Monday, 16 October 2017

Review: Midnight Unleashed - Lara Adrian

Return to New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian’s “addictively readable” (Chicago Tribune) Midnight Breed vampire romance series with a pulse-pounding novella of paranormal seduction and dangerous thrills, where an icy immortal beauty and a lethal Gen One Hunter must confront a powerful enemy while struggling to deny the irresistible calling of their blood.

The Midnight Breed Series:
A Touch of Midnight (Novella included in The Midnight Breed Series Companion, now also available separately)
Kiss of Midnight
Kiss of Crimson
Midnight Awakening
Midnight Rising
Veil of Midnight
Ashes of Midnight
Shades of Midnight
Taken by Midnight
Deeper than Midnight
A Taste of Midnight (Novella)
Darker After Midnight
The Midnight Breed Series Companion
Edge of Dawn
Marked by Midnight (Novella)
Crave the Night
Tempted by Midnight (Novella)
Bound to Darkness
Stroke of Midnight (Novella)
Defy the Dawn
Midnight Untamed (Novella)
Midnight Unbound (Novella)
Midnight Unleashed (Novella)
Claimed in Shadows (Release date to be confirmed)

Hunter Legacy Series:
(A series of standalone romances set in the Midnight Breed world)
Born of Darkness (Winter 2017)

Visit Lara Adrian's website for more information about the Midnight Breed series you will find excerpts from each of the books. Lara can also be found on Facebook & Twitter where she posts regular updates or you can join other fans to chat about the books over at the LAMB (Lara Adrian Midnight Breed) Forum

I love the Midnight Breed series, I've been reading these books for so many years that getting a new instalment is always like going to visit with old friends, there's just something comforting about diving back into a world I'm so familiar with! I've really been enjoying these novellas surrounding the Order's Italian team so I was really pleased to finally get my hands on Trigg's story.

Trigg is one of the First Gen Hunters born and raised in Dragos' labs, he was trained from childhood to be a ruthless killer and to follow orders without question. The order saved him when they managed to release all of the Hunters when Trigg was just fourteen years old but that wasn't the end of his tortured past, I'm not going to say any more than that but you'll find out more about his tragic backstory in the novella. When Trigg was finally able to choose his own path he joined the Order willingly and he's spent years protecting both humans and breed alike from anyone who is trying to cause discord between the two races.

Sia is a full blooded Atlantean who was exiled from her home due to a tragic series of circumstances, she never meant to hurt her friends and family but putting her trust in the wrong person got someone she cared about killed and she hasn't been able to forgive herself for that. She can't make amends on Atlantis so she's focused all her energies on helping human women and children at a refuge and she's slowly building a new life for herself. Sia's paths cross with Trigg when a woman under her care is murdered by a member of the breed, Sia is determined to find out why the woman was killed and it looks like Trigg is the only one who might have the answers she needs.

This is a novella so you have to go in expecting the romance to happen quite quickly but I think Lara Adrian does a great job of bringing these two characters together in a believable way. They both have darkness in their pasts and that puts a few obstacles in their way but their romance is quite a sweet one once they both give into what they are feeling for each other. There is plenty of action in here too so I flew through this story, we catch glimpses of a few other members of the Italian branch of the Order which is always nice but I'm really looking forward to getting back to Boston in the next full length novel too. Another great instalment to one of my favourite series!

Source: I received an ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Blog Tour: Midnight Unleased - Lara Adrian

We are so thrilled to be bringing you the Release Day Launch for Lara Adrian's MIDNIGHT UNLEASHED, the latest novella in the Midnight Breed series, brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. Be sure to grab your copy of this sexy paranormal novella today!


Return to New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian’s “addictively readable” (Chicago Tribune) Midnight Breed vampire romance series with a pulse-pounding novella of paranormal seduction and dangerous thrills, where an icy immortal beauty and a lethal Gen One Hunter must confront a powerful enemy while struggling to deny the irresistible calling of their blood.

Grab your copy today!


“Tamisia, the house is completely locked down and secure. All of the alarms are engaged. No one can get in without the whole perimeter lighting up and tripping a dozen sirens.”

And yet someone had.

Sia was all but certain of it.

And then, upstairs, a sharp female shriek confirmed her fears. The scream sounded worse than pained. The quiet that followed lasted not even a moment, then a baby started wailing.

“Oh, no.” Phaedra went chalk white. “That’s coming from Rosa and Angelina’s room.”

Sia nodded, grim. No wonder the young mother had seemed so afraid when she arrived a couple of days ago. Her nightmare was far from over. By the awful sounds of it, the man Rosa was running from had decided she wasn’t getting away so easily.

Cold dread swept her, seeping into her marrow.

The whole house was coming awake now, vibrating with confusion and terror.

All Sia heard was the piercing wails of the innocent little baby she’d left sleeping so peacefully just a short while ago.

Dammit, no.

Hot rage replaced the chill and her vision blurred into a red haze.

“Stay here, Phaedra. Call for help.”

“Tamisia, what will you do?”

She didn’t know exactly. There was no time for a plan. She only knew she had to act.

Without answering, she raced for the stairs, pausing only long enough to issue a sharp command to her friend. “The police, Phaedra. Do it now.”

Sia was immortal, inhumanly powerful, but she wasn’t a fighter. Never had been. She was a politician, shielded by a contingent of Atlantean guards who would fight at her bidding. But none of that mattered as she flew up the steps and past the open doors and terrified faces of the shelter’s other residents.

“Back inside, all of you. Don’t come out until I tell you to.”

No one balked at her hushed orders. One by one, the frightened women and handful of small children retreated, shutting their doors.

Pausing outside Rosa’s room, Sia caught the muffled sound of a gravely male voice behind the door.

“It’s gotta be here somewhere. Keep looking! Santino said no loose ends.”

Suspicion pricked at Sia’s conscience. This didn’t sound like a violent ex-lover coming back to harm Rosa. This was something else. And no less dangerous.


“Those men. Is that what they were—drug dealers?”

He stared at her. “You don’t need to know anything more than what I told the cops, Sia. Do us both a favor and leave it at that.”

“They were searching for something, Trygg.”

“So you mentioned.”

“Do the police have any idea what it might be?”

“I didn’t tell them that part.”

Sia gaped. “Why not? Rosa was killed for whatever it was they thought she had. If telling the police about it will help them understand what kind of trouble she was in—”

“The police can’t help.” Trygg blew out an impatient curse. “And whatever those men wanted from the woman doesn’t matter now.”

“It matters to me,” she insisted.

His dark eyes narrowed and he gave a stiff shake of his head. “This conversation is over. I told you, what happened here is the Order’s business. Go back inside and get some rest. Forget about tonight.”

She scoffed. “Forget it?”

When he started to move around her, Sia grabbed his arm. Warm, hard muscle clenched beneath her fingertips, sending a shocking heat through her body. She drew her hand away at once, trying to ignore the distressing awareness she felt for a man who infuriated her more and more the longer she knew him.

“You think I will ever forget what I saw tonight? A young woman was murdered, Trygg. A woman I liked. A woman I was responsible for keeping safe. And now an innocent little baby is without her mother. Maybe that’s something your cold-hearted kind can simply dismiss, but don’t expect me to do the same.”

“Yes, Tamisia. That’s exactly what I expect.” He scowled now, his scarred, sinister face taut with growing irritation and something more difficult to define. “In fact, I’m fucking demanding it. You do not want to be involved in this. So stow your questions and march your fine ass back into that house and stay there.”


While he’d sure as hell rather be surrounded by his tech equipment at the command center, Trygg couldn’t find much to object to as he followed Sia up an exterior staircase to a private third-floor entrance of the house. As irritated as he was after her power play in the car just now—not to mention her earlier act of defiance that had rattled him more than he cared to admit, even to himself—it was hard to think about much else except the rhythmic sway of her hips as she mounted the old iron steps.

Very hard.

Her long, elegant spine and firm backside were a temptation that stoked a growing heat inside him as he stalked up the climb behind her. Everything male in him burned with desire. Everything Breed in him hungered for her too. If she chanced a look over her shoulder, it would be damn close to impossible to hide the amber lighting his irises or the press of his sharp fangs as they filled his mouth.

