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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WoW [76] - Darkness Splintered

Title: Darkness Splintered (Dark Angels #6)
Author: Keri Arthur
Release Date: November 5th 2013

When Risa loses the second key to hell, she angers several powerful people, and she’s starting to feel the pressure from all sides. She gets a visit from her father, who gives her an ultimatum: Get back the key or he will kill her friends.

Risa also finds herself under the scrutiny of the vampire council, some of whom consider her a monster who should be destroyed. But they offer her a bloody bargain: Take on the lethal head of the council, Madeline Hunter, and others will support her.

As the search for the keys to hell heats up, Risa realizes that she has no choice. For the sake of the people she loves, she must find the keys — and get rid of Hunter — before the second gate is opened and brings the world closer to all hell breaking loose...


Why I am waiting:
Keri Arthur is a instant buy in my book. I love all of the books I've read from her so far and this series is probably my favorite out of her work. I'm behind in this series by two books, but I highly recommend it from what I've read.

What book are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Swoon

Review: Drea
Title: Swoon
Author: Nina Malkin
Series: Swoon #1
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Length: Novel (421 pages)
Genre: Young Adult
Preorder: Amazon
Rating: 3-stars
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Drea's Review:

Long-dead Sin possesses Dice’s cousin Pen after she plummets from a tree. Dice falls for him before she separates him from Pen’s body. But rather than fading peacefully, Sin becomes flesh and blood…after a fashion. And he has a plan for vengeance he’s waited centuries to enact. Sin vows the destruction of several prominent Swoon families. And one happens to be Pen’s. Can Dice stop the boy she’s come to love?

Nina Malkin’s writing is like a semi-automatic spray of clever description. So often I see single-line recommendations from NYT Best sellers on books that declare an author is “a fresh new voice”. Well, this author is definitely a fresh new voice (at least for me). From the very first page we know we’re in for an entertaining read.

If I was rating on writing style alone, this would get a solid 5*. But I’m not. And unfortunately the plot went askew for me. My biggest problem with this book is I’d picked it up believing it was another YA with romance at its core. Though there was a romance-plot, I didn’t get the happy ending I wanted. The bittersweet finish didn’t inspire me to look at the second book in the series. And the hero sleeping around on the heroine with her cousin? Yeah, that turned me right off.

The writing style brings a 2* plot up to a 3* book.

New Releases 10/29/13

Archangel's Legion - Nalini Singh
Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.

Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same…

The Sum of All Kisses - Julia Quinn
Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't care that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless ...

New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn's enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

After Dead - Charlaine Harris
Dead Ever After marked the end of the Sookie Stackhouse novels—a series that garnered millions of fans and spawned the hit HBO television show True Blood. It also stoked a hunger that will never die…a hunger to know what happened next.

With characters arranged alphabetically—from the Ancient Pythoness to Bethany Zanelli—bestselling author Charlaine Harris takes fans into the future of their favorite residents of Bon Temps and environs. You’ll learn how Michele and Jason’s marriage fared, what happened to Sookie’s cousin Hunter, and whether Tara and JB’s twins grew up to be solid citizens.

This coda provides the answers to your lingering questions—including details of Sookie’s own happily-ever-after…

The book will feature extensive interior art by acclaimed Sookie artist Lisa Desimini, including a Sookieverse Alphabet, color endpapers, and several full-page black and white interior illustrations.

Dark Witch - Nora Roberts
With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland.

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spotlight: A Late Thaw



Title: A LATE THAW
Author: Ana Blaze
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Imprint: Kissed
Genre: Contemporary romance
Length: 102 pages (novella)
Release Date: October 28th 2013
Buy: Entranced Publishing or Amazon
Add on Goodreads!

Blurb:
The town’s too small for Kiley St. Claire’s reappearance to be a surprise, still seeing her hits Cole Thomas like a punch to the gut. She ripped his heart apart when she turned to ice and ran away all those years ago. Now that she’s back, Cole’s going to say his piece and move on.
Even if she does look damn good in that uniform.
Kiley St. Claire is back in the small town of Barrett, Vermont, for one reason and one reason only: to earn some cash so she can survive her final semester of grad school. She’s not there for the sexy Christmas tree farmers.
Even the one who once held her heart.

Excerpt:


