ORDER A COPY: Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 2, 2008
Paperback: 287 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape – but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it’s up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.
Mercy’s loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can’t decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her.
Mercy Thompson has always tried to keep out of the way of other preternatural creatures. When you know that goes bump in the night, you know it is best not to let them notice you. Growing up in a werewolf pack, Mercy has always been in and around pack business. Recent events have caused Mercy to now owe favors to the vampires and to the fae and she is making a lot of friends and enemies with both groups. The vampires calling in that favor didn’t go so well for Mercy, so what makes her think helping out the fae would be any better?
The Grimm brothers had it right. Fae are not nice creatures and everything they do comes with a price.
Uncle Mike and Zee, Mercy’s friend and mentor, have asked for Mercy’s help to find out who has been killing fae on the fae reservation. In her coyote form, Mercy’s nose can pick up the scent of anyone who has been at all the crime scenes. Except Mercy’s immunity to some magic allows her to see some things on the reservation that the fae don’t want outsiders to know about.
When Mercy points out the killer, Uncle Mike and Zee go to have a talk with him (fae code for make him disappear forever) only to find out someone beat them to it. Someone with enough strength to rip off a man’s head. Surprising the police arrive at the door just as Zee and Uncle Mike arrive and Zee is arrested for murder.
The Grey Lords who rule over the fae are more than willing to sacrifice Zee to the humans so that no more attentions is focused in on the fae, but Mercy is not willing to sacrifice her friend and let the real killer go free and the Grey Lords aren’t very happy with Mercy’s decision to get in their way.
I am really getting into this series, but this was a much darker story than the two prior books. In the last one Mercy is helping the vampires but learning things that the vampires don’t want her to know, like how to kill a vamp. In this one Mercy is learning too much about the secretive and mysterious fae. Vampires each have different gifts and abilities, but that is nothing to the broad spectrum of the fae.
Even Zee becomes angry with Mercy in this story, but whether it is because she is drawing the attention of the Grey Lords by fighting Zee’s imprisonment or whether he is angry because Mercy tells fae secrets to the attorney she hires, Mercy isn’t sure. When Zee calls due the note on the garage (which is a serious fae spit-in-the-face), Mercy is heartbroken that she has lost her friend and mentor.
It is a much darker story since Mercy does not get away unscathed from this adventure. Fae magic is used against her in the most brutal way. This leads to anxiety attacks and PTSD issues in the next story. She is now being watched by the Vampire Mistress and the Grey Lords and being under the protection of the wolves may no longer be enough to keep Mercy safe.
“You are telling me that Zee went to O’Donnell’s house to murder him?”
I took a deep breath. “You aren’t going to understand this. You don’t know the fae, not really. Imprisoning a fae is…impractical. First of all, it’s damned difficult. Holding a person is hard enough. Holding a fae for any time at all, if he doesn’t want to be held, is near impossible. Even without that, a life sentence is highly impractical when fae can live for hundreds of years.” Or a lot more, but the public didn’t know that. “And when you let them go, they aren’t likely to shrug it off as justice served. The fae are a vengeance-hungry race. If you imprison a fae, for whatever reason, you’d better be dead when he gets out or you’ll wish you were. Human justice just isn’t equipped to deal with the fae, so they take care of it. A fae who commits a serious crime—like murder—is simply executed on the spot.” The werewolves did the same.
She pinched the bridge of her nose as if I were giving her a headache.
“O’Donnell wasn’t fae. He was human.”
I thought about trying to explain why a people who were used to dealing out their own justice would care less that the perpetrator was human, but decided it was pointless. “The fact remains that Zee did not kill O’Donnell Someone got there first.”
Her bland face didn’t indicate belief, so I asked, “Do you know the story of Thomas the Rhymer?”
“True Thomas? It’s a fairy tale,” she said. “A prototype of Irving’s ‘Rip Van Winkle.’”
“Uhm,” I said. “Actually, I’m under the impression that it was mostly a true story, Thomas’s I mean. Thomas was, at any rate, a real historical person, a noted political entity of the thirteenth century. He claimed that he’d been caught for seven years by the queen of the fairies, then allowed to return. He either asked the fairy queen for a sign that he could show his kin so they would believe him when he told them where he’d been, or he stole a kiss form the fairy queen. Whatever the reason, he was given a gift, and like most fairy gifts, it was more curse than blessing—the fairy queen rendered him incapable of lying. For a diplomat or a lover or a businessman, that was a cruel thing to do, but the fae are often cruel.”
She didn’t sound happy. I guess she didn’t like thinking any of the fairy tales were true. It was a common attitude.
People could believe in the fae, but fairy tales were fairy tales. Only children would really believe in them.
It was an attitude that the fae themselves promoted. In most folktales, the fae are not exactly friendly. Take Hansel and Gretel, for instance. Zee once told me that there are a lot of fae in the rez, if left to their preferred diets, would happily eat people…especially children.
“He was cursed to become like the fae themselves,” I told her. “Most fae, including Zee, cannot tell a lie. They are very, very good at making you think they are saying one thing, when they mean another, but they cannot lie.”
“Everyone can lie.”
I smiled at her tightly. “The fae cannot. I don’t know why. They can do the damnedest things with the truth, but they cannot lie.”
I’m giving away my uncorrected proof copy of Concealed in Death. Tell us one of your favorite stories in the In Death series.
Giveaway ends Monday, February 24th. Open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older please.
ORDER A COPY: Concealed in Death
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: February 18, 2014
Hardcover: 416 pages
Rating: 4 stars
In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.
The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid-2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.
Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart.
Lt. Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, are once again drawn into a case which brushes too close to their own tortured childhood.
Roarke has purchased a rundown building which he is planning on gutting and creating a new safe haven. Like Duchas, his shelter for women, this place would be for kids who have been forced into the system and are in need a safe place away from the people who are supposed to care for them; just like he and Eve once were.
While taking down a wall, he finds bodies wrapped neatly in plastic, or more particularly the bones of young girls. Roarke calls in his wife to investigate what happened to them. It doesn’t take much searching to determine that the last use the property had was fifteen years ago as another shelter for troubled and runaway kids.
Eve has to follow a cold trail back to a killer but first she needs to put faces to these young girls. Dr. Garnet DeWinter is brought in as a forensic anthropologist to work with Dr. Morris, the M.E., to determine who they were and what killed them.
When the lives of these girls brushes too close to home, Eve realizes that the difference between herself and these young girls is simply dumb luck. While Eve and Roarke grew up and made their own way out of the gutter of their own childhood, someone took away the chance for these girls. There is no statute of limitations on murder and Eve is determine to find their killer.
Although this is not one of the most thrilling stories in the series, it was another interesting investigation for Eve Dallas. There was more time spent determining who these girls were, talking to their families and putting together the whys and wherefores of what happened 15 years ago, than there was chasing down the killer. The investigation was mostly handled by Eve and Peabody, so there was little interaction with the rest of the team.
There were some sweet moments between Eve and Roarke, but again nothing absolutely exciting. Move of a settling into married life.
Any fan of the series will, of course, read this story and enjoy the investigation, but if I was trying to intrigue someone into giving the series a try, there are much more exciting stories that I would suggest.
I will say for a happily married woman, Eve does not like when some woman gets to close to Dr. Morris. Interesting.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion.
Then she picked up her coffee, put her boots up, and let her mind clear.
Because it was clear, the first thing that popped in when Roarke stepped inside was: He’s so pretty.
“You couldn’t have been more right or more succinct about the traffic. It was bloody vicious.”
“We won. We’re home.”
“You’re right. That calls for a drink.”
“I guess maybe.”
He came over to her first put his hands on the arms of her chair, leaned down to kiss her.
She surprised him, undid him, by rising up, wrapping her arms tight around him, and making it much more than a welcome home kiss.
“Well now, I might arrange for bloody vicious traffic daily.”
“You don’t have to. We live in New York.”
“What’s all this then?”
“I don’t know.” She’d surprised herself as much as him. “I guess…The Miras this morning, then this couple later. It…” Her mind, she realized, wasn’t as clear as she’d thought. “I’ll have that drink, and tell you.”
“All right. Let’s have it downstairs. You can come up with Mira if you feel you must,” he added, anticipating her protest, “but we should go down, greet them first, as friends.”
“You’re right.” She wrapped around him again, just to hold. “We’ll go downstairs.”
He tipped her head back, looked into her eyes. “You’re not sad.”
“No, I’m not sad.”
Thoughtful then, he decided, taking her hand as they went back down.
