Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Drakon's Past

Drakon's Past Drakon's Past by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are so much fun to read. Sure, there is a sort of formula to them all, but I don’t care! Each character is unique and their meeting with the differently stubborn dragons sets of a wild series of events.

Constance is really good at finding things. This works out well for her business of reselling vintage items but ends up landing her in hot water when she stumbles upon some dragon related artifacts at an estate sale. The Knights of the Dragon end up in play along with Nic, the solitary unmated dragon of the bunch. Nic is interested in the statues in the way he is interested in amassing a collection, but soon learns that these statues might be nothing but trouble, rumored to be able to capture a dragon if properly aligned. The big bad, however, ends up taking matters into his own hands while Nic finds this information out, taking Constance’s sister hostage.

Poor Constance really can’t catch a break throughout this story. First she’s paired off with the dragon who has the most trust issues. Then she’s got to find a compromise so she doesn’t hate herself when she’s inevitably tasked with betraying Nic or losing her sister. Sure, there are plenty of different decisions I would have made along the way, but with such a fast and furious set of action, I could easily buy Constance’s choices. These two are a great pair and my only complaint would be wanting to see more from them! Maybe next time? I’d love to revisit all the couples in some epic follow-up book. Maybe there could be some massive destruction of the Knights, too. That would be awesome…

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Review: Don't Rush Me

Don't Rush Me Don't Rush Me by Jackie May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was everything that I want in a book and didn’t even know to ask for. The characters were phenomenal and I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next for this band of paranormal misfits! From start to finish, I couldn’t put this book down, sneaking in some reading sessions even when I had only a few minutes break. If that doesn’t say something about this book, I don’t know what does.

The main character is Nora. She’s been through some seriously dark business in her past which has shaped her into the woman she currently is. Because of her emotional baggage, there really isn’t a big romance element in this book, but the story and characters kept me hooked. To make Nora’s life just a little more complicated, she’s also got a secret paranormal power that lets her pick up on impressions left on objects and thoughts directly from anyone she touches. She’s usually pretty good at hiding and avoiding attention (especially from paranormals), but when her rapist next door neighbor abducts her, she finally takes a risk on the group she is loosely a part of. While the paranormals might have temporarily solved her problem, she quickly realizes her life has gotten tons more complicated now.

From abduction to more abduction to troll rampages to frat boys, Nora’s life is insane but somehow I was eagerly along for the ride. I’m dying to know what flavor of paranormal everyone is, how the “underworld” infrastructure works, what Nora’s past might really be, and how someone so abused can form the most amazing friendships. I loved every second of this book – even the dark ones! If you’re looking for a fabulous book set in a great world with wonderful characters, look no further!

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Review: Book of Souls

Book of Souls Book of Souls by Nadine Nightingale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a mix of reincarnation, mythology, and teenage romance. I was immediately sucked in, but be warned – there is a cliffhanger ending!

Nisha is an outcast, and is more often known as the “angel of death.” People around her end up dropping dead with startling frequency, so I guess it’s an appropriate nickname. Even though she tries to keep to herself so as not to endanger anyone else, she somehow manages to accumulate a fiercely protective group of friends. They range from popular girl to stoner weirdo, but they are pretty amazing friends. Then comes the new kid – Blaze.

Nisha and Blaze end up meeting in the police station, where she’s being questioned about her appearance at another tragic death. They are immediately drawn to one another, but Nisha is determined to protect him from her curse. Blaze, however, will not take no for an answer. On top of this teenage drama, there’s also the fact that Nisha is seeing Anubis everywhere death follows her. Her night terrors get progressively worse, and there appears to be an increase in her general weirdness.

All of this culminates in a gruesome cliffhanger I was sad to see happen. I was so absorbed in the book that I didn’t realize there would not be enough time left to resolve all the action. Nisha and her friends find themselves in desperate peril and I’m absolutely dying to know how they find their way out (and if everyone makes it out alive!).