Chapter One

COLE THOMAS HAD BEEN a late bloomer. One of the smallest boys in their middle school, he’d disappeared to his uncle’s ranch in Wyoming the summer before high school and had come back six inches taller, wearing a cowboy hat. Kiley St. Claire doubted the woman he was currently flirting with remembered that. It was practically ancient history.
She squinted as she tried to remember the woman’s name. Cole’s fangirl looked vaguely familiar under her over-processed blond hair and cheap but abundant makeup. She was probably one of Cole and Kiley’s former classmates. Amber maybe, or one of the Ashleys. She was pretty—whatever her name was—and she had a fantastic rack. More importantly, she wasn’t wearing a cheap Bavarian Miss costume and pigtails like Kiley was. If they were competing, the babe with the penchant for bleach and blue eye shadow would win. They weren’t, of course. Kiley was done crushing on Cole. It was obvious—had been for years—that he’d never see her as more than a friend.
She straightened the red bodice that made even her own modest chest look full, pulled the notepad from her already sticky apron, and marched over to their table. Her heels clicked along the scuffed and murky wood floor. No doubt it had originally been a beautiful walnut. Now it was covered with a layer of scum as old as she was and fit right in with the rest of the decor.
The entire bar was filled with heavy, dark wood tables and stools covered in faded maroon vinyl. Kept clean and under the right lighting it had probably once been genuinely attractive. Probably. If that had ever been the case it had stopped the day Kiley’s boss, the infamous Buddy, bought the building and started filling it with kitschy, vaguely German-themed knick-knacks and neon beer signs. Cole and the blonde were sitting near a display of Hummel knock-offs, one of which appeared to be mooning the patrons.
A table full of afternoon-drunk Frat guys signaled to Kiley. She held up a single finger in acknowledgement. They could use a couple minutes before their next round, and she had to do this, face Cole, before she lost her nerve. “Are you guys ready to order, or do you need another minute with the menus?”
“Kiley?” Cole’s dark eyes widened for a second before he started laughing. His shoulders shook, and he slapped the worn wooden tabletop. “This is…” He gestured toward her. “This…oh, you gotta give a turn.” He circled a finger in the air.
“Do you want a beer or not?” She refused to be embarrassed. Yes, she was dressed like the St. Pauli girl, but it obviously hadn’t been her idea. She didn’t even like wearing costumes on Halloween.
“I heard you were coming back for the summer, but this…damn.”
“School’s expensive, Cole, and there aren’t a lot of summer jobs in this town.” Barrett, Vermont was a pretty little town, not a thriving metropolis. If there had been other options, any other options, she wouldn’t be dressed like slutty Gretel serving beer and waffles in a Bavarian-themed restaurant owned by a man who’d never traveled farther than Montreal.
Cole looked her up and down with a big grin on his too-handsome face. Kiley pretended not to notice that his thick, brown hair was a touch longer than the last time she’d seen him, or that it curled appealingly against the collar of his blue-green plaid shirt. She tried not to check the scar on his left arm—a thin jagged line that was only really noticeable when the skin around it tanned a shade or two darker. Her heart melted a little when she saw it.
Cole had only recently turned eight the night they went searching for Kiley’s runaway dog. He got tangled in a bit of barbed wire fence hidden amongst the leaves in the woods behind her neighbor’s house. The dog came home on his own later that night, but Cole ended up needing
stitches in four places. And a tetanus shot. He made her promise not to tell anyone he’d cried, and she drew a cross over her heart and wished for untold tortures if she broke her word.
She still hadn’t.
“So why’d you come then?”
Kiley shrugged. Way to make a girl feel welcome, Cole. “It’s home.”
“Wasn’t enough to bring you home last Christmas, or the one before.”
Yup. She was a horrible daughter, and her mom let the whole town know it. Mother dearest undoubtedly left out that Kiley couldn’t afford to pay for a rental car sturdy enough to make the several-hour trip in wintry weather.
Before she had a chance to respond, the blonde sitting with Cole tilted her head to the side and frowned at her. “I remember you.” She smiled then, broadly, as though remembering anything was an accomplishment worthy of her pride.
Kiley tried to smile at the woman, but her lips were too tight. “Go Bobcats,” she said weakly.
“Yeah, you were in my gym class. Didn’t you get hit in the face with a tennis ball one time?”
Kiley had long ago accepted that, despite the lack of any reasonable scientific explanation, her face clearly attracted sporting equipment. She’d absolutely gotten hit with a tennis ball, as well as a volleyball, a softball, and a Frisbee. Once she’d even managed to get wacked in the nose with a broom while they’d attempted to play a grounded version of Quidditch. “Yup, that was me.”
The other woman nodded. “I knew it. I’ve always been good with faces.”
“Wow. Catching up is super fun, but I have a bunch of tables. So…”
“Were you even going to give me a call?” Cole looked hurt, and Kiley wished she didn’t care.
“Sure. Once I got settled and all, I—”
“Right.” He scowled. “Why don’t you bring us a couple of drafts. Whatever’s on special is fine.”
His cool tone sliced through her resolve and made her stomach churn. Why couldn’t she just move on? Being Cole’s friend, watching him date every other girl in town, hurt too much. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t fall back into his well-meaning but clueless clutches this summer. Kiley had come home to work and to save up enough money to live on for the final semester of classes she needed to earn her Master’s in Meteorology. That’s it. She already had job prospects for after graduation in January. This would be her last summer at home.
She nodded. “I’ll be right back with your drinks.”
He’d already turned back to the blonde.

Giveaway: 

Ana Blaze is giving away a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card (winner’s choice) and an e-copy of her contemporary romance novella THE BEST MAN.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Ana lives just outside Washington DC with her very supportive husband and three rather demanding cats. She loves the ocean, Indian food, Ikea, and cooking. Ana admits to watching too much television and she swears that someday she’s going to learn how to play the guitar resting on the bookshelf in her office.

Author Social Media Links:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Trick or Treat Hop Book Blast + Giveaway: Black & Blue

Thank you for stopping by my stop in Gena Showalter's BLACK AND BLUE Trick or Treat Halloween Hop!

The instructions and rules are easy!

1)  Every day there will be 3 - 6 participating blogs.  In order to enter the giveaway you must "Trick or Treat" at the participating blogs, see which candy the blog has posted and then enter the name of that candy into the Rafflecopter widget.

2)  There is ONE MANDATORY blog PER DAY.  In order to enter the giveaway, you must visit the mandatory blog of the day.  You will receive 10 points for each mandatory blog entry.

3)  Once you visit the mandatory blog of the day, you then have the choice of gaining extra points by visiting the "Optional" blogs for that day.  You will get an extra 5 points for each optional blog you visit.  Once you visit each blog, write down the candy you found at each blog and be sure to enter it Rafflecopter widget to get your points.

TOUR GIVEAWAY PRIZES:
At the end of the tour Gena will pick THREE (3) winners to receive:

GRAND PRIZE:  $100.00 gift card to Amazon

RUNNERS-UP:  TWO (2) winners will each get an autographed copy of BLACK AND BLUE and some SWAG from Gena.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
BLACK AND BLUE
Otherworld Assassins, #2


New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter’s pulse-pounding paranormal series continues with an electrifying story about the ultimate warrior and his prize: a beautiful woman he will do anything to possess.

    HE IS EVERY WOMAN’S FANTASY. . .
    Corbin Blue is a man of many talents. One of the most powerful otherworlders ever born, he is wealthy, a professional football star, and a legend in the bedroom. But only a select few know he is also a black ops agent…and there is no better killer. When he and his crew are attacked and separated, he’s forced to turn to his boss’s daughter for help―a woman with even more secrets than Blue.

    . . .SHE BECOMES HIS ONLY OBSESSION
    Evangeline Black has always been wary, guarded. No man has ever breeched her walls. Until Blue. He has never been denied something he wants, and now, he’s decided he wants her. As he sweeps her into his double life of seduction, intrigue, and danger, he helps her see beyond the darkness of her past. But as an enemy closes in, Blue will have to let Evie go to keep her safe—even though he’d rather die than live without her…

Buy Links:
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes, Nook, BAM, S&S, Indie Bound, iBookstore

About the Author:
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the White Rabbit Chronicles, Otherworld Assassins, Angels of the Dark, Lords of the Underworld, and several of other series.  She has written over thirty novels and novellas.  Her books have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, and have been translated in multiple languages.

Connect: Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Website


OCTOBER 18
Books and Their Seven Deadly Sins (mandatory contest entry)
Curse of the Bibliophile (optional extra points)
Nette’s Bookshelf Reviews (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 19
Window Seat on A Rainy Day  (mandatory contest entry)
Manga Maniac Café   (optional extra points)
Paranormal Book Club  (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 20
Eclipse Reviews (mandatory contest entry)
My Book Addiction  (optional extra points)
Book Nerd  (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 21
Booked & Loaded (mandatory contest entry)
Toot’s Book Reviews   (optional extra points)
Darkest Addictions Reviews (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 22
Book Monster Reviews (mandatory contest entry)
Victoria’s Gossip  (optional extra points)
Who’s Reviews (optional extra points)
Taking It One Book at a Time (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 23
Vampires, Werewolves, & Fairies, Oh My (mandatory contest entry)
The Reading Café (optional extra points)
Darker Passions (optional extra points)
Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance  (optional extra points)
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 24
Mad Hatter Reads  (mandatory contest entry)
Fundinmental   (optional extra points)
Urban Girl Reader (optional extra points)
Little Read Riding Hood (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 25
10/25 A_TiffyFit’s Reading Corner (mandatory contest entry)
Tome Tender (optional extra points)
My Secret Romance (optional extra points)
Queen of All She Reads (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 26
Reading Between the Wines   (mandatory contest entry)
Mythical Books  (optional extra points)
Coffee Talk Writers   (optional extra points)
Rumpled Sheets Blog (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 27
Books, Books and More Books   (mandatory contest entry)
Close Encounters with the Night Kind   (optional extra points) http://closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com
Diane’s Book Blog (optional extra points)
Crazy Four Books (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 28
KT Book Reviews (mandatory contest entry)
New Adult Addiction  (optional extra points)
LilyElement  (optional extra points)
Coffee and Characters  (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 29
Romance with Flavor (mandatory contest entry)
FUONLYKNEW (optional extra points)
Miscellaneous Thoughts of a Bookaholic (optional extra points)
Same Book, Different Review  (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 30
Under the Covers (mandatory contest entry)
Literal Addiction (optional extra points)
I Smell Sheep   (optional extra points)
Romance Junkies  (optional extra points)
Wicked Readings by Tawania  (optional extra points)
Where the Night Kind Roam  (optional extra points)

