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Posts Tagged ‘suspense’

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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Forged in Fire (The Forged Series)

I took a chance on this as I loved the blurb and I’m glad I did! Two of my favourite authors are JR Ward and Suzanne Brockmann, so to find a story that takes the best of both genres…. it makes for a truly awesome read.

It opens with a trio of sexy off-duty Navy SEALS hanging around an airport lounge, waiting for a flight to Hawaii to attend a friend’s wedding. So far, so normal, except that the Lieutenant Commander, Zane Winters, has a psychic flash of his two team-mates being shot and dying on board the plane. He comes from a highly psychic family and his friends already know to treat these flashes seriously. Then we have Beth Brown. She’s normal in every way, except that she had the most realistic dream ever the night before, in which she witnessed – in horrific detail – the hijacking of the Hawaii flight and the deaths of the 3 hotties currently waiting by the gate. She needs to warn them, but will they listen, never mind take her seriously?

She glanced at the clock on the wall behind the ticket counter…  Ninety minutes to convince someone to believe her and prevent a hijacking.

A nice little bonus for Zane is that he has a soul mate somewhere. Very JR Ward.

Every year the numbness dug a little deeper, spread a little further. He’d been warned about this particular side effect of the family gift – or curse, depending on who was talking. But knowing about it, and living with it, were completely different animals.

And as soon as he sees Beth… Yep, she’s the one.

The tug towards her was incredibly strong, like she was a magnet and his bones were made of metal. He took another step forward, his body vibrating at some strange frequency.

Of course, Beth is a little more resistant to the idea.

“That’s part of the bond. The connection we share. It will strengthen as we spend more time together. You can deny it all you want, but in your heart you know we’re connected. You felt it.

This story launches straight into the action and it’s non-stop from then on. Good guys, bad guys, a twisting, turning plot that grips you and doesn’t let go. It’s right there. Going back to JR Ward again, I fell in love with this book in the opening chapter when Beth first talks to Zane and realises he’s treating her very oddly.

A wave of intense disorientation swept over her. For a moment she was convinced she was still dreaming. That she’d fallen asleep while reading one of JR Ward’s Brotherhood of the Black Dagger romances and had inserted herself in to a dream based on the book. Any moment now he was going to start growling Mine Mine Mine and let loose with some spicy bonding scent.

Loved the reference. And of course Zane thinks this – even if he doesn’t say it aloud.

Another Big-Smile-Moment came when they explained they were Navy SEALs.

“The SEAL program is the Navy’s version of Special Forces -” he started to explain.

“I know,” she broke in. “Deployed from sea, land and air. I’ve read some… ah…” She coughed, her cheeks flushing pink. “… books that had SEALs in them.”

So what else can I say? There are some fabulous kick-ass secondary characters in this, most of whom are just crying out for their own story. Mac and Amy perhaps? Or Zane’s lovely team-mates Cosky and Rawls? There’s bucket loads of tension, and plenty of emotional angst too as Zane tries to persuade Beth that she’s the one, while she tries equally hard to keep her distance. I was distressed when the story ended on something of a cliffhanger, as I know that the next in the series (Woo Hoo, Cosky’s story!) isn’t out for months! This is a series I shall be following with eager anticipation, as well as keeping an eye on other work that Trish McCallan produces. 5 stars out of 5.

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