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Friday Giveaway – SIGNED copy of The Professional by Kresley Cole

Our winner is…Mary Jo. Congratulations!

Hope everyone had a great week! It’s Friday again and time for a new giveaway. To celebrate the release of Kresley Cole’s new IAD book Dark Skye on Tuesday, I have been holding onto a signed copy of The Professional which I had signed on my trip to Memphis.

As I mentioned in my review last week, I have been waiting for Dark Skye for five long years, and I am so happy that after that long wait I was not disappointed.

For this giveaway, I am using a rafflecopter widget, but my comment question this week is – Have you ever waited (impatiently) for a particular character to get their story or for the final story in a series, and was it disappointing or was it everything you hoped for?

Giveaway ends Thursday, August 7th. Giveaway open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older please.

Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.

Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true

Dark Skye by Kresley Cole

ORDER A COPY: Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark)

Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: August 5, 2014
Hardcover: 384 pages

Rating: 5 Stars (Loved it!)

As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Romeo and Juliet have nothing on the tale of Lanthe and Thronos. Melanthe, the Queen of Persuasion and Thronos Talos, Knight of Reckoning and Prince of the Skye, should have been mortal enemies. Vrekeners have always sought to curtail the activities of the evil Sorceri. Lanthe and Thronos met as children and enjoyed an easy friendship. Thronos recognized Lanthe as his fated female and knew that someday their friendship would grow into something much more.

Yet it only took a moment of hate and fear to destroy their future. Thronos’s father, the King, brought his knights to murder Lanthe’s parents. Although they were only children, Lanthe and her sister, Sabine, used their powers to fight back and killed the King and his men. Believing that Thronos betrayed her, Lanthe turned her power of persuasion on him, and commanded him to jump out of the high tower and not use his wings to stop his fall. As a young Vrekener, Thronos had not yet come into his immortality. It is a miracle that he survived at all. His face and body bear the scars from the glass and his deformed leg and wing are physical reminders of the betrayal of that night.

Vrekener’s never abandon their hunt and a male never lets go of his fated female. She is his only chance for children. So for 500 years Thronos has been chasing Lanthe across worlds and dimensions, but she has eluded him every time. Now they have both escaped from the Order’s prison and Lanthe is still wearing the torque which dampens her sorceri powers. She can’t create a portal to escape and she can’t persuade Thronos to leaver her alone. After 500 years of the chase, he finally has her in his arms. Now that he finally has her, he needs to decide what to do with her.

There is a part of him that wants to torture her for the wrongs she has done him. While he tried unsuccessfully to capture her, he had to watch his fated female take male after male to her bed while Lanthe tried desperately to find true love. There is also a part of him that still yearns for the friend he lost and the family they should have had together. Is there is too much pain and betrayal between them to ever get past?

As Thronos tries to get Lanthe to his home in the sky, they will need to fight as a team, instead of each other, to survive the perils surrounding them. They each feel the loss of their past connection like an ache, but is it enough to get them past 500 years of betrayal and treachery and find the friendship they left behind?

Thank you, Kresley Cole, for finally giving us the story we have all been dying to read.

I have been desperate for this story since we first met Lanthe and Thronos in Kiss of a Demon King. We were tortured further in Demon from the Dark, when we left off with Thronos capturing Lanthe. Being so desperate for this story, I was both thrilled and terrified when Kresley Cole announced that Dark Skye would be her next book. Thrilled that it was coming out and terrified that it would not be as fabulous a story as I needed it to be. I received a copy on late Friday afternoon and had it finished to Saturday afternoon and I am so happy to say that Thronos and Lanthe’s story will be on my list of top ten favorite stories ever.

My favorite part of this story was that Thronos gets pissed off every time Lanthe calls him a demon. Thronos is very black and white with his thinking and Lanthe forces him to see that life is mostly gray. He was raised to believe that Vrekeners were not demons, but Lanthe keeps pointing out everything that Thronos does that is demon-like.

“One more time, sorceress: I am not a demon! Vrekeners are descended from gods. We have purpose. His tone was harsher than he’d intended, because…because he had felt an affinity for the beast.

“I thought Vrekener horns were only for show,” Melanthe said with obvious glee. “Yours straightened when I began to undress.”

“I’m to take your word on that?” But how they’d ached!

“I’ll bet you have a demon seal. You won’t release seed until you’re inside your mate.”

“So I have a couple things in common with demons.” He ran his fingers throug his hair. “I also have fangs—does that make me a vampire? My eyes turn silver, so I must be a Valkyrie.”

Deny, deny, deny.

Much to his frustration, Lanthe is the only one who could challenge his rigid mindset and make him acknowledge the gray.

What I had disliked in the last two IAD books, Lothaire and especially, MacRieve, was that the heroes were sexually attracted to their heroines, but afterwards they acted disgusted by the fact that they gave in to those desires and touched a female like her. Before starting Dark Skye, I was afraid we would have more of the same especially since we are starting the story knowing that there is a lot of pain and anger between these two characters. The book starts off with a seething Thronos barely able to control his wrath against Lanthe. But we see as the story progresses that just having her with him is starting to calm him down. As his rage passes, we start to see that Thronos is naturally a calm and rational guy. He assesses each new danger or challenge before acting. Although we are still a long way from love, as he starts to think clearer he starts to work through his feelings of betrayal. He wants to get Lanthe home with him so that he can have a family since Lanthe is the only one who can have his children. Once he truly works through his feelings, he wants a family with her because she matters to him.

Thronos’s biggest issue is that Lanthe has been sexually active with many, many partners trying to find someone who will love her, and Thronos is a virgin. Vrekeners are very, very conservative and have a giant book of rules of what is taboo or an “offendment” to his people. Kissing Lanthe before they are married is considered an offendment so you can see why her promiscuity is a problem for him. By the time we get to anything really sexual, they are already working through their problems and Thronos is never in any way disgusted by what he wants to do with Lanthe, even when he is angry with her.

Lanthe has no problem with Thronos scars. She thinks they make him look warlord-y and sexy. But it is not until Lanthe takes a peek into Thronos’s mind and starts to see what happened between them from his point of view that she softens her heart and forgives him a little, but whenever he continues with the slut-shaming, he loses her again.

It is such a good story and there is such a gradual working through their issues which brings them a complete 180 from where we started that you almost forget how dark the story starts and how much seething hatred they had when we began.

All Immortal After Dark followers will be delighted with this next chapter in the series, and if you haven’t tried an IAD story, you are missing out on a truly fun and sexy series.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!!!

Favorite Scene:

So many scenes, which one to pick…

Lanthe hadn’t caught her breath since she’d entered, her captivated gaze taking in every detail.

Happiness coursed through her veins. How had clever Thronos found this place?

