The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Evernight February Releases

Thanks for coming by. Here is a sneak peak of  just a few of this months releases from Evernight Publishing. I am so pleased to be among these incredibly talented authors this month. Yep, the second Dark Breed book, Passion's Flight will be out this month and this is a first look at it. You can find these books at:
Evernight Publishing


For eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived in relative peace together. The peace is threatened when three bodies turn up less than a mile from the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in Tampa, all bearing the signature of vampires who once terrorized Europe.
The Bureau’s chief liaison to the vampires, Dara MacKechnie, learns that the Tampa victims are not alone when her ex-lover, and head of the vampire’s Great Council, Anthony Caldwell comes calling.
The pair discovers the lie that separated them two centuries ago only banked their passion, not extinguished it. Dara must decide whether she can trust Anthony with her heart a second time as they try to head off the war that threatens all they hold dear.

Chapter One
From the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs’ FAQ Page: Telepaths Question:
What should I do if I catch a telepath (species unimportant) using telepathy to read my mind and steal my personal information?
Answer: Call your local Bureau office immediately. The Privacy Act of 1974 makes it illegal for anyone to scan another person without a court order. Such orders may be granted to determine guilt or innocence of a crime, if requested by the accused. 

 “Do you have any idea what time it is?”
Dara rolled her eyes at her assistant’s lazy inquiry as she paced in front of the elevator. “About three hours later than it is here, which means you’re probably in the middle of a date, Ronnie, not in bed.”           
A delicate giggle escaped the other woman before she said, “Who says I’m not in bed in the middle of my date, darlin’?”           
“Spare me. Just swear to me, one last time, he’s not on the guest list.”           
Her assistant groaned loudly, likely for effect on whoever the lucky man was to emphasize her put-upon status. “Dara, you’re calling me at nearly eleven at night to bug me about that man again?”           
The elevator doors “swooshed” open in invitation. Unwilling to risk losing her connection because she suspected Ronnie would ignore any subsequent call, Dara shook her head at the car’s occupants and spun to stalk down the hall toward her suite door. “Please, just tell me he’s not going to be here!” She heard the whine in her voice. How could she be so pathetic? Two hundred years of life experience should give me more dignity than this.           
She could practically see the other woman’s eyes roll as she said, “According to the Society’s president’s secretary when I talked to her three hours ago in anticipation of this discussion, no. Anthony Caldwell declined his invitation three weeks ago and has made no attempt to reverse that decision.”           
Dara’s shoulders slumped in relief. Everything would be fine then. No known child-killers in attendance at the Society’s 80th Anniversary Bash made for a good evening. “All right, thanks,” she murmured in genuine appreciation.            
“How’d the LeTourneau dress look when you put it on?”           
She blinked at the abrupt change in topic, and her gaze dropped to her half-bared chest where fluorescent lights glinted off the pale, ropey scars that marred the surface. “I feel like an overstuffed sausage, Ronnie. I wore a corset when they were fashionable and hated them. I almost needed one today to get into this infernal outfit.” So she exaggerated, a little.           
 Ronnie snickered, and Dara heard a low male whisper in the background. “I don’t need my powers, or a picture, to know you’re lying to me. Sarah would never put you in anything that didn’t look spectacular. Go make your speech, darling. Tell me all about it when you get back to Tampa.”          
 Dara slowly pressed the disconnect button and wandered back toward the elevator with a sigh. Ronnie was right, knowing Dara’s insecurities about her appearance entirely too well. Sarah, the last descendant of her little sister, Caila, had exquisite fashion taste. The LeTourneau dress, the first and only one she’d ever bought from the exclusive werewolf designer, was a new purchase, bought specifically for this party.             
Attending the Bash on behalf of the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs certainly hadn’t been Dara’s idea. But when invited as the honoree and keynote speaker, one must attend, especially when one’s boss said to go or be fired. Therefore, she’d allowed the Society to fly her out, put her up in the exclusive Bearings Hotel and Casino for three nights with Sarah, and had agreed to give a single speech and attend a ball afterward in exchange. Overall, it really was a good deal for her. The short, enforced vacation offered her an escape from the wet heat of Florida in late August.           
She pressed the down-button on the elevator and tapped her foot with just the first hint of impatience. Less than thirty minutes remained before her speech. As the keynote speaker, she didn’t intend to show up until she had to, to avoid the inevitable attention that would be focused on her. At least Anthony’s absence was assured.

