Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Soul Taken by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 21, 2022 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 7 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 took a break from Sunday Spotlight, but we’re bringing it back on a limited basis. I’m excited that our first SS in a while is a novel I loved from an author I adore. Soul Taken is the next installment of the Mercy Thompson series, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Sunday Spotlight: Soul Taken by Patricia BriggsSoul Taken by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #13
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched, Storm Cursed, Smoke Bitten
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: August 23, 2022
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, must face her greatest fears in this chilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
The vampire Wulfe is missing. Since he’s deadly, possibly insane, and his current idea of “fun” is stalking me, some may see it as no great loss. But, warned that his disappearance might bring down the carefully constructed alliances that keep our pack safe, my mate and I must find Wulfe—and hope he’s still alive. As alive as a vampire can be, anyway.
But Wulfe isn’t the only one who has disappeared. And now there are bodies, too. Has the Harvester returned to the Tri-Cities, reaping souls with his cursed sickle? Or is he just a character from a B horror movie and our enemy is someone else?
The farther I follow Wulfe’s trail, the more twisted—and darker—the path becomes. I need to figure out what’s going on before the next body on the ground is mine.

Excerpt

1

“Mercy.”

Adam peered down at me. His feral, golden eyes held my gaze. Only a few bits of darkness lingered in the bright depths, like bitter chocolate melting in butter. Icy rain dripped from his forehead onto my face, causing me to blink.

The gold was worrisome, I thought muzzily, wiping my cheek with a clumsy hand. I should pay attention to the dangerous gold in his eyes.

“Pretty,” I said.

Someone stifled a laugh, but it wasn’t Adam. His frown deepened.

I had just been . . . well, I couldn’t remember exactly, but it had definitely not been lying on the wet ground, icy rain-or possibly very wet snow-sluicing down on my face as I stared up into Adam’s wild eyes. I reached up with a hand that didn’t want to obey and closed my fist on the collar of his shirt.

Though my brain still wasn’t tracking quite right, it didn’t take much thought to make a connection between the splendid headache that seemed to be centered around my temple and my position on the ground. Something must have hit me hard. I figured I’d be-cold water dripped on my cheek-right as rain in just a minute, but judging by Adam’s expression, it might not be soon enough to prevent an explosion.

That could be bad. Worse than if Adam merely lost out to his wolf. His usual wolf. The flash memory of the twisted version of a David Cronenberg-inspired movie werewolf worrying at my throat with huge, already bloodstained teeth served to wake me more effectively than the cold water splashing my face from the skies above us had.

I sucked in a breath with a sudden surge of adrenaline that seemed to extinguish the last few dark bits of humanity in Adam’s eyes even as it left me thinking more clearly. Neither he nor I knew if the vicious monster the witch Elizaveta had cursed him to become when she died was gone or merely biding its time.

Adam had warned the pack about the possibility that he could turn into something more dangerous, a monster that he couldn’t always control. But in true werewolf fashion, they seemed to look upon it as a new superpower Adam had achieved rather than the terrifying threat it was. They hadn’t witnessed it firsthand.

After the full moon had come and only Adam’s usual wolf form had answered that call, Adam had been relieved. His temper, already easily roused, had continued to be on an even-shorter-than-usual fuse, but I thought that could be attributed to the unusual strain of the past few months. And yet . . .

I examined my mate’s face for a hint of the monster and saw . . . Adam. He carried the experiences of this past year, and despite the werewolf-bestowed youth, his eyes looked older. There was a tightness to his features due to the bite of Elizaveta’s curse and the various horrors of the past few months. He still had the confident air that was so much a part of him, but now it looked as though it was riding a war-weary soldier.

I tugged a little harder on the collar of his shirt.

He blinked and a ring of darkness solidified around the outside of his irises. Reassured, I tugged hard enough to choke him, ignoring the soreness this spawned in the newly healed muscle of my right arm where an assassin had shot me shortly before Adam’s monster had eaten her.

I couldn’t have pulled Adam down to me if he hadn’t wanted to come. He was a werewolf and I wasn’t. I could have levered myself to him, but I didn’t have to make the effort. He bent down and brushed my lips lightly, with a wry tilt of one eyebrow that told me he knew what I was up to but he was willing to play my game.