Summerset had lit the fire, and the tree. The parlor looked, well, amazing, she thought. It looked like home—her home— despite its elegance, its exceptional taste and style, the gleam of antiques, the art, the color, the lovely blending of old and new.
“What is it, Eve?”
She shook her head, sat on the arm of a chair because you could do that at home.
“I was in the Miras’ house this morning, and thinking how pretty it is there, how calm and pretty and easy to be in. This is, too. Isn’t that funny that this is, too? They have a tree. We have a tree. Well, I don’t know how many trees we have in here because who could count?”
“Okay. We have twenty trees.” It struck her suddenly. Twenty trees. “Seriously?”
“Yes.” He smiled, as much at his own need to fill the house with Christmas as with her reaction. “We’ll go around and have a look at all of them sometime.”
“It’ll take a while. Anyway, they had a fire, and we have one. But it’s not that, do you know what I mean? It’s the feeling. I used to envy that feeling. I could recognize it. You’d go into somebody’s place to interview the, notify them, even arrest them, and you’d recognize the feeling of home when it was there.”
“I know that envy, very well.” Which, he understood, explained all the trees, among other things.
“I thought when I moved in here it would always be a house, and always be yours. I don’t even know when that changed, not exactly, and it became mine. Ours. That’s pretty amazing.”
“It was a house, one I enjoyed very much. But it wasn’t a home until you.” He looked around the parlor as she had. Candles and firelight, tree glowing, colors rich, wood gleaming.
“What I put in it was for comfort, for show, or because I could. It mattered to have it, this place. My place. But I could never quite reach that feeling, until you.”
“I get that,” she realized. “It matters that you mean it, and that I get it.” She took a breath while he opened a bottle of wine. “You know how they are, the Miras. So connected, so just right. I swear if I didn’t love you, if it wasn’t for her, I’d really go for him.”
At Roarke’s laugh, she shook her head again, took the wine he offered.
“I think I could take him,” Roarke considered.
“I don’t know. He might surprise you. Anyway, it’s not like that really. There’s just…he’s just…There’s something about him that hits all my soft spots. I didn’t know I had some of them.”
“I think that’s lovely.”
“He brought me those silly gloves and that stupid hat, and put them on me like I was a kid. I ended up wearing them because he can’t button his sweater right half the time but he hunted up a cap and gloves for me because it’s cold out. He’s so kind, and they have this amazing connection between them.”
She had to take a steadying breath, amazed at how sloppy she felt about…all of it.
“I want that. I mean when we’ve been together like them a couple decades, I want that with us.”
“Darling Eve.” This time he pressed his lips to the top of her head. “There’s more every day.”
“It feels like it. Sometimes I don’t know how I got through not feeling it. And later, this couple. I need to talk to Mira about her. DeLonna.”
“Ah.” He sat now. “Sebastian came through. I thought he must have when you didn’t ask me to dig him up.”
“She goes by Lonna, Sebastian neglected to tell me he’d helped her change her name off the books. Lonna Moon. She and her guy own this swank little club. The Purple Moon.”
“I know it.”
“You don’t own the building, do you?”
“I don’t, but I’ve heard of the club. It has a good rep.” His hand glided gently along her thigh. Affection. Connection. “We should go there.”
“We should. Yeah, we should. I’ll get into the whole thing, but what I wanted to say to you was listening to her, seeing them together, it struck close to home. She’s solid, no washout, but he worries about her because of what she went through. She has nightmares.”
Those eyes, those wild blue eyes met hers. He didn’t have to say a thing to say everything.
“Looking at them, seeing them, I could see some of us. And it was really good, what I saw. I don’t know his story, but there’s something there. Slick, he’s slick, and looks like he can and has handled himself. But they were connected.”
“So.” She let out another breath. “I want to let you know if the day comes when you forget how to button your sweater—when you start wearing those button-sweater deals—I’ll fix it.”
“Every day there’s more,” he murmured. Swamped with love, he drew her off the arm of the chair into his lap.
ORDER A COPY: Blood From a Silver Cross (Kat Redding)
Publishing Date: February 6, 2014
ebook: 235 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Some people still call Kat Redding by her hunter name: Lady Death. But she’s not eager to see more violence brought to her doorstep. The neverending tide of hungry supes and vicious humans doesn’t change the math—sooner or later Kat’s one-vamp battle against the nightmares that infest Columbus is going to leave her dead. And she has innocent people—well, a werewolf and a demon-summoner—depending on her now.
But when a rogue werewolf who’s opted out of the bloodbath is found crucified and mutilated with toxic silver, Kat knows she’ll be tangling again with the dangerous Pureblood murderers of the cult of the Left Hand. She already has an undead countess blackmailing her into taking out the city’s garbage and a demon playing with her head. Add to that her serious suspicions about changes at the house of her uneasy ally Jonathan Alucard, werewolf denmaster, and Kat might have finally gotten in danger so deep, not even Lady Death can survive.
Kat Redding has gotten herself into a lot of trouble in the last year. She’s been on a path of self-destruction after her brother’s death. She was almost seduced by a angel. she’s has caught the attention of not one but two Vampire Houses. She has Alpha Creepo Aiden sniffing around her to mate with him in his quest for world domination…or at least domination of Columbus. She has made a bargain with a demon, was almost killed by human zealots, and she still isn’t sure how she feels about Jonathan Alucard, leader of the Luna Cult.
The worst part is that with all the attention she is getting, her home is no longer her own secret. Too many individuals know where to find her, and now her human friend Ethan and the displaced werewolf Jeremy are in jeopardy as well. Kat has decided it is time to stop this spiraling self-destruction and get her life back; short of packing up and leaving town, that is easier said than done.
After killing the wrong vampire, Kat is still being forced to act as the assassin for Countess Baset, and if she refuses, the Countess won’t go after Kat. She’ll once again go after Kat’s friends.
After being captured by the werewolf alpha, Aiden and force into a blood bond with him thanks to his batshit crazy vampire pet, Kat is able to feel where he is, but that means he can track her as well. She might be enjoying his “gift” of immunity to silver, but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever agree to mate with him. Ewww!
Aiden isn’t the only one following her around. After doing a little destruction at his territory, vampire Count Mephisto has been having her trailed. If it is not for revenge, what does he want?
And maybe she’s told Jonathan several times that there can’t be anything between them, but who the hell is that female hanging all over him every time she tries to talk with him? Kat doesn’t trust her but is that simply jealousy talking?
Now Jonathan needs her help to determine who would have crucified one of his werewolves right in front of the Luna Cult. All clues point to the human extremists known as the Left Hand, but how could they get so close to the Cult without being seen unless there is someone inside helping them out? Is it truly suspicion or just jealousy that has Kat ready to tear into the newest werewolf recruit?
****Some spoilers if you aren’t caught up with the series*****
I have been following this series since To Walk the Night was first released. It has a whole Underworld feel to the story and several interesting side characters, including Jonathan, my favorite.
My problem with this series was that after the first book, Kat’s character became very erratic. Kat and her brother were human vampire hunters, who took out the smaller vampire houses, until they were captured and Kat was turned into a vampire and her brother was fed both vampire and werewolf blood which only leads to madness. In the second book, she found her maddened werewolf brother and was so obsessed with “saving” him, several people were hurt including werewolf Jeremy losing his arm, and Jonathan being badly injured and Kat just walking away leaving Ethan (her agoraphobic human friend) to take him somewhere to be treated.
At this point she has literally walked away from the only two people who cared if Kat lived or died, leaving one bleeding to death all over her floor, and ends up in some Twilight Zone Town where the leader is trying to un-vampire her and in a world where vampires and werewolves rule the night, this Town seems to be unfazed by these predators. Her time in Delai was rather boring and the only reason she leaves is to answer the call of the Demon she made a deal with, even after her friend Ethan begged her not to do it.
When she returns home, I was quite surprising that her friends will actually speak to her after abandoning them for several months with no word of what became of her or if she would ever return.
She’s wasn’t done yet and in her usual “kill first, question it later” philosophy, Kat not only causes trouble in one very powerful vampire’s territory, but she kills the lover and assassin for another powerful vampire, and Jonathan gets dragged in and tortured until Kat agrees to work for the Countess.
And we’re not done yet…werewolf Aiden has decided that Kat needs to mate with him and when she refuses, he captures her, paralysis her with silver. At this point, Kat starts to realize her vulnerable she is because paralyzed, naked and strapped to a table, he could simply rape her and mate with her again her will. Lucky for her, he decides to “gift” her with the immunity to silver like his werewolves as a sort of pre-mating present.
