Category Archives: Vampires
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: September 16, 2014
eBook: 234 pages
Rating: 4 stars=story – 1 star=series ending
This was a great series with an adorable, self-deprecating heroine and her two very interesting love interests. A big part of the fun was the flirty banter between Beatrice and (vampire) Oliver, while Beatrice chased after serious and sexy team leader (werewolf) Will. Unfortunately, once Beatrice finally catches Will, we lose all the Oliver banter while Oliver sulks in the corner. Beatrice also learns that there are some serious issues to deal with once you catch your man who has his own PMS from hell every full moon.
Beatrice is a woman who knows what she wants and for the last year, she has wanted the love of her F.R.E.A.K.S. team leader, werewolf William Price. She doesn’t care that he gets furry and chases his tail once a month. She has their future children already named, she just needs Will to acknowledge his own feelings for Beatrice. The few kisses they have exchanged tell her that Will isn’t as immune to her as he tries to make her believe. But no matter what she does, Will keeps pushing her away. Yet a slipped “I love you” will bring about a change to her future that she might not have been as ready for as she thought she was.
Not everyone is happy for Willitrice. The team is once again fracturing over what their new relationship will mean to the team. The biggest casualty to this new romance is Beatrice’s friendship with partner and BFF, vampire Oliver Montrose. Oliver and Will have been enemies and reluctant teammates for decades, but their animosity to each other exploded over their mutual feelings for Beatrice. Oliver was aware that Beatrice was in love with Will. She cried on his shoulder many a night over Will. But watching her unrequited mooning is different than watching the smooching lovers. Knowing he lost her to a man whose “condition” could cause Beatrice to be ripped to shreds if they aren’t careful is making him act irrationally.
In between kissing Will and arguing with Oliver, Beatrice and the team are still on duty. Their latest case takes them to the woods of Appalachia Summit State Park in North Carolina. Part of a leg is found by hikers, but where is the rest of the body? When evidence shows several werewolves hunting in the woods, the team knows that are trying to find a sadistic pack hunting humans for sport. It also looks like this pack is being lead by a female werewolf who is using magic to keep her pack in an perpetual state of lust for her.
Local packmasters join the hunt for the rogues and we can add them to the list of those who are not happy to find Will cavorting with a Beatrice. Bea is having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that her dream relationship with Will is suddenly speeding ahead faster than a two-man luge and it seems no one is in their corner. Although to be fair she does have to admit that she and Will have been a bit…distracted on this latest case and maybe they aren’t being fair to the rest of the team.
It seems that finally getting the man of her dreams might be the worst thing that has ever happened to Beatrice. Now that she has him, will she have to give him up in the name of public safety?
My inner girly-girl was squealing with joy when we finally get Will to admit his feelings for Beatrice. Between being down about himself about being a real monster…a deadly werewolf, and the fact that he was not able to save his wife when they were attacked all those years ago, Will is always carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. If it was up to him, he would continue to live in a constant state of self-punishment. But we knew that there was a buzz in the air from the moment he met Beatrice, and that any anger toward Beatrice was focused more on her relationship with Oliver, especially when he thought that they were sleeping together. So after Book 3 when Beatrice told him she would get him to admit his feelings for her, I waited on pins and needles not sure if there would be a Book 4 or if Jennifer Harlow was ending the series as a trilogy and leaving us hanging.
There is part of me that now wishes she has left us with the three book series imaging what would happen upon Beatrice’s return. You will note that although I gave the story a 4 star rating, I gave the series ending only 1. The investigation and story were as good as her other books. It was odd to read big, strong, dangerous Will Price texting “Love U. Love U. Love U.” messages. I think I would have lost all respect if there was a “Shmoopsie” in there.
I like that Bea was the one to finally watch over the caged Will while he changed to werewolf at the next full moon. We finally got to see the change happen. Everything went as I imagined it would, including Will’s freak out when an angry Oliver (his nemesis) shows up to confront Bea when he finally learns that Will and Beatrice became a couple while he was in his death sleep.
Investigation aside, what was really missing in the story was the great rapport between Bea and Oliver. Oliver freaks out that he lost Beatrice to Will and becomes the psycho vampire everyone has been warning her about since she got there in Book 1. Beatrice is the only person Oliver has cared about since…ever. He behaves very badly upon learning the news and Beatrice refuses to speak to Oliver until he can apologize and be happy for them. So instead of the usual fun, flirty banter, we barely hear from Oliver at all unless his is yelling and pointing out how dangerous it is for Beatrice to be with a werewolf. I missed Oliver. I missed Oliver/Beatrice a lot.
I gave the series ending a 1 simply because I have never been so upset and absolutely angry finishing a story before in my life. I was going to let a friend borrow my Nook on her vacation because she too is a big fan of the series. I texted her as soon as I finished and told her I would not allow her to read it until she returned so she would not ruin her vacation.
