Friday, June 24, 2016

Cover Reveal: Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Heart
Guild Hunter #9
Release Date: November 1, 2016
PreOrder   Goodreads
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a dangerous and exhilarating world where a deadly, beautiful archangel and his once-mortal consort are caught in a fury of twisted darkness…

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

Find Nalini and her books

Early Review: The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones

The Curse of Tenth Grave
Author: Darynda Jones
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
ISBN:  1250078199
ISBN13: 9781250078193
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher
As a Part-time PI and fulltime grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers?

Those are just a few of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murder, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…

THE DIRT ON NINTH GRAVE felt a little bit like a time out and reset sorta book, THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE brought us back to the normal side of Charley's life—if you could ever call it that.

I always look forward to getting my hands on the next Charley Davidson book and after THE DIRT ON NINTH GRAVE I was very interested in seeing how Charley would do re-entering her life again. She jumped in full steam ahead and re-entered her life as she always does, with determination and her own personal flair. There is a lot of action, there is a lot of danger and the emotions are up, down and off the wall.

There has been one major thing that has been bothering me for a really long time. The constant misunderstandings between Charley and Reyes causing bigger issues because they just won't open their mouths and talk to each other. I just don't get it. At this point in their relationship, after everything that they have been through, after all that they mean to each other, you would think that they would know better by now. THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE definitely wasn't as bad with this as some of the previous installments, but it's still present. They really need to start putting everything out there. I will admit that Cookies resolution to their current misunderstanding was pretty awesome.

So what will happen next with Charley and her gang? Who the heck knows. ELEVENTH GRAVE AT MIDNIGHT won't come out until January 2017 so I will have a while to dream of what I want to happen before I get it into my hands. This is hands down one of my favorite series. Thank you Darynda Jones for continuing to keep me entertained.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Boundary Born by Melissa F. Olson

Boundary Born
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: 47 North
ISBN:   1503936163
ISBN13: 9781503936164
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
Something wicked is at work in Colorado’s supernatural community. Vampires are being paralyzed or killed with poison…a weapon favored by witches. This offense threatens to break apart the already-fractured alliance between witches and the undead.

The state’s cardinal vampire, Maven, summons boundary witch Allison “Lex” Luther to stop the killing before it ignites a war. Lex has barely started investigating when she gets another surprise: the biological father she’s never met arrives on her doorstep. He has answers to all of Lex’s questions about her bloodline, but getting answers could mean betraying the life she’s already built.

Then the next vampire is poisoned—and this time it’s Maven herself. The new evil that hunts Lex is powerful and ruthless enough to stop the strongest supernatural creature in the state. In order to find such a killer, Lex will have to face down her own birthright and call on every ally—both living and dead.

I have really enjoyed getting to know Lex. She loves fiercely and will do anything to protect her family, which she proves time and time again. I love how bad-ass she is and I love watching her overcome the obstacles and dangers that have been thrown at her in each installment of the Boundary Magic series.

In BOUNDARY BORN she does more of what she does best, saving the day! There is ton of action as she fights to save herself and her friends from a foe she never saw coming.  Her relationship with Quinn is still pretty present and growing. One thing that I missed in BOUNDARY BORN though was Charlie. We don't 'see' her once. I am not really sure what else I can say about BOUNDARY BORN without giving away spoilers so I will leave my review at that.

I'm not sure if the Boundary Magic series is over or not. Olson states that she is taking some time off for a bit to work on other things. I really hope that it doesn't take long because there is SO much more Lex and friends to be had. I will miss them all until I see them again.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Promo + Giveaway: Phantom Embrace by Dianne Duvall

I'm so excited to share with you a new release coming from one of my favorite authors! Dianne's Duvall's Phantom Embrace will be available at eBook retailers everywhere on June 28th! This is an exciting and captivating novella set in the world of the Immortal Guardians and I can't wait for you to read it!

Phantom Embrace
Immortal Guardians #5.5
ebook, 112 pages
ISBN 1420143530

Across dimensions . . . 

Born with the ability to see spirits, immortal Yuri Sokolov avoids making contact with them, because such has always yielded negative results...until lovely Cat Seddon begins haunting his home and his dreams. As a new threat rises against the Immortal Guardians, Yuri disregards all the rules so he can be with Cat, even though the consequences are substantial.

