Category Archives: Urban Fantasy
ORDER A COPY: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 31, 2006
Paperback: 288 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.
Mercy is a “walker” who can turn into a coyote, but who was raised by werewolves, and not just any werewolf, by Bran, the Marrok (or leader of all the werewolves).
Mercy lives an ordinary life, well, sort of…she owns her own garage which she bought from a retiring Fae named Zee, and she is friends with a vampire named Stefan who has a VW bus painted to look like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.
She also shares a property line with the local Alpha of the Columbia Basin pack named Adam Hauptman and his teenage daughter, Jesse. Adam keeps a powerful Russian witch on retainer for hiding the werewolf’s presence from the humans. Pretty much an average, ordinary life.
When a runaway teen shows up at her garage, she quickly smells that he is a werewolf and this young werewolf is not part of a pack. Mercy offers him a job so she can keep an eye out for him. When a werewolf and a human come looking for him, Mercy is forced to help him defend himself. After blood is shed, Mercy calls Adam in to take care of the young Wolf and introduce him to pack life.
But things aren’t that simple. The people who are looking for Mac are daring, or just stupid enough to attack Adam in his home. Mercy helps Adam defeat the intruders, but not before Adam is seriously injured and his daughter, Jesse, is kidnapped. Mercy needs to find a more dominant werewolf fast because once Adam regains consciousness, his injured wolf will be uncontrollable until he is healed. The only ones Mercy knows that are strong enough to control a powerful Alpha like Adam is Bran and his sons.
Mercy might not be part of Adam’s pack, but she is now embroiled in what might be a pack war. She has to find out who attacked Adam and who would have taken his daughter.
I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Night Broken (which is Book #8 in this series) so I did a search of the Mercy Thompson series and it sounded right up my alley. I decided to take some time to catch up and get to know some of the characters.
This is a much better Sookie Stackhouse type of story plot, meaning she is not part of any specific group, but she keeps getting dragged into pack or vampire business. In this series, Mercy is a preternatural creature since she is half human/half walker. She is immune to some magic and she can shape shift into the form of a coyote. She is not a part of Adam’s pack (even though Adam told his pack Mercy was his) but she gets drawn into pack business when Adam is badly injured, and something makes her afraid to call in his pack for fear that there is a traitor in the pack. Who else would try to attack an Alpha in his own home?
She has several preternatural connections who she contacts to assist her in helping Adam heal as well as tracking down who would abduct his daughter.
I like that although Mercy is brave, she is not stupid. She doesn’t just jump into a fight unprepared. For example, when Mac is tracked down by a werewolf and a human. Mercy knows she can’t out power the werewolf and the human has a gun. She watches and observes and it isn’t until Mac is being attacked that she jumps in, using the element of surprise and getting the werewolf to chase her while using her brains to outmaneuver his bulk.
This story wasn’t non-stop action since it was the first in the series and involves a lot of introduction of characters, including explaining the dangers of the werewolves and the vampires in general, and how the Fae have been forced into the public eye and how the werewolves are considering joining them. We are also introducing the base characters of the story: including Mercy, Adam, Jesse, Zee, Stefan, Bran, Samuel, several members of Adam’s pack as well as Bran’s pack, and Mercy’s relationship with each of these characters.
It was good storytelling and interesting world building and it held my interest throughout. I have already started Book 2 where we start by Stefan asking Mercy to make good on the favor he did her helping find Jesse.
Personally, I think Olivia Wilde would be a perfect Mercy Thompson. Can someone get casting on the phone?
“What happened?” he asked, his voice softer than the first snowfall in winter.
“It’s complicated,” I said, holding his gaze for two full seconds before I turned my head and gestured toward the body. “The dead one is there. If he belongs to you, he is new—and you haven’t been doing your job. He was as deaf and blind as a human. I was able to take him by surprise, then he was too ignorant to realize that the wound wouldn’t close as fast as usual if it was given by a preternatural creature. He let himself bleed out because he was too caught up in the chase to—”
“Enough, Mercedes,” he growled as he strode over to the dead wolfman and knelt beside him. He moved the body and one of the corpse’s arms flopped down limply on the ground.
Mac whined eagerly, then bowed his head and pressed it against my thigh so that he couldn’t see.
The sound drew Adam’s attention from the body to the boy at my feet.
He growled. “This one isn’t one of mine—and neither is that.”
“So gracious,” I said. “Your mother should be complimented on your manners, Hauptman.”
“Careful,” he whispered. It wasn’t a threat, it was a warning.
Okay. He was scary. Really scary. He’d probably have been scary even when he was just a human. But it wouldn’t do to let him know he intimidated me.
“Adam Hauptman,” I said politely to show him how it was done. “Allow me to introduce you to Mac—that’s all his name I know. He was attacked by a werewolf in Chicago about two moons ago. The werewolf killed his girlfriend, but he survived. He was taken by his attacker and put in a cage. A man who sounds a lot like the Chicago Alpha Leo sold him to someone who held him inside a cage in a semitrailer and used him for what sounds like some sort of drug experiments until he broke free. Last Friday he showed up at my door looking for work.”
“You didn’t inform me that you had a strange wolf on your doorstep?”
I gave him a put-upon sigh. “I am not one of your pack members, Adam. I know this is difficult for you to fathom, so I’ll speak slowly: I don’t belong to you. I am under no obligation to tell you anything.”
Adam swore harshly. “New werewolves are dangerous, woman. Especially when they are cold and hungry.” He looked at Mac, and his voice changed completely, the heat and anger gone. “Mercy, come here.”
I didn’t look down to see what he’d noticed in Mac’s face. I took a step, but Mac was wrapped around my left leg. I stopped before I fell. “Uhm. I’m a little stuck for the moment.”
“For a smart girl, you’re pretty stupid sometimes,” he said, his voice rich and gentle so as not to startle the werewolf by my side. “Locking yourself in a garage with a new wolf and a dead body isn’t the smartest thing you could have done. I don’t have a connection with him yet. It would help if you have his real name.”
“Mac,” I murmured. “What’s your name?”
“Alan,” he said dreamily, coming up to his knees so his face was pressed against my belly. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier after my grandfather who died the year I was born.” The friction of his movement rucked my shirt up and he licked my bare skin. To an outsider it might have looked sensual, but the abdomen is a vulnerable spot on the body, a favorite of predators. “You smell good,” he whispered.
He smelled like werewolf, and I started to panic—which wasn’t a very useful thing to do.
“Alan,” said Adam, rolling the name on his tongue. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier, come here to me.”
Mac jerked his head away from me but tightened his arms painfully on my hips. He looked at Adam and growled, a low rumble that caused his chest to vibrate against my leg.
“Mine,” he said.
Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”
It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other. While Adam had Mac distracted, I reached behind me and grabbed my big crowbar from the shelf directly behind us. I brought it down on Mac’s collarbone.
It was an awkward hit because I didn’t have much leverage, but the collarbone, even on a werewolf, is not hard to damage. I heard the bone crack and wrenched myself out of Mac’s grip and across the garage before he recovered from the unexpected pain.
I didn’t like hurting him, but he would heal in a few hours as long as I didn’t let him eat me. I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would recover from murder as easily as he would a broken bone.
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: December 3, 2013
Paperback: 217 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Meet the furry big brother that the Wird sisters never had…
Bren is a cocky, brash hound of a werewolf who loathes the idea of belonging to Aric’s pack—much less finding a mate. But Bren’s hotheaded behavior lands him in the doghouse when he defies Aric’s authority in front of his pack, bringing up a sore subject that’s bound to make the Alpha wolf’s blood boil…
Luckily for him, no one can stay mad at Bren and his wild charm for long. And when some frightening ghosts launch a hostile paranormal takeover, Bren will team up with Celia to take down the evil ghouls before they hurt someone they both love…
Bren is a lone wolf—or werewolf that is. He has been without a pack since his parents died when he was a kid and the elder’s wouldn’t allow him to join his father’s pack. Bren is okay with that because his “pack” consists of the people who matter to him: his roommate, Dan and Celia Wird and her sisters. They are the only people he can count on, the only people he can trust, and the only people he would die to protect.