After she finally read it she texted me this:
I always enjoyed this series as a fun and entertaining series. Beatrice is very self-deprecating and Oliver is flirty and charming. Even the serious Will you knew was grumpy because he wanted Beatrice but had his “woe is the werewolf” thing going. There are some paranormals and Urban Fantasies that you know take themselves very seriously, for example, The Black Dagger Brotherhood and Mercy Thompson. Maybe the author always intended her series to be dark, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the fun parts of the series. The ending was so dark and awful I am still angry about it a month later. I tried to re-read one of the prior stories just to enjoy the camaraderie but it was so tainted by the ending, I couldn’t continue.
There is no doubt in my mind that the author was simply done with this series. I am so sorry she felt that way. I would have read these stories for several more years and enjoyed the characters she created. I truly wish I had a talent for writing. I would hit the fan fiction sites and carry on writing my own saga of the F.R.E.A.K.S.
We don’t know why an author chooses how their characters will react, but even if Jennifer Harlow wanted to walk away from the F.R.E.A.K.S., she didn’t need to be so gruesome. I could think of several different endings which could have left us maybe without a perfect Hollywood happy ending or simply one open to use our own imagination.
For paranormal lovers, I would still highly recommend the first three books in this series. As far as High Moon, you will have to read it at your own risk.
Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Watching the man you love suck face with a gorgeous woman is not the best way to start a birthday. Welcome to my world.
He sits at a back booth, lips and every other body part pressed against that succubus, appearing to love every second and caress, the rat bastard. And how can he not be? The evil slut queen of doom has everything I don’t. Long, straight hay-colored hair, big blue eyes, big breasts, long lean legs, tight body all encased in a skintight black dress clinging to her perfect curves that only a plastic surgeon could ever recreate on me. I’ve envied women like her all my life, and now that succubus has my future husband in her enticing clutches. Literally. An actual succubus is clutching his soft brown hair and kissing him as if her life depended on it. Which I guess it does—as she feeds off sexual energy to live—but still. Does he have to frigging enjoy the whole experience so much?
Howdy. The jealous, insecure, emotional wreck before you is Special Agent Beatrice Alexander of the covert branch of the FBI known to the underworld as the F.R.E.A.K.S. We fight the monsters under your bed: the vampires, the ghosts, and the soon to be decapitated succubi of the world. Those terrors in horror movies? Real. Trolls, zombies, even giant snakes. Killed them all so the citizens of American can go about their normal lives. Why am I so lucky? Because technically I’m one of them. I can move anything with my mind. It’s called tele or psychokinesis. I can carry in groceries or stop hearts without lifting a finger. And let me say doing the latter is mighty tempting right about now.
The man having his tonsils examined by the succubus is my teammate Special Agent Will Price. He’s technically a monster too, at least once a month. He’s a werewolf, not that I hold that against him. After all us freaks can’t help who or what we are. We’re actually a lot alike everyone else. Though Will did literally eat my last boyfriend. The psycho was trying to kill me at the time, so I gave Will a pass on that. But this…
Will shifts in his seat to get closer to her. They haven’t broken apart in over forty-seven seconds. Forty-seven! He’s kissed her longer than he’s ever kissed me all three times combined. I don’t care that she’s more or less bewitched him. I don’t care that its all for a case. My hands ball into fists, fingers digging so deep in my own flesh it hurts. A cool hand touches mine. I look away from this nauseating PDA toward the hand’s owner. My friend, the delectable Oliver Montrose gazes at me, his gray eyes warning me not to put into action what I’ve been contemplating. Namely storming over there and cold cocking that female dog with the butt of my Glock. Though she so deserves it. In Virginia Beach alone she’d been linked to two deaths. Two young seamen were found naked and dead in their own beds of apparent heart attacks after going home from a club with a hot blonde. Who knows how many others she’d sucked dry over the years?
For those not in the monster killer business, a succubus is a woman who Hoovers up the life-force from her lovers, much like a vampire feeds off blood. Now, I don’t begrudge a life form getting whatever they need to live. I watch Animal Planet. Sometimes it’s kill or be killed. But a succubus doesn’t need to kill anymore than a vampire does. A little can go a long way. Some people are just evil. And right now evil has Will in a head lock.
“Whatever course of action you are contemplating inside that beautiful head of years, I suggest you forget it post haste,” my vampire friend warns. His hand remains heavy on mine, a reminder about restraint. We don’t want to blow our cover. While Will plays doctor, Oliver and I sit at the bar, just another couple enjoying the Virginia nightlife. A few stools down, Agents Rushmore and Wolfe, in their chic Ralph Lauren polo shirts and buzz cuts, nurse ginger ales, and keep their eyes locked on the same booth. Chandler is lucky enough to be out in the parking lot waiting for the signal to take her down. Darn you, innocent bystanders. Darn you.
Lord, I hate clubs. They’re loud, crowded, expensive and filled with hormone crazed men and women with no sense of shame or decorum. I’ve lost count of how many strange crotches have rubbed up against my backside while “dancing.” I’d only been a handful of times before I joined the F.R.E.A.K.S., and now it seems as if I live in one. Why preternaturals feel so at home in these places is beyond me. I guess to them it’s nothing but a smorgasbord. Easy picking. Everyone’s mind is so filled with sex and booze they forget basics like safety and common sense. And now Will has joined their ranks.
