**I received gifted copies of these books from the author in return for an honest review. You can read the review here **
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Number of pages: 338 e-book
Word Count: 111 K
Cover Artist: Scott Carpenter
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The one man she wants is the one man destined to destroy her.
Sooner or later we all end up dead. Jace Cutler doesn’t have the luxury of staying that way. After receiving a fatal stab wound, he awakens in a hospital room in Portland, Oregon, with no memory and a big hole where his soul used to be. Worst of all is the glow. Everyone is surrounded by a strange white aura he hungers to possess, none more compelling than the one enveloping Dr. Lia Benson.
Lia has always been ruled by reason, refusing to put stock in such nebulous things as destiny. Until Jace dies in her arms, then miraculously comes back to life. Whenever he’s near, her soul responds and her body burns. And she’s consumed by odd dreams she’s convinced are Jace’s lost memories.
When Lia is kidnapped, Jace tracks her and discovers a shocking explanation for who—and what—he is. Something no longer human, a dark legacy that until now has lain dormant within him. Something that could destroy the one woman he’d sacrifice everything to protect.
Warning: Contains bone-melting sexual tension, scary battle scenes, heartrending emotion guaranteed to keep you turning the pages well into the night, and a positively divine hero who may just steal your soul.
He wasn’t in bed beside her. He’d slipped out of the room so quietly, she hadn’t heard him walk away, which was quite an accomplishment because she was a very light sleeper. A sense of loss she couldn’t explain swamped her, so she shot out of bed and went in search of him. He couldn’t have run off. Not again. Not before she could sort this out.
She found him in the kitchen, sitting at the table, staring at his joined hands. Relief flooded her veins. “I thought you left.”
“I considered it.” He refused to meet her gaze. “But I’ve got nowhere else to go.”
Heat again. Whenever she was near him, warmth spread around her heart like a pocket of sunlight. Crazy. Total insanity was what this was. Jace Cutler was all wrong for her. Hadn’t she seen what he’d done to Cassie? Even worse, her sister was still hung up on the guy.
“I can find out where you live, if that’ll help—”
“Can’t stay there.” He shook his head, ran his fingers through his hair until it stood out in uneven tufts that begged to be smoothed out. “First place they’ll look.”
Now it was her turn to be frazzled. “Who?”
“Don’t know. Them. The things that are after me.”
“Jace, you’re not making any sense. Let me take you back to the hospital, run that MRI—”
“No.” The finality in his voice silenced her. “If you don’t want me here, I’ll go. But there’s no goddamn way I’m going back to that hospital.” There was steel in his tone and a passion that bordered on fury.
He must’ve noticed the startled look in her eyes, because a mouthful of air whooshed out of him. “Sorry. I’m not myself today. Whoever the hell that is.”
Compassion prevailed over nerves, and she approached him. “At least let me take a look at that wound, make sure it’s not infected.”
He nodded noncommittally. Pulling a chair beside him, she prepared to help him the only way she could. Her spine tingled at the thought of what she would find when she peeled off the bandage. His was the strangest burn she’d ever seen. “Don’t move,” she ordered, then proceeded to unwrap the gauze.
Her hand suddenly stilled, surprise and disbelief lancing through her. The burn had healed. His skin was pink and virtually intact, marred only by a thin, silver scar where the wound had been. She traced the mark with her finger. An electric charge instantly traveled up her arm and shook her body. “I think I’m hallucinating.”
He slanted a glance at his arm, reached over to touch it. His fingers grazed hers, and the heat increased tenfold. “Then we’re both trapped in the same nightmare.”
“I don’t know how to help you,” she voiced honestly. “I don’t understand any of this.”
“Just don’t bail on me.” A river of pain, wrapped in a silent plea, swam in his eyes.
She felt him then, the boy in her dreams—felt his isolation, his self-loathing, the soul-ravaging desire to be something he wasn’t—and she knew beyond a doubt the flashbacks she was having belonged to him. Somehow, in that one moment when death had stood vigil between them, their spirits had merged—undeniably, irrevocably. Whether they liked it or not, they were connected, linked by an energy they couldn’t see or touch or taste but was more real than anything either of them had ever known before.
