Demonica: Sin Undone

Sin Undone

Sin Undone

Her touch is deadly

As the only female Seminus demon ever born, master assassin Sinead Donnelly is used to being treated like an outsider. She spent decades enslaved, and now she vows she’ll die before she’ll relinquish her freedom again. Then Sin’s innate ability to kill her enemies goes awry: She creates a lethal new werewolf virus that sparks a firestorm of panic and violence. 

His hunger can’t be denied 

Half-werewolf, half-vampire Conall Dearghul is charged with bringing in Sin to face punishment for the plague. And she’s no stranger: He’s bound to her by blood, and the one sexual encounter they shared has left him hungering for her raw sensuality. Worse, Sin is the underworld’s most wanted and Con soon learns he’s the only one who can help her… and that saving her life might mean sacrificing his own. 

I was really really really looking forward to Sin’s book. She’s one of those heroines who you just can’t help but root for. She’s been through so much but she still manages to be strong. And Con… well, Con is crazy hot so I was looking forward to seeing more of him. But it felt like something was missing. I can’t put my finger on what exactly that something was, but this book just didn’t have it.

Our story starts with all kinds of shit hitting the fan. On a hit gone wrong, Sin has managed to start an epidemic. Werewolves (aka wargs) are dropping like flies, Underworld General is being inundated with the dying, and the Warg Council wants Sin’s head on a plate. Sin’s always had a knack for landing herself in trouble but this is just ridiculous. Adding to Sin’s woes is the fact that now she has to deal with Con, the delicious dhampire she got freaky with in one of the hospital’s supply closets. Con isn’t exactly quivering with excitement at the prospect of being in Sin’s presence, either. Because of her, innocent werewolves are losing their lives. Unfortunately, neither actually has any choice and the two are forced into even closer quarters when it turns out that a hit has been put out on Sin. Con figures he owes the Sem brothers enough to help keep their wayward sister out of trouble, and Sin needs all the help she can get. The more time Sin and Con spend together, the more they realise that neither one is as they first appear. For all Sin’s tough as nails image, she’s vulnerable. And despite acting like a devil-may-care adrenaline junkie, Con is actually a good guy and a dedicated paramedic.

I’m actually pretty disappointed with Sin Undone. I think I hyped it up in my head and now it’s fallen a little short. But, on the plus side, this story did set things in motion for Ione’s spinoff series, The Lords of Deliverance, which I’m quite excited about.

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Holy Wow Wednesday: In the Tub

You may have noticed that there was no Holy Wow last week. I had every intention of posting that, if nothing else, but I got a little distracted. I was watching Spartacus and, man, that shit is rivetingSeriously, even blinking became optional. So I’m sorry for my neglect last week, but I hope to make it up to you by presenting you to the ridiculously sexy cast of what is now my favourite programme ever: Spartacus. All these lovely creatures have been photographed in-you guessed it-the tub.

Blessing Mokgohloa plays the pirate Castus.

Blessing Mokgohloa plays the sexy pirate Castus.

Todd Lasance who plays Julius Caesar.

Todd Lasance takes on the role of the cunning and diabolical Julius Caesar.

The ridiculously pretty Ellen Hollman stars as German badass Saxa.

The ridiculously pretty Ellen Hollman stars as German badass Saxa.

Christian Antidormi acts as the evil little snot Tiberius.

Christian Antidormi acts as the evil little snot Tiberius.

Cynthia Addai-Robinson who stars as Naevia, one half of my second favourite couple on the show.

Cynthia Addai-Robinson who stars as Naevia, one half of my second favourite couple on the show.

And now… *drum roll*…. my absolute most favouritist people on this programme:

Dan Feuerriegel plays Agron, the sexiest thing to come from the east of the Rhine...

Dan Feuerriegel plays Agron, the sexiest thing to come from the east of the Rhine…

Pana Hema Taylor stars as Nasir, Agron's other half.

Pana Hema Taylor stars as Nasir, Agron’s other half.

And now, because I can and because they’re cute, I leave you with this:

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FBI/US Attorney Series: About That Night

About That Night

About That Night

He’s playing games.

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face-to-face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful assistant US attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.

But she’s making the rules.

Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case-but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants-and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten…

I really do think that this series could quite easily become a favourite of mine. James has this way of writing where she effortlessly combines a fast-paced story line with characters who are hard not to adore and with a sense of humour I can only describe as wicked. I loved every second of this book, and I was almost disappointed when I finished it.

About That Night is book three in the FBI/US Attorney series (I still haven’t found the first one) and it’s Kyle’s book. Once, Kyle Rhodes was known for being the heir of a billionaire dollar company and being a shameless playboy. But all that changed in the space of time it took to compose a single tweet. Now, he’s known universally as the Twitter Terrorist and he’s finding it hard to shake that label. Still, it isn’t for lack of trying. He reverts, to a large extent, back to his habit of partying and womanising, but his heart just isn’t in it. But Kyle’s days of going through the motions grind to a screeching halt when he runs into someone he never thought he’d see again.

Rylann Pierce, assistant US attorney, is one tough cookie. She’s new to Chicago, having just moved there after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. Rylann is a woman with a plan (for, quite literally, everything) and she doesn’t take shit from anyone. Nothing ruffles this lady’s feathers… until she bumps into Kyle Rhodes in the courtroom during his release proceeding. Needless to say, neither one was expecting to see the other.    