“I wasn’t contemplating anything,” I snap, downing my screwdriver. “I’m not bothered by them. Not a bit. It’s work. We’re working. Another drink, please! Now! Now!
“That is not a wise idea, my dear.”
“Wise is so overrated,” I mutter.
I glance back at the couple. Still making out, still…oh, no she isn’t! Her graceful hand slides up Will’s thigh, resting on the bulge in his pants. At first she just traces the outline with her fingertip, and then rubs against him with her whole harlot hand. He doesn’t push it away.
Rage boils over. Involuntarily I leap up, every inch of me tense and ready to rip her shining hair out at the roots. Before I’m totally upright, a hand on my shoulder presses me back into my seat. “No.”
“No,” Oliver says as if I’m an ill-behaved dog.
ORDER A COPY: Bound by Night (Moonbound Clan Vampires)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: September 24, 2013
Paperback: 392 pages
Rating: 4 stars
A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD
Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories—along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .
A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE
A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation—a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.
Once Nicole Martin believed in a fantasy world where the family’s vampire servants enjoyed serving her family. She once believed that her family took care of these vampires who would have lived like animals without her family’s care. She also believed that these vampires would never, ever hurt them. At least she did until the day the vampire slaves at her family’s home rebelled and murdered her parents, and tried to drain her of her blood.
Twenty year later, Nicole has been told she must step into her father’s role and become the new CEO of Daedalus, the largest researcher and supplier of vampire slaves. She has spent her time learning vampire physiology and helping to create cures for human health issues based upon what she learns from her research. She doesn’t wish to become CEO, she would rather remain in her lab and leave the running of the company to her half brother, Charles, but her father’s Will decrees that his legitimate daughter step up and take the reins of the company.
After the night of her attack, Nicole holds no love for the vampires but she would never intentionally harm a living creature. When the vampires in her lab were executed, on a directive signed by Nicole, she knows that someone is setting her up to take a fall, but she doesn’t know who. Before she is able to figure out who is behind the executions, one of her worst nightmares shows up at her front door. Twenty years prior Nicole watched the vampire Riker kill his mate and their unborn child and there was nothing Nicole could do to stop him.
Now Riker has kidnapped Nicole to use as leverage to get Daedalus to return to them a female vampire taken by poachers. This female is a midwife and she belongs to the rival clan, ShadowSpawn. Vampires have a very low birth rate and high mortality rate for their women and children and the MoonBound clan borrowed Neriya’s services. A midwife of Neriya’s talent is very valuable and ShadowSpawn is blaming her loss on MoonBound. If they don’t return her by the full moon there will be a war between the clans.
While under the “care” of MoonBound, Nicole is learning first hand that everything she has ever been told about the vampires is wrong. It is hard to swallow that the vampires that humans have been enslaving all this time aren’t the beasts she was led to believe and knowing that her family and their company has done these people the most wrong is weighing heavily on her soul. Can she now work against her family’s company to help MoonBound retrieve Neriya before ShadowSpan declares war, and if she does, will anyone trust the help coming from their former enemy?
It took me awhile to get into this story because of the world building. I misinterpreted some of the information on the book jacket. I thought the uprising of the vampires slaves caused the vampires to now be in charge of the world. That is not correct. As a leg up, here is some information: (1) the vampire uprising was not universal. It was only at Nicole’s house and the vampires only killed her parents and their party guests. (2) We never really find out how Nicole survives the attack. (3) Vampires are still used as slaves. (4) Wild Vampires still survive in clans are in hiding from the human hunters and poachers. (5) Daedalus sells vampire slaves but also buys wild vampires for experimenting on as well as black market purchases for unauthorized experiments.
Once my brain caught up with all of the nuances of this world building, I really got into the story and I liked all the characters introduced along with the main characters of Nicole and Riker. I liked that Nicole accepted and acknowledged that her family has done wrong by the vampires and she immediately steps up to do what she can to make things right. She doesn’t try to defend their actions. She’s all “what can I do now to make things right.”
I will say that after 20 years of each blaming the other for Riker’s mate’s death, they seem to have had a reasonable discussion about the day of her death and got over their hatred of each other kind of quickly. This isn’t like the day my husband and I were arguing and the call dropped and we each thought the other was an ass for hanging up. This was 20 years of “you killed her” and it ends quietly with a “sorry I misunderstood.” Terese’s ghost does play into the story as a wedge between Nicole and Riker since Nicole’s family holding her as a slave was one of the reasons for her death and Riker feeling guilty for having feelings for Nicole after everything that happened to Terese. (BTW – That is a figurative ghost, but a literal ghost although this is a paranormal.)