And it scared the crap out of her.
“Why you?” Emotion strangled her voice. “Of all the men out there, why did it have to be you?”
She didn’t need to explain; he understood. Need flared in his gaze, and for one endless heartbeat she was sure he was going to kiss her. His hands rose to bracket her face. His head fell forward. The world held its breath…or maybe it was just her. Some primal intuition told her that once his mouth covered hers, there would be no going back. The bond would be cemented, the deal sealed. Two independent entities would become one.
“If I asked you to kiss me, would you do it?” His words caressed her lips.
“Yes.” No hesitation. No doubts. Just honesty.
“Because you want to or because I told you to?”
She wagged her head in confusion. “Does it matter?”
“Because I don’t know what’s real anymore.” He released her, and disappointment rippled through her. “I’m not what you need. I’ll only drag you down. That’s what I do. I don’t need my memories to know that.”
He stood, walked to the window and stared outside, where a blanket of clouds hovered beneath a flickering sun. “I destroy everything I touch.”
She wanted to refute his claim, but how could she, when everything inside her insisted he was right? What scared her was how little she cared. She needed to be near him, and damn the consequences. She’d always been the reasonable one, the responsible sister, the one who thought things through. But right now recklessness invaded her psyche, steamrolled every word of caution screeching in her mind.
“I’m not afraid of you.” He was dangerous, no question about that, but for some inexplicable reason she felt safe with him.
“You should be.” He took a few predatory steps toward her, then twined his fingers in her hair in a gesture that was passionate enough to be painful. “I can get inside your head, make you do anything I want.”
“I doubt that.”
“I’ll prove it.” A wicked glint deepened his eyes to emerald. “Take off your robe.”
She crossed her arms over her chest, dug her heels in, literally and figuratively. “Cassie told me you have a way of always getting what you want from women, but this shocking display of overconfidence is a little much. Even for you.”
Surprise clouded his features. “It doesn’t work on you.” She couldn’t tell if what she caught in his voice was pleasure or regret.
“What doesn’t work on me?”
“Nothing. Forget it.”
Irritation swept in to tighten her stomach muscles, followed closely by exasperation. “You can really drive a girl mad, you know that?”
A tight laugh resonated in his chest. “You’ve got no idea.”
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61921-250-3 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-61921-681-5 paperback
Number of pages: 301 e-book
Word Count: 100 K
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Save her life…or save mankind. His choice could cost him his soul.
For nearly two centuries, Marcus has been the Watchers’ most faithful soldier. Sworn to protect humanity, driven by an unrelenting compulsion to atone for past sins, he has rarely found a compelling reason to question his mission, let alone defy his leader.
His partner, Regan, is his exact opposite, an enigma he longs to solve. A free spirit and reckless to a fault, Regan acts first and thinks later. Her smart mouth and tender heart have fascinated Marcus for decades, but the Watchers’ strict vow of celibacy has forced him to ignore the sizzling attraction between them. Until now.
When Regan goes rogue to protect a very special little boy, Marcus is forced to make an impossible choice—commit an act of treason or watch the woman he secretly loves die.
Hunted by enemies and allies alike, Regan and Marcus run for their lives, fighting to thwart an age-old prophecy and guard a boy whose destiny may very well be to destroy the world…or save it.
Warning: Contains violent battle scenes, angels with twisted agendas, nail-biting suspense, intense emotion, burning-hot sexual tension, and a sexy, stubborn hero who would rather face death than admit what’s in his heart.
Marcus found Regan standing at the top of one of the numerous cliffs that barricaded the Watchers’ complex, staring down at the sea, her features pinched with concentration. The rain had finally stopped, but dampness still hung in the salt-laden air. A thin mist hugged her feminine figure, making moisture bead on her skin. She looked intangible, as elusive as the fog encompassing her. Regan was so strong and capable, he sometimes forgot how delicate she was.
The sight of her standing so close to the edge triggered all his protective instincts, and something else—the forbidden desire to touch. “Penny for your thoughts,” he said, burying his fists in his jacket pockets, where they wouldn’t be tempted to stray.
