Author: Nalini Singh

Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Posted July 19, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Last Guard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #5
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 10 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands…
Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.
For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.
To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet…or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

Canto Merchant & Payal Rao are both A-Psy. As anchors for the PsyNet, it isn’t just their job to keep the PsyNet from failing. It’s a compulsion for them. They can’t not do anything & everything to save the Psy race.

When Canto contacts Payal about being the voice for the anchors, he has no idea how intertwined their histories are. Since the time he was old enough, he has been searching for the girl that saved his life in the “rehabilitation” school they were both at. They didn’t know each other’s names. All they knew was the numbers that were assigned by the school. For Canto, 3K is a girl that was his salvation. Searching for her has become his obsession in life though he has never had so much as a lead on his 3K. His search for her has to be put on the back burner because the PsyNet is failing. Payal is a hub anchor, much like himself. The only difference as far as he can see is that Payal is Silent whereas Canto never was fully Silent. Then he sees her.

Payal walks a very fine line in her life. She’s the CEO of the Rao family holdings. She has a brother that would like nothing more than to murder her in her sleep, a sister she has to hide from her father & brother, and she’s a hub anchor. When Canto Merchant contacts her, Payal knows she can’t say no. If the anchors don’t get involved, the PsyNet will fall. Already the Ruling Coalition is discussing breaking the PsyNet into pieces. Both Payal & Canto know that doing that will not work. So she agrees to meet Canto. And gets the shock of her life.

Canto & Payal were thrown away when they were children because they hadn’t initialized as A’s. Payal couldn’t control her emotions. Canto couldn’t use his legs. It hurt to read how they were treated. Then it made me smile to read about how Canto looked after Payal & Payal protected Canto.

“Payal, you don’t have to hide me from them.” It came out hard, a near-snarl.
“Yes, I do. A solemn statement that cut him to the bone. “Because you’re my person. The only one I have. I need to protect you.”

This isn’t just about two children that formed a bond that nothing could destroy. It’s about children that were forgotten, children that weren’t protected, and children that died. All because they were A’s. It’s about the journey two A children took to find their way back to each other.

I could honestly go on and on about this book. I was barely able to put it down. I’m so excited to see where the series goes from here. I’m starting to think I’m getting a glimmer of what the end of the series will look like. Maybe.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Last Guard by Nalini Singh (+ Exclusive Excerpt)

Posted July 18, 2021 by Casee in Features | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I’m always THRILLED when Nalini Singh releases a book. It doesn’t matter what she publishes, I will read it. I’m really excited to learn more about the Merchants in Last Guard.

Sunday Spotlight: Last Guard by Nalini Singh (+ Exclusive Excerpt)Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #5
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night, Last Guard
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 13 hours
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands…
Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.
For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.
To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet…or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

Excerpt

Beyond its limited but well-maintained grounds, Vara was surrounded by smaller buildings of a similar vintage, and looked out over a mishmash of more ancient structures and rickety new buildings that appeared held together by not much more than hope and the odd nail.

Gleaming Psy skyscrapers rose in the distance in stark contrast.

Yet even that clinical intrusion into the heart of this ancient city hadn’t been able to tame the controlled disorder of Delhi. Her city had its own soul and wasn’t about to bow to the whims of any civilization.

Every now and then, she still spotted monkeys scrambling up into the fruit trees on the grounds, and the pigeons had no respect for any of the bird deterrents trialed by the maintenance staff.
Through it all, Vara stood, solid and enduring.

Her father had once considered bulldozing her and rebuilding out of steel and glass, then decided the mahal was an important symbol of their long-term power. “The Raos were here long before others who might think to defeat our hold on this city,” he’d said as they stood at Vara’s highest viewpoint, the rooftop garden hidden from below by the decorative crenellations. “And we’ll be here long after they’re dead and buried.”

It was silent and cool in her third-floor office, but she knew that should she step out onto the stone balcony, she’d be hit with a tumult of horns and cries and scorching heat—the monsoon winds hadn’t yet arrived, bringing with them a humidity that was a wet pressure on the skin.

Payal would then wait for the rains to come, wash away the muggy air.