You do need have suspend your disbelief a bit to enjoy the series since there are a few issues that at least didn’t make sense to me. First of all, the vampires clans are threatening war with each other. Since they are in hiding from humans and the poachers and hunters are always stalking them, it seems stupid to have an all out war–literally outside where all the humans will see them and hear them fighting. If anyone is left alive after the fight, the humans will have followed all the noise and be standing by ready to grab survivors. Secondly, each group seems to have created their own underground catacomb system. While ShadowSpan sleeps on furs on dirty floors and somehow manages to create cells for prisoners, MoonBound has embraced a more modern lifestyle including hardwood flooring, comfy furniture, big screen TVs and laptops?? I don’t get great WiFi out on my back deck, vampires in hiding in caves have cable? Hunter paused a news conference so unless vampires are stuck with VHS, that means they have DVRs too? Couldn’t the human just follow the cable connection to their lair or notice a satellite dish out in the middle of the woods? Hey, sometimes you just have to roll with it.
I am happy that I have a copy of Chained by Night, which is Book 2, or I would hate the cliffhangerish ending especially since it appears Larissa Ione will only be writing one of these a year. (UPDATE: Finished Chained by Night and it’s awesome!)
I felt really bad for Riker’s friend Myne. He’s a huge, tough natural-born vampire. He had been captured and kept as a slave at some point in his life and luckily for him, he was not among the male slaves who are normally castrated, but unluckily for him he was defanged. He now had titanium fangs which is great for warfare, but not so much on the monthly feeding from the females. Understandably his dance card is not full since his bite will hurt–badly. (I do have a problem with the male/female feeding issue, if you had a chance to read my Black Dagger Brotherhood post.) But at least in this case, the females need to feed on the new moon and the males need to feed on the full moon. Since there isn’t exactly an even ratio of males to females, no one dies if they don’t feed and get their sexual needs met, but it does make for some post-moon cranky vampires. So back to Myne, at one point he is left to look after Nicole for awhile when Riker needs to leave the compound, and poor, lonely Myne realizes how perfect Nicole would be for him as a mate because she is brave, smart, beautiful and caring of others but since its “Bros over Hoes” in vampireworld, he would never make a move on Riker’s woman. It made me sad that this big guy is so lonely and that even if Riker doesn’t claim her as a mate, Myne would never pursue her himself, no matter how much he likes her, out of respect for his friend. :(
I hope Myne gets a book next, but that will be at least a year away. :( :(
It was a slow start but overall a good story and very interesting secondary characters who are introduced and I am looking forward to starting Book 2.
This was my first Larissa Ione story. I know — WTF? right. I guess I will have to look into an audiobook catchup of her Demonica series.
Received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was an interesting scene between Nicole and one of the vampire women after she is taken to the compound and allowed to help out in the lab.
Nicole jumped at the sound of the scary Katina chick’s voice right behind her. “It would be helpful if you guys would stomp your feet when you walk,” Nicole muttered.
“But then we couldn’t scare you.” Katina eased next to her. “What’s in that vial?”
Nicole followed Katina’s gaze. “The green one? That’s Kool-Aid. Lime, I think.”
“You’ll have to ask Dr. Frankenstein.”
Katina laughed, a deep melodic sound that was as beautiful as she herself was. “I dare you to call Grant that to his face.”
“I already did.” She sighed.
“What did he do?”
“He called me dinner a la O-Positive.”
Katina laughed again. “Pretty cool how he can determine your blood type by smell, huh? Most of us can’t do that.”
“Cool is not the word I’d use,” Nicole said as she pulled a tray of vials close, “but we’ll go with it.”
Katina flipped her thick black braid over her shoulder. The vampire had fabulous hair. “did you know each type tastes different?”
“No, I didn’t.” Nicole squeezed a dropper full of liquid from one of the vials onto a microscope slide.
“It’s true. You Os are lame. Too metallic-tasting. My favorite is B-positive. There’s a spicy aftertaste I love.” She frowned. “It’s so rare, though.”
“You need to be eating Asian people.” Nicole checked on Grant’s whereabouts—far across the room, thank God. “Asians have the highest percentage of B-positive blood.”
Nicole’s stomach turned when she realized she had just offered an entire ethnic group of people on a platter. She might as well draw up a menu for all the blood types and people who shared them and distribute menus to vampires who wanted to know how to find their favorite flavors.
“Um…can you pretend I didn’t say that?”
“Nope. I’m so taking a trip to Chinatown tomorrow.” Katina playfully slugged Nicole in the shoulder, and it was all Nicole could do to keep from rubbing her arm and crying like a baby. “You know, I’m glad we didn’t eat you that first day. I think I’ll ask Hunter if we can keep you.”
Keep her. Like a stray dog or a captured wild bird…or a vampire slave. With every passing hour, Nicole became more and more ashamed of her race.
“How do you know so much about blood, anyway?” Katina asked.
“My specialty is vampire physiology,” she said, happy to talk about something she actually enjoyed. “To know how vampires work, I need to know how humans work. Vampires are dependent on humans to live, which means I need to know everything I can about blood and how it affects vampires. Blood type can play a huge role in everything from the vampire origins to how vampires breed, mature, get diseases…The possibilities are endless, especially when we apply what we’ve learned about vampires to human medicine. It’s fascinating. I even discovered a way to use the vampire rac1b2 protein to cure ovarian cancer in humans.”
Nicole took a deep breath. “Aaaand…I’ve just reminded you why I’m here and why you hate me, haven’t I?”
