You look completely healed. I’m not a nurse though, so you should have one of your people look at it.”
His muscles still trembled where she had caressed him. His lips still carried the warmth of hers. Her scent filled his nostrils.
This woman was consuming him, bit by bit. She was becoming the reason and the reward of his existence, and if he did not shield himself, everything he did not have to give would belong to her.
He turned and brought her back into his sight. She was so appealing standing there, the over-large shirt hanging from her frame, her hair still damp and laying along her back.
Her hands were twisting in a nervous fashion, her pupils dilated, darkening her eyes to the color of a stormy sea.
Once he had boasted to a group of young warriors that he could withstand any torture. The woman before him made him realize the fool he had been.