After Kyle’s release, he’s adamant that the US Attorney’s office can kiss his shapely behind. They are getting exactly nothing from him. Well, in theory, anyway. But when Rylann comes over asking him for help, Kyle finds it a little hard to say no. Not that he has any interest in helping the US Attorney’s office, but Rylann… something’s still there and he’s quite keen on exploring it.

Honest to God, these two were adorable. I loved Kyle from A Lot Like Love, so I was itching to read his story and Ms James did not disappoint. Rylann was fierce and Kyle was funny, and together they were just perfection. Contemporary romance isn’t typically my thing, but Ms James is truly making a believer out of me.

I have to share this little snippet with you. Rylann and her best friend, Rae, went out to celebrate their win in the courtroom and have gone to the opening of a new club. Unfortunately, their lack of a certain male appendage means they’re being ignored by the female bartender.

Once again, Rylann tried to catch the eye of the female bartender working Firelight’s main bar. “One of the few times I’ve ever wished for a penis,” she said to Rae when the bartender stepped up to take the order from yet another male customer. They’d been waiting to be served for over twenty minutes. She’d even worn the red magic boob dress, but unfortunately its mojo offered no help in this particular situation.
“You haven’t had sex in six months,” Rae said. “If I were you, I’d be wishing for penises every night.”

Go on, read that without laughing. You can’t do it, can you? The rest of the book follows in pretty much the same fashion. Definitely worth a read if you’re looking for a cute, sexy contemporary.

Cut & Run: Armed & Dangerous

Armed & Dangerous

Armed & Dangerous

Left alone in Baltimore after his unpredictable lover bails, Special Agent Zane Garrett takes his frustration out on everything in his path until he is ordered to Chicago to backup an undercover operative. When he gets there, though, he finds himself face to face with his wayward partner, Special Agent Ty Grady. They have to deal with the uncertainly lingering between them while they work to retrieve their intended mark, a retired hit man and a CIA wet-works operative named Julian Cross.

Ty, once a Marine and now an FBI hotshot, has a penchant for being unpredictable, a trait Zane can vouch for. Zane is a man who once lived for his job but has come to realize his heartbreaking past doesn’t have to overshadow his future. They’re partners, friends, lovers, and the go-to team for unusual cases. With Cross and his innocuous boyfriend, Cameron Jacobs, in tow, Ty and Zane must navigate the obstacles of a cross-country trek, including TSA pat-downs, blizzards, their uncooperative prisoners. CIA kill teams, a desperate lack of sleep and caffeine, and each other. Ty and Zane are determined to get Julian Cross to DC in one piece, but it’s starting to look like the last thing they do. 

I was so very extremely glad that by the time I discovered the Cut & Run series, Armed & Dangerous was already out. Because the way Divide & Conquer ended damn near sent me into a panic. To those of you who followed the series earlier on and had to wait for Armed & Dangerous, I have the utmost respect for you. I would have had a breakdown. I mean, seriously, how can you end a book like this?

I’m sorry. Walls are closing in and I need to go.
Love you.

Really? I ran-and let me tell you, there isn’t much that will inspire me to run- to the computer so I could download this book. And it was so totally worth it. I know some people may be a little worried to see that Roux was writing this one on her own but, in all honesty, I couldn’t really tell. The series carries on in pretty much the same way as it has in the previous four books.

Armed & Dangerous picks up right where Divide & Conquer ended. Zane has just found Ty’s note and we’re all just sitting there like, “Noooooooooooooo!” Thankfully, Ty calls and clarifies that this isn’t a note to say things are over. Cue the sighs of relief. Despite the huge weight off of Zane’s chest he’s still pretty pissed, and he continues to be pissed in days after finding Ty’s note and hearing his explanation. Until he gets a phone call from FBI top boss, Richard Burns, telling him that he’s needed in Chicago to provide backup for an unknown undercover agent. Turns out… that agent is none other than the flighty, irresistible Ty Grady. Kinda saw that coming, but whatever. Their mission? To find a former CIA hit man and deliver him to the FBI’s DC headquarters. Cross apparently has some information that can put some very high ranking CIA officials in jail for using agency assets to carry out private hits. Seems like a simple enough assignment except… Julian Cross has no intention of going anywhere near that particular shit storm and wants the FBI and CIA to leave him the hell alone. Ty and Zane’s job is made even more difficult when they’re forced to drag Julian’s clueless boyfriend, Cameron Jacobs, along. The trip from Chicago back to DC can only be described as harrowing. From Julian and Cameron’s repeated attempts at escape to unfortunate encounters with the TSA, from running away from CIA agents determined to keep Cross out of DC to having to contend with spectacularly shitty weather, Ty and Zane must have been beginning to suspect that God hates them, And then, there are the issues between them. Granted, Zane finally pulled his head out of his ass and admitted to Ty that he loved him, but now they’re on a case where they can’t really explore what that means. They’ve gotten pretty good at hiding their relationship from the world, but now it’s starting to wear on them.

Julian and Cameron are characters from an earlier book by Roux and Urban called Warrior’s Cross and, to be honest, I haven’t read it yet. It’s sitting in my Kindle and I just haven’t gotten there. But I mostly enjoyed their characters, although maybe I would have connected with them more had I read their book. I found Cameron a little… preachy, but I really liked Julian. As for Ty and Zane? Well, they pretty much broke my heart which is par for the course for this series. Their reunion after Ty left was just so sweet. And how, after keeping their emotions all bottled up for the past few weeks, they can finally admit that they love each other without worrying that the other’s head will explode. Every time they did, I just sort of broke out in this big happy smile.