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review: One Lucky Vampire

One Lucky Vampire One Lucky Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a vague recollection of Jake from previous books, but this almost read as a complete standalone (you know, if not for the matchmaker herself showing up in the first few chapters and then coming to the rescue). Honestly, I think you can probably pick up just about any of the books in this series and not have a problem catching up. Sure, the couples are familiar, but at this point there are so many of them I’m having trouble keeping them straight. The switching narrators (I’m doing the audiobooks) also makes it more difficult to keep them all straight (sometimes they have an accent, sometimes not, etc.).

So, this story is about Jake. He’s essentially exiled himself from the meddlesome Argeneaus after they forced him into vampire-dom while he lay dying. Ungrateful? Yup. He is definitely sulking, which for a vampire can take quite some time. Under his new name, he has become a bodyguard, and he’s pretty sure he’s avoided all family entanglements until Marguerite shows up. Marguerite’s housekeeper’s relative is in desperate need of a bodyguard, but one that can pretend to be a housekeeper/cook so that it doesn’t raise his client’s suspicions. Nicole (said client) is dead set against hiring someone to protect her, no matter how many attempts on her life. By selling her on the idea of a housekeeper, Marguerite manages to sneak Jake into her life without raising any alarms. The attempts, however, just keep coming.

Through the combination of life threatening situations, live mate attraction, and just the fact that these two are perfect for one another, they begin to quickly fall in love (and in bed). While there are almost constant houseguests, these two manage to work on their relationship and get into even more life threatening situations. While other books seemed to focus on the romance, this one was definitely more of a murder/mystery, with twists and turns to have me guessing until the end. There are so many members of this family (and extended family) that I don’t think this series will ever dry up. As little yummy distractions, they are the perfect audiobook series for me!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Review: 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Ten

1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Ten 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Ten by Tessa Bailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book of somewhat short stories (some very long) was a massive read for me. I honestly picked it up for the Demonica novella (Z), but decided I’d try to expose myself to some different authors and read the entire book. I’m just going to briefly touch on each book/story and generally say that this thing was massive. Maybe it was the pacing of having what I felt was a very long and cliffhangery story at the very end, but it left me exhausted upon finishing.

The first story was Rough Rhythm. I have no experience with the author or the series (Made in Jersey), but it was a good and dirty read. All these stories had a dirty element, either in the sexy times or whatever they generally get off on. The main characters have a big age difference and are coworkers of a sort. This one involved consent, so if that bothers you, I’d skip this one.

The next story was Devoted from another new author for me. This was a really good story for me – it had all the elements I like and even jammed a true storyline in. The main characters are competing CEOs, but only one of them knows it. When they are paired together in a D/S class, they start accumulating secrets that are brought to light and reconciled in an awesome way. I definitely would recommend this one.

Next was the story that I was looking forward to - Z. Sadly, I was a little disappointed by the rushed and awkward story. We’ve got a fallen angel looking for the reincarnation of his lost love and a soul magnet who are from opposite ends of the spectrum. I just really didn’t like Z much at all. I found myself wondering why Vex would even end up with him. For completion sake, I’m glad that I read it, but it probably wasn’t necessary and will make me evaluate whether I need to pick up all the side stories of this series.

Falling Under You was the next story, part of a trilogy I have not read any other books in. The main characters are a high powered boss and her assistant. Again with the dirty, but in a role reversal sort of way. I really liked this one, although it started off slow.

Craving his Command was another new author for me, but I can easily see that the characters from the club must have their own books in the series. We join Mercy as she tries to get justice for what an evil, sadistic man inflicted upon her. While running from said man, she ends up in the arms of a truly conflicted one. The romance here is a reluctant D/S trainer and the woman who could very easily be his sub. This one left me a little sad, but was an engaging read.