Though she was in a room full of gold, her attention veered to him, crouched on that shelf. The muscles of his torso flexed with his movements. His stern, intense expression and that gargoyle-like position made him look very demonic.

She’d never bedded a demon before. Huh.

Yet as she strolled the temple, his constant scowl eased. Without that scowl, he was…gorgeous.

There was no more denying it—or her attraction to him.

Some females might consider his scars unsightly. Lanthe though they made him look tough and warlord-y. Besides, who could care about them when those silver eyes were so compelling? When his warrior’s body seemed to have been sculpted from granite?

He’d once believed that she was “everything missing” from his life. Could he still feel that way? And why was she contemplating these things—instead of how to transpo this gold to Rothkalina or calculating karats?

Why did she have the urge to peer up at him with equal captivation? She surrendered to her impulse, turning to him. He seemed surprised by her perusal but held her gaze.

They were—dare she say it?—having a moment.

“You face me when surrounded by gold? Perhaps I rate after all?” The scowl returned, as if he was hardening himself. She wanted to cry, No, no, no, just a few more minutes!

“We had a deal,” he said. “I grow impatient.”

She could imagine—he’d waited so long to see her. And now she knew he’d already been struggling with his lust and curiosity when he’d been a young man.

A deal was a deal. She would take the sight of this gold into her, a memory to last forever. Unless I can return…

“Be about it, sorceress.”

Since she’d planned on enthrall him, this would be a good start, but the way he was crouching forward, as if on the verge of pouncing, made her hesitate. “If I do this, how do I know you won’t try to touch me? You’re not supposed to, right?”

“I only intend to look,” he said, though she could sense his aggression mounting.


“Do it, then.” When she still hesitated, he said, “Don’t feign shyness—I know you’ve done this with a horde of males before me.”

And just like that, her interest was checked. Though she was neither ashamed nor proud of the number of men she’d been with, his cruel jabs wounded her.

At least now she better understood his resentment. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to put myself in a sexual situation with you.”

He growled at that. “After your purported year of celibacy, I would expect you to be climbing the walls for any male’s attentions. And if I’m not mistaken, you’re in season.”

She flushed, lips thinning.

“I’ve heard tales of females like you.” At her raised brows, he enunciated the words, “Easy quarry.”

How could a maddened Vrekener hurt her so much?

Because he once looked at you with perfect acceptance, Lanthe. And she feared she’d been searching for that look ever since she’d lost it.

In order for her to be interested in a male, he needed to make her feel special—even if she knew it was a ruse. Despite Thronos’s mind-blowing body and heartbreaking past, he stood no chance. “Even we ‘easy quarry’ girls have standards. And you, Thronos Talos, are leaving me cold.”

He scoffed. “I could seduce you with ease. You’ve welcomed scores before me with only minuscule effort on their part. but I’ve no intention of taking you, nor even of touching you. Both are offendments. I only want to see my female.”

“You think you can resist seeing your mate naked?”

“You think I can’t?” A cunning light shone in his gaze. “You Sorceri like to gamble? To make bets? Then I’ll enter into a wager with you—my first.”

Dudley Do-Right makes a bet.

“If your body tempts me to touch it, then I’ll tell you how I found this temple and opened the door.”

“And if it doesn’t tempt you?”

“The blow to your enchantress pride would be reward enough.”

That is it! Now it was imperative to wipe that smirk off his face. “I’ll take your bet.” She thought she spied a flash of surprise in his expression. “No sex, though.”

He glowered, as if she’d suggested something ludicrous. “I’ll breed no bastards! Already my offspring will be half Sorceri. Do you think I’d allow the first to be illegitimate on top of that?”

Asshole! Only Thronos could ruin this: her, in a temple full of gold with a physically attractive male. He was like the anti-Sorceri—created to repel her.

Forget enchanting him! He didn’t deserve her beguilement. “I’ll remember this.”


“That you kill joy wherever you find it.” She gave him her back as she unfastened the first of three clips on the side of her breastplate.

Had his breaths quickened?

She gazed over her shoulder, saw his claws digging into the gold shelf, his throat working. His voice dropped an octave when he commanded, “Off with it.”

She unfastened the second clip.

“That’s it,” he murmured, his words dripping with pent-up lust.

As she was undoing the last clip, she heard something from beyond the main cave, and paused. The sound came again, growing in volume—movement down the mountainside. Something big was approaching. “Thronos, what was that?”

“Heard nothing. Continue.”

“Come on, demon!” She began fastening the clips again.

“There’s nothing to fear out there!”

When the entire temple rocked, she snapped, “Oh, really?”

He made a coarse sound of frustration; then she heard the swoop of his wings. She whirled around to find him charging toward her, that determined look in his grave face.

His eyes appeared to have darkened, and she could swear his horns were straightening—just like a demon’s would when he became aroused.

In other words, Thronos doesn’t live here anymore.

Reaching for her, he bit out, “To tide me over.”

Til when?!

A roar sounded in the cave. Seeming to wake out of a daze, Thronos dropped his hands. And she could have sworn upstanding Dudley Do-Right grated “Fuck.

The Professional – Part 3 by Kresley Cole

The Professional: Part 3 (The Game Maker, #1.3)

ORDER A COPY: The Professional: Part 3

Publisher: Pocket Star
Publishing Date: January 20, 2014
ebook: 100 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Are you ready to play?

Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest – and most forbidden – fantasies can come true.

In this final chapter of The Professional, not only do we finally get to see what’s behind the curtain, but we get to finally see what’s inside of Sevastyan.

When we finished Part 2, Sevastyan has taken Natalie to an underground sex club in Paris in order to please Natalie’s desire for decadent pleasures. He offers her more and more dark pleasures in his belief that she will back down from her desire for feeding his darker side but he is amazed and awed that Natalie thrills on the decadence.

After a night of intense pleasure and breaking down their walls, Natalie is surprised and frustrated to find Sevastyan just as cold the next morning. And the more their nights continue to heat up,  in the light of day Sevastyan is drawing further and further away from Natalie.

Natalie had hoped in breaking down their sexual walls, she would finally be able to break down Sevastyan’s emotional walls. Except the more he pushes her away, the more she realizes that the man who is fulfills her dreams in the bedroom, will never see her as a partner, just a sexual toy.  But after losing her heart, does she have the strength to walk away?

I really wanted to begin this story again from the beginning before I started this final section, but couldn’t due to time constraints. I am not sure if it is because the final part was only 100 pages, but I wanted more. More about Sevastyan. More of Sevastyan and Natalie outside of the bedroom. Again, maybe that is just because this was only the last few pages.

There is no question that Kresley Cole has kicked up her usually sexual tension which she gives us in her IAD series. This story was darkly erotic and I am sure like opening up Natalie to new pleasure, Kresley Cole has opened herself up to a new audience and we will see more from her in this genre.