OCTOBER 31
Books-n-Kisses  (mandatory contest entry)
Babbling about Books and More  (optional extra points)
Inner goddess  (optional extra points)
Snarky Mom Reads… (optional extra points)
Book Bliss (optional extra points)

SPOTLIGHT/REVIEWS ONLY
10/20 Underworld Love Addiction (Spotlight / Review)
10/22 Book Lovin’ Mamas (Spotlight/Review)
10/23 Night Owl Reviews  (Spotlight)
10/24 Sun Mountain Reviews (Spotlight/Review)
10/25 Eclectic Passions (Spotlight/Review)
10/25 Musings From an Addicted Reader (Spotlight/Review)
10/25 Sassy Book Lovers (Spotlight)
10/27 In Shadows (Spotlight)
10/29 Paranormal Haven  (Spotlight/Review)
10/30 Ramblings From This Chick (Spotlight/Review)
10/31 Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads  (Spotlight)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: Her Knight's Quest

Reviewer: Melissa Mason
Title: Her Knight's Quest (Warriors of the Mist #2)
Author: Alexis Morgan
Release Date: March 2013
Genre/Sub-genre: Fantasy/Romance, Historical Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: OUAR
Buy: Amazon, B&N
Alexis's Website: http://www.alexismorgan.com/
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Lady Lavinia is the abbess of Agathia, her daily life is making sure the Abbey runs smoothly and that everyone does their part. Lavinia has control of Earth magic, but doesn't use it for anything unpure. I'm always intrigued with characters that have magical abilities, after all there is the saying absolute power corrupts absolutely. In Lavinia's case, she has significant power, but only uses it for good. While scrying, she spots a warrior on a journey to the Abbey, and can't contain her curiosity.

Duncan, one of the Lady of the Lake's warriors, has the mission to fight evil with his four comrades. He goes to the Abbey in search of forbidden books that might shed some light on how to destroy the evil Duke Keirthan. Duncan is a likable character and manages to befriend most of the people in the Abbey during his stay. It might have something to do with protecting Lady Lavinia from bespelled men trying to kill her though.

The story changes POV throughout the story to shed some light to different aspects of the plot. While the bulk of the story is told in Lavinia's POV, it does switch to Duncan, Duncan's comrades and even Duke Keirthan. Most of the time I find that changing the point of view so much in a story will cause confusion, but in this instance I was glad it did. I felt it added to the world building, and backed up or even clarified things that were going on. Her Knight's Quest had such great world building and characters that even though I know nothing about that time in history I could picture everything clearly. This is not a book I would generally purchase for myself, but I'm glad I had a chance to read it. I suggest this for anyone that enjoys historical romance with a touch of paranormal.

This review was first posted at Once Upon A Romance.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thrifty Thursday [34]

Freebie
Eternity Embraced - Larissa Ione
Darkness Awakened - Stephanie Rowe
Fondled and Gobbled: Someone Had to Do It - Various

$0.99
The Best Man - Ana Blaze

$1.99
The Professional: Part 1 - Kresley Cole
Warlord Wants Forever - Kresley Cole
The Six Swans - Annabeth Leong

$4.49
The Darkest Night - Gena Showalter

$4.74
A Quick Bite - Lynsay Sands
The Lady Is a Vamp - Lynsay Sands

$4.99
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
Lover At Last - JR Ward

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WoW [75] - Dark Witch

Dark Witch - Nora Roberts
Release Date: October 29th 2013

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland.

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

Why I am waiting:
I remember when I first started reading romance books I had a ton of Nora Roberts books. She got me hooked on the genre, so this is going to be a must read.

What book are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Releases 10/22/13

Teardrop - Lauren Kate
Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux's mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn't, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn't know Eureka's darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined. From Lauren Kate comes an epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away.

Black and Blue - Gena Showalter
He is every woman’s fantasy…

Corbin Blue is a man of many talents. One of the most powerful otherworlders ever born, he is wealthy, a professional football star, and a legend in the bedroom. But only a select few know he is also a black ops agent…and there is no better killer. When he and his crew are attacked and separated, he’s forced to turn to his boss’s daughter for help—a woman with even more secrets than Blue.

She becomes his only obsession…

Evangaline Black has always been wary, guarded. No man has ever breeched her walls. Until Blue. He has never been denied something he wants, and now, he’s decided he wants her. As he sweeps her into his double life of seduction, intrigue, and danger, he helps her see beyond the darkness of her own past. But as an enemy closes in, Blue will have to let Evie go to keep her safe—even though he'd rather die than live without her…

Cinderella Screwed Me Over - Cindi Madsen
Darby Quinn has a bone to pick with Cinderella. Burned one too many times by ex-boyfriends, Darby has lost all belief in the happily-ever-after that the fairy-tale princess promised her. She's sworn off love, Prince Charmings, and happy endings and she's happy about it. Really. Or at least she was…until she met Jake, her gorgeous neighbor and the manager of her favorite restaurant. But Darby has rules about dating, ones she's culled from her years spent with so-called “princes,” and starting something with Jake would break all of them.

Charming, fun, and unwilling to give up on her, Jake doesn’t fit any of the profiles Darby has created from her case studies of ex-princes-gone-bad. Finally presented with her own Prince Charming, can Darby take a chance on a happily-ever-after?

Full of wit and sarcastic humor, Cinderella Screwed Me Over proves that sometimes the perfect love, like a perfect pair of shoes, is just within your grasp.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Currently Reading [58]

Title: Kiss The Night Goodbye
Author: Keri Arthur
Release Date: October 29th 2013

Sometimes the past not only haunts, but destroys…

One hundred years ago, Michael Kelly hunted down and killed the sorcerer responsible for murdering his lover. Now the brother of that man is out for revenge, and he intends to destroy all that Michael holds dear in the process.