And to protect those he loves against the growing danger from the demons and the witches of The Tribe that keep calling together the evilest of supernaturals, he would even agree to join Aric’s pack, even though the pure-blooded bastard broke Celia’s heart.
That doesn’t mean he is going to play by Aric’s rules like a good little pup. Bren’s mouth has a habit of writing checks his ass can’t cash and mouthing off to an alpha-were might not always be the best way to show that you are willing to be part of the pack.
When their friend Dan is kidnapped by soul-sucking ghouls, Bren has to quickly decide if he can trust the pack or will he and Celia go it alone to find Dan before it is too late.
As the Weird Girl series is told by Celia’s point of view, this was interesting to read from Bren’s perspective. He gives us some insight into his friendships with Dan and Celia and why he they mean so much to him. We also learn why he is a lone wolf and why he likes it that way.
This story continues on from where we left off after A Cursed Embrace. There is plenty of action since the witch is now calling forth cursed souls and will try to possess bodies and they keep showing up around Bren and Celia.
It was an enjoyable addition to the series and gives Celia’s friends a little more depth to their characters. I don’t know what I enjoyed more: watching Bren torment his roommate Dan or Celia, Bren mouthing off to Aric, Bren riling up Aric’s new fiance or the always entertaining disapproving neighbor, Mrs. Mancuso.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.
I jumped out and ambled toward the blue Colonial. Mrs. Mancuso, the girls’ elderly neighbor, was sweeping her front steps by the light of her lawn jockey’s lantern, a freak-ass little statue with bright red pants and a lazy eye. Despite the late hour she brushed her little broom back and forth with quick precise motions, even though any sap could have eaten off of the wooden steps as they were. She was probably bored, and lonely. The Wird sisters seemed to be her only form of entertainment.
She buttoned the top of her coat to protect her frail body against the cold. As a were, I’d keep the majority of my strength and reflexes till my dying day. Little old humans like her didn’t have that luxury. I grinned with my new set of chompers and winked her way. “Hey, sex-uh lady.”
Mrs. Mancuso smiled and tucked her neck skin into her brown wool scarf. “Oh, Brendan, you’re such a good boy to flirt with an old lady.” She furrowed her penciled in brows and glanced over at Celia’s former home sweet home. “Too good a boy in fact to be hanging out with those Wird girls.”
I nodded in agreement. “Don’t worry, Mrs. M, I’m trying to help them see the light. I plan to spend the next few hours reading to them from the Bible. They’ll come around, just leave it to me.”
The front door of the Wird house crashed open. There stood Celia—five-foot-three inches of long lethal muscles in skinny jeans and a tight white long sleeved T-shirt. The breeze picked up, sweeping her long mane of brown curls around her face. She pushed her hair out of the way, exposing her narrowing green eyes. Her supersized hearing had obviously picked up my chat with their not-so-favorite neighbor.
I waved. “Hey, Ceel. What’s wrong? Still mad I made you cancel your porn subscription?”
It was really hard not to laugh at her reaction. Celia subscribing to porn was like me joining a Justin Bieber fan club—so not happening. Her eyes shot open only to narrow further at Mrs. Mancuso’s stiff, reprimanding middle finger.
Celia stormed to the edge of her front porch, and while a wide driveway separated both houses, I still caught her golden skin reddening beneath the whitening glare of her porch light. “Mrs. Mancuso, I do not have a porn—”
“Harlot!” Mrs. Mancuso shot back. She lifted her broom defensively, daring Celia to cross the driveway and step foot on her property. Celia pinched the bridge of her nose. In a Mancuso/Celia Wird smack-down, Mrs. M won every time. Not that Celia couldn’t crush her like a fistful of berries, but because Ceel didn’t pick on those weaker than her, no matter how much they annoyed her.
I placed my hand on Mrs M’s shoulder. “It’s okay, honey-bunches. I won’t stop until the sin is washed from her wanton soul.”
“Bren, that’s enough out of you.”
Mrs. M patted my arm, ignoring Celia. “You’re a good boy, Branden,” she said once more.
She flipped Celia off again before shuffling into her house.
A Cursed Moon includes a preview of the upcoming Weird Girls novel Cursed by Destiny!
Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is a full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest. A member of Romance Writers of America, she attributes her passion for storytelling to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing in May 2009. Her Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series is published with Penguin Random House’s Signet Eclipse and released to stellar praise from multiple reviewers including: Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, and Romantic Times. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella, SEALED WITH A CURSE, and A CURSED EMBRACE are now available. A CURSED MOON: A Novella, releases December 3, 2013, followed by CURSED BY DESTINY, January 7, 2014.
ORDER A COPY: Under a Spell (Underworld Detection Agency)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: August 6, 2013
Paperback: 416 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Sophie Lawson was seriously hoping life at the UDA would get back to relative normal now that her boss Pete Sampson has been reinstated. Unfortunately, her new assignment is sending her undercover into a realm where even the most powerful paranormals fear to tread…her old high school. Being a human immune to magic is no defense against soulless picture-perfect mean girls—or a secret witch coven about to sacrifice a missing female student. And Sophie’s Guardian, uber-proper Englishman Will, is determined to convince Sophie he’s the kind of temptation she should indulge in permanently. Now, as the clock ticks down to apocalypse, he and Sophie will have to summon every trick in the book to battle devilish illusion, lethal sorcery—and betrayals they’ll never see coming…
Sophie Lawson has to face her biggest fear since arriving at the Underworld Detection Agency and it’s not zombies or vampires or even a fallen angel looking for the Vessel of Souls, it’s—returning to high school and once again facing the dreaded cool girls. High school was a nightmare for an awkward and shy Sophie with no sense of style and crazy, no-tame red hair. She would rather face a rabid werewolf then the homecoming queen, but her boss, Pete Sampson, isn’t giving Sophie a chance to say no.
Another girl has gone missing at Sophie’s old high school and while the police have no concrete leads, the UDA believes that a coven of witches is working out of the school and they are trying to bring something forth with human sacrifices. As the only “breather” at the UDA as well as someone who is immune to magic, it is up to Sophie to go undercover as the new substitute teacher.
As if returning to high school and facing some childhood demons isn’t enough to throw Sophie into a tailspin, Sophie’s friend and personal fantasy, fallen angel Det. Alex Grace is leading the police investigation, but he wants no help from Sophie. In fact, Alex has decided to “distance himself” from Sophie and it’s breaking her heart.
As Alex once again leaves Sophie spinning, right into the arms of the waiting Will Sherman, will he eventually regret letting her go. Sophie has to pick up her broken heart for now because she only has a week to find the missing girl. On the night of the seventh day, the moon will be perfect for a sacrifice. Sophie needs to be the hero and stop the Coven from killing the girl and opening a door, but to where?
I love the Underworld Detection Agency. Poor Sophie can never get a break, but she is always surrounded by friends who let her know just how much her life sucks.
Although it wasn’t bad, this was not my favorite story of the series. Some of the plot was a little predictable. There certainly wasn’t enough Alex in the story, who was acting bizarre since the end of the last story. In the last story, Alex and Will are just short of peeing on Sophie to mark their territory and both (especially Alex) are notably laid back in this story.
There seemed to be a hint at the very end that the next story might involve Sophie’s father. We’ll just have to wait and see.
As always, Nina has a new project and this time she wants to be the director of a promotional video for the UDA. See the link below for the video she produced.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“We need to go back in the building.”
Will looked at me, eyebrows disappearing into his sandy hair. “Back into the high school? Why? We’ve checked it over twice.”
I sucked in a slow, deep breath. “I don’t think I was ready to see anything.”
Will’s brow furrowed and he pressed his lips together.
I rushed on. “I didn’t want to see anything there except for what I knew–in my head, in my–what is it? Repressed memories.”
Will reached across the center console and took my hand tenderly in his. He cocked his head slightly and blinked the honey-amber of his eyes warm and inviting. “You’ve never repressed a thing in your life, love.”
I snatched my hand back and grabbed the door. “Are you coming or not?”
We stood in front of the glass double doors and stared, somehow both waiting for the ultimate evil to come barreling toward us or for a commercial break. The school remained silent, the double doors cloudy and revealing nothing, and there was no pause to regroup or offer some sort of cheery distraction. My heart was thundering in my ears and Will had been uncharacteristically silent the whole walk from parking lot to school entrance. A wind kicked up and a handful of skeletal leaves and garbage brushed past us.
