Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1) by Shelly Laurenston

WINGING IT

Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

Kera is killed after trying to stop an assault behind the coffee shop where she works. She takes a knife to the chest and can’t quite believe it when she wakes up naked, in a strange room filled with Giants who are trying to kill her. Once that dust settles, she learns that she’s now a Crow, part of a group of women, sister-Crows, who fight for their God, taking on battles when they’re called upon, and living (somewhat) normal lives when they’re not. The Crows, along with other clans “are the human representatives of the Viking Gods on this plane of existence.” And that’s the most simple/basic way to describe who these people are. The group of Crows is made of up all kinds of women, from Hollywood actresses, agents, business-women, a hypochondriac, a mute – you name it, this group has it. There are various other groups in this world, including the Raven’s, the group that Kera’s boyfriend, mate, sex partner – no label really fits him, Vig, belongs to. He helps Kera become familiar with her new life and also provides back up during a battle that gets this series off to a bloody start.

Vig first meets Kera when she’s fully human at the coffee shop she worked at. She’s a former marine and when she first sees Vig come in for coffee, she assumes he’s a former vet as well and judging by the crazy look in his eye, she also assumes he’s a PTSD sufferer and one step away from being committed. Vig is none of that and his friends and family find it hilarious that Kera assumed he was headed to the looney bin. Vig is one of the few people who actually helps Kera try to settle into her new life, and that includes learning to fly, learning to fight with her enhanced strength and learning to deal with her new “team” of Crows, woman who are as far from military/battle type people as Kera has ever known. They know nothing about training! Schedules! Combat planning and missions! Kera and her clipboard become feared among the group and Vig steps in to help ease the transition for Kera with her new crazy sister-crows.


“I [Maeve] can feel the virus moving through me. I need to call my doctor. I need a course of amoxicillin. Or flucloxacillin. Or ticarcillin. Something with a ‘cillin’ attached to the end of it.”

“If you have a virus, an antibiotic will not help you,” Kera explained.

“So you’re a doctor?” Maeve snapped. “You know what I’m dying of?”

“Dying? Two seconds ago you had swollen glands.”

“Swollen glands today. Riddled with cancer tomorrow. Dead by Thursday.”

Kera glanced over at Amsel. “Wow.”


If you’ve read Shelly Laurenston’s books, you have a great idea about the type of characters you’ll get in The Unleashing. Over the top, insane, crazy, hilarious, off the wall – you name it, this book has it. I love the level of complete insanity that Laurenston writes her characters with. Nothing is off limits or too much when it comes to the comments they make, the actions they take. It’s simply: crazy fun.

Kera and Vig are our romantic leads in The Unleashing and to say the book is filled with tender romantic scenes would be a complete lie. That’s one thing I really enjoy about Laurenston’s books, there’s really not “romance” per se. The couples have down and dirty sex, there’s no BS, they like each other, they want to be together and they are, simple as that. No long drawn out ‘should we or shouldn’t we’, no relationship drama, it’s refreshing in a way. And it’s necessary here as the world building took up so much of my mental power just trying to keep all the clans, characters, and who’s who straight, I wouldn’t have been able to deal with relationship drama on top of that.

As with any first book in any series, there’s a learning curve that goes along with being introduced to a new world and this world if very detailed, has A LOT of different players and will hopefully become more clear as more books come out. We do get a good introduction to Kera’s closest sister-Crows, women who I can’t wait to learn more about. They all have a little something…“special” about them, which will be fun to see play out on page.

I enjoyed the crazy ride that is The Unleashing. It’s pure fun in a pretty complex world, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.


