Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dirty Little Secret {2}


Dirty Little Secret is a new weekly meme hosted by the wonderful girls over at Under the Covers. It's a great way to get to know other bloggers and our readers more intimately by asking them a question hoping to reveal their dirty little secrets!

To participate in this meme all you need to do is:
  • Be a follower of Under the Covers.
  • Create a post in your blog taking the meme image and copy instructions.
  • Answer the question proposed.
  • Add your link to the Mr. Linky in the Dirty Little Secret post @ Under the Covers.

Non-bloggers: We want to hear from you as well!!! Let us know your answer in the comments!

We hope you join us and let us know your Dirty Little Secrets!


This week's question:

"Which heroine from a book would you most want to be and why?"

Wow this is a tough one...there are so many great heroines out there! If I could trade places with just one it would have to be Elena Devereaux from the Guild Hunters series {especially in book #1} (Annie...great minds think alike!). She's smart, a warrior, and gets to go home to the hottest archangel known...Raphael. What I wouldn't give to run my hands through those white and gold wings!! I love that even though Raphael can be possessive of her, he respects her job and treats her like an equal and they have some of the hottest scenes I've read! Another bonus to being Elena is the constant flirting that goes on with the fabulous Bluebell...do I have to say any more?


Go ahead...tell us your dirty little secret!

ARC Review: Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

Kindling the Moon
Author: Jenn Benett
Series: {Arcadia Bell ~ Book #1}
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Received from publisher for review
Release Date: June 28, 2011

Buy it here:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time. (Goodreads)


My Romancing Thoughts:

Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover!

Arcadia "Cady" Bell is a free spirited young woman and who has been living under a different identity for seven years, starting a new life as a bar owner/bartender for a "demon friendly" establishment for Earthbounds (demons who are mostly human living on Earth). Arcadia is a powerful magician or mage, who has yet to realize the extent of her powers. When her past comes back to haunt her in the form of video footage of her "fugitive" parents, Arcadia must make things right by proving their innocence or surrendering herself to a terrible fate. To find the demon witness needed to clear her family's name, Cady enlists the help of her friend Father Carrow, who then introduces her to Lon Butler, a demonologist  with a vast knowledge of demons and a few secret abilities of his own. With a short deadline, Arcadia will have to trust Lon with her secrets in order to save her parents...and herself.

This is without a doubt the most impressive urban fantasy debut I've read this year! It's the perfect blend of intriguing characters, action, suspense and a dash of sexy romance. The setting of sunny California is far from the dark cities we usually see in this genre and lends a lighter feel to the story. The heroine and hero are not your usual alpa heroes and their romance is just as unconventional, but somehow works. The characters feel very real, are well developed and definitely entertain. The world building is fabulous and the author introduces you to her world and its details without overwhelming. I found the story unfolding as a film in my mind with rich details, compliments of Ms. Bennett's colorful writing.

Arcadia Bell quickly made it to the top of my favorite heroine's list. She might be a magician (I know it sounds funny but she doesn't pull rabbits out of a hat!) but she's pretty well grounded; she's smart, down to earth, knows her strengths and weaknesses and has a great sense of humor. Arcadia might not be the warrior type but she can defend and take care of herself when the occasion arises. Her sharp tongue and kind heart will have you under her spell instantly.

Lon Butler is a pleasant surprise as the hero. He's about twenty years older than Arcadia, has a teenage son, but still has plenty of sex appeal. I immediately thought of Matthew McConaughey when Arcadia first describes him! Lon is incredibly intelligent, experienced and is also an Earthbound. With abilities of his own, Lon is the perfect compliment for Arcadia. He's quite the gentleman, not your possessive hero and has a close knit bond with his son Jupe that will completely melt your heart! Jupe is a great addition to the story line and one character you're not likely to forget.

The relationship between Arcadia and Lon is not instantaneous and is constantly evolving into something deeper. They have some sultry scenes together but the tender moments between them in the midst of all the danger are what really defines their romance. As the story develops, our main characters begin to slowly drop their guard with each other and open up to share secrets that will ultimately make their bond stronger. I was expecting the author to keep the sexual tension going well into the next book but was so thankful she put it to rest and indulged the readers with a little nooky between the characters...urban fantasy loves to tease!!

Kindling the Moon is a flawlessly original urban fantasy. The writing is excellent, the characters are charming, the romance is truly believable and they're even a few unpredictable twists. If you're looking for a fresh take on a genre that can sometimes seem repetitious...this book's for you. Jenn Bennett has created an enchanting world of magic that will rock your world!


My Rating
5 Roses Rating


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Warrior's Witch Blog Tour: Interview & Giveaway with Stacey Kennedy

It's my turn to host a stop on A Warrior's Witch Blog Tour! Stacey Kennedy has become one of my new favorite authors this year so I jumped at the chance to participate in this tour and interview her. Join me in welcoming Stacey and don't forget to enter the giveaway!
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Welcome to Romancing the Darkside Stacey!! I’m a huge fan and am truly excited to have you here today so let’s get right to it…

I’m really happy to be here! Thanks for the interview!!

