Happy 4th of July and a Happy Friday to all! As I just started reading Book 3 of the Jeff Trask novels, Death’s White Horses, I thought it would be a great idea to give away a digital copy of Book 1, Capital Kill, which introduces you to all the various investigators that make up this ensemble cast. It was a chilling thriller and definitely worth checking out. (Amazon even quoted me in their reviews. Woo Hoo!)
Capital Kill is only available on Kindle, so sorry Nook owners you’ll have to read it on your phones.
Giveaway ends Thursday, July 10th. Open to anyone I can get an Amazon copy to, so if you know you can download Amazon where you are, we’ll do what we can to work it out. :) 18 years and older please.
EXTRA NOTE: For anyone interest, Book 2 Horns of the Devil: A Jeff Trask Legal Thriller is on sale for only a few more days for only $.99.
A few short blocks from the safety of the museums and monuments on the National Mall, a ruthless killer prowls the streets of Washington DC. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask joins a team of FBI agents and police detectives as they try and solve the series of brutal murders. As the body count rises, the investigation leads to a chilling confrontation with the leader of an international drug smuggling ring, and no one is safe, not even the police.
Written by former Washington prosecutor Marc Rainer, Capital Kill is a swirling thrill ride through the labyrinth of a major federal investigation and trial, with a gripping conclusion that no one will see coming.
ORDER A COPY: Better Homes and Hauntings
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: June 24, 2014
Paperback: 318 pages
Rating: 4 stars
When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”
But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.
But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
As a self-made billionaire, software genius and only successful Whitney in the last 100 years, Deacon Whitney wants to prove once and for all that there is no family curse against the Whitneys. What better way than to reclaim the family estate which he just inherited out on Whitney island. But anyone within 100 miles has heard the rumors that the mansion is haunted, and so in order to keep his key people working, he needs to keep them with him on the island, before the houses creaks and moans scare them from the job for good.
He has chosen his friend Jake Rumson, to be his architect, Cindy Ellis to help with the clean up and restoration, and Nina Linden to design the landscaping. Deacon hired Nina for her talent, but he will admit that there is more to his interest in the lovely gardener than just her choice of plants.
Everything is going well once everyone arrives and the work begins. Is that because the “ghosts” are quiet or because no one wants to be the first to admit that they’re the crazy one who is seeing ghosts?
The real question is whether there really is the ghost of Catherine Whitney, supposedly murdered by her jealous husband Gerald, haunting the island or are the things going bump in the night made of flesh and bone? There are several family members and overlooked competitors who have various reasons why they don’t want this job to be completed.
Whether the ghost is real or not may be the least of their problems since the attacks are getting more and more violent as the days go on. These meddling kids better hurry up and solve this mystery quickly before they become the next victims of the Whitney curse.
There are no werewolves and vampires this time, but Molly Harper has definitely written a ghost story which is a grown-ups version of a Scooby Doo mystery. Although I miss her beloved characters, her writing is still as entertaining in this stand alone novel as in her Nice Girl and Naked Werewolf series. But unusual in a Molly Harper novel is the various POVs. It jumps between Deacon, Nina, Jake, Cindy and Deacon’s cousin, Dotty. Her novels are mainly 1st person narratives with a few exceptions.
Deacon Whitney may be a billionaire software genius, but he is still deep down a geek and Geeks in Love are always adorable as he tries to awkwardly flirt with Nina and gets excited when told that Nina likes him. Nina is just as much a geek as Deacon and she gets all his SciFi and fantasy references which just makes more cartoon hearts float around Deacon’s head.
Cousin Dotty just shows up in the middle of the renovation determined to document the renovation for her book while she searches for Catherine’s missing diaries. Dotty wants to prove that Catherine’s husband, Gerald, didn’t kill her. Dotty is quirky and flaky and hasn’t finished one project yet, but you can’t help but love her.
