The Hunt Is On For "The Hunting Wives" Available NOW!!! From Berkley




The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.

Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.

Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.



What People Are Saying...

Talk about juicy poolside page-turner. What a ride! Desperate, conniving, sassy Texas Housewives gone wild. Do not miss this one!
4.5 Stars
-Basic B's Guide, Goodreads

Salacious and Sinful! Just Color me Bashful! The premise of this was nothing like I expected it to be (and that my friends is a good thing!).
4 Stars
Susanne Strong, Books Are A Girl's Best Friend





Buy The Book Here







Sharine And Titus Offer Readers A Wartime Romance That Shines Ever Bright in" Archangel's Sun"

Title:  Archangel's Sun
Series:  (Guild Hunter #13)
Author:  Nalini Singh
Length:  368 pages
Format:  eARC
Publisher:  Berkley
Rating:  5 Stars

A horrifying secret rises in the aftermath of an archangelic war in New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s deadly and beautiful Guild Hunter world...

The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease may be gone but their legacy of evil lives on—especially in Africa, where the shambling, rotting creatures called the reborn have gained a glimmer of vicious intelligence.

It is up to Titus, archangel of this vast continent, to stop the reborn from spreading across the world. Titus can’t do it alone, but of the surviving powerful angels and archangels, large numbers are wounded, while the rest are fighting a surge of murderous vampires.

There is no one left…but the Hummingbird. Old, powerful, her mind long a broken kaleidoscope. Now, she must stand at Titus’s side against a tide of death upon a discovery more chilling than any other. For the Archangel of Disease has left them one last terrible gift…


Please enjoy this exclusive excerpt from
Archangel's Sun
by
Nalini Singh

“You fight a difficult battle, Titus. I offer what assistance I can.”

Spotting the increasing dip in her wings, he chose against giving her an overview of the citadel. “We’ll land on the balcony outside your suite,” he said. “It’s near mine so you can access me at any time should you have any need.” That wasn’t quite true. He’d be out in the field more often than not. But it seemed like the sort of thing an archangel should at least say when the Hummingbird stayed in his home.

It wasn’t anything he’d ever before had to consider. With the entire gentle court sent to safety prior to the beginning of the war, he had no one soft and sweet left on his staff to handle such things. Elia, six-hundred-year-old vampire and foster mother—by choice—of the orphaned children who lived in Titus’s court, would’ve no doubt managed it all with smiling joy, Titus none the wiser of the work involved.

He wasn’t a complete dullard in such things however—there was a reason he’d offered Elia a position as senior courtier. She might be kind of heart and prone to dressing in frothy fashions while putting enormous amounts of cosmetic colors on her face, but she also gave his steward a run for his money when it came to dealing with problematic or touchy guests.

However, his steward was currently using his sword arm against the reborn, and Elia was on an offshore island with her charges; he’d had to pull people from other duties to ready things for his guest.

The only positive?

Members of his household staff were so honored by the Hummingbird’s visit that they hadn’t minded pulling double shifts to pretty up a suite for her while not falling away from their usual duties—whether that be repairing weapons or feeding the troops or a million other critical tasks.

After landing on the balcony and ensuring the clearly exhausted Hummingbird got down safely, he pushed aside the gauzy curtains of the open doors—to see soft, curving feminine furniture and vases full of fresh flowers. Thanks be to the ingenuity of his people; he had absolutely no idea where they’d found those blooms.

“I hope this will suit,” he said modestly after they’d both stepped inside—but the modesty was for show; he was very conscious his people had done well and deserved all the praise she would bestow.

Expression tight, she looked around. “I didn’t expect you to go to this trouble.” A tone to her voice that, on any other woman, he would’ve described as an edge. But this was the Hummingbird. Perhaps she was displeased about some small element of the room.

Having known more than enough contrary women over his lifetime, beginning with his mother and sisters, Titus decided to leave well enough alone and didn’t ask her what was wrong. “My staff is honored by your presence and wished to make you welcome.”

Features softening, she inclined her head. “I’m deeply grateful for their care.”

