Review // White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

November 30, 2021

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

People with the purest souls are capable of the greatest evils. No one is perfect, no matter what they are or what side they fight for.

────── ♔ ──────


White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout


The Dark Elements #1
Release - February 25, 2014
Genre - Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Heroine POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 1 out of 5 / please save me from this
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 388 pages
Publisher - Harlequin Teen

Layla just wants to fit in at school and go on a date with Zayne, whom she's crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister--and Layla is a half demon, half gargoyle with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with keeping humanity safe, Layla's kiss will kill anything with a soul--including him.

Then she meets Roth--a demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it's tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne, but as Layla discovers she's the reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world.

Find your copy of White Hot Kiss here:

Goodreads * Amazon


My Two Cents

3 "Give. Me. A. Freaking. Break!!" stars

After being bombarded by so many five star reviews for this book, I expected to be blown away by how fantastic and irresistible and unputdownable it would be.

I wasn't.

I was less than thrilled by the heroine and found that the story suffered by being told solely from her point of view.

I know, I'm the worst. Heroines don't stand a chance with me. I'm so picky. Blah, blah-di-blah.

It's just that Layla was pretty much everything I don't like about teenagers. Whiney. Pathetic. Defiant (without cause). Ridiculous. Immature. I really could go on here.

And I swear, if she blushed one more time over a guy looking at her, asking her questions, casually touching her, or almost kissing her... I honestly don't know what I would do.

She was completely lackluster until the one scene at the end. Finally... finally she contributed something.

Why did everything center around her when she was absolutely no help to herself or others?

And why did she constantly do the one thing a heroine should never do? This chick was constantly calling out a man's name when he's trying to keep the demon's from killing her. Ummm... do you know anything about not distracting a hero when he's got his hands full?

All three stars go to Roth (who was utterly scrumptious), Zayne (who was magically delicious), and the plot and characters that filled up this story. They gave me enough to keep on going.

Yes, you read that right. I plan to read the next book.

We'll see how I feel about Layla then. I'm all for a redemption arc.

About the Author


# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

She is the owner of ApollyCon and The Origin Event, the successful annual events that features over hundred bestselling authors in Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Fiction, panels, parties, and more.

Visit https://jenniferlarmentrout.com for more information

Review // Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly

November 29, 2021

Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly

She wasn’t what I’d wanted in a wife, but hell, if she wasn’t exactly what I needed.

────── ♔ ──────


Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly

Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly


Standalone
Release - March 8, 2020
Genre - Contemporary Mafia Romance / arranged marriage / virgin heroine
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 4 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - ebook from Kindle Unlimited
Length - 292 pages
Publisher - Indie

The first time Cassio met his fiancรฉe, she called him ‘Sir’.

After losing his wife, Cassio is left to take care of two small children while trying to establish his rule over Philadelphia. Now he needs a mother for his children, and someone who can warm his bed at night.

But in a traditional world as his, choosing your wife is duty not pleasure.

Rules have to be followed. Traditions heeded.

That’s how he ends up with a woman—a girl barely of age. She might not be what he and his children need, but she’s wicked lovely and a sweet temptation he can’t resist.

Giulia always knew she’d marry a man her father chose for her. Only she never expected to be given to someone much older.

Suddenly she’s supposed to be a mother to two small children when she hasn’t even held a baby in her life.

Giulia quickly realizes that Cassio isn’t interested in a relationship on equal footing. Her mother always warned her that men of power like Cassio don’t tolerate insolence; yet, tired of being treated as a nanny and clueless child-bride, Giulia decides to fight for her vision of a happy family.

You can find your copy of Sweet Temptation here:
Goodreads * Amazon
Free to read with Kindle Unlimited


My Two Cents

4 "Marriage of Opportunity" stars

Although this author has been on my watchlist for a minute (oh, don't act like you don't have an author-to-watch list too), I kinda slept on her. After reading Bound by Honor, I knew that this author was going to be something great. I enjoyed her writing then and I definitely enjoyed it now.

Cassio's wife was dead and he was left to care for two young children. As underboss, he was expected to find a new wife. How convenient it was that everyone seemed to have a solution for him. His biggest problem? His future wife wasn't even legal age!

I think the fact that Giulia was barely 18 worked really well for this story. I didn't like how often they both referred to him as an old man. He himself was barely 30 and don't men love the chance to be with younger women? It was a bit weird.

I loved the lead up to the big reveal behind the death of Cassio's first wife. Good riddance! My heart broke for this man and I was thrilled by how much he was able to grow and thrive with Giulia. She was the absolute best person for him, injecting new life in what had become of his existence. And those kids... Poor sweet Daniele. I'm so happy that Giulia was more than she seemed and I'm a huge fan of how she loved these people.

Cassio was extremely alpha, but Giulia wasn't a doormat and this made for some interesting scenes. I will definitely be reading more from this author!

About the Author


Cora Reilly is the author of the Born in Blood Mafia Series, The Camorra Chronicles and many other books, most of them featuring dangerously sexy bad boys. Before she found her passion in romance books, she was a traditionally published author of young adult literature.

Cora lives in Germany with a cute but crazy Bearded Collie, as well as the cute but crazy man at her side. When she doesn't spend her days dreaming up sexy books, she plans her next travel adventure or cooks too spicy dishes from all over the world.

Despite her law degree, Cora prefers to talk books to laws any day.

Visit https://corareilly.com for more information

Review // Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole

November 27, 2021

Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole

There they sat in the firelight.
Enemies.
He'd almost destroyed her.
She'd nearly murdered him.
And for some reason, this moment felt the most surreal of the entire crazed night—because she recognized that on some level his presence... comforted.

────── ♔ ──────


Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole

Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole


Standalone - Immortals After Dark #3
Release - September 24, 2007
Genre - Paranormal Romance / enemies-to-lovers
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 out of 5 / several scenes / slow burn
Format/Source - ebook borrowed from the library
Length - 401 pages
Publisher - Pocket Books

Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed—until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.

Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.

If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul—or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

You can find your copy of Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night here:
Goodreads * Amazon


My Two Cents

3.5 "Bowen can get it" stars

Seriously, he can soooo get it!

Bowen's a Lykae (wolf) and Mari is a captromancer (fancy witch name). They go together like oil and water. Their death-defying matches gave me life. Their hatred and lust for each other gave me joy. I couldn't get enough of their antics. And then I had enough and it was still happening.

I desperately need someone to tell me if ALL of the books in this series deal with enemies-to-lovers. Will I have to put up with the heroines behaving hatefully towards the heroes in every. single. book?


Cuz right now... it's getting kind of ridiculous.