ORDER A COPY: Wanted: Wild Thing (Midnight Liaisons)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: August 26, 2014
Paperback: 354 pages
Rating: 4 stars
The final book in a romance series set in a “fun, sexy world” (USA TODAY), where paranormals seek love through a dating service called Midnight Liaisons.
Ryder is hiding a dark secret from her coworkers at Midnight Liaisons. Every time she’s sexually attracted to a man, her dragon side breaks through. Not exactly man-bait! But she needs to lose her virginity before her twenty-fifth birthday, or she’ll become a dragon forever.
Her solution? Big, hunky Hugh, the appointed guardian of her chastity. He’s clearly hot for her, but he has powerful reasons to resist Ryder. Can temptation—and love—possibly find a way?
Ryder Sinclair has a wardrobe like Baby Spice and flirts with anything in pants. She is a human working nights at Midnight Liaison, the paranormal dating service, or at least she lets everyone think she’s your average, everyday human. Ryder is actually a changeling and if a man touches her skin with sexual intent, he triggers her changeling side. She has had to pretend food poisoning and run out the back door on more dates than she can remember.
When she was a teen, a half-Fae fortune teller once told her that if she finds The One she can keep the change at bay, but she must do it before she reaches her twenty-fifth birthday. If she remains a virgin at her twenty-fifth birthday, she will change into her changeling form permanently. So Ryder has become a flirting-machine trying to find that one man who can touch her without triggering her changeling side. With only a month to her twenty-fifth birthday, she is getting pretty desperate to remain human.
Ryder doesn’t realize that life can get so much worse than growing scales and sprouting horns until the night a Fae prince shows up in her office with his brutish bodyguard and let’s her know that he is the one who brought her to the human realm to be raised in safety after replacing her for her parents’s human child. He is excited that her change is almost complete and his investment will soon come to fruition. Ryder is a very rare and valuable changeling in the Fae realm and he plans to use her for breeding litters of valuable baby changelings that he will sell to rebuild his family’s fortunes.
Becoming a full-time monster isn’t enough of a horrific future to worry about, and now a Fae prince wants to turn her into a brood mare. He has also sent a bruiser to insure that she doesn’t loose her virginity before her transformation is complete. Since she can’t get out from under the watchful eye of Hugh, she’s going to have to give him an eyeful and convince him that taking her virginity is a better prize than whatever the Fae prince has promised him.
Hugh is holding firm to his vow, but he has never come across the Queen of Flirting who is desperate to remain human. This shifter might have a will of iron, but he doesn’t know what he’s up against when Ryder turns up the charm.
This was a fun story. This was my first Jessica Sims novel but I was gifted by Pocket Books with a few of other novels in the series, and I also picked up one novella which was free the other day on Amazon, so I would like to try the rest of the series. The Goodreads info says it is the last in the series, but the author’s website is declaring that as a rumor. She has a good cast of characters and this latest novel brings in a few more. I would think is it premature to walk away from such a promising series. I do want to read Marie’s story, who is Ryder’s BFF. She is as obnoxious and snarky as I like my heroines.
Although I haven’t read the other books in the series, Ryder does work with and talk about the other characters from the series and I got the idea that this story differs a bit from the others. The other stories involve shifters and some humans and even they think changelings are a myth. This story also involves Hugh who is brought over from the Fae Realm and he calls himself a Primordial while the Fae call him a Long-Tooth. From this and Ryder’s initial description, it is not hard to guess that Hugh is a saber-toothed tiger shifter. He and his men are kept in a primordial land where they don’t even wear clothing. So everything here is new and dangerous to Hugh.
I was a bit stressed for Ryder since the Fae Prince was planning to use her to breed and sell her offspring like she was a puppymill. He would swing by and check her progress, make her strip down and make her change for him so he could check on his investment. But to thwart his plans, she needed to lose her virginity and if she did that, Hugh would lose his prize which was women/mates for himself and the men of his tribe who have no women there. So for Ryder to win, Hugh’s men would lose out. This was a problem even Ryder struggled with.
There were some really funny part of this story where, in Ryder’s attempt to seduce Hugh, she puts on porn for him which started with a pizza delivery guy showing up and getting an extra special tip. This becomes a bit of a running gag in the story, including Hugh telling his men that there are women who will have lots of sex with you if you give them food. Ooooo!
I was a little disappointed that Ryder’s “dragon” form. As it is described it makes her more of a Sleestak with crumpled wings like a newly emerged butterfly than anything dragon-like. (If you got that reference, you are old like me.) As the last month progresses, her scales become more luminescent and her claws nicer, etc., but she is always very humanoid and she never becomes a dragon as they are usually described. Hugh might have thought she was beautiful, but me…not so much.
This was cleverly written and entertaining and a series I want to look into further.
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
“Perhaps you should leave her alone.”
“My job is to remain at her side and protect her virginity.” Hugh snarled in Brad’s face. His big hand clamped down on my shoulder again.
Despite the fact that we were in a side room at the restaurant, several people in the next room turned to look over at us, overhearing Hugh’s words.
“Oh, my God,” I moaned. “You did not just say that out loud in a crowded restaurant.”
“And if she doesn’t want it protected?” Brad asked.