He sat all the way down on the ground, ignoring the slushy mud, and hauled me into his lap. It was like sitting on a furnace. My whole body softened into him, into his warmth and the rich smell of home. For a half second there was another scent, a more rank scent-or maybe that was just my imagination, because when I inhaled again, I smelled only Adam.

I leaned my head into his shoulder, which was as hard as stone. That wasn’t just because he was tense with anger; he was just in that kind of shape. What little softness there had been was worn away, leaving only muscle and bone behind. There was no give to him, but if I’d wanted soft, I would have had to look for someone who wasn’t the Alpha of a werewolf pack. Someone who wasn’t Adam.

When my temple touched his collarbone, I hissed, and he went rigid. I’d almost forgotten. This had all begun when something had hit me in the temple and dropped me.

“Was it Bonarata?” I asked. That didn’t seem right. The Lord of Night, vampire ruler of all he could survey, was in Italy. But we’d killed all the witches, hadn’t we? Even Elizaveta was dead. And the fae-ish smoke dragon was gone to wherever fae-ish smoke dragons go.

There were a few more smothered laughs. If there were enemies around, there wouldn’t have been people laughing-and Adam wouldn’t have sat down on the ground.

Someone said, in a whisper that was not quite quiet enough, “Dang, she’s going to have another black eye.” Honey, I thought. She usually had better sense.

Adam tightened his arms and growled, a sound that no completely human throat could have made. He was very and continually unhappy about the damage I took as his mate-a position more usually filled by a human, who would have been kept out of events whenever possible, or a werewolf, who could hold her own. I wasn’t either of those things; I was a coyote shapeshifter, a member of the pack in my own right, with all the privileges and the duties that entailed. I didn’t let them-or Adam-coddle me. It wouldn’t have been good for any of us, no matter how hard it was on him.

“Hey, boss,” said Warren’s casual voice, the one he used when he thought he wasn’t talking to a rational being.

I glanced over to see that the tall, lanky cowboy had taken a deliberately relaxed stance about ten feet away. It would have been more convincing if his eyes hadn’t been showing a hint of gold. A couple of yards behind him, the pack hovered in a mud-spattered, silent aggregate.

Adam looked, too.

Under the impact of Adam’s attention, the pack backed away. Warren turned his head so he wasn’t even looking in our direction.

But his voice was still calm and steady as he continued, “You sure you should be moving her around? Mary Jo should maybe see if she has a concussion.”

Mary Jo was a firefighter, and she had EMT training.

Again, Adam didn’t answer, and the tension grew. Which was exactly the opposite effect our outing to the pumpkin patch was supposed to engender.

Our pack, the Columbia Basin Pack, was unaffiliated with any other werewolves, the only one on the North or South American continent that did not belong to Bran Cornick, the Marrok. His goal was the survival of the werewolves, and he was ruthless in that pursuit-which was why weÕd ended up on our own.

A wise pack, bereft of the Marrok’s protection, needed to keep its collective head down if it wanted to survive. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for us.

It wouldn’t be vanity to say there wasn’t another pack as well-known as ours anywhere, at least in the eyes of the mundane world. Adam, our Alpha, my mate, was recognizable on any street corner in the US. That had begun as an accident of his contacts in the military, his willingness to talk to news agencies, and the good looks that had been the bane of his life long before he’d become a werewolf.

But it was my fault that the whole pack suffered along with him.

A few years ago, the worst thing most of the people (and other sentient beings) living in the Tri-Cities of Washington State had to worry about on an epic scale was the possibility of one of the Hanford nuclear waste tanks-filled with the caustic sludge by-products of the early, experimental years of nuclear science-leaking its goop into the Columbia River. Or possibly exploding.

There were nearly two hundred of the aging tanks, some holding as much as a million gallons. Each tank contained a unique mix of very bad radioactive soup, and worse, due to the secretive nature of nuclear weapons development, no one really knew exactly what was in any of them.

There really were scarier things than monsters.

Anyway.

The Tri-Cities, in addition to being right next to a Superfund cleanup site, were about an hour’s drive from the Ronald Wilson Reagan Fae Reservation, which the fae had turned into their own seat of power in their (mostly) cold war with the US government.

Because it suited them and because I claimed the Tri-Cities to be under our pack’s protection (it was a stupid heat-of-the-moment thing), the fae let it be known that they acknowledged and respected the Columbia Basin Pack’s right to protect our territory and the people, mundane and supernatural alike, who lived within it. We had signed a bargain with them that we would do that-and, more significantly, they would not harm anyone under our protection.