Here are a few of my favourite bits and pieces:

“What the hell does Burns want now? You’re supposed to be on wellness leave.”
Ty didn’t answer for a long time, long enough that Zane checked the display on his phone to make sure the call was still connected. Then he heard Ty huff. “God, I love it when you’re cranky like this. Promise to still be pissed when I get home, okay?”
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”
                                                                                               ………………

“Ty,” Zane said between kisses, his hands firm on Ty’s body. “Be mine, just for now. There’s time.”
Ty reached for Zane’s face, meeting his eyes. “I was always yours,” he said with difficulty.
Zane pressed his fingertips to Ty’s lips. “Why?”
Ty shook his head, searching for the answer. His chest tightened and breathing became difficult, but he landed on the words he needed. He met Zane’s dark eyes and realized he was feeling light-headed as he answered. “Because… you make me the kind of person I’ve always wished I was.”
Zane was silent, his gaze tracing over Ty’s face. Ty held his breath until Zane spoke. “I’ve always wanted you just like you are. As much as you infuriate me, you’re who I want.”
………………. 

“I thought you were going to kill him back there.”
Ty turned to face him. “Next time I will,” he said, his voice cold and determined.
A shiver ran down Zane’s spine, and he had to admit, a part of him liked it. “What is it about him that gets you so riled?”
“It’s not him, Zane. It’s you.”
“Me? What’d I do?”
“He is a threat to both of us. You’ve seen what he’s capable of, and I have to tell you, I don’t think he’s trying yet. I think he’s just a fucking raptor testing the fences. When I look at him, I see him hurting you.”
……………….

Actually, I’m going to stop right here or I’ll end up quoting the whole damn book. In short, Armed & Dangerous was amazing. Pretty much like the rest of the series and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon…

FBI/US Attorney Series: A Lot Like Love

A Lot Like Love

A Lot Like Love

The FBI wants her cooperation.

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there-with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. 

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment-one they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more…

A Lot Like Love was a real gem. I didn’t realise it when I bought it, but this is actually the second book in the FBI/US Attorney series, but it is possible to read it as a stand alone. I’m normally a bit of a stickler (okay, not really; I’m a gigantic pain in the ass) about reading books in order, but there will be zero confusion should you decide to read these books out of order.

The story is set in Chicago and our leads embody the whole “two worlds collide” concept. Nick McCall is an FBI agent who hails from Brooklyn and comes from modest means. Jordan Rhodes is a billionaire heiress who owns a wine shop. Most would agree that these two should have next to nothing in common, and would have no reason to come into contact with one another. Fortunately, fate has other plans. The FBI comes to Jordan with a proposition: if she agrees to help them out with an undercover operation, they’ll make arrangements for her twin brother, Kyle, to be released from prison early. Jordan is less than enthusiastic about the whole thing-after all, these people had her brother thrown in jail-but she can’t really refuse. Even so, she’s just a little tempted to tell the FBI to get stuffed when she’s introduced to her “boyfriend”. Jordan and Nick have a rocky start with sarcasm and snarky comments flowing thick and fast between the two. However, the more time they spend together, the more they realise that their preconceptions of one another may have been a little off…

This story was really too sweet. I loved how Nick and Jordan’s relationship changed. They went from being antagonistic and a little hostile, to okay-maybe-you’re-not-so-bad, to flirty, to totally into one another. It wasn’t an overnight thing, and the development of their relationship was pretty entertaining. But what I enjoyed even more than the romance between Nick and Jordan was Kyle Rhodes. Kyle has served four months of an eighteen month prison sentence. His crime? I’ll let Ms James explain it:

Kyle worked in technology; he knew it would only be a matter of time before the video of Daniela and the A-list actor went viral and spread everywhere. So he did what any pissed-off, red-blooded computer geek would do after catching his girlfriend giving an underwater blowjob to another man: he hacked into Twitter and deleted both the video and her earlier tweet from the site. Then, raging at the world that had devolved so much in civility that 140-character breakups had become acceptable, he shut down the entire network in a denial of service attack that lasted two days.

Thus, the “Twitter Terrorist” was born. So, if you’re looking for something light and fluffy to read, I’d give this book a go. It was sweet and it was funny and what more could you possibly want?   

Cut & Run: Divide & Conquer

Divide & Conquer

Divide & Conquer

Baltimore, Maryland, is a city in alarming distress. Rising violence is fanning the flames of public outrage, and all law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are catching blame. Thus the FBI’s latest ideas to improve public relations: a municipal softball league and workshops for community leaders. But the new commitments mean more time Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have to spend apart when they’re happily exploring how to be more than by-the-book partners.

Then the latest spate of crime explodes in their faces-literally-throwing the city, the Bureau, and Ty and Zane’s volatile partnership both in and out of the office into chaos. They’re hip-deep in trouble, trying to track down bombers and bank robbers in the dark with very few clues, and the only way to reach the light at the end of the tunnel together requires Ty and Zane to close their eyes and trust each other to the fiery end.

If there was ever, God forbid, a fire in my house I do believe that off all the books on my shelf, I’d save the Cut & Run series first. I have become so emotionally attached to Ty and Zane that it’s not even funny. They’re not just fictional characters any more; they’re actual people. But before my imminent trip to the loony bin, let me tell you about this installment in what has become my most favouritist series ever.