I only hope that in future stories she abandons the serial part of the presentation because just like bad sex, she builds us up with her erotic storytelling and leaves us edgy and unsatisfied for weeks at a time. I will definitely be finding the time to read this over again from the beginning so that I can enjoy the building up of the relationship between Natalie and Sevastyan.

I didn’t receive an ARC of this final part. I don’t know why I got yanked off the list. *sob* But I still gave it my honest review. ;)

Favorite Scene:

What?? My jaw slackened, and I almost dropped the chain.

To have dozens of people see me strung up? While I was naked, clamped and about to have who-knew-what done to me?

It was one thing to flash guys at the creek near home. This was a different world.

Sevastyan picked up that remote, his expression inscrutable. “If you don’t want me to reveal this room, all you have to do is drop the chain.”

Realization hit me. He thought I would balk—that we would go no further than this! And then he could say he’d tried.

So he hadn’t been taking pains to please me? No, he’d been setting me up for failure.

Bastard! To hell with that. I had on a mask; no one knew who I was, and I’d never see these people again. This was one night of my life, a few hours of gossamer fantasy.

“Drop the chain—or prepare to feel their eyes on you, coveting every inch of your pale skin.”

He was trying to unnerve me. It was working! Did I actually have the mettle to do this?

“Come now, we’ll go home.” He was like a devil on my shoulder, tempting me away from what I needed—from what we needed. “All this will be like a dream.”

In my mind, moving forward with this equaled moving forward in our life together. And I yearned for that. When I wanted something badly enough, nothing could stop me.

Not even the leering eyes of thirty strangers.

I refused to drop the chain. I refused to stay on the ground and not climb up to the trestle. Once I broke the surface of this, it would all be worth it.

When I knew my mind was made up, I began to shake—like a fledgling. Like a girl about to free-fall.

Sevastyan’s brows drew together. “You’re trembling?” He laid the backs of his fingers against my cheek, as if to check for a fever. “Drop the chain, milaya. That’s all you have to do.”

I gritted my teeth, set my jaw, and turned from him to stare at the glass.  Bring. It. On.

I heard him exhale a stunned breath. He’d never thought I would do it. He’d set me up to take a fall. Sometimes I’m quite all right with falling, asshole.

“Very well. They’ll see my woman.” I got the sense that he hated the idea of displaying me. Caught in his own trap?

I had been ogling those in the circus ring; soon they’d return the favor. Tit for tat. I almost laughed hysterically.

“It’s not often that one of these rooms is revealed,” Sevastyan said. “This will be a treat for them, and for the other rooms as well.”

I’d forgotten about the other rooms, with their hidden occupants who would not be giving me tat. But there was no going back; he’d pressed the button.

The Professional (Part 2) by Kresley Cole

The Professional: Part 2

ORDER A COPY: The Professional: Part 2

Publisher: Pocket Star
Publishing Date: January 6, 2014
eBook:  127 pages

Rating:  5 stars

He makes the rules…
Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Rules are made to be broken…
PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. With every day she spends under his protection, she falls deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true.

Warning: Review contains spoilers if you have not read Part 1.

Part 1 ended when Natalie and Sevastyan entered the banya to escape the storm, right after Sevastyan ordered Natalie to strip.   As you can imagine, Sevastyan uses the opportunity to seduce and sexual dominate Natalie. When confronted, he does confess that he has been avoiding Natalie at the request of her father.  After Sevastyan confessed to Paxan that he was acting inappropriately with Natalie, Paxan asked that since Natalie was already overwhelmed by all the changes to her life, that Sevastyan give her time to adjust before pursuing her.  Well, time’s up.

Sevastyan was aware the Filip was going to try to seduce Natalie during their ride and he wasn’t going to stand for that.  Natalie and Sevastyan were both well aware that if they had sex, there would be no choice but for them to get married.  So Sevastyan set up his own seduction.  He was going to claim Natalie as his once and for all.

Natalie, as we know, doesn’t like to make any permanent decisions about her future and even though she resists losing her virginity to Sevastyan, he makes a public show that she is his and allows everyone to make the assumption that they have consummated their relationship, thereby forcing Natalie into a corner.  Or so he thought.

Natalie’s father is excited about an engagement between Natalie and Sevastyan, but Natalie freaks out.   Her father offers her the only other choice, he has to sent Sevastyan away.  Now her choice is marry Sevastyan or force him from the only home he has ever known.  Needless to say, Sevastyan is furious that Natalie is resisting him.

While tempers fly, danger is creeping in from inside the secure walls of Berezka.  Travkin, Paxon’s rival, has put a bounty on his head so large that even his most loyal enforcers can’t resist.   Travkin not only wants Paxon dead, but he has offered an additional bounty for Natalie as well.

Time is up for Natalie as her father gives her to Sevastyan to keep and protect.  As they run from Berezka to Paris to avoid the bounty hunters, Sevastyan has no intention of letting Natalie get away from him ever.  He plans to be her first lover…and her last.    Alone with her sexy Siberian, will she be able to resist the temptation when Sevastyan turns her nights into sultry pleasure?

Kresley Cole leaves you on the edge once again.  Whoever is deciding where to break up this stories is an evil genius.  You think leaving you waiting in the bath house was torture, wait until you get to the end of this one. Oh, my God.  It is so wrong to do that to people.  Hell, maybe its Sevastyan since his is the expert of torture. *sob* I need the final part now!

Kresley has way of writing that draws you into the story.  You can feel Sevastyan’s anger that he can’t get Natalie to submit to him and Natalie’s frustration that she can’t break through Sevastyan’s walls.   Let’s not even talk about how hot those scenes are between them, but those of us IAD followers already knew that Kresley is an expert in building the sexual tension between characters.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

Warning – this one is more x-rated than our usual postings. In this scene, Sevastyan has a phone app to watch the security cameras in the house.

Rising from my command central, I made my way to the bed. As I stretched out across the counterpane, I wondered if he was watching me.

The idea made me shiver. Maybe I should show him what he was missing whenever he left me behind.

He’d watched me masturbate once before, but I hadn’t been able to appreciate it then. Now?

Even if he wasn’t watching, I could pretend he was. Win-win.

Excitement rushed through me as I slipped off my shoes and hose, blouse and skirt, leaving me in only my underwear–a bra and panties cut from transparent nude material.

Lying back once more I traipsed my hands up to my breasts to give them a squeeze, pressing them together and kneading them hard–like I knew he wanted to do to them.

With a sigh, I drew off my bra, twirling it on my forefinger before slingshotting it toward the camera. Breasts bared, I used one hand to tease my nipples, pinching them as he had; my other hand descended down my torso, dipping into the silk of my see-through panties. I left them on–because Sevastyan would still be able to watch my fingers stroking.

The phone beside the bed rang.

Flashing a smirk at the camera, I answered with, “You’ve caught me at a bad time, babe, ring you back in a sec?”