We also have a secondary love interest story going on between Cindy and Jake which was interesting. Jake keeps trying to get close to Cindy, but all she does is growl at him. What Jake doesn’t remember is that he dated Cindy years ago, and never called her again after their second date. Now he’s looking at Cindy with interest and Cindy refuses to tell him why she’s so pissed of at him.
This is all part of the POV changes throughout the story, which includes the different romances and the various ghost sightings by the various characters.
As always Molly Harper gives us fun story with great dialog and this time with a little spooky added in.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
As the newcomer gushed over how thrilled she was to be involved and that she just couldn’t wait to get started, which was why she’d shown up weeks ahead of schedule to present Deacon with her design ideas for the interior, Cindy rolled her eyes. Typical. Now that this barracuda with the telltale red-soled shoes was in the picture, he’d dropped Cindy and moved on.
Cindy pursed her lips, steadied herself against the banister for a moment. It sucked to be right all the time.
Resolving to forget the entire “tripping” episode, Cindy made her way to the opposite site of the room, where Dotty and Nina were whispering quietly.
“The insecure preadolescent girl inside of me is curled up in the fetal position,” Nina grumbled, noting with inexplicable irritation the way the new arrival was practically standing on Deacon’s feet, murmuring to him in low, familiar tones; until the moment Jake had walked in, anyway, which was the moment she launched herself at him. Poor Anthony had been standing off to the side, intently staring at the blueprints of the house so he could look anywhere besides at his boss getting kitten-whispered. And Deacon looked…
Well, maybe Nina didn’t know Deacon well enough to gauge his facial expressions. He seemed impassive, even bored. He hadn’t exactly been leaning into the lady’s aural assault, but his face didn’t give of a Get thee away from me, you fashion-forward she-beast! vibe, either.
In Nina’s mind, Indignant Deacon spoke like a character from Game of Thrones.
“Oh, honey, she doesn’t deserve your head space.” Dotty sighed. “That’s just Regina Van Hauten. We’ve know her since, oh, two or three noses ago.” When Cindy lifted an eyebrow, Dotty clarified, “Since high school Her family is close to Deacon’s and Jake’s parents.”
“And why is she here?” Cindy asked.
Dotty’s facial expression wasn’t hard to decipher at all, with her mouth pinched into a derisive frown. “Regina’s supposedly an interior designer, but judging by the hatchet job she did on Deacon’s corporate offices, I’m betting she got her training from one of those videos you can order from an infomercial.”
“Uncomfortable seating and abstract art?” Nina guessed.
“There’s an ‘installation’ of discarded Starbucks cups in the lobby by some artist from Hoboken. It’s called ‘The Globalization of Mediocrity.’ The janitor kept trying to throw it away, so Regina’s idea was to put up a sign that says, “Please don’t recycle the art.”
Cindy bit her lip before a snicker could escape. Dotty grinned at her, even as Regina sent the pair a scathing look. Nina noted that Regina hadn’t bothered introducing herself to Nina or Cindy.
Dotty muttered, “I told Deacon not to hire her, but he said he ‘has his reasons’ for letting her ruin both is offices and his home. And when I press him, he refuses to answer, which is saying something, because I can always get Deacon to fess up. Just for your information, he is very ticklish.”
“How will that information ever be of use to me?” Nina asked.
Dotty wriggled her eyebrows. “I can think of a few ways.” Nina stared at her, adopting Deacon’s “impassive” expression. “Oh, come on, I’ve seen the two of you together. It’s like watching a nature documentary on scientists trying to get the two most socially awkward people in the world to mate.”
“Not true!” Nina whispered back. “We talk about work-related subjects, that’s all.”
Just then, Deacon looked up from Regina’s papers and gave Nina a lingering look, as if she were the only thing giving him the strength to continue his conversation with his decorator. Nina’s face flushed bright red, and Dotty fanned her cheeks with Cindy’s clipboard.
“Oh, hush the both of you,” Nina muttered.
