Candace Blevins-Leashed & An Elegant Weapon

Today we have a two-fer from Candace Blevins. I’ve been following on of her stories on Radish for a while now, and if you like paranormal and kink, Slave is a good choice. It’s got sex in just about every combination and power dynamic you can think of, set against a backdrop of a Fae court. Go check it out. Also, some of her books were up on Wattpad last I checked, so check that out too.

Today, though, we are talking about Leashed and An Elegant Weapon. They are part of her Dark Underbelly series and are directly connected. I suspect that you could read An Elegant Weapon without having read Leashed, but you would get much more enjoyment reading Leashed and then An Elegant Weapon. Talking about the one really won’t spoil the other in any significant way, so there should be no problem with me talking about them both.

Leashed

So, let’s jump right in with Leashed, shall we? This is primarily an M/m book, when it comes down to relationships and sex. There are just a few sex scenes, and they aren’t as graphic as you may see in some other books, but they are really hot, I think that it’s mostly because of the connection and caring that you see between Spencer and Abbott.

Abbott is a master vampire who had to take the area of Maryland as his own, adding to his already vast territory. This leads to a lot of problems, including the fact that there are dozens of blood-bound werewolves, many of whome don’t have the ability to control their inner wolves on their own. That means that Abbott has to figure out a way to help them with that. One way is that he binds them to himself. That’s what he does with Spencer.

Spencer was taken as a child and brought into his former Master’s house. There he was turned into a werewolf and trained as a sex slave and one who could take a lot of pain. Because he was a werewolf, he could be used hard and fed from and then forced to change and heal. When Abbott takes him into his house, he is drawn to Spencer. He wants to be with Spencer, but the problem is that Spencer is bound to him and he quite literally can’t tell him no.

However, something happens that changes their whole relationship.

An Elegant Weapon

So, AEW is Holly and Bran’s story. Holly’s first appearance was in Leashed.

Holly was a meth junky that Abbott found passed out in the park. He decided that he was going to take her home, get her clean, and give her a chance. She had already burnt through all her bridges with her family, and there really wasn’t much else out there. So, to Abbott’s house she goes. He puts her in Spencer’s care and gives her a schedule of things to do. However, she doesn’t really meet Spencer and Abbott’s expectations. Because of that, Abbott has another idea as to how to help her. He decides to let her spend the rest of her 6 month period with Bran.

Bran is one of Abbott’s trusted allies. He’s also sadistic and the only person in Abbott’s territory who can keep slaves. Bran has harsher methods to help Holly out than Abbott does. He also doesn’t have the same morals that Abbott does. He has no problem with forcing a bit on Holly or having noncon sex. She is going to his house as a slave, which means she’s petty much anyone’s meat.

When they get to Bran’s house, he decides that he sees something in her, as she’s fighting him. He has one of his men start training her to fight.

OK, I’m going to split off here. There will be some spoilers at the end, but I’m going to be careful about what I say, because we all know how I feel about leaving spoilers, and these books are fairly short. I enjoyed both of them. They are definitely worth hitting up King Zon and clicking on them.

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When it comes to L, there is a definite HEA, but then you get to AEW and it isn’t as clearly a romance. However, I do put it in that category, for a couple of reasons. One is that Bran and Holly are both getting their needs met in a beneficial manner and they have found a partner who works for them. The sex scenes are interesting. There are some MF scenes, but there is also F/m and M/F/m stuff going on. Holly is a sadist, as trained by Bran who is also a sadist. What she does with the slave that Bran gives her is really great. I need to see more of what she does to him.

The stories are pretty quick reads, and I’m going to have to go read the rest of the books, as well as all the other related books. I really enjoyed the books, the characters, the magical system, and the universe.

OK, that’s it for today. Got all kinds of good stuff coming up, so keep your eyes open. Meanwhile, happy reading

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Adaline Raine-Saving Abby, Marked by Fate Bk. 1

Adaline Raine has brought us a nice Halloween treat, ducklings. This story is included in the box set, Moonlight Magic, which is packed full of Halloween thrills and chills.

Abby has been different her whole life. She never gets sick, and if she gets hurt, she heals almost immediately. This led her mother to think that she didn’t feel a lot of pain because, well, if you heal that quick, you must not hurt, right? Wrong! Anyway, as an adult, Abby decides to try and find out more about herself and her condition. She’s spent years doing research, and finally found someone who will talk to her about it. On the night that she is supposed to meet her mysterious contact, she ends up being attacked. Raven tells Abby that she is now Raven’s. However, before anything can happen, her incredibly hot boss, Chase roars up and saves her. He yells several things to Raven about her crimes and that he will end her if she doesn’t leave Abby alone, and that Abby is his.

Chase is a multi-gazillionaire workaholic. He is secretive and doesn’t do a lot of interviews so no one knows anything about him. All his employees gossip and speculate about him. Their ruling theory is that he is gay. He knows a lot more about Abby and her situation than he’s letting on. He tells her she needs to do certain things to stay safe, but Abby is headstrong. However, when Raven comes after her again, she’s more than a little frightened.

OK, we’re going to part ways here. I liked this story. Interesting view on vampires. It can be hard to write vamps since they are always there and have been written about 20 different ways, but I like Adaline’s way. I also like the marks of fate. It’s going to be an interesting series. There is sex, violence, and cursing, all the goodies. However, I wouldn’t classify it as dark, paranormal isn’t necessarily dark. Sexy, yes, but not dark. The box set is only $0.99, so check it out.