Her office was situated at the front of Vara, only meters from the street. She could see motorcycles zipping through traffic with apparent insouciance, while multiple auto rickshaws stood lined up in front of Vara hoping for a passenger.

A Psy in San Francisco or Monaco might turn up their nose at that mode of transport, but Psy in Delhi knew that the small and nimble vehicles were far more adept at navigating the city’s heavy traffic than bigger town cars. The more intrepid drivers even dared take on Old Delhi’s narrow lanes—but it was far smarter to travel via motorcycle in those mixed pedestrian/vehicle zones.
The traffic chaos was an accident of history. Delhi had grown too fast at a time when it had more pressing issues to address, and now there was simply no room to expand the roading or underground rail. The rickshaws were here to stay.

Even Payal was known to hail one on occasion despite the fact she was a teleport-capable telekinetic. It helped her keep a finger on the pulse of the city. She’d seen too many powerful Psy fall because they had no idea what was happening beyond their insulated bubble.

Nikita Duncan was the perfect example—the ex-Councilor held considerable financial and political sway, but she’d lost her once-tight grip on her home base. The DarkRiver leopard pack had grown exponentially in power right under her nose. San Francisco would never again be Nikita’s city.

Payal kept an eye on multiple small groups like DarkRiver that wielded more power than they should—she watched and she learned. Always.

After spending several minutes focused on the patterns of movement out on the street, she glanced down at the signature at the bottom of the unexpected e-mail: Canto Mercant, Mercant Corp.
Mercant.

Talk about a small group that held an excessive amount of power. Though the rumored scion of the family was now one of the most famous faces in the world, the Mercants didn’t generally seek fame or overt political power. Rather, they were the primary shadow players in the PsyNet, with a network of spies so skilled they were said to have something on everyone.

Payal knew the latter to be an overstatement for the simple reason that they had nothing on her. The fact she was an anchor wasn’t any kind of a smoking gun or threat. No doubt she was on a list of As somewhere in the Ruling Coalition’s archives. But she didn’t exactly advertise her status. Not when the most well-known telekinetic anchor of recent years had ended up a serial killer.

So how had Canto Mercant worked out her root designation?

Anchor minds weren’t visibly different on the PsyNet, couldn’t be pinpointed that way. And because A was an “inert” designation during early childhood, when Psy were sorted into various designations for the necessary specialized training, it would’ve appeared nowhere on her early records.

In point of fact, all her public-facing records listed her as a Tk.

Canto Mercant shouldn’t have the data on her true status. She certainly hadn’t known the Mercants had an anchor in their midst. Not only an anchor but a hub, born to merge into the fabric of the PsyNet. Chances were Canto Mercant was a cardinal.

Non-cardinal hub-anchors were rare inside an already rare designation.

Setting aside her organizer on her desk, she used her intercom to contact her assistant: Ruhi, bring me our files on the Mercants.

From LAST GUARD published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh.

Psy-Changeling Trinity

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: July 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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Throwback Thursday Review: Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Posted May 20, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Rock Addiction by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Rock Addiciton by Nalini Singh
Series: Rock Kiss #1
Also in this series: Rock Courtship, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Hard, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1), Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2), Rock Redemption (Rock Kiss, #3), Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss, #4), Rock Addiction
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 9th 2014
Pages: 406
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.

A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

I just recently re-read this book, and it was just as good this time around. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend the entire series.

This review was originally published on September 8, 2014

A curious thing happened when I read this book. The first time through, I struggled a bit with the pacing and didn’t warm up to Molly until the 2nd half of the book. I loved the second half, but I was lukewarm about the first.  Then I started thinking about a particular scene in the first part of the book and ended up doing a full re-read. I fell in love. I have no idea why, but I really connected with Molly the second time around. Maybe because I knew all her secrets, so her motives made more sense? Or perhaps I just paid more attention to her and not as much to Fox? I’m not sure. What I can say is I devoured it the second time around. And the third. And the fourth. Fox and Molly are both complex, emotionally compelling characters. I adored this book.

