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Archive for the ‘Bantam’ Category

The blurb

FBI agent Alexis Martin knows that vampires exist—because one of them killed her sister. Assigned to investigate a series of bizarre homicides in Los Angeles, Alexis believes the murders are the work of rogue vampires—perhaps even the monster responsible for her sister’s death. Now she finally has a chance for retribution. Even better, Alexis receives unexpected help from a sexy stranger as hungry for rogue blood as she is.

Serge is a centuries-old bad boy who stays off the grid—keeping his secrets, his hunger, and his heart safe from exposure. A new breed of vampire that feeds off other shadowers, Serge finds sweet torture in Alexis’s arms. Loving her is a chance to be free from the hiding, the loneliness, the secrecy. But the truth about what he is, and what he’s done, may banish him to the dark confines of his own private hell—and destroy the beginnings of their love.

The review

When Alexis was a child, her teenage sister vanished. Everyone said she had ran away from home but Alexis believed she had been kidnapped. This began her journey to be an FBI agent and to find her sister. After the death of her parents, Alexis finds her sister’s diary and discovers the truth. Her sister had ran away from home because of sexual abuse by their father. Filled with guilt and anger, Alexis continues her career of stopping criminals and hopes to reconnect with her sister.

While investigating a series of strange murders in New York (not Los Angeles, as the blurb says) another victim is found with the same throat punctures. It is Alexia’s sister. While hunting down leads, Alexia finds Leena. Leena is a psychic descended from vampire hunters. Leena shows her that vampires exist and tells her how to find her sister’s killer. Alexia resigns from the FBI and they move to LA to continue the hunt.

Serge has done horrible things in his past. He was unable to control his daemon and committed many atrocities against humans. Later, he was cursed and committed more. The curse was broken but it left behind another hunger to compete with his daemon and he has isolated himself from others because of it and he feeds on rogue vampires.

A hunt for the same rogue puts Alexia and Serge on an intercepting course and changes their lives. Alexia learns that all vampires aren’t evil and Serge finds someone that sees the good in him. The attraction is instant and one I enjoyed very much. I loved that Serge saw her as a strong warrior and helped her train instead of being all He-man and insisting the little woman stay home while he fought the baddies. I also like Alexi’s maturity when Serge’s past is revealed.

This is the first book in this series I have read and I think that may have put me at a disadvantage with the vampire world and especially Serge’s curse. I didn’t really understand it and that was needed since it plays such a important role in all parts of When Darkness Hungers. I also felt the ending was a little too easy. With all the angst and drama leading up to it, I was expecting more.

Overall, When Darkness Hungers is an enjoyable romance with a world I want to know more about. I’ll be buying the earlier books in the series soon to catch up.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Format: print and digital

Preorder:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm’s length.

A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind with a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.

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Thanks so much to Fatin for hosting me on the release day of my new Regency-set historical romance, A Gentleman Undone,and for allowing me to confess right here, before all the world, that…

I happen to like nice men.

No, seriously. I’m not just saying “I recognize that a bad-boy rake wouldn’t make a good real-life husband, fun though he may be on the page.” I’m saying decency is sexy. Small kindnesses melt me. And a guy who strives to do the right thing, particularly in a temptation-ridden setting like Regency London society, is a guy I’m pulling for right from page one.

Now, I’ve got nothing against a good scoundrel. That kind of hero tends to make for a lively story with lots of built-in conflict, whether he’s plucking at the corset-strings of the strait-laced heroine, or going toe-to-toe with a lady who can match him for mischief every step of the way.

But let’s face it: the bad-boy hero doesn’t need any PR help from me. Scoundrels, rogues, and rakes get plenty of love already, as anyone even slightly familiar with historical-romance titles can attest.

While their better-behaved brothers… well, when’s the last time you saw a title featuring one of them? Pleasures of a Perfect Gentleman? To Marry a Mensch? Seducing the Stand-up Guy?

Will Blackshear, the hero of A Gentleman Undone, is a man who cares deeply about things like moral integrity and the weight of one’s word. He takes responsibility for his actions, he steps in when he sees people mistreated, and he knows how to resist temptation when there’s a good reason to resist. (Up to a point, anyway.)

In other words, he’s a good guy. And his journey, as he tangles with my slightly-less-good heroine Lydia and walks a tightrope between desire and decency, is part of a proud good-guy tradition.

So just for today, I’d like to usher the bad boys offstage and shine the spotlight on good men, as we’ve known them from books, movies, tv shows, even real life. What’s your favorite kind of good guy? One who’s gutsy enough to wear his heart on his sleeve? (Lloyd Dobler, anyone?) One who sticks to his principles at great personal cost? (Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” e.g.) One who’s polite and pleasant to the heroine right from the beginning? (Henry Tilney, my favorite Austen hero!)

Leave a comment, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of A Gentleman Undone.

www.ceciliagrant.com

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Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate—and housemaids—from a predatory brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes… for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all… love?

 

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Some years back I read an interview with the actor Patrick Dempsey. He was two or three years into his role on Grey’s Anatomy, and the interviewer wanted to know if his character and the show’s title character, Dr. Grey, were finally going to get past the various issues that had been keeping them apart, and be a happy couple.

And may Mr. Dempsey forgive me for the paraphrase, but his answer was something to the effect of, “I’m actually not sure that would be a good idea.  Because what viewers are responding  to in that relationship is the yearning, and once you get the characters together, the yearning’s gone.”