He sounded like he was calling from the car. “Stop what you’re doing, you little witch,” he grated in Russian. So our driver couldn’t understand? “I’ll be home in five minutes–you will wait for me.”

“Or what?” I gave my clit a defiant stroke that made my hips roll. “You gonna make me sleep with the fishes?”

“Do not test me, pet.”

I put him on speakerphone. “You left me home all alone. What’s a girl to do?” Stroke. “Don’t you want to know what I was fantasizing about? It’s you, fucking me senseless.” Stroke. “Oooh. Wait, you don’t do that anymore?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You told me on the plane that women look at you and know they’ll get fucked hard. I’m not seeing it.” Burn!

I could all but hear him grinding his teeth as I continued to finger myself. “Natalie, You are not to come by your own hand.”

“Was that in a rule book or something? I missed our relationship orientation. Come on, play along, Sevastyan. Ask me if I’m wet. No? Then I’ll have to show you.” I raised my knees to my chest, then slipped my panties to my calves. When I rested my legs on the bed, I spread my bent knees, giving Sevastyan a clear view of my soaked curls, which I continued to lazily pet.

He hissed in a breath. “Cease what you’re doing now.”

“Or you’ll punish me? If a dominant like you doesn’t want to see such disobedience–you should stop watching.”

“I’ll never stop watching you. This started with me watching you.”

“That’s right. This is the second time you’ve leered at me masturbating.” Stroke.

“That’s not what I meant. Damn it, woman, you do not want me to lose control.”

“Oh, but I do!” Looked like it was time to bring my A game. Did I have the nerve to do this? What choice did I have? I was playing for keeps. “What if I did…this?” I went to my hands and knees before the camera, so he could see everything. I spread my knees, panties tight around my ankles.

“God almighty.”

His reaction and this bare vulnerability–this exhibition–made my mind spin and my body heat, as if my arousal had just downshifted to rocket forward. Apparently I was an exhibitionist–my blood coursed from the thrill.

No longer was this a game; I was desperate to come.

When I bucked to my fingers, he made a choked sound, then bit off some French command to the driver. Probably to go faster, because a series of angry horn honks followed. “You have no idea what you’re doing to me.”

I was lost to pleasure, flicking, flicking…

“Then put your finger inside for me,” he said in broken Russian. “Be my good girl, and fuck yourself with it.”

With a cry, I snaked my forefinger along my clit toward my opening, curling it between my lips; his heavy breaths on the speaker filled the room, arousing me even more.

When I penetrated myself and began to pump, he rasped, “I’ll show you hard.” The call disconnected.

Only a few seconds later, I heard him downstairs, his boots pounding up the steps to this floor. And for the first time I realized…

I should be afraid.

The Professional (Part 1) by Kresley Cole

The Professional: Part 1 (The Game Maker, #1)

ORDER A COPY: The Professional: Part 1

Publisher: Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster Digital
Publishing Date: December 16, 2013
eBook: 150 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.
Rules are made to be broken . . .

PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. With every day she spends under his protection, she falls deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?

Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Aleksandr spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true.

Natalie Porter is a hard-working, conscientious student working towards her doctorate. She was raised as a simple Nebraska farm girl, but she was adopted as a baby from a Russian orphanage. She has always wanted to know about her birth parents and she has been working three jobs for the last six years to earn money to hire an investigator to find them. What she doesn’t know yet is that the investigator has found her birth father and that knowledge will soon be changing her life forever.

Natalie’s father is Pavel Kovalev, a vor v zakone, head of the Bratva, the Brotherhood, the Russkaya Mafiya, and he has sent his most trusted enforcer first to verify that Natalie is his daughter and then to protect her. Except the investigator has been paid by more than just Kovalev for this information. He has also informed Ivan Travkin, Kovelov’s biggest rival of his newest weakness. Travkin has sent enforcers of his own to kidnap Natalie and use her as a bargaining chip in a Russian turf war.

Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan has been watching over Natalie for several weeks now. He was here first to make sure she wasn’t some gold-digging scam artist like all the others, and then to protect the daughter of the man he admires most. But no matter how much Sevastyan is concerned about protecting Natalie from outside threats, he needs to protect her from himself as well. He knows that the desires he harbors for his boss’s daughter are dark and he craves to have her in his bed and under his control. It is the type of desires that could get even the loyalest of men killed. Yet with killers coming for her, he has no choice but to grab Natalie and bring her to Russia where she can be kept safe in Kovalev’s compound.

But is he strong enough to keep her safe from himself?

I have been a big fan of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for some years now and have turned all my PNR friends on to her work. I have always found her characters to be likeable and her stories to be captivating and exciting. When I heard that she was writing an erotica, I wondered how it could be more stimulating that some of her very memorable IAD scenes, including my personal favorite–the bath scene from Demon the Dark. Just thinking about that one could warm me up on the coldest night.

The characters in The Professional drew me in from the beginning with Natalie and her friends out drinking and Natalie using her “manalyst” powers to I.D. the losers in the bar until a gorgeous and clearly dangerous, cross between cage fighter and GQ model walks in and takes her breath away. I, along with Natalie, was drawn in by Sevastyan’s penetrating stare and cool demeanor. While his eyes eat her up, he coldly turns her down and walks away. From that moment, I was hooked. I have to know what’s behind the mind and heart of the very intense Sevastyan. It seemed to me to be a case where Sevastyan has put Natalie on a pedestal since she is smart and kind and caring and so unlike the women he usually spends his time with. He desires her, but his sexual preferences are toward domination, etc. which are too base for the likes of Natalie. He fantasizes about having her fulfill his dark desires, but is offended when she is willing to submit to him, since in his mind he has made her too good and too pure for such things.

In the last few IAD books, Lothaire and especially MacRieve, there was a very dark sexual overtone to the story that I disliked intensely. Wherein our hero was disgusted by the heroine (in Lothaire she was just a human and in MacRieve she was a succubus) his body and his instincts craved her and he couldn’t stop himself from having sex with her. Although the scenes were always erotic and titillating, they always ended up with the hero then tossing her aside in disgust after he climaxed, and in MacRieve he actually ran away and vomited since he was so disgusted that he had sex with her. I was happy and relieved in this book that when Sevastyan went icy whenever Natalie expressed interest in being with him, it was more that he felt she was too good to be with someone as evil as him. He was a killer, an enforcer for the mob, and his sexual preferences were towards bondage and pain. He wanted her, but he didn’t want her to want him.

Natalie is like all Kresley’s heroines: intelligent, strong-willed and smart-mouthed, and you know that there is no way for Sevastyan to resist her charms. Natalie is even more surprised by how intensely she wants this man whose very presence screams danger. She will do whatever she needs to do to convince him that this boss’s daughter isn’t forbidden.