Fox sees Molly at a party and decides he wants to take her home. She’s been on his mind all night. He gets his chance when she decides to duck out early, and he takes her home. Once there, he decides one night will never be enough. She sings to him in a way no other woman ever has, and he isn’t ready to give up her song. If only Molly felt the same way.

After an ugly scandal ruined Molly’s childhood and forced her to grow up far too soon, she’s kept her world tightly controlled. Fox threatens to shatter that control with his sexy lip-ring and overwhelming personality, but she has no desire to ever be the in the spotlight again. If only Fox wasn’t so addictive…she might be able to resist.

Fox is everything you’d expect from Nalini Singh. An alpha rock star with a sexy lip ring and whiskey voice. Jealous, possessive, sex on a stick… and surprisingly sweet and tender. I struggled with was why Fox was so fixated on Molly. I wish we’d been given more to explain why he was so attracted to her in the beginning, and why he wanted to own her after their first brief encounter. I get he was attracted to her, but his deeper feelings made little sense. As the story progressed I didn’t doubt his commitment or his feelings, but in the beginning they were hard to swallow.  His quick claim on Molly was surprising, but I can’t deny he worked it well.

“You know when you get the whisper of a melody in your head, or the murmur of a song? And you have the gut feeling that if you could just hear the rest of it, just capture the music”—the need an ache as frustrating as it was piercing —“you’d have something fucking amazing?”

Noah nodded.

“Yeah well, that’s what it feels like with Molly.” The most potent whisper of his life. “I’m not about to walk away from that.”

 

Molly is understandably hesitant to enter into a relationship with Fox. Not only is he a man with a bad reputation, he’s a man who lives his life in the limelight – somewhere Molly never wants to be.

“You’ll go,” she said, gripping the counter behind her and fighting back tears. “After a month, you’ll go. But I’ll still be here, living my life. Being famous, even by association… I can’t handle it, Fox.”

Despite her reservations, Molly is the perfect fit for him. She’s bold, knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. And if she’s just as possessive and jealous as Fox? Well, let’s just say that led to some of my favorite scenes. Both are a bit damaged, but they complete each other.  I fell in love with them.

The band is a family. I felt like I came to know each member in turn through their interactions with Molly and Fox. That Molly and Fox became home base for the band was lovely. I liked how they accepted Molly and treated her as one of their own. Each time they were on page I felt like I was sitting down with a close-knit family.  They had their share of problems but they worked through things together. Same with Molly’s best friend Charlie, and her sister Thea. I like that she had friendships outside her relationships with Fox.

This is spicier than many of her other books, but that worked so well. The sex scenes were smoking hot. There were quite a few more than I’m used to seeing from Singh, and some of them felt gratuitous. The makeup and angry sex scenes were some of the best, but others didn’t need to be included, in my opinion.

The story is sizzling hot. It has all the elements needed to be a winning romance. Singh really knows how to work the story to captivate her readers. The story is emotional, twisted, sweet and sexy all at once.  I’m only sorry it ended.

4.25 out of 5

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Posted April 11, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

We are huge Nalini fangirls at Book Binge. I think we’ve all read most of her books. This book holds a special place in my heart. I just adore Fox and Molly.

Sunday Spotlight: Rock Addiction by Nalini SinghRock Addiction by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine O. Keef
Series: Rock Kiss #1
Also in this series: Rock Courtship, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Hard, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1), Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2), Rock Redemption (Rock Kiss, #3), Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss, #4), Rock Addiction, Rock Addiciton
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 406
Length: 11 hours and 9 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh stuns with a sizzling contemporary romance…
A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…
Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.
A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…
Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

Excerpt

Patience wasn’t Fox’s strong suit, and he’d almost killed himself with it tonight. Then he’d just about killed David for getting close to her while he kept his distance. Now, finally, he was alone with Molly and all he wanted to do was mess up her hair, kiss her until her lips were swollen and wet.

Then he wanted to do it again. And again.

Fighting the gut-wrenching need that threatened to turn him inside out, he forced himself to lean back lazily against the elevator wall. “You’re Molly.” It came out a rough purr.

Her eyes widened, fingers curling into her palm. “Yes.”

He wanted those fingers on him—any part of him. “Would you mind giving me a ride?”