“Yeah,” I said, pushing Hugh’s hand off my shoulder again.
“Then I will protect it for her,” Hugh said. “Against her will if I must.”
“You can’t make me leave,” I hissed at him. “This is a public place.” I was safe from him here.
Hugh leaned in to me, his face close to mine. “I am sorry for what I am about to do.”
His hand moving to the back of my neck, he leaned forward and pressed his mouth to mine in a startling, fierce kiss. his lips mashed against my own, and his scent was in my nostrils, his body pressed to mine.
Then, just as quickly, he pulled away. I stared up at him, dazed.
“Now, we leave,” Hugh said.
I blinked, trying to process all of this. Kiss? Leave? What? He grabbed my hand in his and dragged me toward the doors of the restaurant.
I immediately tried to jerk away, realizing what all this was about.
He was deliberately activating my changeling side. Hugh knew that if my curse kicked in I’d have no choice but to leave with him. Anger burned inside me, but it was quickly swallowed up by the transformation spiraling through my body. My monster coiled and reared, and I felt my skin shiver with awareness. Anger at Hugh blossomed, then quickly turned to fear when others started to look at us.
Damn him! I stopped struggling and gave everyone a cheerful wave, practically running with Hugh as he stomped toward the parking lot. I had to make things seem like they were normal, or else someone was sure to follow us out due to concern for me. And that was the last thing I wanted—if someone followed us, they’d get a glimpse of my scaly side.
It was evident to me that the change was going to come whether I wanted it or not. Even now, I could feel the throb in my shoulder blades that was the onset of my wings, and my gums ached from where my fangs were about to pop. My grip tightened in High’s, and I knew the pressure I was exerting would soon be intense.
But if that didn’t communicate my anxiety, nothing would.
As soon as we got to the parking lot, I bolted, dashing away from Hugh. He let me, and I continued on, racing for my car. My hand fumbled to find my keys, but claws were sprouting and my muscles were clenching, and it was impossible for me to concentrate. Pain erupted, throbbing through my body.
Too late. Before I could even open the door to my vehicle, my legs gave out. I crouched, huddling around myself as my changes tore through me.
Hugh crouched low next to me. His hand smoothed down my back, ignoring the fact that it was lumpy and muscles were seething. “I am sorry Ryder.”
“You…suck…” I whispered between gasps, my hands clenched tight as my tail ripped out of my back. I gave a small cry of pain, only to have it swallowed as he pulled me to his chest, Muffling my cries as he held me close.
“It grieves me to do this to you,” he murmured and his hand stroked my hair even as he cradled me tight.
I fought him for a moment, but feebly. The transformation was happening, and I couldn’t stop it any more than I could stop him from holding me close.
And what was worse? With every stroke of his hand on my hair, I didn’t want him to stop holding me.
ORDER A COPY: A Curse Awakened: A Weird Girls Novella
Publishing Date: August 19, 2014
eBook: 94 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Discover Cecy Robson’s sensational Weird Girls series—or return to where the magic first began—with this eBook original prequel novella about four sisters coming to grips with their unique supernatural powers.
Celia Wird shouldn’t possess the ability to transform into a tigress. Her three sisters should never be able to burst into flames, heal wounds, or transform common objects into deadly weapons. And yet they do.
Before they were born, the Wird Sisters were cursed by a spell that was intended to destroy them, not endow them with extraordinary powers. The sisters’ magic is untamed and explosive at best, and time is running out for them to take command.
Vampires have targeted Celia’s sweet, tragically human ex-boyfriend Danny. The sisters rush to his aid, but in order to take down the vamps, first they must face their dark past and break a spell that’s screwing up their powers. Except this curse wasn’t meant to be broken . . . and the witch who cast it isn’t done toying with them yet.
When Celia receives a phone call from her ex-boyfriend Danny that he and his father are being attacked by vampires, Celia’s need to protect won’t let her walk away from them. But getting into a war with a crazy vampire mistress who has claimed Danny’s father as her new pet, isn’t what she needs right now on top of packing up to move to their new home.
Yet it is Danny who realizes that the sisters’ powers have been bound by a witch and if they can locate and destroy the witch’s alter, they will be able to control their gifts, rather than having them always backfire.
Knowing they need all their strengths to go up against a powerful family of vampires, their first stop is to their old neighborhood to find Tia Griselda’s alter and break the spell. If they can take on a powerful witch and survive, maybe they will have what it takes to take on a mad vampire, or maybe it would be just smarter to get out of town before they make some very powerful enemies.
I enjoyed this novella which focused more on the sisters together. Although all of the Weird Girl stories are enjoyable, they are told in the first person and in the last few stories Celia is spending more time with either Misha or Aric. While those plots bring their own enjoyment, it is fun to see the sisters working, or in this case fighting, together.
This novella also gives us a better understanding of the curse which gives the sisters their powers.
This is an enjoyable series and I am looking forward to the next installment.
Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(Tiny scene. It made me laugh.)
I leaped from the elevated lot and landed in a deep crouch in the sand, perfectly poised and ready to haul tail across the beach.