Rating: B+

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Shelly Laurenston: Webpage
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*ARC provided by publisher for review* 

 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: Return to Me (Covington Cove #1) by Kelly Moran

With every beat of the heart comes a memory of what could have been…

Ten years ago, Cole Covington was just another rich kid who got everything he wanted—including young and trusting Mia Galdon. Then one night everything changed, and two hearts were shattered. Cole buried his guilt in the military, where love was just part of the past. Now Cole has come back home, emotionally damaged, guarded, and unprepared for what’s waiting for him…

At the urging of Cole’s sister, Mia has returned to the Covington family’s coastal home in Wilmington as a private nurse to help Cole recover. With her uncertain personal life at a crossroad, Mia doesn’t have the luxury of saying no to the job. And she soon finds out that the attraction is still alive. So are memories of betrayal. But Mia will discover more than the power of resilience. She’ll discover a secret Cole has held for years, one that will force them to confront the past and give new meaning to letting go, forgiveness, and a future worth fighting for.

Cole and Mia were young and in love, but from very different social and economic circles. It didn’t matter to either of them, but Cole’s mother was and still is a rich-bitch and when she found out that Cole and Mia were together, she put down an ultimatum to Cole: drop Mia or she’ll ruin her, her mother and her sister who has down syndrome. Cole only wanted to protect Mia and her sister Ginny, so he broke Mia’s heart and lied through his teeth telling her he got everything he wanted from her, her virginity, and now she needed to go. A chain of events happened that night that ended in a death and it’s now been 10 years since Cole and Mia have seen each other and a lifetime of changes have happened.

Cole enlisted and was badly injured serving overseas. He’s suffering from PTSD, he has scars all over his body and he needs to rehab his leg, something that’s impossible for him to do since he’s fired every nurse his sister has hired and refuses to leave his bedroom. Mia went to nursing school but was recently laid off and has no idea how she’s going to make the next tuition payment for her sister’s school. Cole’s own sister contacts Mia asking her for help. Mia accepts because the deal is just too sweet, taking care of Ginny’s school and expenses. But Mia doesn’t know if her heart can take seeing Cole again after all these years but she’s looking at this as a chance for some closure.

I found it very easy to fall into Cole and Mia’s story. Their history is shown to us in various flashbacks, and I guess I’m a sucker for two people kept apart by a third party, in this case Cole’s mother and her threats. It’s awkward at first, and of course Cole fights any type of rehab, but Mia’s the one person that’s always gotten to him and he slowly starts to come around. I found their relationship and romance to be sweet and it was one that I just couldn’t wait for all the truths to come out and for Mia to finally understand the pain Cole’s been living with all these years in trying to protect her and not being able to be with the woman he loves.

That said, I did want to shake both Cole and Mia at one point when the mother tries to interfere again and toss her threats around. At one point Mia is described as shaking she was so nervous. Mia’s now a grown woman and I really just wanted her to put Cole’s mother in her place. I wanted Mia and Cole, as adults, to act that way and not let other people come between them like they start to do again. But it was one little frustration in a story that really enjoyed.

This was a very nice start to a new series by Kelly Moran. Both Cole and Mia are very likable characters and it was incredibly satisfying to learn about what they went through and how they still find their way back to each other.


Rating: B

Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Kelly Moran: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 

 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Review: And I Love Her (Green Mountain Series #4) by Marie Force

As the oldest of the ten Abbott siblings, Hunter prides himself on his ability to solve other people’s problems, but now he has a problem of his own—how to convince the woman of his dreams that his love is for keeps.

As the chief financial officer, Hunter Abbott manages the family’s various business interests while “fixing” things for the people he loves. But the one thing he can’t fix is his undeniable attraction to Megan Kane. Instead, Hunter is prepared to do whatever it takes to show Megan that he’s the man for her.

Megan’s sister rocks her with the news that she and her husband are moving overseas, leaving Megan truly alone. With her sister—and her job at the diner—going away, Megan finds herself leaning on the sexy, button-down accountant who isn’t afraid to lay it all on the line for her. But Megan has watched too many people she loves leave her. Can she risk her heart on Hunter?