We hadn’t had a choice, and neither, I am pretty sure, had they. But bargains with the fae, even when both parties entered into the agreement with the best of intentions, tended to end badly, which was why the Marrok had cut us loose.

No one wanted a war between the fae and the werewolves. If our pack stood alone, whatever happened between us and the fae-or the vampires, other werewolf packs, ancient gods, or demons-werewolfkind would not be forced into that conflict. Our pack’s demise would not start a war between the supernatural world and the human, so long as we stood alone.

Or so everyone hoped.

The bargain with the fae made the Tri-Cities a neutral zone where humans could rub shoulder to shoulder with the magical world because they were protected. We had suddenly become a point of interest in national, international, and supernatural politics-and there were consequences.

Weaker supernatural beings flocked to a place of (perceived) safety, causing, among other things, a housing shortage. Hotels were booked solid and the Airbnb market went through the roof, because there was now a “safe” place to go see fae mingling with regular folks.

More quietly, predators came here, too, creatures who did not think they had to worry about a mere pack of werewolves interfering in their plundering of the rich hunting ground the Tri-Cities had become. We’d killed two of those predators in the past week alone.

Our pack was fierce. Adam was awe-inspiringly awesome. We had support from the fae-though admittedly that was nearly as dangerous as it was useful. The local vampire seethe helped us for their own reasons. Our pack, all twenty-six of us, bore the brunt of protecting our territory, and because we were not affiliated with the Marrok, we weren’t going to get any more wolves very easily.

Adam had responded to the situation by turning us into a finely tuned fighting unit. Some of that meant training in fighting techniques. Some of it meant becoming a more tightly knit pack.

Which was why Adam had rented a giant pumpkin patch and corn maze on a Tuesday night in October so that our pack could play together.

Who knew that a pumpkin patch could be dangerous?

From SOUL TAKEN published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright 2022 by Patricia Briggs.

Mercy Thompson

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: August 2022

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 Patricia Briggs

Patricia is the #1 New York Times best selling author of the Mercy Thompson series and has written twenty four novels to date; she is currently writing novel number twenty five. She has short stories in several anthologies, as well as a series of comic books and graphic novels based on her Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Patty began her career writing traditional high fantasy novels in 1993, and shifted gears in 2006 to write urban fantasy. Moon Called was the first of her signature series about Mercy; the non-stop adventure left readers wanting more and word of this exciting new urban fantasy series about a shape-shifting mechanic spread quickly. The series has continued to grow in popularity with the release of each book. Patty also writes the Alpha and Omega series, which are set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson novels; what began as a novella expanded into a full new series, all of which debuted on the NY Times bestsellers list as well.


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Sunday Spotlight: Savage Road by Christine Feehan

Posted January 30, 2022 by Casee in Giveaways, Reviews | 1 Comment

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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Savage Road by Christine FeehanSavage Road by Christine Feehan
Narrator: Ryan West
Series: Torpedo Ink #7
Also in this series: Judgment Road , Judgment Road, Vengeance Road, Vendetta Road, Desolation Road, Reckless Road, Annihilation Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Pages: 525
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: three-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan explores uncharted territory in the new Torpedo Ink Motorcycle Club novel.
When Savin “Savage” Pajari and Seychelle Dubois first met, their connection was instant, their attraction undeniable. Their relationship has been full throttle since day one. Even though months have passed, the passion and love between them has only increased.
Savage completely owns what he is: a sadist in the bedroom who can only get off on his partner’s pain. He believes he’s not a good man, but he loves Seychelle with a fierceness that shocks him. He wants all of her, but only if she gives herself freely with eyes wide open.
Seychelle never imagined the lure of mixing pain with pleasure, or how much she’d crave Savage’s darkness. She’s been shaken to her core, but Seychelle is committed to Savage and their life together—even though he’s keeping a piece of himself back. And to truly make their relationship work, he has to give her everything that he is, just as she is doing for him.
Savage knows that what he really needs could break his woman if she isn’t ready. She agreed to come into his world, and he’s not about to give her up. He has to find a way to let her see the monster inside without pushing her away. But the real Savage might be more than Seychelle can bear...and he knows he wouldn’t survive losing her.