The only thing I truly hated was the fact that this was Part I of a serial story. I avoid anything written in serial form since nothing is more frustrating than being left hanging in the middle of a story and having to wait months for all the parts to be released. Worse, not only does Kresley leave you hanging in the middle of story, she leaves you in the middle of a scene. I had to re-read it again from the beginning just to make sure, and sure enough, she leaves us as frustrated as Natalie in her bathtub. The next two parts can’t be released soon enough for me.

If you aren’t a fan of paranormal romance and want to know what all the hub-bub is about when we keep talking about Kresley Cole, now’s your chance to find out how she can add hot, sensual tension to the simplest scene. You won’t be disappointed.

Received an ARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:


His hooded eyes flicked over my face, then lower. “What were you dreaming of to make these so hard?”

I followed his glance down. My nipples were stiff against the fabric of the shirt I wore.

“Tell me, pet, why were you on the verge of a wet dream?”

I couldn’t resist him before; now, on this bed, hearing his rumbling, seductive voice, I feared I was defenseless. No! Be strong, Nat. “Why do you insist on calling me pet?”

“Maybe because you make a man want to collar and keep you.”

“Right.” I knew he was just being a smart-ass, but the idea gave me shivers.

“Tell me about your dream.”

“Why should I? You’ll just give me that disgusted look and go all icy again.”

“Icy? That’s the last thing I feel right now.”

I swallowed when he began to unfasten the buttons on the shirt, spreading the lapels just shy of baring my breasts.

“What are you doing?” I demanded. But I wanted them bared, wanted him to see them and desire me.

Hey, I was on vacation from my life, right? So why couldn’t this man be my fall holiday fling?

He took the starched edge of the shirt and lightly scraped it over my left nipple. Oh, God, oh God…

“I caught just a glimpse of your nipples when you were in the bath. Do you know that my mouth watered to suck them?” He’d wanted to put his mouth on them. Picturing that scrambled my thoughts.

Another scrap.

“Y–you need to stop that.” I hadn’t thought the tips could get harder. They tightened almost painfully.

“Yes, tell me to stop and to leave you alone.” Scrape. “Tell me that I frighten you, and I’m not to touch you.” Scrape.

I choked back a moan. “You don’t frighten me. And the only reason I don’t want to you touch me is because you won’t follow through, and I’ve been sexually tortured enough tonight.”

Including now, I’d been on the verge of orgasm three times—all because of this man.

He gave a low, sexy laugh. “You think I’ve tortured you? Maybe I should show you what real torture is.” His tone was forbidding; so why was my pussy clenching with anticipation?

“Then perhaps you would rail at me to find me in your bed.”

“Is that what you want?”

“It’s what I would have expected from you. And if you tell me to leave you, I will.”

“Answer my, Sevastyan. Is that what you want?”

He didn’t say a word; scrape.

“Ahhh!” I licked my bottom lip, struggling for words. “You confuse me so much! Since you refuse to tell me anything, I’m going to tell you everything. I find you extremely attractive. When your eyes are like this, all gold and smoldering, you are pretty much irresistible to me. I think you were right; I did approach you in the bar because I wanted to have sex with you.”

His firm lips parted. Then he shook his head hard, as if to dislodge whatever idea had just taken hold. “You wouldn’t have done so if you knew me better. I am an enforcer, a contract killer, and I pity you for piquing the lusts of a man like me.”

In a soft voice, I said, “But you piqued mine too. So what do we do now?”

“If you knew the thoughts in my head, you would not be so welcoming. You wouldn’t like it in my bed. I have particular interests, and I demand obedience.”

“Obedience.” What that my titillated tone? “Like my doing whatever you command?”

He nodded, eyes alight at the prospect.

Why did that sound so unbearably erotic? I’d never relished being ordered around at my jobs. But in this context—in bed with a domineering man—the idea excited me. “Why do you demand it?”

“I don’t like surprises. If you do as I say, there will be none.”

I nibbled my lips, giving this some thought. “What kind of interests?”

“I need to do filthy things to your body, Natalya. And I know I never can.” His voice was almost…forlorn.

Filthy? That sounded so freaking hot. “Why can’t you?”

“You are taboo to me. No woman is more so.”

Because I was the boss’s daughter? Was this why Sevastyan had been running hot and cold with me? “We’re in this cabin alone. No one ever has to know what goes on between us. Maybe we should try to get this out of our systems before we land.”

He looked like he was actually considering my proposal. “Have you ever relinquished control of your body to a man?”

Breathless I shook my head. I’d wondered what it’d be like to be dominated; this man could relieve my curiosity. And that was the great thing about vacation flings: you could go crazy, do things you never would otherwise, and suffer zero consequences.


Did I have the nerve to try this? I recalled when I was twelve, the neighboring farm boy had dared me to jump off a train trestle into the creek below. Atop the tracks, I’d been terrified, shaking like a fledgling. But I’d force myself to step off that ledge into nothing.

Into a free fall.

I remembered screaming with fear all the way down. Then I remembered kicking up through the water and breaking the surface, triumphant, to cast that boy a suck it grin.

All the terror had been worth it, just for that reward. Would the same prove true tonight?

“Could you give me absolute obedience, Natalie?”

Gut check. Could I step off the ledge once more? My honest answer: “I won’t know until we try.” I reached for his chest, stroking over a tattoo. His muscles rippled to my touch.

When my thumb brushed his flat nipple, he inhaled sharply. “I’ve warmed you of what I’ll expect, I’ve warned you about what kind of man I am. And you still push? I’ll give you a taste that will send you fleeing from me. This will be out of your system—because you will fear me…”

MacRieve by Kresley Cole

MacRieve (Immortals After Dark, #13)

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Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: July 2, 2013
Hardcover: 368 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Uilleam MacRieve believed he’d laid to rest the ghosts of his boyhood. But when a brutal torture revives those ancient agonies and destroys his Lykae instinct, the proud Scot craves the oblivion of death. Until he finds her—a young human so full of spirit and courage that she pulls him back from the brink.

Seized for the auction block, Chloe Todd is forced to enter a terrifying new world of monsters and lore as a bound slave. When offered up to creatures of the dark, she fears she won’t last the night. Until she’s claimed by him—a tormented immortal with heartbreaking eyes, whose touch sets her blood on fire.

With enemies circling, MacRieve spirits Chloe away to the isolated Highland keep of his youth. But once he takes her to his bed, his sensual mate becomes something more than human, evoking his savage past and testing his sanity. On the cusp of the full moon, can he conquer his worst nightmare to save Chloe . . . from himself?

