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THE DARKEST CAPTIVE – A Gena Showalter Review

AH Finally Legion’s story! Now this was a precarious tale. Once a hellion a demoness extraordinaire, Legion is now a sheltered woman. A stint of torture in hell is bound to make any woman afraid of the outside world; and Legion has literally been to hell and back. She thought she had love for Aeron, another Lord, but his heart lies elsewhere. Now alone and frightened of the future, Legion is determined to fight her way back to the strong independent woman she was. There’s just one pesky former-villian that keeps trying to win her over; and she can’t stop thinking about him.

Galen is an frenemy to the Lords. As the keeper of two demons, he’s got a lot going on in his head at one time. Nothing can keep him from his goals, and he means NOTHING. He’s one determined man and he’s determined to win Legion. Don’t let the warrior exterior fool you; this villain turned dark hero will do anything to free Legion from her own personal shackles and help her overcome her past traumas. All while laying her enemies and deepest desires at her feet. Prepare to re-evaluate every thought you had about Galen in the previous LOTU books, he’ll win you over.

For new readers, this may be a hard book to follow as a LOT of the story deals with previous characters and events that’ve been happening for years in this series. But for longtime fans of the LOTU series, The Darkest Captive is a sweet blissful taste of the world and the happenings of other characters. Not every villain turned seemingly good guy gets a story and Galen’s is every bit as action packed and sexy as any fully fleshed out Lord’s novel. A sexy addition to the Lords and some hints at just what might be coming next!


The demon possessed beast wants his beauty back, and he’ll do anything to win her. Even war with a god king.

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Gena Showalter, comes THE DARKEST CAPTIVE, a new novella in her addictive bestselling Lords of the Underworld Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter comes a new story in her Lords of the Underworld series…

For centuries, Galen the Treacherous has been the most hated immortal in the Underworld. With good reason! This bad boy of bad boys has lied, stolen, cheated and killed with abandon. Possessed by the demons of Jealousy and False Hope, he has always lived for a single purpose: destroy everything.

Then he met her.

Former demon turned human femme fatale — Legion Honey — sought to kill Galen, but ended up parting with her virginity instead. Afraid of their sizzling connection, she ran away…and ended up trapped in hell, tortured and abused in the worst of ways. Now she’s free, and a shell of herself, afraid of her own shadow.

Galen’s hunger for Legion has only grown. Now the warrior with nothing to lose must help her rekindle the fire that once burned inside her. But as desires blaze white-hot, will Legion run again? Or will the unlikely pair succumb to love at long last?

Grab your copy of THE DARKEST CAPTIVE today!

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Gena Showalter’s THE DARKEST CAPTIVE – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

December 5thBooknerd1107 – Review & Excerpt

Diane’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Kaidans Seduction – Review & Excerpt

NallaReads – Review & Excerpt

Read more sleep less – Review& Excerpt

Under the Covers Book Blog – Review

December 6thBout-a-Book blog – Review

Busy Bumble Bee Book Reviews – Review

Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Milky Way of Books – Review

Rantings of a Reading Addict – Review & Excerpt

That Transylvanian Chick Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

December 7thBinding Addiction – Review & Excerpt

Ilovebooksandstuffblog – Review & Excerpt

Kick Back & Review – Review & Excerpt

Reading in Pajamas – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Rebels – Review & Excerpt

December 8thCanadian Book Addict – Review & Excerpt

Dreamer’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Family, Books and Food – Excerpt

Lo’s Lo-Down on Books – Excerpt

Nerdy Chic – Review & Excerpt

Sip read love – Review

December 9th3 Degrees of Fiction – Review

NC 2 DC – Review & Excerpt

I Smell Sheep – Review & Excerpt

Mythical Books – Excerpt

The Book Branch – Excerpt

December 10thA Book Nerd, a Bookseller and a Bibliophile – Review & Excerpt

Angela’s Opinion – Review & Excerpt

Declarations of a Fangirl – Review & Excerpt

Nerdy Dirty & Flirty – Review & Excerpt

PNR Book Lover Reviews – Review

Rainy Thursdays – Review & Excerpt

December 11thCinta Garcia de la Rosa – Excerpt

Echoing Books – Excerpt

Feel the Book – Excerpt

Ginreads – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Readers – Review

Smut Book Junkie Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

December 12thBook Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt

Cupcakesandbookshelves – Excerpt

Little Shop of Readers – Review & Excerpt

Ms. Me28 – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Ruby’s Books – Review & Excerpt

Shirley Cuypers – Review

December 13thAll Things Dark & Dirty – Review & Excerpt

Avephoenix Naughty Readings – Excerpt

Book Addict – Excerpt

PBC – Excerpt

Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt

December 14thBeneath The Covers – Review & Excerpt

Book Nook Nuts – Review & Excerpt

Clare & Lou’s Mad About Books – Review & Excerpt

My Book Filled Life –Review & Excerpt

Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt

Shahla’s World – Review

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt


About Gena Showalter:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, she’s been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours–and her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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THE DARKEST CAPTIVE – A Gena Showalter Excerpt Reveal

The demon possessed beast wants his beauty back, and he’ll do anything to win her. Even war with a god king.

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Gena Showalter, comes THE DARKEST CAPTIVE, a new novella in her addictive bestselling Lords of the Underworld Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today!

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter comes a new story in her Lords of the Underworld series…

For centuries, Galen the Treacherous has been the most hated immortal in the Underworld. With good reason! This bad boy of bad boys has lied, stolen, cheated and killed with abandon. Possessed by the demons of Jealousy and False Hope, he has always lived for a single purpose: destroy everything.

Then he met her.

Former demon turned human femme fatale — Legion Honey — sought to kill Galen, but ended up parting with her virginity instead. Afraid of their sizzling connection, she ran away…and ended up trapped in hell, tortured and abused in the worst of ways. Now she’s free, and a shell of herself, afraid of her own shadow.

Galen’s hunger for Legion has only grown. Now the warrior with nothing to lose must help her rekindle the fire that once burned inside her. But as desires blaze white-hot, will Legion run again? Or will the unlikely pair succumb to love at long last?

Grab your copy of THE DARKEST CAPTIVE today!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon AU

Download the Free Kindle App

Excerpt TDCGSER.png

Dear Legion,

First, thanks tons for going into hiding outside the mortal world. I got to hunt you down big, bad wolf style—my favorite kind of hunting. Even better, you shacked up in an ancient realm without Wi-Fi. Now I get to communicate with you via robo-pigeons. Yay for me. BTW, the birds are “priceless,” and weren’t built to help me “score” with my “adult-boyhood crush” blah, blah, blah, so please don’t destroy the mechanical flock in a fit of pique.

Decorating hack: repurpose the robo-pigeons as knickknacks to create a steampunk vibe. Not so I can watch you through the eye-cams. (Wink.)

Second, it’s sometimes impossible to judge someone’s tone in a letter. Since I’m anti-misunderstandings, I’d like to clear things up right from the start. TONE: dry as a desert mixed with a dash of frothing-at-the-mouth rage.

Clear as crystal? Or mud?

Third, I refuse to call you “Honey,” the name your friends are using. Babycakes, I’m not your friend, I’m your potential obsession. And, to be brutally honest about the matter, I’d rather call you Sugar Tits McGyna while having my wings ripped from my back (again) than refer to you as “Honey.” A name you like only because you hate the girl you used to be. News flash: I like the old Legion. (Leggie. Legs. <– I’m trying out new nicknames for you. Did we just find a winner?) The old you gifted me with your virginity in a bar bathroom five minutes after meeting me. Or was it four? I always forget. What’s not to like about that?

Sure, you only slept with me so you could savagely murder me after I got you off, thereby protecting Aeron, the man you truly desired. And yeah, okay, I probably deserve a couple dozen more murder attempts because I later abducted your pregnant friend in an unethical-ish power play. But every couple has their issues, right?

I’m willing to attend a counseling sesh with you. Can you say the same? Please?

FYI, my crew is on stand-by, ready to kidnap abduct borrow a world-renowned shrink at a moment’s notice. All I need from you is a yes.

Lastly, I know you’ve been to hell and back—literally. I know you were hurt and abused in the worst ways. TONE: soft as a damn feather. I’m sorry for everything you’ve endured. If you really want to hurt the ones who hurt you, embrace happiness. Don’t let the past ruin your future.