I love that quote, because it takes what could be a touchy, vaguely derisive observation – “Oh, you fickle romance-happy viewers; you’re all so keen to get Maddy and David/Sam and Diane/Jim and Pam together, and then when we do it, you say we’ve jumped the shark” – and frames it instead as a simple problem of storytelling.

Characters in fiction need to want things in order to propel the story along. Characters in the emotionally heightened world of romance need to want especially hard. They need to hunger, and what’s more, they need to face up to their hunger; to acknowledge the long odds against getting that hunger met; to admit that their lives will be lesser without the hungered-for thing.

Like Dr. McDreamy said: they need to yearn.

The great thing about the romance-novel form is that it ends when the yearning arc ends. As a writer, you’re not left scrambling to find some other way to make the characters interesting now that their vital, forward-propelling passion has been resolved.

But the most compelling romances, I find, are the ones where the characters do yearn for other things besides romantic fulfillment – especially when those other things are things that come into direct conflict with the romance.

Martha Russell, the heroine of A Lady Awakened, hungers for purpose, for a sense of effectuality, for some grand sacrifice through which she can prove her mettle. When she learns that her late husband’s estate is set to pass to a brother-in-law with a history of preying on housemaids, it’s a crisis – but it’s also the occasion to which she’s been waiting to rise all her life.

After striking her desperate bargain with only-too-willing neighbor Theo Mirkwood, Martha gathers the female servants, apprises them of the threat, and promises to do “everything in my power” to keep them safe. She doesn’t, of course, tell them exactly what she’ll be doing. But it’s vivid in her thoughts:

If only everything in my power could have taken some grander shape! If she could face down Mr. James Russell with a sword in her hand and an army at her back, for instance. Or lead every last one of these women to safety through smoke and flames. She ventured a smile round their ranks – they were all watching her as though she were some wild-eyed stranger come to impersonate the mistress – and reached for her nettle-brew again.

She would do what she must. Lie still and bear the breaching of her body by a stranger, and then hope the stranger’s seed bore fruit. Sacrifice came in different shapes, for a woman, and if it brought about the proper result, that would have to be grandeur enough.

What she neglects to consider is whether Mr. Mirkwood has any wish to be the altar on which she sacrifices herself. Or whether there might come a day when her relations with him won’t feel so much like a sacrifice.

Or whether one or both of them might develop new yearnings, inconvenient yearnings, that will force her to rethink her whole plan.

Readers: Do you like your heroes and heroines to have longings independent of the romantic relationship, or do you prefer your romances to be all romance, all the time? What are some memorable stories of yearning you’ve read?

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To find out more about Cecilia Grant, please visit www.ceciliagrant.com. And for a chance to win a signed copy of A Lady Awakened, leave a comment answering Cecilia’s question. Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada. Good luck!

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Debut book coming out December 27, 2011. Isn’t the cover just lovely?

In Cecilia Grant’s emotionally rich and deeply passionate Regency romance debut, a deal with a rumored rogue turns a proper young woman into . . . A Lady Awakened.

Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?

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Saturday is the day that usually finds me with a lot of time on my hands for several hours. I always make sure to have my laptop with me, to play games if I’m in the mood, or a book so I can read and hopefully make the time pass quicker. Instead of reading, I’ve spent most of today browsing for new books to add to my wishlist at Amazon. Have added plenty today but stumbled unto these covers by J.K. Beck at Amazon. Had to do some searching and found out that J.K. Beck is a new pen name for Julie Kenner. I’ve read a couple of her books but none of her most recent ones, not really sure why I haven’t, to be honest. Looks like she has a new series coming out back to back under her Beck name and yes, I admit it, I’m a sucker when it comes to great covers and all three of these jumped out at me when I was at the author’s website looking for more information on the books. Have added all three to my wishlist and I’m so glad there’s not a long wait in between each release.

Book 1: When Blood Calls, out August 31, 2010

Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.

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Book 2: When Pleasure Rules, out September 28, 2010

Seven innocents have been brutally murdered on the streets of Los Angeles, yet the Shadow Alliance has no suspects and no leads. And as more bodies are discovered, the age-old feud between the vampires and werewolves threatens to explode and turn the city into a living nightmare.

With her back to the wall, Lissa Monroe—a strong-willed, ravishingly beautiful succubus who entices men to surrender their souls—agrees to go undercover for the Alliance. Her mission: infiltrate the mind of werewolf leader Vincent Rand, a ferociously alluring enemy who has a powerful hold over her. Lissa has never lost control of her deepest desires, but Rand is an impenetrable paradox, a principled soldier who fears nothing—except perhaps the darkness of his own past. As the city of Angels teeters on the brink of apocalypse, these two adversaries must join together to have even the slimmest chance of surviving a more lethal enemy hidden in plain sight.

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Book 3: When Wicked Craves, out October 26, 2010

Their love could bring the most potent pleasure—or the darkest nightmare.

A danger to both the human and shadow communities, Petra Lang is cursed never to love. For one touch of her skin unleashes the vilest demons imaginable. Sentenced to death by the shadow authorities, who fear she’ll turn her curse against them, Petra is rescued at the last instant by vampire advocate Nicholas Montegue. As their bodies merge and transform into mist, Petra feels an urgent erotic longing.

Nicholas fought long and hard to save Petra—and nearly paid the ultimate price. He risked his own life to spare hers, yet he knows he can never give in to the explosive attraction he feels for her. But the deep yearning they share can only be deferred for so long. Together, they must find a way to lift the curse. For only a love this strong has the power to overcome such monstrous evil.

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