Aria Adams-Violated

Violated is the second book in a series which started with a book called The Last Rancher, but is now called Hunted. It is a standalone, but it has a connection to things that happened in Hunted, so reading Hunted will help you understand the world better, but you don’t have to. It is a scifi book that takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world. In this world, the majority of the world live in huge cities, with the rest of the world being some kind of wasteland or wilderness outside. There are still people who live in the outside, some who thrive, some who don’t. Each city has its own culture. This book takes place in an area that is associated with the city of Telona, and then the city of Novara.

Telona keeps its people on the edge of starvation and barely awake. The city is pretty much a totalitarianism, and conformity is safest. People are encouraged to not make any connections to other people, because connections can cause strife. Of course, connections will give people something to care about. The people of Telona are lied to and believe that the world outside is a total nuclear wasteland, which is why there are no resources to have enough food.

Novara, on the other hand, is pretty much the land of plenty. They have all kinds of vending machines where you can get anything that you need or want. All you have to do is go and choose what you want out of the vending machine. No money needed or anything. Novara is obsessed with sports. Any kind of sports. That’s what they do.

And so, with some background into the world, let us get into the story, yes?

Isla is a 20 year old young woman from Telona. She was an orphan and raised by machines in an orphanage where she was placed as pretty much a newborn. Her parents weren’t around for a very good reason. They didn’t have permission to have her. In Telona, you have to have a breeding permit. If you don’t have one, you are killed and your baby taken away from you. When Isla turns 18, she’s taken from the orphanage to a breeding farm, where she is put into a chair, completely sedated, and artificially inseminated until she is pregnant. She spends the next two years of her life asleep for the most part, and either pregnant or in the process of getting so. She has already had two babies.

Adam is the last doctor in the world. He was a traveling doctor with his brother, but his brother went missing 2 years ago. Adam tried to carry on in his stead, but he was taken by the people who run Telona and imprisoned in the breeding farm to take care of the sedated and possibly brain-dead women who are forcibly impregnated and then cut open to take their child. One day, as he’s caring for the women, he notices that Isla’s IV site needs to be changed, so he takes out the IV and gets ready to switch it to the other side. He leaves her alone without the sedation for a little while, because he believes that she’s brain dead. When he gets back, she’s able to talk to him. He changes out her IV, but it doesn’t take immediately. Isla saw how he stopped the drip, so she stopped it herself and tried to escape.

The guards bring her to Adam, and he says that he will train her to obey, and lies to tell them that she’s pregnant. Isla isn’t valuable in and of herself, but her offspring is. Adam can’t show any kind of kindness to Isla, but he immediately starts plotting to get them out of the breeding farm.

OK, it’s that time. This book handles some dark themes. It’s really good. I enjoyed it a lot, but I enjoy everything written by Katie Douglas, who is using Aria Adams as a pen name. Isla is a fascinating character, at once an adult and a small child. I really enjoyed watching her grow through the whole book.

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OMG, Telona sounds like a total nightmare. I mean, I wouldn’t want to live there at all. Thinking that the glorious leader can read your mind? Terrifying and scary. I’m not entirely sure that Novara is a whole lot better, especially after Hunted, but at least the people aren’t being purposely starved.

I cheered for Isla when she conquered her fear and was able to leave the hotel room. Being in Novara had to be so scary for her, especially since her entire life had been so controlled and she had never done anything that she hadn’t been told to. It took Adam a long time to figure that out. When you’ve been free your entire life, it’s hard to figure out what it’s like to have never been free, I should think.

Anyway, that’s all for today. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next in this series. I enjoy scifi and post apocalyptic/dystopian fiction. Happy reading!

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Jane Henry-Aldric

Jane Henry has shown up here with her filthy grown-up fairy tales. But today, we’re looking at her backlog and at a dark, dangerous, and sexy scifi romance called Aldric. As a note, she’ll be showing up tomorrow too, when we revisit the Black Light for Valentine’s Day. Mark that on your calendar.