Now after the last book I had enough of Kat’s crazy and reckless behavior. All she did was get herself (and her friend’s by her association with them) in trouble. It was no longer a kick-ass series. It was more of a teenager having a hissy-fit and acting out with no regard for what could happen from her stupid decisions.
I swore I would give the series one last book before I would walk away entirely and I was pleasantly surprised by the complete change in the main character. At this point, Kat has finally realized that she has made some serious enemies and she has put her friends in danger.
She is trying to figure out how to get herself out of the sticky situations that she has put herself and her friends into.
Although I wouldn’t call this a story with a happy ending, what happens in here will shake up the series as we know it, but it was a better story then we have seen in the last two and much improvement on the main character.
I would have liked to have seen her take Jeremy up on his offer to help her. I could think of some investigation he could have done for her while she was busy splitting her time between looking for the Left Hand and working as the Countess’s assassin. She still refuses to allow herself to lean on anyone, but one step at a time.
I don’t know if this was the author’s storyline from the beginning or if he too realized that Kat was going astray from kick-ass heroine to annoying character, but I do appreciate the turn around. The ending does leave the story with a big question mark as to what will happen next but as long as Kat stays and track and we get some Jonathan in there, I’ll keep reading.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In this scene, werewolf Jeremy comes to talk to Kat at the bar she sometimes goes to for information:
“You know he only wants to help, right?” Jeremy said after a few moments.
I groan inwardly, knowing he was trying to get me back for those comments about the girl. I was pretty sure he knew I still struggled to sort out the tangled emotions I had for the Denmaster. Everyone had seemed to key in on the fact long before I did.
“I know that,” I said. “But he needs to remember that I’ve helped myself for a long time now. Letting someone help doesn’t come naturally to me.”
“But is it really so hard to let him try?”
“Yes,” I said. “It is.”
Jeremy smiled. “Somehow, I knew you’d say that.”
I shook my head and took another drink.
There was a long stretch of silence when we both just drank quietly. I could feel Bart’s eyes on us and wondered if he knew who Jeremy was or if he thought the young were was my boyfriend or something. I smiled at the thought.
Then again, what did Mikael think? He might have his eyes closed, but I was positive he knew everything that was going on in the room. Did he know who Jeremy was? Did he know where he’d been? It was one of those things I wished I knew for sure. I didn’t like the idea of Mikael storing any sort of information on my friends.
“Thank you,” Jeremy said suddenly, startling me out of my thoughts.
“For taking me in.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I don’t think I would have made it through those first few months after this”—he motioned toward his missing arm—”without you and Ethan.”
“Ethan took you in first. You should thank him.”
“But it was because of you that I was there. Sure you might not have been in the house at the time, but I felt your presence there anyway. It was as if a part of you had never left.”
I gave him a funny look. I might have been the reason he’d moved in, but I was also the reason he’d lost his arm. I didn’t deserve thanks for that.
Jeremy’s bottle was empty. He spun in slowly on the table, not looking up as he spoke.
“Those first few days were hard. After Lei couldn’t…when she couldn’t put my arm back…” He took another deep breath and I thought I saw tears in his eyes.
“You don’t have to do this,” I said. Something in my chest hitched and I had to clear my throat lest I start bawling myself.
“I was stupid,” Jeremy said, going on as if he hadn’t heard me. “I thought I was tougher than I really was. And when those Tainted came through the door and tore me apart like I was just some rag doll, I realized I had no business living this sort of life.”
My beer was empty. I held on to the bottle, afraid that if I let it go, I’d give in to the emotions suddenly throbbing behind my eyes. I couldn’t imagine losing a part of myself like that.
“It’s hard to slit your wrists when you only have one arm.”
My hand tightened on the bottle. I refused to look up at him now. I knew if I saw tears trailing down his cheeks, I’d lose it and break down too.
“So I tried to chew my way through them instead.” He gave a bitter laugh. “How that would help, I have no idea. I healed long before I ever bled out.”
The couple across the room stood and walked out together. As they left, a trio of men came in, looking as much like vampires as anyone could without showing fang. They scoped the room and then wandered to a table, seemingly disappointed there weren’t more people there they could target.
“I think I might have starved myself or tried again if it wasn’t for Jonathan. He told me to watch over Ethan, giving me something to do. At first, I thought was trying to get rid of me, but soon started to realize he was giving me a reason to go on. He showed me I was still useful.”
The sound of his voice finally caused me to look at him. He was staring at me with an intensity that was almost scary.
“But even while I knew I was getting better inside, I was still torn up. When Ethan was asleep, I’d sometimes watch him and think about everything I could not longer do. It was hard to simply get through the day sometimes.”
I nodded in a way that I hoped told him that I understood. I’d been to my own dark places.
“But I got over it. I learned that even though I couldn’t do something as simple as clap anymore, I could still be important to someone. I refuse to shirk my duty out of fear of failure. Just because I’m missing a part of myself, doesn’t mean the rest of me is useless.”
Jeremy sighed and forced a smile. “So anyway, thank you for not kicking me out when you came back. Thank you for giving me a reason to live.” He raised his bottle toward the bar.
I didn’t trust myself to speak. Bart brought over a pair of beers, clearing away the empties as he did.
I waited until he was gone before I forced a smirk to my face and said, “No problem.” I wanted to sound cocky, but my voice broke on the second word.
Jeremy seemed to get it, though. He broke out into a wide grin, picked up his beer and tipped it my way. “To staying alive.”
I raised my own bottle. “To staying alive.”
Our bottles made a faint clink as we tapped them together.
Publishing Date: February 4, 2014
Paperback: 302 pages
Rating: 5 stars
The family-run Green Mountain Country Store is cherished by locals as a reminder of simpler times. The Abbott children are determined to keep it that way—but their father has different plans…
When Cameron Murphy heads to Vermont to build a website for a new client, she imagines a more relaxing trip than she gets. After wrecking her car by colliding with the town moose, she meets the most handsome hero she’s ever seen. Unfortunately, her savior, Will Abbott, is also the son of her client—and he wants nothing to do with the new website or the city girl creating it.
For all Will cares, Cameron can march her fancy boots right out of town and out of his family’s business. But he can’t seem to get her out of his head. As his family’s dispute heats up, so does the chemistry between the two, leaving them wondering if simple is better after all—especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
When Cameron arrives in Vermont, she arrives in a big way–crashing into the beloved town Moose, Fred. Fred survived the accident a lot better than Cameron’s brand new Mini Cooper. Cameron is pretty sure a totaled car might be worth the suffering when she gets a good look at the man who comes to her rescue. Her first thought was that he was the best smelling, most attractive mountain man in existence. Even his gruff opinion of her driving and her city boots couldn’t cool her interest.
What does throw off her confident is the news that her rescuer is Will Abbot was one of the people she was supposed to meet tomorrow, and he and his siblings are not too happy that their father went behind their backs to invite Cameron to discuss a website. Will and his siblings don’t believe that their business needs a website. So her car isn’t the only thing that will crash and burn on this trip. Cameron needs to land this account to keep her website design company going.
Even if she didn’t need this account, after meeting the Abbott Family and seeing their store, Cameron knows she wants to share their store and their story with the world. A quaint country store in the mountains owned for three generations and now by ten siblings who all contribute to it by either running the store or providing the Vermont Made products. Cameron wants to design a website that does more than allow someone to purchase maple syrup, she wants people to know the family behind the products.
If she can convince them that their business needs this website, she knows that this will change all their lives, in more ways than one.
My mother just loves Marie Force and has read all her other series. I haven’t had a chance to read her books yet, but when I was offered this ARC, I decided to give it a chance.
I thought this was such a sweet romance. You can’t help but love the Abbot Family and I can’t wait to see what happens with Will’s widowed sister and the sweet mechanic who has been waiting in the wings, or brother Colton up on his mountain with no electricity making his maple syrup. I don’t know if all 10 kids will get their own stories, but they are all single.
This story makes you think about snuggling up by the fire with someone special. It definitely makes you want to take a vacation to Vermont, except the thought of someplace with even more snow than we had this winter would make me run the other way.
This is definitely a series I want to follow.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“This was great, Colton. Thanks so much for showing me your home and your business.” She extended a hand to him.
“Definitely a pleasure.” He bent gallantly to place a kiss on the back of her hand. ”Hope to see you again soon.”
“You’ll see her at Mom’s on Sunday.”
“And Sunday dinner with the Abbots gets more interesting.”
“Knock it off, Colton,” Will said in a sinister tone she wouldn’t have thought him capable of. Surprise, surprise.