She smiled but didn’t turn to look at him. “Is that all they’re worth?”
“You drive a hard bargain. How ’bout a quarter?”
She laced her arms across her chest as the sun slowly set behind red-hued clouds. “What’s going to happen to him, Marcus?”
He didn’t have to ask her who she meant. Ever since they’d found Ben cowering in that kitchen, the boy had dominated her thoughts, maybe even her heart. Marcus had never believed it was possible for their kind to love, but recently he’d been forced to revisit that assumption. He’d seen it firsthand with Jace and Lia, and now he was seeing it again with Regan. Maybe one didn’t necessarily need to have a soul in order to love. Maybe just the echo of it was enough, similar to a phantom limb that continued to throb long after it was severed.
“Cal hasn’t come to any decisions yet,” he told her.
A brisk breeze blew, sending her curls rioting around her face. Again, he was seized by the urge to reach out to her, to smooth back her hair, to run the pad of his thumb across her mouth.
A mouth meant to be kissed.
He gave himself a mental kick, focused his attention on the churning waves below. He had no business kissing Regan. No business even thinking about it. When he’d taken the blood vow, he’d made a conscious choice to swear off sex, same as all those who bore the Watchers’ mark.
Only Jace and Lia seemed exempt from this oath, and Marcus couldn’t for the life of him figure out why. He’d seen Cal punish his followers for far less a crime. If there was one thing his leader demanded, it was absolute loyalty.
Regan picked up a pebble, then flung it over the cliff into the restless ocean. “Do you believe in destiny?”
The question took him off guard. “I’m not sure. I know Cal swears by it.”
“I didn’t ask about Cal. I asked about you.” She ran her fingers through her hair, exactly as he’d imagined himself doing. “Cal’s always preaching about fate, and for the most part, I believe him. But deep down, there’s this inkling of doubt, and it gets me thinking sometimes. If everything really is preordained, what happens to free will? Does it even exist or are we just being strung along?”
“When did you go all philosophical on me?”
She inhaled deeply, drawing his attention to the gentle swell of her breasts. Ignoring the kick beneath his ribs, he looked past her, fixing his gaze on the rocky shore again.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve been having this feeling lately, like there’s something I’m supposed to do, but I’m not sure what that is. I only know it involves Ben. He’s important somehow.”
He’d been having the same feeling, but he refrained from telling her. The last thing he wanted was for her to grow even more obsessed with the boy. In their world, obsession and impulsiveness often spelled disaster.
“Regan, you need to trust Cal to do the right thing. You know the drill—no Watcher can deviate from the plan. If you do anything, anything that compromises the mission, you will be labeled a Rogue. And you know better than anyone how the Watchers deal with Rogues.”
They hunted them down and exterminated them. The idea of that happening to Regan tore a painful strip out of him. He’d spent too many years training her, working alongside her, fighting to keep her alive, to lose her now. Had she been capable of reading his thoughts, she would’ve argued that she was the one always bailing him out of trouble, and she would’ve been right. She’d saved him more times than he could count. They were a team, more in tune than most, able to regenerate each other with nothing more than a touch, thanks to the Watchers’ bond.
The truth was, he couldn’t picture his life without her.
Losing the battle, he clasped her arms and turned her to face him. “Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.”
She tensed at his touch, inclined her head to look at him. “Define stupid.”
Those sweet-looking lips hovered inches below his, too damn appealing to ignore. Right there and then, standing at the edge of a deadly overhang ensnared by Regan’s smoky gaze, Marcus understood the precise meaning of stupidity.
He was tempted to demonstrate, but he didn’t. Releasing her, he secured a safe distance between them. “Just think before you act. That’s all I ask.”
She visibly deflated, and he could’ve sworn disappointment momentarily flittered across her face. Above them, the sun’s dying rays struggled to pulse against a sky determined to suffocate them. Regan grabbed another pebble and sent it whizzing through the air with a note of finality. “Thinking is overrated.”
