Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Blade of Darkness
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
ASIN:   B073V23CGT
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Review Copy Source: Author

Return to the "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall's Immortal Guardians.

Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember. But she never saw Aidan coming. When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception... and passion. Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan's arms and in his bed. Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.

Immortal Guardian Aidan O'Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don't trouble him. The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan's brethren turning against him, so he can't help but feel alarmed. While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?

One of my biggest fears when reading series with different main characters in each story is that I won't love the new couple as much as I have loved the old. After 7 books, Dianne Duvall hasn't let me down yet and has made it easy to love each and every Immortal Guardian and love interest she has made come to life.

You should remember Aidan, he is a newbie to our favorite Immortal Guardian family, but he made a big impression when he broke into headquarters to steal a list of gifted ones in hopes of finally finding his better half. It works, but now those gifted ones he has come in contact with are going missing and it not only threatens his standing with his Immortal Guardian family, it also threatens the newly found love he has found with Dana.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Aidan and Dana. Dana handled everything thrown her way in a much better way than I think I would have. Not only was she strong and firm in just about everything she said and did, but she was so loving and understanding. She could be completely scared to death, but her actions were fierce. I liked her a lot. Aidan didn't always make the smartest decisions, but I found him to be extremely loyal and generous. He deserved Dana's love and the Immortal Guardians' trust and he got it. The attraction between the two was hot and they made a great couple.

Like with all the other books in the series BLADE OF DARKNESS was full of action and danger. All of the Immortal Guardians worked together to take down their shared enemies and came out stronger after it. I wish the books came out faster, but I'm always willing to wait for the next installment. What couple will be next?

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

New Release: 9/17-9/23


Monday, September 18, 2017

Interview + Giveaway: All the Light There Is by Anise Eden

UFI welcomes Author Anise Eden. Thanks for Joining us!!

Urban Fantasy Investigations, thank you so much for having me on your blog to celebrate the release of ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS, the third and final book in The Healing Edge paranormal romance/suspense series! It is such a pleasure to be here.  

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

My mother taught me some epic Southern cooking skills. However, I hardly ever cook, because it’s rare for me to have the time and space to do it the way it ought to be done!

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Most of the time, I enjoy simple pleasures: sharing a meal with loved ones, reading, playing with the dog. I also love traveling, especially to explore history, and taking in a really good play or concert—experiences that transform me or teach me something new.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

It’s hard to say, since every part has aspects that are fun and aspects that are challenging. There is a wonderful satisfaction, though, that comes from collaborating with a great editor to mold a book into the very best possible version of itself. To me, that process is very close to magic.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

Other than needing solitude and quiet to help me focus, there isn’t anything in particular. Although coffee helps. And good snacks. And my dog sleeping at my feet. And my husband being nearby. So, yes, maybe a few routines, now that you mention it!

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?

When it comes to Urban Fantasy/Paranormal books, I’m a voracious reader of series. Over the past few years, some of my favorites have been Kelley Armstrong’s Cainesville novels; Christine Feehan’s GhostWalker novels; Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books; Rosanna Leo’s Gemini Island Shifter Series; and Chloe Neill’s Devil Isle novels. There are many others, too, and I’m always on the hunt for new worlds to explore.

How would you pitch ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS and The Healing Edge Series to someone who has not heard of it before?

I might describe The Healing Edge Series as “Medium” meets “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” without the vampires and slaying, or “X Files” meets “True Blood” without the blood or supes. ☺

As for ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS, this last installment in The Healing Edge paranormal romance/suspense trilogy casts its group of paranormally-gifted healers into a new and galvanizing role as they uncover a deep web of subterfuge that puts them in the crosshairs. In this crucible of science and spirituality, danger and destiny, the relationship between Cate and Ben deepens, and the MacGregor Group discovers shocking truths about their true potential. ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS ties together the interpersonal connections and larger plots of the first two books, acting as both the culmination of the series and a broadening of the imagination for the future of the MacGregor Group.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

I’m currently working on a new book that I hope will launch another series. It’s a paranormal romance/suspense novel set in a hospital with a unique cast of characters and a wacky apocalyptic subplot. I hope my readers will enjoy this new adventure as much as I’m enjoying writing it!

 
__________________________________

Before becoming an award-winning author, ANISE EDEN wanted to be a wildlife photographer. Unfortunately, a strong aversion to large insects, poisonous snakes, and sharks―along with a cat allergy that might well extend to tigers―limited that career option. Also, Anise always roots for the gazelle, and we all know how that usually turns out. Fortunately, Anise’s voracious hunger for reading kept her occupied, eventually morphing into a passion for writing quirky stories filled with heart, humor, and imagination. Anise loves that through writing, she can live out any adventure she likes without the need for antivenom or antihistamines.


Find Anise  and her books
__________________________________

All the Light There
The Healing Edge #3
Amazon BN
Psychotherapist Cate Duncan is done with danger. Her whirlwind weeks of training at the MacGregor Group’s parapsychology clinic, while exhilarating, have also brought one crisis after another. So when their research colleague Skeet offers Cate and her boss-turned-boyfriend Ben some time away at his secluded hunting lodge, even though it’ll be a working vacation, they jump at the chance.