American Queen was the last story in this bundle. It was also, I think, the longest and the only one with a real cliffhanger. I found that combination to be endlessly frustrating, but maybe that’s just me. This story involves the President, Vice President, and a girl who just wants love. Yes, it’s dirty and involves all three of them. The timeline flip flops around and, again, there is a very real cliffhanger at the end.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review: Immortal Ever After

Immortal Ever After Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books just keep finding new and interesting ways to twist the formula. This book involves kidnapping, vet school, pregnant ladies, and dogs. Who knew I would like it when all those things were spun up into one book?

Valerie is an independent woman who doesn’t let being kidnapped by crazy people hold her down for long. Sure, she’s alone, trapped in a dog cage, being food for some guy who thinks he’s a vampire, but that doesn’t stop her from fighting back and eventually getting all the survivors out alive (almost costing her her life). Making a phone call that involves any hint of vampires, however, calls in the Argeneau team of enforcers.

Anders has watched a whole bunch of vampires find their life mate and did not truly intend on finding his anytime soon. The signs are all there, though – he can’t read her, can’t control her, and loves food again. If only she weren’t possibly being hunted by the rogue that kidnapped here, it would all be pretty perfect. Oh, and she doesn’t truly believe in vampires (or at least good vampires, since the guy that kidnapped her ultimately fed off her).

Things rapidly spiral out of control in the last portion of the book, though. Sometimes I wonder exactly how the author will wrap things up so quickly, but nothing felt rushed or completely out of control. We still get our joyous happily ever after (now with a slightly happy Lucien!). I really enjoyed having a main character who really didn’t need Anders to come to the rescue. Go team independent woman!

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Review: Kitty Rocks the House

Kitty Rocks the House Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was fun but frustrating. While Kitty has indeed grown on me, her skill at avoiding confrontation and making excuses never fails to surprise me.

We join Kitty back at home. She’s still the same reluctant pack leader that she’s always been but the commitments and frustrations just keep building. You know that something will eventually try to break her, but I would have never expected it would be some fresh faced new pack member. Who knew so many of my buttons could be pushed by him? If I could have reached through my kindle and strangled him, I would have.

Aside from that frustration, there was also some political and Long Game related things happening. Rick, who has been somewhat of the reliable sidekick for most of Kitty’s insanity, has suddenly become unreliable. I was sad to watch this change happen and have no idea where it will leave Kitty in the future. Will she make some stupid mistakes now? How is her politics game going to be? I guess that pretty much sums up my feelings about this book – unsettled. I’m hoping the next few books will leave me with a more complete picture of things to come.

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Review: Haven

Haven Haven by Celia Breslin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book really threw you into the deep end of the pool right from the start! There’s action, things blowing up, supernatural attraction, vampires, magic, and tons of mayhem. All of that is jammed into one very short span of time that changes the world of Carina Tranquilli.

Carina is a rich club kid who would just like to celebrate her birthday and relax. The supernatural world, however, seems to have it out to get her. Her missing memory growing up is suddenly the hot topic of discussion, there’s strangers who seem to know her very well, a super hottie she’s urgently drawn to, and her seemingly steady friends with benefits relationship is suddenly not so steady. Oh, and there’s a fun mix of misfits that Carina surrounds herself with who all appear to be up for anything. Roll all that together and you’ve got the insane world that Carina now finds herself in.

Her missing memory is really the key here. Turns out her family is a lot more complicated than she could have ever imagined and what could have easily been a kidnapping for money is actually something supernaturally sinister. There’s oodles of twists and turns, not nearly enough “I told you so,” and ultimately a pretty satisfying ending. You have to trudge through a lot to get there, but what a truly unique world!

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: To Seize a Wayward Spirit

To Seize a Wayward Spirit To Seize a Wayward Spirit by R.L. Naquin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, admittedly I have been kind of spotty about reading this author’s books. I dive in at one point, I get distracted by shiny things, then I dive back in a few books later, etc. This book is no different for me. I missed the first book of the spinoff series here, but ended up picking this one up because I love Kam.

