Showing posts with label Fated Mates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fated Mates. Show all posts

Review // Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity Heaton

September 01, 2022

Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity Heaton

I will fight until I hold your heart in my hands, and I can only hope you will be gentle with the heart you now hold in yours.

────── ♔ ──────


Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity Heaton

Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity Heaton


Standalone - Eternal Mates #1
Release - November 19, 2013
Genre - Paranormal Romance
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat - 2.5 out of 5 / a few scenes that ranged from vague to somewhat descriptive
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 250 pages
Publisher - Indie

Olivia thinks it’s her lucky night when a dangerously handsome unconscious fae ends up on her inspection table. He’s her chance to redeem herself with her employer, the demon-hunting organisation, Archangel. But when the tall, dark and deadly immortal warrior awakes, she gets much more than she bargained for…

Attacked by his enemy in the elf kingdom, the last thing Prince Loren expects when he comes around is a beautiful angel watching over him and medical technology of the mortal realm. Hazy from his injuries, all he can focus on is the pulse ticking in her throat and the sweet allure of her blood.

One single bite reveals she is his eternal mate, triggering a bond between them that will leave him weakened until it is complete… or broken, and pulling Olivia into the crossfire of his ancient feud.

To protect his people and his mate from the machinations of a madman, Loren must risk everything by working with Olivia at Archangel to find a way to break the bond blossoming between them.

But will Loren be strong enough to place duty before desire and give up the one thing he has waited millennia for and craves above all others—his eternal mate? And will Olivia be able to resist the incredible heat that burns between them and the temptation of her dark prince’s kiss?

My Two Cents

3.25 "Get out of your own way" stars

As a first read from this author, I'd say it was a win.
I went in with zero expectations and enjoyed myself.
Loren was a delicious dark hero, who was a bit broken and a lot intriguing.
I wasn't a big fan of Olivia's until near the end. I just couldn't get past her referring to Loren repeatedly as a 'specimen'. Like he was beneath her and all humans in some way. He's a powerful supernatural being. It felt so wrong. At least my feelings warmed up!
I didn't like that she yelled for Loren when he was in the middle of a life-and-death battle, but not everyone has the best sense in dangerous situations.
She really should have known better though.
I was most entertained by the idea of the war between brothers. Learning that Vail wasn't who he seemed to be made me almost burst with sympathy and now I want to get to his book!
I find it incredibly hard to resist a broken hero.

Well-written and memorable, I'll definitely be trying another book from this series.

About the Author

Felicity Heaton is a New York Times, USA Today and international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons!

If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

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

Review // Truth of Dragons by Aja James

August 29, 2022

Truth of Dragons by Aja James

If there ever was a reluctant hero, Zai might be the most reluctant of them all.

────── ♔ ──────


Truth of Dragons by Aja James

Truth of Dragons by Aja James


Standalone - Dragon Tails #5
Release - October 1, 2022
Genre - Paranormal Romance / MM love / fated mates / enemies-to-lovers
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat - 5 out of 5 / several explicit scenes
Format/Source - Beta read / ARC provided by the author
Length - 361 pages
Publisher - Indie

Goodreads * Amazon (FREE with KU)

Every lore of every clan, across time and space, dreamed of dragons. Did you ever wonder why?

Erebu and Sorin fought through countless lifetimes of trials and tribulations to find one another again. They even conquered death.

But Ere’s rebirth requires a price: he must answer the Celestial Summons when it comes and faithfully complete each task the Jade Emperor sets before him.

On the bright side, he doesn’t have to perform miracles alone. Sorin will be right there with him. On the not so bright side, his Fate, the Fate of all dragon Kind, and by extension, the Universal Balance, depend on the successful execution of each quest.

No pressure.

My Two Cents

5 "Wish I could give it more stars" stars

Know what you get when you pit a liger against a Dark Hunter?

One of the hottest romance novels I have ever read!

Zai was a reluctant Hunter for the Dark Queen. Born with no name, no parents, no one to care for him, he had to make the most of what he had. His skills made him the best and yet he didn't quite fit in.

Being different was what led him to make the most important decision of his life—betray all he's ever known, throw caution to the wind, and stand up for justice.

Sin had never felt a pull this strong with anyone else across the whole of his existence. Even his lost mate. And he'd never felt it for another male. Whatever this was... it was primal at the most basic, primitive level. Every fiber of Sin's being vibrated with an instinctual recognition.

Honorable to a fault, when Zai realized that Sin was an imprisoned slave of the new Queen, he was willing to enter the lion's den, facing certain death, to free him. And Ben... sweet Ben was along for the ride. He knew that Zai was relevant to his latest mission. But how?

Long-time enemies, Sin and Zai were never meant to be. Or were they?

Sin had vowed to kill Zai. He was blind with rage, swearing vengeance. And Zai knew that all of that hate was well deserved. This man probably hated himself more than Sin ever could.

Aye, they were two of a kind. He didn't realize it could be so exhilarating to hate someone. So downright addictive. So addictive, it was starting to feel less like hate and more like... something else.

The hate was so strong until it wasn't.

What do you do when the person you're supposed to hate the most becomes the most important person in your life?

What happens when your greatest enemy becomes your greatest love?

They fought for dominance as much as they submitted to each other's strength.