Excerpt

His lips moved from her ear to her cheek, soft, sipping at her tears in that way that stole her heart, even as she wanted to shove him away from her. He had her body tipped back so she was nearly off balance and couldn’t move.

“All right, baby, stop. Don’t cry anymore.”

“You don’t understand, Savage. You said we’d find ways to compromise, but you don’t think in
terms of compromising. It’s going to be your way.”

“I told you that. From the very beginning, I was honest with you that some things had to be my way.”

“Not this. This is an emotional need, Savage. My emotional need. There’s a big difference. You promised to see to my emotional needs, remember? Isn’t that part of our relationship? Our agreement. We talked right from the beginning, and you said you would make me happy.

There is no way for me to be happy if you insist on ignoring my emotional needs.”

His thumb rubbed back and forth along her cheek in a soothing caress. She wasn’t certain who he was trying to soothe . . . her—or him. There was nothing to say. There wasn’t going to be a marriage though. She might live with him, but she wouldn’t let him put a ring on her finger.

“We’ll figure it out.” His hands went to her waist, and he helped her straighten slowly even as he slid the whip from around her. “We’ll work it out.”

She took a step away from him. “That’s what you said a few days ago, when this kind of thing came up. We didn’t work it out though, did we? We had sex, and the sex was great, but we didn’t talk about what was wrong. We didn’t resolve it.”

“Seychelle. I can’t talk about club business, no matter how much I might want to.”

“But then, you don’t really want to, do you, Savage?” she challenged.

“Damn it, Seychelle, why are you making this so fucking difficult?”

“You’re right, Savage. I am being difficult. I shouldn’t want you to care how I feel, and I sure shouldn’t care that someone wants you dead.”

“That’s a bullshit thing to say.”

“It seems that everything I say is bullshit. I’m not certain what you want me to say. I don’t want to fight. Keep your secrets, Savage. Tell them to your brothers and sisters and leave me out. I’m getting used to it. I really am. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

“Damn it, baby. We’ll find our way. Just give us some time.”

She didn’t look at him, just shrugged her shoulders and took another step toward the house and escape, because they weren’t going to really work it out. They’d have sex, and it would be great sex. It always was. It wouldn’t solve their problems though. She would feel alone more and more. She would want to discuss her business with him less and less, and there would be more resentment toward his club and the members, even though the problems she had with Savage weren’t their fault.

She glanced down at her beautiful engagement ring. The last thing they needed to do was get
married. Living together was one thing, but she refused to take a vow that wouldn’t mean anything in the long run.

“Seychelle. I can read you like a fuckin’ book.”

“You’re always so sure of yourself, Savage.”

“Because you don’t know how to guard your expression. You just looked down at your engagement ring and I never saw anyone look so fucking sad. We are going to get married.”

“I’m rethinking, just like you had to rethink things. Nothing is going to change for you, other than you’ll have everything you want. I need a full partner, Savage. I thought we’d have that. I have to rethink whether or not I can manage to be in a relationship or how far I can honestly go into this without getting all my emotional needs met. Eventually, how will that affect us, I don’t know, because I know it will affect me.”

“Damn it, Seychelle, it isn’t going to affect us, because we’re working it out. This is the first bump. We don’t run from it. That’s what we don’t do. We figure it out.”

From SAVAGE ROAD published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House
LLC. Copyright © 2022 by Christine Feehan.

Torpedo Ink

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: January 2022

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 Christine Feehan

Christine Feehan Author

I live on the beautiful Northern California coast and draw much inspiration from the beauty around me. I've always been a writer, for as long as I remember. My sisters were forced to read all of my books from the time I could write a story on paper.

I love family. I love my brothers and sisters, my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. My home was always full of kids and children give me so much joy.

I also love my "sisters of the heart", those friends who have supported me through my life, laughed with me, cried with me and loved me regardless of how crazy my life got. I am a strong supporter of women helping each other which is why I became a third degree black belt and taught self-defense to women who'd been abused.