For centuries, Catherine Seddon has been alone. When her brother is forced to join the Immortal Guardians’ ranks, she haunts the primary home of the powerful warriors to keep an eye on him, and soon finds herself captivated by Yuri. The handsome Russian immortal swiftly banishes her loneliness as friendship grows between them and deepens into love.  But can two people who are unable to touch find a future together?


Don't miss a single Immortal Guardians tale!
Book 1, Darkness Dawns -
Book 2, Night Reigns -
Book 3, Phantom Shadows -
Book 3.5, In Still Darkness -
Book 4, Darkness Rises -
Book 5, Night Unbound -
Book 5.5, Phantom Embrace
Book 6, Shadows Strike -


Cat leaned into the frame of a large window behind the massive desk in David’s study. The sun’s rays, almost blindingly bright and sparkling with dust motes, poured through the clean panes and passed right through her, imbuing her with warmth.

The house around her was quiet. All the immortals slept. Many of their human Seconds slept as well, having worked until noon or thereabouts, running errands and conducting whatever business they did during the day for the immortals they served and protected.

Even David slept, exhausted by the long hours he had kept of late, aiding immortals in North Carolina and surrounding states whenever emergencies arose, then spending the moments in between poring over medical textbooks in search of any information that would help him and Seth carry Ami safely through her difficult pregnancy.

Outside, Roland’s cat, Nietzsche—as cantankerous as his owner—crept toward a squirrel.

The squirrel continued to nibble on an acorn, watching the cat from the corner of its eye.

A pleasant male voice spoke, startling her. “There you are.”

Her head snapping around, Cat stared at the tall figure in the doorway.

Yuri graced her with a charming smile as he entered and closed the door behind him.

“Why aren’t you asleep?” she asked, telling her treacherous heart to stop slamming against her ribs. She had never understood why she had continued to feel that particular organ after she had breathed her last breath. She never felt hunger. Never felt thirst. But her heart seemed to thump away in her breast. One of many mysteries for which she had no explanation.

“I was looking for you,” he said, tucking his hands in his pockets as he strolled toward her. He wore the usual garb of an immortal. Black pants. Black T-shirt stretched taut over the thick muscles of his chest, shoulders, and arms. Heavy black boots.

From what she understood, immortals and their Seconds dressed thusly so blood stains would be less apparent to any looky-loos who saw them after a hunt.

She frowned. Was that the right phrase? Looky-loos? It sounded odd.

Regardless, the clothing suited Yuri, accenting his dark hair and chestnut eyes.

She straightened as he approached the desk.

“I’ve only caught the briefest glimpses of you these last few nights,” he commented.

Because she had been careful to avoid him since their talk. As soon as he had entered a room, Cat had left it. She had even resisted the temptation to follow him on his hunts.

He arched a dark brow. “Are you avoiding me?”

For a moment, Cat considered denying it. But she had told him she valued honesty. So she nodded.

“Why?” He cocked his head to one side. “Did I offend you in some way?”

Shaking her head, she glanced down. “I fear it is I who offended you.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. “I owe you an apology.”

His expression remained impassive. “For what?”

“Now that I know you can see me, that you’ve always been able to see me, I realize . . .” Mortified, she looked away and began to pleat her skirts with anxious fingers. “You said you value your privacy, and I denied you that on many an occasion, visiting your chamber and following you on hunts. I—”


She shook her head and met his gaze. “I don’t want to be like that first spirit you mentioned, the one you spoke to. I don’t want to irritate you or make you uncomfortable. I—”

“You don’t,” he interrupted with a kind smile. “You didn’t.” He sighed as he circled the desk. “I feared this might be the reason for your absence.” Stopping a few feet away, he leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the window, careful to avoid the sun’s rays. “I confess I enjoyed your presence each time you joined me in my room or on a hunt.” His smile widened. “The former more than the latter. The latter proved dangerously distracting on more than one occasion.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“I’m not,” he said and glanced out the window.

Cat followed his gaze.

Without warning, Nietzsche raced toward the squirrel.

The squirrel dropped its acorn and shot up the nearest tree, not stopping until it reached the highest limbs, well out of the crazy cat’s reach. Spinning around, it barked a peculiar little bark at the disgruntled feline, its tail flicking wildly.

“It’s been so long, Cat,” Yuri murmured, his profile drawing her gaze. “It’s been so very long since I’ve spent time with a woman around whom I can relax and be myself.” He cast her a smile, both wry and sad at the same time. “Five hundred years or so, if you can believe it.”

She couldn’t.

“Even when I was mortal, I had to hide my strange ability to see spirits. If I didn’t, I was believed to be quite mad.” He shrugged. “Once I became immortal, I had a great deal more to hide.”