Give us five (5) interesting facts about yourself.

I have two tattoos, I love junk food, I loathe vegetables (except salad and corn on the cob), I have 3 cats, 1 dog and 2 guinea pig, and around that time of the month I turn into the devil.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The reason I started writing was because of Nexi from The Magical Sword Series. The idea for her story popped into my mind, and one day, I sat down and wrote it. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Your main genre seems to be erotic/ paranormal romance. What is your attraction to the paranormal world filled with vampires, witches and werewolves?

Sexy alpha males and magic! *grins* Seriously though, I love the fantasy element and how I can create new world. It allows me to write kick ass action scenes, which are always fun, and I’m a real sucker for the ability mates have to bond. There is something so sweet and intense about love that deep.

I absolutely love your books covers!!! Do you partake in the design process at all?

I always get to put a lot of input in to explain what I envision for the cover. But all the credit goes to the cover artists I work with—they amaze me, time and time again.

You always write strong, edgy heroines who are tough but can also be sensitive. Are these characters inspiration from the women in your life?

To be honest, I’m not sure why I write characters I do, but that’s just how they develop. I enjoy to write emotional stories because that’s how life is and it allows me to relate to them better.

All of my stories will have some level of self-discovery, either for the hero or the heroine. I love to see them faced with not only dangerous, life-threatening moments, but to have a personal struggle they have to overcome.

A Warrior’s Witch is a spin off of your Magical Sword series, is it hard to keep the characters and world fresh for the readers when writing a spin off book vs. a series?

Not at all. I love this world so writing in it is so easy to do. Each characters bring new interesting plots, and they are all so different, that it keeps me totally captivated. As long as the characters want their stories told…I’ll keep in writing them.

But I also know when a series needs to end. I wish I could’ve written ten more Nexi books, but when it’s over…it’s over. At least, we’ll get more of her and Kyden in Tainted Blood, The Dark Element Book One.

You’ve covered a large spectrum of the supernatural world in your books, is there a specific supernatural creature you’d like to write about but haven’t yet?

Um, good question. I’d love to write a little more about demons. They’re always shown as the bad guys in my books, so I’d love to write one where they’re the hero.

If you could trade places with any character in your books, who would you choose and why?

Rynn or Sabi, so I could spend a lustful night with Briggs or Ryker. Either one would do! ☺

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Right now, I’m reading River Marked by Patricia Briggs. I love Adam and Mercy, but have been so busy I haven’t been able to finish it. Hopefully, things will calm down and I can get back to it soon! I have a major crush on Adam.

Can you tell us a little about your current projects?

I’ll be writing the next Tess & Kipp book over the summer. Then, in the fall, I’m starting three new series in the Otherworld novels. Valor, Noeth, and Misa, will all be getting their own series. Needless to say, there will be lots more to come…

Just for fun:

Vampires or werewolves? Werewolves
Morning person or night owl? Night Owl
If you were stranded on a deserted island, who would you want for company? My hubby
What’s your current guilty pleasure? Ice cream
What’s your favorite vacation spot? Any. As long as I get one…I’m happy!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions and congratulations on A Warrior’s Witch!

Thanks for having me by. It was great to chat with you! *hugs*

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About the Author:
Stacey Kennedy is an avid lover of the paranormal romance, urban fantasy and erotic romance genres. If she isn’t plugging away at her next novel, tending to her two little ones, she’s got her nose deep in a good book. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband. Be sure to drop her a line at www.staceykennedy.com, she loves to hear from her readers.

For more information on Stacey Kennedy, visit her here:

Buy the book here:

Read an excerpt here.

Read my review here

Next stop on tour:

Find the entire tour schedule here:

Hosted by:


To celebrate this release, Stacey will be giving one lucky reader their choice of book from her backlist.

Rules:
Must be 18 years or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen by random.org and have 48 hours to respond via email.
Open Internationally.
Giveaway ends July 5, 2011, 11:59 pm EST.

TO ENTER: 
Leave a comment for Stacey along with your email address.
{You can find a list of Stacey's books here.}


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: A Warrior's Witch by Stacey Kennedy

A Warrior's Witch
Author: Stacey Kennedy
Series: {An Otherworld Romance ~ Book #1}
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace
Format: ebook
Source: Courtesy of author for review

Buy it here:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Murder has brought Talon, Master of Guardians, as well as Zia, his witch and Master of Witches, to Chicago. The manner of death appears to be a suicide, but Talon is far from ready to close the case. To avenge the Guardian linked to his past, he agrees to take on the assignment, and find her killer.

As they dive deeper into the investigation, they find themselves entering a world where BDSM is the norm. A lifestyle that Zia is uncomfortable with and, rattled by this new development, she is more than ready to return to the Otherworld. But their investigation quickly takes an unexpected twist when they discover that they're not only hunting a killer but also someone who is controlling supernaturals in Chicago.