Until my sisters and Danny landed in a heap on top of me and I ate about half a cup of sand.
They rolled off me, moaning while I hacked out the nasty mess. I scraped the excess with my nails while drooling like a dumbass. “Oops. Sorry, Celia.” Emme mumbled.
ORDER A COPY: Souls of the Damned
Publishing Date: June 19, 2014
Paperback: 240 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Kat Redding would love to take a break from the gruesome, dangerous work of hunting down rogue vampires and werewolves, battling for innocent lives. But there’s no peace for Lady Death. Until Kat’s young charge, Sienna, appears on her doorstep, escaped from the shadow-paradise of Delai. Sienna is weak, confused, desperate–human in the utmost. If Kat is going to have any hope of breaking the hold of Delai, she’ll have to infiltrate the walls around the false sanctuary. And the only way she can do that is to trade in her battle-hardened, bloodthirsty vampire’s body–for Sienna’s human form.
With no weapons but her wits, Kat has to trust a demon, defeat an angel, and wrestle with her own rebel soul–because with all the fear and death she’s conquered, no one has ever offered her another day under a warm yellow sun.
Kat has tried several times unsuccessfully to find Delai. She promised Sienna that she wouldn’t leave her there to the mercy of Levi. Sienna doesn’t even know that Levi isn’t a man. He’s an angel. But angels are not the heavenly, kind of creatures we have all been brainwashed to believe they are. Levi is no better than the demon Beligral who has marked Kat and her human friend, Ethan.
So imagine how surprised Kat is to come home one night to find Sienna sleeping in her bed. Beligral helped break Levi’s bond long enough for Sienna to escape Delai, but what Kat can’t figure out is why? The only thing she is sure about is that Beligral wants Kat to send Levi back to his own realm, and he’s willing to make Kat human in order to accomplish that. But then again when negotiating with a demon, there is always a catch, to make her human, Beligral will swap Kat and Sienna’s souls.
Kat isn’t willing to make Sienna suffer vampire hunger and rage no matter how much Kat would like to be human. But she didn’t count on Levi being able to call Sienna and the only way to keep Sienna from running back on her own would be to lock her in a cage for the rest of her life.
With no other way to save Sienna from returning to Delia, Kat agrees to the soul swap. If she can make it back out alive, will she have the strength to give Sienna back her body, or will the lure of once again being human be too much of a temptation for Kat to resist.
I knew when I picked this book up that it was a storyline focusing on the Twilight Zone town of Delai. I didn’t enjoy that storyline when it was presented in Book 2, but I understand and the author (1) isn’t writing just for my personal pleasure, and (2) he has to wrap up this loose thread since Kat isn’t the type of character to abandon an innocent young woman after promising to come back for her.
E.S. Moore left us reeling at the end of Book 4 with an ending which will bring big changes, but we couldn’t really get into what’s going to happen yet because we had to wrap up the Delai storyline. Kat’s character had improved in Book 4 and she was continuing with her personal growth in Book 5. Kat hates being a vampire and wants to be human again, but even with how tempting it was to take Sienna’s body, she didn’t give in until she had no other choice. Sienna was being force back to go back and she wasn’t strong enough to have been able to stop Levi herself. Once she takes Sienna’s body and becomes human again, Kat comes to realize how much weaker humans are, how much slower, eyesight, etc. So maybe the time spent in Sienna’s body will help her re-think her deep desire to be human again. Kat has made many enemies and becoming human again would make her too weak to protect herself and her friends for the powerful Supes who would be gunning for her.
Now that the Delai storyline is dead, Kat still has to deal with the new threat by Countess Basset who wants Kat to walk away from her old life and move into her House and for Kat become her full-time assassin. She also has creepy, gross Adrian, the psycho werewolf Alpha, who wants Kat to mate with him (ewww) still stalking her. He wants Kat to pass on a message of Jonathan that he wants Jonathan to join his House. I think he just wants to keep on eye on Jonathan because he knows that there are feelings between Jonathan and Kat.
(Little more spoilers) The big positive in this story was that we got some Jonathan and Kat (as Sienna) action. What do I mean by that? After Kat switches bodies with Sienna, she realizes she might not come back and she goes to see Jonathan for possibly the last time. They have sex (Yay!) and Jonathan is suddenly out of his funk (not surprising). He doesn’t know what Kat is up to, but obviously he wants to see more of her when she comes back. Knowing she won’t be keeping Sienna’s body if she survives, Kat starts with the “we can’t mix vampires and werewolves” BS fear she keeps falling back on, and Jonathan pleads that they not go backwards in their relationship now that they finally have taken a step forward.
Now I don’t know if this was intentional by the author or not, but Jonathan and Kat/Sienna have sex. I’m gonna guess that no condom was used since Jonathan is currently displaced and in a funk and probably not thinking about sex. I am sure Kat/Sienna didn’t show up with one and since Sienna has been living in Delai, I’m gonna guess she isn’t taking birth control to control her cramps which is the lame excuse in several books. Is the author just glancing over this oversight or will Sienna start the next novel suddenly feeling out of sorts or nursing a case of the “flu” and asking Kat what she was doing with Sienna’s body while she was out? Additionally, Kat’s BFF Ethan has a crush on Sienna. I don’t think he’s gonna be happy to find out Kat got his new love knocked up with a half werewolf baby. That would make awkward breakfast conversation. We’ll have to see if that turns into something in the next book.