I love people and dogs, good books and great coffee and I'm lucky to know just how blessed I am.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Best Men by Sarina Bowen & Lauren Blakely

Posted January 23, 2022 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Best Men by Sarina Bowen & Lauren BlakelyThe Best Men by Sarina Bowen, Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Jacob Morgan, Teddy Hamilton
Series: The Best Men #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Genres: M/M
Pages: 330
Length: 9 hours and 9 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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Bestselling authors Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely team up for the first time in an enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract, irresistibly sexy standalone romance between the best man and the other best man!
In my defense, I was left alone with a bottle of single-malt and a life-long penchant for protecting my baby sister. Still, that's no excuse to send ten drunk-texts on why her hasty marriage would be a mistake.
If only I had just texted my sister. But nope. I accidentally sent the message to her, her groom, and his super hot wingman.
I also used the phrase “super hot wingman,” so I’d like to die now.
Instead, I have to plan a wedding with the aforementioned hottie and share a too-small guesthouse in steamy Miami.
Three days in the sun with the cocky, charming former athlete who likes to push my buttons? Fine, two can play at that let’s-infuriate-each-other game.
Until Asher ups the stakes with one wildly sexy suggestion. A no-strings fling, then I go back to my single dad life in New York, and he returns to his star-studded one.
Sign me up.
But the more nights I spend with the other best man, the more I want days too, and that just can't happen. Especially when I find out the real reason why…
Contents Include: First times, a secret to-do list, champion-level flirting, fast cars, #eggplants, and two men who look good in formal wear.

Excerpt

In my defense, I was left alone with a bottle of single-malt and a life-long penchant for protecting my baby sister. Still, that’s no excuse to send ten drunk-texts on why her hasty marriage would be a mistake.

If only I had just texted my sister. But nope. I accidentally sent the message to her, her groom, and his super hot wingman.

I also used the phrase “super hot wingman,” so I’d like to die now.

Instead, I have to plan a wedding with the aforementioned hottie and share a too-small guesthouse in steamy Miami.

Three days in the sun with the cocky, charming former athlete who likes to push my buttons? Fine, two can play at that let’s-infuriate-each-other game.

Until Asher ups the stakes with one wildly sexy suggestion. A no-strings fling, then I go back to my single dad life in New York, and he returns to his star-studded one.

Sign me up.

But the more nights I spend with the other best man, the more I want days too, and that just can’t happen. Especially when I find out the real reason why…

Contents Include: First times, a secret to-do list, champion-level flirting, fast cars, #eggplants, and two men who look good in formal wear.

The Best Men

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: January 2022

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 Lauren Blakely

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family, including her smoking hot and funny husband and her two brilliant and kind children. She has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs — she might have four dogs, or maybe five. If she’s lucky, she’ll soon have six dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In December she’ll release UNZIPPED, in January BIRTHDAY SUIT, and in March BEST LAID PLANS.

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina's books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Immortal by Gena Showalter

Posted January 16, 2022 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Immortal by Gena ShowalterThe Immortal by Gena Showalter
Narrator: Max Bellmore
Series: Rise of the Warlords #2
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
Length: 11 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter delivers The Immortal, the second dark and sexy book in her Rise of the Warlords series, featuring a cold, merciless assassin and a stubborn harpy warrior... one fated to die by the other's hand.

Halo Phaninon, assassin of gods, is as cold and merciless as a machine. For victory, he crosses any line. When tasked to kill twelve of mythology’s fiercest monsters in twenty-four hours, Halo eagerly accepts. Except, each morning he awakens to the same day, forced to relive new horrors. Only one other person retains their memory—the beauty who threatens his iron control.

Ophelia the Flunk Out hates her disaster of a life. She’s the family disappointment, a harpy warrior without a kill and powerless—or is she? Nearly every night she’s doomed to repeat her own murder, but each morning she arises to spar with Halo, the ruthless warlord increasingly determined to save her…and lure her to his bed.

Halo’s insatiable desire for the stubborn Ophelia drives him wild…and he only craves more. If he remains in the time loop, they stay together. But if he escapes, they lose each other forever.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

A faraway realm Long ago

“Emotions are our greatest enemy.” With an unhurried stride, the headmaster paced before his charges. Students of the Order. The train of his voluminous black robe dragged behind him.

The most notable acolyte—Four—stood shoulder to shoulder with nine others in a perfectly straight line. Each boy wore a colorless tunic and loose pants; each kept his eyes focused ahead, chin up, hands locked behind his back and bare feet pressed to¬gether. None dared to take more than eight inhalations per min¬ute. The allotted amount.

Though a mere twelve years in age, Four already towered over the others. As the son of an eight-foot-tall war god, he might grow bigger than even the headmaster. If that happened…

Headmaster dies screaming.