I loved Ben.
Obviously.
I've loved him from the first moment he crossed the page.
Wise, precocious, sweet and funny. He reminded me of Ere, but he was wholly himself.
And the man he's turning into is only more intriguing.
And my heart hurts a little bit for whatever's in store for him.
But I'm not even really worried.
Aja James always delivers!

But this story was really about Sin and Zai. What they shared, from the bitterest battles to their all-consuming passion, was incredible to watch.
And so freaking explosive.
No one writes MM quite like this author.
The love, the understanding, the wonder of this couple, it had this beautiful synchronicity.
It was magical.


Quick Peek

There was a savagery deep within that he struggled to leash. A need for violence, to inflict the maximum amount of pain and damage upon his prey and enemies. An unquenchable thirst and hunger for blood.

But then, Anya came. She fulfilled him in ways he'd never imagined. She changed his world view.

She taught him that it was the duty of those stronger to protect the weak. She calmed the Beast within, though she never tried to tame him. With Anya at his side, his strength and power began to attract other animal spirits, and thus they formed a pride.

But ever since he'd chosen his Mate, and especially since she started carrying his young, all he wanted to do was protect his own.

His flesh and blood. His family. They embodied his heart and soul.

He feared for them every moment of every day.


About the Author

Best-selling author, Aja James, just completed the Pure/ Dark Ones paranormal-fantasy romance series in 2020. If you want your heart battered, bruised, shattered and skewered, then put back together in the most glorious ways, check out the series below. Every couple gets an HEA, but they fight like hell for it on the way.

Aja is now working on her new series, Dragon Tails, because dragons are her favorite shifters of all!

Check out Aja's expanded distribution of the Pure/ Dark Ones series on Google, Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble Books.

Visit https://aja-james.blog for more information!

Review // Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters

July 18, 2022

Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters

She's dangerous.
As much as he was drawn to her and as innocent as she seemed, he couldn't forget she'd done the impossible—awakened him and convinced him to leave the cave. He was a fierce drakon, once feared by the mightiest nations of the world, yet he was unable to walk away.

────── ♔ ──────


Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters

Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters


Standalone - Forgotten Brotherhood #5
Release - August 15, 2022
Genre - Paranormal Romance / fated mates
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat - 3.5 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - eARC provided by the publisher
Length - approx. 300 pages
Publisher - Entangled Publishing, LLC

Nothing was supposed to wake half dragon, half human Lucius from his Deep Sleep. Nothing. And yet something, or rather someone has. The unexpectedly attractive human not only touched him. She kissed him. Now Lucius is awake, and more powerful than he has ever been in his 4,000 years of existence. And once he finds out who led her to his cave, he’ll deal with his 300 years of hunger…

College professor Raine Carson spent her life obsessed with myths and legends. And now she’s woken one up. Only, Lucius is nothing like anything she’s ever seen or read about in her history books. Because this man is part sexy badass and part terrifying…monster. Yet she wants him with a hunger like nothing she’s ever felt before.

Lucius used to be part of the Forgotten Brotherhood—a ruthless group of paranormal assassins. Now he’s unsure if his former Brothers are their allies…or enemies. All he knows is that someone is hunting him, and Raine is just as tangled up in this mess as he is. And he’ll protect her—even if it means unleashing his Dragon and all of its power.

My Two Cents

4.5 "Release the Drakon" stars

There's something about the Forgotten Brotherhood series that really gets me going!

Raine is a dreamer, obsessed with myths and legends, without believing them to be true. So when she's trapped in a cave with a stone dragon, she talks to it—never expecting it to respond.

Lucius entered the Deep Sleep of his kind over 300 years ago, done with humankind and their never-ending hunt to decimate his people. He never imagined that a mere human female would be the only person to wake him up, much less be his mate.

"I have seen the seven wonders of the ancient world... You are the eighth. No, you are the wonder of wonders."

I loved just about everything about this book. From Raine's chattiness, Lucius's initial wariness and inevitable humility, the guest appearances from past characters, the action scenes, the attempts by too many people trying to tear the Brotherhood apart, and even the unresolved suspense angle that I hope continues in the next book, it was all incredibly entertaining.

I loved seeing more of Maccus. He was my first beloved hero from this author and he will always be my favorite. And with Sven making a huge appearance with a giant tease for a plot to come, I'm hoping his story is next.

About the Author

Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years.

One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first erotic romance novel and life would never be the same. N.J. has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

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

Review // Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

May 04, 2022

Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

"One last question."
“Very well, dearling.”
“Can I trust Cadeon?”
Nïx gave her a sunny smile with blank golden eyes. “As far as you can throw him.”

────── ♔ ──────


Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole


Standalone - Immortals After Dark #5
Release - May 20, 2008
Genre - Paranormal Romance / enemies-to-lovers again
Primarily Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 out of 5 / barely there... WTH?!
Format/Source - ebook borrowed from the library
Length - 384 pages
Publisher - Pocket Books


A seductive beauty he can never have. Yet can't resist...

Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought we could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

A tormented warrior she should fear, but can't deny...

Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon's wicked touch.

Surrender to dark desires...

Yet just when he earns Holly's trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can state his wildest needs--and claim his heart?