R-482 is a woman from the planet of Freanoss. When the New Dawn came, all the scholars went to Freanoss. They value conformity, regularity, uniformity, and progress. The people all wear the same clothes, don’t really eat, don’t reproduce sexually, don’t do anything messy. R-482 has been sent from Freanoss to Avalere to act as a spy. She’s been told that the people from Avalere are stealing valuable resources from Freanoss. She’s supposed to get the information about what the people of Avalere are planning and then report to her government so that they can stop the Avalerians from continuing to steal.

When she comes through the portal, she changes out of her uniform white clothes and into a tunic so that she looks more like the women of Avalere. She sees a group of laughing women, and figures that she’ll blend in with those women. It seems to be working, right up until she figures out that the group of women are headed into a circle right in front of a bunch of tattooed warriors. So, R-482 decides to try to get away.

Aldric is the Warrior King. He and his men are there to choose out a mate from the women being presented to them. He sees one beautiful young woman trying to get away and decides that she’s the one for him. She keeps trying to get away from him and defies him, which means he has to punish her right out where everyone can see it happen. Then he takes his little one to his rooms where he talks to her and finds out that she has no name, just a numerical designation, so he names her Carina.

I like the story. It’s an interesting premise. It’s pretty hot too. If you like kinky fuckery and Dom-ly types, this is a good book for you to read. Aldric does take good care of Carina. I don’t necessarily like him all the time. I don’t dislike him, there are just times when I care for him a little less. I think that he’s sometimes a little harsher on Carina that he could otherwise be. He knows good and well that she’s from Freanoss and that the worlds are very different and she doesn’t know the rules of Avalere. He seems to expect her to know the rules even when they aren’t laid out. OTOH, he really does take care of her, and he’s trying to train her so that she will be obedient and safe. So, I get why he does it. He’s just one of those Dom-ly types who we love and hate all at the same time.

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I think that Aldric should’ve listened more to Carina when it came to certain things and definitely used her greater knowledge on some subjects to their advantage. It would’ve avoided some conflict, I think.

I thought that the decoy was going to be more of a problem than he was. I expected a whole betrayal of Carina, but what I expected didn’t happen. I do love what Carina did after that episode though. It was pretty awesome.

OK, I’m done for today. Go check this out.

Natalie Bennett-Savages

I’ve read some other Natalie Bennett and really enjoyed them, so I thought that I knew what I was in for. I knew that what I was going to get something dark, raw, and gritty. Savages exceeded everything I was expecting. Like I said, I thought I knew what I was in for and thought that I was prepared. But, it’s intense and dark from the very start and will knock you 10 feet away and leave your shoes and socks knocked off right where you stood. Savages did just that. It savaged me and left me raw and needing more immediately.

Calista has grown up in her father’s pseudo-religious cult. She’s done whatever her father has wanted, no matter what it was, just hoping that he would approve of her. On what may be the worst day of her young life, she sees a woman she thought of as a friend being killed in a horrible way. After that, she’s dragged out by her own brothers to be taken out. Miraculously, she manages to survive what they do to her and then drags herself away. Years later, she’s still surviving.

Roman has been the leader of the Savages. He has something against Cali’s father, and he goes out of his way to make the man’s life as terrible as possible. He may not be able to strike directly at him, but he can take bites around the edges. When something happens and he’s put face-to-face with Cali, the world they are both living in starts to implode and make huge changes in the both of them.

This book. Man. This book is really explosive. Everyone is holding back major secrets. I mean considering what we do learn about them, you know that the secrets have to be huge. The chemistry between Rome and Cali is unlike anything you may have ever seen before. I don’t think that there is anything that can explain it. The rawness and grittiness of this book also can’t be explained. I love raw, dark, dirty, and gritty, and I reveled in this book, even as it scoured me raw. I can’t wait for book 2.