Letting her win just now was a mistake he already regretted, but that’s where her control was going to end. He’d go inside as she insisted and they’d do a cursory look through the rest of the items they’d brought with them. He would point out something or other so she’d have a bone to chew on, then he’d take everything back to the command center and dig into the meat of the scant evidence alone.

The way he preferred to operate.

He scowled at her when they reached the top of the stairs. “Is this the way you sneak in all the men you bring home with you?”

“Only the surly ones.” Her blonde brow arched over her long-lashed eyes. “And to answer the question you really want to ask, I’ve never brought anyone up here before.”

He didn’t want to ask that, so why did her answer give him such a healthy stab of satisfaction?

Lara Adrian’s MIDNIGHT UNTAMED – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

October 11
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Under the Covers – Review & Excerpt
Knotty Girl Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt Only
Kimberly’s Hot Reads – Excerpt Only  
October 12
BTH Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
Rantings of a Reading Addict – Review & Excerpt
My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt Only
October 13
Nerdy Dirty & Flirty – Review & Excerpt
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt Only
All Things Dark & Dirty – Excerpt Only
October 14
Panty Dropping Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
I Smell Sheep – Review & Excerpt
Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt
Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt Only
Ever After Book Reviews – Excerpt Only
October 15
Avephoenix Naughty Readings – Review & Excerpt
The Reading Café – Review & Excerpt
The Escapist Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
K&J Book Promotions – Excerpt Only
Reading Between the Wines – Excerpt Only
October 16
Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt
That’s What I’m Talking About – Review & Excerpt
Friends Till the End Book Blog – Excerpt Only
Bobo’s Book Bank – Excerpt Only
October 17
Mom’s Secret Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Torie’s Book Obsession – Review & Excerpt
Feel the Book – Excerpt Only
October 18
A Hopeless Romantic’s Booklandia – Review & Excerpt
Diane’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
I’m A Sweet and Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt
Bookasms Blog – Review & Excerpt
I Can’t Help Where My Mind Goes – Excerpt Only
October 19
Ms. Me28 – Review & Excerpt
Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt
The Romance Review – Review & Excerpt
October 20
Amo’s Book Corner – Review & Excerpt
Dirty Girl Romance – Review & Excerpt
Pardon My Blurb – Review & Excerpt
G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt Only


LARA ADRIAN is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author with nearly 4 million books in print and digital worldwide and translations licensed in more than 20 countries. Her upcoming release is FOR 100 REASONS, the third book in a contemporary romance series that reviewers are calling "phenomenal" and "one of the hottest series of the year." Learn more about the author and her books at

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Blog Tour: The Last Namsara - Kristen Ciccarelli

Today I'm really excited to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the release of Kristen Ciccarelli's debut novel The Last Namsara. This is a book I've been dying to read ever since I first heard about it (watch out for my review coming soon!) so I'm really happy to have a fabulous guest post from Kristen to share with you today. Before we get to that let me give you some information about the book!


Destroyer. Death bringer. Dragon-slayer. I am more weapon than girl.

Asha is a dragon-slayer. Reviled by the very people she's sworn to protect, she kills to atone for the wicked deed she committed as a child - one that almost destroyed her city, and left her with a terrible scar.

But protecting her father's kingdom is a lonely destiny: no matter how many dragons she kills, her people still think she's wicked.

Even worse, to unite the fractured kingdom she must marry Jarek, the cruel commandant. As the wedding day approaches, Asha longs for freedom.

Just when it seems her fate is sealed, the king offers her a way out: her freedom in exchange for the head of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard.

And the only person standing in her way is a defiant slave boy . . .

THE LAST NAMSARA is an extraordinary story about courage, loyalty and star-crossed love, set in a kingdom that trembles on the edge of war.

This is the first book in the Iskari series and you can find out more on Kristen Ciccarelli's website here.

I thought you might be interested in these videos I found too, this first one is of Kristen talking about the story behind The Last Namsara:

And here's the official book trailer:

Now I'll hand over to Kristen who is going to share her playlist for The Last Namsara! Thanks for stopping by Kristen :o)

“Dragon Slaying”
Pacific Rim (featuring Tom Morello)

My Body by Young the Giant

“Badass Girls”
Don’t F with My Cat by Lumi

“In the Pit”
Is She With You (Wonder Woman Theme) by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL

“Asha vs Kozu”
Brothers in Arms by Junkie XL

“An Escape”
Fate Has Smiled Upon Us by Marc Streitenfeld

“Torwin Feels I”
In My Veins by Andrew Belle

Arrival to Earth by Steve Jablonsky

“Dragon Flight II”
We Bought the Zoo by Jonsi

“Torwin Feels II”
Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran

Lily’s Theme by Alexandre Desplat

“Going In”
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark

“Escape from Firgaard”
Run by Daughter

“First Dance”
Callie’s Wedding

The playlist on YouTube:

About the author:

Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She spent her childhood running wild with her cousins, adventuring in the woods, building forts in the barn, and obsessing over books, dragons, and girls wielding really cool weapons. She wrote The Last Namsara for the girl she used to be (and sometimes still is).

Connect with Kristen online:
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Review: The Winter Long - Seanan McGuire

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It's time to learn the truth.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in the print version of Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence (2018)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

This series really does get better with every instalment and The Winter Long was a game changer in every sense of the word. So many revelations and answers to questions we've been asking since the very beginning but those answers raise a whole new set of questions and I can't wait to see what direction they take us in. This book is going to be a very hard one to review because there are so many things I want to talk about but can't because it would be a spoiler. I'm going to keep this deliberately short and vague because of that but trust me, if you enjoyed the first seven books you're going to love this one!

Toby has faced her fair share of battles already but this time she's going up against enemies that have already beaten her once before. Her allies are still out in full force but as she discovers that some people very close to her have been keeping major secrets she starts to wonder whether they are really the people she thought they were and whether they deserve the trust she has placed in them. I was a little heartbroken right alongside Toby when certain heroes fell from their pedestals but I'm so happy that most of the people she trusts have her back 100%.

Toby is incredible as always and she's learning more and more ways to use her magic which is fascinating to watch. The Luidaeg and Quentin are favourite side characters as always and we're starting to uncover more about all of their pasts which has been great. I'm still head over heels for Tybalt and think him and Toby are a perfect partnership, he's incredibly protective of her but at the same time he understands her better than anyone and he would never try to force her into anything. He knows that she needs to have the freedom to fight for both herself and the people she cares about and he'd never try to put her in a protective bubble no matter how much his instincts demand it. I love that they always have each other's backs and that they each bring different strengths to their relationship, Toby is an equal partner and isn't someone who sits around waiting to be rescued.

You can tell that Seanan McGuire has been building up to this book, so many threads are starting to come together now and I have a feeling that the shocks are just going to keep coming as the series continues. This really has become one of my favourite urban fantasy series and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Source: Received from DAW Books in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: The Dragon's Playlist - Laura Bickle

From the author of THE HALLOWED ONES and NINE OF STARS comes a new novel blending the magical and the real…

“This is war,” the dragon said. And she believed him.

Di fled rural West Virginia to study music and pursue a bright future as a violinist. But when a mining accident nearly kills her father, she is summoned back home to support her family. Old ghosts and an old flame emerge from the past. When Di gets a job as a bookkeeper at the same mine where her father worked, she is drawn into a conflict pitting neighbor against neighbor as the mine plans an expansion to an untouched mountain.

If the mining company’s operation goes forward, there will be more at stake than livelihoods or the pollution of the land: Di has discovered a dragon lives deep within Sawtooth Mountain, and he is not happy with this encroachment upon his lair. When catastrophe strikes, Di must choose between her family’s best interests and protecting the dragon – the last surviving bit of magic in Di’s shrinking world.

In every fight, sides are chosen. And there can be no yearning for what has been left behind.

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Di has been away at college studying music, she escaped her hometown as fast as she could and was hoping never to have to return. That all changed when her father was badly injured in a mining accident, he is no longer able to work so her family are struggling to make ends meet, especially since her father's medical bills aren't being covered by the company he worked for. Di is forced to return home and take a job at the same mining company just so she can help out her family but she's extremely resentful and unhappy about being back. The mining company is planning on destroying the mountain to make their job easier and protesters are determined to do whatever it takes to stop them from destroying the area. There is a huge amount of conflict between locals who rely on the mine for their incomes and outsiders who are there to protest the work that is being planned and Di is caught in the middle of it, especially when she realises that there is something hiding deep in the mountain that needs her protection.