But the idyllic Mercier Lodge is teeming with secrets. An aura reader and a telepath who work with Skeet reveal his unorthodox research methods, triggering the MacGregor Group’s suspicions. Then there’s the matter of a tragic death that occurred at the lodge over a year ago, and how it connects to unsolved mysteries from Cate’s past―mysteries she may not be ready to confront.

As they delve into Mercier’s unsavory history, Ben and Cate stick close together, trusting in their love for each other to keep them safe. But when a plot separates them, Cate must rely on the MacGregor Group’s paranormal abilities, some surprise allies, and her own determination to track Ben down and crack Mercier’s mysteries before the strange place claims any more victims.
 Excerpt:

ParaTrain Internship, Day Six

It’s just a meeting. Nothing to be nervous about. I wiped my damp palms on my skirt and ordered my brain to focus on something else. Like the Jag, I thought. Focus on the fact that you’re finally getting a ride in the Jag.
And not just any Jag—the British 1936 Jaguar SS100 Ben had restored. He’d found the car in a barn in Pennsylvania, sitting on blocks and covered in hay bales. Now, it looked like it had just left the showroom. My fingertips roamed across the soft leather seat as I admired each piece of shining chrome and the deep glow of the wood on the dash. The car’s transformation was a testament to Ben’s workmanship—not to mention to his patience and tenacity when it came to the things he loved.
The things—and the people, I thought, smiling down at my ring. I hadn’t exactly made things easy for Ben, but now, two gold birds were wrapped around my finger, holding a lustrous piece of Scottish agate between their wings. He’d wanted to give me a tangible reminder of how he felt, a talisman to guard against anxiety and doubt.
I stole a glance at Ben. He was completely in his element, left hand loosely holding the steering wheel, right elbow propped up on the door. Everything about him was solid and squared-off, from the angle of his jaw to the way he carried his shoulders. These qualities were augmented by his charcoal gray suit and crisp white shirt—worn sans tie, as usual. I marveled that no matter what internal battles he might be fighting, Ben always exuded a quiet confidence.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asked.
“Completely.” I closed my eyes and inhaled my new favorite scent—a mixture of fine wool, cotton, and vintage leather that clung to Ben like an olfactory tattoo. “My mom would have loved this, you know.”
His light brown eyes softened. “You think so?”
“Absolutely.” Every summer when I was a kid, she had taken me to the local car shows. Back then, we could only look, never touch. Riding along with Ben, I felt like a glamorous movie star. I struck my best Hollywood pose, and he smiled.
It was such a pleasure—not to mention a relief—to see Ben relax after the nonstop drama of the past two weeks. There had been too many life-and-death situations, too much tension. And more than anyone, Ben had earned a vacation. With that in mind, after our meeting at the Smithsonian, we planned to spend the rest of the weekend on the Eastern Shore. That evening, we had a dinner date with my mother’s cousin, Ardis, and a reservation at a nice bed-and-breakfast. Sunday’s schedule was still open. I thought we might head to the ocean; I loved the beach in the fall. Or we could take the ferry to Smith Island; wander around St. Michaels, go sailing…. As I considered the possibilities, I nearly forgot to be nervous.
Then we entered downtown D.C. I sobered as stately suburban homes gave way to modern office buildings and massive structures of chiseled granite. Before long, the Smithsonian office building came into view—ten stories of tinted glass reflecting the cloudless blue sky like a darkened mirror. It took up half a city block.
Ben caught me biting my lip. “You know there’s nothing to be nervous about, right?”
“I know,” I lied. The truth was, I couldn’t believe we were actually there. It had been less than twenty-four hours since Ben told his mother, Dr. MacGregor, about our group’s experience with the double kheir ritual. Now we were on our way to meet with her world-class paranormal research team—and not just to exchange information. We’d been asked to give a demonstration, as well.
I had dressed up for the occasion, wearing a dove gray pencil skirt and a wine-colored cashmere sweater my mother had given me one Christmas. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t belong at the Smithsonian—not as anything more than a tourist, anyway.
“Well, just in case,” he said, “let me remind you that you have nothing to prove here. None of us do. My mother already told her colleagues what happened with our ritual, and they’re keen to know more. But they don’t have any definite expectations; after all, half of them still think the double kheir is just a myth.” In a conspiratorial tone, he added, “Think of it this way. I know you have a lot of questions. Today, you can ask anything you like.”
“Hmm.” I bit the tip of my finger. “Anything?”
“Sure.”
“Like whether The Da Vinci Code was based in fact? And whether they’re all members of the Illuminati?”
He chuckled as we pulled into the underground parking garage. “If you ask them those questions, I’ll make sure you get a substantial year-end bonus.”
“Deal,” I said, smiling tentatively. I was still getting used to the idea that my new boyfriend was also my new boss.
Ben was the manager of the MacGregor Group, an alternative healing clinic founded by his mother and housed in a repurposed church. I first met him when my former employer, Dr. Nelson, sent me to the MacGregor Group for treatment. My mother’s recent suicide had left me in pieces, unable to function. As close as she and I had been, somehow I hadn’t seen that my mother was in crisis. Her shocking loss had debilitated me, and I could barely leave my house, let alone return to my job as a psychotherapist. What Dr. Nelson hadn’t told me was that Dr. MacGregor was a psychiatrist who specialized in paranormal gifts, and that instead of “treating” me, she and Ben were enrolling me in ParaTrain, a paranormal skills training program. My first lesson had been to learn the definition of an empath—and that I was one.
Since then, my life had changed so dramatically that it was unrecognizable. Dr. Nelson, Dr. MacGregor, and Ben had all worked hard to convince me that because I was an empath, the key to maintaining my mental health was to leave my job as a therapist and go to work for the MacGregor Group. The idea of leaving my beloved therapy clients was nothing short of heartrending. But after due consideration and several persuasive paranormal experiences, I had agreed to take their advice. Before I could officially start my new job, though, I had to complete a three-week training program: one week of preparation, followed by a two-week internship.
My time in ParaTrain had flown by. Although I was starting my final week of the internship, I still didn’t feel anywhere near ready to take on my new role as an empath healer. Before I met the MacGregors, I hadn’t even known that empaths existed, so I was still struggling to find my bearings. And the unexpected romance between Ben and me was keeping me permanently off-balance. Add in the mind-blowing experience we’d had with the double kheir the previous week, and…. Well, I didn’t even know what had happened there, so I was fairly certain that I’d make a fool of myself trying to describe it to the Smithsonian research team.
That thought had me wiping my palms on my skirt again. “I am nervous, though, about this demonstration we’re supposed to give. The researchers may not have any definite expectations, but surely they’re hoping to see something. And unlike the rest of you, I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“You’ll be fine, Cate,” Ben reassured me as we pulled into a parking space. “Kai’s got it all figured out. He said he has something simple and easy planned, so just follow his instructions. Even if nothing interesting happens, that’s still useful information for my mother’s team. They’re scientists, remember? In an experiment, even a negative result is valuable.”
I had no reason to doubt Kai. He was a highly capable expert in ancient rituals, among other things. But when it came to the paranormal, I had a track record of unintentionally messing things up. “What if I forget our instructions and start reading people’s emotions?”
Dr. MacGregor had passed on a request from her project director that we refrain from using our paranormal gifts on the members of the research team without their specific permission. Apparently, they were much more comfortable observing others than being observed themselves.
“The fact that you’re already worrying about that means it’s highly unlikely you’ll forget,” he said. “And even if you do, who’s going to know?”
Only everyone, I thought. My poker face was nonexistent. I buried my face in my hands. “I’m just afraid that I’m going to embarrass myself. And you. And your mother. And disappoint everyone.”
Ben turned off the ignition. I felt him lean towards me and gently tuck an escaped strand of hair into my braid. “That’s not possible.”
His optimism was endearing, if ill-founded. “Oh, I assure you, it’s possible.”
###