Hunter Abbott is the oldest of ten children and works non-stop for his family’s business. He’s carried a torch for Megan Kane for years, but she was hung up on Hunter’s brother. When Hunter dared to ask her out, she didn’t take him seriously and now he’s desperate for a second chance. When he finds Megan crying one day after learning that her sister and brother-in-law were selling the diner where Megan works and moving overseas, Megan feels like her life is being turned upside down. Megan lost her parents in a car crash years ago and it’s just been her and her sister. Now she’s being forced to decide if she wants to try and make a life in Vermont on her own, or try someplace new. Hunter can’t imagine life without Megan in it, even from a distance and goes out on a limb to keep her right where she is.

Hunter and Megan’s story had been slowly building over the past couple of books. We saw Megan’s sometimes bitchy attitude toward Will’s (her Abbott crush) girlfriend Cameron and Hunter wanting her but going unnoticed by Megan. I was excited to see their story play out, but I was left feeling a bit disappointed. They have insta-love and rarely does that work for me. I get that their relationship has been building over a period of time, but really that’s just for Hunter. Learning about Hunter’s feelings for her is new to Megan, but they move fast and Hunter is not only calling her his after a couple days but he’s ready to propose after a week. I guess I just expected Hunter to be different based on how he’s portrayed in the earlier books. More reserved, cautious, even more workaholic but it’s like the Hunter we get in And I Love Her is a complete 180 from how he had been previously. It was almost too sugary sweet, the way Hunter acts toward Megan.

Megan makes it clear from the start that she’s not looking for a long term relationship. She’s scared to get close to anyone again after losing her parents so suddenly. Megan came off a bit immature at times, in the things she said or her actions. I had a hard time believing that she could be so hung up on one Abbott brother and then all the sudden be attracted to another brother who was there all along? And for Hunter, he’s SO into Megan, he knows immediately that she’s the one, period. But why? What is it about her that makes him feel this way? It felt like their relationship needed to go a bit deeper and cover a lot more time than just a week.

The Green Mountain series is one I’ve enjoyed from the start, but I was disappointed with Hunter and Megan’s story. I didn’t buy in to their relationship, their romance felt like it was on fast forward for the entire book and Hunter just didn’t come across as the man I’ve come to know throughout the series. I am still looking forward to the other siblings books – the sibling scenes are some of my favorite moments in every book – but this story was a miss for me.


Rating: C-

Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Marie Force: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*ARC provided by publisher for review* 

 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Unraveled (The Mastered Series #3) by Lorelei James

In this sizzling continuation of the Mastered series by New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James, a man will find the domination he’s always craved…

Shiori Hirano and Knox Lofgren are left to run the martial arts program at Black Arts while Ronin Black travels. On the surface, the two highest ranked belts appear to cooperate—but in private, they butt heads constantly, despite the undeniable attraction between them. Soon their power exchanges start to make for a sweltering dynamic in the bedroom…

At first Knox is shocked to be living out his submissive desires, but Shiori sets out to prove that embracing his true sexual nature doesn’t make him a weak man. But even while their sexual relationship grants him a power and fulfillment he finds surprising, there’s no training regimen for the fight that comes with loving a strong woman…

Shiori and Knox have been at each other’s throats pretty much since they met. They’re both helping run Shiori’s brother’s (Ronin) martial arts business while he’s away on a honeymoon/sabbatical. Knox is in charge at work, getting to call the shots for the first time ever and he starts to have doubts about his place at Ronin’s; if he’s really needed and where he fits in. His personal life also gets turned upside down, again by Shirori, when they see each other at club where Shiori can live her Domme lifestyle and Knox is a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ at the club, providing pain when he’s requested to be a third, or he’s working, bartending and security. What he never expected when he sees Shiori as a Domme is his gut-instinct reaction to submit to her. It’s the start of a new relationship for them as two people finding themselves in roles and having desires they never considered.

I loved this story. It felt like a fresh story and not something I’ve read much of, the heroine being a Domme to her hero who’s submissive to her. It was an interesting take and dynamic to see play out on page. Knox is as alpha as they come and he struggles a lot with the idea of submitting to Shiori in the bedroom. On the one hand, it goes against everything male and in charge he thought he was and wanted. But on the other, he starts to realize that by submitting to Shiori, he’s giving her pleasure that no one else can or will and that’s ultimately what he wants, to be hers, to know her better than anyone else and to give her everything she could ever want.