I love dragons so I had very high hopes for this book but unfortunately I just didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to. It's not a bad book in any sense of the word but for me it focused a little too heavily on the contemporary issues of living in a mining town and the damage to the environment and not enough on the dragon. It raises a lot of important issues but I went into this expecting it to be all about dragons and the dragon was really only a minor part of the story. If I'd gone into it knowing it would have more of a contemporary feel then perhaps I'd have enjoyed it more so thats why I feel the need to point that out in my review.

I think my biggest issue was that I didn't feel much of a connection to any of the characters, Di just came across as a bit too spoiled and selfish for me to ever like her. I get why she was upset to return home but it felt like her dreams of studying music were more important than her father's health and I found that hard to get my head around. This book has a lot of positive reviews so I'd never try to put anyone off giving it a try, hopefully you'll enjoy it much more than I did!

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Cover Reveal: Villain - Samantha Young

I'm a huge fan of Samantha Young, she writes such fabulous contemporary romances and her characters are so easy to fall in love with. I really enjoyed her standalone book Hero when I read it a couple of years ago (you can read my review here) so I'm excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for a new companion novella, Villain, today.

Cover Design: By Samantha Young
Release Date: December 5th 2017
Preorder links coming soon!


The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO.

Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal - a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.

An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.

After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…

About Samantha Young:

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017.

Connect with Samantha Young Online:

Doesn't it sound fabulous?! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Release Day Launch: Midnight Unleased - Lara Adrian

We are so thrilled to be bringing you the Release Day Launch for Lara Adrian's MIDNIGHT UNLEASHED, the latest novella in the Midnight Breed series, brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. Be sure to grab your copy of this sexy paranormal novella today!


Return to New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian’s “addictively readable” (Chicago Tribune) Midnight Breed vampire romance series with a pulse-pounding novella of paranormal seduction and dangerous thrills, where an icy immortal beauty and a lethal Gen One Hunter must confront a powerful enemy while struggling to deny the irresistible calling of their blood.

Grab your copy today!

Read an Excerpt:

Sia had never seen anything as magnificent. Every inch of him was dense muscle and firm skin swirling with the strange, alien markings, these living, moving testaments of his need for her. Nothing at all like the sun-kissed, golden skin of her past lovers in the colony, including Elyon, whose fine-hewn physical perfection could have made the angels weep.

No, with his massive build and bulging muscles, Trygg looked more demon than angel. And her hungry eyes couldn’t get their fill of him.

“You’re glorious, Trygg.” She smoothed her fingers over his warm muscles and the stunning glyphs that were uniquely his own. “The most incredible man I’ve ever seen.”

His sensual mouth twisted at her praise, but this time he didn’t reject it. His breath sawed out of him, his fangs like pearly daggers as he gazed hungrily at her beneath him.

“Beautiful Sia,” he said, his hands roaming from her waist to the swell of her hip. Gripping her there, he dragged her against his groin, using his hold to crush their bodies more tightly together. “Have you ever been with a Breed before?”

Although phrased as a question, he meant it also as a warning. One that made her veins throb and the heat gathering in the center of her turn even more molten.

She shook her head. “I’ve never wanted to be. Now I can’t think of anything I’ve ever wanted more. Just you.”

With the press of his hard, thick arousal jutting against her, she moaned, suddenly desperate to get even closer. He leaned over her, tugging hard on her hair as he took her mouth again, his hold tilting her head back on her shoulders, baring her throat to him.

She could feel her pulse pounding there and froze, wondering if he wanted to sink his teeth into her flesh. Some wild, reckless part of her wanted him to. Dared him to. Anything to make this dark, needy pull inside her subside. But no, he only skimmed his lips over her skin, leaving a trail of flames in their wake as he moved lower.


LARA ADRIAN is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author with nearly 4 million books in print and digital worldwide and translations licensed in more than 20 countries. Her upcoming release is FOR 100 REASONS, the third book in a contemporary romance series that reviewers are calling "phenomenal" and "one of the hottest series of the year." Learn more about the author and her books at

Monday, 9 October 2017

Review: 1 Incryptid Short Story Narrated by the Aeslin Mice - Seanan McGuire

If you're a fan of Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series you may or may not be aware that she has written a large number of short stories set in the world but written about various different characters. A lot of these short stories are available for free on her website HERE but a few of them can only be found in anthologies. I thought it would be nice to have one place to write quick reviews for the short stories but since there are so many of them I'm going to split them out by the characters and these reviews may be updated in the future if the author writes additional stories.

This review includes all the short stories that have been written about the Aeslin Mice, stories by other narrators will be reviewed separately.

Entire Incryptid Series:
14 Jonathan Healy & Frances Brown Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
2 Alice Healy & Thomas Price Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Discount Armageddon
Midnight Blue-Light Special
4 Antimony Price Short Stories (Read some for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
3 Istas and Ryan Short Stories (Read most for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Half-Off Ragnarok
1 Sarah Zellaby and Arthur Harrington Short Story (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
5 Verity Price & Dominic De Luca Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Pocket Apocalypse
Chaos Choreography
1 Elsie Harrington Short Story (Short Story in the Shadowed Souls anthology)
Magic for Nothing
1 Aeslin Mice Short Story (Purchase though Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page)

Ghost Stories Series:
(Stories are set in the Incryptid World)
Sparrow Hill Road
Train Yard Blues (Short Story in the Coins of Chaos anthology)
The Ghosts of Bourbon Street (Crossover Short Story with Verity from the Incryptid series free on Seanan McGuire's website)

Short Stories narrated by the Aeslin Mice:
(Unless otherwise stated all stories are available for free on the author's website)
The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork (Purchase though Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork

The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork (great name for a story right?!) is a short story that can be purchased through Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page. It fits into the Incryptid timeline immediately after events in Magic for Nothing and will include huge spoilers if you haven't read that book yet so look away from this review now if you're not up to date with the series!

This story is narrated in alternating chapters by the Aeslin mice Mindy and Mork as they navigate the airport to make their way back to the Price family to tell them of Annie's adventures; and Sam, Annie's circus boyfriend who is desperately trying to figure out a way to track down his missing girlfriend. We don't get to see a resolution to either of these plots as I'm pretty sure that's going to be covered in the next full length novel, Tricks for Free, (due to publish in March 2018) but this story is a fantastic filler and I loved every minute of it.

If you're anything like me then you'll already love the Aeslin mice but this was a chance to see things through their eyes and fully understand their devotion to their gods and priestesses. I loved Mindy's dedication to Annie and her determination to return to the colony with a full record of her experiences with the covenant. Mindy knows that unless she makes it back to the family the Prices will never know exactly what happened or why Annie has gone into hiding but she also has a mission of her own to take Mork to her home and figure out a way to return the rest of the splinter colony that are still hiding in the covenant headquarters.

Sam and Annie had their ups and downs, especially when he realised she'd been keeping such huge secrets from him, but I was really pleased that it hasn't changed his feelings for her. He is worried out of his mind that she is out there all alone and he's determined to figure out a way to find her. Something that is going to be easier said than done but he might have a little help in the form of a certain Crossroads Ghost.

Like I said this is a filler story and I doubt it's going to be an essential read between the main books but if you've read any of Seanan McGuire's other short stories you'll already know she always manages to pack a lot of heart into a small number of pages and they're always a fun addition to the series.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Book Trailer: Beasts Made of Night - Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts Made of Night is an October release that I'm REALLY looking forward to reading! It's a debut by Tochi Onyebuchi and I found this video of him talking about what you can expect from the story on YouTube so I had to share it with you guys.

Doesn't it sound fantastic?! Here's the blurb and the gorgeous book cover for you:

Debut author Tochi Onyebuchi delivers an unforgettable fantasy adventure that powerfully explores the true meaning of justice and guilt. Packed with dark magic and thrilling action, Beasts Made of Night is a gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Nnedi Okorafor. In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts—lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a member of the royal family, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves—and his own life.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Fairyloot Unboxing - September 2017 "All That Sass"

FairyLoot September Box "All That Sass"

I loved the September FairyLoot box, so many fab items in here and I love the look of the book too! The boxes seem to get better every month and I'm already incredibly excited by both the October and November themes so I'm very glad I started this subscription.

As usual I've deliberately waited until the FairyLoot photo challenge starts before posting my unboxing because I'm hoping that means everyone will have received their boxes. There will be spoilers beyond this point so look away now if you don't want to know what was included in the box!