Do you know who Kam is? Even if you don’t, you can probably get along just fine starting from here. Kam is a djinn. She is anything but normal, but is trying to be a relatively normal job-holding citizen of this world. This world, though, is a little quirky itself. There are a bunch of “hidden” that can now roam the world without fear of being found out just by looking at them. These disguises can only be seen through by other hidden with a little squinting and magic. There’s also a whole support system dedicated to the hidden, just like there is for normal humans. Kam’s job is to hunt down some missing souls and recapture them is sweet gems. That’s where it starts, at least.

As usual, things rapidly grow bigger and bigger as time progresses. Kam’s traveling companions (or partners to varying degrees) are a related hitchhiker she picked up probably in the last book, and her ex-arranged-marriage-fiancĂ©-current-crush. There’s drama there, for sure, but not nearly as much as exists in this town’s hidden population. There’s virtually nobody in charge here, which gives Kam and company a great deal of work to do, all in this pretty short book!

To make things even more awesome, the link tying a set of murders together (that they also have to solve) is a cosplay group! This book hit on everything I love about Kam and her amazing character. The author’s writing continues to be witty and brilliant, sucking me in quickly and never letting me go. I really should go back and hit all the books along the way that I missed since I have yet to be let down in any capacity by this world. I can’t wait to see what happens next for our costume-wearing, stranger waving, sightseeing djinn!

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: Hot Blooded

Hot Blooded Hot Blooded by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not so sure why I keep jumping around in this series. I’ve only read a few of these books, but all in a different order. That being said, I don’t think it’s that difficult to catch up quickly at the start of each book. They almost read as a standalone books.

With very few of the Dragon Kings taking mates, the idea of finding their one true love is still novel. Laith is determined to avoid such entanglements until he meets Iona. Iona is only in town to deal with her recently deceased father’s estate. She’s a world traveling photographer, paid to go just about everywhere to take photos. Taking a break and returning to her father’s house is like going back in time. She’s been estranged from her father since her mother removed her from the house at a young age. Now, she wishes she’d been clued in. There are all sorts of strange happenings, mysterious circumstances surrounding her father’s death, and the captivating Laith in her life now.

Laith and Iona might fight their attraction, but it’s easy for everyone to see that they are meant for one another. On top of their romance, there’s the secret of what Iona’s land guards, some bad guys roaming around causing trouble, the side story of Rhys and his struggle, and, you know, dragons. All of this rolls into an entertaining read that has me once again wondering why I don’t just read this series from start to finish.

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Review: Shatter

Shatter Shatter by Kaitlyn Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a fantastic way to end the series! It gives you everything you want, but makes you work for it. I'm both happy and sad - happy that Pandora gets her happy ending but sad that we don't get any more from this universe.

We join this book immediately after the ending of the previous one. Do not start here if you haven't read the previous books in this series! These books truly have to be read in order and there is no time to catch up if you start here! That being said, it took me a little bit to dive back in to this drama-filled world. Pandora is still grappling with her new memories, new powers, and the fact that she essentially took back the immortality from the titans. She's hiding out with her friends (who are still awesome) and is trying to start a new life with Jax. At least she thinks it's Jax.

Jax has been possessed by Sam, who is up to no good. What's his plan? We are at just as much of a loss as Jax is. We are all rooting for Pandora to figure out that things are not as they seem, but it was a real struggle to not jump out of my skin every time she interacted with Sam thinking he was Jax. Poor Pandora - she just cannot get a break! There is a lot of badness that has to happen on the way to the end of this series, but it just gives that much better a happy ending.