Shiori also struggles with this new relationship as she’s never had a longterm relationship with a submissive. After being in a bad marriage, she found herself when she started to learn about being a Domme and it’s a way for her to finally get what she needs and wants in the bedroom, something that never happened during her marriage. But in one of the more emotional scenes of the book, we learn exactly why Shiori craves the Domme role and it’s both heartbreaking yet sweet seeing how Knox reacts to it. I found their dynamic to be captivating, seeing this romance develop and how they worked through all the bumps that got in their way.

One of the things that really kept me interested and not skimming through some scenes (as I’m apt to do in erotic stories that turn into just sex-sex-sex-story-sex) was while Shiori and Knox are into BDSM it never went overboard. For me, a little goes a long way in these books and Unraveled hit the mark just right. There’s no threesome, there’s very little, if any, play at the club or in public, there are very few pain scenes. It’s really about Shiori calling the shots in the bedroom, telling Knox what to do or what he can’t do and it’s all about them. Nothing from the outside gets in the way and I loved that aspect of this story.

Just to make things even more complicated is their professional, working relationship. It doesn’t go smoothly. While Shiori’s in charge in the bedroom, that’s the only place their relationship turns into D/s, so Knox gets to call some of his own shots, be it at work or when he takes her out on dates. I liked that give and take and it kept the story and their relationship from feeling too one sided.

To me, books in this genre tend to start to read the same after awhile. It can end up being more about how many sex scenes can be crammed into a book, instead of creating a solid, unique story to go with it. Unraveled hits all the right notes from start to end. I loved the different dynamic Shiori and Knox have with their relationship and seeing them both struggle and come to terms with it. I found them to be interesting characters that kept my attention. The sex scenes were intense but I never thought they overpowered the main storyline of their relationship. Lorelei James hit a homerun with this book, it’s the best so far in this young series and I’m excited to see what James brings us next.


Rating: A-

Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: NAL
Lorelei James: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Dead Heat (Alpha and Omega #4) by Patricia Briggs

Praised as “the perfect blend of action, romance, suspense and paranormal,"* the Alpha and Omega novels transport readers into the realm of the werewolf, where Charles Cornick and Anna Latham embody opposite sides of the shifter personality. Now, a pleasure trip drops the couple into the middle of some bad supernatural business…

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way...

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

What starts as a trip to find a horse for Anna’s birthday and spend time with an old friend who Charles has been avoiding, turns into a hunt for a Fae who’s stealing kids and replacing them with look-alikes who are spelled to cause devastation and even murder. It’s a case that brings in many supporting characters from Charles and Anna, to the FBI and Cantrip agents, to the local werewolf pack, and Charles’s long time friends. It takes all of them, including a few humans to try and figure out how to stop a being that’s been unstoppable for way too many years.

There is just something about Charles and Anna and the way Patricia Briggs paints their story that sucks me right in. The storytelling really stood out for me, because we have the journey and growth of Charles and Anna’s relationship, but what’s captivating are the numerous pictures that Briggs brings to life, whether it’s details about horses and showing them, details about Charles changing a human and the brutal reality of the aftermath for the new wolf, or setting the scene for a bloody fight with a Fae who can best any supernatural creature. There’s something almost mesmerizing about the way these scenes read. Honestly, I’m not a horse person, I’ve never ridden, couldn’t tell you one type of horse from another, but I found myself not only interested in the detail that’s given to the various horse scenes, but drawn into it and not only in the moments we have with Anna trying to find the right horse for her, but in how all of this detail will play a larger role in the bigger picture, which is absolutely does. There’s a flow to the story that makes it nearly impossible to put the book down.