I always love it when the box includes a candle so I was thrilled by this In the Wick of Time High Warlock candle inspired by Magnus Bane from the Mortal Instruments series. It smells of sandalwood, incense and lavender which is a lovely masculine scent and I think it fits the character perfectly.

The next item was an exclusive Rattle the Stars beanie designed by Reverie and Ink that was inspired by Celaena from the Throne of Glass series. I love winter hats so this is perfect for me and I can't wait for it to get cold enough outside for me to wear it!

Next we have this gorgeous tote bag designed by Miss Phi that was inspired by the Infernal Devices series, I love Miss Phi's designs and think this bag is beautiful. I have to confess I haven't read this series yet (even though I bough the books as they were released!) so I really need to get on with that LOL.

I absolutely love this notebook inspired by Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy, he is one of my favourite characters and with the recent news that he's getting his own spin off series this item arrived with perfect timing. The design was by talented Alexis Lampley and if you've read the Grisha trilogy you'll know it's spot on!

I have to admit I've not read the Percy Jackson series but who doesn't love hot chocolate? This is going to be perfect for autumn and winter and if you want to buy your own check out Brontie & Co for all kinds of vegan chocolate treats!

I love this gorgeous magnet Ink and Wonder Designs, everyone knows I'm a huge Potterhead and I absolutely love the Weasley twins so this is perfect and the design is really pretty too.

We also received these gorgeous art prints by Taratjah, I've been eyeing up her Six of Crows and Lunar Chronicles fan art on Society6 for ages now so I was really excited by these. In case you couldn't figure it out the characters above are Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles and Delilah Bard from Shades of Magic. Aren't they gorgeous?!

This month's book is The Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett and as usual it came with a signed book plate and a letter from the author. I've been looking forward to this book for ages so I was thrilled when I figured out it was the September book, this is definitely one I'll be reading soon.

So what did you think of this month's box? This is month five of my subscription and I think it was probably one of my favourite boxes so far. There seemed to be so many items included and I loved them all. We know there will be two hardbacks in the October box so I'm looking forward to receiving my next parcel. Thanks Fairyloot, awesome job!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Review: Haunted Blade - J.C. Daniels

Haunted, Hunted…and harassed.

Never let it be said that Kit Colbana had ever been given the easy road. Or even the semi-paved road. Only weeks after dealing with the mysterious—and murderous—being called Puck, she’s got another killer on her hands. Perhaps even two.

Some of the bodies turning up bring up haunting memories of a past she longs to forget, but as always, that past is chasing her at her heels, like a hated shadow.

As the body count racks up, there’s an imbalance of power, particularly among the vampire population, and Kit must yet again deal with ugly memories as one of the monsters who tried to break her is set free to deal with the imbalance of power. Yet while a power struggle rages in East Orlando, there’s another, more subtle battle taking place and Kit feels like the center of it all.

Arrogant? Maybe. But the dead bodies don’t bear the mark of her grandmother’s pet killer by sheer coincidence…and she doubts her nemesis being released is either.

The Colbana Files:
A Stroke of Dumb Luck (Free Short Story)
Bladed Magic (Short Story)
Damon (Novella)
Blade Song
Blade Song: Special Anniversary Edition
Night Blade
Broken Blade
Edged Blade
Misery's Way (Novella)
Shadowed Blade
Haunted Blade

Visit J.C. Daniels' website for more information

I'm a huge fan of this series so I loved the chance to dive back into Kit's world and see what's going on with her now. Her relationship with Damon is stronger than ever so she's in a pretty good place personally but things in Orlando aren't running quite as smoothly. It starts with the murders of powerful vampires from several of the largest houses and the power vacuum causes a lot of the younger vampires to lose control resulting in a number of killing sprees. As the bloodlust spreads more vampires are drawn to the area and it's not long before the situation is dire.

This instalment gives us a chance to learn more about Kit's background as a face from her past puts in an appearance and it looks like her grandmother has finally decided that it's time to come after her because there are a few too many things coming at her for it all to be a coincidence. I have a feeling this is just the beginning though and we're obviously building up for a huge showdown in the next couple of books.

It's no secret that I love these books so it pains me to say this but I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as I hoped to. I really struggled in the beginning because the story didn't seem to flow very well and that made it very hard to get into. Some scenes seemed to just end halfway through and then you'd be dropped into the middle of another scene and there were several times when I found myself backtracking trying to figure out what I'd missed. That was something completely unexpected from this author because I've never had that problem with any of the previous books. It did improve a lot in the second half though and at that point the pace picked up a lot and I found myself swept away in the story. This may not be the strongest instalment but it was still an enjoyable read and there were a lot of interesting revelations that have set things up nicely for the series going forward.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next book and I'm hoping we're going to start to discover even more about Kit's family as we go on.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Review: The Bastard Legion - Gavin G. Smith

Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation abroad prison ships and "rehabilitated" in a shared virtual reality environment.

Miska Corbin, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman's Daughter, and made it her own.

Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers and worse are transformed into Miska's own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion.

But are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past? And how fat is she prepared to go to find out?

Bastard Legion Series:
The Bastard Legion
Friendly Fire (2018)

Visit Gavin G. Smith's website for more information

Just to let you know this story was originally published under the title The Hangman's Daughter (ebook only) and has now been rereleased as The Bastard Legion. As far as I'm aware the story hasn't changed.

Miska is a ex special forces veteran and an expert hacker and she has used her skills to hijack a prison ship containing thousands of violent prisoners in suspended animation. The prisoners are supposed to be rehabilitated via virtual reality but Miska has something very different in mind - turning them into her own private army. After taking control of the ship Miska fitted each of the prisoners with an explosive collar around their neck and it didn't take long to prove to them that any disobedience would cause them to lose their heads. With the help of an electronic ghost of a marine sergeant Miska has set out to train the prisoners and turn them into an elite group of mercenaries. She knows the prisoners would happily kill her but unless they can figure out a way to remove their collars she's in no danger right now.

I thought The Bastard Legion was an incredibly promising start to this new series, I kind of love the idea of taking a bunch of violent murderers and turning them into elite soldiers even though it's pretty terrifying to think of the damage they could do once they're fully trained. Miska is a totally kickass character who is a skilled fighter but at the same time she's not exactly the most likeable character, she is pretty willing to use the prisoners as canon fodder and she doesn't seem to have much of a conscience. Okay these guys all did something horrible to earn their prison sentence but she's basically turned them into slaves and that did make me feel kind of uncomfortable, especially when so many of them died. It takes a long time to reveal why Miska is so set on her plan and I think even now there are things going on behind the scenes that we're not aware of yet but she's definitely ruthless and not afraid to make difficult choices.

The story is incredibly action packed, there is always something going on and danger comes from all kinds of directions so try not to get too attached to anyone because you never know who is going to end up dying next. There were a few prisoners I'm curious about getting to know better but it's hard to know how much anyone can be trusted when they're in such a controlled environment, it'll only be when (or if) the collars come off that we'll really see the true measure of people. Some of them definitely seem to have more of a conscience than Miska though and it was quite amusing to see murderers question the morality of what she was doing.

It took a while to get into this book but by midway through I was totally hooked and I'm very curious to see how things play out in the next book. I have a feeling there is a lot more to Miska than meets the eye and it's going to be interesting to see if she's really as hard as she acts or if there is a nicer side to her buried down deep.

Source: Received from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Owlcrate Unboxing - September 2017 "Mythical Creatures"

Owlcrate September Box "Mythical Creatures"

I finally got my first Owlcrate box and I absolutely loved it! Unfortunately I can't afford to get this every month because international postage is a killer but I couldn't resist the lure of Mythical Creatures and the potential for dragons LOL. Hopefully I'll be able to buy Owlcrate boxes occasionally in the future because I was really impressed with both the speed of shipping and all the items they included.

I've waited until the Owlcrate photo challenge started to post this unboxing because I'm assuming that means everyone will have received their boxes by now but if you don't want spoilers of the contents then don't continue reading beyond this point!

The first item in the box was this really cute dragon coin purse that was an exclusive item designed by the Owlcrate team. I'm definitely going to get a lot of use out of this!

The second item was the gorgeous Mother of Dragons wooden bookmark from Ink and Wonder Designs, I absolutely love their woodmarks and this one is absolutely lovely. I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan so was very happy with this.