Colton only laughed at his brother, which seemed to further infuriate Will.
Cameron hoped he wasn’t mad at her, too.
Colton walked them to the truck, where Will held the door for her and gave it a harder-than-usual slam when she was settled in the cab.
In the side-view mirror, she saw him exchange a few heated words with Colton that made Colton laugh again. Judging by the slam of the driver’s door and the stormy expression on Will’s face, he hadn’t appreciated his brother laughing at whatever he’d said to him.
He turned the truck around and sent a trail of snow flying behind them that just missed Colton.
“What is the matter?” Cameron asked as he took the first turn that curved down the winding hill.
His gruff demeanor was reminiscent of the night they met. ”Clearly something is bugging you. I wish you’d just tell me—”
The truck fishtailed violently as he slammed on the brakes, threw off his seat belt and reached for her.
Cameron barely had time to register her surprise before he was kissing her. And Oh. My. God. The man could kiss. She all but melted into him as he cupped her face with one hand and fisted her hair with the other, his lips moving over hers, softly yet insistently.
When the shock wore off, she realized he was waiting for her to participate before he took it any further. Wanting to encourage him, she put her arms around his neck and dabbed her tongue along his lower lip.
He took the hint and growled as he gave her his tongue in teasing increments that made her needy for more. As he shifted closer to her, the truck lurched forward, sliding on the ice.
“Shit,” he said, as he broke free from her to control the truck’s slide toward the guardrail that was the only thing between them and a plunge into the ravine far below.
Cameron tried to remain calm, but between the ice and the guardrail and that incendiary kiss, she was anything but calm.
After what seemed like an interminable slide, they landed with a hard smack against the guardrail.
Cameron had never been so grateful for piece of metal in her life. She took a quick look out her window and just as quickly looked away when her stomach turned at the view of the sheer drop inches to her right.
“At least you’ll never forget our first kiss,” Will said cheerfully, as if was no big deal to have nearly slid off the road.
“I think it’s safe to say I would’ve remember it without the near-death experience thrown in.”
“Yeah?” He asked, full of masculine pride.
“Stop gloating and get us out of here.”
“Take it easy, sweetheart. You’re nowhere near death.”
There was that endearment again, setting of a tsunami inside her when it came from him. ”Your view is clearly not the same as mine.”
“Stay calm. I’ve got this.” He reached for her hand, but she pushed him back.
“Two hands on the wheel this time. How did we even end up down here?”
“You distracted me, and my foot slipped of the brake.”
“I distracted you?“
“That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”
The truck lurched forward, and Cameron grabbed hold of the door and the seat, as if that would do any good if the guardrail gave way. ”How long can the guardrail hold the weight of this big truck?”
“We’ll be long gone before the guardrail gets tired.”
While his assurances were somewhat comforting, she wanted out of there immediately. She startled when a hulking figure appeared at the driver’s side window.
Will opened it. ”What, Colton?” he asked in a testy tone.
Colton’s lazy grin unfolded slowly across his face. ”Got yourself into a bit of a pickle, bro?”
“Yes!” Cameron said. ”Were’re definitely in a pickle.”
Will scowled at the apparent affront to his manhood. ”I told you I’ve got this.”
“And yet we’re still clinging to the road by a thread!”
“I heard the crunch of metal up at the house and figure I ought to investigate.”
“You can go back up,” Will said. ”We’re fine.”
“Would you mind terribly if I got out until we’re actually fine?” Cameron asked, making Colton snicker.
ORDER A COPY: How to Run with a Naked Werewolf
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: December 24, 2013
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Anna Moder has just witnessed a shooting, seen her car pulverized, and rescued a wounded stranger only to discover he’s really a werewolf. And by her recent standards, things are actually looking up. Lycanthropes don’t faze Anna. Doctoring a wolf pack outside Grundy, Alaska, is the closest thing to home life she’s known in years. But hitching a ride to Anchorage with long-absent pack member Caleb Graham that’s a risk. Part of her itches to whack his nose with a newspaper. The rest is trying unsuccessfully to keep her own paws off every delicious inch of him.
The problem is, Caleb employs his lupine tracking abilities as a not quite-legal bounty hunter, and Anna is suspicious of both him and his profession. On the run from her past, with old problems closing in, she’d like to stay far, far away from anybody with connections to the law. Caleb, however, seems determined to keep her close. Are his intentions noble, or is he working a more predatory angle?
Anna’s been dreaming of returning to a semi-normal life, but now she’s experiencing a strange new urge . . . to join Caleb in running with the wolves.
Anna Moder is on the run again. Actually, Anna Moder isn’t even her real name. That’s the name she took on when she made it up to Alaska and went to work as the doctor for a werewolf pack in a little village in the valley outside of Grundy. Now she had to leave her sweet little house and her new friends, because he has found her once again.
Anna has been on the run from her husband for over three years now. Since her husband is a psychotic, controlling, computer genius, it has been impossible to make him her ex-husband and to get him out of her life. She tried to move to Florida to get away from him, but it seems stealing all her money and destroying her credit rating wasn’t enough fun for him, and he showed up at her front door to break her jaw and drag her back. With no way to protect herself from a man determined to control her or kill her, she has been running as far and as fast as she can.
With the help of an underground organization to help women like her, she has been able to change her identity and stay under her husband’s radar, but now she needs to get to Anchorage to pick up a new identity and get a new place to run. She didn’t expect to walk into the middle of a gun fight or feel the need to protect the stranger being attacked. Nor did she expect the stranger to be a werewolf.
Caleb Graham (former citizen of the valley) is on the road working as a not-quite-legitimate bounty hunter. He is willing to take Anna to Anchorage as a thanks for her saving him, but he just has to do a few errands on their way. Neither Anna or Caleb seem to mind that that his errands are keeping her from getting to Anchorage too fast as they team up to track down their wayward prey.
But Caleb and Anna are both hiding secrets which will destroy their budding relationship. Once those secrets come to light, will they be able to forgive or will they need to walk away?
I really love the lighthearted fun to be found in every Molly Harper book. This was the best way to pass a snow day. After a storm closed my office, I wanted to make good use of my bonus day and chose a book I didn’t get to read during the chaotic holidays. I was enjoying Caleb and Anna’s story so much I had it done in an afternoon.
Caleb and Anna spent their time running around Alaska, never really getting anywhere, and mostly getting to know each other which just made for an entertaining story. Some paranormal series are intense, but I just love the carefree fun and great one-liners which make up a Molly Harper book.
This is definitely an amusing story with fun characters, and although we do have a get together at the end with Mo, Cooper, Maggie and Nick, the story is mostly the new characters of Caleb and Anna.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
We pulled into the parking lot of a diner that looked halfway reputable. As the truck slowed, I heard something, probably one of the dozen or so ChapSticks I kept in my bag, roll under the seat into the back of the cab.
“I’ll get us a booth,” he told me as I shoved the seat forward. Peering under the front seat, I felt along the hard plastic edge for my errant lip balm, but instead, my fingers closed over a strange metallic curved object tucked into a groove under the seat.
“What the—?” I pulled it out in the light. Handcuffs. I felt under the seat again and found plastic zip ties, a collapsible metal police baton, duct tape, and rope, all Velcroed to the bottom of the seat. And now that I looked at the back of the front seat, I realized that there was a collapsible metal grate attached to it, the kind that cops had in their squad cars to keep suspects contained in the back.
I dropped my bag, backing away. This guy had a serial killer’s tool kit in the back of his truck.
A strange sense of betrayal bloomed, astringent and bitter, in my chest. For a moment, I’d let myself believe in this guy. I’d wanted to trust in that promise of safety, in the prospect of being able to relax into a familiar wolfy territory for just a few days, to feel that I wasn’t alone. The fact that I’d wanted it so badly, so quickly, scared me even more than the possible uses for three sets of adjustable bungee cords.
I scanned the front window of the diner. Caleb was already sitting in a booth. If I just slipped away, he probably wouldn’t notice for a while that I hadn’t followed him in. There was a bar up the main street. Maybe I could hitch a ride with someone there. I hadn’t done that in a while, and obviously, my self-preservation skills were pretty rusty. But I guessed the devil you didn’t know would likely be safer than the devil you knew had freaking duct tape and cuffs in his truck.
I had to admit the collapsible baton was cool. I supposed it was much more effective than my slapjack, not to mention having a better reach. And I rationalized that if I took it, he wouldn’t be using it on unsuspecting hitchhikers. I palmed it and dropped it into my bag.