I was sad to see the casualties along the way, but this new world that Pandora is forging is well worth the sacrifice. The author also does something I thought would be impossible now - she convinced me that Sam might not be 100% evil. Don't get me wrong, he's evil. Just... there is hope there. Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but I really liked that. All in all, this series was a great ride and I was sad to say goodbye to the characters.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Fateful Reunion (A Scanguards Novella #11.5)

Fateful Reunion (A Scanguards Novella #11.5) Fateful Reunion (A Scanguards Novella #11.5) by Tina Folsom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I’m mad that poor Roxanne only got a short story instead of a full length book. Her story was one that I was looking forward to in recent books, but didn’t even think it would be tackled in such a short read. That being said, it felt a little… rushed.

Roxanne has a past – we all know that. She’s got some serious attitude toward witches and hasn’t really been seen dating anyone while she’s been present in the background. I knew there was a story behind it, but could never have predicted that it was this. Apparently, while Roxanne was under Silas’s thumb, she was sneaking away to meet up with her lover, Charles.

Charles is a witch who was pretty much a loner. He was ready to help Roxanne fake her death and run away together until his sister gave him a massive responsibility. Unable to turn her away, Roxanne has spent a lot of time thinking that Charles abandoned her. Why didn’t he call? Some stupid martyr reason, of course.

Roxanne starts one chapter hating Charles, but by the end is taking her clothes off for him. I thought it felt really rushed and disjointed. I was, however, very interested in the witch storyline and all the mythology there. Again, I wish this were fleshed out in a full length novel instead of jammed into this story. Maybe we get more in the next book? I hope so.

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Review: Vampire Requiem

Vampire Requiem Vampire Requiem by J.R. Rain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very short story that gives some closure to the Nancy/Sam storyline. While she is still struggling with her inner demon (or inner vampire?), she is definitely still a force to be reckoned with. I like where this seems to be headed, and this short story was just what I needed to want to jump back into this series.

This story starts with a very strange yet pleasant interaction between Nancy and Sam. Sure, most people wouldn’t want to hang out with their ex-husband’s widow girlfriend, but Sam is definitely not most people. These two have a very tentative truce, but that’s put to the test when Sam gets a frantic text from Nancy indicating that she’s in some very real trouble.

While not everyone gets out of this story alive, it definitely helped me further wrap my head around the strange relationships Sam has. I like her quirkiness and her determination to fight the “evil” inside of her. I’ll be picking up the next book in the series as soon as I can.

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Review: Heart of the Wolf

Heart of the Wolf Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spear
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The entire time I was reading this book, the story felt very familiar. After some detective work, it turns out I read this in 2010 but never reviewed it. I have a feeling it would have gotten the same review I’m giving it now as it was a very lengthy introduction to this author’s shifter world.

Bella, a red wolf shifter, was raised by a neighboring gray wolf pack after her family tragically died in a fire. Her rescuer, Devlyn, has become the focus of all her girlish (and womanly) desires, but she has always knows she was claimed by the leader of their pack, Volan. Volan isn’t the ideal mate by any stretch of the imagination, so when confronted with the opportunity, Bella runs away. She manages to stay away from them for years until a pack of hunters end up capturing her in wolf form and throwing her in the zoo.

Devlyn has always wanted to be Bella’s mate, but was trapped in his pack’s hierarchy. It takes his assignment as zoo rescuer to force him to take a chance. While on the run, these two end up confronting their feelings while at the same time making some pretty sketchy decisions. On top of all this pack drama, there’s also a killer on the loose who is trying to change women into werewolves, but ends up slaughtering them instead.

There is really a lot of stuff jammed into this one book, but the center of everything is the relationship between Devlyn and Bella. Their story ends happily (thank goodness), and we even get some side stories ending with a HEA. As the start to what is apparently a long series, this was a solid introduction. I’m sure everyone I’d like to see more from eventually gets their own tale along the way.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Review: Baby, I'm Howling for You

Baby, I'm Howling for You Baby, I'm Howling for You by Christine Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the second book I've read in this series (but counting as #1), this was lots of fun. It had twists and turns, action, romance, and sexy, sexy times. Even if you didn't read the short story before this one, this book gives a great introduction to the wonderful weird world of Alphaville.