Ty and Zane are in a pretty good place right now. Despite Ty dropping the L-Bomb, there’s been minimal awkwardness and their relationship has reached the stage where they’re comfortable with each other. But this being Ty and Zane, this happy phase in their lives can’t last. True to form, something goes horribly wrong; in this case a spate of bombings and bank robberies.  Law enforcement is being accused of not doing enough to keep the city safe, and the subsequent PR nightmare is giving the authorities grey hair. Ty and Zane find themselves in the middle of the chaos when there’s a bomb scare at the local aquarium. Instead of the romantic evening in the boys had planned, they find themselves  responding to the call. After arriving in a fairly dramatic fashion, Ty and Zane become the centre of the media’s attention. Needless to say, this is the last thing Ty and Zane want or need. They just want to be able to do their jobs and be together. Alas, the fates (aka Roux and Urban) seem to take some sadistic pleasure in making the boys’ lives difficult. Becoming the media’s darlings has meant added responsibilities for both Ty and Zane, which also means less time for them to be together. Then things get worse. So much worse. The ringleader of the bombers/bank robbers becomes fixated with Ty, making him a target. While dealing with yet another bomb, Zane gets caught in an exploding building and subsequently loses his vision. Then, and then, as if all this weren’t bad enough, Team Sidewinder shows up for a visit.

I loved this book so much. There were so many ups and downs and tugs at your heartstrings and kicks in the stomach and fires lit in your pants… there was just so much. I love how Ty and Zane’s relationship keeps on developing. They’ve yet to reach a point where I felt that things were dragging or that their relationship is stagnant. But, even though I love Zane, I did want to kick him. Hard. The issues Zane had with telling Ty that he loves him frustrated me. I know this hesitancy was true to Zane’s character and his tendency to overanalyse things is a part of who Zane is. But it still annoyed me. Another thing that totally got my goat was Nick O’Flaherty. I forgave him for it-eventually-but at the time I was furious. There was much shouting and swearing on my part, fueling my family’s insistence that I need to get out more.

In all, this book was pretty much just like the previous three: it was funny, heart wrenching, hot as hell, action-packed, and just plain awesome. And now I will share some more awesomeness with you.

Zane let the momentary annoyance fade into the background. They could bitch about work later. “Sure you still want dessert before dinner?”
“You’re not dessert, Zane. You’re the main course,” Ty informed him in a husky drawl. And you have about five seconds to take your pick of flat surface before I do it for you.”
………………..

Ty reached out and patted Zane’s knee, letting his hand rest there as he finally forced himself to look up and meet Zane’s eyes. “Thank you for believing me today,” he said roughly. “No one else did.”
“I trust you,” Zane said simply.

This is one of my favourite scenes in this book. It involves a slighly jealous, possessive Ty. Makes the knees a little weak.

Zane’s gut clenched; hearing and feeling Ty this worked up was a hell of a turn-on. And the fact that it was because Ty was feeling possessive…Zane’s head spun with delight, and he tried to give as good as he got. Ty pulled back from him just long enough to shuck his suit jacket and yank his shirt and undershirt over his head. Zane could feel the bare skin under his fingertips, soft and warm, shifting over muscles he could trace with his eyes closed. Then Ty was on him again, hands all over him as he tugged and yanked at Zane’s clothing, biting at his lips and his chin and his neck, sucking on his earlobe and growling, “You’re mine. Jersey Shore can get his own.” 

McCabe: In Bed With A Highlander

In Bed With A Highlander

In Bed With A Highlander

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his-until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

Though the illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that makes her a pawn-and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril, only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband finds her craving his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons-and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

In Bed With A Highlander is the first book of Maya Banks’ that I’ve read. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. This book had been sitting in my to-be-read pile for quite a while, and I’d sort of forgotten about it. When I got around to it and saw the title and the cover, I was like, “Oh, boy. It’s going to be one of those.” You know the ones I’m talking about: those types of romance novels that make some of us embarrassed to be caught reading the genre. Luckily, this was not the case.

The story is set in the Highland’s of Scotland. Our leading lady is Mairin Stuart, the Scottish king’s illegitimate daughter. Traditionally, illegitimate children get diddly squat from their father. However, Mairin is an exception to this rule: her father has given her one huge ass dowry, and it’s made her a hot commodity for Scotland’s eligible bachelors. I was a little bit… dubious when Mairin first came onto the scene, She seemed a little to damsel-in-distressy for me. The fact that we first find her hiding in an abbey until she could decide on Mr Right just had me a little, “Meh”. Unfortunately for Mairin, though, she doesn’t actually get the chance to make the decision because she’s kidnapped by the dastardly Duncan Cameron’s men. I find that sometimes authors go out of their way to make the villain as obviously evil as they can in all the cliche-ridden ways they can think of. Thankfully, Ms Banks refrained from doing this. Still, Duncan Cameron was evil and I wanted to stab him.

Enter our hero, Ewan McCabe, a man fully capable of making Cameron a bad memory. Ewan is the dashing laird of his keep and he has a major ax to grind with Cameron. So when Cameron’s would-be bride ends up on McCabe property after escaping from being forced into marriage, Ewan can see the merits in marrying the young lady himself. His way of giving Cameron the finger, I suppose. I know this makes it sound like Mairin was this passive lump just going along with whatever the men decided, but this was not the case. Granted, she didn’t have much control over the circumstances that were turning her life upside down but at least she was smart about how she reacted. She could have put up more of a fuss about marrying Ewan, but she knew that, at that stage, he was her best bet. But after the I-do’s are said, Mairin does not hesitate to give her new husband the what-for. An example of Mairin speaking her mind? The consummation of their marriage was quite a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am affair, one that Mairin has absolutely no desire to repeat. When Ewan broaches the subject of doing it again, Mairin very firmly puts him in his place:

 ” ‘Tis a well-known fact that a man is either skilled in matters of loving or matters of war. ‘Tis obvious that fighting is your skill.”