Nikki James wants nothing more than to pass the Circle’s strict entry exams so she can get on with the business of planning her wedding to Michael. But when one of the testers attempts to kill her, she realises buying a wedding dress is the least of her worries.

Especially when Michael is shot and kidnapped.

The trail leads her to the ghost town where Michael had once killed a madman. She’s not surprised to discover that Weylin Dunleavy, the brother of that long ago murderer, has set in place events that will mirror the past in order to raise his brother’s spirit from hell. Nor is she truly surprised to discover that a barrier of magic surrounds the old town, leaving her to battle Weylin with only her wits, strength and the one psychic gift she cannot fully control.

The one thing that does surprise, the one thing she cannot accept, is the fact that Michael no longer remembers who she is…


Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: First Position

Title: First Position
Author: Prescott Lane
Release Date: April 14th 2013
Format: Ebook
Source: Author
Buy: Amazon
 photo 3star.png

Emory, former ballerina, turned into photographer can't commit to her fiancee Eric. Figuring out he isn't the one she breaks off the engagement and that same night she runs into her college sweetheart. Mason is a NFL player recovering from an arm injury. He is going through a divorce and has not forgotten his former love Emory. There are quite a few bumps in the road for their relationship ranging from Emory hiding something from the past to Mason not telling Emory important things.

I enjoyed First Position, it had a decent plot, though somewhat predictable. It is a contemporary romance that has a lot of drama. The strongest point(s) of the book are the characters, almost all of them felt like old friends by the end of the book. I suggest this book if you enjoy contemporary romance.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Giveaway + Spotlight: Crash Into Me


Title: Crash into Me
Author: Tracy Wolff
Buy: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes 

Blurb:
She’s totally off limits, but this rocker wants a taste…

Jamison Matthews has lusted after Ryder Montgomery since she was a preteen. But now that Ryder and her brother’s band, Shaken Dirty, has made it huge, she’s just one of many pining for the brooding lead singer. Too bad Ryder still sees her as a little sister. Not that it matters. Her brother would never allow it, and the last thing Jamison wants is to be another notch on a rock star’s bed post. Even if it’s Ryder’s.

Ryder doesn’t deserve happiness. After his fame destroyed his last girlfriend, he swore he’d never fall in love again. So when Jamison, the girl he’s been in danger of loving for years, joins the band on the road, he’ll do anything to deny the sparks between them—even after one hot night together. But Jamison is determined to show Ryder that he’s worthy of love—her love—and that she’s all grown up…and ready to play.

Excerpt:
“Stop that!” Jamison swatted at Ryder’s fingers for what felt like the millionth time. “Have you never heard of salmonella?”

He just laughed as he wrapped his arms around her waist and spun her—chocolate-coated spoon in hand—to the other side of the kitchen. Then, when she was safely out of reach of her brownie batter, he dipped one long finger into the bowl before holding it up to her lips.

“Come on,” he whispered in that fallen angel voice of his. “Live a little dangerously.”

Chills skittered down her back at the way he was looking at her, at the way his body felt pressed up against hers in the bus’s postage-stamp-size kitchen. But the other guys were just outside the beaded curtain she’d set up in an effort to differentiate her workspace from the rest of the bus. And while they were all dozing as an episode of Sons of Anarchy played on the TV, it only took one of them waking up to blow the secret of her and Ryder wide open.

After marshaling her scattered thoughts and oversexed libido, she shrugged out of Ryder’s grip. “Call me old-fashioned, but deliberately courting a bacterial infection seems more like living stupidly than dangerously.”

He rolled his eyes, licked the batter off his finger himself. “Sometimes you’re no fun at all, Jamison.”

“That’s not what you told me last night,” she reminded him as she poured the batter into a pan and slipped it into the bus’s tiny oven.

“That’s because last night you had no problem licking what I wanted you to.” His eyes gleamed wickedly as he ran his finger around the rim of the now empty bowl, gathering up the batter that clung there.

It was her turn to roll her eyes as she put the bowl in the sink. “Do you ever think about anything but your dick?”

“Absolutely.” Moving directly behind her, he pressed his erection against her lower back, even as he cast a wary glance over his shoulder into the living room. “In fact,” he continued, dropping a series of warm, soft kisses down her neck and over her shoulder, “I spent an incredible amount of time lying in my bunk last night thinking about your very sweet—”

Cheeks flaming, she whirled around and clamped a hand over his mouth. “Don’t you dare say it,” she hissed at him, even as the body part in question grew wet and achy.

“Say what?” he whispered, running his chocolate-coated finger along first her bottom lip, then her top one. “That I love touching your clit?” He bent down, brushed a kiss across her mouth.

“That I love the way you taste?” His tongue darted out, licked at the chocolate caught in the center bow of her upper lip.

“That I love the little sound you make when I first move inside you?” He lapped at her bottom lip now, seducing her as much with his words as the wicked things he was doing to her. And when he slowly, oh-so-slowly, pulled her lower lip into his mouth and bit down just hard enough to send bursts of pleasure slamming through her body, Jamison couldn’t help herself. She moaned softly.

“That’s the sound.”


About the Author:
Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.

And for all of those who want the unedited version:
Tracy Wolff lives with four men, teaches writing to local college students and spends as much time as she can manage immersed in worlds of her own creation. Married to the alpha hero of her dreams for twelve years, she is the mother of three young sons who spend most of their time trying to make her as crazy as possible.

Giveaway:
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Gentlemen Prefer Mischief

Review: Drea
Title: Gentlemen Prefer Mischief
Author: Emily Greenwood
Series: Mischief #2
Format: e-book
Source: Netgalley
Release Date: Dec 3, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length: Novel (384 pages)
Subgenre: Historical Romance/Regency
Preorder: Amazon
Rating: 4-stars
 photo 4star.png
Drea's Review:
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lily Teagarden’s future is in jeopardy thanks to the Woods Fiend her absent neighbor hasn’t bothered to deal with. So when Lord Roxham returns, Lily demands he ferret out the truth. Too late she discovers the fiend is a friend in need. Now Lily must protect him against the very man she’s set upon him. That means distraction and spirited games of one-upmanship. What neither Roxham nor Lily counted on was that two seemingly opposite people might be perfect for each other.

It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to get lost in a Regency romance, and this was the perfect one for me to pick up. Lily is mostly relatable despite the period, and Hal is a sexy hero. Their sparring kept me turning the pages. And most importantly, the love scenes were steamy ;)

I give this 4*.

