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Posts Tagged ‘Danger’

Jabril

I actually read Jabril right after finishing Raphael. Well, there might have been a few hours sleep sandwiched in between, but not much. I’m just a wee bit behind on my reviews…

Jabril opens up right where Raphael finished. Cyn and Raphael have split up and she runs from California to Texas, to pick up another job for a vampire lord – as far away as possible from Raphael.

This lord, however, is the polar opposite of Raphael.

Had she expected them all to be like Raphael – beautiful, lying bastard that he was? Sure, he’d broken her heart, but all those Boy Scout virtues, like honorable and trustworthy, applied to him too. Powerful as he was, he ruled his territory with the loyalty and respect of his people, rather than fear.

She’s been called in to track down a missing person – a 17-yr old human girl, Elizabeth. The vampire lord, Jabril Karim al Subaie had been granted custody of Elizabeth and her older sister, Mirabelle – and planned to take control of their inherited fortune on Elizabeth’s 18th birthday. He’d already raped and turned Mirabelle, and Elizabeth would be next, but she managed to run away first.

No, she decided, it was the girl that had made her take an instant dislike to Jabril Karim. The young woman was treated like an ill-favoured pet.

 

Of course, Cyn has no intentions of returning Elizabeth – if she can find her. Instead, she decides to spring Mirabelle free. Only problem is, she needs to ask Raphael for help.

Duncan stopped mid-sentence, and Cyn could hear a silky, deep voice in the background. Her heart jumped and it was suddenly difficult to breathe.

“My lord -” She heard Duncan begin. She didn’t listen any further.

“Good-bye, Duncan.” She hung up. Her cell phone rang almost immediately, but Cyn didn’t answer. She was tempted to turn it off, but was afraid Kelli might call, or even Liz herself. So she switched it to vibrate and watched it dance around the table a few times, her eyes never leaving the display, as it shunted every call to voice mail.

 

She’s confused. Raphael seems to want her still, but she can’t bear to have her heart broken again.

Raphael reached out to tangle his fingers in a lock of her hair and tug her closer. His nostrils flared as he drew a breath. “He touched you.”

“No,” she objected, before remembering the clingy sensation of Jabril’s casual touch. “Just my arm, I didn’t want -”

“I should kill him for that alone.”

 

And herein lies Cyn’s big dilemma. Does Raphael really want her, or is this just a power play against Jabril?

Cyn blew out a breath, frustrated. “You know, I’m getting kind of tired of everyone pretending this is my fault. Raphael’s the one who walked away, not me.”

“Men are fools, Cynthia. You surely know that by now.”

“Tell me about it,” she muttered.

 

The plot is twisty and complex. In addition to the runaway, the escape with Mirabelle, the continuing angst over Raphael – there is apparently a killer vamp roaming the streets. And for some bizarre reason, Raphael stands accused. Cynthia is beyond furious when he’s arrested shortly before sunrise.

To hell with the speed limit. It was nearly daylight. Was the para facility equipped to handle a sleeping vampire? And what about Duncan and the others, their need to protect Raphael would outweigh even the instinct to retreat from the rising sun. She pounded the steering wheel angrily.

 

Vampires fall unconscious at sunrise and are at their most vulnerable. Raphael will have to spend the daylight in a converted prison cell and is only allowed one human to watch over him. He wants Cyn.

“And if I say no?”

Kimiko gave Cyn a baleful glare. “Then I will attempt to make other arrangements in time. If I fail, Lord Raphael will sleep unsecured, vulnerable to whatever the humans plan. And I do not doubt for one moment that this entire farce has been orchestrated towards that end.”

 

To my eternal delight, in one of the most delightful love confessions I’ve read, Raphael finally opens up to her.

He shook his head. “No, my Cyn, there has been no one in all these hundreds of years who mastered me. Until I met you.”

“So, having at last met a foe I could not defeat, I fled,” he said in disgust. “Rather than face you in my weakness, I thought to leave you behind, to forget about you, which I thought was surely possible. After all, how could one human overwhelm me with feelings in such a short period of time?” He smiled bitterly, shaking his head at his own foolishness.

 

It’s still not an easy ride for them, but Cyn finally accepts that she’s still in love with him.