Renny is on the run. She's been trying to evade a relentless predator who has decided that she belongs to him. As a wolf shifter, she's got certain skills, but the guys that have been sent after her are shapeshifters also. In a desperate play, she tries to make a run for the Alphaville border for protection. She's always heard that all were welcome there, especially if they have trouble in their past. Renny literally runs to the border just in time, being rescued by an unlikely shifter as she crosses onto his land.

Mick has a past himself, having lost a mate previously. He's a loner, but somehow Renny and he are drawn to one another. Mick also has been tangled up with the shifters Renny is running from, making them perfectly suited for dealing with these bad guy shifters. It would be smooth sailing if Mick and Renny could just work through their relationship issues. Oh, and if they can survive these crafty bad guys. Don't worry, though, we get a nice, neat happy ending. I can't wait to see what happens to all the new characters we met in future installments!

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Review: Something to Howl About

Something to Howl About Something to Howl About by Christine Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a great introduction to the world of Alphaville. It's short, sweet, and contains some smutty goodness.

Annie is a banished wolf shifter who has been using her banishment as an excuse to travel the US working on her research. When she receives a call from her old alpha, she's not sure what to think. He ends up offering her a deal - help out the Alphaville bears with their genetic issues (her specialty) and he will let her come back. Jumping at the opportunity, she drives herself to Alphaville ready to work.

Wealthy playboy bear shifter Jonas Browning figures that using this prodigy to solve his clan's reproductive issues will be relatively simple. All of that changes when his bear perks up at the sight of her. The "m" word gets thrown around in both their heads, but the stubborn streak they both have won't let them easily accept it. It takes some outside interference (or "advice") to get them to see what's been right in front of them. While a short read, it was fun, and had me reaching for the next book soon after.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Her Wish

Her Wish Her Wish by Sophie H. Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After having read the second book in the series, I wanted to go back and see where this world began. This book, while not as light and silly as I might have expected, was still a nice read.

Charlie is a jaded and sarcastic woman who has never been made to feel pretty. It could be her upbringing, which was less than ideal, or it could just be her friends (or lack thereof). Either way, she’s trying her hardest to get her book store off the ground and make a life for herself when everything changes. Her overly helpful roommate bought her a lottery ticket for a genie wish and she ends up winning. While most people might have been happy, this is essentially Charlie’s nightmare. She wants nothing to do with wishes.

Jax is an overly confident playboy genie who gets paid to grant wishes and seduce women (essentially). Things rapidly go downhill when he is tasked with getting Charlie to wish. He tries all the usual things – charm, seduction, endless pestering – but Charlie appears immune. It’s only when he finds himself falling for her than things change for the better (or worse, depending on which side you’re on). This love story was definitely unconventional, but super sweet (and hot). As a genie book, this is definitely one unique world and I’d be interested in seeing more from this author.

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Review: The Hunter

The Hunter The Hunter by Xandrie Kovak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story takes place in a parallel timeline to the last one I read. Because of this, I might have known how things were going to go down ahead of time, but it really didn’t hurt the story at all (especially since I took some time between books).

We left Claire as she made the disastrous decision to join the hunters. Sure, it was supposedly to help protect her mate, but who knows how much truth there was to that. She’s taken away to Australia where she’s thrust at a famous incubus for some much needed training. This training, however, would have worked better if she could actually feed off anyone other than her mate. It isn’t all wasted time, though, because she gets to perfect her chameleon abilities and make some interesting new friends along the way.

Lucas, however, doesn’t actually have the full story. He knows that his mate is starving herself to death without his feeding her, but doesn’t have all the information he needs to believe she’s not a horrible person. Ultimately it’s Claire’s BFF that ends up forcing her hand and getting her to run back to her mate. It might not have been the most pleasant reunion because they are both stubborn idiots. At least they’ve got chemistry! All in all, this read like the end of the series – is it? I have no clue, but I wish there was more!

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