Their mission not only brings danger, but also forces Talon to deal with decades old guilt that corrodes his soul. Every event that unfolds only deepens his fight and pushes him to face an ultimate choice-what is more important-his duty to the Otherworld or the witch he holds closest to his heart? (Goodreads)


My Romancing Thoughts:

A bewitching romance full of magic and mystery!

As Master of Guardians and Master of Witches in Otherworld, Talon and Zia are sworn to protect humans as well as their own kind from any supernatural threats. When an Otherworld Guardian from the Earthworld is found dead, Talon and Zia are called to the scene and soon discover the identity of the dead guardian is Whitlyn, the mother of Talon's son Kyden. Talon vows to seek revenge for her murder and together with his lover Zia, he'll start an investigation to uncover the mysteries surrounding Whitlyn's death. This investigation will lead them to a world of BDSM, rogue supernaturals and dangers that will have Talon reexamining his emotions and where his heart truly lies.

This was a non-stop, sexy thrill ride! I couldn't put this story down, but that's usually the case when I read a Stacey Kennedy book. The characters are captivating and the world created in A Warrior's Witch is exceptional. Talon and Zia are already involved when the story begins so you don't have the developing relationship with the sexual tension you find in some books, these two characters are very much in love and waste no time heating things up! One of my favorite scenes is when Zia and Talon step foot into the Leather Dungeon Club and are introduced to the realm of BDSM. Needless to say things get hotter in the bedroom for them after that night. Through all the conflict and danger, Talon and Zia are put to the test and realize their love for each other is above all else and vow never to take it for granted. The romance between Talon and Zia is sweet and fiery, they respect and love each other despite their demanding duties, I fell in love with them from page one!

A Warrior's Witch is an emotionally charged book that touches your heart and keeps you on the edge with its element of suspense. We see a conflicted hero with emotional baggage and a strong heroine who is adventurous but can hold her own. One of the things that really stands out in this book is the unique supernatural world where witches, vampires and werewolves all coexist for the greater good and are not out to kill each other. I found the world building fascinating and the writing phenomenal. Filled with passion and excitement, A Warrior's Witch is a must read for anyone who loves their romance with a little magic and danger!

My Rating
5 Roses Rating


Teaser Tuesday {12}

Teaser Tuesdays is a bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 






        "Oh, crap. I was dating a demon. Me–a magician. What would my parents say? They wouldn't be all that thrilled about it, I knew that much. But maybe I didn't care. Was that bad?"  
        - page 238, Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett



        What's your teaser this Tuesday?


          Monday, June 27, 2011

          Eternal Hearts Blog Tour: Interview with Jennifer Turner

          Welcome to my stop on the Eternal Hearts Blog Tour! Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Turner, the author of the great paranormal romance series Darkness Within. Read on to learn more about Jennifer and the new exciting world of vampires she's created!
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          Welcome Jennifer…I’m so excited to have you here today! Now onto the important stuff…

          Give us three (3) facts about yourself that will surprise your readers. 

          1. Although I’m pretty tame online – I cuss like a sailor in real life. ;)
          2. I have a ridiculous obsession with straight lines.
          3. I haven’t had cable TV for almost a decade!

          What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?

          Personally, I think there’s only one essential element for a great story – engaging characters. If a book has a great cast of characters, they alone can make up for anything else the story might be lacking.

          Some of your characters in the Darkness Within series have very unique names. How did you go about choosing them?

          I didn’t. :) Whenever I need a unique or old sounding name, I always ask my husband. I swear – he’s like a walking, talking name dictionary. And if any of the unique names you’re referring to happen to belong to a Nelek – believe it or not, my hubby is actually responsible for creating the entire Nelek cast of characters. I just bring them to life through words. ;)

          How does your worldview and ideology affect your writing?

          To be honest, I try extremely hard not to let my own worldview or ideology affect my writing. However, I think my worldview probably shows the most when I’m writing darker or more detached characters. I have a fairly cynical personality as it is, so it’s easy for me to sync with a character that doesn’t see the world as a shiny happy place. But aside from that similarity, I do my best not to let any of my own opinions cloud my character’s perceptions. Otherwise, I’d just be writing myself with different names…and I’m really not that interesting. ;)

          Which do you think is more important for an author, experience or imagination?

          In the age of instant communication and the internet, I’d say imagination is far more important for an author – because good research can easily make up for lack of experience.

          Do you consider your stories to be character driven or plot driven?

          For me, it really depends on the characters of each story. Eternal Seduction is definitely more character driven overall, but Eternal Hearts is very much plot driven. And the next book, Eternal Embrace, is a mixture of both. :)

          I love your heroines because they’re flawed vs. squeaky-clean perfect. Where do you get your inspiration to write such strong women?