Why didn't it get 5? The middle dragged on a little long for my taste and there were some writing style things I disliked. (Re: writing style—so much was in this format “the sleeve of his coat” instead of “his coat’s sleeve”)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Giveaway + Spotlight: The Murdoch Vampires


Title: The Hot Scot
Author: Kate Eden
Series: The Murdoch Vampires #1
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: April 11, 2013
Type: Paranormal Romance

Logan Murdoch hates complications. All he wants to do is work in his lab and create products to help vampires blend into mortal society. But when his mother begs him to get her painting back from the museum, he discovers a very attractive complication in the form of curator Sydney Worth. She buys his lie that he’s the descendant of the man in the three-hundred-year-old painting, but refuses to give it to him. What’s worse? She’s immune to his mind control.
Sydney couldn’t believe her eyes when the spitting image of the Hot Scot walked into the museum. But her attraction to Logan Murdoch suffers a huge blow when he demands the painting. Losing the piece could threaten her job and she senses Logan is hiding something from her. But this vampire who hates complications and the ambitious curator with trust issues are about to learn the fine art of love.

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Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE
A sadistic man must have invented high heels, Sydney Worth thought to herself as she climbed the ladder. Three-inch heels were never her first choice of footwear, but two weeks earlier her boss had made a snide comment about her sensible flats. She loathed giving the man any more ammunition against her—thus the pointy-toed torture devices which currently clung to the tenth rung.

After she steadied herself, she used her glove-encased hands to straighten the frame of the Gainsborough landscape.

Most curators relied on maintenance staff to handle routine tasks like this, but not Sydney. The European gallery was her domain. She felt responsible for making sure it looked its best. Besides, she liked getting out of her small office and spending time with the art. It calmed her. And with a boss like Marvin Stiggler, she needed all the calm she could get.

“Is it straight, Jorge?” she called out to her assistant, who was supposed to be helping her.

Nothing.

She sighed impatiently.

“Damn it, is it straight or not?”

“It looks pretty good from here,” a deep, very un-Jorge-like voice responded. Her female parts went on red alert.

Forgetting her precarious position, Syd swiveled her head to see the source of the compelling voice. But she only managed to make herself dizzy. She swayed, and her left heel slipped on the rung.

Balance gone, she fell fast.

“Ooooh shiiiiit!” she cried. A part of her brain registered the indignity of her words, likely her last.

Just when she thought she was a goner, she landed on something solid and warm.

“Oomph,” it said.

She slowly opened her eyes to catch her first glimpse of the hereafter. An amazing pair of indigo-blue eyes gazed back at her.

“An angel,” she breathed.

“Usually people call me something less complimentary,” he replied with a devilish grin.

Syd closed her eyes again and groaned. “Great, my mother was right—girls who don’t wait until they’re married do go to hell.”

“Did you hit your head on a rung?” he asked.

Something about the concern in his voice sounded decidedly undemonic to Syd, not that she’d ever met any demons, but still.

As it clicked she was not dead or in hell, she remembered the fall.

“Oh my God, don’t drop me!” She quickly shimmied, wrapping her legs about her savior’s waist and her arms around his head in a death grip. At once, his arms tightened around her.

“Mrph,” a muffled voice said from the vicinity of her breasts. She instantly leaned back.

“Sorry, delayed reaction,” she said, her cheeks flaming.

“Oh, it was my pleasure, I assure you,” Blue Eyes said with a chuckle.

Syd really focused on the face in front of her for the first time. She took in the mouth made for sin, the square chin, the bold nose that complemented the face instead of overpowering it, and of course those amazing eyes. She knew this face.

“You’re the Hot Scot,” she said in a breathless voice.

The man studied her for a moment as if trying to decide if the fall knocked her senseless. Syd stared back. Could it be true? She shook her head. Of course he wasn’t the Hot Scot. If he were, that would mean the man holding her was well over three hundred years old.

“Well, I am flattered, but how did you know I’m Scottish?”

“What? Oh . . . no,” Sydney shook her head to clear out the cobwebs. “I mean you look exactly like the man in our new painting. Besides, the brogue kind of gave it away, even though it’s subtle.”

Sydney still couldn’t believe the resemblance as she stared at him.

“Yes, well, my family came across the pond many years ago, so the accent has faded a bit,” he said. “As for the painting, your reaction is somewhat understandable. You see, I’m him—I mean I’m his descendant.”

After her muddled brain slowly absorbed that observation, Syd became aware of several things at once. First, she was not only straddling a complete stranger’s hips, she damn near had him in a death grip with her thighs.

Second, he was an extremely well-endowed descendant if the pressure against her pelvis was any indicator.

Third, as she stared into his eyes, a jolt of connection zapped through her midsection. She told herself it was just his resemblance to the man in the painting, but that didn’t explain the recognition she saw in his eyes, too.

She opened her mouth, hoping the right words would magically occur to her. Unfortunately, before inspiration could strike, a gasp sounded behind her.

“Miss Worth, what in the hell do you think you’re doing?” Marvin Stiggler’s outraged voice rang out in the cavernous gallery.

Syd closed her eyes and wished the floor would swallow her whole. Of course her boss would walk in just in time to witness the most outrageously embarrassing moment of her life. Somehow, she would find a way to pin the blame for the entire episode on the troublemaking, yet very compelling, man she currently straddled.

She slowly dismounted from the tall, hard frame supporting her and tried to avoid the amused blue gaze of its owner. With all the dignity she could muster, Sydney lowered her skirt, smoothed back her curly auburn hair, and turned to face the outraged countenance of her boss.

“Well? Care to explain yourself?” he sneered.

“Mr. Stiggler, I . . . um . . .” she floundered.

Before she could find the words to defend herself, the man behind her stepped closer and placed a balancing hand on her lower back. The warmth of his touch made her aware of her other parts, which still tingled from the intimate contact they’d just shared. She pushed those thoughts ruthlessly aside and tried to focus on the tenuous situation at hand.

“Mr. Stiggler, is it? Before you jump to conclusions, I must take responsibility for this incident. I distracted the lady when she was on top of the ladder.” He motioned to the ladder just to his left. “As a result, she lost her balance and fell. I was lucky to catch her before she seriously injured herself.”

Sydney nodded vigorously to add credence to the explanation.

“That fails to explain why she was straddling you, sir,” replied Stiggler, who looked both disgusted and pleased to have caught his least favorite employee in a compromising position.

“Nevertheless, she could have been seriously injured. An injury, I might add, which could have proved quite expensive for the museum. I am sure you are familiar with worker’s compensation,” the confusing man responded. As unsettling as he was, he seemed to be defending her.

Stiggler deflated a bit. But he wasn’t done. “And who, may I ask, are you?”

“I apologize for not introducing myself sooner. Logan Murdoch,” he said as he stepped forward to shake Stiggler’s hand.

The director hesitated a moment and then reluctantly shook the man’s hand, his own dwarfed by Logan’s large square palm. Sydney started to like the stranger. Anyone who could intimidate Stiggler was a friend of hers.

“Murdoch? Are you related to the Murdoch’s?” Stiggler’s voice rose with excitement.

“I wouldn’t say the Murdoch’s, but as my family is well known here in Raleigh, then, yes, I am one of those Murdoch’s.”

“Let me get this straight. My curator of European art was just saved from a near-fatal fall by a member of the family who owns Murdoch Biotechnology?”

“I am really not involved in the running of the company. I leave that to my brother, Callum.”