Charles and Anna, now married, are still settling into their lives. Charles and his demons are the major relationship topic in Dead Heat. First, he’s been avoiding his human best friend for years, only to now find that his friend Joseph is dying. Joseph refuses to be turned and it’s caused tension between Charles and Joseph’s family, namely his father who is a wolf and Joseph’s wife who once rejected Charles before turning to Joseph and marrying him instead. As if this wasn’t enough emotionally for him to go through, there’s Anna’s desire to have children and trying to find viable ways to make this happen. Charles is against it for many reasons, he’s worried for Anna’s life as his own mother died giving birth to him, he’s worried about the target that will be put on his children because of his place in the pack and werewolves being more and more known throughout the world. He’s got the weight of a lot of worries on his shoulders and in very Charles-like fashion, he keeps much of it inside; which is hard to do now that he and Anna are so tightly connected. She eventually works through what he’s thinking but it’s just one of many examples of how much things weigh on him and how he sees himself. Anna, in her own way of being the Omega but really of just being his mate, helps him in many ways.

Anna has grown so much from the scared, beaten down woman we first met to the Omega that she is now. She’s still learning every day about herself and the world she’s living in and more than anything else, I love seeing her effect on Charles. She makes sure he knows what he means to not only her but the safety that others feel around him. It’s little moments like that between them that have them being one of my favorite couples on page.

Charles and Anna spend the entire book travelling so we don’t have but a few lines from the Marrok, and other members of their pack are absent as well. But the new characters we do meet are interesting and engaging and I never felt like anything was missing from the story. Charles does turn a human fairly early on and we do get to see some of the effects of that. I’d love to get a short story update on this person and how they and their family are adapting to this huge change. Plus, the family was so interesting it’d be nice to revisit them at some point.

The Fae that Charles and Anna are hunting is a nasty piece of work and made for a compelling suspense storyline. There are some gruesome findings, made even more so because we’re dealing with stolen children. With a few twists and turns at the end, the culmination of how things are resolved is both sad but perfectly done. And yes, I may have shed a tear or two with how things played out.

Brigg’s storytelling comes alive in her Alpha and Omega series. Sure, at the heart of the series are Charles and Anna, who’s relationship I love seeing progress with each new book. But the series picture Briggs paints is wide and she makes every detail count. Dead Heat will draw you in with the Fae mystery but the overall story from the complex characters, whether they be part of a pack or human, to Charles and Anna and their moments both together and their interactions with others will keep you captivated and turning the pages faster and faster. If you’re new to this series, do yourself a huge favor and start at the beginning. It’s one of my favorite series and you’ll find Charles and Anna and their complex world to be very hard to forget.
 

Rating: A

Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Ace
Patricia Briggs: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Slow Burn by (Driven #5) K. Bromberg

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Driven series.

One Night. That's all it was supposed to be.

Reeling from the sudden loss of her sister, Haddie Montgomery has sworn off relationships. All she wanted from Beckett Daniels was a sexy distraction to help her escape her pain for just a little while....There weren’t supposed to be any strings attached—so why can’t she shake the memory of that unforgettable night from her thoughts? Or the taste of his kiss from her lips?

No matter how hard Haddie tries to forget about him, Becks relentlessly tries to prove that she should start living for today. But she is determined to avoid romantic commitment, and she can always use her ex-boyfriend’s reappearance to help snuff out the slow burn within her that Becks has sparked....

Or will fate force her to realize that this kind of connection doesn’t come along very often and a chance at love is worth the risk?

I’m going to keep this short and sweet: I couldn’t stand the heroine, Haddie, for the first part of the book. I found her to be so unlikable, so irritating, so frustrating, you name I felt it and none of it was good. She was frankly a bitch more times than not to the people in her life, especially Beckett. She is dealing with a lot in her personal life, don’t get me wrong. She has so much pain, stress, anger, grief all swirling in her head but it’s no excuse for being a bitch. And I couldn’t forgive her for how she acted and treated people through much of the story.