Uilleam MacRieve, one of the hot and hotter lykae twins, has been living with the pain of guilt for the last 900 years. As a boy he was seduced by a succubus and because of what he feels was an act of weakness, he lost his father, his mother and the little sister she carried. His torture at the hands of the humans calling themselves The Order, and his attempted rape by a group of starving succubae have pushed Uilleam to the edge. He has bought his ticket to Hungary where the forest hides the lair of the Frye Dragán, better known as “Where Immortals Go to Die.” His Instinct has gone silent and he feels he has no reason to go on. He is ready to give up, at least until his brother Munro shows up with news that Uilleam has been waiting for…an opportunity for revenge against The Order.

The Commander’s daughter has been captured by the House of Witches and they will auction her off to the highest bidder. Uilleam is determined to purchase her in order to lure the Commander into a trap. It seems that every Lore creature is in attendance, all wanting revenge against The Order, and it is there that he smells Her…his mate. He is frantic to find her before the bidding ends and all the Lore creatures scatter. He becomes even more frantic once he realizes that his mate is the frail human being bid upon…a bid he is losing, and he can’t lose Her. If he can’t win her, he’ll just take her.

She is injured during his rescue and he takes her to the voodoo queen, Loa, to be healed. Loa sees that Uilleam is already enamored by his little mate and asks if there is one thing he would want to change and he responds for her to be immortal.

What Uilleam doesn’t know yet is that Chloe was already changing. She has started her change to immortality due to her Lorean mother. While Uilleam is trying to win her affection, and doing a damn good job of it, he sparks her final transformation and she becomes the one thing that Uilleam despises more than anything else, a succubus.

In an instant, Uilleam’s last chance for happiness has become his ultimate nightmare. He is bound by his now wide-wake Instinct to keep and protect Chloe but the thought of sharing a bed again with a succubus is making him physically ill. As the full moon approaches, the night that a mated lykae mates in a mindless frenzy, he has decide whether to keep his mate or destroy the succubus before she can steal his very soul.


This was another mesmerizing story by Kresley Cole. I will say that I was thoroughly enjoying the story, as well as the new character of Chloe Todd. Chloe is a spitfire who knows exactly what she wants and won’t be held back from whatever she wants and she is enjoying Uilleam’s attempt to win her. She has never paid much attention to men, but Uilleam’s attention and focus is winning her over. She is falling hard for him when her change is triggered and that is where the story goes to hell.

Although Uilleam’s fear/disgust of succubus is understandable, his treatment of Chloe is reprehensible. As I discussed with a friend, he made Lothaire look like a great guy. Even with his brother’s encouragement to give Chloe a chance, that she appears to be nothing like the succubus that Uilleam knew and there was no indication she would change, Uilleam treats her like a pariah, yelling at her and disparaging her while he is having sex with her, since it is her nature that is forcing him to do it. Going so far as to be physically ill after being with her because it is so disgusting to him.

This type of storyline is starting to become her m.o. and although it can make for some interesting stories and definitely adds some contention between the hero and heroine, the level of violence and disgust being fostered between them is increasing with each new story. In A Hunger Like No Other, Lachlain’s mate turns out to be Emma, a half vampire/half valkyrie. Although Lachlain is angry that his mate is a vampire after 200 years of being tortured by vampires, he doesn’t want to hurt her and even contemplates letting her go because he is not sure he can get past that fact, but he tries not to hurt her physically or mentally. When we move forward to Demon from the Dark, again all is going well between Malkom and Carrow (see bath scene – WOW!) until Malkom finds out that Carrow has betrayed him to The Order, and even when he find out why she did it and accepts it, he still holds it against her, treating her with disdain, but it doesn’t reach the level that Kresley is showing in MacRieve by making it physically revolting for Uilleam to touch her.

I hope that this trend does not become the focus of each and every future book in the series. Kresley writes very interesting stories with intriguing characters and I am looking forward to several anticipated stories, and although her hero and heroine are always at odds, hopefully she changes her current style of the increasing scorn being shown by the males.

I am desperately looking forward to the story of Lanthe and Thronos but sadly, with the known backstory of Lanthe being responsible for Thronos’s father’s death as well as Thronos’s deformity, I am already anticipating another story of hate-filled sex. :(

It is certainly a well written and intriguing story until we got to the succubus transformation. I hated seeing the vibrant Chloe being treated so badly by Uilleam. I know there isn’t an IAD follower who won’t be picking up a copy MacRieve, but if this was my first read of the series, I wouldn’t understand the draw to the fans.

Received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.

Favorite Scene:

“So when MacRieve called me a seed-feeder, was that…literal?”

Munro pulled at his collar, as uncomfortable with this as she clearly was. It was like explaining the birds and the bees—to his brother’s mate. “Some say there’s a mystical energy with release, and your species can convert it to a life force.” Could this be any more awkward? “In that case, seed could be just an attractant of sorts, kind of the icing on the…” He trailed off. “Any metaphor I come up with at this point is just going to sound perverted.”

Her cheeks flushed even brighter red. “I get it.”

“Others say, well, that the physical, uh, result is what gets converted.” He coughed into this fist. “I do know it can be from intercourse or oral sex.” Will had once revealed that though Ruelle could feed both ways, she’d never deigned to perform oral sex and had no interest in it herself.

“How often do I have to do that? Months? Weeks?”

“Since you’re young, you’ll need it more often. I’d guess every day. Mayhap every other.”

Her face paled. “That much?” she cried. “What happens if I don’t?”

“For a cambion, I doona rightly know. But for a succubus, the longer she becomes mindless and animalistic with need.” Like the succubae who’d stalked Will, intent on raping him.

Gods, mayhaps this was too much to ask of him.

“Great. Anything else?”

“If you have intercourse with the same male more than three times, you can bind him to you, envenoming him—“

“Like venom out of fangs?” She was aghast.

“No, no, it’s a mystical bond. Once that tie is formed, he’ll sicken without you.” He recalled Will rocking in his bed, covered in sweat. “I understand that it’s like heroin withdrawal, but it never gets better.”

She gave him an incredulous look. “Then why would anyone have sex with a succubus in the first place?”

“You’re bonny. And you can emit chemicals that make males crazed. It’s called strewing.”

How do I emit them?”

“From what I understand, it comes from your verra breath. It’s scentless, so it’s impossible to detect until the result is felt. Even an unwilling male would find it difficult to resist, if no’ impossible. Mated males are thought to be immune.”

She stopped. “So my new feeding m.o. is to roofie men, then get them hooked on me like heroin, so they’ll keep coming back to the dealer? That’s just messed up.”

He couldn’t disagree. He remained silent, giving her time to work through all the angles.

“I’m going to be dependent on guys, really dependent on them, for the rest of my life?” She looked like she was about to be sick. More to herself she said, “I was making a great living. I had my future planned out.” Another group passed them, casting her hesitant looks. “What are you gawking at?” she snapped.

Munro told her, “News spreads fast around here, I’m afraid.”

“Well, they need to keep their eyes in their heads.”

Before, she’d appeared woeful. With each second that she grew accustomed to all these surprises, her expression grew more mutinous.

