Book of the Month: February

I’ve only just started this series, but I can already tell it’s going to be a favourite. Everything about J.D Robb’s In Death series so far has just blown me away. While I gave both Naked in Death and Glory in Death 5 star reviews, February’s book of the month is going to be Naked in Death. I was so completely absorbed in the happenings of this book, I found it virtually impossible to put down. I know that if you give it a try, you’ll feel the same.

So here is an excerpt. Eve’s had a really rough day and she’s in a dingy bar, hoping to drown her sorrows.

“This doesn’t seem quite your den of iniquity, Lieutenant.”

Eve opened her eyes and stared up at Roarke. “Every time I turn around.”

He sat across from her. The table was small enough that their knees bumped. His way of adjusting was to slide his thighs against hers. “You called me, remember, and you’d left this address when you logged out,”

“I wanted an appointment, not a drinking buddy.”

He glanced at the drink on the table, leaned over to take a sniff. “You’re not going to get one with that poison.”

“This joint doesn’t run to fine wine and aged scotch.”

 He laid a hand over hers for the simple purpose of watching her scowl and jerk away.”Why don’t we go somewhere that does?”

“I’m in a pisser of a mood, Roarke. Give me an appointment, at your convenience, then take off.”

“An appointment for what?” The singer caught his attention. He cocked a brow, watching her eyes roll and gesture. “Unless she’s having some sort of seizure, I believe the vocalist is signaling you.”

Resigned, Eve glanced over, shook her head. “She’s a friend of mine.” She shook her head emphatically when Mavis grinned and turned both thumbs up. “She thinks I got lucky.”

“You did.” Roarke picked the drink up and set it on an adjoining table where greedy hands fought over it. “I just saved your life.”

“Goddamn it–“

“If you want to get drunk, Eve, at least do it with something that will leave you with most of your stomach lining. He scanned the menu, winced. “Which means nothing that can be purchased here.” He took her hand as he rose. “”Come on.”

“I’m fine right here.”

All patience, he bent down and until his face was close to hers. “What you are is hoping to get drunk enough so that you can take a few punches at someone without worrying about the consequences. With me, you don’t have to get drunk, you don’t have to worry. You can take all the punches you want.”

“Why?”

“Because you have something sad in your eyes. And it gets to me.” While she was dealing with the surprise of that statement, he hauled her to her feet and toward the door.

“I’m going home,” she decided. 

“No, you’re not.”

“Listen, pal–“

That was as far as she got before her back was shoved against the wall and his mouth crushed hard on hers. She didn’t fight. The wind had been knocked out of her by the suddenness, and the rage under it, and the shock of need that slammed into her like a fist.

“It was quick, seconds only, before her mouth was free. “Stop it,” she demanded, and hated that her voice was only a shaky whisper.

“Whatever you think,” he began, struggling for his own composure, “there are times you need someone. Right now, it’s me.” Impatience shimmering around him, he pulled her outside. “Where’s your car?”

Naked in Death: pg 169-171

Book of the Month: December

It’s not often that a book grabs me so completely. I’ve read books that were absorbing, but never any that were quite so visceral as Evenfall. I’m not going to go on too much about it because I imagine I fangirled quite enough in my review. This scene is from fairly early on in the book, and it was a moment where both Boyd and Sin’s defenses momentarily dropped.

Boyd didn’t know how long he’d been asleep before he heard it, or even whether it was a dream. He only knew that an unfamiliar sound caught his attention and that he felt mildly disoriented. 

Opening his eyes, he listened closely with his brows furrowed down slightly. When he realized what direction it was coming from, he rolled his head discreetly and peered through the darkness. It took him a few moments to discern what it was.

When he realized it came from Sin’s bed, the surprise jerked him awake.

Sin was curled in a tight ball on his bed as though he were trying to protect himself. Despite that, the muscles in his face and body were twitching oddly. A soft, incoherent exclamation fell from his lips and he unwound himself from the ball abruptly. 

He extended one of his arms away from his body and one hand dangled off the bed, the fingers twitching and tensing. He muttered in Chinese softly in his sleep, his voice low and strained.

Boyd shifted and pushed himself up on one elbow, his eyebrows drawn down as he stared. Sin so often seemed silent and still, like a statue, that it was disturbing to see him so obviously distressed.