When enemies become lovers, it's always hot. And it was definitely HAWT with these two. However, I could do without Mari and her nonsense. Bowen could be high-handed, but I loved how he was able to acknowledge and accept his flaws. And lets be real, everyone knew that the Lykae were like this. So why was she constantly surprised?

And let's also not forget the fact that for most of the book, the most powerful witch of them all was pretty useless. She was probably the youngest person in the Lore and acted her age.


It wasn't cute.

So I'm hoping beyond hope that the heroines are more receptive and mature in the books to come or I'm about to lose my damn mind!

Beeteedubs... the blurb is hella misleading.

Check out my other reviews for the Immortals After Dark series:



About the Author


Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

Her books have been translated into 23 foreign languages, garnered 3 RITA awards, a Hall of Fame induction, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

Cole lives in Florida with her family.

Visit http://www.kresleycole.com for more information

Review // The Good Lie by A.R. Torre

November 25, 2021

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre

William S. Burroughs once said that no one owns life, but anyone who can lift a frying pan can create death. He was right. Killing is the easy part. The act of living—of finding happiness in life—that’s the hard part.

────── ♔ ──────


The Good Lie by A.R. Torre

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre


Standalone
Release - July 20, 2021
Genre - Mystery/Thriller
Primarily Singular POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 1.5 / why is this author afraid of the heat?
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 254 pages
Publisher - Thomas & Mercer

Six teens murdered.
A suspect behind bars.
A desperate father.
In a case this shadowy, the truth is easy to hide.


Psychiatrist Dr. Gwen Moore is an expert on killers. She’s spent a decade treating California’s most depraved predators and unlocking their motives—predators much like the notorious Bloody Heart serial killer, whose latest teenage victim escaped and then identified local high school teacher Randall Thompson as his captor. The case against Thompson as the Bloody Heart Killer is damning—and closed, as far as Gwen and the media are concerned. If not for one new development…

Defense attorney Robert Kavin is a still-traumatized father whose own son fell prey to the BH Killer. Convinced of Thompson’s innocence, he steps in to represent him. Now Robert wants Gwen to interview the accused, create a psych profile of the killer and his victims, and help clear his client’s name.

As Gwen and Robert grow closer and she dives deeper into the investigation, grave questions arise. So does Gwen’s suspicion that Robert is hiding something—and that he might not be the only one with a secret.

Find The Good Lie here: Goodreads * Amazon


My Two Cents

3 "Everyone's messed up" stars

After reading a review from Deanna at A Novel Glimpse, something pushed me to add this book to my tbr. From there, it was inevitable that I would borrow it from KU. When I was looking for something different, I picked it up. And now I'm here. At the end. And I don't even know where to begin!

All of the characters were messed up. ALL OF THEM!
While I expected some of them to be, because Gwen was a psychiatrist, I didn't expect even the doctor to have so many problems.

There was one character who deserved a ton of praise... Nina. That lady was the real detective of this novel!

I was able to predict most of what happened. Maybe not all of the details, but I wasn't left surprised by the end. It was obvious, but I did enjoy the journey.

My biggest issue with this story was the endless minutiae of Gwen's life. Not a direct quote (obvs), but it was something like this: I walked to my dresser. I grabbed a barrette. I put the barrette in my hair. I put my bangs to the side. No, I don't like that. I put my bangs to the other side. LMAO!! So freaking accurate!!

There's murder, there's mystery and a bit of a thrill to give it a bump. The writing was exceptional. The characters are... a mess. If this book sounds like your thang, read it.

About the Author

A.R. Torre is a pseudonym of Alessandra Torre and is her dark alter ego. While Alessandra enjoys spicy romances, A.R. love twisted stories filled with secrets, suspense, drama, and danger.

Alessandra/A.R. is a multi-time Goodreads Choice Nominee. Her books have hit the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller lists. Over a million readers have enjoyed her novels in more than thirty countries.

In addition to writing, Alessandra teaches online courses to aspiring and published authors via www.alessandratorreink.com. She hosts an annual conference and has built a community of over 40,000 authors.

Visit www.alessandratorre.com for more information

Review // Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

November 19, 2021

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

She was good.
Fast, tough, smart.
A fearless warrior.
But her strength was also a weakness.
Nina was willing to throw herself at the world because she was so damn competent, she'd never lost.
She had overcome every obstacle and out-thought every opponent.
Until him.

────── ♔ ──────


Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha


Standalone? - Mercenary Librarians #1
Release - July 28, 2020
Genre - SciFi Romance / apocalypse
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 / a few scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon / hardcover purchase from Book Outlet
Length - 336 pages
Publisher - Tor Books

Nina is an information broker with a mission--she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America.

Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he's fighting to survive.

They're on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process...

Or they could do the impossible: team up.

Find it here: Goodreads * Amazon


My Two Cents

4 "Who's the bigger badass" stars

After plenty of recommendations to read this author duo, I finally took the plunge. Mind you, I waited until this book was available for a decent price because HOLY COW IS IT EXPENSIVE?! Like seriously... on Amazon Canada... it's $11.99 just for the kindle copy.

I bought the hardcover a while back from Book Outlet (thanks Book Outlet for always saving me money) and when the digital copy went on sale for 99 cents (was that a glitch that I was lucky enough to catch?), I grabbed my copy and promised myself that one day... ONE DAY... I would read it. And finally I did!

And I really liked it!

Seriously, what was there not to like?
๐Ÿ“š lethal librarians - Nina's a deadly clone, Maya is a human computer, and Dani... well, she's just crazy!
๐Ÿ“š mercenaries - they're the Silver Devils and when someone they care about is taken and threatened, they prove they're willing to do almost anything to get her back
๐Ÿ“š chaos - who doesn't love chaos?
๐Ÿ“š destruction - again, who doesn't love it?
๐Ÿ“š enough plot to carry over into another book and characters I want to get to know better
๐Ÿ“š there was even the apocalypse version of romance

So why didn't it get all the stars? Well, here's the deal: I was told that these authors write some seriously filthy sex scenes. So when I realized that there was something building between Nina and Knox, I expected a lot of bow chicka wow wow and instead got some whomp whomp. Aside from calling his penis a cock like it should be, the sex scenes were pretty tame. And I felt let down. I know, I'm terrible for docking a star for lukewarm sex scenes. I'm such a fictional hoebag. And I'm sure there were more valid reasons to dock a star, but this is the one that keeps sticking out for me.

Will I read from these authors again? Yup. I'm planning to continue this series. And yes, I do know that the authors have a truly filthy menage series out there, but I'm not interested in books like that. I'll stick to the traditional relationships I've found here and muddle through the young adultish intimacy.