“You made my cousin smoulder,” Dotty whispered in awe. “Until two years ago, he didn’t wear matching socks half the time. He actually pays someone to match his clothes for him. So for him to throw any sort of swagger at you, that’s sort of a miracle.”
“He probably just had something in his eye,” Nina protested softly. “Now, be quiet before someone hears you. This is a foyer, not a cone of silence.”
“You’re right, he did have something in his eye,” Cindy singsonged. “You.”
“Sweetheart, I’m going to insist that you ride that man like a pony,” Cindy added. “For the good of mankind, technological advancement, and America’s place in the world economy. Think of the gadgetry he could come up with if he had a little stress relief.”
Nina poked at Cindy’s arm. “You are all class, my friend.”
ORDER A COPY: Pleasure Satellite
Publisher: Romantic Geek
Publishing Date: May 4, 2014
eBook: 73 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Nevan’s life is nothing but duty and honor. The eldest son of a prestigious House, he has a life mapped out ahead of him, including mating a woman for whom he feels nothing but brotherly affection. But then one night he discovers a woman who makes his blood boil and his body hard. Seena has known nothing but blood and pain in her life. A fighter for the BloodRing, she is nothing more than spectacle, her life and death meaningless except as entertainment for the masses. Then one night a male comes to her in secret with a bargain the likes of which she has never been confronted with. The ultimate fight, which will lead her either to freedom…or to his bed. Nevan will allow nothing to stop him from possessing the human. On the Pleasure Satellite anything is permissible, and to the strongest goes everything.
Seena was acquired by Samos as a child. As a human child, Seena was a novelty and Samos would find some use for her. She showed an ability for fighting and weapons, and she has become his undefeated champion. The crowd is there to see bloodshed, especially since the fights are to the death. The novelty of a female fighter, let alone a human female, draws them in.
In Nevan’s world, the men are strong warriors but the women are their exact opposite. They are demure, quiet and submissive. They never speak against a man, never voice an opinion and most won’t look a man in the eye. So when Seena looks up to his box and stares him in the eye, he is immediately intrigued, and after watching her defeat her opponent in the BloodRing, he knows he will not leave the Pleasure Satellite until he has had a taste of her. He knows that once he returns home, it is his family’s wishes that he mate with Farana, a woman like all the others on his world, who will fear sex and only participate often enough to bear children. Before he accepts his fate, he plans to have Seena in his bed.
He could have her forcibly brought to him, but that’s not what he wants. He wants this warrior as a willing participant so he offers her a challenge that she won’t be able to refuse. Fight him in a fair challenge. If she wins, he will help her escape. If she loses, she comes to his bed for the remainder of the celebrations.
Seena would do anything to be free, but with a male like Nevan, maybe losing won’t be such a hardship.
This erotic novel is Pornacus–um, I mean, Spartacus in space. You have to keep in mind that this is an erotica rather than a romance so some sections are simply one sexual position to the next. But we get enough conversation between Nevan and Seena to see that they are great characters and they truly deserved more of a story plot. It’s not really a spoiler alert – but Nevan wins. Surprise! It wouldn’t be much of a story if Seena wins, but it would have been funny.
Seena is very laid back. She accepts that she lost the fight so she won’t be freed, but as a BloodRing fighter, a few days off from fighting to have incredible sex with a hot male who is treating her very well is a vacation from being a slave. Since she has nothing to lose, she doesn’t sugarcoat anything she says to Nevan. He talks about the stresses of running the family since his father is just a figurehead and what is expected of him, and Seena tells him straight out what he needs to do and where he needs to stop whining. She’s certainly not a submissive female and she has nothing to lose so she doesn’t pull any punches to spare his feelings.
She also figures out pretty quickly what gets him worked up and uses that to her advantage so she can enjoy her sexcation.