Surely there had been women over the centuries. Even Bastien had not remained celibate since his transformation.

“This life is not conducive to forming lasting relationships with women,” he went on, almost as though she had spoken the thought aloud. “Human/immortal relationships never end well. Most end bitterly when the human ages and the immortal does not. The human always seems incapable of believing that the immortal who loves her will continue to do so as she grows wrinkled and stooped with age. That disbelief sows distrust. The elderly human convinces herself the immortal must be seeing a younger woman on the side and launches accusations each night as he leaves to hunt. The immortal always grows bitter himself that the woman he loves has so little faith in him.”

He grew quiet, his handsome face pensive.

“Does it never work?” she asked.

“Very rarely. When it does, it always ends in tragedy when the human inevitably dies. Until Roland met Sarah, the same held true for immortal/gifted one relationships. Sarah is the first gifted one in history who actually asked to be transformed so she could spend eternity with an immortal. In the past, gifted ones always refused, which spawned even more bitterness.”

He faced her once more. “I suspect you were born in another era, so I hope this will not offend your sensibilities, but . . . casual, meaningless sex has held no appeal for me for the past . . . oh . . . four hundred years, give or take a decade. After a century or so it just grew . . . tiresome and interested me about as much as eating the same meal for dinner every night for hundreds of years would. Periodically one feels the need to sate the hunger, of course, but it’s just the scratching of an itch. There’s no real satisfaction in it. And certainly no affection.”

She fought back a blush. No man had ever spoken so plainly to her.

“I miss the company of women,” he said with something akin to apology in his voice. “And while I was a bit wary of you the first few times you joined me in my room, I soon found I enjoyed your presence there. Enjoyed the companionship you provided. Enjoyed watching your expression change as you listened to audiobooks with me when Stanislav didn’t join us.”

Revelation struck. “You started listening to them for me, didn’t you?” she asked.

“Yes,” he admitted. “I couldn’t help but notice the looks of longing you cast the books on my shelves.” He glanced at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves around them. “Or these.”

What a thoughtful gift he had given her. Cat had always been a bit of a bluestocking when she had lived, burying her nose in a book whenever she could. “Thank you.”

He inclined his head. “I even enjoyed watching television with you.” He smiled. “As though we were an old married couple.”

That enigmatic heartbeat of hers quickened.

“You brought me a peace I haven’t experienced in many long years, Cat. I’ve missed that these past few days.”

She swallowed. “I didn’t want to be like that other spirit. I didn’t want to make a nuisance of myself.”

He huffed a laugh. “If you knew how much I’ve missed your company since we spoke, you’d understand just how impossible that is.”

Hope and disbelief battled within her. Could she be so lucky?

He straightened away from the window frame and took a step toward her.

Cat reached out instinctively to push him away from the sunlight. “Careful,” she admonished. Warmth suffused her hands when they touched his chest and started to pass through him. She jerked them back. “Oh. I’m sorry. I—”

He raised a hand to stop her apology, then held it out to her, palm-up, as he had that night in his room.

Cat stared down at the large, masculine hand as sunlight bathed it.

“I’m old enough that I can sustain some exposure without suffering.”

“Oh.” Cat glanced up at him, then tentatively placed her own hand atop his, careful to ensure hers wouldn’t pass through it.

That wonderful warmth filled her where they pretended to touch.

Smiling, Yuri leaned down and mimicked kissing the back of her hand.

More warmth suffused her where his lips contacted her intangible skin.

He straightened. “Dmitry downloaded a new audiobook for me today at my request.”

Cat smiled. One of the many things she had learned about Yuri in the time she had been haunting him was that he was not at all comfortable with the electronic devices and advanced technology of this time.

“He teased me mercilessly about it,” he continued with a wry smile.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I asked him to download something called a paranormal romance.”

Paranormal romance. The term sounded familiar. “I think Tracy likes those.”

He nodded. “According to Marcus, female readers love them. Some men do, too. Though some—like Dmitry—mock them for it.”


“Romance is considered a woman’s genre by many. Love and happily ever after and that sort of thing. I think most men equate romance novels with chick flicks.”

“Men don’t like love and happily ever after?”

He shrugged. “I don’t have a problem with it, but don’t know that I’ll enjoy listening to it for twelve or thirteen hours. Marcus claims paranormal romances also have a lot of action and violence in them, though, so I thought it may be something we could both enjoy.”