Succubae were known to be fawning. They coaxed and beguiled men wherever they went. Chloe looked like she was on the verge of head-butting unsuspecting bystanders.

Munro tilted his head, a flare of hope rising. This female acted like a wee bruiser. She’d made a living as a professional athlete, about the least likely career Munro could imagine for a succubus.

His own innate wariness toward her was fading. Just because she was a halfling succubus didn’t mean she’d be anything like Ruelle.

There was a spark in Chloe’s eyes, a toughness in her demeanor that was so radically different from Munro’s memories of that other creature, so different from any succubae he’d encountered over his long life.

Which meant Munro still believed her a fitting match for Will.

“What about pregnancy?” she asked.

“Full succubae have a few cycles of fertility in a year. I doona know what will happen with you. There’s a soothsayer we can contact to determine more, but it will likely take time.”

“I’m going to wake up, and this will all be a bad dream.” She rubbed her temples. “Is there any upside here?”

“You’re immortal now. You could live forever.”

“Live forever as an out-of-work, roofie-dispensing, drug-dealing skank? If that’s my upside…”

Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole

Shadow's Claim (Immortals After Dark: The Dacians, #1)

ORDER A COPY: Shadow’s Claim (Immortals After Dark: the Dacians)

Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: November 27, 2012
Paperback: 496 Pages

Rating: 5 stars

Shadow’s Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament—to the death.

Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people—striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself—until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore’s most fearsome villains.

Desperate to earn her guardians’ approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails—even though she’s lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.

Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina’s heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium’s worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away—or stoke Bettina’s own desires to a fever pitch.

Shadow Claim is the first book in a spinoff series of the very popular Immortal After Dark series which focuses on the Dacians and the Realm of Blood and Mist. Oddly though, in this first book Kresley Cole does not take us to the Realm of Blood and Mist, she takes us the Abaddon, the land of Death Demons, the Deathly Ones.

Prince Trehan Daciano, the Prince of Shadow, has followed the demon Caspion here. By law, otherlanders who come to Dacia can never leave. Thereby otherlanders cannot ever return with an army to take over their secret mountain lands. By leaving Dacia and returning to Abaddon, Caspion has sentenced himself to death at the hands of Trehan, the sword of the kingdom and the keeper of the law.

Once Trehan arrives in Abaddon and is awaiting his chance at his target, he is inexplicably drawn to a room in the castle spire. Vampires being a curious sort, Trehan goes to investigate what is drawing him about this room. There he finds the lovely Bettina Abaddon, half demon/half sorceri, and all drunk on demon brew. As Trehan approaches Bettina his heart begins to beat for the first time in almost 900 years. Bettina is his Bride. Now we know that a vampire becomes quite obsessed with his Bride and the very drunk Bettina and Trehan have quite the sensual tryst. Things are going very well until Trehan realizes Bettina thought he was Caspion come to bed her and save her from her fate.

The hand of the virginal Princess Bettina has been offered as the grand prize in a blood fight to the death, along with the crown of Abaddon. Bettina has long been in love with the handsome and charming Cas and hopes that he will agree to divest her of her virginity, thereby saving her the humiliation of being handed over as a prize. See as romantic as this gesture may seem, it is not just an attractive selection of studly demons who have entered the contest, most are homeless outcasts who have entered to win the crown and not the elfish looking Bettina. Her choices of suitors include an alligator shifter with scaly skin, Cerunnos (a snake like humanoid), an almost rabid lykae, and even a pus demon, and those are some of her better choices. She wants more than anything to spend her life with Cas.

As you can imagine, the very obsessive vampire does not like that his Bride is in love with another man and wants to give herself to him. Trehan has to choose between entering this contest and fighting to the death for right to have his Bride or returning to his home, for once he is seen by otherlanders he too is prohibited ever from returning to his secret home realm. As a trained killer and the enforcer of Dacia’s laws, Trehan has no doubt he will emerge the victor.

Trehan has learned one thing watching his cousin Lothaire and that is how to bargain to get what you want. As the contests begin, Trehan convinces Bettina to grant him a boon for each contestant he dispatches–lady’s choice. Bettina gives in to remove some of the more loathsome suitors. Trehan uses his boons to negotiate private time with Bettina so that he can seduce her heart from Cas. He had better work quickly since Cas too has entered the contest. If Trehan can’t win her heart before he has to kill Cas to win her hand, his Bride’s love might be lost to him forever.


This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. In a story that bounces between bloody fights to the death, and sensual encounters between Trehan and Bettina as Trehan tries to seduce her heart, you will not be able to decide which parts of this story are more exciting.

Trehan is a great hero–strong, thoughtful, protective and sexy.

Bettina starts the story off nearly being beaten to death by Vrekeners (who hate the evil scorceri) and she has her powers stolen by them. So she is very fearful for an immortal. Although she is half demon, she has none of their strengths or natural defenses. Scorceri have no more strengths than a human besides their powers and their immortality. Other than their magic, their eyesight is no better, they have no real strength for fighting, no claws or sharp teeth or other natural defenses. So once Bettina loses her power, she is like a human in an immortals world and absolutely afraid that the Vrekeners will find her again and finish the job. This brings us to why Bettina would agree to be the prize in this battle to the death. Her demon godfather and her scorceri godmother have indicated that they will kill the Vrekeners and return her power once she is married to the winner of the battle. They also believe the strongest winning warrior will give Bettina a sense of security that he can protect her and thereby alleviate her fears.

If Shadow Claim is an example of how much further Kresley Cole can take her Immortal After Dark series, then I say spin away to your heart’s content. I cannot wait to see where she will take us next.

Received an ARC from the author. Thank you!

Favorite Scene:

All she could think over and over: That vampire was in my bed, touching me as no other had before.

As he closed the distance, she felt increasingly weak and breathless, as if a flash-fever had taken hold.

How could merely looking at someone make her react physically? One word arose in her consciousness. Daliz. In Demonish, it meant lightning—in addition to another quaint, old-timey meaning.

“Who is that gorgeous male?” Morgana asked.

Bettina had never heard her sound so interested in a stranger.

The vampire wasn’t gorgeous to Bettina, but he was…striking.

“Oh, my gold, is he a Forbearer?” Morgana asked.

With his clear eyes, Daciano looked like one. No one would ever guess he was from the fabled Realm of Blood and Mist.

Once he neared the lower grandstand, Bettina subtly shook her head, warning him away, but he didn’t break his stride.

Earlier when Caspion had approached the sign-in table, the crowd had cheered for one of their own. As the vampire approached, everyone grew silent.

Crickets. A dog barked in the distance. A demon cub gave a cry.

“Your name?” Raum asked in puzzlement.

“I’m called the Prince of Shadow,” Daciano answered in that resonating voice.