It was an enjoyable novella for what it was given. I really hate when a short story contains really good characters since they don’t get much time in the spotlight. It always seems like such a waste to me because I don’t want to let them go. There was certainly room to build more of the plot points that drove the story when they weren’t having sex, and there certainly could have been more BloodRing matches to fill out the story.
It was intended to be a sexy short story, and it certainly was, but it also included some good basic characters and story plot to hold one’s interest beyond the sex.
Received an review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
His eyes held all her attention as he spoke, just as they had from the first moment she had seen him from the ring. They were a black-green, and yet it was as if a light was directly behind each one, illuminating them in a way no human eyes could ever match.
Seena had noticed him. She always looked toward the top tiers to see Samos, and the slimy little shit never disappointed her, always ingratiating himself with the most powerful to be found.
This time, though, she felt something beyond her usual hatred of Samos as she stared at the box, her heart pounding faster as she noticed the Tevarian half rise from his seat.
“If you truly believe you can kill me, then I have a proposition for you that you would be foolish to turn down,” the Tevarian said, his voice breaking into her musings. Seena hoped her body didn’t betray the surprise she felt at those words, the jerk that brought her so very aware.
He could be an agent of Samos. It wouldn’t be the first time. Samos was always playing his little mind games on her.
He could be, but it didn’t feel like that. If anything, Seena felt nothing but contempt coming from the Tevarian, as if the Rilion disgusted him as much as he disgusted her.
Of course, if he truly felt that way, why was he at the games?
“A proposition,” he repeated, and then nothing, simply watching her, waiting for her to decide.
She looked around, more out of habit than any true fear. She had already made her choice when she spoke her first words to him after all, revealing she could indeed speak. Seena did not quite understand why, just there was something about him that made her want to trust, to connect. So stupid a feeling, but there it was.
She moved toward him, wanting to look as closely at him as the cage would allow. “What is this proposition?”
“I buy you for the duration of these games, giving Samos enough that you will not have to fight while here.”
Of course he would. She was no fool, had seen the way his eyes took over her while she was on display in Samos’ chambers. If they were meeting, both free, she would have openly returned that interest, but–as this cage forcibly reminded her–she was not, and since she was not a whore she lied. “That hardly tempts me.”
His lips lifted at the corners, and she was hard-pressed not to swallow. “I did not say I was finished. Once you are brought to me…we fight.”
Not that truly confused her. He was looking over her because he wanted a warrior to test his skills on? Perhaps she did not understand his motivations as she thought. “Fight?”
“Yes, fight. A sword in your hand and a sword in mine,” he answered, his voice that low rumble that should not sound so sexual when he was talking about bloodsport.
A proposition, he said. Something for something. “And what would we be fighting for?”
“You, little human, would be fighting for your freedom.”
One thing for the Tevarian, he did not play with small stakes. Bloodsport or not, her interest was suddenly very high in this conversation, though she kept her voice even and her words measured. “Freedom? That is truly a great prize. What would you be fighting for to rival it?”
“I’ll be fighting for the right to fuck you.”
His eyes were on her, holding fast as if they were physical force. She could not look away, could barely breathe, as desire swept through her, making her knees weak, making her feel as if she would fall. “I am not…”
“No, you are not a whore.” So slowly, he put his hand through the cage bars. She could have stepped back at any time, but she did not, and his hand landed on her, his fingers around her neck, the thumb pressing against the pulse point at the base of her throat. Warms hands, strong and calloused, promising everything if she would just give in. “Let me speak plainly, little human. After the celebration, I will returning to my lands. At that time, I will announce that I will take a woman as a mate, a woman who I feel nothing for, not love, not lust, nothing. Bedding her will be nothing except duty, but out of honor, once I mate her I will never betray her.”
His hand traveled slowly up, skimming her throat until this thumb caressed her bottom lip. “Your eyes met mine before your fight, and I became hard. During the fight I felt pride in your strength, and after you had won…” His eyes narrowed as they focused on her mouth and his thumb pulled her lower lip down, surrounding itself in the moisture of her mouth. “Afterward, if I could have gotten you away from that bastard, you would have been mine.