“That was thoughtful of you,” she said, pleased by the overture.

“My reading, or—in this case—listening preferences can be a bit dull and dry,” he said apologetically.

“No, not at all,” Cat protested.

He arched a brow.

She bit her lip. “It’s just . . . some crime stories . . .” She tried to think of a diplomatic phrase that wouldn’t offend.

“Bore the petticoats off you?” he supplied, his brown eyes twinkling with amusement.

She laughed. “Yes. I’ve watch too many of those police shows on television with the Seconds. The stories all seem to blend together now.”

“Well, let’s see if this paranormal romance will spark your interest, shall we?”

“Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” she asked, hoping he would say no. It had been hard to stay away from him this past week. She had missed his company.

“Yes, but let us at least listen to the first chapter or two and get a taste of it. I’ll turn in after that.”

She grinned. “I’d like that.”

He circled the desk and headed for the door.

Cat followed, as excited as a girl being courted for the first time. As he reached for the door handle, she passed through the wall beside the door. In the hallway, she turned and found him holding the door open for her.

Both laughed.

“Forgive me,” she apologized. “Habit.”

He shook his head. “I claim the same. Opening doors for women is second nature.” He stepped out into the hallway with her. “This will be fun, I think,” he said with a smile. “Never a dull moment.”

Cat agreed wholeheartedly and accompanied him down to his room.


Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and "wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews).

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit You can also find Dianne online . . .

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Release Day Giveaway: Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

Sweet Ruin
Immortals After Dark #16
An immortal assassin is caught between desire and duty...

A foundling raised in a world of humans

Growing up, orphaned Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was “bad,” an outcast with strange powers. Her baby brother Thaddeus was as perfect as she was flawed; protecting him became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from angry girl... to would-be superhero... to enchanting, ruthless villain.

A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission

A threat to the Møriør has brought archer Rune the Baneblood to the mortal realm to slay the oldest living Valkyrie. Whether by bow or in bed, he never fails to eliminate his target. Yet before he can strike, he encounters a vampiric creature whose beauty conceals a black heart. With one bite, she pierces him with aching pleasure, taking his forbidden blood - and jeopardizing the secrets of his brethren.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin...

Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? Rune knows he must not trust Josephine, yet he’s unable to turn her away. Despite his millennia of sexual conquests, he can’t ignore the unfamiliar longing she arouses deep within him. When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Releases: 6/19-6/25

Tue. June 21st

 Duskfall (Chaos Queen #1) by Christopher B. Husberg 
 Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana  
 Never Ever by Sara Saedi 
 Night Sins by Lisa Renee Jones
 Pressure by Brian Keene 
 The Sword of Midras: A Shroud of the Avatar Novel by Tracy Hickman, Richard Garriott de Cayeux

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Worth Dying For by Kory M. Shrum

UFI welcomes Author Kory M. Shrum. Thanks for Joining us!!

As a writer I can always count on being asked one of these three questions:
1) Where do you get your ideas?
2) Do you hope your books will be made into movies?
3) What is your dream cast? Or another variation: Who would you like to play ?

Today is the day to answer question #3!  I know several authors who wouldn’t answer this question for fear of jinxing themselves, but this one time I’m not feeling particularly superstitious. And I know I would be thrilled to have whoever was cast, in the event the book was made into a major motion picture.
But superstition and rationalization aside, After much deliberation, I think I know who would be best for each of Worth Dying For‘s major roles and I have reasons for each cast member. So let’s begin!
Jesse- Emma Stone
Emma is adorable. Snarky. And if we dye/cut her hair to the style that she wore for Zombieland, then at least visually, she’d be a dead ringer for Jesse. I also think she’d have excellent comedic timing for Jesse’s zingers, but still be able to deliver on the emotional vulnerability when necessary.
Ally-Amber Heard
Despite her current drama with Johnny Depp, I think Heard would make a great Ally (visually). She would be able to match Jesse’s snark when necessary, but also be able to devolve into overprotective coddling when it came to Jesse.

Rachel- Demi Lovato
Okay, I know she isn’t technically an actress, but she did an excellent job in her music video Confident and it’s that curvaceous attitude and her Latina heritage, that make her a good match for the role of Rachel.
The angel Gabriel-Ian Somerhalder
Big baby blues and dark features. A morally ambiguous and sexually charged presence—who better to play the part of Gabriel than cutie-pie, Ian? There’s not much else to say other than I can’t wait to get him dressed up in a third piece suit and parade him around.