Ouch! All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It took me by surprise a couple of times and reminded me that the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” really is true.

Holy Wow Wednesday: Hugh Jackman

This past weekend, I went to watch The Wolverine. Let me tell you, I was excited. Not only do I adore Hugh Jackman, I’m also a humongous fan of all things Marvel. And then I watched it… and then I was disappointed. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t know what the hell was going on. There was lots of running and quite a few explosions. And I could not for the life of me work out why any of it was happening 😦

Despite my general confusion, all was not lost. How could it be when Hugh Jackman was on screen, being all “Grrr…” and “Rawr…” and stuff? So this week I’m all about Hugh Jackman’s hot self and I felt this overwhelming urge to share. Enjoy!

Hugh Jackman 2

Hugh Jackman 3

wolverine

Hope that everybody enjoys the rest of their week!

 

Demonica: Ecstasy Unveiled

Ecstasy Unveiled

Ecstasy Unveiled

A demon enslaved…

Lore is a Seminus half-breed demon who has been forced to act as his dark master’s assassin. Now to earn his freedom and save his sister’s life, he must complete one last kill. Powerful and ruthless, he’ll stop at nothing to carry out his deadly mission.

An angel tempted…

Idess is an earthbound angel with a wild side sworn to protect the human Lore is targeting. She’s determined to thwart her wickedly handsome adversary by any means necessary-even if it means risking her vow of eternal chastity. But what begins as a simple seduction soon turns into a passion that leaves both angel and demon craving complete surrender. 

Torn between duty and desire, Lore and Idess must join forces as they battle their attraction for each other. Because an enemy from the past is rising again-hellbent on vengeance andunthinkable destruction.

Larissa Ione is honestly one of my favourite authors ever. I loved every single thing about this book. I was so sad when I finished with it because I just wanted it to go on forever! The characters were amazing, the story line is fast-paced and action-packed, and the sex is smoking. Honestly, in my mind, Larissa Ione can do no wrong.

I knew right from the get-go that I was going to adore this book and our hero. I mean, when a book starts like this, you know that you’re in for something epic:

Lore had always believed that when it came to sex, the more the merrier. Too bad for him that when “more” meant more than just himself, people tended to die. 

That is the internal monologuing of our hero, Lore, brother to Wraith, Shade and Eidolon. Remember how I said that Wraith was my favourite Sem brother? Well, he just got unceremoniously bumped down into second place. Lore is just… sex on a stick, slathered with chocolate sauce and topped off with a cherry. He’s this badass assassin who can kill someone just by touching them, but underneath his macho-man exterior, he’s just this giant marshmallow. And he’s got a twin sister, Sin, who has me rocking a bit of a girl crush. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Our story starts with Lore being instructed to kill Kynan, he’s newly discovered brothers’ closest friend. Lore is desperate to get to know his brothers, but Lore’s boss will kill Sin if he doesn’t comply. There isn’t really much of a choice, so off Lore goes to kill Kynan. Or at least, that was the plan. Instead, he gets his ass handed to him by Idess, Kynan’s real life guardian angel. Not only does she save Kynan, she also manages to get Lore away from him and tie him to her bed. Now, I don’t know about you, but this is a heroine that I can really appreciate. I loved how the relationship between these two progressed, and how Lore let down his Great Wall of Sarcasm and let Idess in. There was just something so sweet about these two that I have no choice but to put them on my list of favourite couples in any paranormal romance that I’ve read.

Now on to my absolute favourite part of this book: Sin. I have a feeling this chick is going to completely blow her brothers out the water on the badass scale. Sin is an assassin and she is just epic. But, unfortunately, Sin has some serious trust issues. She only really trusts Lore, and she’s majorly suspicious of the brothers she never knew she had. As far as Sin’s concerned, she would have been just fine had these bossy, overbearing men stayed in the woodwork.

Before I go, I want to give you guys two of my favourite Sin scenes.

The uber-hot werewolf/vampire paramedic Conall is looking for Sin. She is not happy about this; she assumes that Con is there on Eidolon’s orders to-shudder, gasp!-get to know her. Con assures her that this is not the case.
“I don’t want to get to know you. I want to fuck you.”
Oh.” Oh. Well, that was more like it… [internal monologue here] “You promise that’s all you want?”
His gaze seared her as he boldly dragged it up and down her body. “I swear I only want to get into your pants.”
What a relief.

Unbeknownst to Sin, Con had a little bet going on with fellow paramedic, Luc. Five hundred bucks on whether or not Con could get Sin on her back. Con and Luc are being pigs and speculating as to whether or not the Seminus brothers will disembowel Con for touching their sister. What they really should have been worried about, though, is Sin’s reaction.
“So,” Luc said, “will it at least have been worth it? Being gutted by Shade, I mean? Was she good?” His body heated as though remembering. And wanting again.
“Of course I was.”
Fuck. Con spun around to find Sin standing there, hands on hips and fury in her expression. Like a kid caught stealing candy, he whipped the money behind his back.
She looked at him as if he was an idiot, and grabbed his arm, bringing it around.
It’s not what you think,” he said lamely, because it was exactly what she thought.
“Really? So that big asshole behind you didn’t bet you five hundred bucks that you couldn’t fuck me?”
Ah…”
“That’s what I thought. You dick. How stupid do you think I am? Your name really fits you, Con. She snatched the money from him, took two hundreds and three twenties, and thrust the remaining two hundred and forty dollars back into his hand. Then, smiling broadly, she punched him in the shoulder. “Next time you make a bet like that, don’t cheat me out of my half. I owe you a ten.”
She winked and left him, jaw-dropped and gaping, as she sauntered away.