“Sin?” he asked loudly, hoping to wake him.

The word did nothing. In fact, whatever nightmare Sin was having only seemed to progress in intensity. His head turned back and fourth, black hair splaying against the white sheets of the bed. His face turned towards Boyd and moonlight shone across it, showing a vulnerable, naked expression that bordered on fear.

Boyd sat up, looking at him with actual concern. He didn’t know what to do; it was almost alarming to see Sin in this state. The man was usually so controlled that Boyd never knew how many layers there were before his true opinion would show.

But in this case, with Sin asleep, Boyd knew everything he was seeing was the truth. The fact that Sin sounded terrified made Boyd get out of bed. Even if Sin hadn’t been making noise, Boyd wouldn’t have been able to go back to sleep in good conscience.

Boyd threw his legs over the side of the bed and padded across the room toward Sin’s bed. He’d seen the way Sin hadn’t seemed to react much to Lydia when reliving a nightmare but he’d been drugged at the time.

“Sin, wake up,” Boyd said loudly, lightly touching the hand dangling in front of him.

The reaction was immediate.

Sin’s eyes snapped open; wild and filled with madness. Seemingly without transition, Boyd was suddenly thrown across the room. He smashed into a table so hard that it flew a few inches off the floor, crashed against the wall and fell over. He crashed into the floor; his vision clouded and he couldn’t properly breathe. Everything that was on the table clattered around him in a spray that peppered his body. His bag fell down next to him, spilling its contents.

Before he could even understand what had happened, violently strong hands were on him. He was yanked back and flipped ruthlessly, slammed onto his back. His head cracked against the hardwood floor and pain shot down his neck.

Boyd’s eyes fell shut of their own accord. When they snapped open a breath later, Sin’s face was less than an inch from his own, and there was no recognition in it at all. Fear and surprise overcame Boyd. His heart stumbled. Green eyes blazed at him with the same uncontrollable fury he had seen in the surveillance videos. As the words ‘automatic kill mode’ moved through his mind, he realized that Sin’s hands were now wrapped around his neck. 

“Sin,” Boyd yelled as Sin’s fingers started to tighten. “Hsin! Stop!

The response was unexpected. The heart pounding moment, feeling like it had been on fast-forward, suddenly stilled. Tension made the shadows in the room zero in on them while Sin faltered. Long, powerful fingers loosened slightly on Boyd’s neck. That shadowed face stared down uncomprehendingly.

Boyd didn’t know if it was the use of Sin’s real name or the plea that had gotten his attention but either way he took advantage of the moment.

“Stop,” he said urgently. His body was so tense it felt locked in place. He kept himself perfectly still, as nonthreatening as if he were dealing with a wild animal. “I won’t do anything–Just stop, Hsin. Don’t hurt me.”

Pale green eyes met honey brown and Sin’s brow furrowed as he absorbed the words. His hands remained poised on Boyd, ready to snap his neck in an instant. A long, tense moment passed in which the only movement was their chests rising and falling with their breath. Then sluggish awareness began to creep back into Sin’s eyes. The manic wildness slowly drifted out of his face and was replaced by an expression of confusion.

At first it seemed that Sin wasn’t even aware of what had happened but then his eyes widened and he scrambled backwards, lowering into a crouch. Panting and tense, his body was coiled tighter than a spring about to snap. He still didn’t look entirely back to himself and his green eyes flitted around quickly. He didn’t speak but appeared to be bracing himself, waiting for something to happen.

Tense and unwilling to move, Boyd came to two conclusions in quick succession. One, he still had no idea whether or not Sin would attack him. Two, he was almost positive Sin had only stopped when he had made it known that he was not a threat. There was only one thing he had that could possibly be considered a threat, and it was what Sin seemed to be waiting for.

Moving as fast as he could so his motions were not misunderstood, Boyd pulled the small remote out of his nearby bag. Sin tensed, eyes narrowing but his face turned into a study of complete shock when Boyd threw the remote at him. Sin caught it in midair, the action almost an unconscious reflex as their eyes stayed locked.

“Take it,” Boyd panted roughly. “I don’t want it–I’m not here to hurt you.”

For a long moment the only sound in the room was of their labored breathing as they stared at each other. For the first time since they’d met, Sin’s face was completely open and his thoughts were clear.