There are so many things that I’m dying to know and that I’m hoping that book two answers. And no, I’m not going to really tell you what all those things are. I’ll be more than happy to tell you if you PM me about it, but that’s as far as I am going to go with it. Suffice it to say, I expect anyone else who’s reading these books to want to know all the same things that I do.

Rome is super intense, and I really want to know more of his backstory. Then again, if I know more about him, will it ruin him for me. I dunno. There’s always a fine line authors have to work with there. How much can they show us about any character without taking that character’s power away? Does taking a dark protagonist like Rome and showing him split open and spilling his secrets make him more dark or less dark?

OK, that’s all that I have to say about Savages, other than go out and buy it as quickly as you can. I don’t normally mention what I’m listening to when I’m writing a blog, but today it seems appropriate to mention that I wrote this to David Bowie’s Blackstar. It was his goodbye album and it fits this for me. So, I’m off to prepare myself to share other things with you. Meanwhile, happy reading!

 

Kit Rocha-Beyond-The People

Thursday was a brief overview of the world of the Beyond series. Today it’s all about the people. I’ll probably end up talking the most about the people of Sector 4, just because I love them so much. I love this series, it’s one I read, reread, and then read some more. I’ll go straight through the entire series and then the sequels and spinoffs. Yes, I am that person. I won’t talk too much about couples, just because I don’t want to give any spoilers away so it may seem like I gloss over some people. I’m also going to have to be careful because if I’m not, just this part will end up as 17 parts. I think I may just end up naming a few of the really key players. Of course, they are all key players, but… It’s so hard to write this post, you don’t even know! I mean, do I list all my favorite characters and couples? Do I list every single main character? Do I list them by books? I think that I will just list a few, and talk about more as I talk about the various stories. That’s probably the best way to do it.

Really, the characters are so good and so layered, and as each book goes on, we learn more about old friends and meet new ones. You can’t pick up the novels and read them out of order, but there are novellas that you can check out.

No discussion of the sectors can be complete without talking about Dallas O’Kane. He is the barbarian king of all he surveys. He rose up from nothing and created an empire on the back of his liquor. His real name is Declan, and he came from a ranch in TX, run by his mom. He eventually made his way to Eden and the sectors and started carving out his place. He took over leadership of 4 because he really needed to and now leads it as well as he can. He’s a responsible leader and does what he can to make the people of his sector have a good life. Dallas’ parties are legendary, for good reason. They turn into orgies. Really, the O’Kanes are into touching and affection, whether that means fucking or not, and there is A LOT of fucking, in any way that you can think of. Don’t let all that fool you though, Dallas is wicked smart and has a plan. He also has his queen, Lex.

Alexa Parrino, don’t call her that though, she will cut you, was born in Sector 2 and sold to Orchid House to be trained as a courtesan. Orchid House has always led 2, which means Cerys was the leader when Lex was there. Lex ran away as a teenager and lived on the streets of 3 as a thief. She was trained in just about every way you can manipulate a man, anatomy, politics, how to cut a bitch, all that kind of stuff. She is smart, tricksy, astute, and can read you in 10 seconds or less. She doesn’t just exude sex, she is sex. Dallas may be the power, but Lex is the finesse. Without either one, you don’t have the O’Kanes. She helped him build it up, after she got caught stealing from him. People who underestimate Lex end up with her knife being the last thing they see. I really want to be Lex if and when I ever choose to grow up.

If Dallas is the king, and Lex is the queen, then Nessa is definitely the O’Kane Princess. Nessa was born on Dallas’ family ranch, and he thinks of her as a little sister. Nessa and her grandfather followed Dallas up from TX. Nessa and her skills are vital to the O’Kanes and their success. She is the key to their fortune and is protected, sometimes a little much, by every O’Kane out there. The guys tend to run off anyone she’s interested in. She is their distiller and has been making the O’Kane booze since she was a teenager, taught by her grandfather. There are times that things have to happen to her alcohol that causes her pain. I like Nessa, mostly because there are things about her that I really connect with, in particular, her habit of trying new things until she gets bored, and then moves on. I’ve BTDT, and I’m pretty sure I may have made the t-shirt before I got bored.