“Would you care for another drink, Mr. Caldwell?”           
Anthony looked up from the blackjack table as the leggy blond waitress leaned over to ask her question. He gave her a lazy smile and finished the last of his blood and gin, noting the faint flush that spread across her cheeks. Another lifetime, perhaps he might have asked for her phone number, but not now. Not when his objective of so many years was almost at hand.            
“No. Thank you just the same, madam.”             
She flashed him a smile that revealed just a hint of fangs and sauntered off. He eyed the long legs for a moment more and repressed a scowl that he felt nothing at turning down what could have been a very pleasurable evening if he’d accepted the implied invitation. What was the world coming to?           
“Ante up, gentlemen,” the dealer said.            After a glance at the rose-gold, Atlas watch around his right wrist, Anthony shook his head. “I’m out. Duty calls.”           
Duty didn’t call, not yet anyway, but the time was close enough at hand that his conscience didn’t prick him for the slight inaccuracy. If he intended to track down his quarry before they met in the ballroom, he needed to go. His senses, on constant alert in the crowded casino, had yet to detect her, but she couldn’t be much longer. Even she wouldn’t be late to a ceremony intended to honor her.            
 Then again, when has Athdara Genevieve ever been on time for anything? he thought with faint amusement.          
  He closed his eyes for a moment to filter through the hundreds of minds pressing in around him from around the casino. For a younger vampire, it would have taken much longer. After more than twelve hundred years of practice, it didn’t present that great a challenge, regardless of the population density.            
About to give up the current search, he paused when he recognized her presence. Anthony turned. With little effort, thanks to his height, he looked across the main room to see her just exiting the elevator.          
 The breath he didn’t need to draw in caught in his throat. It had been sixty years since their paths had crossed, a deliberate move on his part out of respect for the hatred, however well-deserved, she held for him. Sixty long, boring years.            
Athdara looked the same of course, eternally twenty-six as a vampire. Unfashionably curvy, lush, and perfect. She’d pulled her long red hair back in an ugly braid. The coiffure failed to detract from the fragile face. So many hours spent brushing that hair. She wore a long, black satin ball gown, Le Tourneau if he were any judge, that swished when she moved past a bank of bleeping and flashing slot machines.           
 Anthony allowed a trace of a smile to curve his mouth upward, and he turned toward the staircase leading to a landing that would give him an unimpeded view of the main room. Now to have some fun.

Dara spared a glance at the delicate diamond and emerald watch attached to her wrist. Twenty-six minutes, plenty of time for some blackjack before she went to the ballroom. Her best friend, Chris, who was attending with Sarah, would text if the speaker ahead of her moved more quickly than the program indicated. If nothing else, gambling would take her mind off the unpleasantness to come.           
 Her hand trembled a little as it fell back to her side, the first hint of nerves. God, why do I agree to these things? I detest public speaking.            
As she approached the tables, something felt off. She saw nothing concrete, no sign of anyone acting out of place, but instinct guided her. After falling in love with a murderer, she always paid attention when she got that little tingle at the base of her neck. Other than a dapper human who seemed fascinated by the expansive view of her breasts that the low-cut gown offered, no one seemed to be looking in her direction.            
Such realization didn’t alleviate the impression someone was watching.          
 The moment passed, and Dara shook her head in annoyance. “You’re paranoid, girl,” she said to herself. “Ronnie said he won’t be here.”          
 Her palms itched, and unease returned as she reached the tables. Her eyes narrowed warily. Someone was definitely watching her. But who? And from where?            
She brushed her tongue against one of her razor-sharp fangs, took a deep breath, and brought her mental barriers down. Few other vampires her age would dare lower the protective barriers that blocked out the chaotic mishmash of thoughts from other beings when amongst a large gathering. She prided herself on her strength, the only gift from her unknown sire that she was grateful for. 