“I’ll be sure to pass that on.” Titus wasn’t a man to steal praise that wasn’t his to take. “I made sure to remind them to set up an art studio for you,” he said with justifiable pride, and pointed upward. “You’ll find stairs just beyond the half wall to the right—at the end of the climb is a room full of light set up with an easel and art supplies.” He had no idea where his people had sourced any of those things, either.

When the Hummingbird said nothing in response to his magnanimous gesture, he decided to take his leave. Could be this was one of those moments where she existed out of time. Though . . . for an ethereal being, her jaw appeared unnaturally rigid and he could swear that her shoulders were bunched.

No, he had to be imagining it; the Hummingbird was beyond such things. Beyond anger, beyond petty grievances. The Hummingbird was a being special and gentle, a being who needed care and was to be handled as you would a fragile, broken bird.

Sharine glared at the wide sweep of Titus’s back as he strode out of the room, shutting the door behind himself. It was as well that he’d left because she might’ve otherwise given in to the urge to pick up the small vase on the table next to her and throw it at his head. And what exactly would that have achieved? Nothing.

Titus—a warrior tired from constant battle—had done nothing but be kind and treat her as he no doubt believed she expected to be treated. As a fragile artist who needed beauty and softness around her and could not be expected to cope with harsh reality.

Well, was that not who you were for centuries?

It was a slap hard and stinging from a part of her that had woken when she’d woken, a part that was brutally honest and had no time for self-pity—or for misdirected anger.

Sharine winced.

How could she expect Titus to treat her as anything but a delicate, breakable butterfly when that was all she’d ever shown the world?

She and the Archangel of Africa hadn’t known each other when she was still herself—and even then, she’d been slightly out of time, a wounded bird who’d never quite found her wings. This Sharine, the one she was now, a mature woman shaped by loss and hurt and pain and anger and a fierce love for her son, she was someone Sharine herself was still getting to know. She couldn’t expect Titus to divine her new state of being.

Still, she scowled at the curvy velvet sofa, the lush bouquets of flowers, and—when she opened the wardrobe—the floaty and superbly impractical gowns within. Not only had a member of his overworked staff wasted time in getting all this together, it was clear that no one—from the archangel down to his most junior member of staff—expected her to dirty her hands.

Titus’s people were ready to take on another burden at a time when they needed every bit of help they could get. Making a sound low in her throat that startled her with its feral nature, she kicked the door of the wardrobe and was satisfied by the loud sound.

From ARCHANGEL’S SUN published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2020 by Nalini Singh.


My Thoughts
Archangel's Sun may be the 13th book in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series.  But it is a first time experience for this reviewer.
As such, I will be reviewing it as a standalone.
Without further ado, as they say.
Here we go.

Sharine or The Hummingbird presents quite the paradox.  Because when reading this as a standalone, you are presented with parts of her past that have contributed in major ways to who she is.  But to which you as a first time reader are not privy.  Because those parts of her story may have been chronicled in previous novels.

 
Cases in point...
Her fracturing at the losses of Raan and her parents.  Coupled with the cruelties that she suffered in her relationship with Aegaeon.
And the complex relationships that she has with her sons.
All of this made for a very tantalizing curiosity regarding her past.  While at the same time providing a much needed reference to the makings of who she is.

Speaking of who Sharine is...
Almost everyone in this story has this rather annoying habit of underestimating her.  While at the same time revering her as perhaps the greatest of angelic artisans.
Everyone that is, except Titus.
Who while he reveres her.  Also takes the time to see and appreciate both the woman and the warrior in equal measure.
Which is just one of the reasons that both Sharine and readers fall more and more in love with him as the pages turn.

Titus...
The beautiful angel with the heart of gold.  And unfathomable compassion and overall understanding of the sacred nature of all life.  Whether human, angelic, or vampiric.
An understanding that he calls upon more and more. As he and Sharine are force to fight the scourge of the reborn invading Africa.
This is where readers really get to see Titus come into his own.  As protector, ambassador, provider, diplomat, and friend to both angel and human.