“Ready?” I asked, my fingers closing around the administration key Principal Lowe had offered me.
Will shrugged and attempted to look nonchalant, but his eyes never left the keyhole. “I guess.”
I unlocked the door and stepped aside, waiting for Will to push it open.
“What?” he asked.
I gestured. “You always open doors for ladies.”
He cocked a brow. “I didn’t know gender roles held firm even in the face of unspeakable danger.”
I steeled my body and tried to sum up confidence I didn’t feel. “What are you so worried about? You said yourself we’ve checked the place twice already and found nothing.”
Will pushed open the door for me and I hesitated before stepping through. “Yes, but that was before your whole ‘I see dead people…if I care to look’ routine.”
I huffed, crossing my arms in front of my chest. “I don’t see dead peple. I mean, I’ve seen dead people.” I shuddered. “I’ve probably seen more dead people inthe last two years than most people will see in their whole lives.”
Will glanced at me before slapping a flashlight into my hand. “You’re not the best at putting people at their ease, you know?”
I flicked on the flashlight and shined the yellow bulb toward Will’s face. “Hey, you’re the Guardian.”
He slung an arm over my shoulder. “And if there’s a team of fallen angels lurking around this place, then you’re in luck.”
Will flashed his light down the blackened hallway. “Otherwise? You’re on your own.”
“What a relief,” I groaned.
“They don’t pay me enough.”
I rolled up on my tiptoes and glanced through the windows into darkened classrooms that looked as benign as they had during the day–desks in neat lines, unoccupied by witches, hobgoblins, or any other manner of creepy-crawly; stacked textbooks; glossy posters reminding girls to stay off drugs.
“I ask again,” Will said as we approached the last room. “What exactly are we looking for?”
“I don’t know, exactly. Just keep an eye out for anything that seems…off.”
Will swung his light toward me, and I was enveloped in a bright yellow glow. I rolled my eyes.
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: August 8, 2013
Paperback: 280 pages
Rating: 5 stars
A supernatural love triangle + one indecent proposal Beatrice Alexander can crush a sixty-foot snake with her mind, but she can’t take any more of the drama that’s tearing apart F.R.E.A.K.S. Should she give it all up — her job as a secret agent and the possibility of a relationship with Will, the gorgeous werewolf? Bea’s hoping to get it all figured out on a trip home for Christmas. But soon her hunky ex-boyfriend wants to rekindle their romance. Then, a powerful (and super hot) vampire lord offers Bea an impossible ultimatum: leave San Diego and her family forever — or become his lover.
Beatrice Alexander thought life was hard being a schoolteacher, especially one with a deep dark secret. Beatrice is psychokinetic. At least back then she thought kids hopped up on sugar was the worse thing she had to face. That is until she was recruited by the FBI for the F.R.E.A.K.S. division (Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals). Now her days involve zombies, witches, vampires and werewolves.
As if the dangerous supernaturals they fight against aren’t enough to keep a girl busy, Beatrice also has her hands full with men in her life. Her vampire best friend, Oliver Montrose is gorgeous and flirty and has made more enemies than friends in his 500 undead years. Some of whom are working with Oliver and Bea at the FBI, including their boss, Special Agent William Price. The sexy werewolf stars in most of Beatrice’s fantasies, but her friendship with Oliver is causing Will to give Bea the cold-shoulder treatment, and she’s had enough! Enough of being surrounded by people who don’t support her ideas, of all the overprotective, alpha-male, testosterone-filled idiots who try and keep her in the background where it’s “safe”, and she has definitely had enough of being forced to choose between Oliver and Will.
Beatrice is going home to San Diego for the Christmas holiday…maybe forever. It is something she will have to think about while she is away. Running for her life on an almost daily basis has become a great exercise plan, but add to that the fact that she’s been chased by almost every deadly supernatural alive and undead to the tension around the office, most of which surrounds her, and Beatrice is starting to think about returning home to her family and to being a boring school teacher. And just when she starts thinking about boring…oh, here comes her old boyfriend, Officer Steven Weir. He is hoping Bea wants to rekindle their relationship. Oh, good God, no! Not only is he is definitely no Will, or even an Oliver, he was the epitome of boring which is the main reason she broke up with him the first place.
Although Beatrice came home to get away from the men in her life and the danger from her job, it appears men and trouble will seek her out. She’s been threatened–I mean, invited by the local Vampire Lord Connor McInnis to come to see him. He’s heard about Beatrice’s gift and her exploits with the F.R.E.A.K.S. and he will make an offer she can’t refuse–especially since he has vampire law on his side–she must leave San Diego and never see her family again or leave the F.R.E.A.K.S. become his consort for life.
Now Beatrice will have to suck it up and ask for help of the two men she left behind. Damn! Maybe there still time for her to enter the convent after all.
I adored this story and these characters. This just such a fun story. I picked it up Sunday morning and didn’t go to sleep until it was finished. Then I picked up copies of books #1 and #2 in the series. Yeah, yeah, I know, “When the hell are you going to read them. We’ve seen your TBR list.” Hey–back off. I’ll get to them…soon…eventually…just shut up.
Beatrice was delightful, Will was sexy and overprotective and Oliver was such a flirt. Even vampire Connor was sexy and funny. I hope we’ll be seeing more of him in future novels.
I will definitely find the time to read the first two books (Stop it! I will!) and I will be watching out to see where she is taking us in book #4. (Cross your fingers for some naked, sexy time with Will.)
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!
Another book that was hard to choose a favorite scene.
“Pat her down.”
Great. Getting felt up twice in two days. A new record. Rolling my eyes and sighing, I lift up my arms and spread my legs. As Pippin pats me down, and Cockney rifles through my bag, the yummy bartender watches with a smirk and raised eyebrow. The others could care less.
“Nothing,” Pippin says.
“Not here either,” Cockney says.
“Why would I bring weapons to a friendly sit-down?” I get my purse back. “Besides, I’m on holiday. I don’t usually pack my Uzi. So if you could get your boss, please? I’m missing It’s a Wonderful Life.“
The bartender full on smiles, his blue eyes crinkling. I am a sucker for crinkly eyes. Footsteps above draw my attention away from the eye candy. A red headed man with short hair, goatee, charcoal gray slacks, white dress shirt, and gray vest steps into view.
“Matilda, can you bring me up last night’s receipts?” he asks with a clipped British accent.
That must be him. He merely glances at me as the female bartender stops chopping.
“They should be in the safe,” Yummy says with an Irish accent. I almost melt inside. Irish accents are my Kryptonite. I’ve watched all of Colin Farrell’s movies and interviews a dozen times just to hear him talk. Liam Neeson’s too. And I wore out my copy of Once. I really hope I don’t have to kill him now.
“Everything fine down here?” Connor asks the Irishman.
“Yes,” he says with that voice. I really must be hard up if my G-spot is tingling now. I’ll be rubbing up against trees in the middle of gunfights pretty soon. “We shall be up in a minute.”
Matilda the bartender locates the receipts and walks upstairs behind the departing Connor. He doesn’t look like much. The three bodyguards will be hardest, especially the vamp one.
“Care to sit?” Irish suggests, motioning to the bar. I glance around the room, but nobody seems to care about me except my escorts, so I sit. As I get closer, I notice I was wrong about his eyes. They’re violet like Liz Taylor’s. I’ve never actually met anyone with real violet eyes. He smiles again reassuringly. “May I pour you a drink?”
“No, thank you. I’m fine.”
He tsks. “You obviously have no Irish in you.”
Is he flirting with me? “Why is that?”
“We Irish will accept a drink even from our worst enemies.”
“Are you guys my worst enemies?”
He puts both hands on the bar and leans in toward me. “If we are, Special Agent Alexander, then you must not be doing your job well.” His eyes meet mine, and he smiles. Flirtatiously. And yes, a sliver of lust rushes through me.
I mask it by looking away. “Are you trying to capture my mind, Danny Boy?”
“I would never presume to do that, Special Agent. Why mar perfection?”
I swear this guy and Oliver must have studied under the same seduction teacher, Mr. Casanova de Cheesy. “Rein it in, Danny Boy,” I warn. “I’m here to meet your boss, not participate in Flirting 101.” Heck yeah! Go, tough Bea!