          I get my inspiration from real women. I don’t know anyone, including myself, who’s even close to being perfect…so the thought of writing that kind of heroine has never entered my mind. In my opinion, flaws and strengths are what make people real, and I think those same realistic qualities are also what helps a reader connect with a character. I don’t want to tell the story of a beautiful woman who has everything, unless of course, she just lost it all and is trying to figure out how to put her life back together. ;)

          The dark, brooding, tortured vampire who struggles with his “dark side” is a popular trait among vampires in paranormal romance, yet your vampires fully embrace their nature. Did you purposely stay away from the “tortured hero” element?

          I don’t think I purposely stayed away from the “tortured hero” element as much as it just doesn’t fit into my series. I deal with a lot of vampires who are thousands upon thousands of years old, so the time for them to smack the back of their hand to their forehead and cry “woe is me” has definitely passed. The old ones may have certain laments here and there, but most of them are completely content with their vampiric condition. Granted, I still have some tortured characters here and there, but their issues tend to stem from past encounters or experiences, not their supernatural state.

          As much as I love Kerestyan in Eternal Seduction, it was Odin I found more intriguing (I love a bad boy!). I’m sure this has been asked before but I couldn’t resist: Will Odin have his own book? * keeps fingers crossed *

          LOL! I’d have to say this is the question I get asked the most. ;) Yes, Odin will definitely get his own book. His book, Eternal Embers, is book #5 in the series, and has a tentative release date of October 2012. :)

          Not that I would ever want to change my mental pictures of your characters, if you had to, who would you cast as your main characters in this series?

          Truth be told…I have absolutely no idea. I have such a strong mental image of the characters that I’m not sure any actor could truly do them justice. :)

          Who is your favorite fictional vampire? Why?

          My favorite vampire is Cyrus from Jennifer Armintrout’s Blood Ties series. And I love him because every single time I think he’s about to turn the corner from horrible monster to unrepentant bad boy…he totally shocks me and goes back to where he’s most comfortable. :)

          What book is currently on your nightstand?

          Unwritten Rules by M.A. Stacie.

          How many books do you have planned for this series?

          At this point, I’ve planned for 15 books. There’s a fairly good chance there could be a few more than that, but I doubt there will be less. I think I have a pretty strong plot arc that ties all the series books together, so I’m rather confident I can carry the storyline for at least 15 books without anyone getting bored with it…including me. :)

          Just for fun:
          Vampires or werewolves?
          Vampires. :)

          Morning person or night owl?
          Night owl.

          If you were stranded on a deserted island, who would you want for company?
          No one. I’d prefer that when (not if) I go batsh*t crazy and start talking to inanimate objects like rocks and coconuts – no one be there to whip out their cell phone and post the video to YouTube. :D

          What’s your current guilty pleasure?
          Not writing. ;) I know that probably sounds bad, but I’ve been so busy with promotion for the new book that I’m happily spending my free time doing anything that doesn’t involve the books. The whip will be cracking again as of July 1st though. :)

          What’s your favorite vacation spot?
          Eagle’s Nest cabin in the Smokey Mountains.

          Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions and congratulations on Eternal Seduction and Eternal Hearts!

          Thanks so much for having me, Lori. :) I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to share my books with you and your readers!


          Read An Excerpt:

          Every muscle Toni owned tensed as she stared up into the angry eyes of Lord Christian Locke, Mr. Fancy Pants himself, right there…in the flesh. She silently cursed her horrible luck as he deftly stepped around Drake and moved to stand directly in front of her.

          For the second time that night, she shifted between her feet as a pair of veiled blue eyes bored into her. But unlike Drake’s, Christian’s eyes weren’t filled with sadness and pain – his were as cold and calculating as she remembered. And if anything else lurked somewhere deep behind them, anything at all, she either couldn’t see it or didn’t know how to recognize the emotions.

          What she hoped was inside him somewhere was compassion and warmth. She wanted to believe that behind those frigid blue eyes and kingly demeanor was a good man, who just did everything he could to hide his true feelings from the world.

          That’s what she wanted to believe – but that didn’t mean it was true.

          She’d been burned enough times to know that what you wanted to believe was inside someone, and what was truly there…were sometimes two very different things.

          Silence stung the air for what felt like an hour before he finally opened his mouth. “Miss Tutoro, I’m so happy to see you’ve made it back to our fair city unharmed. Please, enlighten me as to why you’ve come home. I’m absolutely dying to know.” His smooth English accent made him sound every bit as snotty as he looked.

          Feeling forced to defend herself in a way she wasn’t prepared for; Toni returned his sarcasm with a dash of her own. “As always, Christian, you’re looking lovely this evening. Did Armani make that suit especially for you? It’s simply ravishing,” she quipped, trying to mimic his accent.

          It didn’t mix well with the Spanish hint she already had.

          She tried not to smile when she heard Drake snort, but she couldn’t help it. She knew she should be nice, knew Christian Locke held everything she wanted in his fancy little manicured hands, but something about the smug, holier-than-thou look on his face just screamed for her to do everything in her power to annoy him.

          “Do you find my suit unacceptable?” His sharp tone practically dared her to respond.