Please, give me a chance to get to know the new you. A chance to help you heal, if I can. I think about you constantly, dream about you every night, and crave you every second of every day.

Yours forever,

 


About Gena Showalter:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, she’s been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours–and her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

BURN BRIGHT – A Patricia Briggs Reviews

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I love taking a break from traditional romance to visit the wonderful world of Patricia Briggs. Charles and Anna, a spin-off world of the Mercy Thompson world, have solidified themselves as the Marrok’s most dependable within the wolf pack. As one of two Omegas in existence, Anna’s spent time as a commodity in this series. I loved that Burn Bright gave us a lot more insight to Charles and even his own father, Bran the Marrok.

As Bran is out of town and has left Charles in charge of the pack, a mysterious phone call from the wildlings (outcast or “broken” wolves) sets the pack in a panic. As more bodies are discovered and a plot begins to reveal itself from inside the pack, Briggs does a fantastic job of making readers second guess every character they’ve either loved or hated. Anna does have her moment with pushing the mystery narrative when she helps a dissociated wolf. Beautifully written, the way Anna breaks through mental and physical barriers with her Omega side is something powerful to read.

Briggs had me second guesses throughout the whole novel! Watching our Alpha and Omega try to save their pack was like peaking in to a world I could never imagine. Anna and Charles connection is so ingrained and strong. Their instincts are sharp and o point when it comes to one another that watching them investigate or even fight an enemy is like watching a beautiful dance. Another stellar chapter to the shifter world of Patricia Briggs!


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In her bestselling Alpha and Omega series, Patricia Briggs “spins tales of werewolves, coyote shifters, and magic and, my, does she do it well” (USATODAY.com). Now mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other–one that lurks too close to home…

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

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89549 Patricia is the #1 New York Times best selling author of the Mercy Thompson series and has written twenty four novels to date; she is currently writing novel number twenty five. She has short stories in several anthologies, as well as a series of comic books and graphic novels based on her Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Patty began her career writing traditional high fantasy novels in 1993, and shifted gears in 2006 to write urban fantasy. Moon Called was the first of her signature series about Mercy; the non-stop adventure left readers wanting more and word of this exciting new urban fantasy series about a shape-shifting mechanic spread quickly. The series has continued to grow in popularity with the release of each book. Patty also writes the Alpha and Omega series, which are set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson novels; what began as a novella expanded into a full new series, all of which debuted on the NY Times bestsellers list as well.

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BABY I’M HOWLIN FOR YOU – A Christine Warren Double Review & Chapter Reveal

If I thought that my love for supernatural romances had waned..I was so wrong! Christine Warren is back with a new spin-off series to her infamous Others romances, Alphaville. A quaint, pacific northwestern town where shifters of all kinds gather. The outcasts, the lonely, the downtrodden and the forgotten are all welcomed.

Renny’s on the run, literally. She’s being chased by a pack of coyotes who are out for blood and her haven is Alphaville. The whispered about town were cast-outs can seek refuge is just within her grasp when the attack on her hits. Or so she thinks. She’s landed on another wolf’s territory and he doesn’t take kindly to attacks on his property.  Say hello to sexy alpha wolf Mick. He can’t deny the bond between himself and the she-wolf the moment he sets eyes on her. And when he learns of her tragic story and her barely-there escapes from the clutches of a mad-coyote shifter, his instincts kick in.

Supernatural romances have such a base quality to them. The animal instincts of the shifters allows for a more guttural and visceral reaction when it comes to hero and heroine. And there’s something about that that I love so much. Not only does this new series have some seriously sexy mating scenes (WHEW!), there is non-stop action. From the moment Renny’s paws hit MIck’s territory down to the battle against her coyote stalker there’s a thrilling pace made to keep readers intrigued. Supernatural romance lovers add this one to your TBR lists now!

 

BONUS! I also had the chance to review the sweet little novella Something to Howl About! A lovely little introduction to the Others and Alphaville worlds!

Annie has landed in Alphaville not only for her talents in genetic science but as a chance for her to redeem herself with her pack back on the east coast. Help the town’s brown bear population and she can earn favor back home. One small, or rather LARGE, hitch….Jonas Browning. The brown bear shifter turns out to be none other than Annie’s mate..and as most bears would have it, he’s a grouch.

Sparks fly and tensions rise as Jonas has to battle his beliefs about bear shifters and mating with his reaction to scientist Annie Cryder. I quick romance to get you back in the groove of the supernatural world from Christine Warren!


Baby Im Howling for You cover.jpgBABY, I’M HOWLING FOR YOU:

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.

Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…

Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?

Something to Howl About coverSOMETHING TO HOWL ABOUT:WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps, in a brand-new paranormal romance series from New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren.

Dr. Annie Cryer has been called many things: Genius. Child prodigy. Scientific wonder.

Wolf Shifter.

Banished from her pack years ago, Annie’s lone wolf wandering has brought her to Alpha, Washington, home to all shifters who don’t quite fit in in the “normal” shifter word. Now Annie has the chance to go back home…if only she can make good on a favor her alpha owes the mayor of “Alphaville.” But it’s not much of a favor when you’re helping the hottest shifter in town…

Grizzly shifter Jonas Browning has a clan in trouble. They haven’t had a child born in over a hundred years…and their clan faces going completely extinct. Genetic scientist Anne Cryer has been sent to help save them. But what Jonas doesn’t count on is being irresistibly drawn to the small wolf shifter, and his bear isn’t about to let her go…

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SOMETHING TO HOWL ABOUT:

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BABY, I’M HOWLING FOR YOU

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Chapter One

The valiant old Nissan ran out of gas thirteen miles short of her destination. Renny would ponder the irony of that number some other time. Right now, she needed to run, and run fast.

She jumped from the car the minute it stopped moving, abandoning the vehicle on the shoulder of the two-lane highway. Before she reached the tree line, she was already tearing off her shirt, ignoring the chilly bite of the pre-spring March air. She threw the garment aside and immediately reached for the button of her jeans. She continued to hop forward as she struggled out of the confining denim, but the minute that last restriction fell away, she shifted.

Fur replaced skin, arms became forelegs. Between desperate breaths, humanity slid away, and in the place of the panicked woman, a sleek red wolf began to weave through the trunks of the trees.

Her claws dug through the lingering patches of wet, heavy snow and soft leaf litter to the soil of the forest floor, flinging small clumps of mud into the air in her wake. She needed to put as much distance as she could between herself and her pursuers. She might not have seen them on her tail from the highway, but it wouldn’t take much longer. They were the reason she hadn’t been able to stop for gas for the last couple of hours. They’d already chased her across two state lines and more than five hundred miles, and that was just this time. Somehow, she couldn’t picture them giving up now.

She didn’t bother to think about what she’d left behind on the roadside. If the pack caught up to her, it wouldn’t matter whether or not someone ransacked her car and stole all of her worldly possessions. She didn’t think she’d need a good book or many changes of clothes in the afterlife.

If there was such a thing. Frankly, Renny wasn’t all that anxious to find out.

Keeping her head down and her feet moving, she continued to track north and west from the roadside, calling up the map in her head to guide her in the right direction. The last road sign she’d seen had put the Snoqualmie Pass about twenty-five miles northwest by the highway. Heading directly north instead should put the town center of her destination somewhere in that thirteen-mile range, so she had to keep running. Just a little farther.

Alphaville, or die trying.

The town of Alpha, Washington, had shimmered like a mirage on her horizon for years now. As a pup, she’d heard stories—everyone heard stories—of the northwestern town founded and run by shifters as a haven for those of their kind with nowhere else to go. Wolves driven from their packs, bears with injuries and scars inflicted by careless hunters, lions who couldn’t control their shifts, leopards who needed to change their spots—they all went to Alpha, and they all, eventually, got better.

Surely a town like that could provide a safe haven to one small wolf with a teensy-tiny little stalker problem. Right?

Please, Goddess, let her be right.

Renny’s ears swiveled back and forth as she ran, their extra-large proportions helping to catch and funnel in the sounds of pursuit. And damn it, she thought she heard the first indications of it already. They’d found the car, and even if the muddy snow weren’t perfect for holding tracks, they knew she would have fled into the forest. That was what wolves did, after all.

She poured on another burst of speed, paws barely seeming to skim the cold ground as she flew toward sanctuary. Or what she prayed was sanctuary, anyway. If she was wrong, she wouldn’t live to regret it.