The third item was Percy Jackson inspired bath salts from The Soap Librarian which have a lovely eucalyptus scent. Unfortunately I don't have a bath to use them in (my bathroom only has room for a shower!) but I think I'm going to try using these in my footspa instead.

I'll admit that one of the big draws of the September Owlcrate box was that I knew there would be a Book Beau included in it. I was kind of hoping it might have a dragon pattern but I love this mermaid and unicorn design so I'm very happy with it. This is my first Book Beau and I think it's brilliant, it's nice and padded to will definitely protect whatever book I'm carrying in it and it's a great size too - plenty big enough for a large paperback or my kindle.

The next item was this really cute Hagrid and Buckbeak sticker by Susanne Draws, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan so I love this.

This month's book was Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows which has dragons and sounds absolutely fabulous! I love that it comes with an exclusive edition cover too (in case you can't tell from the picture the writing is in gold not silver like the standard cover). Owlcrate also included a signed bookplate, a letter from the author, an interview and a mini booklet that's a guide to the different kinds of dragons in the book. I can't wait to read this one so you'll have to watch out for my review soon.

I'll leave you with this final picture showing everything that was in the box. Like I already said I was really impressed with this box and I hope to order from Owlcrate again in the future. My favourite items were probably the Book Beau, the Woodmark and the cute little dragon purse but there wasn't anything I disliked and I'm impressed with the quality of everything included. Thanks Owlcrate, you did a great job with this one!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Blog Tour: Heart of Fire - Amanda Bouchet (Exclusive original new scene + Giveaway)

I absolutely loved the first two books in Amanda Bouchet's Kingmaker Chronicles so I'm desperately waiting for the final book, Heart on Fire, to release in January so when I heard Sourcebooks were holding a blog tour including an exclusive scene told from Griffin's point of view I just had to take part! First let's have a look at Heart of Fire, isn't this cover beautiful!

Heart on Fire

The riveting conclusion to The Kingmaker Chronicles coming January 2018!

Without Griffin—and apparently a few meddling Gods—to push me along, I’d still be telling fortunes at the circus, lying about my past, ignoring my future, and living as far away from my tyrant mother as humanly possible.

True understanding thuds into place. Hope isn’t just an abstract concept; it’s me. Flesh and blood me. Griffin knew it all along. Probably everyone did. I’m an idea in human form.

I have the power of the Gods at my fingertips.
The only thing ever stopping me has been me.

Pre-order Heart on Fire now!

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author AMANDA BOUCHET grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France, in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French. Connect with her at

Experience The Kingmaker Chronicles from the start!

A Promise of Fire
Read my review HERE

Breath of Fire
Read my review HERE

Exclusive scene from Griffin's POV:

Readers of The Kingmaker Chronicles are already well-acquainted with Griffin, but never before have we had the chance to see the world of Thalyria—and Cat—through his eyes. In anticipation of the final installment of the series, Heart on Fire, Amanda Bouchet has written this companion piece from Griffin’s POV!

So, get comfy and dig in!

What Happened in Velos Stays in Velos…
by Amanda Bouchet

Griffin watched Cat figure out their location from only architectural clues and the fact that there was a nearby forest. The way she put things together using a knowledge base most people didn’t possess amazed him.

“How do you know so much about Velos?” he asked, curious. “The circus travels a route farther to the west.”

“I’ve met people, heard things,” she answered with a small shrug.

Annoyance ground against his earlier admiration. Cat knew the truth—always—and yet she lied to him constantly. He could see it in her face, knew when she was hiding something. He wanted what was best for Sinta. Griffin was convinced that Cat did, too, but for them to start making changes happen, he had to break through her animosity first. Sometimes, he saw flashes of something else in her when she forgot to guard her expression, something that made his chest clench. Maybe there was still hope.

“Help me, Cat,” he said, trying not to sound like he was begging. Weakness wouldn’t go over well with her. She responded negatively to force—that much was clear—but she respected strength. “Or at least tell me the truth. I know when you’re lying.”

“Oh?” She looked like her last meal was abruptly curdling in her stomach.

“Your eyes get twitchy.”

“My eyes do not get twitchy!” she spat back, clearly horrified.

Did she really not know? She had so many tells, but he almost felt like he was alone in seeing them. No one else seemed to notice every nuance of her breath and skin.

“This one gets narrower.” Griffin lightly touched the tip of his finger to the corner of her right eye. Cat jolted at the contact. He wasn’t sure if that brought him satisfaction or regret. Maybe it was some of both. He couldn’t figure out a lot of things when it came to Cat, but he knew his own heart and body.

They didn’t lie to him. He cared about her deeply; he wanted her madly.

“It’s as if you’re expecting the lie to hurt, but it doesn’t because it’s your own,” he explained.
Still looking like there was a sour grape in her mouth, she leaned away from him and started walking again. “Thank you for telling me. I’ll have to work on that,” she said through clenched teeth.

“Cat…” he growled, stalking after her. “Everything would be so much easier if—”

“—you let me go.”

Griffin shook his head. “I can’t. You’re too valuable.”

“Aren’t you the lucky despot? The one who caught the Kingmaker. Forgive me for not being overjoyed about becoming your slave.”

“Not a slave.” Impulsively, he reached out and grabbed her arm, swinging her back to him. “One of us.”
Cat wrenched out of his hold, looking more than incredulous. She looked furious, her mesmerizing green eyes practically on fire.

Gods, he wanted to shake her. Kiss her. Make her believe him. It should have been obvious to her of all people that he was telling the truth.

Once again, the fact that he’d dragged her unwillingly from her home punched Griffin in the stomach, making his gut twist. What in the bloody Underworld had he been thinking? His logic and reason had seemed to melt in the heat between them and then abandon him entirely when they’d really begun interacting. In the end, he’d just known she had to be with him. They had to be together.

He inwardly grimaced. As far as choices went about how to make that happen, though, there were undoubtedly better ones. And now he was paying. Cat was making sure of it—as she should.
“I’ll never be one of you,” she bit out with enough conviction to almost convince him.


Griffin dragged a hand through his hair, tugging it back. “You’re too stubborn for your own good.”

She glared at him. She was something fierce.

Emotion tore through his chest. Would she ever forgive him?

The five of them—Beta Team, Cat, and him—eventually reached the market rows, and Griffin pulled four silver coins from his money pouch.

Flynn’s eyes brightened as he rubbed his hands together. “Payday!”

Flynn, Carver, and Kato each took the coin Griffin owed them, leaving one in the palm of his hand.

“Cat.” Griffin extended the coin to her, an uncomfortable hesitancy making his heart pound. “Your pay.”

As he expected, Cat refused the money. He wouldn’t push her. He wasn’t out to prove she was part of their team with one gesture. It was a long-term effort, one that meant a great deal to him.

He put the coin away. “I’ll hold it for you. I know what you want. You complain about it often enough.”

She looked up sharply, and then her eyes narrowed. Did she like it when he teased her?

Cat moved along next to him while he bought her some fruit he thought she would like as well as some bread and cheese. Not goat cheese. He knew better than that. Griffin tried to keep the rope from pulling taut, but it wasn’t always easy. He hated to remind her it was there. Not that she ever forgot. He just didn’t want to make things worse between them.

He located a soap seller next and tried to find something nice-smelling to replace Cat’s shrinking bar.

He’d been using hers, and there wasn’t much left.

The turn of his thoughts reminded him of bathing so close to her, only a few feet apart. Gods, he wished he could see her. Just a glimpse. Just the slope of her bare shoulder while her hair was slicked back and water slid down the column of her throat…

Taking a deep breath, Griffin tried to control the jagged, unsatisfied heat prowling through him like a caged beast.

Cat rolled her eyes. “You’re worse than a woman. Just take the yellow one. It’s always the best.”

He reached for a block of bright-yellow soap, picked it up, and sniffed. “Lemon.” He closed his eyes and inhaled again, imagining breathing against Cat’s smooth skin. “Smells like you.”

“And you,” she shot back, her color rising. “My soap should have lasted another month.”

Ignoring the bite in her tone and doing his best to redirect his blood to his brain, Griffin handed over payment to the vendor. “We’ll take two,” he said in a voice like gravel.

“There is no we,” Cat muttered irritably as they continued down the row of market stalls. “Don’t act like I have a say in any of this.”