The vamp frowns. “I apologize if I offended. It is not every day I can enjoy a conversation with a woman of your caliber and beauty, and I mean that with sincerity. I simply could not help myself.”
Okay, maybe I could stand to hear a little more, but I don’t let him know that. “It’s okay, I’m used to it. I live with a vamp. I know if your mouth is moving, you’re flirting.”
He cocks one of those violet eyes. “You live with a vampire? Who is this fortunate man?”
“Special Agent Oliver Montrose. My partner.” Not technically true partners but close enough.
“And you live together?”
“Not like that.” I say. “We live in the same house. Separate bedrooms, though.”
“But it is true you walked unarmed into a room of twelve vampires to save him from true death?”
“I wasn’t unarmed, and it wasn’t twelve. More like eight.”
“But you were almost directly responsible for the death of the Lord of Dallas.”
“I didn’t kill him,” I say quickly.
“You may as well have wielded the sword yourself,” Irish says. “And is it true you dispatched, in a single twenty-four hour period, fifteen vampires including two of whom were over three hundred years old?”
My spidey sense is tingling. “You know, for a lowly bartender, you seem to know a lot about me.”
“It is my job to know these things, Agent Alexander.”
Ugh. I’m an idiot. I fell for a classic bad guy move that anyone who’s watched a Bond flick should have seen a mile away. Now I’m really glad I kept the drooling to a minimum. I lean back in my chair with a crooked smile. “Lord Connor I presume.” He bows his head and all the other vamps in the room chuckle at my stupidity. There goes my credibility. I am so going to die. “Nice one.”
“I am afraid you caught me on my night off,” Connor says, “Otherwise I would have greeted you in proper attire.”
“What? A tuxedo and cape?”
“I was thinking more along the lines of body armor and shotgun.”
“You’re cuter this way,” I say with a sly smile. “Shotguns don’t really do it for me.”
“And what does, pray tell?”
I lean in a little. “Irish accents and crinkly eyes.”
He grins back. “In that case, we should continue our conversation upstairs? With a bit more privacy?”
I lean in more so we’re close enough to kiss while meeting his eyes. “Thought you’d never ask, your Lordship.” And the Golden Globe for acting cool while really wanting to run screaming from the building goes to…the corpse of Bea Alexander.
ORDER A COPY: A Cursed Embrace: A Weird Girls Novel
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: July 2, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twenty-something girls—with one tiny exception: They are the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that made them, well, a little weird…
After Celia Wird and her sisters help master vampire Misha save his family, their powers are exposed to the supernatural community of the Lake Tahoe region. But fame comes at a price, and being “weird” isn’t always welcome.
To make matters worse, Celia desires the love of Alpha werewolf Aric, but his pack is bent on destroying their relationship to preserve his pureblood status. And once weres start turning up dead—with evidence pointing to the vampires—she must face the prospect of losing Aric forever. But the chaos only masks a new threat. An evil known as the Tribe has risen—and their sights are set on Celia and her sisters.
In her second book of the Weird Girls series, Cecy Robson takes us on an action packed adventure involving nausea-inducing demons, and a rollercoaster ride of emotions as things between Celia and Aric heat up, yet vampire master, Misha, isn’t going to wait quietly in the wings to see if love blossoms.
Celia and her sisters are humans who were cursed at birth. Celia can shift into a tiger, always ready to protect her younger sisters. Taran harnesses the power of fire. Shayna can turn any metal into a blade and any wood into a weapon. Little sister, Emme, has the ability to heal her sisters, as well as move things with her mind.
As we begin book 2, Celia’s sisters, Shayna and Emme are settling into their new romances with their werewolf boyfriends, while Taran is frustrated with Gemini’s overprotective, but standoffish demeanor. Celia would even welcome a pat on the head from werewolf Alpha Aric, at least she would have a better understanding where she stands with him. As always, Celia knows that vampire Master Misha would welcome more than just a friendly relationship with Celia.
Little did Celia know that the day she had a wereraccoon’s dead body in her living room would be the most normal day for her in long, long time. Someone has unleashed evil into Tahoe and it’s focusing all its attention on the Wird sisters.
When couples start going missing, the weres start investigating only to find the partially eaten corpses of the men. Only they got off easy. What is happening to the women is the stuff out of nightmares. Someone has unleashed a demon from hell who is trying to spawn his own demon army—using the unwilling human women as hosts. Now, spawning with human women does the job, but he has his sights on the enchanted Wird sisters. They would bring an essence of magic to his spawn.
Demons are not known for waiting patiently for what they want. While Celia and her sisters are quite a force together, they are also protected by Aric and his werewolves and Misha and his vampires. But if you wait long enough and cause enough chaos, a clever demon might just get what he’s after.
Wow!! Fighting, sex, magic, werewolves, vampires, maggot-filled demons, cranky old neighbors…this book has it all, and makes damn good use of them all.
It was a little slow in the beginning and I started out feeling a little disappointed since I was so looking forward to Book 2. It was still funny and enjoyable but not all that exciting…oh boy, was I wrong. When she started adding demon spawn, the action took off like a bat out of hell (he,he) and just didn’t stop. Now, the demon raping (not described in detail, thankfully) turns this fun Urban Fantasy series a little gruesome, but there is no doubt that it added some nail-biting excitement every time a demon managed to get too close to a Wird sister.
Add to this a rollercoaster rider of emotions as things between Aric and Celia start heating up. Although the naked monkey sex brings them in the direction that Celia wanted to go, you can tell Aric is holding back and you don’t know why, and you can only worry if he’s going to break Celia’s heart in the end. Throw in a sexy vampire that wants the same girl to stir up the pot, and you’ve got an emotional love triangle worth watching.
I absolutely loved this story and can’t imagine how she’s going to top this with her next book, but I am excited to see what happens next.
Received an ARC courtesy of the author and publisher. Thank you.
Our giveaway winner was Tracy. Congratulations!
Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is an author with Penguin’s SIGNET ECLIPSE. She attributes her passion for story-telling back to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing her Urban Fantasy Romance Series, Weird Girls, in May 2009. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella and SEALED WITH A CURSE are now available. A CURSED EMBRACE, releases July 2, 2013 followed by A CURSED MOON: An eSpecial Novella December 2013, and CURSED BY DESTINY, January 2014.
So many great scenes, so hard to decide…
“Please sit, Celia, so that I may tend to your wounds.”
The redhead spread a blanket on the ground and motioned me to it. I did as Misha asked and positioned myself on the ground, holding tight to my wound. Misha moved my hand with ease and spread my knees apart. Like an idiot, I forgot vampires didn’t use first aid kits. A gush of blood spurted out and splattered against the blanket. Misha didn’t panic. He bent forward and licked the inside of my thigh very slowly. The wound sealed, but he didn’t stop. He continued to lick me in teasing strokes, sending a wave of paralyzing chills up my spine. And call me crazy, but I failed to see how his look of seduction was beneficial to my injury.
“Ah…What?…I…” Words failed me. It took another flick of his tongue to finally jar me out of my shock. I slammed my knees together and quickly scrambled to the edge of the blanket. But I was too late. From nowhere, a snarling wolf appeared at my shoulder.
Aric changed back to human. Misha rose to meet him. They stood nose-to-nose. The scent of Aric’s fury scorched the air around us. Misha remained blissfully calm. After all, he’d just eaten. Challenging growls and hissing surrounded us as Misha’s vampires and Aric’s wolves prepared to attack.
I squeezed between them in an attempt to prevent all-out war. “Aric, stop.” I tried to push him back, yet couldn’t even manage to nudge him. Aric typically out-muscled me, but at the moment he was an impenetrable wall of livid energy. I didn’t want them to fight, and I sure as hell didn’t want anyone to die. So I threw in my only weapon—the weak and helpless card.
“Aric, please, Misha just saved me from a bunch of weres.
”I was coming for you!”
“Yes, but you might have been too late. I was already badly wounded, and the weres had caught up to me. Misha was just trying to help.”
”By trying to seduce you?” Aric’s muscles tensed and shook violently beneath my hands.
My breath sputtered as I released it. “I was bleeding from a deep wound in my thigh. All he did was seal it.” I glanced back at Misha, hoping he’d back up what I was saying. He didn’t. Bastard.