Seena stepped back. She had to get away from his touch, the physical touch of his hand as well as the caress of his voice. She had to regain some footing to continue this conversation without giving him everything before even the chance of gaining anything. “How does this concern your proposition?”
He dropped his arm and brought it back to his side but did not step back. “I want you, but I want you as a willing participant, not in my bed because of force. Maybe I am blinded by my attraction to you, but when I look at you I see character and I see honor. I believe if we make a bargain you will stick to it, as I would.”
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.”
Happy Friday, everyone! This was certainly a quieter week for me than last week even with the end of the school year. We now have to get ready for camp. :( This week’s giveaway is a Uncorrected Proof ARC of Branded by Laura Wright. If you like shirtless cowboys with a…oh man, it’s taken me this long to notice the branding iron. Branded, get it. Ha. If you like cowboys, this book is for you.
My question for you this week is — How do you like the GIF file which I attached to this week’s post?
For the most part I find them funny when added to an article. Some of the people who post on Goodreads over use them and will post 5 or 6 and it is not even a review, it is all about how happy they are a book is coming out. That’s when they start to piss me off, because its not just your 5, then the next post has 3, and the next has 4, and so on. So does the occasional GIF file make you happy or sad?
Giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years and older please. Giveaway ends Thursday, (OMG it’s July) July 3rd.
In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers…
When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.
Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.
ORDER A COPY: When Day Breaks (A KGI Novel)
Publishing Date: June 24, 2014
Paperback: 304 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Eden is said to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her face has graced countless magazines and her body has sold millions of dollars of clothing. But her fame and beauty has earned her more than she ever imagined. Evil is stalking her, determined to extinguish the ethereal beauty forever.
Swanson or “Swanny” as his teammates call him is always up for the next mission. He came back from Afghanistan wounded and scarred. Hardly the kind of man who even belongs in the same room with Eden. And yet there’s something about the quiet beauty that stirs his blood and makes him dream of the impossible. Because Beauty loving the beast only happens in fairy tales and KGI doesn’t deal in fairy tales. Ever.
Daryl Swanson, known to everyone as Swanny, was captured with Nathan Kelly and held by insurgents in Afghanistan. He was starved, beaten and tortured for information. It was the miracle of Nathan’s wife, Shea, that allowed Nathan and Swanny to escape their prison. They survived their ordeal, but they not not unscathed. Both suffer from nightmares and scars, but unlike Nathan, Swanny cannot hide all of his scars. Swanny bears a jagged scar down the side of his face.
In their latest mission, Nathan and Swanny have been asked to protect the sister of one of their former platoon mates. Ryder used to share his letters and photos of his sister, Eden, with the men. She wasn’t someone that Swanny could easily forget. She had an inner beauty to match her outer beauty.
Now someone from her father’s past wants to hurt her, and Swanny isn’t going to let anyone get close enough to try.
As a model, Eden is surrounded by people who are mostly just beautiful on the outside. Eden is intrigued by the quiet, soft-spoken man who keeps trying to hide his scar from her, yet she is drawn to his strength and bravery and she connects with him on a far deeper level than she has ever connected with anyone. He has an inner beauty that draws her in and opens her heart.
I don’t know that I have read a story with two more likable characters. We see the inner Swanny who is battling with nightmares and the insecurity of scarred face. He admits that the women haven’t been flocking to him since he returned from Afghanistan. He also remembers seeing pictures of Eden that her brother shared with them and he remembers thoughts of the beautiful woman that kept his warm on the coldest nights. There is something between them from their first moments but he only sees himself as the Beast to her Beauty.
Eden is as sweet as she is beautiful and she sees Swanny for his inner beauty and admires his outer beauty as well, which only makes us like her more.