__________________________________
Tour Wide


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Week in Review: 9/10-9/16



Books Received for Review

Nothing this week!

Books I've Read

Darkness Wanes by Susan Illene
Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson
Deathtrap by Dannika Dark

Reviews Posted


 Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

  ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

* New Releases for the week. Was there anything you were looking forward to reading?

* Monday- Promo + Giveaway for Treasured by a Tiger by Felicity Heaton

* Wednesday- Cover Reveal + Giveaway for Day Reaper by Melody Johnson

* Thursday- Promo + Giveaway for Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

* Did you know you can follow UFI on these other sites?

You can also add me (as in Stacy) to your friends on these sites if you're on them.
 

 * I love comments so if you see something you like (or not) please comment away and let me know.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Before She Ignites
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN:  0062469401
ISBN13: 9780062469403
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Mira has grown up in privilege as the Hopebearer, but when she questions the disappearance of the beloved dragons, she quickly finds out that being the Hopebearer won't save her from those looking to hide the truth about the seven islands. BEFORE SHE IGNITES wasn't an instant hit for me, but by the end, I was dying to read more.

Mira didn't instantly catch my attention, but slowly her story started to unwind and I found myself rooting for her. I expected her to be one way and although she started out as being weak, she really grew with every situation and turned out being incredibly strong. The dragons were really neat to learn about. They are a big part of the storyline and we really only got a little bit of the overall story, but I am excited to get more and learn more about Mira's role with them.

I wasn't crazy about the timeline jumping in BEFORE SHE IGNITES. It was very confusing in the beginning and it took me a bit to fully understand what was happening. Thankfully I did start to get it and it was smooth sailing once I did. I enjoyed the world so far and look forward to reading more about it, but I wish the author would have branched out a bit more from the plot. There were little mentions of things or places, but I couldn't picture all of them with the information I was given.

BEFORE SHE IGNITES did a great job of opening up a new series for Jodi Meadows. The story pulled me in and the characters kept me interested. I hope we don't have to wait too long to read more.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Promo + Giveaway: Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall


From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Dianne Duvall, comes the next heart-pounding romance in the Immortal Guardians series - BLADE OF DARKNESS! Order your copy today!

Blade of Darkness
Immortal Guardians #7
Amazon  BN  Kobo  iBooks
Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember. But she never saw Aidan coming. When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception... and passion. Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan's arms and in his bed. Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.

Immortal Guardian Aidan O'Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don't trouble him. The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan's brethren turning against him, so he can't help but feel alarmed. While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?