The first staccato bark confirmed her fears. One of her pursuers had picked up her scent trail and was alerting the others to the location. Now it was only a matter of time before they found her. All she could do was run and pray she made it to safety before they all caught up.

If just one came at her, she could handle it. In a fight between a lone wolf and a single coyote, the wolf almost always won, even a smaller and lighter red wolf like her. Which was why Geoffrey had sent five of them after her. No way could she beat those odds. Five trained male enforcers of any species against little ol’ her? She’d need to be a polar bear to survive that.

Branches snapped behind her, urging Renny to move even faster. If the coyotes on her tail weren’t worried about making noise, then they wouldn’t bother choosing a clear path to follow her. They’d plow through anything to take the straightest line right to her. Clearly, her nemesis had instructed them not to mess around anymore.

A sharp yip of anticipation gave her a single instant of warning, and that will to survive made her dip her shoulder and twist into a sharp right turn. She dove into the underbrush, ignoring the clumps of snow that plopped onto her head and the way the thorns ripped through her thick fur to scrape at the skin beneath. She could warm up and lick her wounds later, when she was safe.

If she managed to save herself at all.

The unexpected maneuver may have gained her a few inches of distance between herself and the lead coyote, but that didn’t last. She could feel the enforcers closing in again, harrying her as if she were some kind of prey animal, like a wounded deer on the way to becoming the pack’s next meal.

The comparison fit way too close for comfort.

She tried to calculate how far she’d traveled in the last frantic minutes, but all she could do was guess. Running flat out, she could probably manage thirty-five miles an hour, but she couldn’t keep it up for more than a few minutes. Already, burning muscles and oxygen-starved lungs begged her to drop down to something more reasonable. So where had her panicked flight left her in relation to shifter Shangri-la?

Not fricking close enough. If she was lucky, she’d covered eight of the thirteen miles between her and safety. Nine, if the Goddess happened to be looking out for her. It wasn’t nearly enough.

Then something changed.

A new smell cut through the atmosphere of pine needles and wet soil, rocks and wildlife. Something heavier, muskier. Male. Wolfish. Alpha. The realization almost made her slide to a terrified halt.

Shit. She’d just stumbled into someone else’s territory—another shifter’s, by the scent of it—and that could be either good for her or very, very bad. A wolf shifter might take her side against a pack of coyote goons, or he might decide to kill her himself for trespassing on his territory. There was no way to tell.

Maybe now would be a good time to dedicate herself to serving the Goddess and a life of prayer?

She sent one up, hastily but earnestly begging the Moon and all Her Sisters for a miracle. Something, anything to get her out of the reach of the coyotes, who would drag her back to Sawmill, California, and her death at Geoffrey Hilliard’s brutal hands.

Zigzagging through the underbrush, Renny spotted a pinpoint of light in the distance and made a beeline for it. Maybe the prayer had worked, and the light represented the town of Alpha, or at least its outskirts. Town meant people, and a town like Alpha meant people capable of holding off a small band of coyote enforcers long enough for her to beg for help.

It meant a spark of hope.

She called up the last of her reserves of strength and flew toward the light, but the attack came so fast, she didn’t even have time to second-guess that whole prayer strategy. She’d gotten too busy bleeding.

She yelped as a set of fangs sliced into the back of her hind leg.

The pain jolted through her, but her attacker had missed the big tendons, so at least she didn’t fall or lose the use of her limb. That would have ended things fast. But Renny could keep moving, for the moment. So she did.

Stubborn, desperate determination welled up within her. Damn it, she had not lived this long, come this far, or run this hard to let herself be caught now. She refused.

With a frantic yip, she leapt forward toward the clear pool of moonlight she could see through the branches. The beckoning light reflected off a patch of snow dead ahead, just a few hundred yards away. If she could get there, this would be over. One way or another. She’d have reached safety or not, and in either event, she’d be out of options.

She broke out from a thicket of salal bushes, almost blinded by the glare of moonlight off the lingering puddles of white snow, but it didn’t slow her down. She didn’t need to see to know she had to keep moving.

Run or die.

Heart pounding, lungs burning, muscles screaming, Renny raced ahead, no chance to take a breath, no chance to scream, no chance to think. She just focused on that light as it flickered closer.

Almost there.

Almost—

He hit her from the side this time, a cannonball of momentum that knocked Renny clean off her feet and sent her skidding through the detritus of slush, twigs, and leaves covering the forest floor. The shock left her dazed, but she still recognized the stink of him. Bryce. Geoffrey’s beta and one of his closest friends.

And almost as evil as the alpha coyote himself.

She scrambled for purchase, trying to halt her slide and get her feet back under her before the other four caught up to them. If she let them surround her, it was over. She had to keep them off her back.

Bryce snarled at her, lips curling back to expose fangs that dripped with anticipation. At least she knew he was anticipating her death, not her rape and then death, as Geoffrey would. Bryce wanted only her blood, and in the heat of the moment, she suddenly wondered whether he’d bother following his leader’s orders. Tearing her throat out himself would bring the big coyote a lot more personal satisfaction than hauling her ass back south and watching while his alpha did the honors after a day or two at Geoffrey’s mercy. Bryce had performed the hunt, now his beast would want the kill.

He positioned himself between her and the light she’d tried so desperately to reach. He held his head low and forward, his hackles raised as he stared her down with his malicious yellow gaze. He was waiting for her to move, knowing she was already injured, knowing that if he remained patient long enough, either she’d come at him and expose herself to a counterattack or his buddies would reach them. Five against one would see her dead or captured in the space of a heartbeat.

Renny didn’t like either of those options.

Her ear flicked backward, catching the sound of the others gaining on them. She had seconds, if that, to find a way out of this. It wasn’t as though she had much choice. The only way open to her was up.

She crouched down, mirroring the coyote’s attack posture, but she didn’t bother going for his throat. She knew that even if she managed to take him down, the others would be on her before he started bleeding. She wouldn’t get out of this by fighting. She had to take a leap of faith, literally.

Powerful muscles coiled and released with a shocking force, launching Renny into the air and toward her enemy, but she hadn’t aimed for him. She’d aimed for the space over his head, behind him, and she’d almost cleared Bryce’s tail before he realized what she was doing. He jumped up, teeth flashing, and caught her in the side, slashing a deep, bloody furrow over her ribs.

She screamed, the sound emerging from her canine throat as a sort of high-pitched howling yelp, but she didn’t bother to assess the damage. She just ran straight toward the light.

Behind her, Bryce gave a yip-howl of rage and frustration and leapt after her. She could practically feel his hot breath stirring the hairs at the tip of her tail, and that only made her run faster.

She’d broken through another stand of trees before she realized that the distant light she’d prayed was the outskirts of Alpha wasn’t quite so distant, and it wasn’t anything like her long-sought sanctuary. The light shone from a single spotlight mounted in the apex of the peaked roof of a lone, otherwise darkened cabin.

A cabin that smelled so strongly of wolf, she was surprised the siding hadn’t sprouted fur.

Her heart barely had time to sink before a distinctive metallic rasp caught her attention. The sound was almost immediately followed by the sharp, echoing report of gunfire.

Bryce yowled, and suddenly Renny couldn’t sense him at her back. She chanced a look over her shoulder and saw the coyote spin on his heels, making a diving retreat into the cover of the trees. Drops of blood sprayed the snow and mud behind him.

In front of her, a tall figure stood on the porch of the cabin, almost hidden in shadows. The stock of a rifle remained braced on his shoulder, his head bent toward the barrel as he sighted for another shot.

Huh. After all these days of running and fearing her death might be just around the corner, Renny had never even considered the end might hit with the impact of a bullet. Who’d have thought?

Her paws stumbled over the uneven ground at the edge of the cabin’s yard, and she felt her knees buckle. Her hind leg throbbed in time to her racing heartbeat, and the gash in her side felt like a burning stripe of fire. She could feel blood streaming from both wounds and thought it almost didn’t matter if the man fired again. A bullet in the head sounded like the better choice when compared with bleeding to death in front of a stranger, and either was preferable to what Geoffrey planned to do to her.

That was her last (semi-)coherent thought.

She folded like a cheap card table, collapsing onto the wet ground with a low grunt. Her head bounced once before darkness claimed her, and in that last dizzy moment, she could have sworn she heard another wolf growling.

It sounded a lot as though he’d just muttered, “Shit.”