Maisie-Chloe Mortez
Adorable. Smart. Tough on the outside with a big gooey heart on the inside. Chloe is the one! She would do a great job portraying the difficult position between her love for her mother and accepting the fact that her mother is an evil murder that must be stopped. It would be an emotionally charged line to walk, but we’ve seen many examples from Mortez’s filmography to suggest she would do the character justice.

Gloria-Viola Davis
I would murder someone if it meant Viola Davis would play the part of Gloria. Gloria is deeply troubled yet her inner core is as solid as Mt. Everest. She knows her mission and never wavers from her target. She isn’t very openly affectionate, but her love and devotion to the crew is apparent in the risks she takes for their safety. I think Viola Davis has the sophisticated skills necessary to depict this level of depth.

Caldwell-Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise would make a great Timothy Caldwell! Ruthless leader of the Church with a desire to be the sole bearer of absolute power. Part insane, part dark schemer. I think Cruise could depict this mental instability perfectly.

Nikki-Rachel Evan Wood
Anyone who has seen Rachel play the queen in True Blood knows she could pull off the cool headed soldier, who matches Jesse snark for snark. And I think she’d look great in body armor

Gideon- Blerim Destani?
Gideon is from Afghanistan. Idolizing smugglers as a child, he grew up to be a tech savvy, well-connected free agent, currently helping Jesse and crew out of a sense of loyalty to the man who secured his future, James T. Brinkley. The only problem is that I couldn’t find any afghani actors in my search and broadening it to the vague “middle eastern” didn’t turn up much better. I like the look of Blerim, but I haven’t seen any of his movies. Can he be smart, a little pompous, a rich kid who doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, but loyal to the core? Wit? Charm? It remains to be seen—and if you have any actor suggestions I’m all ears.

Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner Kim and her ferocious guard pug Josephine. She is very fond of naps and foods made of sugar, which is, as you can imagine, a deadly combination. But she tries to compensate for her extreme physical laziness with her overactive imagination. She's an active member of SFWA, HWA, and the Four Horsemen of the Bookocalypse, where she's known as Conquest. She's the author of five contemporary (and somewhat dark) fantasy novels in the Dying for a Living series: Dying for a Living, Dying by the Hour, Dying for Her: A Companion Novel, Dying Light, and Worth Dying For.

Dying for a Living has over 190 5-star reviews and is a free ebook.

When not writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, and wearing a gi. She's very likely to tempt you to an ominous tarot or palm reading--anything spooky-foo to pass the time until Guardians of the Galaxy or Sherlock return. She's not-so-secretly dying for the next season to begin.

Find Kori and her books

Worth Dying For
Dying for a Living #5
Amazon Amazon UK Amazon Canada
iBooks Kobo BN Smashwords
A supernatural suspense novel about a snarky anti-heroine and her motley crew trying to stop the unstoppable. The fifth novel in the popular Dying for a Living series, Worth Dying For picks up two months after the events of Dying Light.

The gang is in New York and much to Jesse’s surprise, they are all still alive. Jesse, Ally, Rachel, Gideon and Maisie have managed to stay off of Caldwell’s radar for months. But when your enemy can control minds and teleport, there isn’t a safe place in the world where you can hide. They have a plan for stopping his genocidal reign, but it will require a 2500-mile road trip to Cochise, Arizona, the abandoned military base where it all began.
Shrum's writing is smart, imaginative, and insanely addictive! I have begun to think of her books as my Kory Krack. I beg of you to pick them up. You will NOT regret it! ~ Darynda Jones, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Charley Davidson series

This book and author are now among my favorites! Wow! I might be a little partial to this story because I love morbid comedy, urban fantasy, and a good mystery. I'm also a big fan of original ideas, since they're so rare anymore. But this one has it all! ~ Angela Roquet, author of the Lana Harvey Reapers Inc. series 

Shrum is a master at blending a breezy narrative with genuine weight to story and characters. Hysterical, moving, and fascinating all at once. ~ John K. Addis, author of The Eaton