Excerpt #3:

Once ensconced in Aidan’s car, Dana began to feel both nervous and excited.


Since he had seen the vision of the two of them naked in bed, would he expect her to make love with him tonight?


Quite a few of Dana’s friends and acquaintances wouldn’t have hesitated. But she had never ended a first date with sex before.


Granted, she’d never gotten to know a man so well on a first date. Another novelty about Aidan was that he had not looked at his cell phone once during the five hours they had talked and dined. He hadn’t taken any calls. He hadn’t texted. He hadn’t scanned his social media feeds or anything else of that nature. He had instead given her his full, undivided attention.


You could learn a lot about a person over the course of five hours of conversation.


Aidan parked in front of her shop. “I believe dinner and a movie is a standard first date. I’d say I’m sorry we didn’t get to see a movie”—theaters closed fairly early in North Carolina—“but I enjoyed your company too much to complain.”


She smiled. “I enjoyed yours, too.”


Opening his door, he stepped out into the night.


Dana opened her own and got out as he strolled around the back of the car. Closing the door, she unzipped her purse and withdrew her keys.


Aidan placed a hand on her lower back as they walked toward her front door. “So. What’s the proper way to end our first date?”


“I’m not having sex with you,” she blurted, then bit her lip.


His eyebrows flew up. “Ever? Or tonight?”


“Tonight.” She gave him a self-deprecating smile. “I’m sorry. It’s just, I know you saw the vision of the two of us in bed and was afraid you might…”


“Expect you to invite me in so we could reenact it?” he finished for her.


“Yes.”


He frowned. “Is that how couples end first dates now? I was just hoping you wouldn’t think me too forward if I asked you for a kiss.”


Amusement sifted through her, soothing her nerves. She had discovered tonight that his speech and attitudes were a very entertaining combination of modern and old-fashioned. “A kiss sounds good.”


He smiled. “You don’t know how happy that makes me.” Sliding one arm around her, Aidan drew her close.


Her pulse increased with anticipation as she looked up at him.


Dipping his head, he touched his lips to hers.


Her breath caught. Her heart stopped, then began to pound in her chest so loudly she wondered if he could hear it.


He tilted his head, increased the pressure. And that first tentative caress soon became a fiery exploration that made her whole body burn.


Dropping her purse and keys, Dana slid her arms around him and flattened her hands on the muscles of his broad back. A deep rumble of approval emanated from him as she leaned into his hard form, pressing her breasts to his chest and washboard abs.


Never had she been so turned on by a kiss.


Wrapping his other arm around her, he tightened his hold, pressed her closer.


She parted her lips.


He slipped his tongue inside to stroke and tease her own.


Dana moaned. He tasted so good. Felt so good. She didn’t want it to end. Wanted to jump up and wrap her legs around his waist.


Aidan ended the kiss. Eyes closed, he pressed his forehead to hers. Both fought for breath, their chests rising and falling quickly. Bodies still pressed together.


Then he released her and took a deliberate step back. Sliding his hands into his pockets, he drew in a deep breath, held it, then let it out slowly.


Dana stared up at him, trying to calm her racing pulse, stunned by the intensity of the desire she felt for him. One kiss and she was ready to say, You know what? Forget what I said a minute ago. Let’s get naked.


And he appeared to have been just as affected as she.


He opened his eyes. Such a deep, dark brown. “Well.” His lips turned up in that winsome smile she found so irresistible. “I don’t know about you, but the part of me that was digging in his heels earlier is now telling me he’s all in.”


She laughed. “Mine is, too.”


Bending down, he picked up her purse and keys for her.


“Thank you.”


Drawing his own keys out of his pocket, he touched her arm with his free hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze. “I’d better leave before I go back on my word and ask for more than a kiss.”


She nodded.


Dipping his head once more, he pressed his lips to hers in a light caress. “Good night, Dana.”


“Good night.”


Withdrawing his touch, he walked backward toward the driver’s side of the car, as if he was loath to let her out of his sight. “Would you by any chance be amenable to my seeing you again tomorrow night? Or would that be too soon?”


She smiled. “Tomorrow night sounds good. Seven o’clock?”


Grinning, he offered her a gallant bow. “Seven o’clock it is.” He opened the car door. “I’ll wait to leave until after you’re inside with the door locked.”


And she’d thought he couldn’t appeal to her more. “Thank you.” Unlocking the door to her shop, she stepped inside. “Good night, Aidan.”


“Good night.”


Closing the door, she locked it and watched through the window as he ducked into his car and started the engine.


Tossing her a jaunty wave, he backed out of the parking space and drove away.


Dana couldn’t wait to see him again.




Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and"wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews,and/or Night Owl Reviews.

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she creates in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit DianneDuvall.com. You can also find Dianne online . . .

Find Dianne and her books
__________________________________
Tour Wide



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Day Reaper by Melody Johnson

Day Reaper
 Night Blood #4
On the brink of death, Cassidy DiRocco demands that New York City’s master of the supernatural, Dominic Lysander, transform her—reporter, Night Blood, sister, human—into the very creature she’s feared and fought against for months: a vampire. The pain is brutal, she'll risk the career she’s worked so hard to achieve, and her world will never be the same. But surviving is worth any risk, especially when it means gaining the strength to fight against Jillian Allister, the sister who betrayed Dominic, attacked Cassidy, and is leading a vampire uprising that will destroy all of New York City. . .