Favorite Quotes

Evil wasn’t afraid of good. Because good people always expected evil to play by the rules, and by the time they realized the game had changed, evil had won.


She was going to hate him. But she’d still help him. Maybe not for him, but for his men. For Conall. For Luna. She’d help him pull off this impossible job, she’d help him save the people counting on him. And her heart was so damn big. She might not hate him forever. Someday, she might even save him.


Knox touched her as if he needed her more than the oxygen swimming in his blood, as if— As if it was the last time.


Excerpt

Find chapter one of Deal with the Devil here: https://www.torforgeblog.com/2020/05/27/excerpt-deal-with-the-devil-by-kit-rocha/


About Kit Rocha

Kit Rocha is the pseudonym for co-writing team Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. After penning dozens of paranormal novels, novellas and stories as Moira Rogers, they branched out into gritty, sexy dystopian romance.

The Beyond series has appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, has been nominated for best erotic romance in the RT Reviewer’s Choice award five times, and won in 2013 and 2015. Their most recent adventure is partnering with Tor to launch their critically acclaimed Mercenary Librarians series.

Visit https://www.kitrocha.com/ for more information

Review // No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole

November 16, 2021

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole

Sexy.
He has too much of a biological advantage.
What female could be expected to turn him away when he wanted to be inside her?

────── ♔ ──────


No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole


Standalone - Immortals After Dark #2
Release - October 31, 2006
Genre - Paranormal Romance / fated mates
Primarily Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 / several scenes
Format/Source - borrowed from the library
Length - 384 pages
Publisher - Pocket Books

A vampire soldier weary of life...

Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire—a nightmare in his mind—against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live. Until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead.

A valkyrie assassin dispatched to destroy him...

When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow—accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever she encounters Sebastian, her feelings—particularly lust—emerge multiplied. For the first time, she's unable to complete a kill.

Competitors in a legendary hunt...

The prize of the month-long contest is powerful enough to change history, and Kaderin will do anything to win it for her sisters. Wanting only to win her, forever, Sebastian competes as well, taking every opportunity—as they travel to ancient tombs and through catacombs, seeking relics around the world—to use her new feelings to seduce her. But when forced to choose between the vampire she's falling for and reuniting her family, how can Kaderin live without either?

Find No Rest for the Wicked here: Goodreads * Amazon


My Two Cents

4.5 "He's ever so worthy" stars

Is it wrong that I wanted to slap every fictional woman in Sebastian's fictional past who ever made this ficitional male doubt himself?

I'm a sucker for a broken hero and Sebastian more than fit the bill. Once a fierce human warrior, when he was at death's door, he refused his brother's help. He didn't want to become a vampire. He didn't want to live that way. He didn't really have a choice and hundreds of years later, he wasn't really living. No wonder he was so ready for Kaderin to end him.

And yet she couldn't.

Kaderin the Coldhearted found her heart. It was beating outside of her. And no matter how hard she tried to fight it, to deny it, Sebastian was her destiny.

I loved the push and pull of their relationship. He knew that she was his 'Bride'. She knew that she could never be with a vampire. Wanting and needing aside, her family would never accept him. But who cares, right?! The heart wants what the heart wants and when she finally just gave in... so beautiful!

Even the adventure aspect of the Hie gave me some cheap thrills. Is Bowen okay? I felt so sorry for the wolf who was devastated by the loss of his life mate and was so desperate to find a way to be with her again.

I'm still as fascinated as always with all of these characters, especially the ones with stories to come. Regin and Nix crack me up! Once again, the writing was on point, the plot was entertaining, and the characters were amazing. This was my favorite one of the series so far! I loved seeing Wroth and Myst again and I'm looking forward to the next book.

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole

Excerpt

Chapter 1


Castle Gornyi, Russia

Present day


For the second time in her life, Kaderin the Coldhearted hesitated to kill a vampire.

In the last instant of a silent, lethal swing, she stayed her sword an inch above the neck of her prey -- because she'd found him holding his head in his hands.

She saw his big body tense. As a vampire, he could easily trace away, disappearing. Instead, he remained, raising his face to gaze up at her with dark gray eyes, the color of a storm about to be unleashed. Surprisingly, they were clear not red -- which meant the vampire had never drunk a being to death. Yet.

He pleaded with those eyes, and she realized he hungered for an end. He wanted the death blow she'd come to his decrepit castle to deliver.

She'd stalked him soundlessly, primed for battle with a vicious predator. Kaderin had been in Scotland with other Valkyrie when they'd received the call about a "vampire haunting a castle and terrorizing a village in Russia." She had gladly volunteered to destroy it. She was her Valkyrie coven's most prolific killer, her life given over to ridding the earth of leeches.

In Scotland, on that trip alone, she'd killed three.

So why was she hesitating now? Why was she even now easing her sword back to raise it before her? He would be merely one among thousands of her kills, his fangs collected and strung together with the others she'd taken.

The last time she'd stayed her hand had resulted in a tragedy so great her heart had been broken forever by it.

In a deep, gravelly voice, the vampire asked, "Why do you wait?" He seemed startled by the sound of his own words.

I don't know why. Unfamiliar physical sensations wracked her. Her stomach knotted. As though a band had tightened around her chest, her lungs were desperate for breath. I can't comprehend why.

The wind blew outside, sliding over the mountain, making this high room in the vampire's darkened lair groan. Unseen gaps in the walls allowed the chill morning breeze in. As he stood, rising to his full, towering height, her blade caught the wavering light from a cluster of candles and reflected on him.

His grave face was lean with harsh planes, and other females would consider it handsome. His black shirt was threadbare and unbuttoned, displaying much of his chest and sculpted torso, and his worn jeans were slung low at his narrow waist. The wind tugged at the tail of his shirt and stirred his thick black hair. Very handsome. But then, the vampires I kill often are.

His gaze focused on the tip of her sword. Then, as if the threat of her weapon were forgotten, he studied her face, his eyes lingering on each of her features. His blatant appreciation unsettled her, and she clutched the hilt tightly, something she never did.

Honed to masterly sharpness with her diamond file, her sword cut through bone and muscle with little effort. It swung perfectly from her loose wrist as though it were an extension of her arm. She'd never needed to hold it tightly.

Take his head. One less vampire. The species checked in the tiniest way.

"What is your name?" His speech was clipped like an aristocrat's, but held a familiar accent. Estonian. Though Estonia bordered Russia to the west and its inhabitants were considered a Nordic breed of Russian, she recognized the difference and wondered what he was doing away from his own country.

She tilted her head. "Why do you want to know?"