Sydney held back a grimace as she watched Stiggler nearly swoon at this newest development. The man was a bloodhound when it came to money. And if what Mr. Murdoch said was correct, he belonged to one of the wealthiest families in North Carolina. She could almost see the calculations going on in Stiggler’s head.

But she was more curious about what brought Mr. Murdoch to their museum. Her concerns about his ancestor comment earlier doubled at knowing he had the Murdoch name and bank account behind him.

She cleared her throat to get the men’s attention. Stiggler began to gush all over the man who recently had his head in her cleavage. Really, the whole thing was just embarrassing. Had she actually thrust her breasts in his face? She started to blush again, but she needed some answers.

“Gentlemen, excuse me. But Mr. Murdoch has not explained his reason for visiting this morning,” Sydney said.

“Please call me Logan, and I should call you . . . ?”

“Miss Worth would be fine,” she said in her primmest tone.

After all, just because a woman wraps her thighs around a man with enough force to crush a casaba melon, he couldn’t just presume to call her by her first name, could he? Absolutely not.

His lips twitched, but she ignored it and waited for an explanation.

“Miss Worth then.” He executed a slight mocking bow in her direction. “As I mentioned earlier, the portrait you acquired is of an ancestor of mine, Royce Murdoch. I want to know how the painting came to be in your possession.”

“As I am sure you heard from the press, the painting was donated to the museum by a benefactor who prefers to remain anonymous,” Syd explained.

Stiggler jumped in, “But if you are a descendant, we would love to have you involved in the exhibition. How much would you like to contribute?” he asked without any apparent concern over his lack of tact.

“I’m not interested in donating to the museum,” replied Logan.

“No? Why wouldn’t you want to contribute and promote your good family name?” Stiggler asked.

“Let me cut to the chase. Someone stole that painting from my family two hundred years ago. We gave up any hope of finding it until we saw the news coverage. We want it back.”

Sydney’s mouth dropped open. A sheen of sweat appeared on Stiggler’s pasty brow, and his eyes almost bugged out of his head as if a stroke was imminent. The gallery was silent as a tomb for a good minute before either gathered their wits enough to respond. Logan calmly met their stunned expressions, seeming content to wait out the silence.

“You want it back?” Sydney repeated, not quite believing her ears.

Stiggler regained his senses, but instead of addressing Murdoch, he turned on Syd.

“Miss Worth, this is just one more example of how your inexperience has hurt this museum,” he hissed.

Syd rounded on him, “Excuse me? How is this is my fault?”

“If you had done your job, this never would have happened.”

“We’ve only had the painting a week.” She tried to keep her voice calm to cover the acid churning in her stomach. “You’re the one who started a media blitz before anyone had a chance to authenticate the painting!”

A throat cleared, and Sydney suddenly remembered the man who started all of this. It brought her back to her senses enough to realize how unprofessional she must seem. But how dare Stiggler blame her for this? Really! She had put up with a lot since she accepted her position at the Raleigh Museum of Fine Art six months earlier. Because she was young by curator standards, only twenty-eight, it had been an uphill battle all the way to prove her talents.

“I told the museum board hiring an inexperienced woman for the role of curator would be a mistake. Fresh perspective, my foot,” Stiggler railed.

Honestly, thought Syd, the man thinks only stuffy middle-aged white men know anything about art. Her two master’s degrees, one in art history and another in European history, meant nothing to him. Nor did he care she was graduated from both programs with departmental distinction. Luckily, she’d proven herself to the museum board and landed her dream job. She had persevered through months of Stiggler’s crap only to have this gorgeous man come in and muck everything up for her.

“Mr. Stiggler, I fail to see how this development is relevant to the origins of my employment here,” she said. She would not let him bait her into losing her cool.

“You know the acquisition of this portrait comes at a time when the museum desperately needs attention. After all, attention means donors,” Stiggler continued with a significant look at Murdoch.

Syd knew the importance of the painting in terms of public relations, especially with a bad economy making donors less generous, but she also saw it as her opportunity to put her name on the map as a curator. And she desperately wanted to prove herself, and not only to Stiggler.

“Mr. Stiggler, perhaps we should take a moment to refocus our attention to the matter at hand, hmm?” Murdoch interrupted Stiggler’s rant.

Suddenly the anxiety she felt gave way to resolve. The man couldn’t just waltz in there and throw all of her hard work down the drain. And she knew if Stiggler could pin this on her, he would. She had to ensure that never happened. So she turned her attention away from her rodent boss and onto the man really responsible—Logan Murdoch.

“Mr. Murdoch, I apologize for our outburst, but your news has come to us as a bit of a shock. However, I assume you have some evidence to support your claim.” Murdoch Biotechnology or no, this man was not going to intimidate her.

“Well . . . no.” He seemed honestly baffled she would even suggest he needed proof. He stared at her intently for a second. She waited for him to say more, but he just continued to look into her eyes as if trying to read her mind.

Ok, that’s weird, thought Syd.

“Are you telling me you waltzed in here expecting us to just hand the painting over to you without verifying your story? Really, Mr. Murdoch, did you expect us to gift wrap it, too?”

Ha, take that! She gave herself a mental high five.

“Miss Worth, apologize to Mr. Murdoch! That kind of sarcasm is not appropriate when speaking to such an esteemed member of our community,” chastised Stiggler.

Syd rolled her eyes and then looked at Murdoch expectantly.

His eyebrows knitted together, and his jaw clenched as if he was trying to remain calm.

Well, tough, she thought. He’d better get used to being challenged. No one pushes this girl around.

He cleared his throat as if needing time to regroup. “I admit my family and I were in shock when we saw the news. In my rush to get here, I failed to consider the need for evidence. Perhaps we could come to an agreement.”

Stiggler’s eyes lit up. Syd could almost hear the cha-ching echoing in the man’s head. She, on the other hand, was insulted.

“Are you suggesting we would be open to bribery?” she demanded.

“Hush!” said Stiggler as he slithered closer to his prey.

“Please ignore her. She has no decision-making authority here. Now about that arrangement . . .”

Murdoch looked at the man with distaste.

“No, I am not offering a bribe. If we could go see the painting, I will explain what I have in mind.”

Looking a little baffled, Stiggler nodded his toupee-covered head and crossed his hands respectfully over his gut. Syd often thought, with the designer suits his outlandish salary afforded him, Stiggler appeared half-politician, half-used-car salesman. Lord knew why the museum board kept the man on. Most likely it was his ability to finagle credit for his employees’ hard work while doing almost no real work himself. He really was a rat. Unfortunately for Syd, the rat also had the power to make or break her career.

“If you’ll follow me, Logan,” said the rat.

“You may call me Mr. Murdoch,” said the man who confused her more by the minute. He sure seemed like the enemy, but she couldn’t shake the odd feeling he was on her side.

“Of course, Mr. Murdoch,” said Stiggler. “Miss Worth, please continue on with whatever it is you do all day. Besides throwing yourself off ladders that is.”