          “Well, since you asked,” she said as she took a step back and gave him an obvious once over, “you might wanna tell him to keep his eye on the scissors. Your right sleeve looks a tad longer than your left.”

          He didn’t react. Instead, he continued to stare at her with glaring disinterest. She thought she remembered how unsettling that stare was, but she was wrong. It made her feel icky all the way down to her toes this time. Last time it was only to her knees.

          But she just…couldn’t…stop. “Oh wait, that’s right.” She waved a hand at him. “It’s all coming back to me now. It’s you that’s off. Your right arm’s just a little longer than your left, isn’t it?” She blew out a sigh then offered him her most sympathetic smile. “We can’t all be perfect, can we?”

          “Miss Tutoro, it would seem to me if one was seeking solace in a city they’d already been thrown out of once, one would adopt a little more humble attitude. Wouldn’t you agree?” The new, much darker edge to his voice sent fear tap dancing down her spine.

          Toni sucked in a deep breath and slowly nodded. He was right. He was the only one who could give her permission to stay in Chicago, and here she was, treating him like crap.

          She looked back up at him, hoping he could hear the truth in every word she was about to say. “I just wanted to come home, Christian. I’ve been driving around the country, trying to find a place that feels right. I’ve been in more cities than I can count, and I still haven’t found one that feels like home.” She struggled to keep her voice steady. “I’m not here to cause trouble, I swear. I just wanna see faces that actually smile at me again. I wanna sleep a full day without nightmares.” She turned away when she lost the battle against her tears.

          How could she explain what Chicago meant to her? How much she needed to be home?

          After a few moments passed, Toni wiped her cheeks and cleared her throat. She had to make him understand. But as she turned to face him again, a feeling of doom settled deep into the pit of her stomach.

          He seemed to be watching her with an odd, detached curiosity.

          Wanting desperately to believe she could reach him, she forced herself to continue. “This city stays with me wherever I go. I was born here, and for every awful memory I have here, there are still fifty good ones.” She lowered her eyes when his face didn’t change. “I don’t know what I was thinking…you wouldn’t understand.”

          “Have you secured yourself a place to stay? I know you haven’t purchased any homes or leased an apartment. There are also no reservations for you or any of your aliases at any hotel in the city.”

          Toni surrendered with a spiteful laugh. He hadn’t changed at all. “No, Christian, I haven’t broken your rules by making any permanent arrangements. I have my car. That’s it.” She narrowed her eyes when a look of pure amusement swept across his face, instantly churning her doomed feeling into seething anger. “Look, if you’re gonna throw me out or kill me, could you get on with it already? It’s getting late and I don’t have much time to run before the sun comes up. You’re at least gonna be a good sport about this, right?”

          His sharp features took on the texture of concrete. “I will arrange for you to stay in a suite at my hotel. When you arrive in the lobby, give the desk clerk your name and he’ll take care of your needs.” One of his brows rose slightly as his eyes moved over her. “I’ll also have him make a few calls in order to procure you an article of clothing more befitting a woman. I expect you dressed appropriately when you arrive at my office tomorrow evening, where we’ll finish discussing your official request to stay in my city. Be there at Midnight, not a second later.”

          It took everything Toni had not to look down at the sidewalk to see if her jaw had landed on one of his expensive Italian shoes. What did he say? Was she still sleeping?

          Was she really in Chicago?

          She barely registered the weight lift from her body as Christian’s gaze shifted up to Drake, who at some point during the conversation had moved to stand behind her.

          “Mr. Black, it’s a pleasure as always,” he said as he extended a hand, which Drake easily accepted. “Since it would appear my Head of Enforcement felt so comfortable leaving Miss Tutoro in your capable hands, you’ll understand if I ask that you remain with her for now.

          Unfortunately, I have it on good authority that once Brick and 8-Ball finish sanitizing the scene on Rush Street, they’re going to find themselves otherwise occupied for a time.”

          Toni stiffened at his words. “Christian, please don’t hurt them. I’m the one who called 8-Ball. He warned me not to come, but I didn’t listen. If you’re gonna punish someone, punish me. It’s my fault. They don’t deserve to get…” Her words faded into mumbles as Drake’s big hand clamped tight over her mouth.

          “I’ll stay with her, Lord Locke. It’s not a problem.”

          When the monster inside her thrashed and growled, Toni committed to the only action that blind instinct would allow – she sank her teeth into one of Drake’s meaty fingers.
          “Ouch!” He ripped is hand away from her mouth. “I can’t believe you just fucking bit me! I should’ve known better.”

          She whipped around to face him and jammed a finger into his chest. “Don’t you ever try to silence me again! Brick and 8-Ball are my friends, and I don’t wanna see anything happen to them. And I’d rather be put in the sun for five seconds because I said too much, than stand here knowing they might end up with some punishment they don’t deserve. I don’t even know you that well, but if Christian tried to pin you as an accessory to this whole, awful situation just because you’re standing here with me, I’d do the same for you!”