And that, friends, is why I have a raging crush on this chick. I cannot wait to see what Ms Ione has in store for her.

Cut & Run: Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring-an out-and-proud married couple-on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is.

Portraying the wealthy criminals requires a particular change in attitude from Ty and Zane while dealing with the frustrating waiting game that is their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, they realize there’s more to being partners than watching each other’s backs, and when the case takes an unexpected turn and threatens Ty’s life, he and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own.

Ty and Zane have become it for me. The couple I will compare all other couples to in terms of what emotions they’re able to wring out of you. I cannot remember the last time I read a series where I had so many feelings. I’m not the type to just cry at the drop of a hat, but Roux and Urban have had me on the brink a dozen times throughout the series, with seemingly little effort.

At the start of Fish & Chips, Ty and Zane are in a relatively stable place in their relationship. They’re back on the field and they’re only struck with the urge to strangle one another every once in a while. Things are going pretty well. Sure, Ty is trying his best not to reveal how deep his feelings for his partner go, but beyond that everything’s just peachy. And then they get their next assignment: to impersonate happily married couple Del and Corbin Porter. I know some people found this bit of the story line to be a little on the cheesy side, but I honestly didn’t mind. I liked that Ty and Zane were given an opportunity to act like a couple-a real couple-without fear of the consequences or what other people would think. Anyway, Ty and Zane reluctantly accept the assignment and realise that along with some cosmetic changes, they’re each going to have to undergo a little bit of a personality transplant. Del, the man Ty will be impersonating, is a little on the submissive side while Corbin is an aggressive creep. When I first read this, I wasn’t convinced. Ty the submissive? Not going to happen. But not only did it happen, Ty’s submissive act was explosively hot.

This case has an affect on more than just Ty and Zane’s sex life. It changes how they treat each other. Slowly but surely, they’re getting more comfortable with the little things that before now they had avoided. Casual touching, being able to watch each other without it being thought of as weird, holding hands in public… All the things most couples would take for granted. In addition to the physical aspects, Ty and Zane also begin opening up to one another a little bit more. I think that aspect of it was my favourite part of this book. In Cut & Run and Sticks & Stones, Ty and Zane have proved that they are utterly at ease with the physical aspect of their relationship; it’s the emotional side that they struggle with. In Fish & Chips you see them taking little baby steps towards being honest with each other about how they feel.

This is my favourite scene from Fish & Chips. Every time I read it, I die a little.

He licked his lips as his thumb grazed the ring. “I love you” was not something he had ever really planned on telling Zane, especially in a situation when neither of them could hide from the other. But it had come out so naturally up there on that railing he hadn’t been able to stop himself. Now, he could either lie right to Zane’s face and let Zane believe it had been a mere ploy to get him to jump, or he could tell him the truth. Again.

Ty was tired of hiding it.

“I have a problem, Zane,” he admitted, sounding slightly surprised that he was saying it out loud, especially now, when everything seemed to be going well for their odd relationship.

Zane raised on brow. “Besides sitting soaking wet in a jail cell in the middle of the Caribbean?”

“I have to say, it’s not a first for me,” Ty muttered. He smiled and looked up at the ceiling. almost talking himself out of saying it. He waited a moment to make sure he really wanted to say it, and when he spoke he had finally dropped the fake accent. “No, this is a different kind of problem.”

Despite the expressed surprise from a moment ago, this time Zane’s voice was more serious, with a shade of audible concern. “What is it?”

Ty bit the inside of his lip as he looked down at his hands and turned them over. They had begun to shake slightly. He could feel the nerves coursing through his body. If he told Zane, nothing would be the same. Their entire partnership would change, for better or for worse. And he knew he would get nothing out of it except the relief of coming clean.

Falling in love or just plain falling: they were both terrifying at any speed. 

He sighed heavily and lifted his chin stubbornly, meeting Zane’s eyes without flinching. “I didn’t say it just to get you to jump. I’m in love with you, Zane,” he admitted in a calm, clear voice. “I have been for a while.”

God, these two idiots just hurt my heart. Every. Single. Time.

Guild Hunters Series: Archangel’s Consort

Archangel's Consort

Archangel’s Consort

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school-the assault one of sheer, vicious madness-and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and and the earth itself shudders. 

The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed.

I don’t think there is any other author who can compare to Nalini Singh. This woman has such an amazing way with words. Sometimes I have to stop reading and just marvel. I’m torn between absolute awe and and utter envy.