Aric ground his teeth. ”What is he even doing here?”
Misha flashed him one of the wickedest smiles in his arsenal. “Celia was in danger and thought my name. Thus, I responded. And now that I have tasted her blood, our call is that much stronger.”
Great. More bars, in more places. Having a vampire’s digits just got better and better.
Aric went perfectly still. In a way, that was way scarier than the angry, growling, red-faced wolf he’d been seconds before. I swallowed hard. The weak and helpless card clearly wasn’t working, so I tried to reason with him. My hand gently touched his face. “Aric, this is not the time. Something terrible is happening. We were attacked by vampires several months back. Yesterday it was a horde of demon children, and today some strange weres. What’s going to happen tomorrow? Misha isn’t the enemy. We have to figure out who is.”
Misha whipped his head away from Aric to glare at me. “You were attacked by a horde of demon children yesterday? And you did not inform me?”
I threw my hands in the air. Great, now they’re both pissed at me.
ORDER A COPY: Predatory
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: See each story
Four of today’s most exciting paranormal authors take readers into the thrilling realm of vampires, immortals, and other supernatural beings with a thirst for illicit desire…
Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy
Ph.D student Angela Locke has a crush on her sexy professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev. When she learns he’s actually a Sentinel with extraordinary powers, she joins forces with him to catch a psychopath. But soon, their hottest pursuit is of each other…
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
Cassie Tyler agrees to sub for her friend at the funeral home where she works. But she gets more than she bargained for when a group of men attack her and a vampire comes to her rescue. . .
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Richart d’Alençon can’t forget the woman who rewarded him with a sensuous kiss after he saved her from a trio of vampires. While Richart knows that loving a human can only bring trouble, the taste of forbidden lust is too great to resist. . .
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
When vampire fashionista Nina LaShay’s design contest rival is found dead, she’s the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. He’s the kind of man who makes Nina salivate. But will she have to reveal herself to have him–and to save them both? Or does Pike have a secret of his own?
Out of Control by Alexandra Ivy
Angela Locke is just weeks away from finishing her PhD when visiting Professor Hottie…umm, Dr. Niko Bartrev comes to the college and for the first time ever, the only biology Angela can keep her mind on is the kind involving a naked Niko. Niko isn’t really a professor at the college to monitor Angela’s class. He’s actually a Sentinel on the trail of an escaped high-blood who wants the knowledge in Angela’s brain to change her advance DNA and make her a normal human. Niko fears that when Angela learns of his deception, even if it was for her own good, he might have lost his chance with her forever.
This short story is supposed to be the introduction to the new Sentinel series. Although there is a basic explanation of the Sentinels, who are guardians, and the high-bloods, who are mutants (some dangerous/some not), this story was really too short to build to any real understanding and interest in the new series. I would definitely have to hold off judgment of the Sentinels until after Book #1.
Rating: 3 stars – Being an Alexandra Ivy fan I will check out the next Sentinel book, but this short didn’t do anything to really draw me to the series.
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
Cassie thought she was just going to help out her friend for a few hours answering phones while Felicity had an “emergency.” The problem is Cassie is at the wrong place/wrong time and some men show up to remove her from the job permanently. When she ends up killing one of them in self-defense, she releases the vampire they had captured and now he has taken Cassie under his wing for her own protection, but how can she be safer in the arms of a hot, sexy vampire?
Nina Bangs in one of those authors on my I want to read list, where I hope that someone offers me a review copy and give me an excuse to pop her on my TBR list. This story was just ok. There are some things that I don’t understand why she wrote them in, but again, I haven’t read anything of hers yet so I don’t know what’s part of her series and why she added them.
Rating: 3 stars – This story should have intrigued me enough to grab Book #1 of the series, but the characters just didn’t interest me.
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Richart d’Alençon has been an Immortal Guardian for about 240 years now but the night he saves Jenna McBride from a group of vampires, is the night that truly changes his life. Guardians are not supposed to date humans, but he is so drawn to the lively Jenna that he can’t think about anything else but seeing her again. He wants to take the relationship further, but not until he can confess the truth to her. When Richart is wounded and drugged by an unknown enemy, he teleports directly to Jenna’s living room, carrying swords and covered in blood, just before passing out. Maybe she won’t notice anything weird about that? Uh, oh. If he survives the night, he’ll be in so much trouble.
I like the Immortal Guardians series, and we got to know Richart a little more in the last book, Phantom Shadows, where we see him sneaking phone calls to his human girlfriend. I definitely enjoyed Richart and Jenna’s story.
Rating: 5 stars – I like the Immortal Guardian series, and this had all the fun, excitement and great characters that I have come to expect from Dianne Duvall.
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
When fashionista Nina LaShay goes to New York City to compete in a fashion show, she bring her best designs, her scissors, but she forgets to pack an alibi. When her fellow competitors start turning up dead, of course, who is the first one they look at…the vampire. Like she would even need to snack on those “breathers” just to win. Nina had this competition in the bag. Now she has to figure out who’s killing the rest of the competitors before she ends up in jail or in a body bag.
Nina is a great character from the Urban Fantasy series, The Underworld Detection Agency. As roommate, co-worker and BFF of the main characters, Sophie Lawson, Nina is always around to add life and some fashion sense to the story. It was nice to see Nina shine in her own story, but something was missing without Sophie. Think Ethel without Lucy.
Rating: 4 stars – It was a good story, but if I didn’t follow the UDA series, I don’t know if this would have convinced me to try the series. Nina is playful and snarky, but without Sophie, you are missing the star of the series.
From In Still Darkness By Dianne Duvall:
“I was attacked by vampires?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” How could he keep something like that from her?
“I was attacked, Richart! You should have told me!”
“How?” he asked helplessly.
“Easy. You should have said, Jenna, I know this is going to sound strange, but you were attacked by vampires and I rescued–okay, I see your point. I would have thought you were off your rocker.” She rubbed a shaking hand over her face. “I can’t believe this. Did they…? What did they do to me?”
“Other than the bite, you were unharmed. They must have just taken you when I came upon you.”
“Am I infected?” If all Richart had said was true, she would turn into a psychotic vampire if she transformed. She didn’t have the special DNA need to make her immortal. She couldn’t read minds or teleport or see the future or whatever else they could do.
“No. A single brief bite won’t turn you. You would either have to be bitten fairly often over a stretch of time or have your blood drained until you were on the brink of death, then infused wholly with infected blood.”
And the vampire had only bitten her once. Briefly.
Richart covered the hand she had braced on the mattress with on of his. “Are you all right?”
She met his concerned gaze. “I’m freaked out over being attacked and having no memory of it. That’s really scary.”
“So you—what—killed them Blade-style?”
He smiled. “All but one, who got away, yes.”
“One got away?” Panic shrieked through her. “What if he came back? What if he bit me again and I just can’t remember it?”
“How do you know?”
“Have you experienced missing time again? Have there been any blank spots you couldn’t recall?”
She thought hard, trying to think of any other instances. “I don’t think so. But how can I be sure?”
“I’ve been guarding you,” he admitted, seeming almost ashamed.
“I used speed and stealth to obtain your work schedule and have been at the store every night when you arrived and departed in case he returned and tried to harm you.”
She stared at him. “Every night?”
“Is he likely to return?”
“No. He would have done so before now.”
“Yet you continued to watch over me.”
He shrugged. “At least you said watched. Sheldon kept accusing me of stalking you.”
ORDER A COPY: Blessed By a Demon’s Mark (Kat Redding)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: December 31, 2012
Paperback: 280 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Kat Redding’s life is dangerous enough when she’s hunting the rogue vampires who prey on Pureblood humans. But now that Kat is thinking of getting out of the killing business, she’s faced with a slew of new problems. Like the demon Beligral, who offers help at an escalating cost, and the werewolf cult with whom she’s entwined professionally and personally. And then there’s Countess Baset—the terrifying vampire who wants Kat to become her personal assassin.
It’s no wonder that Kat has been seeking refuge in the mysterious town known as Delai, a place where she can shed her Lady Death persona and live a life that’s as close to normal as she’s ever known. But even in this haven, something feels askew. Delai is a little too serene. And the more she discovers, the more Kat realizes that the only choice left to her is not whether to do battle, but which side she’ll risk her life to defend.