          He couldn’t have looked any more shocked if she’d hoisted her leg up and kicked him in the junk. “You’d endure a Trial By Sun, for me? Lady, you don’t even know me.”

          “I may not know you, but so far all you’ve tried to do is help.” She withdrew her hand. “You didn’t have to offer to stay with me so 8-Ball could go with Brick, but you did, and I appreciate that. It means a lot more to me than you’ll ever know.” She turned away from him as the stupid tears she’d been fighting all night welled up yet again. “I’d do anything for my friends. So just keep your big hands away from my mouth and we should be fine.”

          Toni drew a deep breath in an attempt to pull her scrambled emotions together, then eyed Christian, who had a smile she could only describe as evil stretched all the way across his face. “What the hell are you smiling at now?”

          He actually laughed at her. “Nothing, Miss Tutoro. Nothing at all.”

          She fisted her hands. “Please, just promise me you won’t hurt them.”

          “I have absolutely no intention of hurting them. After all, it does me no good if my Enforcement Team is out of commission.” If it was possible, his smile turned even more malicious at the edges. “However, I’m sure they’ll wish I had offered a physical punishment by the time I finish speaking with them about the disrespectful practice of keeping secrets from their Lord. If I remember correctly, don’t those of the Warrior lineage just love a good, long lecture?”

          When Drake’s loud laughter boomed behind her, Toni had to smile. If there was one punishment she knew 8-Ball hated, it was some Trump giving him the verbal what-for. He’d always complained that Trumps had a bad habit of using words bigger than their egos, which as far as he could tell, no board room could hold without serious structural damage.

          Not that 8-Ball was really one to talk when it came to huge egos, but she’d gladly take him and Brick being on the business end of a lecture over the possible alternatives any day.

          “Now, Miss Tutoro, if you would kindly excuse me, I have other pressing business this evening.

          And please, do find yourself a coat. It’s far too cold to be out in the city without one.

          Actions as such make the humans look twice.” He gave a curt nod before he turned and walked back to his car. “Oh, and Mr. Black,” he called as he slid into the backseat, “please see to it that your charge arrives at my hotel within the hour.” He’d no more than finished his request before the door closed and his car was gone.

          Toni watched as the glowing red taillights of the Lord of Chicago’s white Mercedes quickly faded in the distance. What the hell had just happened?

          You’ve entered the Twilight Zone, that’s what just happened. She nodded in response to the voice in her mind. The last courtesy she’d expected when Locke had stepped out of his car was the offer of a meeting and a suite at his hotel. A swift kick in the behind and a warning to be out before sunrise, most definitely, especially since that was the response she’d gotten from the Lords of other cities as soon as she told them her name. But a warm place to stay without the threat of being hunted by the Enforcement Team…not even close.

          Now, if she could only keep her mouth under control at the meeting…

          She turned and looked up at Drake at the thought. Apparently, the meeting wasn’t the only place she needed to keep her mouth to herself.

          She rested a hand on his forearm. “I’m sorry I bit you.”

          He wrinkled his nose like a five year old and made a production of rubbing his booboo. “Me, too.”

          “Oh, please.” She grabbed the offended hand and pressed a kiss to the wounded finger that had probably healed the second he’d removed it from her mouth. “There. All better.”

          He jerked his arm back as though she’d touched him with an open flame. “Don’t do that.” The pain in his eyes deepened right before that invisible curtain slammed back into place. He flashed a smile that wasn’t true. “The last place my fingers need to be is anywhere near your mouth. You’ve already proven you’re a biter.”

          Toni mirrored his false smile, even though what she wanted to do was ask why he kept trying to be someone else. But then, she knew all too well what it felt like not to be happy with who you were. She’d felt that way for the last three years, and to this day, she’d give anything to go back to who she was before. Back to a time when her life consisted of more than running to stay alive, back to before one night and a few bad decisions changed everything.

          She stared down at his hand. “If I hurt you, Drake, I really am sorry.”

          A long moment of silence stretched between them before he asked, “Can I ask you a question?”

          She nodded, but couldn’t quite meet his eyes. “Sure.”

          “Why do you apologize so much?”

          “Because…” She bit at the inside of her bottom lip then cleared her throat. “Because I promised myself a long time ago that I’d never waste a chance to tell someone how I really feel. That I’d never walk away from someone I knew I’d hurt without telling them I was sorry…even if they couldn’t hear me.”

          “Well,” he sighed, his voice seemingly filled with the same regret she felt. He rested a warm hand on her shoulder, sending a shiver down her spine. “Even though my finger will probably get all infected now and swell up like a bloated corpse, I want you to know that I’ll probably forgive you someday.” He slid his hand down her arm and squeezed her fingers tight. “But today’s not your day…and tomorrow ain’t lookin’ too good either.”

          She ripped her hand away from him when he burst into a loud fit of laughter. “Oh my God!” She grabbed a fistful of his long hair then yanked his face down to her level. “What’s wrong with you? Why would you say something like that to me? What did I ever do to you?”