Since most of KGI have met their spouses on a mission, there was no tension with his teammates when a relationship starts to develop between Eden and Swanny. In fact, the team is so happy that Eden sees more to Swanny than his scar, they are all but high fiving Eden every time she gives Swanny a look or boldly pursues him.
One interesting plot point that Maya doesn’t discuss but has me wondering is that Swanny has such strong gut feelings when things aren’t going right, so much so that his whole team trusts him and if he says “pull back” they don’t question, they pull back. I was wondering if this was attributed to the healing that was done to Swanny by way of Shea and Grace while he and Nathan were escaping their prison. They used a psychic link for Grace to heal his internal injuries, and although nothing is mentioned in the book, his strong feelings made me wonder if this was an aftereffect of that slight paranormal twist that Maya gave Nathan’s story, Whispers in the Dark. Hmmm.
I was put off by Donovan’s story which came out back in January, but I am loving the Swanny/Eden connection and yeah, yeah, there was exciting running from bad guys stuff, yada, yada, guns, whatever, but the Swanny/Eden story was absolutely sweet and addicting.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“It’s not ugly,” she said in a sincere voice. “It’s a mark of courage. Of survival. I think you’re beautiful.”
He reared back his head, surprise flaring in his eyes. He stared at her like she’d lost her mind.
“Beautiful?” he said hoarsely. “You’re beautiful. Not me.”
She leaned in, knowing she was being bold—too bold—but she simply couldn’t resist showing him with more than words that his scar didn’t put her off in the least. She cupped his face and slid her fingers down the puckered ridges.
He flinched and tried to withdraw but she leaned further, following him back as she continued her gentle exploration.
“I disagree,” she murmured. “I think you’re beautiful. Strong. A warrior. Your scar is a badge of honor. You forget, my father and brothers served in either the military or the police force. They have scars. They don’t bother me in the least.”
Swanny looked at a complete loss for words, but he remained frozen in place. Then he leaned slightly into the palm of her hand as if he enjoyed her touch.
“Can I kiss you?” she whispered.
Shock registered in his eyes She knew she was being forward. Practically forcing herself on this man. But she knew he felt it too. This inexplicable pull between them. She wasn’t imagining it.
“We shouldn’t,” he began. But she hushed him by fitting her mouth to his.
He let out a low groan and she licked over his lips, pushing gently so he’d open his mouth to her advance. And then, as she’d hoped, he took control of the kiss.
He pulled her into his lap, deepening the kiss, sliding his tongue across her in a gentle exploration. Her body molded to his perfectly. She leaned into him, enjoying the hard wall of muscle against her much softer body.
She was tall, nearly five-ten, but he was still a head taller than her. If they were standing her head would tuck perfectly underneath his chin and she’d only have to angle her mouth up a bit to kiss him.
She was the first to break the kiss but she wasn’t finished. Not yet. She started at the corner of his mouth where the scar began and she kissed a gentle line over the entire puckered slash that ended close to his eye.
“You are beautiful,” she whispered. “To me, you are.”
He framed her shoulders in his hands and pulled her away, regret simmering in his eyes. But there was also answering desire. He actually picked her up and deposited her back onto the sofa and then backed off, standing a distance away.
“That shouldn’t have happened,” he said hoarsely.
He dragged a hand raggedly through his hair and looked away.
“Besides the fact that my job is to protect you, you’re so far out of my league it’s not even funny. I don’t even exist on the same plane as you.”
Her eyes narrowed as she stared back at him, unwilling to give an inch.
“Don’t you think it’s me who gets to decide who’s in my league?”
“A woman like you doesn’t have to go slumming,” he said bluntly. “You could have any man you want.”
“Apparently not,” she murmured, looking pointedly at him.
He stared back at her in clear confusion. “Why me?”
She smiled ruefully. “Attraction doesn’t follow a set of rules, you know. But I know that I don’t look at the others like I look at you. I don’t feel any chemistry with them, or anyone else for that matter. Can you deny that you feel it too?”