"I would like to know the name of the woman who will deliver me from this."

He wanted to die. After all she'd suffered from his kind, the last thing she wanted to do was oblige the vampire in any way. "You assume I'll deliver your death blow?"

"Will you not?" His lips curled at the corners, but it was a sad smile.

Another tightening on the sword. She would. Of course, she would. Killing was her only purpose in life. She didn't care if his eyes were clear of the red that marked a vampire's bloodlust. Ultimately, he would drink to kill, and he would turn.

They always did.

He stepped around a stack of hard-bound books -- some of the hundreds of texts throughout the room with titles imprinted in Russian and, yes, Estonian -- and leaned his massive frame against the crumbling wall. He truly wasn't going to raise a hand in defense.

"Before you do, speak again. Your voice is beautiful. As beautiful as your stunning face."

She swallowed, startled to feel her cheeks heating. "Who do you align with . . . ?" She trailed off when he closed his eyes as though listening to her were bliss. "The Forbearers?"

That got him to open his eyes. They were full of anger. "I align with no one. Especially not them."

"But you were once human, weren't you?" The Forbearers were an army, or order, of turned humans. They eschewed taking blood straight from the flesh because they believed that act caused bloodlust. By forbearing, they hoped to avoid becoming like crazed Horde vampires. The Valkyrie remained unoptimistic about their chances.

"Yes, but I've no interest in that order. And you? You're no human either, are you?"

She ignored his question. "Why do you linger here in this castle?" she asked. "The villagers live in terror of you."

"I won this holding on the battlefield and rightly own it, so I stay. And I've never harmed them." He turned away and murmured, "I wish that I did not frighten them."

Kaderin needed to get this killing over with. In just three days, she was to compete in the Talisman's Hie, which was basically a deadly, immortal version of The Amazing Race. Besides hunting vampires, the Hie was the only thing she lived for, and she needed to confirm transportation and secure supplies. And yet she found herself saying, "They told me you live here alone."

He faced her and gave a sharp nod. She sensed that he was embarrassed by this fact, as if he felt lacking that he didn't have a family here.

"How long?"

He hiked his broad shoulders, pretending nonchalance. "A few centuries."

To live solitary for all that time? "The people in the valley sent for me," she said, as if she had to explain herself. The inhabitants of the remote village belonged to the Lore -- a population of immortals and "mythical" creatures kept secret from humans. Many of them still worshipped the Valkyrie and provided tributes, but that wasn't what made Kaderin travel to such an isolated place.

The chance to kill even a single vampire had drawn her. "They beseeched me to destroy you."

"Then I await your leisure."

"Why not kill yourself, if that's what you want?" she asked.

"It's . . . complicated. But you save me from that end. I know you're a skilled warrior -- "

"How do you know what I am?"

He gave a nod at her sword. "I used to be a warrior, too, and your remarkable weapon speaks much."

The one thing she felt pride in -- the one thing in her life that she had left and couldn't bear to lose -- and he'd noted its excellence.

He strode closer to her and lowered his voice. "Strike your blow, creature. Know that no misfortune could come to you for killing one such as me. There is no reason to wait."

As if this were a matter of conscience! It wasn't. It couldn't be. She had no conscience. No real feelings, no raw emotions. She was coldhearted. After the tragedy, she'd prayed for oblivion, prayed for the sorrow and guilt to be numbed.

Some mysterious entity had answered her and made her heart like ash. Kaderin didn't suffer from sorrow, from lust, from anger, or from joy. Nothing got in the way of her killing.

She was a perfect killer. She had been for one thousand years, half of her interminable life.

"Did you hear that?" he asked. The eyes that had been pleading for an end now narrowed. "Are you alone?"

She quirked an eyebrow. "I do not require help from others. Especially not for a single vampire," she added, her tone growing absent. Oddly, her attention had dipped to his body once more -- to low on his torso, past his navel to the dusky trail of hair leading down. She had a flash imagining of grazing the back of one of her sharp claws along it while his massive body clenched and shuddered in reaction.

Her thoughts were making her uneasy, making her want to wind her hair up into a knot and let the chill air cool her neck --

He cleared his throat. When she jerked her gaze to his face, he raised his eyebrows.

Caught ogling the prey! The indignity! What is wrong with me? She had no more sexual urges than the walking dead vampire before her. She shook herself, forcing herself to remember the last time she'd hesitated.

On a battlefield, an age ago, she had spared and released another of this ilk, a young vampire soldier who had begged for his life.

Yet he had seemed to scorn her for her very mercy. Without delay, the soldier had found her two full-blood sisters fighting in the flatlands below them. Alerted by a shriek from another Valkyrie, Kaderin had sprinted, stumbling down a hill draped with bodies, living and dead. Just as she'd reached them, he'd cut her sisters down.

The younger, Rika, had been taken off guard, because of Kaderin's panicked approach. The vampire had smiled when Kaderin dropped to her knees.

He'd dispatched her sisters with a brutal efficiency Kaderin had since emulated. She'd like to say she started with him, but she'd kept him alive for a time.

So, why would she repeat the same mistake? She wouldn't. She would not ignore a lesson she had paid so dearly to learn.

The sooner I get this done, the sooner I can begin preparing for the Hie.

Squaring her shoulders, she steeled herself. It's all in the follow-through. Kaderin could see the swing, knew the angle she would take so that his head would remain on his neck until he fell. It was cleaner that way. Which was important.

She'd packed her suitcase lightly.

About the Author


Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

Her books have been translated into 23 foreign languages, garnered 3 RITA awards, a Hall of Fame induction, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

Cole lives in Florida with her family.

Visit http://www.kresleycole.com/ for more information

Author Spotlight: Ari Reavis

November 13, 2021


I've never done this before, but with the HUGE SALE Ari Reavis is having, I couldn't help but create a post to share the news!

So... what can I tell you about this author? She has to be one of the most underrated romance authors I've come across. I've read everything she's written. I mean EVER-Y-THANG and she never disappoints. Contemporary Romance? Nailed it. Fantasy? She crushed that too.

Her writing is beautiful. She creates stunning characters. And her intimate scenes... yeah, read those indoors lol.

And now she's got five books on sale. Five paperbacks and because I've already grabbed the two that I didn't already have, I'm giving you the chance to meet an author that may quickly become one of your favorites too!



Be My Light is ONLY $6.99 ~ on Amazon


Check out my review

Ebony's been trying to pull herself out of the darkness for longer than she cares to admit, but each day only seems to bring her deeper. Music is her only escape from a life that revolves around her siblings and getting through the next day. Then a ray of light is shining through, making her see she might not be as alone as she thought.