Syd opened her mouth to protest being cut out of the discussions, but Murdoch beat her to it.

“Actually, I insist Miss Worth be included.” Syd whirled to face him, her mouth hanging open with shock. Of course, she wanted to be included in negotiations, but she wondered why he insisted on her involvement. He calmly met her gaze. She took in his resolved expression but glimpsed a promise in his eyes. Syd tried not to focus on what the promise entailed because, given their interaction so far, she feared it would involve sticking her chest in his face again. Only this time it would not be an accident. She mentally fanned herself.

Get a grip, girl. This man is the enemy, she scolded herself and raised her chin, which only seemed to amuse him. She scowled at him. He grinned back. Stiggler was so beside himself he didn’t notice the exchange.

“Absolutely not. This is a museum administration issue, and she is only a curator,” the rat fink insisted, trying to assert some of his power. The grin immediately disappeared from Mr. Murdoch’s face.

Syd almost felt pity for Stiggler. Almost.

“Miss Worth is involved, or I call the lawyers.” From his tone, Syd suspected he was a man used to getting his way. Her suspicion became a conviction at the next words out of Stiggler’s mouth.

“After you, Miss Worth.”

Title: Rebel Child
Author: Kate Eden
Series: The Murdoch Vampires #2
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: April 11, 2013
Type: Paranormal Romance

Raven really doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. All she did was kidnap a mortal and try to sabotage one of the most important developments in the history of the vampire race. For some reason, though, her father, who is the leader of the vampire race, is seriously pissed. He gives her an ultimatum: Spend 200 years in exile or submit to a last ditch crash-course in vampire etiquette.

As the poster boy for upstanding, modern vampires, Callum Murdoch stands for
everything the rebellious Raven loathes. He’s also the brother of the man Raven recently
targeted. But this very odd couple is about to find out that opposites don’t just attract—
they smolder.

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Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE

You kidnap one lousy mortal and everyone freaks out.

That’s what I was thinking as my “escorts”—four muscle-bound guards—led me into the office. My boots sunk into the thick Persian rug underfoot. Cocking my hip—both for effect and to take the weight off one of my feet for a blessed second—I thanked the Goddess I’d worn my favorite boots.

Here’s the thing: Most women can’t pull off a red, stiletto-heeled boot.

I am not most women.

But boots like those required a certain presence—an elusive combination of confidence and a devil-may-care attitude. Oh, and a high tolerance for pain.

The damned things pinched in awful places and the pointy tips made my toes go numb. But I looked kick-ass, which counted for a lot. The confidence boost was necessary if I was going to get through the coming confrontation.

High Councilman Orpheus Coracino was the most powerful vampire in existence. As the head of the Brethren Sect, it was up to him to decide my punishment.

Oh, yeah, he also happened to be my father.

The room was as imposing as the man who had yet to acknowledge my presence. To mortal eyes it would probably look like the office of any high-powered CEO, with the exception of the lit display cases filled with wicked-looking, ancient weaponry. Each piece once used by my dear, very old dad in battle.

My father dismissed the goons with a wave of his hand, not bothering to look up from the document he was reading. The guards released my arms and left the room, closing the doors behind them. I almost missed the support of their firm grips. Aching feet, stress, hunger, and the impending sunrise wreaked havoc on my stamina as I struggled to look unaffected. My hands shook anyway.

“What, no hug for the prodigal daughter?” I said into the silence, extending my arms for a hug I knew would never come.

Orpheus slowly raised his piercing eyes to look at me. He said nothing, just stared at me the familiar mixture of disappointment and distaste.

I dropped my arms, not quite sure what to say next. It had been ten years since our last meeting. Back then, daddy dearest issued an ultimatum: Clean up my act or else. Well, of course I ignored him. But now, I was about to find out what “or else” really meant.

“Gabriella—” he began.

“Stop right there.” I held up my index finger with its black lacquered nail. “The name is Raven, you know that.”

“Young lady, your name is Gabriella. I should know, I named you myself.”

His baritone vibrated with authority. It matched his form perfectly. If he stood, he would have towered over me. With two black holes for eyes and a jaw so hard and sharp it could cut through metal, the man was a prime example of a civilized predator.

He looked like a high-paid executive in a pin-stripe suit, instead of an alpha vampire. But the civilized veneer couldn’t hide the ruthlessness in his eyes. No wonder he had been the leader of the Brethren Sect for more than one hundred years. Only a fool would dare challenge his authority.

“You also know I renamed myself a century ago. If you expect a response you will refer to me as Raven,” I shot back. I was probably one of the only vampires in existence with enough bravado to talk back to him. However, egging my father on was sort of a pastime for me.

He ignored the name issue, no doubt considering it not worth his time.

“Would you like to take this opportunity to explain your actions?”

I shrugged. “What’s there to explain?”

“You can start with trying to sabotage the most important development in vampire history and finish with kidnapping the mortal woman,” he said.

“I am not a member of your precious sect, I don’t owe you an explanation.”

“You have no excuse for your actions as usual. Nor do you exhibit one sign of remorse.” His voice was maddeningly calm, in complete opposition to my defensive tone.

“Why would I show remorse for standing up for what I believe?” I countered. This was an old argument, and I was trying not to let it get my hackles up.

“You could have launched a formal complaint through the proper channels. Instead, you wreaked havoc,” he said.

“Again, what good would a formal complaint have done when I am not in good standing with the Council?” I countered.

He steepled his fingers and pressed them lightly to his lips.

“Exactly. Which brings us back to the issue of why you are not in good standing,” he said.

Well, shit.

He reached behind the desk and I heard the sound of a drawer opening and closing. He sat back up and a large stack of folders thumped on the desk top.

“As you can see, your transgressions have been well-documented.”

He flipped open the top folder and started shuffling through pages.

“Here we have the report the fire drill you pulled during the Council meeting, causing mass panic. Hmmm. And let’s not forget the ‘Skunk Blood Incident of 1886,’” he paused to scowl at me when I snorted with laughter.

“Then there’s the time you replaced the beds of all the Council members with coffins. Shall I go on?” he said looking up from the foot-tall pile with fake courtesy.

I bit back a smile. I was damned proud of everything he listed and more. A lot of work and preparation had gone into those feats. Everything he considered a stunt, I considered civil disobedience for a good cause. I hated everything to do with the Council’s goals to make us more like mortals.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think everything the Council did was bad, but give me a break.

Vampires are gods. Mortals are our food. You don’t see humans going around eating grass and mooing all the time. And why not? Because mortals understand their superiority over cows.

“Come on,” I said. “Nothing you mentioned there was all that bad. No one was hurt. Besides, last time I checked, the Council didn’t ban freedom of speech or expression. Or is that next on your totalitarian agenda?”

“As the leader of the Council, it is my goal to create a democratic life for all of my constituents. I even encourage debate on topics of import. However, your pranks have nothing to do with taking a stand and everything to do with getting attention.”