Now that wasn’t true. Griffin turned, frustrated again. Yes, he’d willingly pay for his highhanded stupidity. He’d pay forever if it kept Cat with him, but short of letting her go just to watch her walk away from him, from Sinta, and from everything they could accomplish together, he’d give her anything she asked for. And she damn well knew it.

“You could have a say,” he growled at her. “And you could bloody well choose your own soap!”

“I did! I told you to take the yellow one.”

“And I did!” Cursing under his breath, Griffin stalked toward the next vendor, somehow forgetting about the magic rope. The bloody thing pulled taut, and he accidentally jerked Cat right into someone who suddenly stumbled in from the side. The man looked innocuous enough, but off-balance and dazed.

High from some spell, no doubt.

Griffin was about to intervene when Cat gasped and reached out to the stranger with a visible shudder.

Her face lit up as she grabbed the man’s shoulders and pulled him even closer.

Griffin scowled. What in the Underworld was she up to now?


“Cat?” Griffin stepped closer to her. “Cat! What are you doing?”

Laughing, she finally released the stunned-looking man. She turned and stumbled straight into Griffin, sucking in a sharp breath when he caught her bare arms to steady her. Her eyes flared, then softened.

“You’re pink!” She giggled, the sound seeming strange and unnatural coming from her.

Griffin frowned, which apparently made her laugh harder. Her eyes unfocused, Cat splayed her hand over his chest. He thought it was for balance. She probably wouldn’t have touched him otherwise. He still reveled in the warm, light weight of her fingers. He’d longed to have her hands on him.

Cat stared at his chest. She seemed fascinated. She slowed her breathing to match his.

Poseidon’s balls! What in the Underworld did you do to me?” The man who’d stumbled into Cat didn’t look dazed anymore; he looked infuriated.

Cat blinked. She blinked again, tilting her head to one side. She stayed right next to Griffin, her hand still on his chest.

The man staggered, fighting tremors and hiccupping down a series of short, disjointed breaths. His overly lean, unhealthy frame spoke of dependence and bad choices. Griffin tensed in case the addict got any stupid ideas about accosting Cat—who had clearly done something to him with her magic.

“That dose was supposed to last all day!” the man snarled. “I paid good silver for it. Give it back!” He lunged at Cat.

Griffin wrapped his arm around Cat’s waist and swept her out of the man’s path. The addict howled, and she laughed, leaning into Griffin in a way that warmed his entire side. Enraged, the addict drew a knife and waved it in Cat’s direction, a crazed light sparking in his already frantic eyes.

No one threatened Cat. Griffin shot out his hand and knocked the knife from the other man’s grip. It wasn’t hard; the addict already shook. He had no intention of stopping there. He leapt forward and wrapped his hand around the man’s throat. He held on to Cat as well. There was no way he was letting her go.

Her gaze bright, almost rapt, Cat stared fixedly at Griffin’s arm until he tossed the man to the ground. Kato, Flynn, and Carver formed a perimeter, keeping everyone else away and the addict in. Cat clapped and smiled, wiggling in apparent delight.

“Dose of what?” Griffin demanded in a hard voice. He needed to know what was wrong with her, and he needed to know now.

Cat shivered, and he couldn’t help gripping her tighter. He was self-aware enough to know he didn’t pull her closer solely for her protection.

Banking on sheer intimidation as the best way to handle the addict, Griffin drew a knife and threw it with precision, sticking it a mere inch from the man’s ear. “The next one lands somewhere that hurts,” he snarled.

The addict paled, his mouth going slack as his eyes darted to the blade next to his face.

“Brutal,” Cat commented. She didn’t sound averse.

Griffin glanced at her. “No one touches you.”

She bit her lower lip, looking adorably confused. “You’re touching me.”

Griffin’s eyes fixed on her mouth. “I’m the exception.”

She seemed to stop breathing, to maybe even like what she heard. Hope jerked in his chest. Smiling, Cat swayed toward him, and his fingers tightened on her hip. It took an almost herculean effort to resist hauling her up against him and kissing her like he’d wanted to since the moment he’d first laid eyes on her, weeks ago.

Griffin briefly closed his eyes. Cat wasn’t herself, and he wouldn’t take advantage of her.

Focusing on the addict again, he ground out, “I’m waiting.”

Cat turned back to the man at their feet as well and pointed her finger. “Answer or die!”

She did menace with absolute believability, and the man’s face went cloud-white. Cat burst out laughing.

“Euphoria,” he finally answered, pushing himself up to sitting. “Paid five silvers for it, and the little leech stole it with one touch.”

The addict spat at Cat, and a low growl rumbled in Griffin’s throat. He wasn’t in the habit of beating on people weaker than himself, but right then, he was sorely tempted.

You bumped into me,” Cat announced, although she didn’t look entirely certain. She peeled Griffin’s arm off her waist and then stumbled away, unsteady on her feet.

The rope snapped tight, and she swayed. Following her, Griffin put his hand on her lower back to steady her, and the slight, momentary hitch in Cat’s stride was the only indication that she’d felt him behind her. She ignored him otherwise.

“What about the addict?” Carver asked, handing Griffin back his knife.

“Leave him.” Griffin stayed close to Cat as he sheathed the blade. “Make sure he’s not following.”

Cat hummed as she walked, almost dancing. Without her usual dark cloud of cynicism and understandable fury in place, there was a brightness to her that riveted him. Griffin wanted to enjoy it, enjoy her, but he was too worried about what she’d done to herself—and how it would end. Highs inevitably came with lows.

She stumbled, dizzy and distracted, and he easily caught her around the waist. Gods, he loved the feel of this woman in his hands. He wanted her under him. Over him. Everywhere.

“You’re high on euphoria.” He slid his hands up her ribcage to better balance her as she swayed. “A strong dose, calibrated to a man twice your size.” Their eyes met, and Griffin felt her soft, dreamy gaze straight down to his groin. “How did that happen?”

Cat beckoned, and he lowered his head. Their faces brushed, and he wished he could turn and capture her lips with his. It was torture to hold back, especially when Cat pressed into him, seeming to enjoy the contact.

“I can steal magic,” she told him in a conspiratorial whisper. “If you had any, I’d steal yours.”

Griffin kept a steady expression, even though her words shocked him. He’d never heard of that. He’d known Cat was valuable, powerful, but good Gods, was there nothing she couldn’t do?

Without his immunity to harmful magic, he could never hold on to a Magoi like Cat—magic rope or not. Although the rope certainly helped.

Helped keep her, he thought grimly. It didn’t help their relationship.

Her sudden smile nearly winded him.

“I can give it away, too.” Cat laid her hands on his chest and then shuddered. She frowned, seeming baffled.

“You don’t want any?” She pushed on his chest again before dropping her hands. “There’s something very strange about you.”

The realization appeared to delight her. Laughter bubbled up straight from her belly. Griffin felt his own mouth twitch.

Her amusement cut off abruptly, and she scooted out of his arms, reaching for Kato. Kato’s eyes glazed over the instant she touched him. He grinned like a fool.

“Everything’s pink!” Kato turned, lost his balance, and knocked over an entire table of leather goods.

“For the Gods’ sakes!” Griffin muttered. Now there were two of them.

The irate vendor started grumbling curses, so Griffin handed over some money. Nothing was broken, and the silver coin would more than pay for the mess.

He turned to someone who still had his wits intact. “Flynn! Take care of him. Take him back to the inn. Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid or kill anyone by accident.”

“Oh, no!” Cat sang out in a loud voice. “We mustn’t kill by accident. Only on purpose.”

“My sentiment exactly.” Griffin gripped her hand and led her away from the growing crowd of staring people.

Cat giggled. Carver kept pace behind them.

“Where are we going?” Cat asked, starting to dance in circles around him. Griffin turned as well to keep the rope from tangling—not that he’d mind if it drew her right up against him.

Her hands suddenly flew up, and she started almost frantically taking apart her braid.

“We have one more thing to buy,” Griffin answered, wondering if he should help her with whatever she was doing.

“I knew it!” She seemed to forget about her now-disheveled hair and clapped, beaming. “What?”

“A drying cloth.”

Her face fell. Griffin knew a drying cloth wasn’t very exciting, but she needed one, so there was that.

Cat’s head swiveled around, and she walked off to the right, taking Griffin with her.