          “Ow, ow, ow. You’re hurting me. Say you’re sorry! Say you’re sorry!”

          She tugged hard on his hair again, but this time all she could do was laugh at the exaggerated way he bent at the waist and contorted sideways as his face scrunched up. “You’re just not right.”

          He flashed the most beautiful, most genuine smile she’d ever seen. “Yeah, but now you’re laughing.”

          She slowly released her hold on his hair, noticing for the first time how soft the dark strands felt as they slipped between her fingers. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had tried to make her laugh. Couldn’t recall, aside from 8-Ball and Brick, the last time she’d been touched by a vampire who wasn’t trying to kill her.

          She looked up at Drake, watching the way his eyes seemed to lighten a little more every second he stared back at her, until not even a trace of the sadness remained. Where the darkness had gone or why, she didn’t know, but she’d been alone and unwanted for so long that she wasn’t sure whether to smile because he made her feel so good, or cry because she knew she didn’t deserve it.

          You don’t deserve it. Toni swallowed the jagged knot tightening her throat and backed away from the man who had no idea what kind of monster he stood so close to. “We should probably head for Locke’s hotel.” She tucked her hair behind her ears as the frigid wind picked up around them. “When we get there, I’ll see if I can find someone who knows him. Maybe I can get his number and talk him into letting you go. I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than be stuck with someone like me. Someone you don’t even know.”

          “Oh. Hell. No.” He folded his arms over his chest while that adorable, lopsided grin from earlier reformed on his lips. “I’m not going to the hotel yet. I’m not moving an inch until you say it.”

          She blinked at him. “Say what?”

          “Say what?” His mouth gaped open like a suffocating fish. “I want you to say you’re sorry for pulling my hair. I want you to say you’re sorry for almost snapping my spine in two.” He scuffed one of his big black boots against the sidewalk. “There’s ice down there, ya know. I almost fell, and I don’t have health insurance yet.”

          “Are you serious?”

          “Yes. I want an apology.”

          She moved to stand in front of him again. “I’m sorry that I bit you. I’m sorry that I pulled your hair. And I’m sorry if I hurt you, because that’s not what I wanted.” She tipped her head back and stared into his eyes. “And I’m sorry that the longer you’re around me, the more I’ll have to say I’m sorry…because I will hurt you again. I’m sorry Brick and 8-Ball had to leave. I’m sorry you got stuck with me. And I’m sorry that I couldn’t be in this city for more than an hour without fucking everything up again. You have no idea just how sorry I am. But I promise I’ll do everything I can to get Christian to let you go. Now, can we go to the hotel?”

          “Wow.” His blue eyes widened as he inhaled a deep breath. “When you Warriors swing…you really go for the fences don’t you? And then that fence, and that one, then the one over there, then you run back to where you started and do it all over again.” He shook his head. “Truthfully, I don’t know how you do it, because I’m getting tired just watching you.”

          Toni gave in to the light tugging sensation at the corners of her mouth when Drake started laughing again. Deep and damningly contagious, the rich sound rolled over her in a soothing wave, making the air feel just a little bit warmer, a little less empty.

          “I have an idea.” He rubbed his hands together then blew a breath between them. “How ‘bout you pick a mood and stick with it for five minutes, I’ll worry about what I’m getting myself into, and we’ll head to the hotel where they have this great invention called heat.”

          She studied him for a minute, watching the steady rise and fall of his chest as he breathed, the way each breath that slipped past his lips became a burst of steam as it mingled with the cold air, and how his tongue darted out every so often to moisten those lips.
          Everything about him was human…

          And from what she could tell, he didn’t even try. He didn’t stop to concentrate every few minutes. Didn’t appear to give as much as a second thought to the human functions he maintained. He imitated life with perfection, down to the very last detail, as though he’d never lost it.

          She bit down hard on the inside of her cheek as jealousy tingled through her again. He was right. She seriously needed to get her emotions under control. She’d already bitten the poor guy once because she’d let the beast get the better of her, the least she could do was pick one fence to swing at. Besides, how much damage could she do to him in less than 24 hours?


          About the Author:

          Jennifer Turner lives in Bowling Green, Ohio, with her husband, twelve year old daughter and two cats.  She regularly claims one of the aforementioned takes far more work than the others to maintain – but she won’t share which one. She’s the middle child between two brothers, and the favorite child of her parents. Of course, that’s always subject to opinion. Jennifer began her writing career as a self-published romance author, but is now represented by Robert Gottlieb, Chairman of Trident Media Group.

          For more information on Jennifer, visit her here:

          Buy the book here:
          Amazon | Barnes & Noble

          Read my review here.

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          Review: Eternal Hearts by Jennifer Turner

          Eternal Hearts
          Series: {Darkness Within ~ Book #2}
          Genre: Paranormal Romance
          Publisher: Dark Dreams Press
          Format: ebook, 306 pages
          Source: Courtesy of author for blog tour

          Buy it here:

          Toni Tutoro just wants to go home. Banned from Chicago's vampiric society after cutting a swath of violence through the city, she must now successfully complete an investigation for the Lord of Chicago to regain the right to live in her hometown again.