ORDER A COPY: Pia Saves the Day: A Novella of the Elder Races
Publisher: Thea Harrison
Publishing Date: June 23, 2014
ebook: 90 pages
Rating: 5 stars
In the latest story of the Elder Races, two mates face their deadliest challenge yet—each other…
Pia and Dragos’s magical young son Liam (the Peanut), is growing at an unprecedented rate, and if that isn’t enough, he is also exhibiting new, and unpredictable, magical gifts. To protect him, the concerned parents decide to move to upstate New York.
Both Dragos and Pia relish the idea of leaving behind the city. They finally have the space to indulge their Wyr side, and Liam can grow in safety. It’s a breath of fresh air—literally—but their idyllic situation is shattered when Dragos is injured in a freak accident.
Stripped of his memory and bereft of Pia’s taming influence, there’s nothing holding back Dragos’s darkest side. And in order to restore her family and save her mate, Pia must confront the most powerful menace in Elder Races history.
It’s going to take more than a penny to fix this.
Pia and Dragos have decided to move to Drago’s property in upstate New York on a more permanent basis. They want Liam to grow up in the fresh air and open spaces that Manhattan just can’t offer. In order to move the Wyr headquarters upstate, additions need to be made to the sprawling property. The mansion needs some updating, but more importantly, they need housing for the sentinels as well as the security and Drago’s office staff.
As part of the project, the construction crew needs to level the bedrock for the new housing building. When an explosion goes wrong, Dragos is covered in rubble and an angry and injured dragon emerges. It is obvious from his actions that there is more to Drago’s injuries than just the bleeding head wound. The wounded Dragos takes off and Pia must first protect his demesne before she can take off to find her mate.
Pia’s blood has the power to heal but she has to get the wary and cunning dragon to trust her enough to get close. She tries to get his attention with gold and jewels to tempt his acquisitive nature. Dragos doesn’t remember Pia but her scent is stirring something deep down inside him. Dragos is looking at the golden beauty before him and he sees a treasure more valuable than baubles which he wants to keep for himself.
I absolutely love that Thea Harrison has once again brought us a story of Pia and Dragos. This would be the third story that has come back to focus on these major characters of the series. Series either focus on the continuing story of a main character or characters or they focus on a group and each pair gets their day in the sun. It is rare that an author will bring the spotlight back to characters who have already had their story told, and I love that she does this. I talked with author Thea Harrison just before the Lord’s Fall was released two years ago.
In this series Pia and Dragos are the backbone of this group and obviously they still have a lot of story to be told. Dragos is the most powerful Wyr in existence, no question. See favorite scene from Kinked. In Dragon Bound, he was pushy and domineering to a degree that should have pissed me off, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the dynamics of Dragos and Pia and that has only increased as the series progressed and Pia brings out a gentleness that is surprising even to the dragon himself. They are a very dynamic power couple in the paranormal world.
If you are a fan of the series, you have probably already purchased this novella and have finished it and don’t need my review to sway you in any way. But most interesting about this novella, I believe, is that there are several things occurring here that are going to bring interesting, if not major, changes to the series and to the dynamics of the characters.
This is not something that an author of a well liked series does unless they’re desperate or creating a spin off, and especially not in the form of a novella rather than a major novel release. This is pretty brave shake up on the part of Thea Harrison. I am absolutely fascinated to see how the ripples created by this novella is going to effect the future stories.
There is one more novella featuring the Cuellebre family coming out this summer and it is Peanut Goes to School. Here is another delightful character in the series who brings a great big question mark about how he will change things. Peanut is the nickname of Pia and Dragos’s son Liam and he is the only other dragon to exist since Dragos was “born” at the creation of the world millennia ago. He is growing at a phenomenal rate, but since there are no other dragons, no one knows what is normal for him. He turns into a tiny baby dragon which is absolutely adorable! Since everything about Peanut’s dragon nature being combined with Pia’s gifts is up in the air, anything can happen. He is a great big surprise and no one knows how he will affect the future of the series.