* * *

Sitting alone in the light of the dying fire, Mick decided he made a damned pathetic sight. Here he sat, home alone on yet another Friday night, nursing a warming beer and trying to keep his mind clear of old, familiar memories. So far, he was failing miserably.

He swallowed more warm, bitter liquid and stared into the glowing coals in his living room hearth. Nights like these, when spring had begun to stir and his latest project was packed off to his publisher, sleep became sadly elusive, and he found himself right here on his battered sofa, trying not to think.

Actually, he could have slept if he’d tried, he admitted. He just didn’t make the effort. Sleeping opened the door to dreaming, and lately every dream led back to the same place. His wolf seized control and steered them straight back to their dead mate. It wasn’t what Mick would call restful.

Fuck. It had happened more than eight years ago, he reminded himself. You’d think he’d be over it, that he’d have done his mourning, let go of the past, and settled into his new life here in Alpha.

But you’d be wrong.

Maybe the eight years was the problem. Few wolves survived losing a mate as suddenly and traumatically as Mick had. Most followed the other half of themselves into the darkness and never had to endure the passing of time. He still didn’t know why he hadn’t, but after all these years, he wondered if his wolf was maybe coming unhinged from the loneliness.

He snorted, disgusted with himself. One more sleepless night and look at him—he was getting fucking maudlin. Maybe it wasn’t loneliness at all, maybe he was just losing his damned mind.

A scream of canine pain hit him like a sucker punch to the back of his head.

Mick jumped to his feet, his hand already reaching for his rifle before his mind could grasp what was bothering him. He’d lived out here in these woods long enough to have become used to the sounds they made at all hours of the day and night. He could tell a gust of wind from the rustle of the underbrush, the step of a buck deer from the footfalls of the rare moose calf.

He also knew which of the locals had the balls to run and hunt on his property in the middle of the night, and none of them had given him a heads-up about their presence. Which meant that somewhere outside his small house, he had some uninvited guests.

Cursing under his breath, Mick almost put down the rifle and flung open his door bare-handed. If the teenagers of Alpha were daring one another to play chase in his woods again, a bullet would probably be overkill. Most of them were so scared of him, he wouldn’t even have to raise his voice to send them scattering like frightened bunnies. Seeing a gun in his hand might make the little shits pass out, and then it could be hours before they got the hell off his property. Besides, that scream had indicated someone was injured. He couldn’t shoot a wounded kid, no matter how much they’d pissed him off.

A distinctive bark-howl cut off that line of thinking and had his fingers tightening around the barrel of the weapon. He recognized that sound, as out of place as it was, and it had the hair on the back of his neck standing on end. That was a coyote calling his pack to the hunt. Last time he’d checked, they didn’t have any coyotes in Alpha, let alone a pack of them. So what the hell were they doing in his woods?

He shifted his grip on the rifle and checked through the front window before opening the door and stepping out onto his unlit front porch. The room behind him remained illuminated only by the fire, but something had triggered the motion sensors that activated the spotlight near the roof. It shone onto the hard-packed dirt of the drive, but the glow managed to extend a little way across the scattered islands of lingering snow toward the edge of the woods to his right.

Mick faced that way and peered into the darkness. At first, he couldn’t see worth a damn, but his eyes adjusted quickly and his ears were already picking up the sounds of flight and pursuit through the dense northwestern forest. Two more short, sharp cries answered the first bark-howl, followed by a third and a fourth. Definitely a pack, or at least a hunting party. But what were they doing here, in Alpha, on his land?

And what the hell were they hunting?

He got his answer an instant later. A sleek, fur-covered form launched itself from the trees into the cleared area around the cabin. Reflex had the rifle to his shoulder, but instinct kept him from pulling the trigger.

The calls he’d already heard had him thinking coyote, and if the animal hadn’t landed near enough to the edge of the light, he might have kept thinking it. But something about that shape bothered him.

It looked on the large size for a ’yote, maybe seventy or seventy-five pounds, and sturdy as much as lithe, too substantial for the average coyote. Its ears seemed out of proportion to its skull, too large for the breadth of it. Then the light caught its fur, and he could see the russet coloring around its ears and neck, a rusty shade that seemed to darken to near black along its spine. That same rich red also decorated its flank near the site of a bloody tear in the muscle.

That was no coyote. It was a wolf, or a hybrid at best, half wolf and half coyote. He should recognize one when he saw it. Instinct had him drawing in a breath, and the scent cleared up his confusion. His yard had been invaded by another wolf shifter, a red wolf, he realized, and she was badly injured.

His supposition was confirmed when another shape crashed into the yard, this one lighter and leaner, looking almost delicate when he compared it with the wounded shape. This one was pure coyote shaped, and the dark, wet stains around its muzzle identified it as the cause of the female wolf’s injuries.

He squeezed the trigger almost before the reality finished registering and felt the rifle’s stock nudge back into his shoulder. The bullet grazed the side of the coyote’s shoulder, making it yelp in pain and surprise. Its head swung around, yellow gaze fixing on him for an instant before it turned tail and dove back into the cover of the trees.

Mick waited for a minute to see if any of the others in the hunting party felt like trying their luck to get to the she-wolf. Driven by the instinct to kill or mate, a regular coyote might press its luck, but a shifter would think twice. When no other animals appeared, he slowly lowered his gun and stepped down into the yard.

The female was unconscious, but her sides still heaved as if she’d been running a marathon. The sharp aroma of blood hit him first, and he knew from the way it almost overwhelmed her natural scent that she was losing a dangerous amount of it.

He also knew from one more deep inhalation that he’d been correct in identifying her species. She was more than a rare red wolf; she was a red wolf shifter, and she was in serious trouble.

“Shit.”

He muttered the word even as he crouched down beside her, setting his rifle near his feet within easy grabbing distance. A swift rake of his gaze took in her condition—good muscle tone, healthy size, but clearly exhausted—as well as the extent of her wounds. In addition to the gash he’d noticed on her rear leg, he could see blood saturating the cream-colored fur of her belly where her side pressed against the ground.

He rolled her gently over and muttered an even stronger curse. The wound on her flank had looked ragged and bloody, but the damage to her side made it seem like a love bite.

Fangs had torn deep under her fur and opened a laceration almost as long as his forearm. It extended from just behind her shoulder, across her rib cage, and nearly to her groin. The ugly slash had been ripped open by her exertions and it continued to bleed heavily under the layer of mud and debris that now clung to the surface. Shifter or not, it looked deep enough to need stitches.

Damn it, he’d have to make a phone call.

But first things first.

He scooped the limp wolf into his arms, catching his rifle in his fingers as he rose. She flopped in his hold like a sack of grain, but he’d hauled heavier burdens on one shoulder, so the weight didn’t bother him. What bothered him was her stillness and the way she didn’t even twitch when he lifted her.

It took just a minute or two to carry her into the cabin and kick the door closed behind them. After depositing her on his sofa, he returned immediately to bolt the door and engage the security system he’d installed the first day he’d moved in. If those coyotes decided to try for her again, Mick wanted some advanced warning.

Secured inside, he strode into the hall to grab a stack of clean towels from the closet. On the way, he snagged his cell phone from the coffee table and dialed a familiar number.

“What?”

Mick ignored the annoyed tone of the greeting, filled his arms with terry cloth, and returned to the sofa. “I need you out at my place. Now.”

Zeke Buchanan muttered something foul under his breath. “It’s fucking three o’clock in the morning, asshole, and I’m not on duty. Call the office.”

“I’ve got an injured shifter in my living room, and I just shot the coyote who was trying to kill her. Only grazed him, but it sounded like he had friends, and I don’t know how determined they might be. Get out here. And send an ambulance.”

He didn’t bother to listen while Zeke swore again. The snap and rustle of fabric and the squeak of mattress springs told him what he needed to know. The sheriff’s deputy would be here as soon as he got some pants on. In the meantime, Mick needed to stop the she-wolf on his sofa from bleeding to death until help arrived.

His knees hit the floor, his hands reaching to press a folded towel to the more severe of her wounds, when the air around her wavered and fell out of focus. While he blinked, the figure of a wolf blurred and shifted, leaving a petite, naked, and badly injured woman passed out in his living room.

A very attractive naked woman.

Shit.

He told himself to avert his eyes, but damned if the damage hadn’t already been done. His man and wolf had already both sat up and taken notice. He could almost feel the twitch of a whiskered black nose in the back of his head as the beast pushed itself forward to take in her scent.

