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. 🙂
Series: Anita Blake #28
Also in this series: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, The Killing Dance
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Rafael, king of the wererats, must fight to the death to defend his crown. He wants Anita Blake, one of his closest allies, with him as he faces an opponent unlike any he’s faced before. He will ask Anita to risk everything to be at his side.…
But some of the wererats fear that Rafael depends too much on Anita and her ties to the vampires. They believe that there is only room in America for one supernatural king, and Rafael will turn them into nothing more than food for the bloodsuckers.
Among his enemies, a new challenger has arisen who is younger, hungrier, and has dark secrets that could destroy both the wererats and the vampires. Rafael will go into the magical heart of his people to find the power and violence that he needs to save them all or die trying.
Excerpt from RAFAEL by Laurell K. Hamilton.
I’d killed the Mother of All Darkness by absorbing her essence while she tried to take over my body and use it for herself. It had been sort of the immovable object meeting the unstoppable force, and most people had been betting on her. She had been the very first vampire, maybe, so old that her original body had been lost and the last body she’d had had been one that she’d successfully possessed. That body had been blown up by a group of mercenaries hired to assassinate her, but all they’d done was destroy the body that had been trapped for a thousand years. They had freed her from her prison to wander like a nightmare to try and find a new body. She’d wanted mine.
Rafael stroked my hair and murmured, “She is dead and gone, Anita. You do not need to fear her.”
I moved out of the circle of his arms. “You never had her try to take over your dreams, or your body.”
“You are quite right,” he said; his face was closed down, reasonable, and blank, hiding what he was feeling and thinking.
“I feel like I should apologize to you, but I don’t know what for,” I said.
He gave a very small smile, but it left his eyes sad. “If I were truly a gentleman we would shower separately and I would prepare for tonight’s battle, but I want to be with you too much to play such games.”
“I want you, too, Rafael,” I said, because that’s what you’re supposed to say when someone declares that kind of attraction. It’s like when someone says I love you; you’re supposed to say it back if it’s even remotely true, unless you’re willing to have that most awkward of modern dating talks, the one where you try to explain that it’s not about love.
“I can only take your words at face value, search your face to see if it matches them, because I cannot read your mind, feel your emotions.”
“You can smell my emotions on my skin, all shapeshifters can,” I said.
“In this moment I know you are not feeling lust, because you are right, I would smell it on you.”
I fought not to look embarrassed or even uncomfortable. I looked at the floor and then forced myself to look up and meet his gaze. “I can’t smell your emotions, but I can read your face and you’re not feeling very lustful either.”
“I cannot disagree, and if this were any other day I would let you go to shower in the room where you shower with your other men, or perhaps that huge bathtub that Jean-Claude has in his rooms, but it is not any other day. I want you as a man wants a woman, but I also want you to feed the ardeur on me.”
“Won’t that weaken you for the fight tonight?”
“If you fed off only me, perhaps, but you will feed off the strength of all who call me king. If it is to be the last time, I want you to take as much power from us as possible for Jean-Claude to share among your people.”
I touched his arm, studying his face trying to read him. “I asked if you thought you would win tonight, and you said yes. Am I missing something? Am I not asking the right questions?”
“He is me thirty years ago, Anita. He has less to lose and more to gain. I have far more to lose and nothing to gain except his death, which I do not want. I think he believes that you will enslave us all, you and Jean-Claude. He is righteous in his goal to tear me from the throne. I am defending what is mine and I am decades too late for that righteous surety of youth.”
“I don’t understand what that means.”
He smiled down at me, putting his bigger hand along the side of my face so that I could rub my face in against the weight and warmth of his hand. “Of course, you don’t, you still have that righteous surety.”
I moved away from his hand, frowning. “Not as much as I used to have.”
“You are starting to grow into the next stage of your life, Anita. Your job as a vampire executioner and now as a marshal has aged your attitude faster. Hector knows nothing but his clan. He has risen as high as he can within the local clan, so he sets his sight on the highest seat among my kind.”
“You said he’s you thirty years ago.”
“Very much so.”
“So how old is he?”
“Are you asking how old I am?”
I stared up at his raven-black hair, the unlined face. If I hadn’t looked into the wisdom and patience in his eyes, I’d have put him at no more than thirty, but his eyes gave it away almost like some of the vampires did. They were ageless, but their eyes could show an echo of the great weight of all those years, as if there were ways to grow old that had nothing to do with the body.
From RAFAEL published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter
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.
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!