Kat Redding has been hiding out in the Town of Delia for the last few months. She is tired of her life surrounded by death and killing and just wanted to bask in the feeling of peace she feels in Delia, even if she knows deep down there is something wrong with the Town. But it is time to go back and can feel Ethan’s demon calling her back to pay the price of the promise she made. The problem is when you run away from your life with no word to anyone, the world moves on without you especially when they all think you are dead.
Which was probably for the best because more than just her friends have been waiting for Kat to return. There is a Major Vampire House looking for revenge against Lady Death and they have been rather vehement in their questioning of her friends. There are drawback to having a reputation like “Lady Death” whenever vampires and werewolves show up dead, they believe Kat is responsible. Countess Baset believes that Kat is responsible for the death of her lover and she won’t stop ‘til she finds Kat.
Whether it is Kat’s time in Delia messing with her or the pain that her friends have moved on with their lives without her, but Kat isn’t thinking straight. Not when she is decides to let everyone know she’s back, in a big way, by feeding quite publically in the area run by Count Mephisto, a major Vampire Royal, and not when she decides to take on Countess Baset by herself.
Kat needs to get her head on straight before she gets herself killed and her actions are taken out on the few people she truly cares about.
This story shows that it is not good to be a friend of Kat Redding. I thought the story was very frustrating in the beginning. I don’t know if it was Kat’s time is Delia, Levi’s blood deprivation program to cure Kat’s vampire problem, or just leftover trauma following her brother’s death messing with her had, but she does some really stupid things in this story, most of which affect her friends. She is also very angry and nasty toward the only people who truly care about her; including Jonathan, the werewolf leader of the Luna Cult, who is my personal hero. I love Jonathan. So that probably pissed me off most of all. (If she gets Jonathan killed, I am finished.)
But where Kat was a killer who used her skills and cunning to attack and destroy the smaller Vampire Houses, she acts a little unstable in this story, running hot and cold with her friends, declaring that they are trying to control her, while getting herself into some bad situations where she has to bargain her soul and her freedom.
Although she starts acting more level headed by the end of the story, the damage has been done. Kat has been backed in the corner by several major players due to her dumbass actions which are going to be significant impact on not only her future, but those of her friends.
I am also hoping that Kat Redding is not getting a case of Sookie Stackhouse Syndrome where every supernatural creature wants her. Although Jonathan has definite feelings for her and we know the other werewolf leader has also declared he wants to mate with her so together they can rule the area (*bwahahaha*) , it came off that more than just those two are making moony eyes at Kat. Please don’t go there!
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
“Don’t you start in on me, too.”
He held his hands up. He was holding something in his left hand.
I felt myself soften without meaning to. The coat looked just like the one I’d worn for years. I’d managed to lose both of my old coats while dealing with the mess my brother had caused.
Jonathan saw me looking and a small smile quirked the corners of his mouth. “I thought you might like a new one.” He glanced at the coat on the table. “It appears you have not replaced your other, so it seems the gift is warranted.” His gaze traveled back to me. “I’ve waited a long time to give this to you.”
For some reason, that made me angry. Just seeing Jonathan made memories of my brother flood into my head. I couldn’t stop blaming him for Thomas’s death. He’d been there and hadn’t been able to do anything to stop it.
“Keep it.” I said. “I don’t need it.”
Jonathan looked hurt. He lowered his hands and gave me such a pained look, I almost felt guilty for turning away his gift.
“Look.” I said, trying to keep most of the anger out of my voice. “Tell me why you’re here and then get the fuck out of my house. And take your maimed wolf with you.”
Jeremy flinched, and I could tell I’d hurt him almost as bad as I’d hurt Jonathan, maybe more. Why was I being such a bitch when all they were trying to do was help?
Jonathan’s jaw stiffened as if he was fighting off the urge to say something less than respectful. He managed to compose himself before speaking.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay,” he said. “When Jeremy called and said you were back, I didn’t know what to think. I was really starting to believe you might be dead.”
I glanced at the young wolf. He quickly looked away, face flaming. Ethan stepped protectively near him and glared at me.
What the fuck? Ethan used to be scared of the Luna Cult wolves, had even warned me against them more than once. And now he was defending one of them? Things had really changed since I’d been gone.
I hate change.
“You’ve seen I’m okay,” I said, shifting my attention back to Jonathan. “Now go.” I tried to walk past him, but he refused to move out of my way.
“No,” Jonathan said. “You’re not okay.”
“Who gave you the right to decide how I’m doing?’
“No one,” he said. “But I can see it in your eyes, hear it in your words. Something is very wrong with you and I only want to help.”
My hands balled into fists and I stepped closer to the Luna Cult Denmaster, seriously invading his space. “Nothing is wrong with me. It’s everyone around me that’s pissing me off. I’m tired of everyone telling me to hide, to run away. I never should have come back if that’s the way you’re all going to act.”
“Then why did you?”
Anger flared and I had to fight really hard to keep from lashing out. I should have listened to Ethan before when he’d warned me against the Cult. Now here I was with them in my house and they’d seemingly swayed him to their side. I was losing control of my own life.
Jonathan glanced over his shoulder, apparently unconcerned with my nearness. “I’d like to talk to her alone,” he said.
Both Jeremy and Ethan turned and headed for the stairs without hesitation. Ethan glanced back once, giving me a pleading look as if asking me to cooperate, before vanishing down the stairs.
“Shut up and listen to me for a minute,” Jonathan said turning back to face me. His eyes flared yellow and I took a step back, snapping my mouth closed. I’d never seen him this angry before without some severe provocation.
“You have no right to talk to any of us like this,” he said. “I’d almost forgotten how stubborn you could be.”
“I…” This time I trailed off on my own.
“Ethan is supposed to be your friend and you left him to fend for himself. Jeremy lost his arm in an effort to help your brother. He thinks he is useless now, thinks the world has no place for a ‘maimed wolf,’ as you so eloquently put it. I gave him a reason to live, and I will not let you throw that away because you are too stubborn to see we are all here trying to help.”
Guilt crept in past all my anger and confusion. I felt like a fool for lashing out so quickly. Just because I didn’t like what they were saying didn’t mean I should ignore them. They were only concerned for my well-being.
Then why did it feel like they were trying to control me?
ORDER A COPY: Tainted Night, Tainted Blood (Kat Redding)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: July 3, 2012
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Kat Redding is a vampire with a job to do—wiping out the vamps and werewolves who prey on Pureblood humans. Someone has to do it…as long as that someone is her. But suddenly Kat, also known as Lady Death, has competition, and it’s causing problems. Vampire houses and werewolf clans alike are blaming her for a spate of gruesome murders, and Kat needs to figure out who’s really responsible before she becomes the next target…
On the hunt, she forms an uneasy alliance with both the Luna Cult and a powerful rogue werewolf. But the truths Kat’s uncovering—about her enemies and her few remaining confidantes—are far from comforting. And when the chance comes to leave her life of vengeance behind, Kat must decide whether her real motive lies in protecting the innocent, or sating her own fierce hungers.
***NOTE: THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS HERE!!***
In this continuing series, Kat Redding, also known in the supernatural world as Lady Death, finds out that someone is running around the city killing vampires and werewolves with a sword, and although it is not Kat’s style to kill random individuals, rumors are circulating that Lady Death is responsible for these new slayings.
Kat is again approached by Jonathan Alucard, the werewolf alpha of the Luna Cult, to help catch the killer before more weres are killed and to keep the werewolves from going after Kat. Kat is not overly excited to again be involved with the Luna Cult since they were all almost killed the last time they worked together. More importantly, Kat is more than a little unhappy to find Jonathan standing on her doorstep. Normally Kat would kill anyone who knows where she lives, but she can’t seem to work up the desire to hurt Jonathan. Jonathan also wants her to work with werewolf, Adrian Davis, the Alpha who took over the former vampire house. Adrian is still very interested in mating with Kat and he has been having her followed to keep an eye on her, both for his own interests and to make sure she is not the killer. Kat’s feelings still haven’t changed about Adrian and she’d much rather kill him and done with him than play nice and work together to find the killer.