A large percentage of the women at the party would’ve taken that as the invitation it was and been all over him in one second flat. Molly, however, took a tiny step back. “Don’t you have a driver?”

Abdomen tight, he continued to keep his tone playful, easy, though he was feeling close to feral. “I gave him the night off.”

“A taxi?”

If she took another step back, Fox wasn’t sure he’d be able to restrain his need to put his hands all over her sweetly feminine flesh, taste her with his mouth. “I don’t know the address I’m going to.”

The elevator dinged at that moment, and he waited as Molly stepped out into the parking garage before following. The skin at her nape looked like cream; he wanted to lick it up, close his hands over her breasts from behind as he did so, press his rigid cock up against her. Yeah, he wasn’t in a patient mood.

“Oh?” It was a husky question. “If you don’t know the address, how do you plan on getting there?”

Unable to resist any longer, he bent to the soft, subtle, maddening scent of her and whispered,

“That’s why I need a ride, Molly,” his lip ring brushing the shell of her ear. “I don’t know where you live.”

She dropped her keys.

Rock Kiss

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: April 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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Sunday Spotlight: Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (+Exclusive Excerpt)

Posted February 14, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Like most of you, I adore Nalini Singh. I’ll read anything she writes. Including thrillers.

Sunday Spotlight: Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (+Exclusive Excerpt)Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Format: Hardcover
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

In this gripping thriller set in New Zealand, New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes you into the twisted world of an exclusive cul-de-sac located on the edge of a sprawling forest.

My mother vanished ten years ago.
So did a quarter of a million dollars in cash.
Thief. Bitch. Criminal.
Now, she's back.
Her bones clothed in scarlet silk.

When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband. But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that's housed the same influential families for decades.

The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago. Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he's determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance...but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.

Even the dead aren't allowed to break the rules in this cul-de-sac.

Excerpt

My hands tightened on the steering wheel as my father got into the passenger seat.

We didn’t speak, my eyes on the unmarked police vehicle up ahead. Driven by Constable Neri, it led us out of the leafy gilded surrounds of the Cul-de-Sac and onto a long and winding road bordered by the dense forests of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, with only small hamlets of habitation along the way—and glimpses of breathtaking vistas where the foliage opened up.

Scenic Drive lived up to its name. But only if you weren’t expecting pretty and safe.

All that rich green turned parts of the road claustrophobic. It was never searing hot here, not in the cool darkness of the shadows cast by the forest giants. This was a quiet place, a place that whispered that humanity was an intrusion that would be swiftly forgotten once we were gone.

An unexpected flash of white, a large sign at the entrance to a trail, warning that the area was under a rāhui because of kauri dieback disease. No one was permitted to go on those trails, because the disease spread through the forest on the soles of human shoes, bringing a slow death to trees meant to grow far older than my mother would ever be.

I followed the police car knowing that if it stopped anywhere on this road, it’d be a spot I’d driven past hundreds of times.

Passing my mother’s grave over and over again.

The unmarked car slowed as it turned a corner and when I followed, I saw flashing lights, road cones, and an orange-vested officer waiting to direct traffic through what had become a single narrow lane.

One of the darkest sections of the road and of the forest.

The land dropped off precipitously to my right, but not into emptiness. Into bush dense and thick and impenetrable to the human eye. Ancient kauri trees, nīkau palms, huge tree ferns, this landscape was theirs.

Constable Neri brought the police vehicle to a stop behind a van and I pulled in behind her. Everyone waited while I got my crutches from the backseat, no one speaking. Armpits snugged into the tops of the walking aids, I nodded, and the cops led us to a part of the road that had no safety barrier against the fall into the green. I couldn’t remember if it ever had.

“The car was found at the foot of this incline,” Regan told us. “Nose down.”

That fit my father’s theory of it sliding off the road and down the steep slope into the devouring forest. I wanted to dispute the idea of my mother driving off the road on a rainy night, such a neat and tidy end to everything, but she had drunk too much as long as I could remember, and she could be a reckless driver.

Of course, if I were the one writing this story, I’d use those very things to cover up a murder.

Cover up a scream.

Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: February 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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