Jasper and Bren are Dallas’ right and left hands. Jasper came out of the farms, having been sold to a farmer when he was a child. Jasper was given to Dallas and has been his good right hand and chief enforcer ever since. Bren is about as different to Jasper as you can get. He was Military Police in Eden, but was framed and kicked out. He is patient, careful, and methodical. If Dallas needs a sneak job or an assassin, Bren is the man to do it. He’s also really into pain, as in on Fight Nights, he lets he opponents beat on him for a while and then a willing volunteer takes her place in the cage with him.

Taken as a whole, the O’Kanes are a family, led by Lex and Dallas. Whether they came out of Eden, like Cruz, Noelle, Rachael, Bren, or out of the sectors, like Mad, Jade, and Ace, or out of other places like Jas and Six, they have all managed to come together and turn Sector 4 into a home and the O’Kanes into a family who accepts them and loves them.

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Kit Rocha-Beyond-Eden and the Sectors

Kit Rocha is a pseudonym for Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. They have another one as well, but that’s a subject for another day. Today we are looking at the cheerfully filthy world of the Sectors and the O’Kanes.

The Beyond series is post-apocalyptic and dystopian. In this series, the world as we know it ended in a series of solar flares, which pretty much killed off anything electrical, and pretty much ended the world. There was one city in the US which was prepared. Of course, it was prepared because they had some warning that this was happening. It was the city of Eden. Eden was supposed to be the most perfect, magical, wondrous thing ever. Of course, it wouldn’t be dystopian if that were true, now would it?

Outside of hygienic, self-righteous, sanctimonious, and puritanical Eden are the sectors. The sectors are dirty, gritty, run by different leaders, filled with gangs, and just about everything you could think of. There are 8 of them, and each one has its own flavor and its own thing.

Sector 1 is run by Gabriel Rios, the grandson of the Prophet. It’s run as a religious republic, full of love, light, and other sunshiny, sparkly things. There are a lot of artisans and crafters who live in Sector 1. Sector 1 also has Gabriel’s Riders, a group of fighters and enforcers who do Gabriel’s work. More about them later.

Sector 2 is run by Cerys, head of Orchid House. Sector 2 is all about courtesans and training girls to be courtesans. There are different Houses, specializing in different things. Generally, a House takes a young girl and spends years training her up until she gets sold to her patron. Lex was trained in Orchid House and Cerys wanted her to be her successor. We’ll learn more about Lex later too. Let’s just say Long Live Our Queen.

Sector 3, when the first book opens, is run by a guy named Trent. Pure fucking asshole. Sector 3 used to be one of the manufacturing bases for Eden until they got too uppity and Eden firebombed them. Now they are pretty much a pile of rubble. Dallas has to deal with the leaders though since the grain for his whiskey often comes from farms outside of 3.

Sector 5 makes medication and suchlike. They also make a lot of street drugs. The leader, whose name I can’t currently remember but who becomes more important in a couple of later books, is a right fucker. He likes to get young women strung out on his drugs and fuck them. He also makes sure that there is an ingredient that makes the drugs more addictive, even if they don’t need to be.

There isn’t a lot of difference between Sectors 6 and 7. They are both farming sectors, providing the majority of the food for Eden. Whatever is left, the farmers are welcome to have. However, Eden is greedy, and they want more and more and more, leaving the farmers with less and less and less.

Sector 8 is the head of tech and manufacturing. It’s run by Jim Jerrigan, a wily man who plots and schemes. We really don’t ever learn too much about him other than that, or spend much time in 8.

Outside of the sectors are the communes and illegal farms. The communes are another way for Eden to get food. Unlike Eden, which pumps contraceptives into the water, having babies is important on the communes. The more babies, the more people to work the farms and the more people who work the farms, the more Eden gets. It doesn’t matter if women wear themselves out working and having babies with the fertility drugs they are given, there are always more. Yeah, the people in Eden are a whole lot of fucking hypocrites. The illegal farms are just that. They’ll deal with just about anyone.