Side note...
I must give kudos to Ms. Singh on her creation of such a strong and well rounded man of color in Titus.
He is crafted in a perfection that I must sadly admit is most often reserved for more mainstream leading men.
Without having to either justify or diminish himself in the process.
In the case of Titus.  One becomes refreshingly aware that the opposite is true.  With Titus' character becoming more of who he is as the story and his feelings for Sharine develop.

The love story...
Wow!
Just wow!
This is truly a 'love conquers all' tale.
With Titus and Sharine finding their way through a plague, her personal issues, their age gap, the looming possibility of the destruction of the world and Sherine's ex.  Just to name a few obstacles.
but none of that can  or does stand a chance against all that is Titus.  



About Nalini
I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.


I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.
See Her Socially:  Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Buy The Book Here

Carina Press Presents: Knit, Purl, A Baby And A Girl

 


Title: Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl
Author: Hettie Bell
Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Romantic Leads: Female/Female
On-Sale: March 30, 2021
Format: Trade Paperback
Price: $14.99 US
ISBN: 9781335688002
Some people can’t wait to have babies. They’re ready for it—with their perfect lives and their pregnancy glow…
Poppy Adams doesn’t have a perfect life, and she wasn’t ready for the positive test. An unexpected baby—Poppy’s unexpected baby—won’t exactly have her family doing cartwheels. But she’s making the right choice.
Right?
Poppy’s totally got this. She just needs a little encouragement, and a knitting group is the perfect place to start. Baby blankets, booties, tiny little hats—small steps toward her new life. But she feels like she’s already dropped a stitch when she discovers the knitting group is led by the charismatic Rhiannon.
It’s not exactly a great time to meet the woman who might just be the love of her life. While the group easily shuffles around to make room for Poppy, it’s not so easy fitting her life and Rhiannon’s together. With the weeks counting down until her baby arrives, Poppy’s going to have to decide for herself what truly makes a family.



Read on for an excerpt from Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl.
 
It doesn’t take long for everybody in the group to set aside their own projects to focus on me and mine.

Grace has my ball of yarn in her hands, twisting the strand between her fingers critically. “If you’re knitting for a baby, you should really consider a nice bamboo…”

Louise is scrutinizing my choice of project. “You know, I started with dishcloths, then graduated to scarves. It’s not as glamorous, but it does let you get the fundamentals down.”

“Oh, my, no.” Mary flips the free pattern card I picked up in the craft store and scans the back with critical eyes. “You don’t want to do this, this is for a completely different weight of yarn than what you’ve got here. Where did you pick this up? They should be putting these patterns next to the suggested yarn. This one calls for fingering. What

you need to do is get an account on Ravelry and find a pattern that’s been user-rated so you know it’s accurate and suitable for your skill level, and do that. You can search by yarn weight on there, too. This yarn is a DK…” She pulls out her phone, trailing off as she opens her web browser.

Damian, who has been sitting silently so far, takes this chance to finally speak up. “Do you have needles?” he asks plainly, no judgment in his tone. Nobody else has bothered with that crucial detail to this point.

Now those, at least, I do have. I reach into my purse and pull out the needles I scavenged from my last failed scarf project. I hold them up for the group’s inspection proudly.

“Poppy, no!” they say in unison, and even Damian joins in their exclamation of dismay. “These will never work!”

My shoulders slump. “What? Why?”

Louise clucks at me. “Much too big! Too long for a tiny baby pattern and too thick for this yarn. You’re going to end up with stretched out knitting full of gaps and holes.”

The familiar urge to just give up and quit hits me hard and fast, like a gut punch. I gust out a breath, slumping in my seat.

A hand closes around my shoulder. Rhiannon. “Hey, don’t feel bad. First time I tried to knit, I got my needles secondhand from the thrift store and accidentally bought two different sizes.” She laughs and shakes her head. “Here. If you don’t mind that they’re not high-tech Addi Turbos, you can borrow some needles from me.”






My Thoughts
Knit Purl A Baby And A Girl offers readers a sweet and very poignant 'oopsie' romance in general.
With the fact that Poppy that Poppy awkwards her way into a relationship with her Planned Parenthood escort turned girlfriend, Rhiannon. As well as the best group of friends that a young single expectant mother, who is trying to find herself, and make life make sense in the process can have.
A.K.A. Stitch And Bitch at the local coffee shop.
Also headed up by none other than Rhiannon.