Cyn felt a tug of desire low in her body as he unbuttoned his left shirt cuff and began to roll it up his forearm with economical movements. She had a weakness for beautiful hands on a man. Raphael’s hands were strong, his fingers long and square, his forearms smoothly muscled. She swallowed dryly and squelched memories of what those hands could do.

 

I loved the way that Cyn and Raphael danced back and forth, neither brave enough to admit they needed each other. It was touchingly, heart-warmingly real.

Raphael let out a small relieved breath and leaned back to sit on the edge of his desk.

“Are you all right?” Cyn asked, indicating his wounded arm with a nod of her head.

Raphael gave her a crooked smile. “I love when you worry about me, my Cyn. No one else does.”

She gave a little huff of disbelief. “Duncan worries about you,” she disagreed. “He’s worse than a mother hen.”

“Yes, well,” Raphael said softly. “That’s not quite the same thing, is it?”

 

Oh and Jabril is none too happy when he loses both Elizabeth and Mirabelle. He wants them back, and to make Cyn pay.

As with Raphael, I was GLUED to this and can’t wait to read the next in the series. 5 out of 5.

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Spliced

Three and a half stars

Soldiers and team-mates, Ridge Gates and Cale Easton are closer than brothers and serve together in the army, watching each others backs. When Cale is killed in a mortar attack in Afghanistan, Ridge wishes he could have died instead. However, he made a promise to the dying Cale to look after his twin sister, Avery, and he intends to honour that. He’s been in love with Avery for years – as long as he’s known Cale – and he’s long since accepted that Avery deserves better than a Grunt. Especially one as damaged as him. He has no idea that Avery is in love with him.

The night Cale’s body is brought back the US is hard for both of them and they meet up in a hotel. Avery needs Ridge, and no longer as just a friend.

Everything he’d ever wanted was right here in front of him and he’d be a bastard for taking it, or a bastard for refusing.

Avery looked at him. “Pretend I’m someone else if you have to. Just give me this.”

After possibly the best night of sex ever, for both of them, Ridge slips out and leaves while she’s asleep, starting a pattern that lasts throughout the story.

She’d thrown herself at him, practically begged him to take her and God, she’d had to force him with her thoughts.

Shame. What she’d done to him was shameful and degrading. She’d even told him to pretend she was someone else if he had to. Did she really believe he’d want her after all these years of him basically ignoring her? What a pathetic dope she was.

“He used you, Avery.”

“No, she said. I used him.”

Their feelings for each other are complicated by a strange psychic connection that Avery shared with her twin – one that seems to have now transferred to Ridge. It takes her a while to tell him about this, during which time he thinks he’s losing his mind.

“I can’t believe this,” he muttered, looking as though he wanted to run. “So you can invade my head at any time?”

Invade, the word cut through her like a hot knife. He made her sound like a villain in some science fiction movie… it wasn’t like that.

“I don’t invade your head,” she answered calmly.

“Then what the fuck do you call it?”

Their on-off relationship is complicated by the addition of local cop, Kevin Stone, who takes a liking to Avery – and an instant dislike for Ridge. He joins the story when Avery’s house is broken into and all her belongings smashed up. Avery’s life is suddenly in danger and it has to be connected to the final, doomed mission in Afghanistan. Ridge’s memories are hazy – had Cale done something – or found something – that he shouldn’t?

This story engaged me and annoyed me in equal parts. Avery and Ridge grieved and loved and fought, with buckets full of emotion, but it became a little repetitive. They’d make up, have sex, then Ridge would run away again. True, he had his reasons, but I’m annoyed with him for behaving like that – and for Avery putting up with it. Even more irritating was when she played with Stone, dangling him and his interest to boost her bruised ego. Stone made the situation plain to Ridge:

“That woman is hurting, and most of the hurt is coming because of you. Either cut her loose and stop dangling her or step up and be a man. As of now, she has options. Keep that in mind.”

It bugged me that Stone fell for Avery so quickly, he seemed too rounded a character to fall head over heels in love with a woman on Day One. And while his dislike of Ridge seemed genuine enough, it was obvious they’d become friends.

So…. It was a good read, but not brilliant. 3.5 out of 5.

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