Peter wants a second chance with the woman who rejected him for being too tame in their initial courtship. Katie can’t believe he’s the exciting lover she fantasizes about finding. She only sees him as her sweet friend from work. She has no idea he was controlling his true desires in an attempt to win her heart before claiming her body. They’re both going to a costume party, and he intends on seducing her there. If she wants a bad boy, he’ll give her a masked stranger who can’t keep his skilled hands off her, a mystery man who somehow knows exactly how to please her. But once he’s lured her into his wicked embrace and fulfilled her fantasy, how will she react to the truth? Will she accept his love and delight in his erotic game, or will she despise him for tricking her and send him away forever?

Katie turned as another man came up and began talking to her. He was handsome, very tall, and dressed in Elizabethan clothes. She didn’t like tights much on men, but she hoped the period garb was a sign of intelligence, as she hadn’t encountered much of that this evening. She gave him her full attention, turning the frown into a smile. If the man in the mask wanted to talk, he’d have to come to her. She would not follow him around all night, no matter how hot he was or how much she wanted to run her hands over that fabulous ass.
“Katie, right?”
“Philip.” He extended his hand, and she shook it. “You trained me for a couple of days. I work in the academic advisor’s office.”
She stared at him for a moment, and then she recognized him. “Oh yes. You didn’t have the beard then.”
“My girlfriend wanted me to grow it. I’ve adjusted to it.”
“Well, it looks nice. You’re liking the job?”
“Oh yes. Everyone’s wonderful.”
“They’re very friendly over there. I like doing the training program. It’s a great way to get to know people from all over campus.”
“It looks great in here. I came to see a play once, and it’s like a different building.”
She took a long look around. She didn’t remember what it had looked like before, as she hadn’t been in it since it was remodeled. “It does look nice. I like the masks tucked into the floral arrangements. They’re so gorgeous and fun.”
“Aren’t they great? Someone said the theater students made all of them. They were going to give them out so everyone would have a mask, but there was a leak in the storage room, or something like that, and most of them were damaged so they just threw the remaining ones up as decoration.”
“Hmmm. It might have been fun if everyone were masked.” At that moment, her phone vibrated. She ignored it at first and turned to say something else when a very animated woman came and dragged her Shakespearean companion away after offering only a brief apology. She pulled it out of the tiny pouch she’d chosen to use as a purse, dropping her keys in the process. She knelt to pick them up, and as she rose she saw him above her on the second-floor balcony again. His gaze went straight down her cleavage. She raised an eyebrow saucily and then turned away from him. Had he done a circle around the balcony and come back? Had he been eyeing her the whole time? She didn’t want a man who would stare at her like a sad stalker. She wanted some action tonight. She looked down at her phone, and this time both her eyebrows went up.
I want to ravish the beauty in pink.
She did not recognize the number, but it was a local area code. Had she told anyone she was coming tonight? She never wore pink, so this message had to be from someone in the room, unless it was a highly coincidental wrong number. She hadn’t set her bag down anywhere, and she had kept it with her in the stall when she went to the bathroom. So, someone at the party knew her well enough to have her phone number.
Frowning, she fingered the reply button, unsure what to say back. Was this a joke? Were her friends trying to get a rise out of her? None of them had shown any interest in the party, and she hadn’t said a word about wanting to go. No one was paying any attention to her. Who could it be? The man in black had disappeared. However, it had to be someone else because she doubted she knew him. His body would be hard for any woman to ignore.
Her phone vibrated again. Glad I have your attention, but I want more than that.
She looked around a second time, turning to take in the whole room, but still no one seemed to be watching her. She sent a text back.
What do you want?
She waited three whole minutes for the reply, circling the dance floor again as she searched the balcony. She could get into a game like this, but she wished she knew the rules. She’d been on the verge of stuffing her phone in her bag and storming off to find more obliging, and tangible, company when her phone vibrated again.
To pull you into a darkened room, lift up your skirt, and find out how you taste.
Her face grew hot, but in a good way. She’d expected something more teasing or subtle. Katie felt the dampness in her panties as she shifted her stance. She scanned the balcony again. She moved to the stairs and went up. She looked over the entire room carefully. But she didn’t see the masked man. Couldn’t it be him? The text had come right after he disappeared. He didn’t look familiar, but then again she could only see his mouth.
Her pussy throbbed as she thought about that mouth and what her mysterious texting man said he wanted to do to her. She hadn’t had good sex in quite a while, and though she hadn’t come here looking for it, she wouldn’t turn him down if he would only get his butt in gear and make a move. Teasing intrigued her, but she was ready for some action. The desire expressed in the text fit perfectly with the way he had been gazing at her. How had he gotten her number?