In hunting for the killer, Kat stumbles first onto a human religious cult known as The Left Hand, who hunt the werewolves and vampires, and although they are only human, they are quite dangerous. She also comes upon a bizarre Town known as Delai, where the residents didn’t seem to be cowering in the night in fear of the predators that lurk in the dark. There she meets Levi, the Mayor of the Town, and although he knows that Kat is a vampire, he seems to want her to settle in with them.
When Kat accidently comes upon the killers, she is shocked to learn that it is a group of Tainted, humans who have been tainted with both werewolf and vampire blood, a mix of blood which usually just leads to madness. These tainted are working together as a team and she is nearly killed trying to take them down. The worst shock of all is that the leader of this Tainted Army is Kat’s brother, Thomas, who was Tainted with both werewolf and vampire blood at the same time Kat was turned vampire, and who Kat thought was long dead.
Kat doesn’t know if his leadership is due to his extensive training with Kat prior to their capture, or is Thomas beginning to remember who he was. Now Kat is willing to risk anything and everyone she cares about to save her brother from what he has become. She is even willing to enlist the help of Ethan’s demon in order to bring him back.
I was again quickly drawn in to the world created by E.S. Moore and sped through this story. Kat is still very unwilling or unable to fully trust anyone, not even human Ethan who is her helper in her fight against the evil that prowls the night. Although this is in the realm of Urban Fantasy and not paranormal romance, I was quite happy to see a little more growing between Kat and Jonathan. (I have my own little crush on Jonathan ).
BUT I have to say that the ending has me pretty crazed and more than a little pissed off, and I am trying to reserve judgment until I read the next story since I am certain there must be some very important plot set up happening here.
The Town of Delai gives off a very Twilight Zone feel or something out of a Stephen King novel, the kind of Town you drive in to, but you can never return from. You just know that something is wrong. I see from the preview pages from the next novel at the end of the book that we will be returning to Delia, so I will again reserve any judgment on this part of the story until we get a chance to see where we will be going.
Although I want to jump into the story and kick some Lady Death butt myself, I will definitely be picking up a copy of Blessed by a Demon’s Mark due out in January 2013 to see where the story leads.
See our interview with author E.S. Moore for more about the Kat Redding series.
“I know you don’t like visitors,” Jonathan said. He looked uncomfortable sitting at the table. He kept lacing and unlacing his fingers as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do with his hands.
“No shit.” I placed the gun on the table, the barrel aimed right at him. I kept my hand on it to let him know how much I didn’t like having people show up unannounced at my doorstep.
“I wouldn’t have come if it wasn’t important.”
“Okay,” I said. “Then speak.”
He sighed and ran his fingers trough the hair on the left side of his head. He looked much better than he did the last time I had seen him. It had been at The Bloody Stake, and he’d still been suffering the result of our semi-successful joint run against House Tremaine. The limp was gone and all his wounds appeared to be healed, though that could be deceiving.
Jonathan was a sorcerer, which allowed him to hide what he wanted to hide. He claimed he could only cast glamours, but I refused to believe it. Any sorcerer who wanted to live would claim they could do very little. Anyone stronger was sought out and killed.
Jonathan used his glamours to keep the Luna Cult Den hidden. He was able to hide the Den, making the old library on the Ohio State campus look run-down and abandoned from the outside. On the inside, it was anything but.
He’d used his glamour on me once as well, making me appear as a Luna Cult member so we could infiltrate House Tremaine together. It had worked, to a point. I hadn’t been able to keep myself from killing a few wolves along the way, which, in turn, gave us away when Adrian Davis sniffed me out.
Before I met him, Jonathan had kept his face hidden with a dark hood aided by a glamour that made his face all shadows and darkness. Only recently had he started using his magic to hide the damage done to his face, reconstructing it so that anyone looking at him wouldn’t cringe.
The slightest hint of guilt crept into me. I’d been the one who’d ruined his face. He was once a member of House Valentino, a House I had taken down after they had turned me into a vampire. My blade had cut a large chunk of his skull off, leaving him mutilated and near death. He survived and had a change of heart, choosing to turn against his vampire masters and fight for the liberation of the werewolf.
Yeah, I wasn’t so sure why I was siding with him either.
Jonathan looked up at me and a sadness came into his eyes. “I was wondering if I would ever see you again,” He said. “I thought we had gotten past our differences and could at least be friends.”
I frowned. “Is that what this is about?”
“No,” he admitted. “But I needed to get it out. I dislike the thought of you risking your life alone when you could have my help.”
He rubbed at his forehead like a headache was coming on. “Things would be much easier if we could learn to work together. This animosity between us need not exist. Maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so far gone if you had come to me.”
I frowned even harder. “What’s happened?”
He licked his lips and brushed off his jacket, though there was nothing on it. He looked downright nervous, and it was making my trigger finger itch.
I moved my head away from the gun just in case. I would probably feel bad if I killed him because he sneezed at the wrong moment.
We are going to be giving away winner’s choice of a copy of Book #1-Under Wraps or Book #2-Under Attack. Giveaway ends Friday, April 20th. U.S. or Canada residents only!
Thank you to Kensington Books for the giveaway!
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Company
Publishing Date: May 1, 2012
Paperback: 333 pages
Rating: 5 stars
She’s the new head of the Underworld Detection Agency’s strangest division. What a nightmare…
Being a human immune to magic helped Sophie Lawson get promoted. It’s also made her a major, very reluctant player in a game that stretches beyond even the Underworld. Having handsome buttoned-down Englishman Will as her new guardian is one tempting blessing, especially since sexy fallen angel Alex is mysteriously MIA lately. But as a frightening number of demons start disappearing around the city, Sophie suspects that an Armageddon-level prophecy is about to become everyone’s nightmare. And her investigation is testing her bravery — and Will’s unexpected vulnerability — in ways neither could predict. Now Sophie and Will are fast running out of time as an unstoppable evil prepares to lay waste to demons and humans alike…
Sophie Lawson is the only human working at the Underworld Detection Agency. The Underworld Detection Agency monitors, regulates and assists demons in the San Francisco area, sort of like the Social Security Office for demons. Sophie’s mother and grandmother were Seers, so Sophie is the only human or “breather” on staff since she is immune to magics and glamours.
In this chapter of the Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles, Sophie has noticed that several of her clients have not arrived for their monthly appointments, including hot-headed dragon Mrs. Henderson. Since Mr. Dixon, new vampire head of UDA, doesn’t share Sophie’s concerns, she takes it upon herself to check on Mrs. Henderson only to find her home trashed and dragon’s blood smeared everywhere. When even Sophie’s on again/off again love, fallen angel and FBI agent, Alex Grace doesn’t believe her, Sophie decides to tackle what she believes is a supernatural killer on her own.
With the help of her best friend, roommate and vampire, Nina LaShay, Nina’s brooding nephew Vlad and Sophie’s sexy Guardian, Will Sherman, Sophie tries to locate the killer; if only she could get everyone focused on the problem at hand.
Currently, Nina is falling in love with Harley Cavanaugh, author of the new book Vampires, Werewolves and Other Things that Don’t Exist, and Sophie can’t convince her that she can’t get to happily ever after with a man who doesn’t believe she even exists.
Vlad is still busy fighting for the Vampire Empowerment Movement (VERM) so that all vampires are in charge and are free to dress like Count Chocula; and breaking VERM rules by dating a breather himself.
And with things off again with Alex and his being on a stakeout across the country, things are starting to heat up between Guardian Will and Sophie in his absence. (“Guardian—and not in that “until your eighteen” sort of way, but in an “until the balance of power has been restored between the good and the fallen, I will protect you” kind of way”).
While Sophie stumbles through another investigation in her I Love Lucy way, you will again be laughing and chuckling at the snarky comments and zippy one-liners. Once again, Hannah creates a world and characters that are so charming and delightful.
This story was fun as well as entertaining and just thoroughly enjoyable. I continue to look forward to where she will take us next. I am also looking forward to seeing how this will play out with the Sophie/Will/Alex triangle. Sophie has been “ready to lay down my soul” in love with Alex from the beginning, and although he is noticeably attracted to her, he is standoffish in his “I’m trying to get back to heaven” way. Will he change his mind now that the competition for Sophie’s affection has heated up? Oooo, I can’t wait to see.