When she awakens, however, Cassidy realizes the cost of being transformed might be more than she was willing to sacrifice. The overwhelming senses, the foreign appearance of her new body, and the lethal craving for blood are unrecognizable and unacceptable. But if Cassidy hopes to right the irrevocable wrongs that Jillian and her army of the Damned have wrought on New York City, she’ll need to not only accept her new senses, body and cravings, but wield them in her favor.

Irresistible and enigmatic as Dominic is, he no longer has command over the city or its vampires. Only Cassidy has the connections to convince the humans, Day Reapers, and the few vampires still loyal to Dominic to join forces, and maybe, if Dominic can accept her rising power over the coven he once commanded for the past several hundred years, the two of them together might forge a bond more potent than history has ever known. . .
Excerpt:


A bird was squawking, and after several minutes of attempting to ignore its repetitive, shrill, bleating, I came to grips with the fact that it didn’t seem inclined to stop on its own. I snapped open my eyes, prepared to reach out the window and stop it myself, with my bare hands if necessary—I’d never heard such an obnoxious bird in my life, not in the city, not on the west coast, not even on my one excursion to visit Walker upstate—and froze. There was no window. And if the vents Bex used to filter fresh air into her underground coven were any indication, there was no bird. Despite the similarity of the vents to Bex’s coven, however, I didn’t recognize the room as the inviting, well-decorated step-back in time that Bex had created, either: no extra furniture for lounging, no scented candles, no Gerbera daisies, and no kerosene lamps pulsing in a hypnotic, romantic beat.
This room contained only sparse necessities: vents for underground air filtration, a bare bulb for light, a door for privacy, and of course, a bed. I was in a strange room in a stranger’s bed, its dimensions and d├ęcor familiar only by its unfamiliarity, and suddenly, the last moments of my memory smashed into my brain like a semi.
    Jillian tearing out my throat. Dominic healing me. The blood and burning. The transformation.
Someone was speaking in the room outside this bedroom’s door, and despite the distance, the scarred door, the cement wall, and my disorientation, I could hear every word being said, and I recognized the voice speaking: Ronnie Carmichael.
“Lysander said he would. There’s no reason to think he won’t, so I don’t think—”
And following Ronnie’s voice was the squawking of that damn bird.
“Exactly. You don’t think,” Jeremy snapped.
“Lysander said that he would try,” Keagan said patiently, his voice nearly drowned out by the bleat of that insufferable bird. “His priority is Cassidy and our safety. He won’t take unnecessary risks, like remaining above ground, away from Cassidy longer than absolutely necessary.”
“Yes, he said he would try,” Ronnie insisted, but her voice was faint now. “Lysander doesn’t say anything lightly.”
The bird squawked even louder, in time with Jeremy’s audible groan, triggering a memory of Ronnie’s little girl voice and something she had confided in me: I never even knew he thought of my voice as grating. I never knew someone’s annoyance had a sound let alone that it sounded like a squawking bird.
I was right about the bird not being underground, but unlike anything I’d ever heard, the sound wasn’t a bird at all. The squawking was the sound of Keagan’s annoyance at the grate of Ronnie’s whining voice. Unlike Jeremy, Keagan was too well-mannered to audibly express his frustration with Ronnie, but among other vampires, he could no longer hide his true feelings. His unspoken annoyance had a sound—as loud, obnoxious and obvious as Jeremy’s audible hostility—and Ronnie could no doubt hear it, too, despite the calm, reasonable tone of his words.
I could hear it.
I could hear the sound of Keagan’s annoyance.
The weight of the sheets covering my body was suddenly suffocating. I raised my hand to tear them from my body, but someone else’s hand whipped into the air. I gasped at the skeleton-skinny joints of each finger, the knobby protrusion of its wrist and the elongated talons sprouting from each fingertip instead of nails. I ducked under the hand, trying to avoid its attack and swallow the scream that tore up my throat, but the hand moved with me, moving with my intensions, attached to my body. I froze again, for the second time in as many seconds, and raised the hand in front of my face. It looked lethal. With one wrong move, it could eviscerate me. As I ticked each finger, the long talons swept the air as I counted—one, two, three, four, five—and each moved on my command. Like the inevitability of a pending dawn with the rising sun, I realized that the hand was mine. Fear of that hand turned to horror and then to a kind of giddy resignation. Hysteria, more likely.
I had ducked against the attack of my own hand.
A swift peal of laughter burst from my mouth.  
    I stopped laughing just as abruptly. Even my voice was different: guttural and sharp, like shards of glass scraping against asphalt.
    The voices outside my door and the squawking bird had abruptly stopped, too, and in the sudden silence following my outburst, an uncomfortable, aching vise circled my chest. The pain wasn’t physical, but its presence triggered a dull burn in the back of my throat. I had the immediate urge to destroy everything, to pound the cement walls into crumbs with my fists and tear the sheets into ribbons with my nails—my talons—and fight my way free from this prison. I held myself motionless, resisting the urge, and I realized with a belated sort of curiosity that the aching vise was panic. Without a beating heart to pound and without a circulatory system to hyperventilate, I hadn’t recognized the emotion without its physical symptoms, but even so, it felt the same in one way. It felt horrible.