Emotions Boyd hadn’t even been positive Sin ever felt were aimed at him. Shock, guilt and fear dominated his slightly widened green eyes and parted lips. The moment stretched at they stared at each other, the chaos of the last few minutes adding to the panting of their breath and eyes locked on each other. But it didn’t last long and everything snapped back to normal speed.

Sin abruptly ran out of the cabin. He was there and gone so fast that it seemed liked he’d disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Kindle location: 3434 of 21534

It was after this that Sin and Boyd developed this tiny smidgen of trust and formed the beginning of their friendship.

Book of the Month: October

Hi there! I don’t know if you guys remember me; it has been a while. I really am sorry to have been neglecting this blog for so long, but between assignments, exams and Tumblr, I haven’t had much time to talk books. But I’m back! And I need to catch up. I am waaaaaay late for October’s book of the month, but rather late than never, right?

I’ve decided that my favourite read for October was A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch. I absolutely adored Diane, our heroine. She had a sharp tongue and the zingers that flew between her and Oliver had me rolling around laughing. Everything was just so good. I probably shouldn’t have found this particular scene so funny, but I couldn’t help it. So here it is:

Dianne dropped the spent pistol onto the table. She couldn’t very well return it to the small band tied around her thigh, because the barrel was quite hot. And the room still seemed to echo with the loud roar.

In the doorway, Oliver staggered around to face her. “You shot me!”

“It’s not as though I didn’t warn you,” she returned, lowering her skirt from where she’d lifted it to get the pistol.

“You kissed me back! Shoot yourself if you’re angry at someone for that!”

“Oh. I’m not certain I agree with you, but I’ll remember for next time.”

He clapped his right hand over his left shoulder. “See that you do,” he snarled, and stumbled to his knees.

Jenny charged into view and then skidded to a halt, Margaret at her hills. “What-Margaret, fetch water and bandages. And keep the men downstairs. Tell them we shot a mouse.”

“You’re very quick with the excuses,” Oliver noted, sinking onto his backside and no longer looking particularly alarmed.

“Yes, well, I’ve had practice.” Jenny turned her head to look up at Dianne. You shot him? she mouthed. 

“He kissed me,” she whispered back. And now she supposed she needed to assist Jenny, to keep the rat from expiring on her floor. Because that would certainly frighten away potential members. 

“Diane, do you need smelling salts?”

No! I’m fine.” What a silly question. Though she did seem to be swaying a bit. Diane gripped the edge of the table. For God’s sake, she’d shot Oliver Warren. Yes, she disliked him-well, not precisely disliked, but loathed maybe. Or wanted to punch him in the nose-but not enough to shoot him. It was just that he’d-he’d kissed her. And that he’d been correct just then. She’d kissed him back, even knowing that he’d fled her bed like a fox with its tail on fire. 

“Come and help me with his jacket,” Jenny instructed, her voice sharp.

“Yes. Yes, of course.” Blinking, Diane moved forward and knelt beside him to yank [Oliver’s] jacket down his arms.

Oliver cursed blackly, using a selection of profanity so varied that some of it she’d never heard before. “I’ll do it,” he barked, pushing her back with his elbow. 

One of the maids arrived with water and cloths, then hurried away again. This wouldn’t be the first test of her household’s discretion, but a shooting would be of far more temptation and interest to everyone than a countess’s monochromatic wardrobe. Better to know now if they could be trusted, she supposed, rather than later.

“It looks to be a deep graze, my lord,” Jenny said, ripping the sleeve of Oliver’s lawn shirt off at the shoulder. “No ball to dig out.”

“And yet I don’t feel so very grateful,” Oliver retorted.

 “Be thankful that I can aim, then,” Diane commented, sticking her finger through the hole in his jacket sleeve and attempting to rid her head of the last of its cobwebs. “And that I decided your heart was too shriveled to make a decent target.”

A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes: pg 84-86

 

Book of the Month: August

I wasn’t too sure of what to have as my top pick for this month. The obvious answer would have been any of the books from the Cut & Run series. But then then there’d be the conundrum of choosing which one is my favourite, and I don’t think I can do it. So I’m choosing something else: About That Night by Julie James. This book was sweet and funny, and definitely one of the best contemporary romances I’ve read.