My Two Cents

3.5 "Yay for Cade, not so much for Holly" stars

I'm gonna say it now... I'm in love with this series, but I'm OVER the enemies-to-lovers trope. So freaking over it! Like can I get a break from this dynamic already?!

After learning a bit about Cade from the previous books, I thought I had him pretty much figured out. And I was wrong. He was so much more than I expected. He was craving a human female and I was really digging the taboo vibe of that. Knowing about his guilt over losing his brother's kingdom and getting the full story behind that, I was able to truly understand his motives. The fact that he had to deny himself what he truly wanted... dude really needed to catch a break.

So when other people, really bad people, are after his potential mate, he makes it the perfect excuse to get involved. And from there, this story was a lot of drama and I came to fall deeply in love with Cade.

Seriously, who doesn't love a broken hero? They are my kryptonite and Cade was in pieces. But through this journey, he was coming back to himself. He was finding himself. And I believe that Holly was a big part of that.

Why didn't I like her more? Because of the whole hate to love you thing. I'm so tired of heroines being in denial, being rude because of that denial, and when they finally own up to their feelings, I'm supposed to let it all go. No, thank you.

And now Cade's brother, the rightful king, seems to be up to something. He was kidnapped and is now free. They've got the weapon necessary to take back the throne. And yet... seems Rydstrom has other plans. Something to do with the 'evil' sorceress, Sabine. I am looking forward to finding out more about all of that.

Excerpt


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 // Myth of Dragons by Aja James

March 27, 2022

Myth of Dragons by Aja James

What kind of being could turn monsters into angels?
Ben was determined to find out.

────── ♔ ──────


Myth of Dragons by Aja James

Myth of Dragons by Aja James


Dragon Tails #4
Release - July 16, 2022
Genre - Paranormal Romance / fated mates
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / explicit and frequent
Format/Source - eARC & beta read provided by the author
Length - 340 pages
Publisher - Indie


Every lore of every clan, across time and space, dreamed of dragons. Did you ever wonder why?

Erebu and Sorin fought through countless lifetimes of trials and tribulations to find one another again. They even conquered death.

But Ere’s rebirth requires a price: he must answer the Celestial Summons when it comes and faithfully complete each task the Jade Emperor sets before him.

On the bright side, he doesn’t have to perform miracles alone. Sorin will be right there with him. One the not so bright side, his Fate, the Fate of all dragon Kind, and by extension, the Universal Balance, depend on the successful execution of each quest.

No pressure.

His fourth task is to find and retrieve the Myth of the Pale Prince. Except, this time, there’s a sudden change of players.

Location: Unknown. Time travel will be required.
Clues: Too few. But there may be faeries, changelings, and mysterious noblemen along the way.
Accompaniments: With Sorin battling unknown demons, and Ere refusing to leave his side, Benjamin volunteers to take up the quest in Ere’s stead. By his side is Annie, his best friend and blossoming fire witch. Two barely legal teenagers shouldering the fate of the world…What could go wrong?
Timing: ASAP. Determined by an arbitrary Sandglass in the Jade Emperor’s possession.

The end of the world may be just around the corner. Along the way, enemies may become lovers, lifelong friendships may form, and lots of hot, desperate, this-may-be-the-last-time-we-have-sex sex will definitely be had.

And who knows, you too may help discover the…

MYTH OF DRAGONS.

My Two Cents

5 "It could only be you" stars

Where oh where do I even begin to tell you how much I loved this story?

I think it's known how much of a fan of Aja James I am. If not, have you really missed all of my raving reviews?

Myth of Dragons had an almost whimsical and lyrical way of telling the story. It was light and airy, with elements of darkness that in no way outshone the love and joy and connection these characters shared.

She’d never wanted anyone, anything, as much as she wanted Sai. And she never would. He was her dragon, her prince. Whatever he was called, whatever he was, he was hers. And he was waiting, now, for her to claim him. So, she would.

Ever heard the myth of the Pale Prince? He was fierce and kind, lethal and loyal, tortured and generous and full of a love unlike anything he had known before. Sai was so beautiful. I could not get enough of him. And it wasn't just the way his physical form was described, which didn't hurt. It was his heart. His very soul. He was majestic and deserved someone who could be his equal and no one was meant to stand by his side more than Brigid.

This was where he belonged.
She was his home.
There would be no other for him.
Not ever.
Brigid was life.

Where Sai was ethereal and almost unreal, Brigid was everything solid. She was honest, sweet, intuitive, loving, nurturing, and possessed magic beyond anything she could imagine. Who was she? And how did she fit into the plot? And who really cared when she was awesome and only became something better when Sai was involved?

The only truth in your statements is that you are the man I want.
The dragon I love.
I only want you.
And no matter what happens, I will always love you.
My Sai.

Another task, another journey, but this time, instead of Ere and Sorin leading the charge, it was sweet Ben and Annie who took their place. Why? OMG why is Sorin not well? Why is my heart breaking right along with Ere's? Why can't these amazing characters ever catch a break? Okay, I already know that the author is going to blow me away with what she has planned for the future of these people so I'm not really worried. I'm sure it's going to be incredible. I just have to work through this pain until then!

Sorin was the sun. He was the moon and the stars and the entire cosmos all in one. Such light, strength and goodness should never be dimmed, never mind extinguished. How would the rest of them go on? How would Ere live?