          To ensure Toni's safety during her probationary period, Drake Black, a feared assassin, is secretly contracted to protect her. Even with direct orders to keep his relationship professional, and his own personal vow to never get involved with a female vampire again, Drake finds himself drawn to Toni in ways he can't explain. But unbeknownst to him, he's tied to one of the people who drove Toni to her night of destruction.

          Drake's legendary heritage holds the key to Toni's survival and success, but will she be able to forgive his connection to the brutal night that robbed her of those she loved most? Will Drake be able to forget the betrayals in his past and risk taking one more chance? But most of all, can they find a way to reach each other in the darkness? (Goodreads)


          My Romancing Thoughts:

          An intensely passionate and beautiful love story!

          Toni Tutoro is a fledging vampire warrior who has been banned from her city of Chicago, after exacting revenge after her family is brutally murdered. After three years of wandering, Toni is given a chance to redeem herself and come back home by Christian, Lord of Chicago, but only if she can complete the task he's given her. In walks Drake Black, a merciless assassin who always follows orders, gets the job done and never gets involved with his mark. His latest order is to serve as a protector, not assassin, for the young Toni Tutoro.

          Drake has had his heart broken by a female vampire before and vows to keep his distance from Toni and be rid of her as soon as possible. When her meeting with the Lord of Chicago is postponed, Drake is forced to spend some quality time with his ward that can only mean trouble. The feisty female vampire sparks his interest with her gutsy attitude one minute and caring demeanor the next. Drake has never met anyone who doesn't fear him and sees him as a man and not a monster. To his surprise, the more time he spends with Toni, the more he ponders the possibility of opening his heart to another again.

          Just when I thought this series couldn't get better, Jennifer Turner gives us Eternal Hearts! Toni and Drake's story is simply alluring. Both characters are just looking to be accepted and loved for who they are and when they meet...sparks fly! Each carries their troubled past, but somehow manage to truly see each other for their self and not what they've been labeled as by others. I love how Toni wears her heart on her sleeve and makes no apologies for it, she has held on to some her mortality in her young immortal life. It's surprising that she's experienced so much pain yet still manages to trust and love so freely. Her rapid mood changes didn't affect me in the slightest, I found her character to be genuine and noble. If you've already read Eternal Seduction, you'll surely notice the huge difference in this heroine's personality from the first.

          When you are first introduced to Drake, he is portrayed as this deadly assassin who lives to kill and has little or no emotions. As the story unfolds, you see he has his reasons for being a loner but when he meets Toni he is ever the gentleman and shows a side that is quite tender for an assassin. I found myself falling for his charm in no time! Drake is a dark, sexy, tortured alpha hero that learns true love is sometimes worth the fight.

          This story is a bit more plot driven than the first in the series but has the same degree of engaging characters and unique story line. There's plenty of action in and outside of the bedroom, and the addition of an evil female villain works perfectly in creating suspense. Old friends as new characters are also introduced and give you an inside look into our main characters' personalities and pasts. This ultimately is a paranormal romance with intense drama that draws you in from the start. Eternal Hearts is an alluring love story with betrayals, mystery and suspense that will tug on your heart strings and make Jennifer Turner a new favorite!

          My Rating
          5 Roses Rating


          Quoteworthy:

          "She kissed him back with everything she had, every shred of pain, every sliver of regret, and every ounce of hope that someday she'd find a way to be more than she was now. That someday the wounds still festering deep inside her would heal as well as the ones on her skin, and that maybe then she'd truly deserve to be in the arms of a man like him."

          "It was a kiss that promised no one would ever mean to him what she did now. That no matter what happened in her life or how far apart they were, he'd always be there when she needed him. It was a promise that unless she wanted to, she would never be alone again."







          Other reviews in the series:
          Eternal Seduction - Book #1


          Sunday, June 26, 2011

          In My Mailbox {17}


          In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren, is a weekly feature where you can showcase all your new and wonderful books, whether from the library, bought, won or received for review!

          Here's what's in my mailbox this week...

          Free Ebooks:


          Friendly Fire - Megan Hart
          Blue Galaxy - Diane Dooley
          Demon's Fall - Karalynn Lee

          All these were freebies from Carina Press!
            

          Received for Review:

           

            

          Ashes of Angels - Michele Hauf
          The Champion - Carla Capshaw
          Falling Hard - J.K. Coi
          Quarter Square - David Bridger
          Savor the Danger - Lori Foster
          Where Demons Fear to Tread - Stephanie Chong

          I love NetGalley!


          Why would I even think of buying anything this week when I have my hands full with all these awesome reads!!! A few of these have been on my wish list for a while so I can't wait to get started. Yeah I tried to stay away from NetGalley but that's just not happening...


          What's in your mailbox this week?


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