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Totally cool pic, right? I really liked it.

Anyway, there were some scenes that I was like damn, Adaline, WTF did you just do? One of them is when Chase is trying to teach Abby to defend herself. I mean, woah. That was… yeah. I have to admit, I would’ve freaked out too, just like Abby did, because.. However, it did help her out when push came to shove and she was totally badass about it too.

I really did enjoy this story. It was a nice love story, but it didn’t go smoothly into their HEA, which I like. There were bumps and bruises and misunderstandings. I really prefer the bumps and bruises more than smooth sailing because it is more realistic to me. None of us have ever had a smooth path to our HEAs, right? I know mine wasn’t. And while I’m talking about unsmooth paths, let me take a second to wish my darling husband happy 23rd anniversary. That’s the vampire one, right? Totally stakes to protect us? Or is it the zombie one, where I get another sword?

That’s all I have to say today. We have some intense stories coming up. We have an age play story from Allysa Hart, who is new to me, Kneel from Dani Rene, and Exalted from Sansa Rayne, as well as more from Kit Rocha and the world of Sector 4. 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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Have Mercy! The World of Patricia Briggs

Welcome to another entry in my UF category, saga, whatever you want to call it. Anyway, today is Patricia Briggs and the world of Mercedes Thompson, which also includes the Alpha and Omega books, since they are a spin-off of the series.

At first glance, Mercedes Thompson looks like a Native American mechanic who specializes in working on Volkswagens. And yes, she’s heard all the jokes about Mercedes the mechanic who works on German cars. But, when you start to look deeper at her, you find out that there is a lot more to her than you think. One of those things is that she turns into a coyote. Unlike the werewolves in this world, which take a long time to change and who go through a lot of pain during their change, Mercy can change immediately, with no pain at all. That’s because unlike the werewolves, who have to be changed into being a werewolf, Mercy’s power as a skinwalker is innate. In the first book, we learn that her mother didn’t know what to do when she went into see her baby and found a coyote pup in Mercy’s crib instead of Mercy.

Because of that fact, Mercy isn’t brought up by her mother. She had an uncle who knew Bran, the Marrok. The Marrok is the Alpha of Alphas. He is the head of all the werewolves in the US, and while he doesn’t rule the other countries, he does have some influence, mostly because he is very old and very powerful. And when I say very old, I mean centuries, as in double digits of centuries. Grendel from Beowulf may be based on Bran. Anyway, he has a pack in Montana and finds Mercy a place with a foster family, where she spends her childhood until she’s a teenager when she gets sent to live with her mother and her mother’s family, in Washington State.

Back to Bran for a minute. Bran is Welsh and has two sons, Samuel and Charles. Charles is the only born werewolf. His mother was a Native American and had her own magic. She managed to hold off the change while she was pregnant so that she could give birth. Generally, female werewolves can’t carry children because the change is too violent. Charles has his own magic through his mother, and his change is more like Mercy’s, and he can come back fully clothed. He’s only a couple of hundred years old. He is also the main character of the Alpha and Omega series, with his wife Anna. She is a rare Omega wolf who is outside of the normal pack structure and acts as a calming influence. Omegas can help out with wolves who are out of control.

Samuel is Bran’s older son and isn’t too much younger than his father. When Mercy was a teenager, he romanced her and she fell in love with him. He wanted to have children, and he saw Mercy as a way to do that, since she wouldn’t lose her children due to her shifting, since her powers are in-born.

Mercy’s garage used to be owned by Zee, a fae who identifies as a gremlin. He’s one of the few fae who can handle touching cold iron. Zee has a long and storied history that he keeps pretty secret. He is powerful enough that the Grey Lords, the leaders of the fae, don’t like to bother him much. The fae are out and have been for years, and many of them live in reservations. The one nearest her is in Walla Walla.

One of Mercy’s loyal customer is Stephan, who loves Scooby Doo and owns a VW bus that has been painted to look like the Mystery Machine. He also just happens to be a vampire, and owes allegiance to Marsilla. Stephen and Mercy are friends.

And that brings us to Adam Hauptmann. Adam is Mercy’s neighbor. He is also the Alpha of the Tri-Cities pack. He also declared that Mercy is his mate. Mercy thinks it’s just to protect her and doesn’t realize how serious it is that he did that. He gets over-protective and she does what she can to annoy him, like leaving an old VW in a field between their homes that she vandalizes, just to ruin his view. Spoiler, Mercy does eventually find out how serious Adam is about the mate thing.

I really love these books, and I run through them about once a year. Patricia Briggs has great world building, and not only has characters you love to love, but she also has characters you love to hate, *coughChristiecough*. While there is sex and language in the books, they are relatively mild, and absolutely kink free. There is violence, but that’s to be expected in books like these.

The orders of the books is:

Mercy

  • Moon Called
  • Blood Bound
  • Iron Kissed
  • Bone Crossed
  • Silver Borne
  • River Marked 
  • Frost Burned
  • Night Broken
  • Shifting Shadows
  • Fire Touched
  • Silence Fallen 

Alpha and Omega

  • “Alpha and Omega”  published in On the Prowl and Shifting Shadows 
  • Cry Wolf
  • Hunting Ground 
  • Fair Game
  • Dead Heat 

Coming up in the next couple of days, reviews of two ARCs, Tears of Surrender by Sophie Kisker and Kavven by Hannah Davenport.