She smelled amazing. Under the sweet coppery note of her blood, he could detect notes of citrus and green leaves and something deeper and spicier that simply reminded him of home. He hadn’t smelled anything like it in more than eight years, not since—

He cut that speculation off at the knees—not boarding that train of thought, thanks—and made himself focus on assessing the female’s wounds.

Her change of shape had jump-started her shifter ability to heal quickly, but it would take more than one trip from fur to skin to close a wound as serious as the one on her side. The ragged gash now covered a swath of milky skin from just to the side of a pretty, pink-tipped breast, all along her torso to the crease between her hip and thigh on the right-hand side.

Dirt still clung to the torn and bloody flesh, which Mick almost found a relief. It helped pull his attention away from all the uninjured bits he could see and focus it where it needed to be—on helping her, not ogling her.

Gritting his teeth and fixing his gaze on the injury, Mick pressed a towel hard against her ribs with one hand and used the other to tuck more towels under her opposite hip where he’d seen the less serious laceration. Her weight should provide the necessary pressure to stop the bleeding on that side, but he had to lean into the deeper wound. Thank fuck she remained unconscious, because if she’d been awake, she’d probably have been screaming from the pain.

He lost track of time while he knelt there applying pressure and waiting for help to arrive. Even if Zeke floored it all the way from town, it was at least a ten-minute drive out to Mick’s place, which left way too much time for him to get a good, long look at his uninvited guest.

It made him feel like a pervert, staring at her while she remained completely out of it, but he couldn’t help himself. Something about her drew his gaze like a magnet, and he really wished his subconscious weren’t so anxious to needle him about what it was.

Her wolf looked like Beth.

A corner of his mind gave thanks that she had shifted back to her skin, because it cut the resemblance considerably, but when he’d first seen her burst out of the forest, he’d thought for one wild, insane second that his mate had come back from the dead. It had nearly stopped his heart.

The two animals had the same delicate build, the same pointed muzzles, the same creamy coloring on their chests. Beth had been a little taller, a little more muscular, but she’d been mistaken for a red wolf more than a few times in her shifted life. She hadn’t been just a hybrid—half gray wolf like him, half coyote like her father—but her looks in her furred form bore a strong resemblance to the woman who had almost died tonight in his front yard.

That was an image he had never wanted to see again—a woman bloody and broken, torn apart, and left for him to find. He’d left that nightmare behind him, buried it in California before he’d moved north and settled here in Alpha. Not even the devil himself had the power to drag him back to the town where he’d been born. Not on the coldest day in hell.

A pounding fist shook his front door in the frame, jerking Mick back to the present. His wolf sprang to attention, ready to tear out the throats of any coyote who tried to get inside his home. It took a second for him to realize that it had been long enough for Zeke to have arrived. He opened his mouth to call for his friend to come in, then remembered how he’d double-locked the door as a precaution. He’d have to go open it himself.

A quick check at the underside of the towel revealed way too much red soaked into the cotton, but the active bleeding appeared to have slowed to a trickle. At least it looked safe enough for Mick to step away for the seconds it took to disarm the alarm system and flip a couple of locks.

Zeke pushed inside almost before Mick released the dead bolt, and the aggressive move ripped a snarl from his wolf before he managed to get hold of himself. He’d known who was on the other side of the door from both the knock and the smell, but the night’s events had riled up his beast, and the wolf didn’t like another male forcing his way into its den, even if he’d been invited.

Mick smacked the animal down and stepped back to let the other man enter. “C’mon in.”

Zeke grunted and moved aside to reveal a second, much smaller form standing behind him. Molly Buchanan smiled and waved with one hand. In the other, she carried a large plastic case like her brother’s favorite tackle box, only this one was bright yellow and had a big red cross emblazoned on the lid.

“Hey, Mick,” she chirped, bouncing on her toes as if it weren’t the middle of the night and she hadn’t been dragged from her bed minutes ago to come racing out into the woods. “You called for the cavalry?”

Mick supposed that, as an EMT, racing places in the middle of the night wasn’t so odd an experience for Molly. He waved her inside. She might not be in an ambulance, but she rode in one most other nights. She’d be able to help the she-wolf.

Molly stepped inside while her brother laid a hand on Mick’s shoulder and squeezed.

“Okay,” Zeke grumbled. “Why don’t you tell me exactly what the hell is going on? Injured shifters? Coyotes? And you shot one of them? What the fuck, Mick?”

“Yeah, Mick. What the fuck?”

The third figure to appear in his front door caused the greatest surprise. John Jaeger had dropped by Mick’s house on precisely two previous occasions. The first had been a thinly veiled evaluation when he’d first arrived in town. As mayor of Alpha, Jaeger took his duty to protect and manage his town seriously. To have a new, lone wolf move in but refuse all attempts from the locals to integrate him into their community had raised an alarm for the mountain lion shifter. He had wanted to ensure that Mick didn’t intend to make trouble.

The second visit had been harder to anticipate but infinitely more entertaining. Jaeger had dropped by to return a pair of boxer briefs he had found in his truck bed after the woman he’d been seeing had borrowed the vehicle to “move some furniture.” The only thing that had gotten moved were the bodies in the bed of the pickup when she’d invited Mick out for a moonlit picnic. The boxers came with an offer to let Mick keep the woman, too, but as it turned out, neither he nor the mayor had much keeping in mind for the woman in question. They had all gone their separate ways, and the two men had never spoken of the incident again.

“Jaeger.” The growl rumbled up in Mick’s throat before he could stop it. Adrenaline still rode him enough that his beast was expressing its displeasure at both the man’s unexpected appearance in his territory and the deputy’s belligerent manner. “What are you doing here?”

The man lifted an eyebrow and jerked a thumb toward the woods behind him. “Zeke told me you had some trouble out here tonight. Something about injured strangers, coyotes, and bullets. I came to make sure it wasn’t the kind of ruckus that called for shovels.”

“Not yet.”

Molly cleared her throat loudly. “Um, not to inconvenience anyone, but I heard someone was bleeding around here. Would any of you big, strong men like to point me in that direction before the patient runs out of the red stuff? You know, if it’s no trouble.”

The lioness might be a head shorter than the smallest male in the room, but such an insignificant detail never had done much to hinder that smart mouth of hers. Mick gritted his teeth and swallowed another rumble of displeasure. His wolf seemed ready to go on a tear.

Of shifters’ throats.

“She’s in here.” He turned on his heel and led Molly and the others into the living room.

The lioness strode to the sofa and crouched in the same spot where Mick had been kneeling. In seconds, she had her fingers on the woman’s pulse and her kit open on the floor beside her. She nodded to herself, then snapped on a pair of bright blue gloves before she briskly and competently began to examine the unconscious woman’s side.

“Her temp’s a little low, but it’s cold out tonight, so I imagine that will come up on its own. That last snowfall just won’t go away, will it? The wounds look messy and painful, but not life-threatening,” Molly proclaimed, poking gingerly at the lacerated tissue. “Not for a shifter, anyway. I can clean it up and bandage it, but it should heal on its own.”

Mick scowled. “No stitches?”

“You know stitches just piss shifters off. They itch like crazy, and they pull at all sorts of weird angles when we try to shift. Bandages are better.”

She didn’t bother to look up, just reached for a bottle of clear liquid and a handful of gauze. She began irrigating the wound, washing away the mud and debris that had contaminated it when the wolf collapsed. Her calm manner and sure movements seemed to calm Mick’s wolf, and he felt himself take his first deep breath in what felt like hours. It had probably been less than twenty minutes.

Jaeger shifted his weight and stepped forward, peering over Mick’s shoulder at the injured woman. “Who is she?”

Mick shrugged one shoulder, the movement still short and tense. “No idea. She just showed up in the yard, bleeding like a butcher’s hog, and keeled over. Didn’t stop to exchange pleasantries.”

“And at what point did you find yourself shooting at strange coyotes?”

“When one of them came after her with her blood on his jaw and a few friends at his back.”

The mayor looked grim. “You sure you hit him?”

“I saw blood in the snow, and it wasn’t all hers. He yelped, too. I figure I at least grazed him.”

“It was a male?”

“The one I saw was. I didn’t see any others, but I could hear them coming through the woods. They must have backed off when they heard the gunshot.”

Zeke didn’t look up from the small pad where he’d been jotting down notes. “They were definitely shifters, not regular coyotes?”