Myth of Dragons by Aja James

About the Author

author Aja JamesBest-selling author, Aja James, just completed the Pure/ Dark Ones paranormal-fantasy romance series in 2020. If you want your heart battered, bruised, shattered and skewered, then put back together in the most glorious ways, check out the series below. Every couple gets an HEA, but they fight like hell for it on the way.

Aja is now working on her new series, Dragon Tails, because dragons are her favorite shifters of all!

Check out Aja's expanded distribution of the Pure/ Dark Ones series on Google, Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble Books.

Visit https://aja-james.blog/ for more information!

Review // Savage Prince by Alison Aimes

March 17, 2022

Savage Prince by Alison Aimes

He'd never sampled anything like her.
Sex, sin, and honey, all in one delicious bundle.

────── ♔ ──────


Savage Prince by Alison Aimes

Savage Prince by Alison Aimes


Standalone - Ruthless Warlords #2
Release - June 22, 2021
Genre - SciFi Romance / omegaverse / fated mates
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / frequent and filthy
Format/Source - ebook gift from Amazon
Length - 384 pages
Publisher - Orchid Publishing


He's a notorious crime lord—and he’s on the hunt for her.

Maxheim Skolov is mafia royalty. Worlds above her. Ice-cold and merciless. Driven by duty and dark secrets.

Tess is property. Expected to submit. Imprisoned by ruthless criminals determined to break her for information she can’t afford to give.

Because she’s got a secret that could change everything—and the last thing she wants is to put it in the hands of her enemies.

Except there’s something different about the heir to the Skolvo crime family that awakens long buried instincts within Tess and draws her toward the man inside the beast.

A force more dangerous than anything she’s faced to date.

So, she runs. But she won’t get far.

For mafia prince Maxheim Skolov, hunting down the rebellious, spirited female is a certainty. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her secret.

The real question is what he’ll do with her—and to her—when he catches her.

Savage Prince: A Dark Mafia Omegaverse Fated-Mates Romance is the second book in the Ruthless Warlords series. It is a scorching HOT standalone, though it is recommended to read the series in order for greatest enjoyment.

Like all the books in the series, it includes:
A ruthless alien mafia boss
An innocent heroine growing into her power
A fated bond
Plenty of hot omegaverse action
Betrayal, murder, and revenge
Serious plot twists
And an epic romance that proves love will always triumph over hate.

My Two Cents

4 "Fated Mates for the kinda sorta win" stars

I didn't like Tess, but I sure did like this story.
I couldn't get enough of Maxheim.
I enjoyed some more of the world building and what all of the characters added to the big story (even the bad guys).
I loved how dedicated Max was to his omega. Who can resist an Alpha who can be weak and vulnerable for his mate? I know I can't.

I do wish that Tess wasn't so hard to like. She fought, which I liked. I do love strong females, but she fought too hard against Max, who had already shown how much he cared and was willing to do to make her happy. What more could he really do to illustrate how great of a male he was? Why did she feel the need to keep lying, hiding, fighting, etc.? It got repetitive, hurtful, and boring, which was unexpected because this author has amazed me with everything I've read.

Not to say I wasn't still amazed. I obviously was. But this wasn't my favorite story of the series.

I really want to see what happens next. Is the Sartin female Alexi's fated mate? Will they find their twin siblings? And who is this secret saboteur who has been pulling the strings and wreaking havoc on the Brotherhood, especially my beloved Skolovs?

Savage Prince by Alison Aimes
Savage Prince by Alison Aimes
Savage Prince by Alison Aimes

Quick Tease

“It’s a dangerous world out there, especially for an omega.”
“I know it all too well.”Her chin tipped up. “I know what I am. What my omega instincts crave.”She blushed, tightening the blanket around her. “But that doesn’t mean I should be forced to bend, bow, and submit to anyone stronger.”
“I’m not just anyone.”
“No, you’re not.”She looked at him—really looked at him—and his heart beat fast. Then she ruined it by saying, “But a cage is still a cage. If I don’t try to make it out in the world, I’ll never know if I can.”
“You can’t. Even if the Brotherhood wasn’t after you.”He didn’t even bother to sugarcoat it. “We already went over this with the other omegas. Your best shot for the kind of life you want is with me.”His voice dropped. “As mine.”
Was that unfair? Yes. Did he feel bad about it? Not really. That was just the way life in Anarcheim was, and he wasn’t one to hesitate to take advantage of it.
He and his were lucky that he was one of the strong.
“The Alphas you’ve dealt with until now and I are very different, little one. Don’t make the mistake of putting us in the same category.”He let his voice soften. “I don’t want to crush your will. I like your spirit. It makes me horny to taste it on my tongue. It makes me want to fuck it right out of you, again and again.”
She bit her lip, her gaze flickering away.
He could tell his words confused her, almost as much as they excited her.
Too few had told her of her worth. He was damned well changing that immediately.
“I think you’re extraordinary, Tess.”

About the Author

Alison Aimes is the award-winning author of the sexy sci-fi romance series the Condemned as well as the sizzling contemporary romance Billionaire Bad Boys collection. A sci-fi fanatic with a PhD in Modern history, she’s an all-over-the-map kind of woman with a love for dramatic stories and great books, no matter the era. Now, she’s creating her own stories full of intrigue and passion, but always with a happy-ever-after ending. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two kids, and dog. When not in front of the computer, she can be found hanging with family and friends, hiking, trying to turn herself into a pretzel through yoga, listening to a fabulous TED talk, or, last but not least, sitting on the couch imagining her characters’ next great adventures.