The stern, merciless male possessed crimson skin and obsid¬ian eyes without any whites; the instructors were exact copies of him. Their only differences came from the symbols etched into their faces. Symbols that glowed when they contemplated any kind of punishment.

Headmaster never ceased glowing. “Say it,” he commanded now.

“Emotions are our greatest enemy,” the boys echoed in unison, monotone.

Four meant those words with every fiber of his being. What he wouldn’t give to rid himself of any softness. To no longer suffer the torment of grief and loss. Perhaps then he might fi¬nally forget his tenth birthday. The day invaders murdered his mother and carted him to the Order.

Here, orphaned children of “myth and legend” learned to assassinate kings and gods. The best executioners received rewards. Those who floundered were often used during target practice.

“Today, you will prove you mean what you say.” Headmaster continued his unhurried back-and-forth stride, drawing out the suspense. Testing his students, always testing. In the empty white room, his footfalls proved silent. “Shall I tell you how?”

“If you wish, Headmaster,” the boys responded, again in unison.

Four’s stomach churned, bile singeing his chest. He’d felt sick all morning. Even before he was summoned from his quarters—a small cubicle containing only a bed, nightstand, and handful of books he’d received for exemplary behavior. A sparse prison he’d come to appreciate. The less you owned, the less others could use against you. But not by word or deed did he reveal his physical discomfort. He knew better.

What would Headmaster force the students to endure today? Or worse, to do?

His skin glowed brighter as he passed Four. Five, the boy to his right, released an almost imperceptible whimper.

In a blink, the headmaster returned to the lad.

Four didn’t move. He willed his heart to maintain a slow, steady beat, lest a glaze of sweat dampen his skin, giving him away.

Headmaster purred, “Are you afraid, Five?”

Each student was known only by a number. A reminder of a terrible truth: we are easily replaced.

“No, sir,” Five said, but a slight tremor proved him a liar. “I fear nothing.”

“I’m not certain I believe you.” Headmaster lifted an arm and snapped his fingers. “But there’s a way to learn the truth.”

Instructors observed the proceedings from the back wall, lined up just like the students. A lone male eased into motion, closing the distance to stand beside his superior. Dread gave the sterile air a sharp bite.

“Whip him,” Headmaster ordered. “He’s to receive twenty lashes. If he makes a noise, cut out his tongue. If he sheds a tear, blind him.”

No one in the room revealed an outward reaction as the instructor padded behind Five. But inside, Four waged a fierce war. He liked the boy and protected him whenever possible. Of the ten students in their group, Five was the kindest. Unlike the others, he shared his rewards, no matter what they happened to be. Food. Soft blankets. Special weapons. But Five was also the weakest among them, and he was about to suffer untold agonies. Could he maintain his silence until the end of the whip-ping? Could anyone?

As the instructor unhooked a barbed rope from the belt of his robe, Four fought the urge to safeguard his friend. He knew better. He’d made this mistake once before, with another student. The moment he had intervened, he’d made everything worse. At least Five wasn’t being given an animal to raise and later kill.

The first strike landed with a whoosh. Relief sparked as silence stretched. The second and third strikes fell. Five did well, his face remaining a blank mask.

Headmaster leaned down, putting himself at eye level with his victim. “With every lash, you are being rid of your secret shame. Thank me for this opportunity.”

“Thank you, Headmaster.”

Whoosh. Crack.

Whoosh. Crack.

After the seventh strike, Headmaster slowly slid his attention to Four. He canted his head, staring hard. The symbols in his skin glowed brighter and brighter.

Four revealed nothing.

“Tell me what you think of Five’s situation,” the evil male cajoled.

“I cannot.” The calmness—the coldness—of Four’s tone chilled even him. “I think nothing of his situation.”

“Is that so?”

Whoosh. Crack. Whoosh. Crack.

Calm. Steady. Breathe in, out. “That is so.”

After searching Four’s face, Headmaster withdrew a dagger from a hidden pocket of his robe and offered the hilt. “Kill him.”

Four blinked twice. “Sir?”

“You will kill Five, or I will kill you. The decision is yours. You have one minute to decide.”

As Four held the male’s gaze, he knew two things with ab¬solute certainty. If he hesitated to do this, he would die today. If he revealed a single emotion, he would want to die.