Beckett, on the flip side, was an enjoyable hero. He puts up with way more than any guy should when it comes to Haddie. Their no strings, one night doesn’t fly with him. He gets tired of her strings and wants to come at her with rope (heh heh). He wants more and he tries to fight for it and convince Haddie to give them a shot at being a “we” but that doesn’t turn out so well at first. She runs, he chases until he just can’t do it anymore and then it comes down to Haddie making the effort to change her life and attitude and be brave enough to grab hold of something that just might make her happy.

For Haddie, cancer is a very real, very scary reality in her life. Her mother had breast cancer twice, her sister died from it, now Haddie is in the middle of a scare of her own. I was a little taken aback by this storyline, honestly I had no idea it was coming (I haven’t read the earlier books in this series so I have no clue if this was eluded to or not). And while yes, cancer sucks and it’s a real fight for people, but when I read a romance book, I like to be taken away from real life. Haddie and breast cancer is a very heavy storyline, very emotional and the tone of the book is very dark because of it. I like to escape reality with my romance books, not have it smack me in the face. That’s not to say the writing about this difficult topic wasn’t well done, it really hit me during the last quarter of the book when finally, FINALLY, Haddie turns a corner and becomes the heroine I wish she would have been earlier in the story. Yeah yeah, she needed to go through the dark to get to that point, but I really do think I’d have been pulled into her personal struggle a lot faster had she started to be more likable earlier in the book.

There’s sort of a side storyline with Haddie’s ex, Dante who’s crashing at her place for much of the story. He’s an asshat, that’s putting it mildly and I’m not sure why he was even included. It ended up being a plot distraction that did nothing really for the story other than just another reason for me to snarl at Haddie and her behavior.

I’m giving this story a C-, but really the book gets two ratings from me. The first 70% gets a D. I couldn’t stand Haddie and truth be told I thought about DNF’ing the story more times than not. But the last part of the story felt like the payoff I was hoping would come earlier and gets a solid B+. The ending is emotional, intense and it felt like we got to see a completely different Haddie and Ryan on page, as they both deal with Haddie’s illness and what it means for their future.


Rating: C-

Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Signet
K. Bromberg: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 

 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Soulbound by Kristen Callihan Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway!


Soulbound, book 6 in Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series, releases tomorrow and it’s one of my favorite reads (you can read my review here). This series is one of the best out there, combining paranormal, historical, with some elements of steampunk, and of course plenty of romance. All the Darkest London books are must reads, especially if you’re looking for a unique world that Callihan makes come to life on page. In Soulbound, we have a very tortured hero (my favorite kind!), Adam and his heroine Eliza. Both characters have suffered and both need each other to survive. They also start out on opposite ends of the relationship spectrum: Adam is convinced Eliza is his soulmate, but Eliza wants nothing to do with him. Let the fun begin!

Below, check out an excerpt from Soulbound and be sure to enter the giveaway, put on by Grand Central Publishing. And make sure to pick up your copy of Soulbound, out everywhere tomorrow!



Eliza sat back on her heels, while Adam merely stared at her as though he had all the time in the world. “Fine,” she said. “Three weeks. I free you and you help me.” She gave him a warning look. “I’ll need your word that you will help me, that this” she waved her hand between them, “isn’t merely a way to trick me into freeing you.”

“This business was your idea, woman,” he said with affront.

“Nevertheless, I’ll need your word.”

The demon’s nostrils flared with a sharp exhalation. “My word then.” Eliza did not look away from him, and he glared back in obvious exasperation. “What now?”

“I’m merely considering if I ought to trust your word,” she said.

A low growl rumbled in his chest as he bared his teeth. “I keep my word, whether I want to or not. My word is my bond. Honor, Miss May. Unlike you, I have it.”

“How dare you—”

“How dare you?” He craned forward, the muscles along his shoulders bunching. “Not so long ago you broke your promise of fealty. To me!”

“Oh, yes, how quick you are to remind me.” Eliza leaned close, grinding her teeth to keep in a shout. “You enjoy being quick, don’t you?”

His thick, dark brows furrowed. “What in the bloody blazes are you talking about?”