Check out https://alisonaimes.com/ for more information

Review // Buried Destiny by Anne Malcom

March 10, 2022

Buried Destiny by Anne Malcom

“Just know, wolf, I love you. More than this world. I would let it all burn, let every soul on this hunk of rock die if there was a way I could have you and still remain somewhat sane. This sounds trite, but it’s the only way.” - Sophie

────── ♔ ──────


Buried Destiny by Anne Malcom

Buried Destiny by Anne Malcom


The Vein Chronicles #4
Release - February 29, 2020
Genre - Paranormal Romance
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 2 out of 5 / talked about but no 'on screen' scenes
Format/Source - borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 300 pages
Publisher - Indie


Death.
For everyone, even immortals, there is nothing after death. No takebacks, no comebacks. It's a full stop. The end of a story. The end of everything.
For Sophie, it's little more than a comma. A prelude. A footnote in her true destiny.
She was fated to die.
Many times.
To know what lay beneath in the underworld. To bring the darkness back with her.
It has been patient, that power that brought her back.
But now, it's ready.
She is ready, for her true beginning.
For the end of everyone standing in her way.
Starting with a wolf she once loved.
A vampire she once treasured.
Destiny will wait for her no longer.

My Two Cents

5 "I don't even know how" stars

How can I absolutely detest the characters and yet love them at the same time?! Isla and Sophie are over-the-top ridiculous. They take the idea of 'independent women' to another level and I got sick real quick of how repetitive they were with it about 3 books ago. And yet... I can't get enough of these women!

I would still have loved to have heard from Thorne. This man... he puts up with so much... he's amazing and deserves more time to shine.

And then there's Connall. This male... this poor broken male... this male who wouldn't lose hope or faith or love for the woman who kept trying to kill him... this male who believed that he could fight and win against destiny... he was incredible and I love him so freaking much!

Even Conall wasn’t strong enough to save her from herself. From the things that weren’t her at all.


So Sophie came back from the dead. After digging her way out of her coffin, she came back not quite Sophie. She brought back company and the darkness that filled her was determined to destroy and kill everyone and everything. Why? Only Sophie really knows.

“If I die one more time, I will come back as nothing like I was before,” she whispered, too cowardly to look the wolf in the eye. “I am certain of it. Even if we win, even if the best comes to pass, my death will be final. It must be final. You must make a vow.”
“I cannot,” he said without hesitation.
“I will not be myself. I will be the dark parts of me. The dark parts of them.” She shuddered, as even now they spoke to her. His grip was blissfully tight around her arms.
“You will be my moon. Even if you are a dark moon. Even if you are more murder and madness, you will still be my witch. Even if I’m forced to fight against you for the rest of my existence, I will do so rather than bury you in a grave once more. That is the only vow I’ll give you.” Sophie’s eyes watered and she chastised herself for such weakness. For such cliché womanness, turning into a puddle with words from a man. Granted, their love was anything but cliché, and a werewolf promising to fight a dark witch for eternity rather than lose her wasn’t something that they put on a Hallmark card, but still. Even if she had come from the darkest side of the dark side, she still had a reputation to uphold. Conall cupped her cheek. “You can ask a lot of me, my moon. But not that. You will never ask me to breathe in a world you are not in. Even if you must torment me, torment this world. I will take an eternity of your torment rather than your absence.”

She killed Scott. You know, the guy who didn't hurt anyone, the guy who risked it all to care for them, that guy. She killed him. And his death, his undeserved and pointless death... not even a footnote. No justice. And I'm sorry, but nothing Sophie did redeemed her. Hello?! She was willing and wanting to kill Nyx, daughter of Isla and Thorne. How does anyone forgive that?

Okay, so Isla was still a heartless cow. Having a child didn't really change her, although she obviously had a deep and abiding love for her husband and daughter. But to expect her to make a complete 180 isn't realistic and I appreciated that the author didn't do that.

All my caring was taken up with my husband and child. I was pretty tapped out. Emotions, for me, were finite. I was done having to get upset when someone I cared about died, so I was rationing my feelings.


Connall was a male who didn't know how to give up, determined to save his mate, even if it cost him his life. And don't forget, before Sophie died, they were fighting over his omission about being the rightful king of werewolves.

“I had no plans of taking the crown back,” he continued. “Even after I met you and recognized you as my mate. I didn’t feel worthy of the crown. Of you. And that’s why I didn’t tell you. I was ashamed of what a coward I had been. I know that witches do not mate as we do. Your loyalty, your love, it is not infinite. It is conditional. And I did not want to lose it, so I lied. Because I would rather live a lie with you than ever have to face the truth without you.”


Then there's Sophie, who was cowardly and brave and couldn't decide or figure out who she was or could be. She was afraid of what was in her, but willing to embrace it if it saved her from having to choose or decide or make a stand. I hated her weakness that she covered up with sass. Why couldn't these women just be real?