Her expression brightened once more. “A sword! I want a sword. Can I have a sword?”

The way her eyes glittered when she looked up at him punched a hole of happiness straight through his ribs. Right then, he knew he could deny her nothing—except the freedom she wanted most.

“You can’t even lift a sword.” He followed her toward the table of blades anyway. Maybe the vendor had something small.

“I can. Watch me.” She reached for a huge monstrosity of a weapon. It looked big, even to Griffin’s eyes.

“That’s odd. Someone must have glued it.” She bent over the sword for a closer look and ended up hitting her face on it.

Griffin’s heart spasmed. Was she hurt?

“Ow!” Cat popped up, rubbing her nose and nearly falling over backward. His hand shot out to steady her, but this time, she didn’t need him.

She frowned ferociously at the blood on her fingers, but Griffin breathed a sigh of relief. The cut was a small thing.

Cat eventually shrugged and then wiped the red smudge from her hand, laughing again. The euphoria must still have been strong in her system.

Brushing flyaway hair out of her face, Griffin leaned in for a closer look. The nick had already stopped bleeding.

In a move that startled him, Cat’s hands shot up and gripped his face back. Griffin’s heart stopped dead in his chest. She held on, her grasp tight at first. Then it loosened, and she trailed her fingertips down his cheeks.

Heat rushed through him. He wished he’d shaved for her. He didn’t dare breathe.

“Hmmm.” Her eyelids seemed to grow heavy, her lashing dipping to shade her beautiful eyes.


Griffin swallowed hard. Cat was touching him, and circumstances made it so that he couldn’t reciprocate.

He captured her hands in his and slowly lowered them. He couldn’t help the light caress he gave her knuckles. He didn’t do it consciously.

“The cut’s nothing.” Hardly recognizing his own voice, he released her. If he’d held on to her much longer, his skin would have caught fire.

With what felt like an Olympian effort, Griffin turned away from Cat and nodded to a small blade at the end of the table. The merchant handed it over, and he tested it, only partially to distract himself. If it wasn’t a quality blade, it wasn’t for Cat.

The sword turned out to be sturdy, well-crafted, and straight. “We’ll take it,” he announced. “And your smallest sword belt with dagger loops.”

Cat looked thrilled, and Griffin felt his chest expand.

“You’re buying me a sword? And a belt for my knives?” Grinning, she astonished him by leaping on him.

Griffin caught her as her arms and legs clamped around him. His heart thudded hard, his lungs seized, and his whole body ignited. She felt painfully perfect in his arms.

Unable to resist, he angled his head toward her and inhaled deeply. Cat smelled like frosted lemons—fresh and tangy, with a hint of acidity. He loved her bite. He was fairly certain he loved her.

As he breathed her in, his chest pressed against hers. The contact was exhilarating. His long, slow exhale shuddered over her neck, and Cat shivered in his arms.

Breathy laughter fluttered against his ear. “Ack! That tickles!”

A strained chuckle was Griffin’s only response.

He forced himself to unlock his greedy arms from around her and set her back on her feet. He knew Cat—an undrugged Cat—wouldn’t want to be in his embrace.

Staying close to him of her own accord, she smiled up at him in a way she never had before, like she meant it, rather than like she wanted to chew him up, spit him out, and then stomp on him until he was good and bloody.

Was this how things between them could be if she trusted him? If he’d convinced her that night at the circus fair instead of capturing her?

The thought made his chest ache, and Griffin cleared his throat, chasing out regret and need with a gruff sound. He’d figure out a way to win her over. He had to.

“The sword’s really for me?” Cat asked.

He hadn’t fully let her go since she hadn’t stepped back, and his fingers pressed lightly into her sides.

“You said you wanted one.”

Cat’s smile grew brilliant. “In that case, I want two! One for each hip.”

He chuckled in spite of everything, imagining it all too well. The problem was, Cat was dangerous enough already.

“Let’s start with one,” he answered, drawing her a fraction closer.

Her breath caught, and it was agony not to lower his head and kiss her.

To avoid temptation, Griffin turned and paid for the sword.

Cat hopped along next to him when he began walking again. “Can I have it? Can I? Can I, please?”


“Why not?”

“You can have it when I can trust you.”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Griffin’s eyebrows flew up in surprise. “That’s it?”

“What’s it?” She flapped her hands, swatting at something. “Did you see that?”

He frowned. “See what?”

“The bee. The Centaur bee. The pink one.”

Glancing briefly toward Olympus for guidance—and to keep from laughing—Griffin took Cat’s hand and led her through the market. It would have been easier if she hadn’t been dancing—not that he would ever stop her.

When she looked up at him again, the joy in her eyes almost blinded him. “Thank you.”

Her simple words punched the air from his lungs. “You’re welcome,” he answered gruffly.

Not you,” she declared in an exasperated tone.

Griffin was content to not comment and watch her dance some more. She stumbled over Carver’s feet.

Quick, as always, his brother helped her back up before he could reach for her, and Griffin’s hands clenched with the need to steady her himself.

In thanks for Carver’s aid, Cat dipped into a deep and graceful curtsy that looked like it could have been executed in any royal court. He was surprised she managed it so well, given her current state. The ease with which she moved smacked of years of practice and raised questions he knew she wouldn’t answer.
Carver bowed back awkwardly enough to make Cat laugh until she could barely breathe. They weren’t used to such pomp in the south. Court etiquette was something he and his family still had to figure out—preferably fast.

Feeling a rush of worry for his family right now trying to integrate into royal life in Sinta City without him, Griffin guided Cat toward a table covered in drying cloths. Cat jumped, trying to catch the hanging ones while he looked through the selection on the table, suddenly ready to be done with the market in Velos and get back on the road.

“This one,” he said, selecting a yellow one about the same shade as Cat’s usual soap. She’d like that, wouldn’t she? It was almost like having a set.

“Is that for me?” she asked.

Griffin nodded, his stomach sinking at how disgusted she looked by his choice.

“Not that one. It looks like Cerberus threw up on it.” She glanced from side to side. “I want that one!”

She seemed ecstatic about a flashy red cloth big enough to cover four of her, so he put the yellow one back and bought the red.

He couldn’t think of anything else she—or anyone—needed, so Griffin steered Cat back toward the inn.

Without warning, she sat down in the street, yanking the rope tight between them and pulling him to a sudden stop. Griffin let out a grunt of surprise.

Cat looked up at him, her nose scrunching. “Serves you right. You could just untie me. Or let me go.”

There was the usual Cat. Her tongue was still sharp, even if her mind was fuzzy. “And miss all this fun?” he teased.

Her laughter shook her all over. Griffin smiled back, wishing things could always be this easy and enjoyable between them. Maybe they would have been if he hadn’t been such a colossal arse the night they met.

He opened his mouth to apologize for capturing her, to solemnly ask her forgiveness, for another chance, for a better them he was desperate to have, when Cat’s head snapped around, and she jumped up, already running.

Bollocks! He’d missed his opportunity. He knew himself; there was a good chance he wouldn’t take it again. Cat’s barbed tongue could make even him hesitate, and she’d be back to her normal self soon. And in the end, he wasn’t sorry they were together. He’d never be sorry for that. Griffin ran after her.

“Where are you going?” he asked. Carver jogged next to them on Cat’s other side.

She didn’t answer but then veered off and ran up the steps of a bathhouse, crashing through the doors and nearly plowing into a couple. She reached for the woman but then pulled back before Griffin had to intervene. She kept going.

Chortling with glee, Cat raced toward what Griffin suspected was the men’s pool from the artwork on the walls. She didn’t seem to notice the increasingly explicit mosaics lining the corridor.

They arrived at a tall door that Cat tried unsuccessfully to open. She repeatedly groped for and missed the very prominent latch.

Griffin reached around her to open the door, not sure he shouldn’t have been barring the way instead. “I get the feeling you’ve never been high before.”

She glanced up at him. “Have you?”

He shook his head. Never—and he didn’t plan on it.

“Looks like fun,” Carver chimed in, rather idiotically in Griffin’s opinion. It looked like a dangerous loss of control to him.

Cat teetered toward Carver. “Want some? It’s fabulous!”

Carver grinned. “No thanks. Offering anything else?” he asked so smoothly that Griffin had to do a double-take before the urge to punch his brother hit him.