Though it would be very easy to lose one's self in the fact that Poppy is just Poppy. And as such, is subject to have every obstacle known to man, woman, or beast.
Let's face it.
a. She is a flighty twenty-something
b. Has an over achieving helicopter mom. Who still hasn't come to terms with the fact that her younger daughter will never be a clone of her 'most perfect self'.
c. Has an older sister, who is a clone of afore mentioned over achieving mom. Minus the hovering tendencies.
d. Has just broken up with her under achieving, couch potato, pot smoker, boy friend/baby daddy.
e. Is trying to navigate her way through life with the unexpected addition of the pregnancy that she may or may not keep.

All in addition to her having to make the choice to come out as a lesbian. And work out whether or not her relationship with Rhiannon is one that she and or Rhiannon can and want to nurture. Given the game of musical chairs that is Poppy's life at present.

If this review makes the plot of this book seem like a lot.
It is!!!!
And believe it or not.
There are things that have been omitted here.

Just chalk it up to art imitating life.
It is!!!!

Because if you are a person who wants to believe that...
The underdog will one day win.
There is someone for everyone.
That families are made as well as born into.
This is the book for you!!!


About Hettie Bell

Hettie Bell grew up in small towns in New Brunswick and British Columbia, and now lives outside Edmonton Alberta with her family. She first fell for Highland historicals as a preteen, and that love deepened as the romance genre grew more diverse and queer. A proud bisexual woman, she’s honored to write all the happy endings she never thought she’d get to read. When she’s not writing, she's knitting one of the at least three projects she has on her needles at any given time.

Connect with Hettie Bell
Website: https://www.hettiebell.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HettieBellAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HettieBelleau
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5365291.Heidi_Belleau





Buy Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl
Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335688002_knit-purl-a-baby-and-a-girl.html
IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335688002
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Knit-Purl-Baby-Carina-Adores/dp/1335688005
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/knit-purl-a-baby-and-a-girl-hettie-bell/1138272514
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/knit-purl-a-baby-and-a-girl/id1530373719
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Hettie_Bell_Knit_Purl_a_Baby_and_a_Girl?id=jv76DwAAQBAJ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/knit-purl-a-baby-and-a-girl





 


Carina Press Presents: Mine To Keep











Title:
Mine to Keep

Author: Rhenna Morgan

Series: NOLA Knights, #3

Imprint: Carina Press

Genre: Contemporary Romance

eBook & Audiobook On-Sale: December 14, 2020 

Mass Market Paperback On-Sale: December 29, 2020 

Book Description: Bonnie Drummond is from the wrong side of the tracks, raised in a family of liars and criminals. No matter how hard she tries to stay on the straight and narrow, she always finds herself sucked back into the family drama, forced to sacrifice everything she’s earned to protect her family.


But this time they’ve gone too far—crossed the wrong people—and to save them she’ll have to put her life on the line.


Roman Kozlov, enforcer for a New Orleans mafiya family, is the poster child for the life Bonnie is struggling to escape. But he's also as alluring as he is dangerous, and it doesn’t take long for their lives to begin to mesh.


With Roman, Bonnie finds the family she never had.


As their race for answers heats up, so too does the budding romance between them. And with danger nipping at her heels and love threatening her heart, Bonnie must come face-to-face with her past if she wants to have a future.



She’d lost her damned mind. Or at least had temporary insanity—probably induced by too much adrenaline. One of the two had to be the problem, because Bonnie had sure as hell never been known to let her mouth run rampant the way it had in front of Roman and Cassie fifteen minutes ago.

Perched in the middle rear seat of Roman’s supped-up truck, Bonnie stilled her jiggling knee for the third time in five minutes and stared out her window for any sign of the massive Russian. “What’s he doing, anyway?”

Cassie twisted from the front passenger seat, the length of time it took for her gaze to come into focus making it seem she’d been somewhere else entirely. “Who, Roman?” She scanned the front yard and shrugged her shoulder. “No telling. Maybe looking for clues? Or he could just be making sure the place is all locked up.”