Slinging that bag over my shoulders, I glanced back at the diner window but didn’t see Caleb. I backed away from the truck and—
“Ack!” I shouted, jumping out of my skin and cursing myself for not keeping the baton handy. No matter how much time I’d spent around them, it was always shocking to me that big, bulky werewolves could move so quietly.
While his tone was friendly, his posture was tense. He frowned down at me. “Just wanted to see what was taking so long. You OK?”
“I think this is a mistake,” I said, my fingers frantically searching through my bag for the slapjack. I stepped away from him, putting the open truck door between us. His brow furrowed, and he took a step toward me. I stepped further away, onto the sidewalk.
“What’s a mistake?” he asked.
“This whole ‘riding together’ idea. I’ll be fine on my own, really. Thanks for getting me this far, thought.” I turned, taking brisk, long steps up the sidewalk. He stood, staring at me, perplexed. “Good luck…with your whole Ted Bundy thing.” I muttered softly as I rushed away.
In a blink, Caleb was in front of me, holding my arms against my sides. “What did you mean by that?”
Great, I forgot that my new best friend had an advanced serial-killer kit and superhuman hearing. Oh, and healing powers. I was one lucky girl.
“What did you mean?” he demanded. His eyes followed mine back to the open truck door and the cuffs and zip ties lying out on his floorboards.
“What normal person rolls with this sort of thing in his backseat, Caleb?”
“There’s a good explanation for this.”
“I’m sure there is. I just don’t care,” I retorted.
“Look, come inside, have some breakfast with me, and I’ll explain. If you still think I’m a serial killer afterward, I’ll pay the check and you can stay here at the motel until you figure out what you want to do.”
I shrugged. “OK.”
“Great, let’s go inside,” he said.
“I wasn’t serious!” I explained. “How stupid do you think I am?”
“Look, what’s the harm in having breakfast?” he chided. And he added, “With plenty of witnesses.”
I might have objected that I was fine, not hungry in the slightest. But then my traitorous empty stomach growled, as if on cue.
He smirked at me. “I bet this place has great pancakes.”
I growled in frustration, my shoulders sagged, and I let him nudge me through the front door of the diner.
ORDER A COPY: Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 2)
Publishing Date: January 30, 2007
Paperback: 292 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen…
Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.
But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.
Mercy should have known that nothing is simple when dealing with vampires. She owed her friend Stefan a favor for helping her find Adam’s daughter, Jesse, when she was abducted. She knows she should have said no when the favor involved changing into her coyote form and putting on a studded harness. She definitely should have said no when he explained that he needed her to witness him warning a vampire who was trespassing in his seethe’s territory in case something unusual happened, since Mercy is immune to vampire’s powers. But how can another vampire enthrall a vampire of Stefan’s age?
Except there is more to the vampire they go to see. He is definite more than just a newly made vampire. There was a smell of oily evil that surrounded him—evil and death unlike anything she has ever smelled on a vampire before. That smell was enough to make Mercy want to turn tail and run, but then he enthralled Stefan and Mercy, stuck on a leash in coyote form, was forced to watch the vampire kill in blood lust.
Someone had turned a demon-possessed human into a vampire and let this creature with the strength of a vampire and the powers of a demon loose on the Tri-Cities. The vampires and the wolves are working together to find this killer because his slaughtering brings the attention of the humans. Now that the werewolves have joined the Fae in coming out to the humans, they know that the police will be looking at the wolves for the unexplained violence and deaths which are increasing around the city.
When Stefan, Adam and Samuel all go missing and Mercy’s friend Warren is found near death, Mercy is frantic to find them but doesn’t know who else to turn to since the Fae don’t want to get involved. Mercy is more surprised when she is summoned by the Mistress of the seethe. Marsilia thinks that Mercy would be able to defeat the demon. What does the Mistress know about Mercy’s Walker abilities that Mercy doesn’t. It has to be more than not be able to be enthralled by vampires since Mercy has only a little more strength than a human, and no healing abilities like a were or a vamp.
Mercy is going to have faith that Marsilia is sending her out because she wants to find Stefan and not just as a way to get rid of Mercy. Mercy is willing to risk her life if necessary to get Stefan, Adam and Samuel back safely and destroy the monster before he destroys more innocent lives.
I really like Mercy Thompson and her friends. The demon-vampire is really creepy, especially when he comes visiting Mercy. Mercy gets a little help of her Fae mentor, Zee, and her human/cop friend, Tony.
We learn a little more about the vampires and their strengths and weaknesses so we do have some slower parts to the story while Mercy tries to figure out how to kill a vampire and where the demon-vampire is hiding and trying to figure out who created it.
Added to Mercy’s headaches is the fact that Adam and Samuel both want Mercy. Two dominant males vying for the same female makes tensions a little high around the three of them. Add to that a very interesting kiss from Stefan, who obviously has some feelings for Mercy as well. It keeps things a little interesting the romance department.
I am definitely enjoying this series.
“What did I do to deserve that look?” he asked.
“Why don’t I feel like obeying you now?” I asked.
He smiled at me and turned on the bypass highway that ran along the outskirts of Richland. It was four thirty and the road was clogged with traffic.
“Being the Alpha is different from just being dominant,” he said.
I snorted. “I know that. Remember where I grew up.”
“If I’m away from the pack, I can make the Alpha go dormant. Bran can do it whenever he feels like it, but for the rest of us, it takes real effort.”
I don’t know how he expected me to react to that, but it didn’t make me happy. “So it was deliberate, the way you made me feel?”
He shook his head and I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. I don’t like being manipulated at all, and being manipulated by paranormal means is worse.
“No. I told you it takes an effort—and the…effect you have on me makes it difficult.” He wasn’t looking at me now. He was a product of his times. He might look like he was in his late twenties, but he’d been born just after WWII, and a man raised in the 1950′s didn’t talk about his feelings. It was interesting watching him squirm. I was suddenly feeling much more cheerful.
“I can’t help how I’m wired,” he said after a moment. “I don’t even know how much is being an Alpha werewolf and how much is just me—but being around you brings out the predator in me.”
“And so you had to make me want to please you?” I made sure he heard how I felt about that.
“No!” He sucked in a big breath and then said, “Please don’t antagonize me right now. You want an explanation. You want me to stop influencing you. I’m trying to do both—but it isn’t easy. Please.”
It was the “please” that got to me. I leaned my back against the door so I was a far from him as I could get. “Tell me, then.”
“Bran can control his Alpha effect until he can fool werewolves who don’t know who and what he is. I’m not so talented, but I can stuff it down so it doesn’t interfere with my everyday life. When I negotiate contracts, I don’t like to exert undue influence on the people I’m dealing with. Even in the pack, I don’t use it much. Cooperation is always better than coercion—especially when that coercion only lasts until they’re out of my presence. I only bring out the big guns when there’s trouble in the pack that can’t be solved by talking.” He glanced at me and almost hit the car in front of him when traffic stopped unexpectedly.
If my hearing hadn’t been so good I wouldn’t have heard him when he said, “When I am with you, my control is shot. I think that’s what you’ve been feeling.”
So he could command my obedience whenever he wanted to. Only because he chose not to do so was I left with my free will.
“Before you act on that fear I can smell,” he said more confidently, “I’d like to point out that you had no trouble turning Samuel down when you were sixteen—and he’s more dominant than I am.”
“He’s not an Alpha and I didn’t turn him down to his face. I left without talking to him.”
“I’ve seen you go toe-to-toe with Bran and not back down.”
“No, you haven’t.” I wasn’t stupid. No one faced off with Bran.
He laughed. “I’ve heard you. Remember when Bran told you to be a good little girl and let the wolves deal with the scary stuff and so ensured that you would go out and find the bastard who’d taken Jesse?”
“I didn’t argue with him,” I pointed out.
“Because you didn’t care if you had his permission or not. The only reason you submit to me is because some part of you wants to: I’m willing to admit that my being an Alpha brings that part of you to the forefront, but it is you who relaxes your guard around me.”
I didn’t talk to him all the rest of the way home. I was fair enough to admit to myself that I was angry because I was pretty sure he was right, but not fair enough to tell him so.
Being a master stategist, he let me stew. He didn’t even get out of the car open my door—which he usually did. I hopped out and stood with the door open for a minute.
“There’s supposed to be a good movie coming out,” I muttered. “Would you like to come with me Saturday afternoon?” I hadn’t intended to ask. The invitation just popped out.
He smiled, that slow smile that started in his eyes and never quite made it to his mouth. I shifted my weight uneasily becuase that smile had a unsettling effect on me.
I swallowed. This was not a good idea. Not at all. “The one behind the mall, I think. I’ll check.”