The other characters and stories have been very entertaining, but the big stars of this series are no question Pia, Dragos and Liam.
If you like paranormal romance and haven’t tried the Elder Races series, you are definitely missing out.
Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Dragos bent his head and kissed her, softly because their sleeping son nestled between them. His firm, warm lips parted hers, and he dipped his tongue into her mouth in an erotic promise for later. Awash in the love that burned through her veins, she steadied herself by gripping his bicep. With obvious reluctance, he pulled away.
In the fourteen months they had been together, the desire had never changed. Elemental as necessary as breathing, it dictated the rhythm of their lives. They orbited around each other, always looking, always reaching for the other, but it never ceased to amaze her that he looked at her this way.
His brutally handsome face could be so hard, so ruthless, but his need for her always won through. She never doubted what he felt for her. She could see it in everything he did.
You want me, she breathed.
She’d meant to say it in a cocky and flirtatious way, with a wink and a saucy Marilyn Monroe wiggle of the hips. But she forgot to wink, the hip wiggle turned into a slow, needy roll against his, and the words came out breathless and awed.
He rubbed the calloused ball of his thumb across her soft, moistened lips. A dark flush stained his high cheekbones, and his gold eyes glittered. I’ll die before I stop wanting you.
Me too. She closed her eyes at his touch.
They were both immortal Wyr. Maybe, just maybe, that would be long enough to express the depth of what she felt for him.
He kissed her forehead. Here, take Liam.
She glanced down at the top of Liam’s head and said softly, “I’m going to tuck him into his crib.”
Dragos nodded, his expression softening as he looked down at Liam too. “Now that you’re back, I’ll head out to the site. I want to see how much headway they’ve made in the blasting today.”
“Okay.” She smiled at him. “See you later.”
He answered her with a slow, wicked one of his own. “But not too much later. I fancy an early bedtime tonight.”
She watched him walk away, thinking happy, comfortable thoughts. Dinner then bed, and who knew when they would finally fall asleep? They could take their time tonight. They had all the time in the world.
Less than an half an hour later, she would give anything to call him back to her again. Anything to keep him from walking away.
Oh gods, anything.
Our giveaway winner is…SethBookJunkie.
It’s Friday again. It’s been a busy week here at my house. We are having a 50th anniversary party for my parents and this week has been all about prepping and baking for Sunday’s big party. The tiered cake has been baked and is ready to be iced. The mini lemon tarts and mini chocolate chip cookie cheesecakes are on the tray and the seven layer cookies are in the tin.
In between baking and cleaning, I had some books to finish and my Heroes & Heartbreakers deadlines to meet. When it’s all over, I’m gonna lock myself in my room with just my Nook and a bottle of wine for a few hours. :)
To celebrate the big event, as well as Tuesday’s release of Rusty Nailed (Book #2), I am giving away the signed copy of Wallbanger which I picked up on my trip to Memphis, and I have been hoarding for a special occasion.
Rusty Nailed was delightfully funny and sexy, but I am part of the blog tour and won’t be posting my review until my scheduled date in July, so don’t wait for me. Pick up your copy on Tuesday.
To make life a little easier for me this week, I am using a Rafflecopter widget. Giveaway ends Thursday, June 26th. Open to U.S. Residents, 18 years and older.
If you haven’t read Alice Clayton’s Wallbanger yet, all I can say is “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”
But for you holdouts, here is the HUGE news! WALLBANGER IS ON SALE!
Only $2.99 (On Amazon only right now then on Sunday 6/15* across all platforms)
The sale is only lasting thru 6/22! Just in time for the release of Rusty Nailed. And don’t forget the Rusty Nailed pre-order contest. See the link to your right (…your other right) for more information.
RUSTY NAILED ( pre-order links)