Outside of that, there is pretty much a wasteland. There are other people around, but there aren’t a lot of them and there aren’t a whole lot of settlements. Trade exists, but it’s hard to do, making imported goods really, really expensive.

You may have noticed if you were paying attention, that I skipped Sector 4. I did that for a reason. That’s because Sector 4 is where the majority of our stories take place. Sector 4 is led by our King, Dallas O’Kane. He’s a bootlegger and a damn good one. He has made a fortune by selling whiskey, good, better, and the absolute best ever. They also make some other kinds of liquor, but whiskey is what O’Kane is known for. He has Lex, his Queen, to help him. They met back when she tried to rob him and he caught her. But, she did help him build up his power base.

Dallas has a gang, the O’Kanes. They help him to run the sector. They are also all casually and cheerfully debauched. I take that back, some of them are debauched like it’s their job. All the O’Kanes wear tattoo cuffs around their wrists, laid by Ace, who is obscene, filthy, and talented. He uses the O’Kane logo for part of the cuff and then designs the rest of it depending on the person getting the cuffs. Each tattoo is different. Whenever a new O’Kane gets their cuffs, they drink in and have a helluva party.

The O’Kanes have a compound in which they live, make the booze, have fight night, and have their bar, the Broken Circle. The bar not only is a bar, but it’s also the setting for all kinds of shows, stripping, sex, whipping, so on and so forth. Then there’s Dallas’ party room. That’s where the O’Kanes let loose and really party. Those parties make Roman orgies look tame. Pretty much anything goes, as long as no one gets hurt more than they want, and it’s all consensual. You can have sex with anyone you want, any way you want, and in any number you want. If you want to play with a group, you can. If you want to be watched, you can. If you want to watch, you can. Basically, if it feels good, do it.

OK, I thought this was going to be a 2 parter, but I think it’s going to be a 3 parter, with part 3 on Sunday, talking about the newest book. Tomorrow is going to focus on the people of the Beyond series. Meanwhile, happy reading!

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Cari Silverwood-Claimed Possession

Cari Silverwood is becoming a frequent flyer here on In Between the Pages. I spend a lot of time in her books and her worlds. There are a lot of reasons for that. One is that I think Cari is an excellent worldbuilder. It’s easy to get involved in her worlds and characters. And the Machinery of Desire series is no different. I got dragged into the world and it wouldn’t let me go.

Claimed Possession is the second book in this series, and wow. It packs a punch. There are so many things to unpack in this book. I mean, you get the whole human slave in a slave world series, then you get the dark alpha hero/anti-hero and his journey, and then you get the heroine’s journey. I see layers, and I love layers.

OK, so let’s just jump right in here. Here we are, back on Aerthe. Aerthe is an Earth-like planet. There are three groups of people who live on Aerthe, the Mekkers, the Grounders, and the Scavs.

The Mekkers live in huge landships called the Swathe. There are a few swathes, each made up of more than one ship. They never stop moving, harvesting and mining as they move. The Mekkers are not native to Aerthe, and she hates them. Aerthe generates magic, and when the Mekkers stay in one place for too long, Aerthe gets after them. The Mekkers arranged the portal for the humans to be brought through. The portal shines the humans up real pretty when they come through. Their hair and nails are kinda glowy, so it’s quite obvious that they are humans. In the first book, the Mekkers ruled that humans are property.

Grounders and Scavs are both native to Aerthe. Grounders are settled into villages and other communities. Scavs are nomads, formed into groups led by the strongest leader, and they can and will challenge the leader for leadership. The Scavs tend to be pretty wild and will raid Grounder settlements and take/sell slaves. They also go scavenge through old cities that were destroyed in the war between the Mekkers and the people of Aerthe, back in the day.