“Where do you hail from? What is your standard?”

“I hail from nowhere you know.” The vampire retrieved a beautiful antique-looking banner of red and gray from his coat, handing it to Raum. “This is my standard. I enter for the hand of Bettina.”

He can’t lie? Then he’s not here just to kill Cas? He wants to marry me? She just stopped herself from fanning her face.

Why can’t I catch my breath?

Her godfather cast him a studying glance. Raum couldn’t bar the vampire entrance, but surely he would demand more information.

Instead Raum examined the standard, returned it, then offered Daciano the blade and quill. “Well then, Prince of Nowhere. Sign your name.”

Still holding her gaze, the vampire dragged the blade across his palm, never looking down at the contract, never taking his penetrating eyes off her.

Bettina could tell Morgana was glancing from the vampire to her and back, but didn’t acknowledge her godmother’s curiosity.

Once Daciano’s entry was complete, Raum announced, “The lists are filled! The tournament has officially begun.”

Cheering sounded from the spectators before Raum quieted them once more. “Now, on the first night of the tournament, we will have a melee, All competitors will go in unarmed, race to reach strategically placed weapons, then kill at will.”

“Oh, I’ve always enjoyed a spirited melee!” Morgana said, as if she were talking about a potato-sack race. Then she glanced past Bettina, her eyes gleaming with approval—no doubt ogling the vampire.

When Betting refused to look at him, Morgana tapped her chin with a metal claw. “You don’t appear to be an afterthought with that one, dearest freakling. You appear to be the only thought.

Bettina’s gaze darted to Daciano. His overall demeanor was bored. But she could see his cunning gaze taking in his enemies. She suspected she was about to witness the lethality she’d only sensed before.

Would he target Cas immediately?

Turning to Bettina, Morgana said, “I believe the Prince of Shadow is particularly motivated. He looks like his heart is in this. His beating heart.”

Lothaire by Kresley Cole

Lothaire (Immortals After Dark, #12)

ORDER A COPY: Lothaire

Publisher: Gallery
Publishing Date: January 10, 2012
Paperback: 468 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.


Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.


Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?

Elizabeth Peirce is living a quiet life in the Appalachian mountains until her body is hijacked by the soul of the vampire goddess Saroya. Whenever Ellie has a blackout, that means Saroya has gone on a killing spree. Ellie ends up on death row for those murders, until she is rescued by a red-eyed vampire.

Lothaire, the Enemy of Old, cannot have a lowly mortal bride. He needs to get back the Ring of Sums in order to remove the soul of Elizabeth Peirce and make the goddess Saroya immortal in Ellie’s body. Then he will finally be ready to claim the throne of the vampire horde army.

Ellie is not ready to let go of her life so easily and give Saroya and Lothaire a HEA with her body. If she needs to seduce the gorgeous, but deadly, vampire, then so be it. She’ll show him that life with a down-to-earth, mortal mountain girl can be more exciting than ten millennium old vampire goddess.

Will Lothaire sacrifice Elizabeth to reach his Endgame or will he decide there are more interesting things to life than being a vampire king?

If you are a fan Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, you will agree that this is an awesome addition to the series. If you not a fan, why not??

Although Lothaire isn’t my normal idea of a great hero, you have to admit he is an interesting character. We have seen bits and pieces of Lothaire throughout the past 11 books in the series and watched him collect his blood debts from the other immortals in an attempt to reach his Endgame. So it is very exciting to finally see what the Endgame that all those 11 books were leading up to.

Elizabeth Peirce is an interesting choice for Lothaire’s Bride, but her quick wit and cunning mind makes her perfect for him. She is as nice as he is evil but they heat up the pages together and she balances him nicely.

We get to see a little more insight into Lothaire’s relationship with Nix, the Ever Knowing, Valkyrie soothsayer extraordinaire, and we get to meet some interesting new characters.

I was a little leery of the two souls in one body storyline, and jumping back and forth in the story, but that quieted down soon and we got to spend much of the story with Ellie and Lothaire. There is no surprise to anyone familiar with the series that he won’t end up with the goddess since we see quickly how Ellie is the better match. Since she is the only person in a millennium to stand up to Lothaire, it is funny that he is like a kid at Christmas at certain points waiting to hear what she’ll say next. It is a great story and many open story lines from prior books get settled throughout Lothaire’s story.

I am still crossing my fingers that the next story will be Lanthe and Thronos, please, please, please…!!!!! But I definitely enjoyed Lothaire’s story much more than I thought I would. Lothaire being Lothaire, and the Enemy of Old, and all that, it is nice that he can find his true love, but that doesn’t necessary mean that he ends up joining the our good guys and going soft (Example, Eric from True Blood going all needy and clingy and ruining his hot, aloof, bad-ass vampire vibe.) Lothaire is still the scariest, bad-ass in town!!

Great story!! Definitely put on your must read list for 2012!! If you haven’t tried a Kresley Cole IAD book, now’s the time.

Just for fun – Check out my guest blog over at Heroes & Heartbreakers:

Immortals After Dark Casting – Part I

Immortals After Dark Casting – Part 2

Favorite Scene:

“Imagine my abject disappointment in you, female. Lothaire the Enemy of Old—the most feared vampire alive, the son of one king and the grandson of another—paired with a mortal? Much less a mortal of no distinction. I’m given to understand that your people are worse than peasants.”

Instead of indignation, curiosity lit her face. “Wait. I came first? You didn’t find me because of her? Hey, are you saying you’re a prince?”

“Yes, peasants,” he repeated slowly. “The lowliest of the low among humans.” Then he enunciated, “Exceedingly backward and vulgar hillbillies.”

“Been called worse, mister.” At his raised brows, she exhaled impatiently. “Bootlegger, moonshiner, Elly May Clampett, mountain mama, redneck, backwoods Bessie, hick, trailer trash, yokel, and, more recently, death-row con.”

“No references to mining? I’m disappointed.”

Sadness flashed in her expressive eyes. “My father died in a mine collapse. Ever since then, none of my kin will work underground.”

“Naturally the big bad coal company was at fault?”

“I’m sure there are nice, safe coal companies out there; Va-Co isn’t one of them. Mining’s over for us.”

“And so you remain appallingly poor.”

“S’pose so. The bottom line is that insults only hurt when they come from someone I respect.”

“Then no one’s taught you to respect your betters?”

“You think you’re better than me because you’re a prince?” Had she sounded disbelieving?

“I’m a displaced king of two vampire factions. Now I work to reclaim my thrones.” Why am I telling her this? He didn’t give a damn if she respected him. “As for the other, I think I’m better than you because you are demonstrably my inferior in every way. Intelligence, wealth, looks, bloodline, should I continue?”

She waved that away. “How’d you find me? You’re obviously rich—oh, and royalty—why would you be in one of the poorest areas in America?”


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