“Fine. Call me later with the time.”
“Okay.” His lips were curling up now.
Dumb, I thought, dumb sheep waltzing right into the slaughterhouse. I shut the door without saying anything more and went into the house.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I thought, meeting Samuel’s gaze.
“Going to the movies?” he asked, having obviously overheard what I’d said to Adam.
“Yes.” I jerked my chin up and refused to give in the tight feeling in my stomach. Samuel wouldn’t hurt me. The problem was, I didn’t want to hurt him either.
His eyes were half-shut and he breathed in. “You smell like him again.”
“He picked me up when I was running in coyote form, so he brought me clothes.”
Samuel moved with the speed of a boa constrictor and he put his hand behind my neck. I stood very still when he put his nose under my ear. I couldn’t help but smell him also. How could his scent have as powerful an effect on me as Adam’s smile? It was wrong.
“When you go with him,” he growled, his body trembling with readiness or pain—I couldn’t tell which because I could smell both, “I want you to remember this.”
He kissed me. It as utterly serious, beautiful—and, given the rage in his eyes when he started, surprisingly gentle.
ORDER A COPY: The Chance (Thunder Point)
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Publishing Date: February 25, 2014
Paperback: 368 pages
Rating: 4 stars
With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she’ll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge.
Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he’s a man with a dark past, he’s determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep…unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.
This is the story of Laine Carrington. She is an FBI agent that was shot in a raid on a commune that was growing marijuana in Thunder Bay. Though this happened in a previous book, this story stands alone and you really didn’t have to read it to follow the story. If you did read the previous Thunder Bay books, you will revisit many of the people you met before.
Laine comes back to Thunder Bay from NY to recuperate after shoulder surgery due to her injury. She is being commended for her bravery and will receive a medal of valor. Her mother is deceased and her father a prominent surgeon is mad at her for not going into medicine like her brother. While she tries to win his approval, he does nothing but put her down.
While in Thunder Bay, she meets Eric Gentry. Eric owns the local garage where he specializes in vintage car restoration. Eric has been in jail for a teenage stupid mistake and he never finished high school. Though they seem to have nothing in common, they fall in love and move in together. Laine is doing part time computer work for the FBI and seems happy here.
One day her father, with whom she is estranged, arrives at her door. He is acting strange and he apologizes for treating her so badly. Laine soon learns he has Alzheimer’s disease and can’t be left alone. She has to return to NY to try to get him settled. Finding some reliable to care for him seems useless and Eric can’t leave Thunder Bay as he has a daughter and a business. It seems pretty hopeless.
There is also some minor stories in the book. A teenage boy who works in the garage trying to care for his bedridden mother with MS and 2 little brothers. The romance between the town’s real estate lady and a worker in the garage.
It was a very interesting book and certainly a must for Thunder Bay and Robin Carr fans.
They shared a rich chocolate cheesecake dessert and Eric asked for a cup of coffee while she finished her second glass of wine. “What about that beer?” she asked. “Wasn’t it okay? You didn’t even drink half of it.”
“It was fine, but I’m not much of a drinker, and I’m driving. I should probably worry more about my coffee consumption.”
On the way home he asked her, “When you were a kid, did you do any middle-class stuff, like…you know…Brownies? T-ball? Explorers Club?”
“Nah, my parents had us in accelerated academic programs. We had tutors from the beginning. My father pushed really hard. I didn’t even know about those other things. I was playing chess by eight, Pax was an elementary school leader in science club. My dad had a plan and my mom pretty much went along with it. The only reason I was in karate is because Pax was.” She turned toward him and grinned. “But I took it better than he did. I can kick the stuffing out of him.”
“Spoken like a true sister.”
Eric pulled into her driveway. He turned to look at her and damn, she was so pretty. This was just about a peak experience for him. “Good first date.” he said, oh so eloquently.
“Excellent first date.”
“Don’t move,” he told her. “Let me be a gentleman.”
He lead her toward the door and when they got there she stopped and turned, looking up at him expectantly. “Well?”
He wasn’t an idiot. He knew what she was waiting for. “Don’t you want to get to know me better before we have that good-night kiss?” he asked, giving her a chance to make a break for it.
“Look, I haven’t been out on a real date in over a year and before that it was a series of really bad dates with guys I’d never date a second time and this was an excellent date. Didn’t I just say that? And damn it, I want to cap it off with a—”
It rapidly crossed his mind that she must have been a supervisor, at least. He slid his arm around her waist and lifted her up to his lips. She was small but not that light; he could feel the muscles that hand’t been so obvious. This was a strong woman. He found her mouth with his and planted one on her and then, almost instantly, he fell in love with that mouth. With one hand supporting her at the small of her back and the other plunged into her soft hair at the back of her head, he urged her lips open. He was cautious with his invasive tongue but she wasn’t. She welcomed him, pulled him in, joined him in tongue-play. Her arms circled his neck and held on tight and he moved over her mouth hungrily, drinking in her taste. She was just perfect. It was almost scary how perfect she was. He lapped at her mouth, devoured her, stared breathing hard in spite of his intention to be cool. He was not cool. He was over the edge.
He slowly broke away, but didn’t put her on her feet. He loved having her up against him. “Tell the truth. The president works for you…”
That made her laugh. “Want to come in?” she asked in a breathy whisper.
He shook his head. “If I come in, I won’t leave till morning.”
“Let’s get to know each other a little better.”
“Wow. I didn’t think men said no.”
“I like you,” he said. “A lot. I don’t want you to have any regrets. I want you to be sure.”
“And you? You want to be sure?” she asked.
Oh, man, he was too sure. But there was a lot about him she didn’t know. And the front stoop was not the place to go through the details. “At least one more date, honey,” he said. “I think we’re both ready, but let’s take it a little slower…”
“You think I’m a slut?”
He laughed at her. “I think you’re a goddess!”
ORDER A COPY: Letting Go (The Surrender Trilogy)
Publishing Date: February 4, 2014
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Josslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her. Dominance. Lonely and searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find is the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend.
Dash has lived in an untenable position for years. In love with his best friend’s wife and unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more.
When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to.
Josslyn Breckenridge woke up this morning—the morning of the third anniversary of the death of her husband, Carson—and realized that it was finally time to move on with her life. Her life has been in a holding pattern, almost like she was waiting for him to come back. She realizes now that Carson would never want her to live her life like this. He would be the first to tell her to live life and to find love again.
Well, maybe she’s not ready to find love again. She knows that she’ll never find a love like Carson again, but Joss is at least ready to take that first step. Carson always gave Joss anything she wanted. Except there is one thing he wouldn’t—couldn’t do. Joss has always wanted to be dominated. She wanted to see what that lifestyle was all about. But Carson and his sister, Kylie, were abused by their father. A man who believed an iron fist and a smack to the face would keep your children in line. Carson always feared being like his father and felt Joss’s request to be too close to that dark place he came from. Joss was okay with that because Carson’s love and devotion more than made up for that tiny part she lacked.
Now that she was ready to move on, it was time to see what she was missing. First, she has to say good-bye one last time to Carson and let him know of her decision to let him go and also to let go of Carson’s best friend and business partner, Dash. Joss couldn’t have stayed sane without Dash’s help during the last few years. So many times he came running over when Joss needed help or advise or just a shoulder to cry on. It was time to let Dash move on as well.
Her friends, Chessy and Tate, were members of a bondage club called The House and it worked wonders for their marriage. The first night Joss went to the club, she wasn’t sure what to expect, but she didn’t expect to see a very angry Dash coming charging across the room, nor did she expect to be dragged out of the club.
Dash has desired Joss for as long as he could remember. Everyone knew it, even Carson. Everyone except Josslyn. After Carson’s death, he helped her through her grief and has been waiting in the wings for her to be ready to move on, but today, not only did she pushed him away, but she shows up at The House dressed to seduce and he knew the men would flock to her. After waiting all these years to be with her, there is no way he will allow another man to touch his woman.
If Joss wants to indulge in her curiosity, Dash is more than willing to be the one to introduce her to a dominant/submissive lifestyle.
I am a fan of Maya Banks, but I have to admit that I did not like this story at all, and I have to tell you that I only read about three quarters of it. To be fair, I am only so-so on the erotica books. I would prefer a YA book with a sweet, romantic kiss to the tie me up and spank me erotica. Although I don’t get the hit me with a paddle until it becomes bliss, I can roll with it as part of the story if the overall story is good.