A bitter laugh rumbled in his throat. If he wasn’t so damned disciplined, he would’ve agreed.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Number of pages: 151
Word Count: 41 K
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Born to hunt and destroy…until the light of one soul reawakens his own.
Adrian knows he once possessed a soul, but it abandoned him the day he was murdered. The day he was reborn as a Rogue, shunned by humans and hunted by his own kind. By night he feeds the darkness inside him by finding and snuffing out corrupt souls, perfectly content to live as an outcast—until a random act of violence unites him with a woman who makes him feel.
Angelica Paxton believes everyone deserves a second chance. Even her rescuer, a mysterious stranger with hypnotic powers, an unsettling ability to invade her dreams, and a shocking secret. Much as her body wants to succumb to Adrian’s seductive charms, she can’t. Not without breaking his newly awakened heart.
Adrian swears to protect Angie from his kind, even if staying by her side means volunteering at the center where she works to reform the very souls he has vowed to crush. Even if it means abandoning the shadows for the light. Even if that light exposes the darkest threat he’s ever faced. One from which he is powerless to save her…
Warning: This book contains flying subway cars, a woman in jeopardy, a relentless villain who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants, and a dark, sexy hero who could very well haunt your dreams and steal your heart.
Blood snaked around their feet, leaking from the two corpses and saturating the air with a thick, coppery stench. Adrian hated the smell of copper as much as he hated the substance itself. At least it wasn’t angel’s blood. Thank heavens for small favors.
The girl continued to watch him with wide, expectant eyes that were speckled with green and gray and a hint of brown around the pupils. Those eyes sucked him in, distracted him. Again he wondered why she hadn’t fled the scene yet. What did she care if he killed the men who’d assaulted her? He knew what they would’ve done to her given the chance. They would’ve raped her repeatedly, then left her broken and bleeding beneath the subway stairs.
But she did care. He could tell by the way those deep, fascinating eyes misted. “No one has the right to decide who lives and who dies,” she whispered. “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
Her words awakened feelings inside him he’d believed long dead. Compassion. Guilt. The desire to see approval in another’s eyes. Adrian wasn’t ruled by compassion, he didn’t succumb to guilt, and he most certainly had no desire to impress anyone, especially a human. So this sudden gush of neediness and remorse jolted him more than the gunshot had. It threw him off his game, and he did something that surprised even him. “Go. Get out of here,” he rasped in a rare display of mercy. “Both of you.”
The delinquent didn’t budge, and neither did the woman.
“I’m doing you a favor,” he said, looking pointedly at the rough, unshaven youth. Around his head, the kid wore a red bandana, and tattoos bruised his neck and arms. “Don’t blow it. If I catch you hurting anyone again, if you as much as witness another act of violence and do nothing to stop it, I’m coming after you.”
The guy nodded feebly, finally awakening from his trance, then scampered up the stairs, leaving Adrian alone with the woman.
Exhaling the breath she’d been holding, she released his arm and collapsed against the nearest wall. She brought her hand to her mouth, tried to settle her racing heart. An ordinary man wouldn’t have been able to hear her unsteady pulse from this distance, but Adrian was no ordinary man. Her heartbeat pounded inside his skull like the choppy notes of a drum at the hands of an inexperienced player.
The surprising urge to comfort her gripped him. He wanted to reassure her that everything would be all right, but he didn’t know how. Adrian didn’t belong in the human world, had spent his entire existence policing its perimeter like a well-oiled machine. The human heart was as much a mystery to him as the universe itself.
“Are you all right?” Dumb question, but it was all he could think to say.
A thin stream of blood dripped from her nose, and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. “I’m okay.” Despite her assertion, her words lacked conviction. “Just a little shaken. Not to mention confused.”
She rummaged through her purse and pulled out a tissue, which she pressed to her bleeding nose. “How did you do that?”
“Do what?” He connected with her mind, attempted to convince her that what she’d witnessed was a murder-suicide and nothing more.