With iron resolve, he accepted the weapon, his grip steady. He stepped backward and to the right, moving between the instructor with the whip and Five. Staring at his back—at the blood wetting his tunic.
I can do this. Four had delivered many deaths the past two years, his kill list more than double the length of anyone else’s. But then, he was born for this. And yet…

He felt as if a part of him died each time he stole another’s life.

Would he act anyway? Oh yes. Without hesitation.

Four stepped forward. Mere inches separated his chest and the ravaged back of his newest target. He reached around and gripped the boy’s chin, angling his head to the side. With his free hand, he pressed the tip of a blade into the upper dip of Five’s sternum.

A mewl of fear escaped his friend, and the churning in his stomach intensified.

“Your time runs out,” Headmaster stated.

Four blanked his mind, a grueling skill he’d worked hard to perfect. One by one, his thoughts faded to the background, his emotions dulling until he felt nothing. Only a cold, gnawing void. He calmed, and his breathing evened out. This? This was nothing. A single death among hundreds.

As the boy opened his mouth to protest or plead, Four met Headmaster’s obsidian gaze—and plunged the dagger deep. He twisted his wrist at the end. Bone cracked.

Five stiffened against him, choking sounds leaving him. In seconds—an endless eternity—he collapsed, crashing to the floor.

Blood spurted from the wound, splattering the motionless body, the floor. Four…didn’t care. He survived, whatever the cost.

One day, things would be different. Until then, Four could only bide his time…

Warm liquid pooled around his feet, and his inner cold thawed fast. The sickness returned to his belly.

“What is this I smell on you, hmm? Fear?” The headmaster swooped in and ran the tip of his nose across Four’s neck while inhaling. “No, not fear, but something.” He straightened and motioned to the instructor with the whip. “Give him twenty lashes.”

Reveal nothing. “Thank you, Headmaster.”

Already in position, the instructor struck without delay. Whoosh. Crack.

Pain splintered through Four, shooting across each of his limbs.

Whoosh. Crack. Whoosh. Crack.

He held Headmaster’s gaze until the end—and smiled. “Thank you again, Headmaster.”

Scowling, the male grazed two black claws across his cheek. “Whatever you’re feeling will boil over as soon as I turn up the heat.” Walking away, Headmaster spoke to the instructor. “Give him twenty more.”

Excerpted from The Immortal by Gena Showalter, Copyright © 2022 by Gena Showalter. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Rise of the Warlords

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: January 2022

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 Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees.


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Sunday Spotlight: Annihilation Road by Christine Feehan

Posted January 2, 2022 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 3 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Annihilation Road by Christine FeehanAnnihilation Road by Christine Feehan
Narrator: Ryan West
Series: Torpedo Ink #6
Also in this series: Judgment Road , Judgment Road, Vengeance Road, Vendetta Road, Desolation Road, Reckless Road, Savage Road, Annihilation Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 476
Length: 17 hours and 47 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

All paths lead to destruction in the new Torpedo Ink novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.
Savin “Savage” Pajari is convinced he’s not worth a damn thing. He’s not like his brothers. He’s a sadistic monster, a killer—a man no woman could truly love. So it completely throws him when a stranger risks her life for his, pushing him out of the way and taking the hit that would have sent him six feet under. If he had any kind of sense, he’d leave her alone, but Savage can’t get the woman with a smart mouth and no sense of self-preservation out of his head. With one kiss, he’s lost.
Seychelle Dubois has spent her entire life not feeling much of anything, until Savage comes along and sets her whole body on fire. Kissing him was a mistake. Letting him get close would be a catastrophe. He’s the most beautiful—and damaged—man she’s ever met. He has a way of getting under her skin, and what he’s offering is too tempting to resist.
Seychelle knows so little about Savage or the dangerous world of Torpedo Ink, but his darkness draws her like a moth to a flame. Loving him could mean losing herself completely to his needs—needs she doesn’t understand but is eager to learn. But what Savage teaches her could destroy her.

Excerpt

Savage stood there blocking her path, knowing it would be a mistake to kiss her again, but the craving was there. Seychelle just waited, not in the least concerned that she was seemingly alone with Savage, a Torpedo Ink sergeant at arms. He leaned in to her deliberately, wrapped his palm around the nape of her neck and put his lips against her ear.

“You aren’t nearly as safe as you think.”