Cat laughed, blushing prettily. Then she sighed. “Don’t flirt.”

“Why not?” Carver asked, completely ignoring Griffin’s hard stare.

“Don’t you know? Poseidon sent your incredibly annoying brother to me with an oracular dream. Once-in-a-lifetime thing. Except for most people. Most people never have one. Anyway”—she rolled her eyes—“he probably thinks it means something.” She snorted like that was beyond ridiculous when it was likely the most important thing that had ever happened to him. “I’d rather eat goat balls. Or goat shit.”

She frowned, clearly confused. “Or goat cheese!” she abruptly shouted.

“Oracular dream?” Griffin turned the term over in his mind and in his mouth. He hadn’t known what it was called, or that it occasionally happened to others, but he’d known it was life-changing. He’d known it meant he was supposed to be with Cat.

“She’s a wealth of information,” Carver murmured.

“What? Never heard of one?” Cat shrugged. “I’m hot.” She turned, tripped, and went down before Griffin could catch her.

He helped her to her feet again and then followed as she ran straight into the men’s bathing chamber.

Three naked men looked over, startled.

Cat yanked her tunic over her head.

Griffin’s eyes widened. “For the Gods’ sakes, Cat!” He wanted to look. He knew he shouldn’t.

Everyone else needed to get out now.

She kept stripping, and something roared inside him.

“Out!” he shouted to the other men. What in the Underworld was he supposed to do? He couldn’t leave her alone in here. Not looking seemed impossible, especially when he needed to keep her safe. And because he desperately wanted to.

The need to protect her, even from himself, battered his chest. At the savage look on his face, the three men scrambled out of the pool and ran. They averted their gazes from Cat, obviously knowing what was good for them.

Cat turned back to him, completely bare. Heat built in his groin and crept through his abdomen. Griffin wanted to reach for her, to cover her. To cover her with himself. He nearly groaned.

His brother moved in his peripheral vision. What in the Gods’ names was Carver still doing here? A growl ground deep in his throat.

Before his narrowed eyes could snap to Carver, Cat reached up and swept her fingers through his hair. Her touch was light but sure. There was no hesitation, and even some gentleness. He wished she would never stop.

She smiled and patted his head. “Good Beta.”

The growl meant for Carver turned into a grunted laugh.

“Woof!” she barked back.

Gods, she was amazing. And fun. And strong. The knowledge made him grin and hit him square in the chest—which made his eyes automatically drop to hers.

Griffin froze, balling his hands into fists to keep from reaching for her.

She flushed. Her nipples hardened as he watched, and the tension inside him exploded into something nearly unbearable—hot and urgent. Griffin felt a muscle tick in his jaw as he clenched his teeth, fighting to tear his eyes away from her. He lost the battle, and his eyes dipped, sweeping over her. He swallowed hard. He wanted this woman more than his next breath. But he wanted her to like him first.

“Untie me or get in.” Cat’s throaty whisper, her invitation, nearly brought him to his knees.

Griffin stepped closer to hide her nakedness from Carver. He didn’t watch Carver leave the room, but he did watch Cat blow his brother a kiss, and Griffin practically saw red. He’d never felt so barbarically possessive in his life.

Finally alone with her, Griffin lifted his eyes to Cat’s. “Give me your binding word you won’t leave without me.”

“All right,” she agreed.

Could it be that easy? “Say it,” he insisted.

She rolled her eyes with extra exuberance and then bowed dramatically. “I won’t leave the bathing chamber without you, O Imperious One.”

It was hard not to laugh. His ire deflated instantly. Cat was his only concern.

Griffin untied the rope, trying to keep his hands to himself. He accidentally brushed Cat’s waist at one point, though, and his fingers almost caught fire. His whole body tightened with the need to claim Cat for his own.

The instant she was free of the rope, Cat turned and dove into the pool. She stayed underwater for so long that Griffin started to get anxious. He realized he shouldn’t have worried when she popped up a moment later, whooping and laughing.

She swam forever, and Griffin couldn’t do anything but watch and make sure she didn’t hurt herself. She played, frolicking in a way that made him long to join her. But she wouldn’t like that. She might like it now—she’d even splashed him and tried to coax him in—but she wouldn’t like it later. He wouldn’t make the inevitable end of her fun worse by joining her and giving her something more to regret from today.

Besides, how would he keep from touching her? From showing her how hot he burned for her? If he got in, the whole damn pool might evaporate just from the fire inside him.

Another long hour of torture later, Griffin pulled up short. He saw the exact moment Cat’s high burned itself out and fatigue and reality came crashing back to take its place.

She gasped, paling to near-translucent. She started to sink.

Griffin stepped forward, but then she seemed to recover enough to float. He hesitated. He wanted to help her, but she probably wouldn’t want him touching her.

Cat’s face went from white to red so fast it was blinding. She bowed her head, looking defeated, and Griffin’s heart clenched hard.

“That’s why addicts stay high,” he said softly. “It’s too awful when it ends.”

She sniffed but didn’t look up.

“Come.” Dropping his gaze to the marble floor, Griffin held out her new drying cloth. It was more than big enough to cover her up and warm her.

He didn’t look directly at Cat, but he could still tell that she crawled up the steps, shaking, shivering, and almost too weak to make it to the cloth he held. Griffin was going to hand it to her, but then she just oozed into the material and waited. He wrapped it around her and began gently patting her dry.

“Why did you take it?” he asked when she closed her eyes, looking mortified, weary, and utterly alone.
Right then, Griffin wished more than ever that he’d earned the right to take her into his arms and comfort her. But he hadn’t, so he wrapped the cloth more firmly around her instead. She trembled.

“The magic wanted to be inside me.” She spoke so softly he barely heard. “I couldn’t control it. I-I didn’t even try.”

Was it just his imagination, or had Cat leaned into him?

He cleared his throat.

“It wasn’t his magic. It was a spell.” Griffin straightened, wanting a better look at her. Pale face. Grey lips. Blank eyes. The sight of her made his chest ache.

“It doesn’t matter.” She slumped, hardly even upright. “It’s the same to me.”

Not knowing what else to do, Griffin made sure the cloth was secure around her before trying to guide her toward her clothes. “Let’s go.”

Instead of walking, Cat dropped to the floor and curled up in a ball.

Watching her, Griffin’s gut sank. He’d put her in a position where she’d felt compelled to steal unknown magic, undoubtedly to help her escape. Now she was sick and miserable, and it was in good part his fault. No wonder she hated him.

Griffin gathered their belongings and then carefully picked Cat up off the floor. She surprised him by not protesting. She even rested her wet head on his shoulder, her breath a sweet warmth against his neck. He cradled her against him. He’d build trust one heartbeat at a time if he had to.

“You never smell bad,” she murmured, barely forming words around her fatigue.

“Should I?” Griffin asked.

“It would make you mortal, like the rest of us.”

“I am mortal. That’s why I need—”

“—your help,” she finished with a sigh.

“This isn’t a game, Cat.”

“Just leave me here,” she said despondently. “You can’t carry me all the way back.”

Griffin grunted. That was absurd—in more ways than one. “And leave behind my most valued treasure?”

She hesitated. Her breath seemed to catch. “I won’t be used.”

Ah, the usual rhetoric. He smiled vaguely. Was she coming back to herself?

“Egeria will win you over,” he said. And he would, too.

She yawned, bringing the tip of her nose into contact with his neck. He wished she’d let herself come even closer, thought maybe a small part of her even wanted to, but suddenly she stiffened in his arms.

“It won’t get that far.” Those five words were sharper than anything she’d said in hours.

Griffin’s mouth flattened. And so it began again. “You’re wrong. You’re wrong about a lot of things.”

And somehow, someday, he would prove it.

“I bled on that sword and didn’t dilute it.” The panic in Cat’s voice shot tension through his body.

“They’ll track my blood. It’s been hours. They’re already on their way.”

“Who?” he demanded.

Wilting again, she yawned, exhaustion seeming to drown her fear. “It’s your fault. You exposed me.”

Griffin held her tighter, his heart hammering out adrenaline-laced beats. “I’ll protect you.”

She closed her eyes, looking alarmingly weak. Almost unconscious. “You could try,” she whispered just before her head lolled, and her body went limp in his arms.

Grim-faced, Griffin carried her toward the inn. He had to do better than try. The fate of Thalyria and both of their futures depended upon it.


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