“So what’ll it be?” I ask her. “Water? Juice? I don’t think we actually have Gatorade, but I can walk down to the store.”
“Water’s fine.” Ally falls back against cushions and grins up at me. A light pink blush spreads over her cheeks. She finger-combs her hair. “My hair is so pretty. I love my hair.”
I snort. “I love your hair too.”
“What else about me is cute?” she asks.
“Everything.” I fluff the pillow for her and search the room for a blanket. I yank a red velvety throw off the back of a chair as Gideon slips out of the bedroom and passes me on his way to the mini fridge. He grabs one of the wrapped water glasses from the bar above.
“Grab us one too.” I have zero problems assigning tasks to other people. Sometimes I wonder if it was a mistake going into death-replacing. Sure, I was a great death replacement agent, and dying for other people is cool, but I’m really good at bossing people around.
It’s like a calling.
Gideon fills two water glasses with some fancy bottled water from the fridge and hands me a glass. I don’t dare remind him that Ally vowed not to drink this water yesterday. She ranted about the effect of plastic on the environment for ten whole minutes. I could’ve reminded her that the planet is about to explode anyway, but that meant Gideon would’ve won the argument and I’m Team Ally all the way.
I put the glass of water in her hand. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. “Here you go. Drink up.”
She waves her water around. “I just feel so good, you know?”
I smile. “I can tell.”
She runs a hand through her hair. “It’s a new year. A new beginning. And we have a great plan for kicking Caldwell’s butt.”
“We do.”
“And you’re so cute and you kissed me.”
With arched eyebrows, Gideon closes the bedroom door behind him. Thankfully, the sound of the television comes on, affording us some privacy.
I sink down onto the sofa beside her. “I’ll do it again if you want me too. I’ll kiss you a million times.”
She bites her lip and I’m about to lose it. I lean forward to kiss her but she starts talking again, so I hang there mid-smooch, lips puckered.
“Life is so good right now. No one is stabbing us, burying us alive, beating us up, or kidnapping the dog,” she goes on, her voice echoing inside her water glass. Her face pinches. “That means we are probably about to die.”
I press my lips together and sigh. “Don’t say that. You’ll jinx us.”
It’s difficult getting her to sit up, but I manage it. I want her to drink this water. I tilt the glass toward her lips, encouraging her.
“This is good,” she says and frowns at the water. “Is this tap water?”
“Because I’m not drinking that $15 water Gideon bought.”
“It’s tap,” I say again. “You’re just too drunk to taste it.”
Ally shrugs and finishes the glass. Then she hands me her empty glass.
“You want more?”
“No,” she grins. “I want something else.”
“We’ve got chips, but that’s about it. And Rachel can’t close a bag to save her life, so they’re probably stale.”
She shakes her head, grinning.
Then I realize what she’s saying.
“Oh.” I smile. “Okay.”
She crawls over the pillow between us and pulls herself into my lap. She straddles me, wrapping her arms around my neck. She kisses me once on the cheek, probably a missed target rather than a sweet gesture, and then manages to get my mouth the second time.
She pulls back. “God, is it you or is it really hot in here?”
“We’re still wearing our coats.”
She laughs and looks down at herself. “Oh. Right.”
I reach up behind her and pull her jacket off. “Better?”
She snuggles up to me. “You’re still hot.”
“Thanks for noticing.”
“Let me help you take your coat off.”
“Okay.” I let her attempt to pull off the jacket, but it’s not really going anywhere and she accidentally pulls my hair twice. So I help her get my jacket off and throw it over the arm of the sofa. One of the throw pillows falls to the floor with a poof.
Ally doesn’t stop there. She slips her hands under my shirt, giving me a curious look. “Is this okay?”
I try to find the voice to tell her it’s more than okay. She would have been naked an hour ago in the grubby bathroom of some bar if she wasn’t such a germaphobe.
She is so beautiful. Her eyes are bright, reflecting the lamplight. Her face is flushed from the alcohol, her smile lazy. Her eyes half-closed. My heart pounds in my chest, thudding against my ribs so hard it hurts.
“What’s wrong?” A frown creases her face and I think she can hear my heart throbbing. “Don’t you think I’m pretty?”
“Don’t be stupid.”
I reach up and pull her down into my arms. I kiss her, even more deeply than I did on the balcony. I slip my hand under her shirt and unsnap her bra with one twist of my fingers.
She gasps in my mouth and the sound of it makes my whole body shudder.
“Lay down,” I command.
She laughs, surprised, but her voice goes all deep and breathy. “Yes, sir.”
I climb on top of her, positioning myself between her legs. I kiss her neck and she squirms, bucking her hips up against mine.
“Do you love me?” she asks.
“More than anyone.”
“Are you sure?”
I cover her mouth with mine. “Please stop talking.” I pull back. “Unless you want me to stop.”
“No, no.” She grabs the front of my hoodie, twisting it up in her fists and pulls me down on top of her.

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