But to his dismay, she wasn’t as easy to influence as most humans. Hers was a perfect soul, powerful, untarnished and oddly familiar. Beautiful waves of energy spilled from her body to bounce off him and scramble his thoughts. The unease she elicited within him grew, as did his curiosity about her. He should’ve walked away from her and never looked back, but he couldn’t. He was fused to the spot, chained by an electric force he’d never before experienced and failed to understand.
“I saw a show once,” she said. “A hypnotist made this guy strip down to his boxers, then cluck like a chicken. Is that what you are?”
He couldn’t tell her what he really was. Humans weren’t wired to comprehend things beyond the scope of their mundane world. But he needed to give her some kind of plausible explanation, and this one was as good as any. “You could say that.”
Bewilderment clouded her gaze, as did a potent dose of mistrust. “He shot you. I saw him shoot you. Why are you still standing?”
“Bulletproof vest. I never leave home without it,” he lied.
Accepting his reply as truth, she clutched her fancy purse to her chest, hugging it like a baby. She had no idea what the men really wanted from her. As far as Adrian could tell, she thought this was a run-of-the-mill mugging.
He opted not to correct her misconception. Even if he did, she probably wouldn’t believe him. “What do you have in there worth dying for? And why are you out wandering around the subway past midnight?”
“I’m on a humanitarian mission.”
He lifted a sardonic brow at her unexpected reply. “How’s that going for you?”
“Not so well.” She stared regretfully down at the body twisted at strange angles at her feet. The other lay about two meters away, just as ravaged.
Adrian shook his head in disbelief. The woman was feeling sorry for them. If she knew the monsters they really were, the potential for brutality that had existed within them, she wouldn’t be standing here mourning their passing.
She squeezed her eyes shut, blocking out the ugly sight of death. Or maybe it was him she feared looking at. When her lids sprang open again, her gaze held such disconcerting awe, he was tempted to reach out to her, to gather her close and reassure her she was safe with him.
“Who are you?” she asked.
Her throat worked as she swallowed. “I don’t know whether to thank you for saving my life or run away screaming.”
A dark current cleaved the atmosphere, warned him they were no longer alone. “Run.”
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Number of pages: 306
Word Count: 90K
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
A man she’d die for, a world she was born to defend… Only one can survive.
For twenty-five years, Adrian has mourned the loss of his soul mate, Angie. He’s content to live as an outcast…until a series of abductions forces him out of seclusion and into the arms of the very woman he loved and lost. Angie’s reincarnation, Emma.
Emma is on the run, hunted by soulless creatures whose one goal is to possess her soul. They have taken everything: her home, her identity, her mother. Left with no other choice, she must trust her fate to Adrian, the enigmatic stranger who comes to her rescue. An immortal being whose illicit touch makes her blood burn and awakens an inexplicable desire in her heart.
Emma follows Adrian to his isolated community in Arizona, where she is assailed by visions of a past life. As passion ignites and her enemies close in, Emma is drawn into a world where nothing is what it seems and where love could prove the greatest weakness of all.
The wind howled, and a branch whipped at the window. Emma shot up in bed, wrapping her arms around her legs. She flung a reassuring glance at the switchblade by her bed. A blade she’d coated with blood and placed on her nightstand, within easy reach should she need it.
Holding her breath, she waited for the familiar sound of glass shattering. But all she heard was the sigh of the wind and the gentle rasp of shoes scraping the pavement. It was probably one of the other motel guests, but Emma had been on the run long enough not to discount a potential threat. All her instincts went on red alert.
She grabbed the switchblade, flipped it open and slid across the wall toward the door. It was nearly dawn, and fog drenched the budding day. Drab gray light trickled through the window, peeling back the shadows.
There were only two points of entry to the room she occupied—the window and the door. Emma stood between the two, gripping the pitiful blade, trying to calm her racing heart. She couldn’t move, couldn’t so much as breathe. If she did, they’d hear her.
She closed her eyes, mauled her lower lip and waited. Branches tapped at the window again, and her stomach folded.
Just the wind.
A bird serenaded the imminent break of day, then grew suspiciously silent. Nature had a way of going mute whenever a predator drew near. Emma’s fingers tightened around the switchblade. Her lungs began to burn, and she had no choice but to inhale.