My mouth dropped open. Of all the freakin’ nerve! I forgot all about the throbbing in my feet and the hunger pains clenching my stomach as centuries-old resentment bubbled up in me like a volcano.

“You’re wrong. You just can’t stand the idea that your daughter hasn’t toed the line of your administration.”

“What I can’t stand is the idea that my daughter turned out to be nothing more than a spoiled brat who has not one ounce of self-respect.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Look at yourself. You’re all tarted up like an extra from one of those horrible vampire movies,” he said raking me with a distasteful glare.

“Excuse me? These clothes are the height of fashion!” I said. No one, but no one insulted my clothes. The black leather miniskirt and red corset were two of my favorite pieces. He obviously was stuck in the Dark Ages when it came to fashion.

“Where? The Best Little Whorehouse in Transylvania?”

I opened my mouth to rebut, but his words cut so deep I couldn’t think of a response. My own father had just called me a whore. Nice.

I took a deep breath to calm the fire in my belly.

“My fashion choices have nothing to do with why I am here.”

He leaned back in his leather executive chair. “You’re right. Your behavior is the issue at hand. If I recall, the last time you were in this room I warned you that further disobedience would not be tolerated.”

“Disobedience?” I repeated, struggling to keep my voice level. “I am four-hundred-years old. I will not be treated like an ill-tempered child.”

“Then perhaps you should stop acting like one,” he said quietly, leaning forward with a clear warning in his cold eyes.

I bit my tongue, hating him for being right. And I was annoyed with myself for taking his bait.

He leaned back in his chair and regarded my silence for a moment.

“The Council is recommending banishment,” he said as if casually commenting on the weather.

My gasp sounded before I could stop myself. He took me completely off guard. My heartbeat kicked up about twenty notches.

“That’s insane!” I said.

“Is it?,” he asked, raising his eyebrows. “Time and again, you have demonstrated your lack of respect for the Council. We have threatened, we have cajoled, we have bribed. None of it has worked. You crossed over the line this time.”

I stood in sullen silence. My anger and resentment felt like a poison vine in my belly.

“What were you thinking?” he continued. “The Murdoch family is one of the oldest and most respected among the Brethren.”

He shook his head with disgust.

“I don’t have to remind you how important Logan Murdoch’s work is. The Lifeblood formula he’s creating will make all of our lives better.

“And how is he rewarded? My own daughter tries to cast a spell to gain control of his mind. And if that isn’t enough, you kidnapped the mortal woman who may be Logan’s soul mate. It’s unconscionable.”

“Are you more upset by my actions or by how they make you look?” I asked, keeping my voice calm.

“Both,” he said, his clipped tone felt like a slap.

“And for that you are ready to throw me to the wolves and let the Council use me as an example for all the other naughty vamps? You’re going to sacrifice your own daughter?”

“Your actions are a threat to our entire way of life. You bring dangerous attention to all of us with your antics. We, the Council, believe you must be rehabilitated by any means necessary.”

“So you’re going to ship me off to a remote area where you know I will have no source of food? Well, I guess death is the ultimate form of rehabilitation,” I said with a bitter laugh.

“Don’t be melodramatic. We would provide you with synthetic blood as sustenance. Logan is almost ready to release it to the public, despite your efforts to the contrary. You will be one of the first to use it.”

I narrowed my eyes and leaned forward. “A little poetic justice, huh? I tried to stop his efforts to develop Lifeblood, so now I am doomed to depend on it for survival.”

I laughed again, the sound hollow. “You know I won’t do that. You might as well stake me now.”

My words hung in the air for a second. I just knew I had him. He would have no choice but to come up with an alternate punishment.

He laughed instead.

“Don’t be ridiculous. Your tantrums don’t impress me,” he said between chuckles.

If anyone could spontaneously combust, it would be me.

“You’re an asshole!” I seethed. “I am sure you would love it if I was dead. Then you wouldn’t have that inconvenience of being embarrassed by my every word and action.”

“Grow up, Gabriella.”

“It’s Raven!” I yelled. I knew I sounded like a fledgling, but I couldn’t help myself. He had me cornered. Like a wild animal I struggled to think of a way, any way, to free myself from this trap of my own making.

“Calm down,” he commanded, his voice hard with warning. “I am sure if you look at this rationally you will see it is best for everyone. You get two hundred years to think about what you’ve done—”

“Two hundred years? Fuck that!”

“Charming language,” he admonished. “Yes, two hundred. You must pay for your crimes and have sufficient time to learn your lesson. At least you the banishment isn’t permanent like it is for some of our more notorious criminals. In fact, it’s not really banishment, so much as a period of exile.”

Yeah, that made me feel tons better.

“Vampires are banished for murdering other vamps or mortals in cold blood. I kidnapped one measly person and didn’t hurt a hair on her head!” I said, trying to make him see reason.

He continued as if I had not spoken. “Now, in addition to exile for the next two hundred years, you must also apologize to the Murdoch family. Since you will be leaving for Norway—”

“Norway? Norway! As in the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun?’”

“Yes, that Norway. As I was saying, since you ship out tomorrow, there is no time for you to go back to Raleigh to make a formal apology to the whole Murdoch family. Thus, I have decided an apology to Callum is sufficient until such time as you return from your exile.”

“And the hits keep on coming,” I grumbled.

Not only was I going to the fucking frozen tundra—where I’d have to deal with two solid months of sunlight a year for two hundred freakin’ years—but now I had to apologize to that arrogant asshole, Callum Murdoch, Logan’s younger brother.

When the family busted in on my lair to rescue the chick I kidnapped, Callum had volunteered to take me into custody and deliver me home to dear old dad. I couldn’t stand the guy. In addition to being the Brethren Golden Boy, Callum ran a company that produced all the products that helped vampires blend into mortal society.

“Do you have any questions?” my father asked.

“Were you born with out a heart or did it dissolve from lack of use?”

He ignored my comment as he pushed the intercom button. As he told Callum to come into the office, I tried to compose myself. I felt like my entire world had collapsed.

The thought of apologizing to Callum made me want to puke. I never, ever begged anyone for anything, least of all forgiveness. I felt more desperate in that moment than I had in my entire long life.

The doors opened and Callum strolled in as confident as you please. Seeing him with the bright light from the reception area framing him in a golden aura was overwhelming. I guess it had something to do with the fact he seemed so . . . capable, while I felt so trapped.

The thought of apologizing to this man made me feel dizzy and short of breath. I know it probably had more to do with my empty stomach than my pride, but it was there nonetheless.

Finally, I did something I have never done in my four-hundred-and eleven years on this earth.

I fainted.


About the Author: 
Kate Eden comes from a long line of mouthy broads who love to read, so it’s probably no surprise she caught the writing bug early. An avid romance fan since her early teens, Kate loves writing–and reading–stories about plucky heroines, sexy heros and the weird and wild journey people take on their way to love. She loves good food, cheap booze, and believes laughter is the cure for just about everything.

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