“You gave me all of ten seconds to make a choice.” Eliza’s fists ached from clenching them. “And what a choice. I was dead, my body sliced open, my blood on the ground. I would have done anything,” she thumped her fist to her chest, “to get back my life.”

“So that makes it better?” he snapped back in outrage. “Desperation gives you leave to go back on your word?”

“No. That is not what I meant.”

“Then you agree that you bloody well have no honor—”

“You never explained what was involved. You never said I’d be chained to you, like some animal, for the rest of my days,” Eliza shouted. “I was told I would be a GIM. I was ready to serve you in that manner. You knew full well that’s what I believed. If anything, you swindled me!”

All at once, he sagged, though he still eyed her with resentment and distaste. Well, she had a healthy helping of those feelings for him too.

“Tick, tock, Eliza,” she mimicked. “You rushed me because you didn’t want me to think things over.”

When he broke eye contact, his hard jaw twitched.

“I’m correct, aren’t I?” Ire and a red rage surged up within her. “And you have the brass to sit on your high horse and talk of honor. Well let me tell you something, demon. There is little honor in forcing a person’s hand. Or using your power to coerce those weaker than you.”

A black scowl twisted the demon’s face as he glared at some distant point. “Fine. May I continue, or have you more complaints to heap upon my head?”

“Please do continue,” Eliza granted.

His golden gaze flicked back to her. “I want to kiss you.”

“No.” The word burst out of her with force. “Absolutely not.”

Unfazed, Adam shrugged. “Unless you have something to offer in exchange for your freedom, Mellan and Mab will, as you say, merely hunt us down, and you’ll be back to where you started.”

“Then I shall find out what he wants.” Eliza straightened her back. She could do that. She must. Like hell was she going to kiss this demon.

Adam simply gave her a slow, wicked half-smile. “Fortunately for you, lass, I already know what he wants. What they both want. More than controlling you. More than torturing me, even.”

“Then why in blazes haven’t you used it to secure your own freedom?” Eliza blurted out.

“I’m only alive because they cannot break me into revealing where this item might be.” The belligerence burning in his eyes was gone in a blink, replaced by a look of pure cunning. “However, I might be persuaded to help you use the knowledge. All I require is— ”

“Fine,” she snapped, irritation getting the best of her. “I’ll kiss you.”

Silence fell, and Adam stared at her with those eyes of his. Devil’s eyes. Eyes that made a woman forget herself. Heat rose up over her breasts and crawled along the back of her neck. Eliza grasped her skirts, her fingers twitching. She would kiss him. Kiss a man who had brought her nothing but irritation. Maybe she’d bite him to boot.

His chest, gleaming with sweat, rose and fell in a soft pattern. A bead of perspiration broke free from the top of his shoulder and ran down along the firm rise of his pectoral muscles, straight toward the dark nub of his nipple. All this time arguing with him, she’d forgotten his state of undress. Not so now. She’d have to press up against those hard muscles, touch his skin. Eliza wrenched her gaze back to his face, and his sinful lips curled in a knowing smile.

“You know,” he said casually, “I believe I shall pass for the moment. I’d rather it be when you aren’t wearing such a sour face. Kills a bloke’s ardor, you realize.”

Eliza blinked. And then his meaning hit her. “Why you…rutting…cheap, trickster…”

He laughed, a flash of even teeth. “Come now, Eliza, fret not.” He stopped then, that obnoxious smile growing and heating with promise. “I’ll take that kiss soon enough.”

She rose to her feet in a rustle of skirts. “And I’ll be sure to bite that wicked tongue when you do!”

She marched out of the cell, slamming it behind her, as he began to laugh again. Bastard. She might just leave him here to rot after all. His laughing taunt echoed through the dark. “Now that I know tongues are involved, I’ll be sure to collect.”



Once two souls are joined . . .

When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled-and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone…

Their hearts will beat together forever

No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted-by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken…

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About Kristen Callihan: Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewers' Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Book Reviews' Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading. 





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