“You’re wrong,” she whispered. “Witches may not have the same weird blood as werewolves, I may not grow fur and howl at the moon, but I do have a mate. My loyalty to you is infinite and it will not change, even if everything else does.” She said this as a promise, as an oath, even as she was haunted with a future that would prove her wrong.


So yeah, as strongly as I felt, as amazing as this story shaped up to be, I give this all the stars. Anything that has me loving and hating and screaming and laughing has to be worth it!

Check out these other reviews from the series:

Book One - Fatal Harmony
Book Two - Deathless
Book 2.5 - Faults in Fate
Book Three - Eternity's Awakening


About the Author

Anne Malcom has been an avid reader since before she can remember, her mother responsible for her book addiction. It started with magical journeys into the world of Hogwarts and Middle Earth, then as she grew up her reading tastes grew with her. Her obsession with books and romance novels in particular gave Anne the opportunity to find another passion, writing. Finding writing about alpha males and happily ever afters more fun than reading about them, Anne is not about to stop any time soon.

Check out http://annemalcomauthor.com/ for more information

Review // Wish of Dragons by Aja James

December 28, 2021

Wish of Dragons by Aja James

He wanted that one.
Kai had never entertained such a thought across all his substantial existence.
It was extremely specific, startling, stubborn, and incontrovertible.
Undeniable.
Mine.

────── ♔ ──────


Wish of Dragons by Aja James

Wish of Dragons by Aja James


Dragon Tails #3
Release - TBA
Genre - Paranormal Romance / fated mates / Valkyries and dragons
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / plenty of action
Format/Source - eARC provided by the author
Length - 240?
Publisher - Indie

Every lore of every clan, across time and space, dreamed of dragons. Did you ever wonder why?

Erebu and Sorin fought through countless lifetimes of trials and tribulations to find one another again. They even conquered death.

But Ere’s rebirth requires a price: he must answer the Celestial Summons when it comes and faithfully complete each task the Jade Emperor sets before him.

On the bright side, he doesn’t have to perform miracles alone. Sorin will be right there with him. One the not so bright side, his Fate, the Fate of all dragon Kind, and by extension, the Universal Balance, depend on the successful execution of each quest.

No pressure.

His third task is find and retrieve the Wish of Wonders.

Find Wish of Dragons here:

Goodreads


My Two Cents

5 "I am forever changed" stars!!

After meeting and experiencing Kai, I'll never be the same.

This book's mission took our heroes to the edge of worlds. There were vikings, trolls, giants and sprinklings of the mighty Odin and the whimsical Freya. It was fantastical, mythical, and almost ethereal magic.

And for all the wonder that was mixed into this story, I can't help but be completely in awe of all the greatness that was put into Kai.

There's just something too sweet to resist about a taciturn, brooding, broken, monster of a man (see Sorin). And Kai... He had the enchanting one-word and grunt seduction of Natalie down to a science. Yup, here I am, enamored by a man who barely spoke a word!

While I would never dream of sharing a man (and would definitely cut a b!tch if she thought we could), I'm fine with sharing Kai with Eir. She was not a sweet heroine looking for a daring rescue. She was a Valkyrie, a caller of death, and if rescuing was going to be done, she'd be a part of it. She went from cold to scorching over Kai and I absolutely loved how she finally found her heart through him.

...her warrior was different. First, because he was not average in any sense of the word. He was a hero among heroes, a god among men. Second, he was hers.

Okay, so back to Kai. My heart kept breaking for this man. Born to fight gods, he was a brother to Ere, but after the war was won, when Ere was reborn as a Pure One, Kai was kept prisoner. He was a weapon and nothing more. He had no real freedom and couldn't form real relationships. I loved how he and Ere and Sorin reconnected here. It was not only hilarious (thanks again, Ere), it was sweet and well deserved.

I'm saying it again... This author is a marvel at creating eerily beautiful worlds and stunningly beautiful characters.

They came together in a fury of mouths, tongues, teeth and limbs. Grabbing, clawing, sucking, biting. They hungered for each other, so they feasted. They thirsted for each other, so they drank their fill. They ached and longed and craved, so they inhaled, consumed and tore into each other with the wildness and abandon of animals in heat. But also with the intensity and passion of long-lost soulmates, coming back together as one.

And while I could expound on my great love for Kai, I don't want to encourage any of you to try to steal him from me. So just know that he is the epitome of the best you can find in a hero, love him from afar, and love this story whenever you read it. Because you really need to read it!

Wish of Dragons by Aja James

About the Author

Aja James just completed the Pure/ Dark Ones paranormal-fantasy romance series in 2020. If you want your heart battered, bruised, shattered and skewered, then put back together in the most glorious ways, check out the series below. Every couple gets an HEA, but they fight like hell for it on the way.

Aja is now working on her new series, Dragon Tails, because dragons are her favorite shifters of all!

Visit https://aja-james.blog/ for more information!

Review // Song of Dragons by Aja James

December 21, 2021

Song of Dragons by Aja James

She'd never seen anything as majestic, magnetic, and erotic as Andros the centaur.

────── ♔ ──────


Song of Dragons by Aja James

Song of Dragons by Aja James


Dragon Tails #2
Release - December 24, 2021
Genre - Paranormal Romance / fated mates/ mythology / lgbt rep
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / so many exquisite scenes
Format/Source - eARC provided by NetGalley
Length - at least 200 pages
Publisher - Indie

Every lore of every clan, across time and space, dreamed of dragons. Did you ever wonder why?