“Like I said, I only saw the one, but I got a look at his eyes, and I got a whiff of him. He was Other, which means his buddies probably were, too.”

Jaeger agreed. “Most likely. We’ve got our share of coyotes in this state, but not many in the area around Alpha. They know they can’t compete with the bigger predators we have roaming these woods, so they tend to give us a pretty wide berth.”

“Right.” Zeke snapped his notebook shut and shoved it into a pocket. “I’m going to take a look around outside while Molly bandages up the victim. I’ll need to ask her a hell of a lot of questions, but they can wait till she’s conscious.”

“You’ll get better answers that way,” Jaeger said, mouth curving.

The lion shifter shot the mayor the bird on his way out the front door. The other man just chuckled, then turned back to Mick. “So.” He rocked back on his heels and hooked his thumbs into the front pockets of his jeans. “It’s three thirty in the morning, you have an unconscious and wounded female on your sofa, an EMT patching her up, a deputy nosing around your property, and a mayor in your living room who’d be willing to consider performing several illegal acts for a good hit of caffeine. Ideas?”

Mick rolled his eyes. “I’ll make coffee.”

He spun around and stalked toward the kitchen, Jaeger hot on his heels. What else was there to do? Molly was treating the she-wolf, Zeke was playing cop, and his wolf had no intention of letting him sleep anytime soon. Not with that intriguingly scented female currently passed out in his living room.

Might as well drink a pot of coffee. He’d take it black, like his mood at having all these uninvited guests in his den. So much for his wolf feeling lonely.

Copyright © 2018 by Christine Warren in Baby, I’m Howling For You and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.


AUTHOR BIO:

Christine B&W.jpgCHRISTINE WARREN is the bestselling author of The Others series, including Wolf at the Door, Big Bad Wolf, Born to Be Wild, Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here, and Black Magic Woman. Born and raised in coastal New England, she now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. (She completely bypassed those states in the middle due to her phobia of being landlocked). When not writing, she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.

Social Links:

Twitter – @ChristineWarren

Facebook– @ChristineWarren

Author Website

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THE WICKED VAMPIRE – A Kate Baxter Review

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Oh my…it has been quite some time since a supernatural romance has hit the pages with THIS much steam! Kate Baxter’s latest vampire/berserker romance will have you begging for more of Ewan and Sasha.

Sasha’s had a bit of a wild streak. The vampire she loved has found his mate. Now that he’s returned and taken back the coven, she’s got time on her hands and stress to burn. When supernatural clubs become boring, her friend leads her to a dark world vampires never dare to enter. But this dangerous path leads her to a future she NEVER would have considered.

Ewan has spent centuries under the thumb of the berserker clan’s leader and he’s tired of trading one pair of shackles for another. To release his anger and make some cash to escape, he’s been fighting in an underworld underground fight club…trick is it’s to the death and he’s currently undefeated. His focus is unwavering until a spitfire little vampire walks in to the club and sets his sense ablaze.

Their chemistry is hot, their tempers hotter, and when they get down and dirty…oh my…you’ll wanna read this in a very air-conditioned room. And if two hot-headed immortals isn’t enough to strike your fancy….well vampires and berserkers are mortal enemies so this is just a Romeo & Juliet with more fangs and claws. Throw in some demons who are not too pleased that Ewan is winning fight after fight and this is one story you CAN’T put down!


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Kate Baxter does vampires like no other and is swiftly taking the paranormal world by storm. Readers won’t want to miss THE WICKED VAMPIRE. In the thrilling sixth book in Baxter’s Last True Vampire series, forces of love and death come face to face for the ultimate showdown.

He was one of the most feared creatures in the supernatural world, and yet, she was drawn to him unlike any other. His scent ignited her thirst. The sight of him drove her mad with want…

Sasha Ivanov was born to be wild. A vampire party girl, she stalks the L.A. clubs at night. Dancing. Drinking. Indulging her darkest appetites. Never sated, she’s always looking for more: more danger, more excitement, more blood. But when she enters a supernatural fight club—and is tethered to her mortal enemy—Sasha realizes she’s playing the most dangerous game of all…

Ewan Brún was born to kill vampires. A powerful berserker and unbeaten champion, he doesn’t need a weapon to be deadly. He is the weapon. But when his soul becomes captive to the most beautiful vampire he’s ever seen, he is all but powerless. He cannot resist Sasha—and cannot fight his desires. Is their love strong enough to defeat the gathering forces of darkness that threatens to destroy them both?

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CONNECT WITH KATE

8446648.jpg Kate Baxter is a die-hard romantic with a thing for Shakespeare. She lives in the great northwest where she hides away to write about all things fanged, furry, and undead.

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VAMPIRE FIGHT CLUB – A Larissa Ione Review

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I forgot how much I liked the Demonica series until I read this novella! A steamy introduction to Ione’s world of vampires, demons, and shifters, Vampire Fight Club does not disappoint. As Vladlena is dealing with her issues shifting, a fact that could lead her to death, she finds out that her brother has been killed in what seems to be an underground fight club for non-humans and those of the underworld.

Nate has managed to run a successful vampire club for years, and with an illegal business in the basement run by a man he despises, he feels he’s getting to the end of his tolerance. When a shy new shifter comes in as his new medic, Nate can’t help the pull he feels towards Vladlena; the first real feeling he’s had since his mate died decades ago. Vladlena needs to find out the truth about this club but Nate can’t be the horrible vampire she believes.

With obstacles you’d never expected and a double twist ending this novella makes for another quick supernatural romance for any to enjoy!


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When a wave of violence that hits too close to home forces shapeshifter and underworld nurse Vladlena Paskelkov to go undercover, her first stop is a haven of vice—with a dangerously sexy vamp in charge . . .

Legendary, jaded, Nathan Sabine is the manager of Thirst, a wildly popular vampire club—and secret underground blood arena. But Nathan, a rare daywalker, possesses other, even more explosive secrets, as does his beautiful new medic, Vladlena. The one thing they can’t conceal is the lust that simmers between them . . .

Now, in an underworld divided by revelry and violence, debauchery and vengeance, Nate and Lena will discover which risks are worth taking—and which desires demand surrender . . .

Vampire Fight Club was previously published in the Supernatural anthology. It falls in the Demonica series as book 5.5, and it is also the prequel to Base Instincts.

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 About Larissa Ione:

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Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

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HARD BREAKER – A Christine Warren Review & Chapter Reveal

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The finale to the Gargoyles series has arrived! With kick-ass females and their supernatural men here to literally save the world.

Ivy’s grown up hearing tales of the Light and the Darkness from her uncle and cousin. Her family is a long line of those who fight the evil Darkness called The Guild. She never thought much of her gift, the ability to hear events as they happen miles away from her. But hearing the gruesome death of her uncle and cousin launches her call to action to rid the world of the Darkness.

Now on the run and helping any Guild members left alive to escape she comes across an ambush that almost ends her life. Until Baen, her own fearsome Guardian steps in and banishes them without a second thought. With the shock of a Guardian right before her eyes, Ivy has to determine what’s true and who she can trust. Legend tells of a secret about the Wardens she never knew and it seems the legend may be about her.

As our wardens from past novels come together we learn the final plan of the Nocturnis. Hard Breaker is a non-stop action romance that culminates all the past stories into one final epic battle. There are glimpses into past couples as they help Baen and Ivy come to terms with the world’s new truth. And a final character comes in to play to help the Wardens and the Guardians fight true evil in a battle of epic proportions. I loved this story so much and I don’t want to spoil any of it for you!This may be a tale of magic beyond anything I’ve read lately but it’s written in a way so believably perfect.

If you love the supernatural, romance, bad-ass heroines, heroes who respect their females, a world of mystical powers and secrets then this series, and this finale, is the one for you!


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From New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren comes Hard Breaker, the sixth book in her Gargoyles series where even the most beastly gargoyle is able to win the heart of a beautiful human female.

Ivy Beckett ‘s gift feels more like a curse. She can hear things happening in distant locations, which is how she knows the very instant her family is killed by servants of the Darkness. Furious, she joins the fight to save the world – but the losses are mounting up. She thinks only a miracle can save them—but she doesn’t expect the miracle to come in the form of a handsome gargoyle.

Baen is a fearsome Guardian, but when he awakes, even his surprised by war that is going on. But what’s even more distracting is beautiful Ivy. Driven by passion, she’s ready to charge head-first into battle. But Baen’s primal instincts to protect what’s his rise within him, and Ivy is dangerously attracted to him. Can she and her gargoyle warrior save the world…and fall in love?