Marcus has his own story to tell and Ebony’s the only one he wants to share it with. He’s been waiting for her to notice him, hoping for the chance to prove he’s worthy of her letting him in. Now that he has her attention, he's ready to show her just how beautiful a life with them together could be.

Opening up her world to Marcus might be the hardest thing Ebony has ever done, and when her past threatens to drag her back under again, will he remain at her side? Can Ebony overcome, what has always seemed like, insurmountable odds and find her way to the light?

────── ♔ ──────


Just Fake It is ONLY $5.99 ~ on Amazon


Check out my review

You are cordially invited to a wedding...

The date has been picked; the planning has begun. All that’s needed now is a groom. Angela never saw herself asking a complete stranger to marry her, but with her wedding drawing closer, she’s left with little choice. The arrangement is simple. Convince her parents they’re head over heels for each other, get married, and then go their separate ways. But she didn’t anticipate her heart having plans of its own.

Tristan thought he was meeting her for their first date, but ends up getting a marriage proposal instead. His past makes it easy to understand why Angela needs a fake fiancรฉ. And how hard could it be to go along with her charade anyway? But his feelings never agreed to play by the rules. Neither of them considered what would happen when faking it stopped being enough. What do you do when you start falling for the person you’re marrying?

────── ♔ ──────


Girl Meets Boys is ONLY $5.99 ~ on Amazon


Check out my review

Girl meets boy, they fall in love, and live happily ever after. But what happens when, instead of meeting one boy, the girl meets two?

With Emily starting college, she figures it’s the perfect time to break out of her shell and have a new beginning. She doesn’t expect that in rewriting her story, it would include a love triangle.

First she meets Julian. She can’t help but notice his shirts with quotes on them, that match his quirky personality, his crooked smile and ruffled hair. He understands her in ways few others do. That’s what makes her afraid to let him get too close.

Then she meets Will. He’s from a different world, different crowd. When he goes out of his way to show her just how well she fits in his life, she finds herself getting swept up all too easily. Sometimes though, opposites really shouldn’t attract.

Girl meets boys and soon the choice isn’t which one of them is better, but who she’s better with.

────── ♔ ──────


Unspoken is ONLY $7.99 ~ on Amazon


Check out my review

The Unspoken One has been banished for many years, his very existence erased. Ameera must find his true name and summon him if she has any hope of saving her kingdom from war, and herself from marriage to a ruthless king.

The Kingdom of Nur has been suffering for years under Ameera’s father’s rule. She's bid her time, carefully keeping her secret hidden and waiting to become queen so she can repair what her father has broken. Then an unwanted marriage to the brutal king of Nur’s enemy threatens everything she’s worked towards.

With her wedding drawing near and the future of her kingdom in peril, she finds the forbidden name. She knows The Unspoken One is her last chance to save Nur, but she risks much in summoning him. His magic is not understood, the crime he was banished for is unknown, and speaking his name carries an unbearable punishment.

For Nur, for herself, she must risk it all. Or lose everything she holds dear.

She speaks the name too many have paid a painful price for uttering. Nothing, not the kingdom, their lives, or her heart, will ever be the same.

────── ♔ ──────


Imperfect is ONLY $5.99 ~ on Amazon


Check out my review

When a guy saves you from a horrible blind date, you don’t expect to end up dating him.

Mariah’s confusion over why a man is pretending to know her quickly fades once she realizes the handsome stranger winking at her is trying to save her. If she leaves with him, what might this night turn into?

Damir knows he can’t watch the beautiful woman across the restaurant cringe one more time without stepping in to help her. He promises he would take her on a much better date than the one she just left, but will she give him the chance to prove it?

He's got a past that corrupt people refuse to allow him to forget. She's come too far to get wrapped back up in the hardships she's escaped.

Can such an imperfect beginning turn into exactly what they both need?



I hope you grab one of these today and that you fall in love with the talent that is Ari Reavis as much as I did!


xo, Natalie

Review // Broken by Cynthia Eden

November 12, 2021

Broken by Cynthia Eden

"I started LOST so other families would have a choice, so they could find their loved ones and not have to face the monsters out there." A muscle flexed in his jaw. "I didn't want them pushed to the edge the same way I was, because when you're pushed too far —"
"There's no going back," she finished softly.

────── ♔ ──────


Broken by Cynthia Eden

Broken by Cynthia Eden


Standalone - LOST #1
Release - March 31, 2015
Genre - Romantic Suspense / amnesia / serial killer
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 / a few scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed from the library / I own the paperback
Length - 384 pages
Publisher - Avon Books

Ex-SEAL and LOST founder Gabe Spencer is accustomed to the unusual in his job. But when knockout Eve Gray steps into his office, he's rattled. For the mysterious woman is a dead ringer for the heiress thought to be the latest prey of the serial killer who goes by the name Lady Killer.

When Eve awoke in an Atlanta hospital, her past was a blank slate. Then she recognized her own face in the newspaper and vowed to learn the truth. Determined to confront the nightmares hidden in her mind, she never expects to find a partner in Gabe.

As Gabe and Eve work together, their explosive attraction becomes irresistible. Gabe knows that his desire for Eve is growing too strong, bordering on a dangerous obsession, but nothing pulls him away from her. And when another Eve lookalike disappears, Gabe vows to protect Eve at all costs. While Eve may have forgotten the killer in her past, it's clear he hasn't forgotten her.

Purchase Links


My Two Cents

4 "He's closer than you think" stars

When you wake up with horrific scars and no memory of how you got them, the best thing to do is to consult a professional. And that's just what Eve did. She knew that she had survived something terrifying, but whether she was the only surviving victim of a prolific serial killer or just a woman who fell into something rough... she just didn't know. Gabe was the man to call. He had dedicated his life to finding those who were gone without a trace. Finding out who Eve really is might be the only thing that saves her life.

I found a lot of enjoyment with this story. There were a wealth of suspects, at least in my mind, and I loved how the author didn't give me enough to draw my conclusions too early. I honestly didn't know who the killer could be. All I knew was that he was creepy and scary and somewhat hilarious.

While the relationship developed pretty quickly between Gabe and Eve, it worked. They were in an intense situation, which would obviously draw out some intense emotions. The way they worked together, without the heroine trying some crazy stunts, only made me enjoy this story more.

Broken by Cynthia Eden

Excerpt

“Do you think I’m a con artist or a victim?”

“I think you’re a woman who has been hurt.” No denying that. “One of my team members, Wade Monroe, is contacting the Montgomery family. We’ll get DNA from them and find out—”

“If I’m Jessica.” There was hope in the words. Enough hope to break his heart.