Erebu and Sorin fought through countless lifetimes of trials and tribulations to find one another again. They even conquered death.

But Ere’s rebirth requires a price: he must answer the Celestial Summons when it comes and faithfully complete each task the Jade Emperor sets before him.

On the bright side, he doesn’t have to perform miracles alone. Sorin will be right there with him. One the not so bright side, his Fate, the Fate of all dragon Kind, and by extension, the Universal Balance, depend on the successful execution of each quest.

No pressure.

His second task is find and retrieve the Song of Destiny.

Location: Unknown. Time travel will be required.
Clues: Too few. But there may be a few harpies, a centaur, a giant Chinese Tibetan Mastiff and other mythical monsters along the way.
Accompaniments: His beloved Sorin (who is all he needs!) A spoiled, vain, high maintenance she-dragon (who he doesn't need). But whose enchantment spells have their uses from time to time.
Timing: ASAP. Determined by an arbitrary Sandglass in the Jade Emperor’s possession.

The end of the world may be just around the corner. Along the way, enemies may become lovers, reluctant friendships may form, and lots of hot, desperate, this-may-be-the-last-time-we-have-sex sex will definitely be had.

And who knows, you too may fall under the enchantment of…

SONG OF DRAGONS.

You can find Song of Dragons here:

Goodreads * Amazon


My Two Cents

5 "I'm gonna suffer some major withdrawal" stars

I honestly don't know where to begin.

I've been telling everyone since the beginning that this writer is a genius. From the characters, the plot, the intermingling of worlds, the mythology, the history, the intricate details that make the big picture... I CANNOT GET ENOUGH!!

It all happens in ancient Greece, during a time when myth and legend were real and fundamental. I had so much fun with the rich world the author created and found myself desperate not to finish this story.

First of all, there's more Ere and Sorin. Anyone who is anyone has gotta love these guys. Ere is always a guaranteed hoot, no exception. And Sorin, with his stoicism and silent support, is always perfection. Together, these men make my day each and every time!

Then we get the task, which is hilarious when I know I should be taking things seriously. From the vagueness of the mission to the elusive hourglass, I'm over here giggling my tail off.

At first, I didn't think I'd like Divina, which would suck because she'd be the first heroine I couldn't stand. She came off very superficial and flighty and it was an ordeal to try to take her seriously. However, I quickly learned there was so much more brewing beneath her surface. As a celestial dragon, she never really had to feel or suffer or long for anything. Then she meets Andros and her whole world, shoot everything she believed in, came crashing down. And who could really blame her? Andros was everything!!!!!

“I do want you. You must know that I do. I can’t stop touching you when you’re near. I can’t look away. I can barely think. I’ve never wanted anything or anyone as much as I want you. And that just…” She trailed off and gulped a breath before continuing in a whisper, “It scares me. I don’t know how to handle it.”

Speaking of Andros... this male had so much going for him. Gorgeous looks, long beautiful hair, luminous purple eyes... and HE WAS A FREAKING CENTAUR!! I wasn't sure how these two were gonna get busy, but the author solved that dilemma right quick and it was so effing hot. I mean 'oh lawd my virgin eyes' kinda hot. Yes, these two had me feeling like a born-again blushing virgin for all that they had going on and I loved it!! What won me over from the start though was his heart. He was such a kind, thoughtful, sweet soul who only wanted someone to call his own. For someone to know him. To love him as he would love them. He only wanted Divina.

“I am not afraid to hurt for you,”he repeated low, his manhood throbbing against her swollen, needy core in time with her own heartbeat and pulse. “I know you do not accept me fully. I know you are not mine the way I am yours. I will never ask you to give something you cannot. I only want you to be brave enough to hurt for me too.”
Her breath froze on a wet hitch as she stared into his clear, violet eyes. Suddenly, he smiled. An aching, sensual smile that made her heart skip a couple of beats, then ratchet back up in a thundering gallop. “Be brave when you claim me, my woman. I promise you I am worth it.”

Seriously, if you can't tell by all of my exclamation points, take my silly advice and start reading these books. If you love paranormal romance, mythology, the best heroes in the game, their equally to-die-for heroines, and stories that will keep you guessing, shrieking, sighing, fanning yourself, and definitely paying attention... GET TO READING!!

She’d never have enough. They moved together in a primal dance older than time. Bodies slicked with sweat. Scents fused; breaths combined. When she came at last, pulling him into the vortex with her, it was a soft, trembling, full-bodied surrender. Filled with quiet sighs and deep exhales. Worshipful. Reverent. And finally, a dragon who had been loved by many, but who never fell herself, understood what it was to give all of her being to another. Mind, body, heart and soul.