    I took a deep breath to dispel the panic, purely from habit, but the action wasn’t calming. My heart that wasn’t pounding didn’t slow, and I couldn’t catch a breath that I hadn’t lost. The vise around my chest tightened. I squeezed my hands into fists, trembling from the force of my will to remain still and silent. Something sharp pierced my hands, and I gasped, the raging panic stuttering until I looked down at my bleeding fists. My talons were imbedded in my own palms.
    A door slammed somewhere outside this room, further away than the voices directly behind the door, but I didn’t hear it slam with my ears. I felt it slam from its flat slap against my skin. Never mind that the door wasn’t near enough for me to see, nor in this room, nor the impossibility that I could feel its sound waves, my entire body felt its sting as if I’d been smacked from all sides.
    “Why are you just staring?” Despite the impatience and aggravation in those words, hearing his voice made the aching around my chest both loosen and worsen.
    The clip of his tread across the cement floor stung like the warning barbs of a wasp. I knew the physical pain on my skin was only the tactile manifestation of sounds— first, the door slam, and now, his walking—but that didn’t change the fact that the sounds really did hurt my skin. I tried to rub away the lingering sting and realized my hands were still fisted, my talons still imbedded in my palms, so I just sat on the bed, motionless and bleeding, like someone trapped without an EpiPen, waiting for the inevitable swelling, choking and death: trapped within a body that had betrayed me.
    “Did you have time to—” Ronnie began, but her voice was too small and too fragile not to crumble under the weight of his will.
    “You heard her waken,” he accused. “Don’t you smell the blood?”
    I could actually taste the pungent, freshly sliced, onion musk of their silence.
    The door swung open, and suddenly, inevitably, Dominic entered the room. He didn’t need permission to cross my threshold, not anymore, and he didn’t bother with the perfunctory acts of knocking or requesting my consent to enter. He simply strode inside and slammed the door behind him with a final, fatal bee sting.
    He’d recently fed. I could tell, as I’d always been able to tell, by the bloom of health on his cheeks, his strong, sculpted figure, and the careful calm of his countenance, but my heightened senses could now also smell the lingering spice of blood on his breath and hear the crackle of it nourishing his muscles. From the top of his carefully tousled black hair to the soles of his wing-tipped, dress shoes, Dominic was insatiably sexy, but his physique was an illusion of his last meal. I knew his true form. Upon waking, before feeding, he appeared more monster than man. Although not many people look their best in the morning, Dominic by far looked his worst.
    The way I looked now.
    That thought made my fists tighten, embedding my talons deeper into my own flesh.
Despite his grievance with Ronnie, Keagan, and Jeremy for their inaction, he too just stared, immobile after entering the room, but his gaze absorbed everything. I felt the slash of his eyes slice across my face, down my body, and eventually, settle with dark finality on my fisted palms.
He didn’t move, and that I could tell by the stillness of his throat, he didn’t make a sound, but despite his still, silent stare, I heard the unmistakable rush of wind. There were no windows underground, and in the stagnant stillness of the room—the tension between our bodies like an electric current stretching to complete its circuit—no relief from the heat of his presence. The sound wasn’t wind, it only sounded like wind, but whatever it was the sound of, it was emanating from the only other person in the room.
I blinked and Dominic was suddenly, but no longer impossibly, beside the bed. His movements were just as inhumanly fast as ever, but with my enhanced vision, I could track his movement, see his grace and fluidity. I heard the slide of air molecules parting for him, felt the electric snap of his muscles flexing, and smelled an emotion he wouldn’t allow me to interpret on his carefully neutral expression. Whatever he was feeling was spiced, sweet, strong, and dangerous with overuse, like ginger.
    He reached out and carefully wrapped his palms around mine to cup my fists. His voice was steady when he spoke, but I knew better. The rush of wind emanating from him heightened, the smell of ginger became chokingly poignant, and his heart that didn’t need to beat to keep him alive, contracted just once. I could both hear the swoosh of his blood being pumped through each chamber and taste the silky spice of that sound.
My hands were injured yet his trembled.
    “Relax,” Dominic murmured. “I’m here. I should have been here when you first awakened, but I’m here now.”
    I blinked at him. With him here, everything was somehow simultaneous better and horribly worse.
    “Mirror,” I growled. I tried to form a complete sentence, to demand, Get me a mirror, so I can see the horror of a face that matches these hands! but my throat was too dry. Even that one word rattled from my vocal cords like flint scraping across steel, and the resulting sparks flamed the back of my throat. I sounded dangerous and angry and monstrous. If I had stumbled upon me in an alley, I would have run.
    Then again, I’d stumbled upon Dominic in an alley, and look how that had played out.
    Whether Dominic saw my anger or thought me a dangerous monster now wasn’t revealed by his carefully masked countenance. He stroked the back of my hand with the soft pad of his human-feeling thumb. “You need to calm down.”
    Calm down? I thought. I jerked my hands free from his gentle hold and shook my fists between us, in front of his face. All things considered, this is calm!
    Dominic sighed. “I can’t see your claws from inside your palms, but did you happen to notice their color before stabbing yourself with them?”
    I frowned. I had claws, for Christ sake. Claws. No, I didn’t take note of their color.
    “I’ll take that as a no,” he said, still gentle, still careful, and so fucking infuriating.