Bridget doesn't believe in vampires or werewolves, but that doesn't stop one from kidnapping her.

BRIDGET SHANAHAN’S life seems bleak and boring until she gets mugged and abducted from her favorite coffee shop by the sexiest man she’s ever met. Unfortunately, he’s a lunatic who believes he’s some kind of vampire savior surrounded by a security force of werewolves and he’s determined to keep her.

FREDRICK MACGREGOR has been having visions of this woman in danger for the last six months, a woman he must protect because she’s the Avatar of the Goddess. However, when he brings her home, she doesn’t believe he's a vampire or that she is the Avatar, and she definitely doesn't want to stay. But the sense of danger persists and he'll do anything to keep her safe, even if it means risking the loss of the only woman who brings light and color to his endless life.


“Do you remember me, Bridget? I met you at Snickerdoodles.”
   Oh, she remembered, all right. She remembered the scent of his skin and the warmth of his body beside her. At least, she thought she did. He’d wrapped his trench coat  around her, hadn’t he?
   She closed her eyes and shook her head to clear the cobwebs of mixed memories.
   “I returned your book and tried to hail a cab for you. Do you remember that?”
   No. Wait. Yes, she remembered the terrible kidnapping scene in the book and how she’d left it on the table in the coffee shop. Her memories played out in a reel until it ended with red eyes and searing pain.
   Bridget’s eyes flew open, and she stared at her companion with dawning unease. His expression filled with concern and compassion, his eyes a deep chocolate brown. No sign of red anywhere. They weren’t even bloodshot.
   “You’re Fredrick MacGregor.”
   “That’s right.” A smile flitted over his lips.
   “And you smell like spiced apples and vanilla.”
   His black eyebrows disappeared into his hairline, one tendril falling across an eye. It looked soft and smooth, and she wanted to push it behind his ear for him. His smug look banished any tender feelings that might have developed.
   “You were stabbed in the side, and I brought you to my home here in Gloucester to take care of you.”
   Stabbed? She’d been stabbed? Gasping, she wrenched the emerald bedclothes away from her body and scanned the skin of her belly. The bruised pain she felt directed her eyes to her left side, but there was nothing there, not even discoloration. If she’d been stabbed, where was the scar, the scab?
Is he just teasing me? What kind of a jerk does that? Then the rest of his words sank in.
   “Yes. It was the safest place I could think to take you.”
   Bridget narrowed her eyes as she raised her gaze to meet his again, her hands still holding the bedclothes up.
   Safe for whom, you chocolate-eyed kidnapper?
“Normally you take injured people, like those with stab wounds, to the hospital. Or at least call the paramedics.” What was she doing in Gloucester in a richly decorated bedroom? Was it his bedroom?
There are worse places to be, a traitorous voice remarked.
“There was no time, and I knew I could care for you as well or better than any hospital,” Fredrick replied to her unasked questions.
Riiiiggghhhtt, that’s what all the sociopaths say to their victims.
   “I have to go.” She tried to sit up again. She’d make it home come hell or high water. Goosebumps zinged along her leg when it appeared out of the covers.
“Whoa!” She jerked her legs back under the emerald sheets and stared incredulously at the man sitting next to her bed. “Where are my clothes?” And that sexy dress?
   “I haven’t had time to get any from your apartment.” His eyes never dropped from hers. “I’ll send someone presently.”
   She raised her eyebrows. “Presently? Who uses words like ‘presently’? And how do you know where I live?” She groaned, frowning. “You looked in my wallet from my coat.”
   “That seemed to be the most logical place to look for your name and home address.”
   “That’s just great. A perfect ending to a perfect day.” She sighed, slumping back in the bed. “Stabbed, kidnapped, and naked in a stranger’s bed. It just doesn’t get much worse.”
   “Except, perhaps, being kidnapped by a vampire with a house full of werewolves,” he suggested, a half-smile curling his kissable lips.
   She snorted. “Thank God there’s no such thing as vampires or werewolves.”
   He stilled as if the life within him bled away, leaving nothing but a quiet, waxen shell, and his face lost the humor in it. Unease crept through her as she stared hard at him, clutching the covers so tightly her knuckles turned white. The scent of spiced apples shifted to a dirt smell, like moist earth or the desert after the rain, and her stomach cramped with visceral fear.
   “Thank you.” She cleared her throat. “Thank you for whatever you did. I think I remember being stabbed. It hurt like hell. How bad was the damage, and how long have I been here?”
   Life seeped back into him as he cocked his head to one side, his eyes narrowed in consideration. “You have only been here a few hours. We didn’t do anything but look at your wound. You healed all by yourself.”
   “Yeah, I know I’m healing. I just want to know what you did to close the wound and how many stitches I needed.”
   “I told you. We didn’t do anything. Your body healed on its own.”
   “What are you talking about? What do you mean, ‘healed’?” She lifted the bed sheets away from her body again to get a better look at her left side. The skin appeared a little pink at her waist, but nothing suggesting a stab wound. She looked back up at him, anger coiling. “What did you do to me?”
   Fredrick shook his head. “Nothing, Ms. Shanahan. I would like to know how you managed to heal so quickly, but it appears you didn’t know you could do that.”
   “Of course I didn’t know I could do that!” Bridget dropped the bed sheet to her waist. “No one can do that except in science fiction novels.”
   His gaze locked onto her chest, and a predatory expression flooded his features. An odd combination of exhilaration and lust zinged through her, which only pissed her off more. She growled and jerked the sheets back up.
   He coughed and had the grace to look chagrined. “Forgive me, but I’ve found it very difficult to turn down an opportunity to view such beauty.”