Gabe nodded.

“When will we know?”

It would take a few days, even with the strings that he could pull. “As soon as possible,” he said, not wanting to give her a specific timetable.

“Thank you.” Then, just like that, she was across the car, giving him a tight hug. “Thank you.”

His arms wrapped around her, an instinctive response. She smelled faintly of flowers, a sweet scent that teased his nose, and her body was soft against his.

She tried to pull away, as if realizing what she’d just done.

For an instant he was tempted to hold her, to keep her close.

She’s a client. Focus.

He let her go, but his body ached.

“I … um … I should get inside.”

Yes, she should. While he was still clutching tight to his control. The control that said he shouldn’t push her. Shouldn’t want her so much. Not when she’d already been hurt so badly.

Her fingers reached for the door.

“Let me,” he said, voice rumbling, and Gabe climbed from the Jag. In seconds he was on the passenger side, opening her door for her. She rose, and her body brushed against his.

He stepped back. Distance. He seriously needed to put some distance between then. But even with some fast steps back, he could still smell that light and sexy scent that clung to her body. And he still wanted her.

“Your shrink asked me a lot of questions about you,” Eve told him as she stood temptingly close.

Gabe inclined his head. “I’m sure—”

“I think she wanted to know why I respond so much to you.”

Oh, hell, she’d just said … He cleared his throat even as part of his body surged in quick response to her. “It’s a tense situation, you’re—”

“You don’t look at me as if I’m a victim.”

He stopped talking.

“I mean, you know what I am, but you still look at me and seem to just see me … as a woman.”

“Others see you the same way.” Doc Tyler sure did. Bastard.

“It’s different with you,” she murmured as she stepped even closer to him. Her head had tilted back so she could look into his eyes. “I don’t know what I’ve felt for other men before.”

Why did the idea of others have his body knotting with tension?

“But I know that when I see you, I want.” A hushed confession. “I just … I needed to tell you that.”

And he needed to make his self-control a hell of a lot stronger. Her lips were just inches from his, and he wanted her mouth beneath his. Wanted her lips open. Needed to taste her.

“You’re the first man I’ve wanted since I opened my eyes in that hospital.”

He could actually feel his control splintering. Client. Cli—

“You probably don’t want me. I—I might not be your type.”

Now her gaze had fallen, as if in embarrassment. Had she really just asked if she was his type? She was probably every damn man’s type.

“But you make me feel normal again, so I had to tell you—”

His fingers curved under her chin. “Eve …”

Her smile was a little too big. Too bright. “I don’t think I can handle anything else right now, I’m …” She pulled away. Stumbled onto the sidewalk. “I just wanted to tell you how I felt,” she told him again.

Then she walked into the shelter, her steps hurried. As if she were running.

From him.

He stared after her. She wanted him.

And she was so f--king beyond his reach.

About the Author

Cynthia Eden

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes sexy tales of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over one hundred novels and novellas.

Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

Visit http://www.cynthiaeden.com/ for more information!

Review // Shakedown by Lani Lynn Vale

November 09, 2021

Shakedown by Lani Lynn Vale

The man was downright drop-dead gorgeous.
I'm talking, beautiful, not going to change my mind that he's the sexiest thing in the world, better than the hero in my favorite book, stunning.

────── ♔ ──────


Shakedown by Lani Lynn Vale

Shakedown by Lani Lynn Vale


Rating: ALL THE STARS!!
Standalone - Souls Chapel Revenants MC #8
Release - November 9, 2021
Genre - Contemporary Romance with suspense elements / instant connection
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - eARC provided by the author (thank you Uplifting Author Services)
Page Count - 259
Publisher - Indie

Wanted: someone to hand feed me Doritos so my hands don’t get orange. No weirdos.

Belle Pena was an editor. Not a writer.

When her brothers challenge her to create a dating profile, she makes up the most random biography she can think of. She never, not ever, thought she’d find anybody to respond. But she was sorely mistaken.

Sadly, she finds that she has way more interest than she ever could’ve imagined.

But only one profile catches her eye.

Bruno never meant to take the dating app seriously. Being the last single man in his band of misfits, he’s happy being the odd man out. Women spelled trouble, and he had enough trouble in his life to last him through the next decade.

Only his newfound family doesn’t feel the same. One innocent ‘sure’ has the women of the Souls Chapel Revenants MC creating him a dating profile that is too spot on to be comfortable. And just when he decides to delete the app entirely, a particular face catches his eye.

One innocent question of ‘Belle is that you? Do you remember punching me in the throat in high school?’ has him stepping into trouble neck deep, and he doesn’t even realize it until it’s too late.

Purchase Links


Shakedown by Lani Lynn Vale

My Two Cents

We're at the end of the road and it's coming like LLV saved the best for last. How could anyone resist the charms and wiles of Bruno? Especially when he wasn't trying to be charming lol. He was kinda churlish and brooding and monosyllabic... and utterly delicious!

I always feel bad objectifying these characters, but then I remind myself that they're fictional and I ain't really hurting anyone and seriously... I can't help but be honest about how I feel... and all is right in my world again.

Bruno had taken some lumps in his life. He was destined for some greatness. And how awesome was it that his happiness was with Belle Pena?!

I feel like the author delivered two great characters, both deserving of blessings, and so much more. I loved how the Pena family popped in (Hi guys!!) and I loved how Bruno's chosen family was on point each and every time he needed them. And that epilogue... I'm sad to see them all go, but the author gave one amazing send off.

Check out the other books of this series:






Shakedown by Lani Lynn Vale Shakedown by Lani Lynn Vale

Excerpt

Bruno

“Why Farmers Only?” I asked, wincing when I read the website’s name.

“Bruno, you have pigs. You’re a farmer. This is perfect,” Six assured me. “It’ll work out great. You can invite your date out to meet you at your farm. Y’all can go feed all of the animals. Then you can cook her dinner.”

I looked at Six.

“I don’t want to do this,” I told her bluntly.

“If you do this, I’ll never bring up you leaving me behind again,” Six declared.

I stared at her, wondering if her words were true.

I’d do just about anything for her to never bring that up again.

A long time ago, when we were in high school, her father had given me an ultimatum.

Leave Six alone, and never contact her again, or he’d make Six’s life a living hell.

The bad thing was, I knew that he could do it.

So like any dumbass seventeen-year-old, I’d done it.

I’d left her behind, gone my own way, and had never looked back.

At least, for appearance’s sake anyway, that was what I did.

In reality, I kept an eye on her from a distance, making sure that she was always okay.

At least, until Lynn, the man that might as well be my very own father, had taken a liking to her.