    A comforting flood of hot anger blast-dried my shock and sorrow. I spread my fingers, tearing said claws from my palms and ripping wide my self inflicted wounds, but I didn’t take the time to note their color. I swiped at Dominic.
    My movements were lightning. Dominic’s movements were just as fast; he leapt back, dodging my claws. I lunged off the bed after him. A familiar sound rattled from deep inside my chest, a sound I’d heard emanate from Ronnie, Jillian, Kaden, and Dominic, a sound that coming from them had raised the fine hairs on the back of my neck. Now, that sound came from my throat. I was growling.
    Dominic summersaulted out of reach. I watched his movements, fascinated by the strength of his muscles as he leapt into the air, his coordination as his legs tucked and his arms caught his knees, and his athleticism as he stuck the landing and raised his hands to block my advance. He was the epitome of power and grace under pressure, and with the enhanced ability of my heightened senses, I could actually see it. He wasn’t just a blur of movement but a perfectly choreographed symphony of muscle, control, and honed skill. I watched, and unlike the jaw-dropping awe of impossibility that Dominic’s physical feats would normally inspire in me, I was just inspired.
    I attempted to mimic Dominic’s movements with a matching forward summersault of my own, but instead of landing on my feet, like I’d intended, like Dominic had stuck so effortlessly, I landed in an awkward, bone-jarring, heap, flat on my back.
    Dominic leaned over me, his mouth opened with concern, surely about to ask me if I was all right. My pride was more injured than my body, and the hot embarrassment fueled my anger, as every strong emotion could fuel my easily provoked temper. Taking advantage of his concern and close proximity, I raked my claws down the front of his shirt.
    Buttons severed from their threads, but before the pops of their little plastic heads hit the floor, Dominic was airborne again, back flipping away from me before my claws could do any real damage. I lunged after his leaps and twists and rolls, milliseconds behind his acrobatics, but even without the advantage of his fancy gymnastics, my body’s newfound abilities were astonishing. Each muscle contraction burned beneath my skin, but not like human muscles burning with fatigue. Mine sparked to life, twitching with power and reveling in unleashed speed and strength.
I’d never been particularly athletic; my entire life, even before being shot in the hip, my skills were better served in an intellectual capacity—interviewing witnesses and writing articles. After being shot, my physical abilities had shriveled to the point where I could barely walk. Now, I could not only walk, I had the potential to fly. I was a force in both body and mind, and the limitlessness of those abilities after being physically limited for so long was intoxicating.
    Time suspended. Our battle raged in the timespan of a blink, but within that blink, we fought and danced and completely trashed the little utilitarian room in what felt like years—a lifetime of limitations revealed and obliterated with every movement and newly discovered capability. Our movements were lighting, the evidence of our devastation scattered across the room—Dominic’s torn clothing, upended and smashed furniture, pillows gutted and their insides fluffed over the rumpled comforter and upended mattress—the cause unseen.
I made a move of my own instead of following Dominic, cutting him mid-leap and smashing him face-down into the box spring. He was vulnerable for the split of a millisecond, me at his back, my razor claws splayed across his shoulder blades, his neck bared as he craned to look over his shoulder at me, and I had him. If I chose to, with a swipe of my hand, I could sever his head from his body. My claws were sharp, his skin was soft, and unlike any other physical battle I’d waged in my life, I had the advantage.
    My body’s speed and strength were new to me, but the feelings of rage and intoxicating addiction were not. I knew those emotions intimately; they had been the very core of my personality and shaped a person who, despite my former physical limitations, had unbeatable mental strength, evidenced by my winning battle against Percocet addition and an ability to entrance vampires as a night blood. Memories of addiction and the bone-deep reasons I’d fought to overcome it, kept me grounded when I would have taken advantage of Dominic’s weakness. I nearly let the strength and power overwhelm reason, but I knew when to stop. I knew when the need and heat felt too good to be good. The rage reminded me that despite the claws sprouting from each fingertip, despite the fact that I might look like the devil and have the strength of God, I was the same flawed person I’d always been.
I was still me, and despite his flaws, I loved Dominic.
I jerked my hand from his back, ripping fabric with my movement but not skin, and fell to my knees.
Dominic summersaulted over me. He landed at my back, but I didn’t turn to face him. He knew I’d resisted the opportunity to kill him. Our battle was over, but mine had just begun.
He fell to his knees behind me, wrapped his arms around me, holding my hands, cradling my body, and it was only then, with the steady press of his cheek against mine, that I realized by the solid stillness of his arms holding me that I was shaking.
I burst out weeping. The sobs wracked my body and bathed my cheeks.
Dominic’s arms tightened. He stroked my hands and murmured promises into my ear that I knew better than to believe, promises that no one could keep, but having him hold me, his lips moving against my ear and the familiar tone of his voice resonating like a blanket cocooned around my body, was comforting anyway. I sobbed harder at first, relieved that he was here, that I wasn’t alone, that he’d experienced this, too, and had survived and eventually thrived. Buoyed by the knowledge that I, too, could survive and eventually thrive, I calmed. My weeping slowed, the sobs wracking my body lessoned, and my tears eventually dried.