When Emery, Fern, Sawyer and the other humans were brought through the portal, they were sent to different places. Emery was given to a master in Acquired Possession. (Right now only 99 cents on ‘zon, go grab it) Sawyer was given as a slave to the Grounders. So, let’s catch up with Sawyer.

When the book opens, Sawyer is in a caravan with a bunch of other slaves. He wants to escape, because of course he does. The caravan stops so that everyone can take a rest break. When the slaves are let out, Aribelle, the caravan owner’s niece happens to walk by. Sawyer, being a big of a dicklord, takes a piss at her feet and hits her shoes. He manages to get a key away from a guard so that he can escape, but Ari sees it and tells the guard. Then she orders Sawyer to be castrated. Right after she says that all hell breaks loose. Scavs are attacking. Sawyer drags Ari down and under a wagon and saves her. When the raid is over, Sawyer comes out and tries to get in good with the Scavs and tells them that Ari is his. The Scavs tell him that he will have to wait to talk to their leader.

You all know the routine now. I’m about to put a pretty picture up, and after that you get all the spoilery goodness. Sawyer is a very imperfect hero. He’s got some serious anger problems with more than a little desire for vengeance. That gets taken out on Ari, who both does and doesn’t like it. I think he may have gone a little far sometimes, but I totally get his point of view on it. He does question himself at times, and tries to figure out where morality on Earth and morality on Aerthe should lie and how he can live with both of them. There is some spectacular sex. There are spankings and more. There is a bloody cock. There is also a hard won HEA. This story is a great journey, not just for Sawyer and Ari, but also for JI, a recurring character. Like I said, layers on layers, so awesome. Cari is devious that way.

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If you came down here, then you must not be too worried about any spoilers I may drop from my fingertips.

OMG, the bloody cock scene. I got to read it in Cari’s group before I read the ARC and oh my fucking shit, it was hot. I mean, Ari didn’t like blood, Sawyer rubbed blood on his cock and made her suck it. It’s so wrong, and yet so completely right, and very much hot.

I like that Sawyer starts to realize that he cares for Ari, and that what he wants to do to her has gone past revenge, like it started out, and into he wanted her to be his forever. The fact that he freed Ari and then wooed her was really impressive to me. It let Ari have her own journey from an angry forced slave to a willing and eager submissive who wanted to belong to Sawyer.

And JI? I cannot wait to see what Cari is going to do with him. I liked him when we met him in AP, but he was basically a child, really. In CP, he’s a teenager and then adult. Now he’s a very, very devious, sneaky, and tricksy adult. With a cock.

I wonder, with Gio’s new portal skill, if more humans will be going back through the portal. I kind of hope not because I like Aerthe. I wonder what’s happened to Fern, Sawyer’s sister. Last we knew, in AP, she was stabbed and then thrown off the ship to die. But JI was able to give some of the mechlings medical training, so maybe she lived? I want to know. I need to know. I need to know more about Gio too. Obviously, she was there before Emery, Sawyer, Fern et al, so how did she get there? So many questions, so few answers.

Alrighty, I could go on and on, but then you wouldn’t need to go to Amazon and read this book, and you really need to do that. And grab AP while you’re at it since it’s on special for the next 4 days. Trust me, if you like dark, gritty, and spanky, this will do it for you.

Tomorrow we have a book from Summer Greystone, so keep an eye out for that. Meanwhile, happy reading.

Kate Daniels Reread pt. 2

My next-to-last post was all about the world of Kate Daniels and such. Today we’re actually going to get into the books. I’ve read the first three, but this review may or may not talk about all three. From now on, the reviews will just be about one book at a time. I just got ahead in my reading. So, without further ado, let’s start reviewing!

Magic Bites

Magic Bites is the first book in the series. In it, we are introduced to Kate, a merc. She’s sitting in her house in Savannah, GA, drinking when a vampire shows up to ask if she’s talked to her guardian lately. Ghastek was the one who was navigating the vampire. He and Kate are going to have an interesting relationship over the series, so remember his name.