Then Six had come back into my life with a vengeance, and ever since she and Lynn had married, I’d found it almost impossible to get back into her good graces.

Which, might I add, was bullshit.

I’d done it for her.

Sure, once I’d ‘grown up’ I could’ve come back into her life, but who the hell would want an ex-con in their life?

I knew that I wouldn’t want anyone like me in Six’s life.

Hell, it was bad enough that I had to allow her husband, Lynn, to have a part of her life. If anything, Lynn was worse than I was.

But at least he loved her and would protect her.

That was more than I’d done for her.

“That’s not going to matter to him, honey,” Lynn said. “He believes that he deserves your ire, so he won’t care if you stop.”

That was true.

I did deserve her ire.

I’d left her, like she’d said.

Then again, I’d left a lot of people behind in my thirty-two years. Six was just one of many.

“Fine,” she said. “Then just do it because I want you to be happy.”

My eye started to twitch.

“I’m an ex-con, Six,” I said. “No woman’s going to want anything to do with me on Farmers Only. Or any website for that matter.”

Six rolled her eyes. “Bruno, you’re hot, successful, and you’re unattached. Trust me when I say that any woman is going to go for you, ex-con status or not.”

I sighed.

“I shot and killed someone. On purpose. There was no ‘oh, I might or might not have been high on adrenaline because he beat up my sister.’ I shot and killed someone. On. Purpose. People don’t just get over that because I’m hot,” I argued.

“You shot someone because you had to.” She waved my worry away. “And trust me when I say, someone out there will understand.”

Hell, I didn’t even understand.

And I’d been the one to do the shooting.

Granted, the guy had been a piece of shit.

He’d raped three women. He’d beat up his own mother. And he’d all but maimed a two-year-old with his careless actions.

But that wasn’t my reasoning for killing the piece of shit.

Hell, I hadn’t even known about all of that other stuff.

I’d known that the motherfucker had tried to kill me because of some suspected slight, and I’d had no other choice but to shoot him and suffer the consequences. That was it. Me or him.

I’d chosen me.

And then I’d spent the next eighteen months behind bars until the parole board had learned of all the other shit that the man had done in his life. Then they’d been all, ‘Oh, no. We need heroes like you on the outside.’ Which was a bunch of shit.

I was no hero.

“Are you even listening to me?” Six snapped.

“You know he’s not listening to you.” Catori, one of my brothers’ wives, chuckled.

“Where is your cut?” another woman asked. “You can’t take a picture like that. You have to have your cut on.”

I looked over to find Swayze, Trick’s wife, staring at me with her phone in her hand.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because leather and bikers go hand in hand,” she said. “If you don’t have your cut on, nobody will know that you’re in a club. And being in a club automatically ratchets up the hotness factor.”

I rolled my eyes. “It got dirty. Had to have it dry-cleaned.”

In all honesty, it got blood on it, and I’d had to douse it down with the water hose before taking it to the dry cleaners to see if they could salvage it.

If not, I might or might not need to find a new one.

I was hoping that it came out, though.

Or, at least, when I wore it, it didn’t look like I’d tie-dyed it in blood.

“Well that’s just stupid,” Swayze grumbled as she put her phone down.

“I have one from last week,” Blaise called out, pumping her fist into the air as if she’d hit the jackpot. “And he looks good in it. He’s not even scowling!”

I rolled my eyes.

“Oh, that one’s perfect. Send it to me.” Six was still typing away at the computer. “What do you think of this biography for a profile? Hobby pig farmer by day, Souls Chapel Revenant MC by night. Thirty-two-year-old man looking for a woman that isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Anybody that can’t manage that need not reply.”

“I think we should add this…” Wyett suggested as she rattled off her idea of edits.

I sighed and sipped my beer, wondering idly how long it would take to get dinner figured out.

I was ready to go home.

Today had been long, and my fucking knuckles were aching.

Even worse, I think my back was acting up again.

I’d have to make another appointment at the chiropractor. The one that was scared of me.

Yay.

“Ohhh.” One of the ladies laughed, catching my attention.

“Oh, here’s one for you.” Six dissolved into laughter, turning the computer screen my way.

Wanted: Man to feed me Doritos so my fingers don’t get orange. No weirdos.

My ideal match: No animals, no kids, no annoying voices, doesn’t like beaches, can deal with me not talking, and doesn’t mind when I talk down to you or that I’m smarter than you. Also, it’d be ideal if you don’t like to cuddle, because my body temperature runs hot, and I don’t generally like people touching me skin to skin. Is blunt and doesn’t try to use sarcasm. Won’t try to get me to go out to places where there is a large group setting.

Again, no weirdos.

“This chick sounds like she’s perfect for you.” Six clicked on the photo, but she didn’t need to.

I’d seen the photo.

The woman was gorgeous.

Though I couldn’t see her height, I could make out other things.

She was curled up in a chair that looked like a cocoon of sorts. One with really tall sides, big, poofy cushions, and it was all hanging from a contraption from the ceiling.

She had her knees crisscrossed in front of her, and she was wearing a baggy white t-shirt, black horn-rimmed glasses, and had a book partially in front of her face.

That book happened to be one of my favorites.

Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher.

In all honesty, that was the very first thing to catch my eye.

Her hair, which was so fuckin’ curly that I knew if I tried to run my fingers through it, they’d get caught at least a dozen times.

“She’s perfect,” Crockett declared. “Message her. But don’t make it weird. Make it… sweet.”

“Bruno’s not sweet,” one of the boys, likely Sin, called out. “Don’t make him come off as sweet. The chick will definitely know that it wasn’t him that wrote it.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Messaged her. Let’s see what she says.” Six squealed, clapping her hands.

I sighed.

“Oh, she already messaged back. Oh my God. She said, ‘Hell no.’”

My brows lifted at that.

“Oh, she’s perfect. I just know it.” Six snickered.

“Oh my God. I knew she looked familiar! That’s Belle Pena! One of my good friends! Sorry, Bruno. But there’s no way in hell that she’s going to agree to date you. She has a type,” Beckham said as she settled her son, Hiro, more firmly on her shoulder.

She looked like she was lagging, though.

I bent forward and caught the kid before Beckham, who really was interested in this whole mess, dropped her own kid.

Beckham didn’t even notice that she was giving him away to me before she was insinuating herself into the bullshit.

I tipped back the beer and settled the kid more solidly on my shoulder.

He snuggled in deep, buried his face in my neck, and promptly sneezed all down my neck.

Gross.