Archangel’s Consort is book three in the Guild Hunter series and it takes place shortly after the shit hit the fan with Lijuan in China. Elena and Raphael are back in New York, hoping for a little (relative) peace and quiet. Unfortunately, it looks like all the weirdness has followed them home, and the New York vampires start losing their heads. Something is causing Raphael’s vampires to succumb to bloodlust and the results aren’t pretty. The normally cool-calm-and-collected Raphael is worried. He knows that if he doesn’t reign his vampires in, and quickly, things are going to get messy. Circumstances force him to be more brutal than he’d necessarily like, and this puts a little bit of strain on his relationship with Elena. While Elena knows that Raphael has rule with an iron fist to keep control of his city, the methods he’s forced to use make her slightly uneasy. Making their lives even more complicated, there are increasing signs that a Sleeping ancient is about to wake up. And this isn’t just any ancient: it’s Caliane, Raphael’s mother. She wants her son back and she isn’t willing to let anyone, let alone some newly-made angel, stand in her way. However, Raphael isn’t the only one having to deal with family issues. Elena is forced into a situation where she has to deal with her estranged father and the little sisters who are basically strangers to her.

I really enjoyed this installment of the Guild Hunter series. There was more action in this book than there was in Archangel’s Kiss. This isn’t to say that there was no progression in Raphael and Elena’s relationship; it’s just that there was a little more focus on Elena being the kickass heroine we met in Angel’s Blood. We saw a good balance in Elena’s personality and how she interacted with the other characters. She displayed a certain amount of vulnerability with Raphael, but she was in no way a push over. She isn’t as physically strong as she used to be, but that does in no way keep her from hunting down vampires and holding her own with Raphael’s Seven. I also liked how Singh is developing Raphael’s character. He’s a hard man and he’s capable of doing some really awful things, but with Elena he… softens. He’s capable of being sweet and gentle. And where I once wasn’t too sure about Raphael, I’ve now decided that I love him.

This series, and the author who writes it, is a-ma-zing. I cannot wait to see what Singh’s got planned next for this series.

Holy Wow Wednesday: Super Rugby

I come from a family of staunch rugby and soccer supporters. Sports are a pretty big thing in our house and you do not get in front of the tv when a Blue Bulls or Real Madrid match is on. It’s a a matter of personal safety. Now, I don’t know what it’s like in other places but here where I live, our menfolk love rugby. This isn’t to say that the ladies don’t get all excited about the sport, but our guys have a tendency to… well, act like crazy people, if my father is any indication. Seriously, after the Bulls lost to the Brubies the week before last, I thought my whole family was going to wear black in mourning. But until recently, I didn’t really see what the fuss was about (that’s pretty much my reaction to most sports). But one day, while unwillingly watching a game between the Sharks and… I can’t remember who else, I had an epiphany: Rugby is a beautiful game. Don’t believe me? Here, I have evidence…

Danny Care of the English national team.

Danny Care of the English national team.

Richard Kahui of the New Zealand national team.

Richard Kahui of the New Zealand national team.

Maxime Mermoz

Maxime Mermoz

Ben Foden of the English national side.

Ben Foden of the English national side.

Pierre Spies of the South African national team.

Pierre Spies of the South African national team.

Sonny Bill Williams of the New Zealand national side.

Sonny Bill Williams of the New Zealand national side.

I swear to God, Sonny Bill Williams is reason enough to watch rugby. Or boxing, Or whatever the hell else he does to keep his fine self busy. So the next time you find yourself lamenting the fact that you’re stuck watching sport, just remember: there’s a hottie there somewhere. You just might find yourself enjoying the game more than the actual sports fans.

 

 

 

 

 

The Smythe-Smith Quartet: A Night Like This

A Night Like This

A Night Like This

Anne Wynter may not be who she says she is…

But she’s managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge-in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy-no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger…

But that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if it means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she’s a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending…

A Night Like This is the second book in Julia Quinn’s Smythe-Smith series, and it was just as sweet and funny as the first. The story overlaps with Just Like Heaven and follows the trials and tribulations of the nutty Pleinsworth family and their long suffering governess, Miss Anne Wynter.

We’d heard quite a bit about the exiled Earl of Winstead in Just Like Heaven, but we didn’t really get the full low down on what Daniel actually did to get himself exiled from London. That is exactly where the story begins. We see the usually sensible and amicable Daniel Smythe Smith drunk off his ass. He’s stupid drunk, and so are most of his companions. It was during an inebriated game of cards that Daniel was accused of cheating, and was subsequently called out. Of course, we know Daniel didn’t cheat. The man could barely walk in a straight line at that point; cheating would require far too much brain power. Unfortunately for Daniel and his accuser, things devolve to the point where they call each other out and, due to piss poor aim, Daniel almost shoots the guy’s leg off. The dude’s dad (sorry, can’t for the life of me remember his name) is furious and tells Daniel that he’s going to need to sleep woith one eye open from now on. Fearing for his life, Daniel flees London and travels the continent, hoping to avoid the crazy dad’s goons.

Three years later, Daniel’s back in London. He’s ready to put the whole sordid mess behind him and carry on with his life. And what better way to remind himself of home and all the things he’s missed than to attend one of his family’s horrendous musicales? It’s there that he spots someone who is most definitely not a member of his family playing the piano. The lady in question is Anne Wynter and she has a Past. Not that anyone else knows that. As far as everyone else is concerned, she is a proper and respectable governess who has been given the unenviable task of seeing to the Pleinsworth girls’ education. She needs her job and does not have the time or, in this case, the willpower to convince the extremely persistent Earl of Winstead that this thing between them just isn’t going to happen.