Now, that was funny. Almost impossible to laugh at considering the anvil sitting in her stomach, but funny, nonetheless. “There’s nothing in there worth stealing. My family’s more the transitory type when it comes to possessions.”

See? There it was again. Her mouthing off and sharing shit she’d held back for most of her life.

Cassie didn’t seem to notice. Just twisted in her seat and cocked her head to one side. “So, what do you think about Roman?”

That he’s huge, hot and could probably make Satan piss his pants.

Before the uncensored answer could jump past her lips, she rearranged her backpack lying across her thighs. “He seems…nice.”

“Nice?” Cassie echoed back with open disbelief. “That’s it?”

Okay, he’s intimidating as fuck and somehow made me blurt out all my family’s dirty laundry in less than three sentences.

Also not a wise confession.

“Well, what do you want me to say? My mind’s all screwed up after the day I’ve had. He could have polka dots and a unicorn horn sticking out of his head and I’d probably have missed it.”

Liar.

All right, fine. So, she’d taken a healthy inventory. He was at least six-foot-four, for Christ’s sake, and packed more muscle than that slick black suit of his had a prayer of hiding.

And those tattoos at the base of his fingers and on the backs of his hands…she had no clue what they were or meant, but they were sexy AF.

Cassie’s face sobered. “I’m sorry. That was insensitive of me. I know you’re worried about your brother and dad, but I’ve wanted you to meet my family for so freaking long, I got carried away.”

Roman prowled into view from the far side of the with concentration.

Cassie followed Bonnie’s gaze out the windows, noted Roman’s trajectory toward the truck and lowered her voice. “You have to admit, though. He’s pretty handsome.”

Bonnie shook her head. “Handsome belongs on guys like Hugh Jackman and Orlando Bloom. That guy’s got badass motherfucker written all over him.”

Cassie’s head snapped back in surprise just as Roman opened the door and climbed into the cab.

Great. More verbal diarrhea. Though, she had a feeling Cassie didn’t take the comment the way she’d intended it. To Bonnie’s mind, Roman’s mega short dark hair and tightly cropped beard was hella hot, and he could probably sharpen a knife on the hard angles of his jawline. His eyes were killer, too. Hooded in a way that made you have to really work to figure out what color they were.

And for the record, she’d put in the effort.

Gunmetal gray.


Add Mine to Keep to Goodreads now!
Put your stuff here

My Thoughts
Bonnie and Roman's story is a very sweet 'saving the princess' or 'queen' in this case.
With Roman playing the tarnished 'white knight' to Bonnie's 'good girl from the wrong side of the tracks.
Who finds herself caught in the crosshairs father and brother kidnapped with no clues as to their kidnapper's identity, the reason for such actions, or where the two men have been taken.
Leaving our young heroine no choice but to call her best friend Cassie for help.  Or moreover, the help of Cassie's Russian Mafia lover and his brothers.
Never dreaming that her desperate plea for help would be answered by the one man destined to change her life forever.

Roman is a man who deals in death.  A man for whom there should be no redemption.
A man who has found his heart.  With a single glance into the determined green gaze of  the brash and streetwise Miss Drummond.

Watching these two gun-shy lovers fall for each other is half the fun of this fast paced one sitting wonder.
Although Bonnie and her never-ending self deprecation in the face of Roman's adoration does become a tad tedious at times,
That being said.
This book is very well written.  And would be perfect if it were not for the multiple cliché's to which this story's originality falls victim.

With Bonnie beating readers over the head with her "I'm too poor and to dirty to possibly...
While Roman spends the majority of the book telling Bonnie what he's going to do to keep her safe.
Oh goodness! 
Thou doth protest too much! 
And for the sake of both the reader's sanity and the happy ending ending that they both want.  But can't seem to have with with each other because...

Thank you Carina Press for providing the review copy on which this honest critique is based 



About Rhenna Morgan

A native Oklahoman, Rhenna Morgan is a certified romance junkie. Whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape full of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who fight to keep the women they want. For advance release news and exclusive content, sign up for her newsletter at http://RhennaMorgan.com. You'll also find all of her social links there, along with her smoking hot inspiration boards.