She rushes to Atlanta to find that Greg Feldman, the man who was her guardian after her father died, has been gruesomely murdered. He was the resident Knight-Diviner for the local chapter of The Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid. The Order is kind of like modern day Templars, only slightly less merciful. They will provide mercy, but sometimes that mercy is provided at the edge of a sword. The Order was founded right after the tech fell and the shift started. It is very regimented. Greg did get Kate into the Order’s Academy, and she tested out at electrum level, which is the highest you can go, and there have only ever been like 8. However, she walked out and became a merc, which drove a wedge in between her and Greg. There will be more about the Order in reviews to come. Anyway, she goes to the head of the local chapter of the Order to get help and ends up with permission to work with them to find Greg’s killer.

On the way to the solution, she goes to the morgue and meets Crest. She goes to Unicorn Lane and meets Curran, greeting him by saying “Here, kitty, kitty.” She goes to the Keep and meets Derek Gaunt, faithful, teenage, werewolf sidekick. And she goes to the Casino and has to talk to Nataraja. More to come in the spoiler section.

Magic Burns

In Magic Burns, a seven-year flare is coming. A flare is several days when the magic is extremely high. It’s a high peak of magic that plateaus during that time. Saiman, Kate’s magical expert, metamorph, and deviant extraordinaire, calls it the time of the gods. And he’s not wrong. During the flare, shifters have a hard time controlling themselves, Navigators have a harder time controlling their vampires, and magic users and magical people, like Kate, get a huge power boost.

This book starts out with Kate doing a merc job partnering Jim, a were-jaguar and the chief of security for the Pack. They are trying to track down a madman with a salamander. A salamander is a magical creature that starts fire. Just as Jim and Kate catch their firebug, he gets shot with a mysterious black arrow. Then Jim gets paged by someone in the Pack and has to leave. Remember, with the Pack, it’s us against them, and for Jim, he will drop everything when the Pack calls. He’s the Alpha cat and the security chief, so he’s super-duper responsible.

Later, Derek comes to ask Kate for help because someone has stolen maps from the Pack. Their maps are uber-accurate, and highly sought after. This person poofed in, grabbed the maps, and poofed out. While she was trying to figure out how to help with the maps, she runs across a street shaman named Red who had helped her a little bit in the last book, and his girlfriend, Julie. Julie’s mom is missing and Red tells Kate to take care of her. More in the spoiler section.

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes starts out a few months after the flare. Kate is headed home from her job at the Order. She runs across Jim and some other shifters picking up a dead body. She offers them help, Jim turns her down. When she gets home, she gets a call from Saiman, telling her to come pick up something of hers. It turns out it’s Derek, who has snuck into his apartment to steal some tickets to the Midnight Games. The Games are an underground fighting tournament. In it, teams go into the Pit and fight each other. Derek has been working undercover in the Games and has found a young woman he’s trying to help, Livvie. That’s why he wants the tickets. Saiman extorts Kate into going to the Games with him, and Derek asks her to give Livvie a note from him. While this sounds like a minor little thing, it turns out to be pretty important.

So, we’ll leave it here until the spoiler section, which, as this is getting long, is going to actually show up tomorrow, I think. I don’t like to read long blog posts, so I don’t want to write them for people.

There is romance in the series, but there isn’t really any in the first books. Kate and Curran get a little kissy face going on, but nothing else really. It’s not until the fourth book that their romance really gets going. In these books they are still dancing around each other and kind of confrontational. Really, I think foreplay for them involves arguing and physically fighting with each other, in a sparring way, not in a bad way.

It’s a good series, well-written and enjoyable. The way the books work, they build on each other. Each book adds more to the characters and to the world, so there is always something new to find out. I really love that.

So, here is where this quick overview of books 1-3 ends, and we get ready for tomorrow’s post, which is going to be spoiler-iffic. And I’m going to leave you with this beautiful picture of a Barbary lion, just because.

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