Her blue eyes stared directly into his and there was a hint of laughter that sent his cock into a frenzy of urgent need. She wrapped her hand around his upper arm, or tried to, but her hand barely made it halfway around his biceps. That didn’t deter her. She put her lips against his ear, going on her toes to do it.

“You’re so full of shit.” She pulled back immediately. “I have work to do, my darling fake fiancé. Step aside.”

He’d never wanted to kiss a woman more. Okay, he’d never wanted to fuck a woman more. He stepped back from the temptation. She was pure sin and he needed her. He wasn’t comfortable needing anyone, let alone a woman. She had a smart mouth on her. He loved that about her. She also wasn’t afraid of him when everyone else was. He didn’t know how to take that. She even appeared to think he was amusing when he was seriously warning her. She didn’t believe he was attracted to her. That much was clear. He found himself wanting to smile again.

He let her go around him. She didn’t look back when she went inside. His brothers immediately came out of the shadows.

“What the hell was that, Savage?” Maestro demanded.

“I told you I know her,” he said.

“Yeah, you know her. You said she wasn’t one of your weird fucks. I want that woman singing in our band.”

Master nodded. “Shocked the hell out of me, but she’s damned good.”

“You can’t fuck this up for us because she’s got a nice ass,” Player said.

Keys just looked at Savage and then shook his head. “You might as well pack it in, brothers, he’s gone on this chick.”

Savage didn’t deny it. He just gave them the death stare. What was there to say? It was true, but he wasn’t sure what he was going to do about it. He wished she were one of his weird fucks. It would make life so much easier for both of them. She was far more than that. She’d never be just another one of his weird fucks.

“She’ll sing for you. Preacher needs another bartender. You said so yourself, Maestro. She can fill in when you’re not singing. She lives in Sea Haven, so that’s a plus.”

“It won’t be a plus when you kick her to the curb,” Maestro said. “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a real singer? One like her? It’s nearly impossible.”

“She isn’t kick-to-the-curb material, is she, Savage?” Keys asked.

Savage didn’t answer him. He had no idea what he was going to do with Seychelle.

“If she joins the band,” Player said, “we have an obligation to her. She’d be under our protection.”

Savage turned cold eyes on him. Inside, all the unfamiliar amusement, all the fun he’d had sparring with Seychelle, faded away to be replaced by that ice-cold rage. “No one interferes with her. She’s under my protection. What happens between the two of us is ours alone. You’re my brothers, but she belongs to me and I expect you to respect that and have my back.”

There was absolute silence. It wasn’t as if he could blame them, and worse, deep inside, he had no idea what the hell he was doing. He had no business claiming a woman. He knew it. They knew it. Half the time he couldn’t be in anyone’s company. Violence rode hard on his shoulders when the devil was on him. The death in his eyes was real. He was barely civilized and most of the time he hung on to sanity by a thread.

It wasn’t as if Seychelle was a biker bitch who knew the rules of the game. She was no patch chaser, wanting the protection of the club and some man to take care of her. She didn’t even appear all that interested in him or the club. If anything, she was more amused by him than attracted to him. He pulled back, thinking about that kiss they’d shared. The one he still tasted in his mouth. Now he wasn’t going to get her out of his mind. Not that he’d been able to before.

“Savage,” Maestro said, caution in his voice. “This woman. I don’t know that much about her, just the little that Code gave me before we came here, but she seems to be someone we ordinarily would consider off-limits.”

Savage shook his head. “She’s going to say yes to singing with you, but you just remember what I said. Seychelle belongs to me. That’s the bottom line.” He turned on his heel and stalked back into the bar. Already she was interfering with their club. That was the kind of woman she was. Shit.

From ANNIHILATION ROAD published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Christine Feehan.

Torpedo Ink

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: January 2022

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 Christine Feehan

Christine Feehan Author

I live on the beautiful Northern California coast and draw much inspiration from the beauty around me. I've always been a writer, for as long as I remember. My sisters were forced to read all of my books from the time I could write a story on paper.

I love family. I love my brothers and sisters, my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. My home was always full of kids and children give me so much joy.

I also love my "sisters of the heart", those friends who have supported me through my life, laughed with me, cried with me and loved me regardless of how crazy my life got. I am a strong supporter of women helping each other which is why I became a third degree black belt and taught self-defense to women who'd been abused.

I love people and dogs, good books and great coffee and I'm lucky to know just how blessed I am.


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