Connect with Rhenna Morgan

Website: http://rhennamorgan.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RhennaMorgan 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RhennaMorgan 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rhennamorgan/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8596977.Rhenna_Morgan 




Gallery Books Presents: JR Ward's A Warm Heart In Winter





A WARM HEART IN WINTER
A Caldwell Christmas

by J. R. Ward 

On Sale: December 1, 2020 

 

Purchase Link: 

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/A-Warm-Heart-in-Winter/J-R-Ward/The-Black-Dagger-Brotherhood-World/9781982159702

 


#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward is heating things up this winter with a holiday novel featuring some of her most iconic Black Dagger Brothers.

In this romantic and sexy addition to the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series, a beloved couple has everything arranged... until it all goes horribly wrong.

Blay and Qhuinn always intended to do a proper mating ceremony, but life has a way of getting in the way. With a pair of young, responsibilities to the King, and a grueling fighting schedule, the two are exhausted and overwhelmed. When Qhuinn gives his male the proposal of a lifetime, however, they are excited for their special night and more in love than ever.

Everyone in the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s mansion gets into the preparations, and the after party takes on epic- and immortal- proportions when Lassiter forms the Party Planning Committee. The celebrations promise to be all that the couple deserves... until a Nor’easter land locks Caldwell in a fierce storm, and things go from lighthearted to deadly dangerous.

Battling nature and responding to emergencies, Blay and Qhuinn get separated, and when a catastrophic chain of events puts one of their lives in jeopardy, the night they had so looked forward could mean the end of everything...

Sneak Peek at A WARM HEART IN WINTER: 


Qhuinn, son of Lohstrong, entered his family’s home through its grand front door. The instant he stepped over the threshold, the smell of the place curled up into his nose. Lemon polish. Beeswax candles. Fresh flowers from the garden that the doggen brought in daily. Perfume—his mother’s. Cologne—his father’s and his brother’s. Cinnamon gum—his sister’s.

If the Glade company ever did an air freshener like this, it would be called something like Meadow of Old Money. Or Sunrise Over a Fat Bank Account.

Or maybe the ever popular We’re Just Better Th an Everyone Else.

Distant voices drifted over from the dining room, the vowels round as brilliant-cut diamonds, the consonants drawled out smooth and long as satin ribbons.

“Oh, Lillie, this is lovely, thank you,” his mother said to the server. “But that’s too much for me. And do not give Solange so much. She’s getting heavy.”

Ah, yes, his mother’s perma-diet inflicted on the next generation: Glymera females were supposed to disappear from sight when they turned sideways, each jutting collar-bone, sunken cheek, and bony upper arm some kind of fucked-up badge of honor.

As if resembling a fire poker would make you a better person.

And Scribe Virgin forfend if your daughter looked like she was healthy.

“Ah, yes, thank you, Lilith,” his father said evenly. “More for me, please.”

Qhuinn closed his eyes and tried to convince his body to step forward. One foot after another. It was not that tough.

His brand-new Ed Hardy kicks middle-fingered that suggestion. Then again, in so many ways, walking into that dining room was going into the belly of the beast.

He let his duffle fall to the floor. The couple of days at his best friend Blay’s home had done him good, a break from the complete lack of air in his family’s house. Unfortunately, the burn on reentry was so bad, it made the cost/benefit of leaving nearly equal.

Okay, this was ridiculous. He couldn’t keep standing here like an inanimate object.

Turning to the side wall, he leaned into the full-length antique mirror that was placed right by the door. So thoughtful. So in keeping with the aristocracy’s need to look good. This way, visitors could check their hair and clothes as the butler accepted coats and hats.

The young pretrans face that was reflected back at him was all even features, good jawline, and a mouth that, he had to admit, looked like it could do some serious dam-age to naked skin when he got older. Or maybe that was just wishful thinking. Hair was all Vlad the Impaler, spikes standing up straight from his head. Neck was strung with a bike chain, and not one bought at Urban Outfitters—he’d taken it off his twelve-speed. All things being equal, he looked like a thief who had broken into the mansion and was prepared to trash the place looking for sterling silver, jewelry, and portable electronics.