Kyle and Rylann are fighting some sexual tension but they can’t do anything about it because Kyle is the star witness in a case she’s working on. This scene takes place after Rylann wraps the case up before it goes to trial.

If the circumstances had been different-and there’d been no ‘situation’ between them-Kyle would have said he was on the best first date of his life. 

He had a smart, funny gorgeous woman next to him, and they’d been talking, just the two of them, for over an hour. Rae had disappeared to talk to some guy at the bar, and since then Rylann had been cracking him up with stories about a few very memorable cases she’d prosecuted-including one, from her first year on the job, about some genius who stuck a hair dryer in his jacket and pretended it was a gun, then tried to rob a bank with the power cord dangling between his legs.

The drinks were flowing, and the ambiance was perfect- soft candlelight on the table between them, the velvet curtain secluding them on three sides. They were sitting close to each other in the booth, which gave Kyle the perfect vantage point to stare at…well, everything. Her full, lush mouth as she told her courtroom storied and sipped her wine. Her long, slender legs that were crossed in his direction. The creamy skin of her shoulders, with an adorable scattering of freckles he wanted to trace his tongue over. And that V neckline… hell, that was cruel and unusual punishment. Being a good nine inches taller than Rylann, he could see a lot from where he was sitting, and all he could think about was pulling down the straps of her dress and getting his mouth on those luscious breasts.

And… apparently, from the way she paused expectantly, she’d just asked him a question.

Oops.

Kyle quickly covered, pointing to his ear. “Sorry. I couldn’t hear you with all the noise from the bar.”

“Oh.” Rylann scooted in a little closer, so that her thigh brushed against his.

 Kill me now.

“I just asked what plans you have, now that you’re no longer working for Rhodes Corporation,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been talking this entire time.”

He tried to focus. Christ, she smelled good-some light, citrusy perfume, or maybe it was her shampoo. He wanted to bury his face in that incredible dark hair to find out. 

Get it together, asshole. Remember the ‘situation’.

“I’ve got some things in the hopper,” he said vaguely in response to her question. He wasn’t ready to share the details of his start-up company yet-not until things were more certain.

She raised an eyebrow. “Legal things, I hope?”

Cute. “Yes, legal things, counselor,” he said. “Trust me, if I never see the inside of a courtroom again, it’ll be too soon.” Then he remembered. “Except for the Quinn case, obviously.” 

“Right.” Rylann looked down at her wineglass, as if thinking something over. Then she looked up at him sideways, with a gaze that seemed a bit more… interested. “Why did you send Dex out to get me and Rae?”

The moment of truth.

Kyle knew he could follow their standard code of conduct and answer her with some dry quip, or joke, or sarcastic comment. But something about the ambiance and the way she looked-and, more important, the way she was looking at him right then-made him want to forgo the usual games. So instead, he held her gaze directly. “Because nine years ago, I walked up to the most beautiful girl in the bar, and tonight she’s still the only person I want to talk to.”

Her eyes widened at his words, and he waited for her to say something, anything, that would let him know that he wasn’t the only one feeling this way tonight. But instead, she turned back to her wineglass and toyed with the stem.

“There is something we should probably talk about,” she said. “I was in court today.”

Court. Kyle pulled back and shook his head in disbelief. Here he was, putting himself out there, and still all she wanted to talk about was work. “Really,” he said dryly.

“It was actually a fairly routine matter,” she continued. “But since you’ve been involved in this case, I thought you might be interested in knowing that Quinn pled guilty this morning. To voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to violate a prisoner’s civil rights.”

Kyle went still. “What does that mean?”

Her eyes sparkled coyly. “Voluntary manslaughter? It’s a type of homicide where there’s no prior intent to kil-“

He put his hand over her mouth, cutting off the sass right quick. “What does it mean?” he repeated in a low voice. When he took his hand away, he saw the edges of her lips curving up in a smile. 

“It means you’re no longer my witness. There’ll be a sentencing hearing, but for all intents and purposes, the case is over.”

That was all Kyle needed to hear.

He threaded his fingers through her hair and gently cupped her neck. No more games. “You didn’t have to tell me that tonight.”

She held his gaze unwavering. “No, I didn’t.”

An admission that spoke volumes. Kyle ran his thumb possessively along her lower lip, his voice a soft growl.

“Let’s get out of here.” 

About That Night: pg 150-153

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…