“Soars with fun, witty characters and nonstop action.”Publishers Weekly on Stone Cold Lover

Don’t miss the other books in the Gargoyle series:

Book #1: Heart of Stone
Book #2: Stone Cold Lover
Book #3: Hard as a Rock
Book #4: Rocked by Love
Book #5: Hard to Handle

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Ivy felt a surge of satisfaction. Well, adrenaline, really, but whatever.

“Perfect.” She got to her feet and pitched her voice back to where it could just be overheard— significantly louder, but still natural. Also, a bit wheedling. “Let’s get out of here, Marty. You promised me dinner in a proper restaurant, not a pub, and I’m abso famished.”

Martin rose awkwardly, sending their glasses to wobbling again. “Lead on, then, darling. Wherever you like.”

She forced a giggle. She hated to giggle. “Oh, you’re such a pudding. But now I’ve got to decide. Hm, Judy told me about this café . . .”

Her mouth continued to babble, spewing nonsense she pulled off the top of her head as she led the way through the crowd— steering well clear of Teddy and his mates— and out the front door. Turning onto the pavement, she kept up the patter until they had stepped well away from the pub en route to the tube station. Even then, though she let the inane drivel dry up, she continued to clasp Martin’s hand in hers and lean into him. They  hadn’t been the only ones to leave the pub and the streets continued to bustle with both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. It was important to keep up appearances all the way through this journey.

“Okay, stage two,” she said softly as they strode toward the Underground station. “I have a bag at Left Luggage in King’s Cross that  we’ll need to pick up. It has more information you’ll need to look over for your time with Paul, some snacks, and cash and new identification for you hidden in the lining. I’ll show you where.  We’re on the last train to night, but we should have plenty of time to make it, so don’t worry about that.”

He nodded, but his gaze was glued to the pavement in front of them. Poor guy really didn’t have the right temperament for all this cloak- and- dagger stuff. But then again, she  hadn’t thought she did,  either, and look at her now— practically an expert, and armed on top of it.

Under her anorak and tight jeans, a custom- made dagger rode in a sheath at the small of her back. And oddly enough, she knew how to use it. Over the last several months, she  hadn’t had much choice but to learn,  until  these days, it felt so comfortable, she almost forgot it was  there.

Until moments like this, that is, when the hair on the back of her neck began to stand up and her senses put her on high alert.

“Bollocks,” she muttered. Faking another giggle, she turned playfully into Martin’s side and pretended to bury her face in his shoulder. In reality, she used the opportunity to take a look at the area behind them. She had felt confident that  there had been no nocturnis in the pub with them who might try to follow, but she should have paid a bit more attention to Teddy and his band of happy hooligans. Three of them had exited the bar  after Ivy and Martin and now trailed sixty or seventy feet behind them.

Normally, Ivy would have considered such an event no more than a slight bother, but something about their posture niggled at the back of her mind. The aggression she would have expected, but for some reason their stance struck her as more menacing than it ought to be.

Damn it, they  didn’t have time for this shit. Or even if they did, Ivy just  didn’t have the patience. Even worse, she knew they  were coming up on the narrow cross street they would have to traverse to get to the tube. S he’d researched the route. The cross street was largely home to a few small businesses that would have closed down by six  o’clock, a  couple of daytime shops, at least one vacant building, and a church that had been abandoned a few years ago due to lack of funds available to repair a roof with more holes than tiles remaining. It was a quiet block, and quiet meant fewer  people, which meant more opportunity for Teddy et al to try something stupid.

“What’s wrong?” Martin asked nervously as she turned back and casually picked up the pace of their walk. “What’s the matter? Is it nocturnis? Have they found me?”

The last question emerged on a squeak, and Ivy winced. She laughed loudly to cover up his blunder. “Oh, you!” she cried, then lowered her voice. “No, Martin. And you need to stay calm. How about you tell me more about yourself? What’s your main talent? I  don’t think you told me that.”

By talent, she was referring to the magical ability that made up the most basic requirement of becoming a Warden. All members of the Guild needed to possess a talent— demonstrate the ability to wield magic—in order to be considered for admission. With luck, Martin’s would have some utility in a fight.

“What? Talent? Oh, er, I’m a dowser. Water dowser. Why?”

Oh, yeah,  because a nice, deep aquifer was just what they needed right now.

“No reason,” she gritted out, fingers itching for the hilt of her knife. “No reason at all.”

Which was when she glanced over her shoulder and saw a dark shadow coalesce around Teddy and his friends. A shadow that swirled and twisted and then seemed to dis appear. Inside the three men.

Shit.

“What is it? What’s wrong.”

There went the panic again, creeping back into Martin’s voice at the least opportune of moments. Impatient, Ivy shook her head and urged him to walk a  little faster. Not that it was likely to do them much good. “Nothing. Let’s just concentrate on getting to the station, shall we?”

She could hear her accent beginning to fray at the edges, her natural American pronunciation creeping in  here and  there, but right now that counted as the least of their worries. Much higher on the list was the fact that they  were being followed down a now deserted street by three large, loutish men who  hadn’t liked her to begin with and who now appeared to have fallen  under demonic influence if not outright possession.

You know, one of  these days one of her plans was  going to have to go utterly smoothly, right? Just the law of large numbers made it inevitable,  didn’t it? Well,  today would have been a  really good day for that to happen.

Instinct had her increasing her pace yet again  until she found herself half a step from jogging down the pavement, tugging Martin along by her side.

“Hang on, then,” he protested, pulling against her grip and trying to actually slow her pace. The idiot. “If nothing’s wrong, why are you suddenly running?”

“I think that’s down to us, mate,” a voice snarled, closer  behind them than it should have been. Their pursuers had moved fast, faster than normal.

Faster than was natural.

An instant  later, something hit Ivy from the side, hard. The impact sent her staggering into the alley that opened up between two buildings at the side of the street. She stumbled into heavy darkness, away from the abandoned Gothic church across the way, away from the sight of anyone else who might wander onto the nearby pavement. To her credit, though, she managed to maintain her grip on Martin in spite of that, so she pulled him into the shadows beside her.

Perfect. Now they could be in deep shit together.

The hit had come as a surprise, but the three shapes rapidly closing in  behind her, driving her and Martin deeper into the alley, did not. Ivy’s hand had moved at the first moment of contact with her attacker, fingers closing around the hilt of her dagger and tugging it out of concealment in a smooth, practiced motion. Now, she held it in front of her as she used her grip on her companion to swing him out of the way behind her, placing him between her and the brick building wall.

“Ooh,  you’ve brought along a toy, have you?” Teddy asked, grinning as he stalked forward, herding them away from the street and the potential of being seen by passersby. “Want to play, then, do you, luvie? I like a good game now and then.”

Ivy flicked her gaze among the three looming figures. She recognized all of them from the group gathered around the bar earlier, the ones who had witnessed Teddy hitting on her and her subsequent rejection of him. They had laughed at the time and gone right back to drinking, already half- pissed when the w hole thing began. Was it  too much for her to hope that she had been mistaken? That this was just a garden- variety assault and maybe potential rape fueled by alcohol and wounded machismo?  Because frankly, that would be a relief compared to the alternative.

“Yeh, we like to play,” the second lad hissed as he stepped forward  until Ivy could see his face in the dim light of the alleyway. “We especially like to play with his sort.” He bared his teeth, and his eyes lit up with malice.

And Ivy didn’t mean that metaphorically. His eyes actually lit up. As in, started glowing. With a sick, rusty- red light that reminded her of old blood and dried scabs.

Very attractive.

And very much indicative of demonic influence.

Yay. S he’d been right. It wasn’t really her  these  three  were after. They wanted Martin. They wanted the  Warden.

Well, they  weren’t  going to get him. Not until they got past her.

“I’m ready to go, boys.” She took a step forward and flashed a toothy smile of her own. “And you know the rules. White makes the first move.”

Ivy struck with a feint  toward Teddy, who stood closest to her, directly ahead. When instinct had him leaping back out of the way of her blade, she spun backward

to her left and landed a heel- first kick directly to the sternum of hissy boy. He grunted and stumbled back in surprise, but bachelor number three was already on the move. He closed in on Ivy from the left and grabbed her around her upper body, effectively pinning her biceps to her sides. She’d been expecting the move and countered by thrusting the dagger in a short, upward dig that buried it deep in number three’s thigh.