The irony was that all the Goth bullcrap wasn’t the most offensive part of his appearance to his family. In fact, he could have stripped down, hung a light fixture off his ass, and run around the first floor playing José Canseco with the art and antiques and not come close to how much the real problem pissed off his parents.

It was his eyes.

One blue. One green.

Oopsy. His bad.

The glymera didn’t like defects. Not in their porcelain or their rose gardens. Not in their wallpaper or their car-pets or their countertops. Not in the silk of their under-wear or the wool of their blazers or the chiffon of their gowns.

And certainly not EVER in their young.

Sister was okay—well, except for the “little weight problem” that didn’t actually exist, and a lisp that was going to be dealt with through oral surgery—oh, and the fact that she had the personality of their mother. And there was no fixing that shit. Brother, on the other hand, was the real fucking star, a physically perfect son pre-pared to carry forth the family bloodline by reproducing in a very genteel, non-moaning, no-sweat situation with a female chosen for him by the family.

Hell, Luchas’s sperm recipient had already been lined up. He was going to have to mate her as soon as he went through his transition—

“How are you feeling, my son?” his father asked in a gentle voice.

“Tired, sir,” a deep voice answered. “But this is going to help.”

A chill frog-marched up Qhuinn’s spine. That didn’t sound like his brother. Way too much bass. Far too mas-culine. Too…

Holy shit, the guy had gone through his transition. Now, Qhuinn’s Ed Hardys got with the program, taking him forward until he could see through into the dining room. Father was in his seat at the head of the table. Check. Mother was in her chair at the foot of the  table opposite the kitchen’s flap door. Check. Sister was facing out of the room, all but licking the gold rim off her plate from hunger. Check.

The male whose back was to Qhuinn was not part of the SOP.

His brother was twice the size he’d been when Qhuinn had been approached by a doggen and told to get his things and go to Blay’s.

Well, that explained the vacay. He’d assumed his father had finally relented and given into the request Qhuinn had filed weeks before. But nope, his sire had just wanted the defect out of the house because the change had come to his brother.

Had Luchas laid the chick? Who had they used for blood—

Their father, never the demonstrative type, reached out a hand and gave Qhuinn’s brother an awkward pat on the forearm. “We’re so proud of you. You look  .  .  .  perfect.”

“You do,” Qhuinn’s mother piped in. “Just perfect. Doesn’t your brother look perfect, Solange?”

“Yes, he does. Perfect.”

“And I have something for you,” Lohstrong said, in a voice that got husky.

The male reached into the inside pocket of his sport coat and took out a small, black velvet box.

Qhuinn’s mother started to tear up and dabbed care-fully under her eyes.

“This is for you, my son.”

The box was slid across the white damask tablecloth, and Luchas’s now-big hands shook as he took the thing and popped the lid.

Qhuinn could see the flash of gold all the way out in the foyer.

Luchas just stared at the signet ring in silence, clearly overwhelmed, as their mother kept up with the dab-dab, and even their father grew slightly misty. And Solange snuck a roll from the bread basket.

“Thank you, sir,” Qhuinn’s brother said as he put the heavy gold ring on his forefinger.

“It fits, does it not?” Lohstrong asked.

“Yes, sir. Perfectly.”

“We wear the same size, then.”

Of course they did.

At that moment, their father glanced away, like he was hoping the movement of his eyeballs would take care of the sheen of tears that had come down over his vision.

He caught Qhuinn lurking outside in the foyer. There was a brief flash of recognition. Not the  hi-how’re-ya kind or the oh-good-my-other-son’s-home stuff. More like when you were walking through  the grass and noticed a pile of dog shit too late to stop your foot from landing in it.

The male looked back at his family, locking Qhuinn out sure as if he’d closed an actual door.

Clearly, the last thing Lohstrong wanted was for such a historic moment to be ruined—and that was probably why he didn’t do the hand signals that warded off the evil eye. Usually, everyone in the household performed the ritual when they saw Qhuinn. Not tonight. The head of house didn’t want the others to know who was in their midst.

Qhuinn pivoted and went back to his duffle. Slinging the thing over his shoulder, he took the front stairs to his room. Usually, his mother preferred him to use the ser-vants’ set, but that would mean he’d have to cut through all the love in there.