I did not like the character of Dash at all and I was only running warm with Joss. It started out good. Joss wants to move on with her life and she discusses her decision with her friends to give The House a try. She also frees Dash as her crutch because she has been leaning on her in lieu of a husband whenever she needed something, and it time to let him move on with his life as well. She realizes she didn’t even know if Dash could possibly have a girlfriend if he was always running to her when she called him.
Dash wasn’t happy with “being pushed aside” by Joss since he has been waiting for his turn. Now, I had originally interpreted Dash’s actions as being in love with Joss all these years, but it seemed that he just lusted after her. It seemed to me that Joss was discussing investigating dominance. Maybe she just wanted to be told what to do or wanted a little spanking to see if she had any interest. Dash moves her into his house where he tells her she will be naked at all times (unless they have company, of course) and whenever he came home, she would be on her knees waiting. At this point, I’m already turned off by his demands. He then declares he will be having sex with her each morning to wake her up. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even want to talk to anyone until I have at least one cup of coffee so you can imagine how I would feel to wake up to someone having sex with me while I slept. I am really not liking Dash by this point.
When he finally takes her back to The House, he doesn’t take her to a private room for a little kink. Dash takes her into the main room, ties her down to a bench in front of an audience, has her give him oral sex, whips her and has sex with her with audience participation, and then she is to go thank said helper for helping her get off when it’s over.
What, what, WHAT?? I think it is a huge jump between a woman who wanted to investigate dominance to being tonight’s entertainment. Joss went from being a pampered and adored housewife to being treated like a sex slave, told to get on her knees and when to bend over and take it. Obviously, the story is written so that Joss enjoys everything that they do, but I would have liked to see her be introduced more slowly into it instead of being thrown right into the deep end.
Yuck! I just couldn’t read any more. These characters were a turn off to me. I found Dash’s treatment to Joss to be more demeaning than erotic. I am more interested in reading the second book which involves Carson’s sister, Kylie and Dash’s new business partner. Kylie was against Joss going to The House. She, like her brother, feared the line between dominance and abuse. I am interested in how Jensen will be able to introduce Kylie to BDSM and keep it from feeling abusive to her. Hopefully, Jensen takes it slower than Dash did.
Personally, this one just didn’t do it for me.
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was offered a giveaway copy of Letting Go but I could not accept it without feeling some obligation to provide a better review.
ORDER A COPY: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 31, 2006
Paperback: 288 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.
Mercy is a “walker” who can turn into a coyote, but who was raised by werewolves, and not just any werewolf, by Bran, the Marrok (or leader of all the werewolves).
Mercy lives an ordinary life, well, sort of…she owns her own garage which she bought from a retiring Fae named Zee, and she is friends with a vampire named Stefan who has a VW bus painted to look like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.
She also shares a property line with the local Alpha of the Columbia Basin pack named Adam Hauptman and his teenage daughter, Jesse. Adam keeps a powerful Russian witch on retainer for hiding the werewolf’s presence from the humans. Pretty much an average, ordinary life.
When a runaway teen shows up at her garage, she quickly smells that he is a werewolf and this young werewolf is not part of a pack. Mercy offers him a job so she can keep an eye out for him. When a werewolf and a human come looking for him, Mercy is forced to help him defend himself. After blood is shed, Mercy calls Adam in to take care of the young Wolf and introduce him to pack life.
But things aren’t that simple. The people who are looking for Mac are daring, or just stupid enough to attack Adam in his home. Mercy helps Adam defeat the intruders, but not before Adam is seriously injured and his daughter, Jesse, is kidnapped. Mercy needs to find a more dominant werewolf fast because once Adam regains consciousness, his injured wolf will be uncontrollable until he is healed. The only ones Mercy knows that are strong enough to control a powerful Alpha like Adam is Bran and his sons.
Mercy might not be part of Adam’s pack, but she is now embroiled in what might be a pack war. She has to find out who attacked Adam and who would have taken his daughter.
I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Night Broken (which is Book #8 in this series) so I did a search of the Mercy Thompson series and it sounded right up my alley. I decided to take some time to catch up and get to know some of the characters.
This is a much better Sookie Stackhouse type of story plot, meaning she is not part of any specific group, but she keeps getting dragged into pack or vampire business. In this series, Mercy is a preternatural creature since she is half human/half walker. She is immune to some magic and she can shape shift into the form of a coyote. She is not a part of Adam’s pack (even though Adam told his pack Mercy was his) but she gets drawn into pack business when Adam is badly injured, and something makes her afraid to call in his pack for fear that there is a traitor in the pack. Who else would try to attack an Alpha in his own home?
She has several preternatural connections who she contacts to assist her in helping Adam heal as well as tracking down who would abduct his daughter.
I like that although Mercy is brave, she is not stupid. She doesn’t just jump into a fight unprepared. For example, when Mac is tracked down by a werewolf and a human. Mercy knows she can’t out power the werewolf and the human has a gun. She watches and observes and it isn’t until Mac is being attacked that she jumps in, using the element of surprise and getting the werewolf to chase her while using her brains to outmaneuver his bulk.
This story wasn’t non-stop action since it was the first in the series and involves a lot of introduction of characters, including explaining the dangers of the werewolves and the vampires in general, and how the Fae have been forced into the public eye and how the werewolves are considering joining them. We are also introducing the base characters of the story: including Mercy, Adam, Jesse, Zee, Stefan, Bran, Samuel, several members of Adam’s pack as well as Bran’s pack, and Mercy’s relationship with each of these characters.
It was good storytelling and interesting world building and it held my interest throughout. I have already started Book 2 where we start by Stefan asking Mercy to make good on the favor he did her helping find Jesse.
Personally, I think Olivia Wilde would be a perfect Mercy Thompson. Can someone get casting on the phone?
“What happened?” he asked, his voice softer than the first snowfall in winter.
“It’s complicated,” I said, holding his gaze for two full seconds before I turned my head and gestured toward the body. “The dead one is there. If he belongs to you, he is new—and you haven’t been doing your job. He was as deaf and blind as a human. I was able to take him by surprise, then he was too ignorant to realize that the wound wouldn’t close as fast as usual if it was given by a preternatural creature. He let himself bleed out because he was too caught up in the chase to—”
“Enough, Mercedes,” he growled as he strode over to the dead wolfman and knelt beside him. He moved the body and one of the corpse’s arms flopped down limply on the ground.
Mac whined eagerly, then bowed his head and pressed it against my thigh so that he couldn’t see.
The sound drew Adam’s attention from the body to the boy at my feet.
He growled. “This one isn’t one of mine—and neither is that.”
“So gracious,” I said. “Your mother should be complimented on your manners, Hauptman.”
“Careful,” he whispered. It wasn’t a threat, it was a warning.
Okay. He was scary. Really scary. He’d probably have been scary even when he was just a human. But it wouldn’t do to let him know he intimidated me.
“Adam Hauptman,” I said politely to show him how it was done. “Allow me to introduce you to Mac—that’s all his name I know. He was attacked by a werewolf in Chicago about two moons ago. The werewolf killed his girlfriend, but he survived. He was taken by his attacker and put in a cage. A man who sounds a lot like the Chicago Alpha Leo sold him to someone who held him inside a cage in a semitrailer and used him for what sounds like some sort of drug experiments until he broke free. Last Friday he showed up at my door looking for work.”
“You didn’t inform me that you had a strange wolf on your doorstep?”
I gave him a put-upon sigh. “I am not one of your pack members, Adam. I know this is difficult for you to fathom, so I’ll speak slowly: I don’t belong to you. I am under no obligation to tell you anything.”
Adam swore harshly. “New werewolves are dangerous, woman. Especially when they are cold and hungry.” He looked at Mac, and his voice changed completely, the heat and anger gone. “Mercy, come here.”
I didn’t look down to see what he’d noticed in Mac’s face. I took a step, but Mac was wrapped around my left leg. I stopped before I fell. “Uhm. I’m a little stuck for the moment.”
“For a smart girl, you’re pretty stupid sometimes,” he said, his voice rich and gentle so as not to startle the werewolf by my side. “Locking yourself in a garage with a new wolf and a dead body isn’t the smartest thing you could have done. I don’t have a connection with him yet. It would help if you have his real name.”
“Mac,” I murmured. “What’s your name?”
“Alan,” he said dreamily, coming up to his knees so his face was pressed against my belly. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier after my grandfather who died the year I was born.” The friction of his movement rucked my shirt up and he licked my bare skin. To an outsider it might have looked sensual, but the abdomen is a vulnerable spot on the body, a favorite of predators. “You smell good,” he whispered.