She hated this. Hated the clench of fear that gripped her, the dreadful anticipation coursing through her veins, the sense of helplessness that inevitably followed each attack.
What would it feel like to know peace, if only for a day?
The doorknob jiggled, and her muscles turned to stone.
Here we go again.
There was a time when weeks—even months—had elapsed between incidents. In the past year, however, the attacks had escalated.
The lock clicked, and the door swung open. Emma’s palms grew damp around the handle of the knife.
Come on. What are you waiting for? Show yourself, you bastard.
Just as she was about to burst out of her skin, a man’s elongated shadow spilled through the open doorway. Then he was standing in her motel room, his wide back turned to her, his dark head angled in concentration. Hatred saturated her bloodstream, fueled by pain and anger.
He was one of them.
She sensed the darkness inside him, the emptiness. No soul beat in his chest. Emma was sure of it.
With a sharp intake of breath, she gave in to the fury and pounced. The man sensed her and turned, skillfully deflecting her blow and sending her stumbling backward. Raising the switchblade, she launched herself at him again.
She wanted to hurt him, badly. She wanted him to pay for all the years his kind had stolen from her, for all the sleepless nights she’d endured, for all the worry and pain she’d suffered these past few hours. But above all, she wanted to punish him for being the inhuman creature he was.
His iron grip closed around her wrist, prying the blade from her fingers as he immobilized her against the wall. His hard body pressed into hers, a living barrier boxing her in, knocking the very air from her lungs.
Emma struggled, striking his broad chest with her fists, knowing she was no match for him but unwilling to surrender yet. She growled like a cornered animal, raising her leg and attempting to knee him in the groin. Anticipating her move, he took a step back, and Emma missed her target.
“Take it easy.” He wedged his forearm over her sternum, nailing her to the wall again. “I’m not here to hurt you.”
“Don’t lie to me.” She exhaled in short, quick puffs. “I know what you are.”
Her assertion surprised him, and his hold on her slackened. Taking advantage of the opportunity, she dropped to her knees and scrambled to retrieve the switchblade he’d wrestled from her grasp. Her fingers brushed metal just as he flung her around on her back and flattened her wrists against the grimy carpet.
“If you didn’t come here to hurt me,” she challenged, “what the hell do you want?”
“To help you.”
Dawn slowly swept in, and soft, pink light spilled from the window to illuminate his face. Emma’s lungs squeezed in surprise. He looked like an angel—a dark angel, with an angular jaw, sharp, chiseled features and eyes as blue as the midnight sea. Tousled black hair brushed his forehead and curtained one of his brows. His sensual lips hovered a few inches above hers, and she could feel the heat emanating from them…from him.
For a moment she lost the ability to form a coherent thought. He was beautiful, hard and defined, a Greek sculpture pinning her to the ground. His muscular leg was slung across hers, his fingers encircling her wrists like a pair of steel shackles.
She couldn’t stand feeling trapped, even if a dark angel was doing the trapping. “If you want to help me, let me go.”
He hesitated, his gaze capturing hers. Confusion pinched his brows as he studied her face. Then he did something so unexpected, so tender and intimate, Emma’s next breath snagged in her throat.
He reached up and caressed her cheek. Shock and affection gleamed in his navy-blue eyes, roughening his voice. “Angie?”
Warning: Contains a dark, tortured hero, a hunted woman who can’t remember loving him, a nasty villain hell-bent on destroying the world, and a timeless love story you won’t soon forget.
Anne Hope is the author of emotionally intense romances with a twist—a twist of humor, a twist of suspense, a twist of magic. All her stories, however, have a common thread. Whether they make you laugh or cry or push you to the edge of your seat, they all feature the redeeming power of love and the heart’s incredible ability to heal.
Anne’s passion for writing began at the age of eight. After penning countless stories about enchanted houses, alien girls with supernatural powers, and children constantly getting lost in the woods, she decided to try her hand at romance.
She lives in Montreal, Canada, with her husband, her two inexhaustible kids, a lazy cat and a rambunctious Australian Kelpie.
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