His bedroom was as far away from the others’ as you could get, all the way over to the right. He’d often won-dered why they didn’t take the leap completely and put him in with the doggen—but then the staff would prob-ably quit.

Closing himself into his quarters, he dumped the duffle onto the bare floor and sat on his bed. Staring at his only piece of luggage, he figured he had better do laundry soon as there was a wet bathing suit in there.

The maids refused to touch his clothes—like the evil in him lingered in the fibers of his jeans and his T-shirts. The upside was he was never welcomed for formal events anyway, so his wardrobe was just wash-n-wear, baby—

He discovered he was crying when he looked down at his Ed Hardys and realized that there were a couple of drops of water right between all those buckles and leather.

Qhuinn was never getting a ring.

Ah, hell . . . this hurt.

He was scrubbing his face with his palms when his phone rang. Taking the thing out of his biker jacket, he had to blink a couple of times to focus.

He hit send to accept the call, but he didn’t answer.

“I just heard,” Blay said across the connection. “How are you doing?”

Qhuinn opened his mouth to reply, his brain coughing up all kinds of responses: Peachy fucking jim-dandy. At least I’m not “fat” like my sister. No, I don’t know if my brother got laid.

Instead, he said, “They got me out of the house. They didn’t want me to curse the transition. Guess it worked because Luchas sure looks like he came through it okay.”

Blay swore softly.

“Oh, and he got his ring just now. My father gave him . . . his ring.”

The signet ring with the family crest on it, the symbol that all males of good bloodlines wore to attest to their value to their lineage.

“I watched Luchas put it on his finger,” Qhuinn said, feeling as if he were taking a sharp knife and drawing it up the insides of his arms. “Fit perfectly. Looked great. You know, though . . . like, how could it not—”

He began weeping at that point. 

Just fucking lost it.

The awful truth was that under all his counter culture fuck-you, he wanted his family to love him. As prissy as his sister was, as scholar-geek as his brother was, as re-served as his parents were, he saw the love between those four. He felt the love among them. It was the tie that bound them, the invisible string from one heart to the others, the commitment of caring about everything from the mundane shit to any true, mortal drama. The only thing more powerful than that connection . . . was what it was like to get shut out from its expression.

Every fucking night of your life.

Blay’s voice cut in through the heaving. “I’m here for you. And I’m so damned sorry . . . I’m here for you . . . just don’t do anything stupid, okay? Let me come over—”

Leave it to Blay to know that he was thinking about things that involved ropes and showerheads.

In fact, his free hand had already gone down to the makeshift belt he’d fashioned out of a nice, strong weave of nylon—because his parents didn’t give him money for clothes and the one proper buckle-and-strap combo he’d owned had broken years ago.

Pulling the length free, he glanced across to the closed door of his bath. All he needed to do was tie the thing to the fixture in his shower—God knew those water pipes had been run in the good old days when things were strong enough to hold some weight. He even had a chair he could stand up on and then kick out from underneath him.

“I gotta go—”

“Qhuinn? Don’t you hang up on me—don’t you dare hang up on me—”

“Listen, man, I gotta go—”

“I’m coming over right now—” Lot of flapping in the background like Blay was getting his shit together. “Qhuinn! Do not hang up the phone—Qhuinn . . . !”


My Thoughts
Having come into the series rather late.  This reviewer is sadly unaware of the history of Blay and Qhuinn.
Which in its own way, works as quite the boon.  When it comes to simply being able to enjoy their story for what it is.


Blay and Quinn are prime examples of what happens when a 'never say die' attitude finds it just reward.
Seing these two go through the good and the bad of things both together and in their own way.  Is enough to warm the heart.
And the mating ceremony!!!!!
This book is truly everything that one reads JR Ward for.  The grit, the glamour, the fighting, the love, the heartache, the passion, and the forever that Black Dagger Brotherhood.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family. 

 
Don’t forget to sign-up for exclusive Black Dagger Brotherhood original content:  

https://jrward.us20.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9963a331604291f164fc10413&id=2c5b6cefec