He smelled like werewolf, and I started to panic—which wasn’t a very useful thing to do.
“Alan,” said Adam, rolling the name on his tongue. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier, come here to me.”
Mac jerked his head away from me but tightened his arms painfully on my hips. He looked at Adam and growled, a low rumble that caused his chest to vibrate against my leg.
“Mine,” he said.
Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”
It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other. While Adam had Mac distracted, I reached behind me and grabbed my big crowbar from the shelf directly behind us. I brought it down on Mac’s collarbone.
It was an awkward hit because I didn’t have much leverage, but the collarbone, even on a werewolf, is not hard to damage. I heard the bone crack and wrenched myself out of Mac’s grip and across the garage before he recovered from the unexpected pain.
I didn’t like hurting him, but he would heal in a few hours as long as I didn’t let him eat me. I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would recover from murder as easily as he would a broken bone.
Our giveaway winner is Joanne B. Congratulations!
ORDER A COPY: Avenger’s Heat: A Moon Shifter Novel
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: February 4, 2014
Paperback: 328 pages
Rating: 4 stars
To truly have her, he must free her from her dark secret…
Enforcer Erin Flynn has dedicated her life to protecting her kind. But keeping her heart safe from Noah Campbell, the smoking-hot shifter who saved her life last year, is more difficult. The deadly beauty would love to sink into his arms and become his mate, but she knows she can’t—he must never know about her dark past.
When Erin is sent to investigate the disappearances of pregnant shifters in New Orleans, Erin and Noah find themselves involved in a mystery more sinister than anyone expected. And as Erin delves further into the crimes, chilling information about her own past is revealed. The people who wanted her dead in the first place are trying to finish the job, and Noah wants nothing more than to shield her from harm. But can Erin truly trust Noah and let him see the wounded beast she’s hidden for so long?
Erin is in New Orleans on her first solo assignment as an Enforcer for the North American Council of Lupine Shifters. Becoming an Enforcer is an accomplishment to be proud of but add to that is the fact that it was not long ago that Noah had found her nearly beaten to death and left behind a dumpster like trash. It took her some time to recover and even longer to learn to trust again. Even at her most afraid, she never felt fearful of Noah. But right now, she is kind of annoyed at him since he insisted on coming with her on her assignment. Oh, he used the excuse that his father is Alpha of New Orleans, but Erin knows he is just trying to keep on eye on her.
As far as assignments go, this is an important one–pregnant shifters are going missing. No one put it together right away, since the first missing females were feline and the various cat shifters don’t have a council to protect them like the wolves. Once wolf shifters started disappearing, the Council sent Erin to find out what’s happening.
When the kidnappers make a mistake and one of the women gets away, she is able to tell them about the blindfolds and the cages and how they drained the women’s blood. Erin brings in the Fae investigator Brianna and a vampire investigator, Ian, to help figure out why someone would be draining the blood of pregnant shifters.
Erin’s investigation begins to uncover not only a disgusting ancient ritual being practiced behind closed doors, but it’s beginning to look like shifters are behind the kidnapping of their own kind. As she closes in on the kidnappers, Erin realizes that their scents are very familiar, and this case is going to reawaken the nightmare from Erin’s own past.
I haven’t read anything from Katie Reus that I haven’t loved. Her characters are just wonderful and in this story, the investigation was captivating.
As always, I am a sucker for the friends to lovers story and this is no exception. Noah has been protecting Erin since the night they found her near death. He knew from that moment that she would be special to him and even though she learned to fight back and become an enforcer, he still has this need to keep her safe.
They have developed quite a bond between them, and although Erin believes the secrets of her past are too much for them to have a future, Noah ruins all her pained lamenting by letting her know that he’s not letting her go for any reason.
It was a really good story and although I haven’t gotten to the first two stories of the Moon Shifter series yet, these books work fine as stand alone stories, especially this one where Erin and Noah are working away from the pack.
Receive an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A very tall male with dark auburn slicked-back hair stepped into the clearing wearing a long. black leather coat that rippled in the wind. It matched the rest of his all-black clothing. Seriously? He might as well tattoo I’M A FUCKING VAMPIRE CLICHÉ across his forehead. At least the sword in his left hand was actually pretty bad-ass.
Erin tensed, placing her left foot slightly forward as she braced for an attack. Next to her, Noah growled low in his throat as he prepared to fight too.
When the new vampire twisted his sword back over his head and sheathed it somewhere below his jacket, Erin’s shoulders slightly loosened. The blond female—now fully healed—hissed angrily at Erin and made a move to leave the male pushing up off the ground, but the auburn-haired guy stopped her with a deadly look.
Oh yeah, he was definitely the leader.
“I apologize for my friends’ actions. We don’t wish to fight with you.” His voice was deep and there was more than a hint of an Irish brogue in it.
Erin snorted as her gaze flicked around the blood-covered group. “You don’t want to fight us, huh?”
Next to her Noah shifted back to his human form, his giant body making her feel dwarfed. She glanced at him to make sure he was okay and she held back a smile when she saw he did the same to her, his eyes quickly tracking over her body.
“Who the hell are you and what were you doing near that dead shifter?” Noah snarled, his voice coming out gutteral. His wolf still lurked very close to the surface after his change. No doubt was still amped up on adrenaline as he tried to tame his beast.
It was one of the reasons she tried not to shift during a fight. Getting control of her wolf was harder for her and she could fight just as well in human form. Erin’s eyes narrowed as she eyed the tall vampire. “You like to feed on a dead shifters?” Sick fuck.
The man let out a sound that sounded a lot like a growl. “No. I’m hunting a group of feral vampires and we tracked the scent here.”
Scent? Erin hadn’t picked up on anything. She frowned and wiped the blood from her now-healed cheek. “Okay, who are you and why are you hunting ferals?” It wasn’t out of the goodness of his heart—that much she was sure of. If he was hunting anyone, it would likely be on someone’s orders.
“My name is Ian and we all work for the Brethren. We’ve been dispatched to hunt and destroy a newly turned group of vampires who has gone feral. They never should have been turned in the first place. I apologize for my team. They are newly formed and should not have gone on the offensive.”
Erin eyed him warily, wondering how much truth was in his words. Even if she didn’t trust him, she needed to make introductions. “I threw the first blade so no worries. My name is Erin Flynn and this is Noah Campbell.” She motioned with her hand.
The blond male grunted rudely as he sized up Noah who was naked. “You let your female speak for you?”
Noah growled and she expected him to snap at the other male, but a slow grin spread over his face. “My female took your ass down in seconds. Could have decapitated you if she wanted. And last time I checked this was the twenty-first century, dick. She can do anything she wants.”
Erin chose to ignore the “my female” comment, even if his words did make something warm spread throughout her body. And when she noticed the short vamp with black hair checking out Noah’s entire, very naked, body with no shame, her inner wolf didn’t snap as much as she normally would have at seeing another female eyeing him.
Ignoring the chauvinistic vamp, she focused on the leader. “As I was saying, this is Noah and his father is Alpha in this territory. I’m—”
“The newest enforcer for the North American Council. I recognize your name.” Ian watched her thoughtfully for a moment. “Why are you in New Orleans?”
She thought about keeping the information to herself, but now was the perfect time to catch these vamps off guard. Gauging their reaction to her next words should be enlightening. “If you’re here you must know that pregnant shifters have been going missing.”
Ian’s eyebrows slightly drew together as he shook his head. “I haven’t heard that.”
He didn’t stink of lies, but she wanted to be sure. “So you didn’t know about it when you arrived in town?”
Ian shook his head again. “We are here for the ferals.”
Okay, so maybe he was telling the truth. That didn’t mean he didn’t know anything about why shifters were being taken. “Why would anyone want shifter blood?” With her question she gave away the fact that she knew what was happening to the kidnapped victims, but she had to pursue this avenue. They were vampires and might know something she didn’t.
The leader glanced at his people. “Leave us. Now.”
The short female looked like she might argue, but they all disappeared into the woods. The vampire reached into his jacket and Noah snarled.
“I’m just getting a card.” Ian held up his free hand then pulled out a white card. He covered the distance between them in seconds, earning another growl from Noah who grabbed it from his outstretched fingers.
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Erin took it from Noah and glanced at it. It was a simple cream-colored card, made of thick stock, with the name Ian on it—no last name—and a phone number. She tucked it into one of her pants pockets.
“I wasn’t lying when I said we’re here for the ferals, but I don’t like that pregnant shifters are going missing. I’ll reach out to my contacts and be in touch if I find out something. And now you have my number if you need me beforehand,” Ian said.