Tegan Murin has his hands full these days. Feral attacks are increasing, targeting humans, and now he is ordered to find and destroy a deadly artifact known as Oman’s Seal, deal with his estranged step-father and find a missing archaeologist. He’s a bit irritable. Add into the mix a recurring dream of one sexy seductress leading him to his death… well, you get one very pissed off were-panther.
Kyra Navarone is more than what she seems. Escaping from the ferals who captured her, she ends up running into a brooding, irritating man who makes her blood run hot just with one look. Her life depends on the betrayal of this compelling man, but how can she live with herself afterward?
More than their lives hang in the balance. In order to survive they must learn to trust one another before the world they know and the one hidden beneath the waves are destroyed forever.

“Is that all you got, asshole?” Tegan growled from flat on his back. The damn leech had packed quite a punch, but he’d never let him know that. He rose from the ground, spitting a wad of blood on the alley floor. “You hit like a girl.”
The vampire hissed, baring his impressively large fangs, his fingernails lengthening to razor sharp points. Tegan laughed with dark intent. His claws punched out of his hands with the sound of tearing flesh. The dagger sharp points, catching the light from the crescent moon shining above the filthy alley, burst through his knuckles. Forming a fist, he fought off the rank odor of rotten garbage and urine trying for a permanent home in his nostrils.
“Mine are bigger than yours,” he said with a menacing smile, wiggling his claws “Game on.”
The vampire’s eyes glowed red. Snarling his contempt, the beast leapt, its sharp nails aiming for Tegan’s exposed jugular. Tegan twisted to the side at the last moment and raked his claws up the vampire’s unprotected stomach. Crap, the vamp even screamed like a girl. Wasn’t that just fucking pathetic?
The vampire wrenched free of Tegan’s claws. Its nails tore through the leather of his bomber jacket, past the soft cotton tee shirt and gouged deep into the muscle and tendons.
Pain exploded through his shoulder, clear to the bone, traveling like wildfire down his arm, followed by the unpleasant prickling sensation like a thousand fire ants were eating his limb off. Gods damned vamps, he thought disgustedly. What was it with these feral vampires and poisons anyway? The venom pulsed though his system like toxic sludge, warning him there would be very little time before it rendered him immobile. Reaching for the knife strapped to his chest, he pinned his gaze on the cocky asshole. No more play time. Now it’s die time.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Sounds like a few good reads there. Thanks for posting, Shannan! :-)