“Go, Martin!” she shouted above Three’s scream. “Get to the station! Lost Luggage under your name! Now!

All of her attackers howled in protest. Three’s cry was still tinged with pain. It gave her a warm surge of satisfaction, even though it rendered her nearly deaf in her left ear, the one closest to his mouth. Jerking the knife back, she freed it from the man’s leg and went limp in his grip, relaxing her muscles until she slid straight out of his arms to the floor of the alley.

Even as she hit the cobbles, she was already moving. She braced one hand, shifted her weight, and swung one leg around, aiming a heavy kick at the knee of the grabby Three’s wounded leg. He crumpled with a heavy grunt.

Teddy and number two rushed in to take his place, converging on Ivy before she could manage a glimpse to see if Martin had followed her directions. If he h adn’t, he was  either dumber than he looked, or part possum and his nervous system had shut down from fear. Neither option would keep him alive, though, and as skilled as she had become in hand- to- hand combat a fter her years of self- defense classes back in New York and her training since taking on her rescue work in  England, one  human  woman against three demonically influenced men  didn’t offer her very good odds.

Chances  were she  wouldn’t leave this alley  under her own power. Hell,  she’d be lucky if she  didn’t leave it in a coroner’s van. Which meant Martin had better be halfway down the steps to the tube already.

She ducked away from a swipe of Teddy’s outstretched hand, trying not to get distracted by the way the skin of his fingertips had split to allow the emergence of glistening black claws that dripped some sort of dark, stinking fluid. The smell of decayed flesh and filthy swamp  water suddenly filled the alley, and Ivy had to fight back the urge to gag.

Oh, yeah. S he’d say this officially went beyond the realm of demonic influence. Hell, this went beyond possession. Somehow, demons had not just taken over  these men’s’ bodies, they had used the energy of the  human bodies to allow them to fully manifest into the  human world.

In case anyone wondered, that was a really,  really bad  thing. Something Ivy wouldn’t have thought possible six months ago.

But then again, six months ago, the world  hadn’t quite started coming to an end yet. Today, anything was  possible.

With that cheery thought filling her mind, she swung her dagger in a wide arc that managed to catch opponent number two in the side, opening up a wound that audibly sizzled and began to ooze something much darker and slimier than blood. It didn’t smell like blood,  either. The ichor reeked of the same foulness that hung around the venom dripping from Teddy’s claws.

Seriously, it was becoming a real challenge not to puke. What she wouldn’t give for a nice, stiff breeze right about then to dissipate some of the stink.

Two— Thing Two, Ivy decided to call him— hissed, his corrupt red gaze flicking between her and her blade with manic hatred. It made her smile in spite of the nausea.

“What’s the  matter, pumpkin?” she taunted him. “ Aren’t you a fan of blessed and consecrated silver? Me, I just adore the stuff.”

She demonstrated  those feelings with another quick slash of her arm, a motion that sliced through the jacket and shirt Teddy wore and into the flesh of his shoulder. She  wasn’t particularly aiming for the brachial plexus nerve or a major artery, but she  wasn’t going to cry if he started to bleed out or lost the use of his arm.

He screamed, but Ivy just continued her stroke and caught  Thing Two across the cheek, just millimeters away from his left eye. Hm, close call, that. What a shame.

“Bitch!” the demon howled.

Ivy blew him a kiss. “Aw, love you, too, snookums.”

Her  mother had always told her that her smart mouth would get her into trouble one day. Somehow Ivy  didn’t think this par tic u lar trouble was what s he’d had in mind. You know, the  whole “ripped apart by demons in a deserted alley” thing. Dorothy probably h adn’t seen that one coming.

One would hope.

By now, Thing Three was back on his feet, and Ivy knew she was seriously fucked. Three against one. Three demons against one, with no backup on the way. Working alone was one of the keys to protecting the Wardens  people like her assisted. Now, it looked like she was  going to die alone.

“Sorry,  Uncle George,” she muttered, putting her back to the alley wall and keeping her gaze on the man- shaped creatures in front of her. They had realized her predicament just as clearly as she had, and now they  were toying with her, watching her with evil, hungry gazes. Not the kind of hunger that would scare most  women alone in an alley, but the kind of hunger that scared American turkeys in the  middle of November.

“Sorry, Jamie,” Ivy added. “But on the bright side, looks like I’ll be seeing you both again soon.”

Thing Two snapped its jaws at her, jaws that it then unhinged to make room for the second row of pointed teeth that appeared to be growing  behind the first,  human set.

“Very, very soon.”

Holding her dagger in front of her and carefully balancing her weight on the balls of her feet, Ivy prepared to die fighting.

Oddly enough, that’s not what happened.

One minute, she stared down the face of the Grim Reaper and the next, reality went sideways. Instead of the front of three demons clearly prepared to feast on her living flesh, she felt a rush of cool air, heard a pavement- shaking roar, and found herself staring into a wide barrier the color of dark, aged granite.

She blinked, then shook her head and blinked again. The view didn’t change. Gradually her brain caught up with her corneas, and she realized that what had looked like a barrier of solid stone was actually a pair of wings. Huge wings, each easily twelve or thirteen feet from base to tip, leathery and membranous like a bat’s.

And they  were attached to the broadest, most muscular back she had ever seen. A back that could only conceivably belong to one of two things:

A dragon.

Or a Guardian.

Copyright © 2017 by Christine Warren and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.


CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE

Christine B&W.jpgCHRISTINE WARREN is the author of Stone Cold Lover and Heart of Stone, as well as the Novels of the Others, including New York Times Bestsellers Big Bad Wolf, Walk on the Wild Side, and One Bite with a Stranger. Born and raised in coastal New England, Christine Warren now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing (as if that ever happens), she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.

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Twitter– @ChristineWarren

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Author Website

THE LOST VAMPIRE – A Kate Baxter Review

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Oh how I revel in new vampire romance! Has anyone noticed that vampire romance has petered out a bit? Well Kate Baxter brings to life a new world with her Last True Vampire series. An interesting new take on a world were vampires have almost gone extinct and those that remain must regain their race’s footing.

In “The Lost Vampire” we meet Saeed, a newly created vampire, who’s on a mission to find the woman who’s plagued his mind for years. Through a vampire collective memory (aptly named The Collective) he’s seen memories of his true mate over and over throughout time. He’s been entranced by her and finally, now mere cities away from her, he thinks he can find and tether her soul to regain his.

Unfortunately his one true mate, Cerys, is a soul stealer and through a tragic past has lost her own soul; leaving her unable to tether herself to Saeed in a way that convinces her of their true bond. Saeed and Cerys end up joining forces to stop not only the mage who has control of Cerys but of a deeper and more dangerous threat that has come after the entire vampire race. While fighting side by side, Cerys seems to fall more and more in love with Saeed. Where he knows she is his mate, he must convince her that despite her lack of soul (for the time-being) he knows in his heart that they are meant to be together.

I loved the whole world that Baxter created and I already had book 1 on my TBR shelf so I’ve wanted to dig in to this series before. And I am so glad that I did. Baxter’s vampire world is reminiscent of Lynsay Sands Argeneau series in that she has created a new outlook on the history of supernatural races that isn’t too convoluted nor is it too far out there to be unbelievable. I’ll definitely be reading the first few books in this series but this was a wonderful start! I do recommend reading from the beginning. It can be read as a standalone but I felt lost at times when their were secondary character views that I didn’t understand their significance.


31450636.jpg Soul mate–or tragic fate?

Once one of the oldest dhampirs in existence, Saeed now faces a treacherously uncertain future as a vampire. He believes that the only thing that can restore his position within his coven and tether his lost soul is the flame-haired fae who is destined to be his mate.

Cerys Bain is a soul thief. She is feared by those who dwell in the supernatural realm–and hopelessly bound to the ruthless mage Rinieri de Rege. The raw, sensual vampire who enters her world is both a threat and an intoxicating temptation: No one has ever made Cerys feel the way Saeed does. But to claim their fate as soulmates, Saeed must first find a way to free Cerys from Rin. Is their desire worth the risk of certain destruction–and eternal doom?

 

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CONNECT WITH KATE

8446648.jpg Kate Baxter is a die-hard romantic with a thing for Shakespeare. She lives in the great northwest where she hides away to write about all things fanged, furry, and undead.

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