My only comment would have been that the end of this story leaves us with Sophie opening the door to a mystery man that leaves her gaping. In this case, I would have left it there since I would have been panting to read the next book to see who was at the door. The publishers have added a few pages from the next book to draw you in, and you find out who was at the door. Kind of ruins the mystery, but I for one will be looking for the next book coming out in the Fall.
Received an ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
Just leave a comment to be entered for winner’s choice of a copy of Book #1-Under Wraps or Book #2-Under Attack. U.S. or Canada residents only!
Thank you to Kensington Books for the giveaway!
“Hey, come on. We don’t have much time.”
Will’s eyes were focused over my head; his lips pressed together. I watched his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed slowly.
“What?” I looked over my shoulder at the two carved cement lion/dragon statues that guarded the mouth of Chinatown. “Those? They’re not real. Promise. They don’t come to life during a full moon or a Keeping Up with the Kardashians Marathon or anything.”
“It’s not that,” Will said, starting to shuffle with the tourist crowd. “It’s”—and here he wagged his head from side to side, hazel eyes scanning, scrutinizing—“Mogwai.”
I stopped dead and crossed my arms, feeling one eyebrow creep up, “Mogwai?”
We had crossed through the Chinatown gates and were flanked by a couple with thick Midwestern accents, who were pausing to photograph everything, and a guy power walking while listening to his iPod loud enough to hear every one of Steven Tyler’s wailing screams.
“Yeah,” Will said, voice lowered, “Mogwai.”
“Look, Will, I know every single demon in the Underworld. And a majority of the upper world, too—wait? A Mogwai?”
Will nodded nervously, as if saying the word would bring one about.
“That’s a Gremlin, Will.”
“If you feed it after midnight, it is. And whose midnight, you know? They’re Chinese, right? Is it when it’s midnight in China or here? And, well, I’m British. Does my Mogwai become British—”
“It’s a freaking Spielberg movie, Will!”
Will stopped, putting his hands on his hips. “And you don’t think it was based on something real?”
I could feel my left eye begin to twitch. “Fine.” I put out my hand, wiggling the tips of my fingers. “Give me your wallet.”
“Give it to me.”
Will reluctantly fished his wallet from his back pocket and handed it to me. I pulled out his credit cards and all of the cash—seventeen dollars, all in ones—from it; and handed it back.
I shoved his money into my pocket, clapped a hand on his shoulder. “See? Now I’ve got all of your money. There is absolutely no chance of you buying a Mogwai, unless you’ve got some magic beans in your pants. Now let’s get going.”
ORDER A COPY: Under Wraps (The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles)
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Company
Publishing Date: March 1, 2011
Paperback: 343 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen, and the uncanny. . .
Until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. Dodging raging bloodsuckers, bad-tempered fairies, and love-struck trolls is one thing. But when Sophie discovers Parker isn’t what he seems, she’s got only one chance to figure out whom to trust. Because an evil hiding in plain sight is closing in. . .and about to make one wisecracking human its means to ultimate power.
Sophie Lawson is the only human working at the Underworld Detection Agency. The Underworld Detection Agency monitors, regulates and assists demons in the San Francisco area, sort of like the Social Security Office for demons. Sophie’s mother and grandmother were Seers, so Sophie is the only human or “breather” on staff since she is immune to magics and glamours.
This is the first chapter of The Underground Detection Agency Chronicles. We meet Sophie Lawson, the only human at UDA. She is working as the secretary—I mean Administrative Assistant to the gorgeous and sexy Pete Sampson, head of the UDA and werewolf, whom Sophie has a bit of a crush on. Part of her duties for Mr. Sampson is to chain him in his office each night so that he doesn’t go on a rampage through the streets of San Francisco.
SFPD Detective Parker Hayes comes to Mr. Sampson requesting his help on some very disturbing murders in the area, including a victim drained of blood and another who was shredded within minutes. Since Mr. Sampson cannot wander the city loose at night, he offers Sophie’s assistance to the SFPD since she is the most knowledgeable about the various supernatural types.
As they try to nail down the killer, Sophie attempts to introduce Det. Hayes to the world of the underworld supernaturals, including an introduction to Sophie’s best friend and roommate, vampire Nina LaShay. While Sophie is working with SFPD, Nina is supposed to be chaining up Mr. Sampson, but since Nina is a bit flighty, she quickly forgets. Clues start leading in the direction of a werewolf and Det. Parker begins to look toward the missing Pete Sampson, but Sophie can’t be convinced that her Mr. Sampson would ever be a killer, werewolf or not.
The longer she works with Det. Hayes, Sophie can’t decide if she wants to punch him or kiss him, and then questions start to emerge that Det. Hayes is not being 100 percent honest with Sophie.
I treated myself; taking the time to backtrack to this first story in the series. I had so thoroughly enjoyed Under Attack and just finished Under Suspicion, and wanted to see how the series began. Although I didn’t think this story was as humorous as the other two stories, it was just as well written and enjoyable, and I finished it in a day. If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy, I would definitely recommend this series to you. If you haven’t tried it yet, grab a copy of Under Wraps and get started today. You will be happy you did.
“So,” Nina repeated, her midnight-dark eyes glittering, “how was your day with Officer Love? Excellent? Wonderful? A freak show of wild, breather sex?”
“I’m sitting right here!” Vlad moaned.
“You’re one hundred and twelve, get over it. Humans have sex,” Nina called back.
I downed my wine and Nina frowned.
“That bad, huh?” she asked.
“Not with Officer Lo—I mean Detective Hayes. He’s fine—straddles the fine line between obnoxious and wonderfully hot—but fine. It’s this case.” I shuddered. “There was another murder today.”
I saw the top of Vlad’s head poke over his laptop screen as he listened in. Nina looked away, reaching for an out-of-date InStyle magazine on the coffee table. “I still don’t see why this is such a big deal. Everyone kills everyone in this city. Everyone’s either dead, undead or dying.”
I raked my fingers through my hair. “Nina, this is serious. The crime scene, it was awful. It was a woman our—or, my—age. There was blood everywhere.” I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry. “And someone removed the woman’s heart.”
Nina’s eyes flashed. “Removed it?”
“Removed it?” Vlad repeated. “Completely?”
I nodded. “Gone. Hayes is convinced it’s a vampire.”
“Stupid,” Vlad groaned, going back to his computer game.
Nina raised an eyebrow and snapped a magazine page, ignoring Vlad. “Is that so?” She sat forward. “Does this detective even know anything about vampires? Anything at all? Humf.” She snapped another page. “He probably thinks we’re anti-garlic too.”
“You hate garlic.”
Nina pinned me with a glare. “It gives me bad breath.”
Vlad chuckled from his spot at the table.
Nina rolled her eyes. “Anyway. We don’t do hearts. Or waste blood. Ever. Starving vamps in Africa, you know?” She pointed, her eyes narrowed…
I sunk back into the couch, my stomach gurgling. “I can’t think of fashion right now. People are dying. And other people are thinking it’s coming from the Underworld. You know—
Nina wrinkled her pixie nose. “I know. Delicate balance between worlds, blah, blah, blah.” She tossed the magazine and kicked her legs up onto the coffee table, balancing her chin in her palm. “You don’t think it’s coming from the Underworld?”
“I don’t know. There was veiling and a pentagram, so it’s got to be someone who knows their magics.”
Nina eyed me, the corner of her mouth turning up. “Pentagrams? How very every eighties horror movie. And any demon could learn to veil; it’s magic one-oh-one.”
“Can you?” I asked.
Nina looked away. “Any person could learn to do it, too.”
“Well, the veiling was one thing, but the rest…I’ve worked in the Underworld for a long time, Nina. I’ve worked with vampires, werewolves, even hobgoblins, and I’ve never even seen a hint of this kind of”—I shuddered again—“destruction.”
Nina raised a sculpted eyebrow.
“Not even from zombies,” I added. “Or ghouls.”
“Well,” Nina said, sitting forward, “remember when that Choas demon ate your goldfish? That was pretty destructive.”
“A Chaos demon ate your goldfish?” Vlad said. “Cool.”
“It was not cool,” I snapped. “He swallowed Tipsy whole. And the little plastic pirate ship she was hiding in.”