I’m still in on this series for now and since we’ve gotten rid of the Delai storyline, we can concentrate of Kat extricating herself from the clutches of both the vampire Countess and Adrian the creepy werewolf. I must admit that I fear for my beloved Jonathan now that he and Kat have upped their relationship. I said all along she should mate with Jonathan since she was so attached to him and that would get Adrian off her back. Now that there is a relationship between them (including sex) will Adrian kill Jonathan or simply threaten Jonathan’s life to get Kat to mate with him (ewww!). If Jonathan’s gone, I’m out. :( He’s my favorite character here.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The sound of birds chirping woke me. I stretched and sat up in bed, somewhat dazed. Sometime during the night, I’d been moved so that when I woke, my head was on the pillow and a blanket covered me. I’d somehow slept through it, which wasn’t like me at all.
With a yawn, I rose and sludged my way across the dark bedroom, into the bathroom. I flipped on a light and jumped back in surprise when I saw my face.
Sienna stared back at me. It was strange knowing I was looking into a mirror and yet, not recognizing the face as my own. I ran my fingers down my cheek, stretching the skin as if I thought it might slough off, revealing the same old face I was used to.
“This is fucking weird.” Even my voice didn’t sound right.
I turned away from the mirror with a grimace. Smells and sights were muted from what I knew. I couldn’t hear as well as before either. It made me feel as if I was wrapped in cotton, or crippled, perhaps.
And then there was the whole washing thing. I really didn’t want to see Sienna naked, but if I was stuck with this body for any length of time, there was no helping it. I doubted I’d be able to go to Delai, find the summoner, kill him, and then get back to switch bodies before I started to stink.
I quickly stripped out of Sienna’s clothes, stepped into the shower, and tried to wash her body without actually touching anything. It’s my body now, I reminded myself. I needed to start thinking of it that way so that if I came across a situation where I need to react quickly, I didn’t try to act like the vampire I once was. That would only get me killed.
Once I was clean, I dried off and hurried into my room to get dressed, pointedly not looking in the mirror as I passed. There wasn’t much that fit me right, but I managed to find an old T-shirt in the back of my closet that wasn’t too big and a pair of shorts that worked well enough once I strapped on a belt. I felt like a little girl playing dress-up with her mom’s clothes.
The sound of birds continued. My eyes were drawn to the sound.
My heart in my throat as I crossed the room to the window. The blinds were taped to the wall so that no light could penetrate them. Heavy curtains hung over them for added protection. Ever so slowly, I pushed the curtains back and pulled the blinds away from the window.
Light struck me square in the face. I cringed back, expecting to feel burned and weak, but instead, the sunlight on my skin felt warm and comforting. I opened the blinds wider and looked out on a sunlit world I never thought I’d see again.
Tears sprung suddenly to my eyes, so I closed them. The sun warmed my flesh, sent my heart soaring. While I couldn’t see it directly, the sunlight lit up my eyelids so that they seemed to glow bright pink.
With a cry of pure joy, I spun and ran out of my room. I was crying hard now and couldn’t make myself stop. I didn’t know if it was the body or if I was just that overjoyed about what I’d felt. Either way, my emotions were getting the better of me. And right then, I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was feel the sun directly on my skin, revel in the light of day for the first time in a very, very long time.
I threw open the front door and ran out into the yard, heedless of anyone that might be lurking in the surrounding trees. I spread my arms wide as I raised my face to a sun that shone so bright, so strong, it was a wonder the entire world didn’t burn. A breeze played across my skin, warm and reassuring. I fell to my knees and cried.
“Could you remember what it was like before now?”
Jeremy’s voice startled me, but I refused to rise. I shook my head and smiled into the sun.
The world smelled different during the day. Even with my weaker sense of smell, I could tell. It was as if I’d walked into another reality entirely. Everything was so strange, and that included myself. It was all I could do not to be overwhelmed.
Jeremy didn’t move from where he stood a few feet back. I had a feeling I’d woken him with my shout before I’d run from the house. He was probably out here making sure no one took advantage of the idiot girl.
I finally rose and turned to face him. He looked tired, but oddly happy. The sun did strange things to his face, made him look older somehow. I’m not sure if it was that the shadows were thinner here or if it was how the lines of worry were more defined in direct sunlight.
“I’m glad you got to see this,” he said, scanning the trees. “I think if vampires could actually come out and spend sometime in the sun, they wouldn’t be so goddamn pissy all of the time. That big orange ball up there has a soothing effect on people, you know?”
I nodded, but didn’t trust myself to speak just yet. The waterworks had shut off, but I still felt full to bursting. I wanted to scream and run naked through the trees, to feel the grass beneath my toes. If it wasn’t for the fact that there might still be werewolves camped out there and that it wasn’t my body I’d be exposing to the world, I very well might have done it.
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: 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: 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: 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.