About the Author

Lani Lynn Vale is married to the love of her life that she met in high school. She fell in love with him because he was wearing baseball pants. Ten years later they have three perfectly crazy children and a cat named Demon who likes to wake her up at ungodly times in the night. They live in the greatest state in the world, Texas. She writes contemporary and romantic suspense, and has a love for all things romance. You can find Lani in front of her computer writing away in her fictional characters world...that is until her husband and kids demand sustenance in the form of food and drink.

Visit https://lanilynnvale.com/ for more information!

Review // Fated by Rebecca Zanetti

November 06, 2021

Fated by Rebecca Zanetti

Her mind, impressive as it might be, was no match for the combination of her heart and body and their willingness to give everything she had, everything she was, to another being. To Talen.

────── ♔ ──────


Fated by Rebecca Zanetti

Fated by Rebecca Zanetti


Standalone - Dark Protectors #1
Release - March 1, 2011
Genre - Paranormal Romance / Fated Mates
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed from the library / I own the paperback
Page Count - 336
Publisher - Brava

Marry Me! Cara Paulsen does not give up easily. A scientist and a single mother, she's used to fighting for what she wants, keeping a cool head, and doing whatever it takes to protect her daughter Janie. But "whatever it takes" has never before included a shotgun wedding to a dangerous-looking stranger with an attitude problem.

Or Else! Sure, the mysterious Talen says that he's there to protect Cara and Janie. He also says that he's a three-hundred-year-old vampire. Of course, the way he touches her, Cara might actually believe he's had that long to practice. . .

Purchase Links


My Two Cents

Although I kind of dabbled before, I truly started my love affair with the Dark Protectors when I read Vampire's Faith. I read that story, fell in love with the world and characters this author created, and knew that I wanted more.

Reading about the next gen made me want to get to know the original heroes better. I went out, bought the paperbacks, and here we are!

And how could I not fall in love with Talen!

Alpha to the extreme, all he wanted to do was keep Cara and her daughter safe. Seriously, what guy puts his life on the line, dedicates his life to protecting someone he doesn't know... when it's not his job? And not only did he take on this duty, but he treated and cared for these two females as if they always belonged to his life. Janie was Cara's daughter, but now she was his. And nothing and no one was going to hurt them on his watch.

I really liked how this story evolved. Now that I know so much, it was fun to see these characters floundering. It's the start of the new war against the Kurjans and I had a blast seeing the Karys brothers unmated and fancy-free.

My only hangup was Cara. She drove me nuts! She was constantly fighting Talen for dominance and supremacy. Babe, you are not stronger or more capable than an immortal. Especially not an immortal who has been dealing with these enemies for centuries!!

"I can keep my daughter safe." Her eyes widened as he laughed. He actually laughed.


Just shut up dummy.

Overall, Fated gave me just what I was looking for — more depth, more plot, more action, more characters, more love.

Fated by Rebecca Zanetti

Excerpt

Cara shook her head, dread pooling in her stomach as Janie left with the director. A slow anger began to burn away the dread. She glared at Talen. “So talk.”
He took a deep breath. “The discovery of your daughter has ended nearly four centuries of peace between my people and the Kurjus.”
“Janie? What people? The Kurjus?”
Talen pursed his lips, a frown settling between his eyes. Shrugging, he yanked a brown contact out of one eye, then the other.
“What the—” she gasped. Luminescent gold eyes glowed like molten lava. She pushed away from the table only to have Talen grasp her wrist, flattening her hand under his.
“Stay. There’s a lot more.” He smirked and rolled her chair closer.
“This is a trick.” She glared at the impossible golden hue, the heat of his hand overpowering the coolness of the table beneath her own.
“No trick, Cara. I am a protector of the Sanguisuga race.”
“Sanguisuga? Isn’t that Latin?” She’d only taken two semesters of the language.
“Yes.”
“For what?”
His grip tightened on her wrist. “Vampire.”
Cara coughed out a laugh. “You’re a vampire?” Her gaze swung to the door. Where was Janie?
Issuing another deep sigh she started to equate with him, he smiled. Two sharp canines instantly emerged.
“Oh God.” Cara struggled to yank back her hand.
“Do I need to bite you for you to believe me?” Interest and something darker wove through him, into her. She fought to block herself from his emotions.
“No. No biting.” Her mind reeled while reality spun away. “This can’t be true.” She shook her head. “But you were out in the sun. It was early, but the sun was out.” This wasn’t happening.
“The sun only bothers the Kurjans, Cara. We’re fine with a day at the beach.”
“They’re vampires, too?”
Talen shrugged. “No. They’re monsters.” His canines retracted.
“But they have fangs and drink blood?”
“Yes.”
“And you drink blood?”
“Only in extreme situations.”
“Extreme?” This couldn’t be happening.
“During a fight or sex.” He voice lowered to the growl he’d uttered just before deepening their earlier kiss. Something skittered through her belly in response.
“Oh.” Her mind flashed, unbidden, to his fangs. And sex. Her heart thumped once. Hard. “Why?” She stopped fighting. For the moment.
“Why what?” His thumb traced heated circles on the pulse point of her wrist, his golden gaze dropping to her neck.
“Why Janie? Why do they want women with odd abilities?”
Talen ran a hand over his jaw, his eyes returning to her face. “Janie’s special. You know that. Her psychic abilities are the strongest we’ve ever seen.”
Cara straightened her spine. As fear cascaded down it. “But how do you know? How did they find her?”
Talen scowled. “Both races can sense such abilities in humans, but we need to be in close proximity to do so. We don’t know how they found Janie. It could’ve been a fluke, but I doubt it.”
“How did you find us?”
“We have sources in the Meridoze gang, we heard about the extraction plan just in time.”
Cara stamped down on the panic fighting to rise. “Your peace has ended?”
“Yes. We were at war for hundreds of years until we both suffered too many losses. A treaty was signed prohibiting any contact with humans.” Talen shrugged. “Peace lasted much longer than anyone predicted.”
Cara narrowed her eyes. “You don’t sound sorry peace is over.”
Deceptively normal canines flashed in a grin. “We were made to fight. Plus, living amongst you, yet having no contact has been difficult. We need humans.” Golden heat ran over her face.
“For blood.” Nausea rose within her.
“That too.” His voice lowered.
Everything in her stilled, and even her heart may have stopped for a second. She lacked the focus to block the feelings coming from him now. “What else?” Her voice cracked.
“Both races are born male. Only. Our mates are human. And Cara,” his voice dropped to a rumble, “you’re mine.”

About the Author

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over forty romantic suspense, dark paranormals, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Upcoming series are: The Blood Brothers, The Realm Enforcers and The Scorpius Syndrome.

Visit https://rebeccazanetti.com/ for more information!