Song of Dragons by Aja James

Excerpt

“I don’t think he’s the kind of male who can just have sex and walk away,”she said softly in that small, guilty voice.
“I think he wants more. I don’t think I can give him what he wants.”
“Why not?”
“You don’t even know me or you wouldn’t ask!”
“That’s why I’m asking.”“I’m just…I’m just not the type of woman who commits to one man!”
“No need to shout at me.”
“I’m not!”
“My bleeding, tender eardrums beg to differ. You’re speaking with exclamation marks.”
Divina took a steadying, fortifying breath, her mouth flattening into a thin line.
She looked pissed. Ere approved of this look more than the blotchy, red-faced blubbering.
“You’re not very nice,”she noticed.
“Neither are you.”
At this, she stumbled and gaped at him.
“I’m the nicest person in the world! Everyone loves me! I make people happy! I love my babies—
”Ere snorted.
“You didn’t make the centaur stud happy.”
That made her retreat into stuttering.
“I-I-”
“And maybe you bestow all that gushy goodness and effusive affection on all your creatures and everyone around you because you’re addicted to the affection and attention you get in return.”
“W-What—”
“There’s a word for it. It’s called narcissism. Or, wait, maybe it’s HPD. Histrionic Personality Disorder.”

About the Author

Aja James just completed the Pure/ Dark Ones paranormal-fantasy romance series in 2020. If you want your heart battered, bruised, shattered and skewered, then put back together in the most glorious ways, check out the series below. Every couple gets an HEA, but they fight like hell for it on the way.

Aja is now working on her new series, Dragon Tails, because dragons are her favorite shifters of all!

Visit https://aja-james.blog/ for more information!

Review // Dream of Dragons by Aja James

December 15, 2021

Dream of Dragons by Aja James

He was her treasure.
She'd lay claim to him every chance she got.
If she could tattoo the words "property of Rui" on his forehead, she would.

────── ♔ ──────


Dream of Dragons by Aja James

Dream of Dragons by Aja James


Dragon Tails #1
Release - September 3, 2021
Genre - Paranormal Romance / mythology / MM romance
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Length - 322 pages
Publisher - Indie

Every lore of every clan, across time and space, dreamed of dragons. Did you ever wonder why?

Erebu and Sorin fought through countless lifetimes of trials and tribulations to find one another again. They even conquered death.

But Ere’s rebirth requires a price: he must answer the Celestial Summons when it comes and faithfully complete each task the Jade Emperor sets before him.

On the bright side, he doesn’t have to perform miracles alone. Sorin will be right there with him. One the not so bright side, his Fate, the Fate of all dragon Kind, and by extension, the Universal Balance, depend on the successful execution of each quest.

No pressure.

His first task is find and retrieve the Jewel of Dreams.

Location: Unknown. Time travel will be required.
Clues: Too few. But there may be a dragon-slayer, a king, a wizard, and a few mythical monsters along the way.
Accompaniments: His beloved Sorin (who is all he needs!) A humorless, anti-social female dragon (who he doesn’t need). Though her kickass fighting skills do come in handy in a pinch.
Timing: ASAP. Determined by an arbitrary Sandglass in the Jade Emperor’s possession.

The end of the world may be just around the corner. Along the way, enemies may become lovers, reluctant friendships may form, and lots of hot, desperate, this-may-be-the-last-time-we-have-sex sex will definitely be had.

And who knows, you may never want to wake up from this…

Find your copy of Dream of Dragons here:

Goodreads * Amazon


Dream of Dragons by Aja James

My Two Cents

5 "Are you even surprised?" stars

I don't know how it's done, but I am completely in awe of everything Aja James created here.

I thought I was prepared. After the wondrous and life-changing experience of reading the Pure/Dark Ones series, I thought I knew what I was getting into.

I was wrong!

Getting to be with my beloved Erebu, my sweetest taboo, was just icing on the deliciousness that was this story. He and Sorin will always have my attention!

If you love retellings as much as I do, you're going to love this story. Actually, even if you don't care for them, you'll love this story. We're taken on a journey to Camelot to meet those who were believed to be mythical creations. There's King Arthur, Lancelot, Modred, Gawain, Morgan, and even Queen Guinevere. But nothing is as it seems and the way the author wove this tale... seeing is believing.

I am truly in love with the way this author blends mythology with legend and present truths and pop culture. She takes readers on a path that is both cerebral and emotional. And seriously, how can my emotions not be all over the place with everything she gifts us?

Meeting the celestial dragon, Rui, and watching her come to life and find her greatest treasure, Wolfe, was another uniquely beautiful experience like all the others I've been given by James. Each love story feels like the best wrapped present and seeing Rui find her humanity, witnessing her embrace everything that comes out of love, was extremely satisfying.

... as if her eyes had a mind of their own, they practically stretched out of their sockets to turn her head so she could sneak another glance at the warrior male.
Bright, citrine eyes met hers directly.
Shit.

Once again, I highlighted probably more than half the book, but sharing those would reveal way too many spoilers. I will say that I always wanted to know more about Tristan and I finally got to!! His back story was such a surprise and I was so happy to get those original glimpses of him. I still want to know how Ayelet came into the picture for him, how they realized they were fated mates, etc... But I'm just so happy with what I got that I'm willing to let those unanswered questions go... for now.

About the Author

Aja James just completed the Pure/ Dark Ones paranormal-fantasy romance series in 2020. If you want your heart battered, bruised, shattered and skewered, then put back together in the most glorious ways, check out the series below. Every couple gets an HEA, but they fight like hell for it on the way.

Aja is now working on her new series, Dragon Tails, because dragons are her favorite shifters of all!

Visit https://aja-james.blog/ 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