Before I actually talk about Anne and Daniel together, I have to give mention to the Pleinsworth sisters. These young ladies are Daniel’s cousins, and they are just as bonkers as the rest of the Smythe-Smith clan. I think I enjoyed reading about their antics more than I did reading about the romance between our leads. This isn’t to say that the chemistry between Anne and Daniel was lacking, it was just… those kids were so funny. But on to the actual romance. Anne and Daniel were really sweet together. Anne was just such a gem. She was so patient with those crazy kids, and her willingness to take Sarah’s place in the musical when she was “sick” totally endeared her to me. And Daniel? It was so refreshing to have a hero who didn’t hate himself. These gents are few and far between, and I treasure them every time I find one. Granted, Daniel has his moments of epic stupidity but that made him normal, not this perfect god-like figure who doesn’t make any mistakes. I like that about Ms Quinn’s books: her heroes are human and you can relate to them.

I really enjoyed this book, although not quite as much as I did Just Like Heaven. It was a little more serious than I was expecting. Also, there was not enough of the Smythe-Smith Quartet for me. I missed having them around to make a noise. Still definitely a worthwhile read.

Book of the Month: July

I’m a little bit late with this month’s top pick… sorry about that. I’ve been having a few technical glitches. July has been a pretty good month for me with regards to my reading. I’ve read some pretty epic books this month, and it’s been pretty difficult to choose between them. Or at least, it would have been if it weren’t for Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban. These two ladies have both completely ruined my life, and provided me with an unforgettable reading experience. Given how I’ve been going on about the Cut & Run series, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it’s this month’s top pick.

I couldn’t really choose between Cut & Run and Sticks & Stones, so I decided that they’d share this month’s spot as Book of the Month.

In this scene, from Cut & Run, Ty and Zane meet for the first time. To say things go badly would be an understatement.

Ty pressed his lips tightly together and looked down at the shiny desktop sedately. Zane shifted his eyes between the man and Burns before narrowing them. He wondered why he had been asked to sit in on this meeting when the guy was obviously being fired. It seemed overly cruel. He clamped down hard on any further reaction and waited to see what would happen.

Ty licked his lips and looked up again to meet his superior’s eyes almost defiantly. 

“Fortunately for you, Grady, you have more lives than a cat,” the man said to him with a small frown. “And you’re getting another chance to prove to us that you can do this job without blowing shit up. I won’t say one more, because God knows I’ll just keep giving you more until you get yourself killed. Meet your new partner, Special Agent Zane Z. Garrett.”

Zane couldn’t be more appalled, and it showed clearly in his reaction. This wreck of an agent was his new partner? “Director Burns,” he started impulsively, but he caught his tongue and tightened his grip on the chair. What kind of reward was this?

“The hell he is!” Ty interrupted as he sat up straight. “I can’t do my job with a… a… poster-boy partner” he practically stuttered angrily as he flopped his hand toward the squeaky-clean man next to him.

“And you can’t do it without a partner, either, Special Agent Grady,” Burns responded with a hard glare.

“Sir, it seems obvious,” Zane said, not bothering to keep any edge of disapproval out of his voice, “that this agent needs more than I can possibly provide to help him. Frankly, it will take a miracle to make him even remotely professional. No one will take him seriously.”

“Take me seriously?” Ty echoed in disbelief. “Christ, have those shoes ever even seen pavement? Shit,” he exclaimed in a sudden panic as he gripped the arms of his chair and leaned forward. “Are you sending me to Cyber,” he asked Burns, who was sitting behind the desk and grinning like a small child at Christmas.

“Your tone of voice implies investigating technological crime and terrorism might be below you,” Zane said to him coldly as he leveled an even gaze on the other agent. “Perhaps you should consider requesting a transfer to professional staff. Or submitting your resignation all together.”

“Hey, fuck you, candy ass,” Ty snarled without looking over at him.

“Quiet, both of you!” Burns barked suddenly. “Grady, you’re staying in Criminal until you get your ass killed or do something so illegal even I can’t cover for you, understand? Garrett, you’re to make certain he doesn’t do either of those things. Is that clear? And you will both like it.”

Cut & Run: Kindle location 212 of 10273

Being Ty and Zane, they can’t stay out of trouble for long and they once again find themselves in Burns’ office at the beginning of Sticks & Stones. The guys’ attitudes towards one another has improved somewhat, although they still give each other hell.

“… Sit down.” [Burns] ordered.

Ty hesitated stubbornly for a moment and then reluctantly moved to obey, flopping into the seat beside Zane. He glared at his partner, as if his being there were somehow Zane’s fault. Zane rolled his eyes and turned his chin so he was looking back out the window.

“Why are we here?” Ty asked impatiently.

“To embarrass me for jackassing my eval,” Zane muttered.

“You’re here to amuse me,” Burns corrected in a sarcastically sweet tone. “But now that you mention the tests…”

Ty glanced over at Zane and frowned slightly. “What’s going on?” he asked, the annoyance draining away, replaced by growing concern.

“Why would you think anything’s going on?” Burns asked curiously. “Smell something in the wind, do you?”

“Uh huh,” Ty responded warily as he looked between them, either oblivious to Burns’ sarcasm or ignoring it.

“Garrett is going on a little vacation,” “Burns answered as he leaned back in his chair.

“What? How long?” Ty demanded.

“Three weeks.”

“What?” Ty repeated, slightly more panicked. “But who will I get to do my paperwork?”

“Jesus Christ,” Zane swore quietly. Burns was practically kicking his ass to the curb, and all Ty could think about was the paperwork. Classy.

Sticks & Stones: Kindle location 436 of 4857  

God, I love these idiots…