I relaxed into Dominic’s embrace—my back flush against his chest, his arms cradling my arms, our fingers entwined. His breath fluttering my hair wasn’t winded, and I noted with a detached sort of astonishment, that neither was mine. I was suddenly struck by a wary sort of certainty that my new, debatably improved physical form would continue to astonish for a very long time. I stared at our entwined fingers—his perfectly formed human hands still larger than my emaciated fingers but not nearly longer than my elongated claws—and I pulled into myself, embarrassed that he was touching them.
“Don’t,” he murmured, tightening his hold. “Some aspects of the transformation might take some getting used to. You’re already becoming accustomed to your heightened senses and increased strength, which is impressive. In a few days, you’ll land that summersault, I assure you. And eventually, you’ll look into a mirror and recognize yourself, but for tonight, let me be your mirror.” He raised his hand and urged my face to the side to meet his gaze. “Let me show you how beautiful you are.”
My physical appearance wasn’t the only aspect of the transformation that shook me, but when he cupped my cheek in his palm and ducked his head, pressing his lips to mine, I kissed him back. My lips felt foreign against the long protrusions of my fangs, but his lips were soft and the texture of his scar familiar. His Christmas pine scent enveloped us, and with my enhanced senses, I felt its chilled effervescence simultaneous heat and create goose bumps over my body. I turned in his arms, angling for more access, and a rush of blood filled my mouth.
Dominic stiffened.
I jerked back, startled by the blood coating my tongue, a taste which wasn’t entirely unpleasant, was in fact, not unpleasant at all. The blood was absolutely delicious, which was also startling, not to mention disturbing. Dominic had a gash across his lower lip, and I realized that I’d cut him.
I swallowed the blood in my haste to apologize and choked.
Dominic covered my lips with a finger and shook his head. His thumb swiped back and forth over my cheekbone as we stared at each other, and before my very acute eyes, I watched the intricacy of Dominic’s body heal. The split sides of his lip filled with blood, and that blood pooled in the crevice of his cut, coagulated, scabbed, and flaked to reveal new, shiny, pink skin. That skin darkened to a faint thread, and if he’d still been human, the healing might have stopped there, but his body healed the scar, too, until his lips bore not one sliver of evidence of my clumsy lust. What had once seemed to occur instantaneously and magically was now a simple bodily function, but I suppose, that in itself was a kind of magic.
I touched his lips, grazing my fingertips carefully over the perfection of his newly healed skin to the divots and pucker of the permanent scar gouging through the other side of his lower lip and chin, a reminder of his human lifetime, and for me, a reminder of the few things we had in common. Although looking at the skeletal, talon-tipped hand touching him—the hand that I controlled but didn’t resemble anything I recognized as mine—we had much more in common now than I’d ever anticipated having.
He touched my lips with his fingertips, mimicking my movements with the human-looking version of his hand, and I couldn’t help it. Despite the impossibility of this situation and the state of my hands and what I could only imagine was the state of my face, I smiled.
“Sorry,” I murmured. Dominic’s blood had moistened the scratch in my throat, so it didn’t feel like my vocal chords were raking my esophagus with razor blades anymore. “I’m not myself this morning.”
Dominic grinned—full and genuine and lopsided from the pull of his scar—and the warmth and affection in his expression widened my own smile. I let that warmth soak into me, filling my unfamiliar body with hope, reminding me that I could survive. That I wanted to survive.
“No one looks or acts their best upon waking, not even you when you were human.” Dominic reminded me. “Not even me.”
I sighed. “I will miss working on my tan though,” I said, only half-jokingly. The feel of the sun’s warmth on my skin had become a safe haven after discovering the existence of vampires. Having become one, I supposed the necessity was moot, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t miss it.
Dominic grunted. “Many things about you will never change despite the transformation, including your ability to enjoy the sun and your stubbornness it seems.”
I raised my eyebrows. “My stubbornness won’t cure a fatal sun allergy.”
“Look at the color of your claws,” Dominic said dryly.
Despite my said stubbornness and the urge to resist looking at my claws just to defy him, I looked. The skeletal appendages coming from my body were long and knobby and honestly grotesque, a monster’s hands with four-inch, lethal talons sprouting from their tips.
And those talons were silver.
Dominic was right, as per usual, and unfortunately, so was our dear friend, High Lord Henry. I was a vampire, but I wasn’t allergic to the sun.
I was a Day Reaper.

__________________________________

Melody Johnson is the author of the gritty, paranormal romance Night Blood series set in New York City. The first installment, The City Beneath, was a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests, including the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests. Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology, and after moving from her northeast Pennsylvania hometown for some much needed Southern sunshine, she now works as a digital media coordinator for Southeast Georgia Health System’s marketing department. When she isn’t working or writing, Melody can be found swimming at the beach, honing her newfound volleyball skills, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia.
 
Find Melody and her books
__________________________________
Tour Wide

a Rafflecopter giveaway