Brat Sweet Nothings

Random musings of a romance reader
THE MISSING by Shiloh Walker
Taige Branch has a gift or a curse, depending on how you look at it. Her psychic visions have only ever given her bad nights and made her the object of villification and frequent beatings by her sanctimonious uncle. But it is when the boy she loves, blames her for not preventing his mother's death and walks out of her life that is the hardest blow of all.

Twelve years later, Cullen Morgan's back, widowed, wiser and as devastatingly attractive as ever. He needs Taige's help to find his little girl who's been kidnapped. As the two race against time to find little Jilly, the attraction that never died bursts back to potent flames. Will Cullen be able to convince Taige that he's never stopped loving her? Dare Taige trust her heart to Cullen again?

Ms. Shiloh Walker is in fine form here. She leaves no hearts untouched as we follow Taige and Cullen's relationship from heady teenage passion to raw heartbreak to full-blown love and sweet healing. Filled with her trademark poignant emotions, searing erotic heat and spine-tingling suspense, The Missing has a little something for everyone.

Shiloh Walker
Berkley Trade (November 4, 2008)
# ISBN-10: 0425224384
# ISBN-13: 978-0425224380

Devyn Quinn Contest: The Winner Is....
Jen in WA!

Congratulations! Thanks to all who participated and left wonderful comments. I hope you've enjoyed Devyn Quinn's visit and discovered some new reads in return. Do check back as I'll be hosting other authors on the blog in the future.

Sticky Reminder
The Devyn Quinn contest ends 11.59pm PST July 20, 2008. Comment on any or all of the three blog posts in connection with Devyn Quinn and stand a chance to win a choice of Sins of the Night, Sins of the Flesh, Eros Island or Trio!

PS: By entering the giveaway, participants agree that they are at least 18 years old.

Blog Exclusive: A "Dark Sweet Nothings" Excerpt from EMBRACING MIDNIGHT by Devyn Quinn
Blog readers, you're in for a treat! Here's an exclusive, never-before-seen sneak peek at Embracing Midnight (November 2008) that I cajoled from Devyn. Be forewarned, it's very dark and intense!

"Dark, powerful, and deliciously erotic, Embracing Midnight by Devyn Quinn takes the unbelievable and makes it frighteningly real. A tormented and tortured heroine and a hero who may—or may not—be truly evil, battle an even greater horror. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace the impossible and lose yourself in this richly sensual tale, the ultimate in dark erotic romance." --Kate Douglas, author Wolf Tales

Award-winning author Devyn Quinn tells a tale of dark and dangerous seduction as one woman experiences exquisitely erotic delights…with a very unusual man.

“Nice.” Iollan gave her near naked body a friendly smile, taking in every last inch. If he saw anything he didn't like, he wasn't showing it.

Basking in his appreciation, Callie glanced down. Full breasts and shapely hips flared out from her tiny waist. Her legs were long and lean, her belly flat and solid as a brick. All those extra days working out in the gym had paid off. Her body was in top shape, a necessity of the job she followed with near religious fervor. Roger had reminded her many times during her training--in and out of bed-- that an out of shape agent was a sloppy agent.

“You're perfect in every way.” Pulling her closer, he leaned forward, nibbling the bare skin just below her breasts.

Callie's breath caught. His lips were soft and warm, moist as he licked the sensitive area. The heated sensation of his mouth on her bare abused skin felt wonderful. A lusty moan slipped out.

“You like that?”

“Oh, yes.” She purred in rapture. “More, please, sir.”

He pulled back, taking away the wonderful torture. “Good girl. You catch on fast.” He reached for her left wrist. “But not yet. Still have to finish the unveiling.”

Callie stiffened. Oh, shit. She'd totally forgotten the reason she wore those cuffs in the first place.

Undoing the ties, Iollan peeled away the leather cuff. Pale and white, dozens of white scars were stark against her abused inner wrists. The veins wove pale greenish-blue paths beneath the obvious damage.

His face darkened. She saw him swallow, fighting the urge to question their presence.

She tried to pull her arm away. “Don't.”

He persisted. “I want to see.” He unbound her right wrist, visually probing more scars.

“Seen enough?” Her words were an unpleasant snarl.

He shook his head, tracing one with a single finger. “Tell me why?”

So warm only moments ago, Callie felt ice cold inside as the blood drained from her face. She'd always explained the irregular scars away as a childhood accident.

Trust. Treacherous, but necessary. He had to believe everything about her, down to the last detail. Shifting uneasily, she gave him a level look. In for a penny, in for a pound.

“I'm a cutter.” Her voice quavered, but she quickly gained control. “Or rather, I was. When I was a teenager.”

Warm hands touched her hips, holding her still and steady. Beneath his touch, her skin raised into goose-bumps. “What happened to make you do that?”

Callie shivered. Her stomach felt as if thousands of snakes writhed inside and her palms felt clammy. Her life hadn't been easy or pleasant. What do you do when the state sends you to a foster home, and your foster father finds you more attractive than his wife sleeping down the hall?

You close your eyes and endure.

Racked by insomnia, fearing the man who would come and use her body in ways she didn't then understand, Callie had turned to the only solution she knew to vent her fear and frustration.

“What can I say? I was a fucked up kid.” She struggled to get the words out. Shuffled in through the foster care system since her third birthday, Callie had never known the security of a stable home, much less a family who loved her--or wanted her.

A muscle at the corner of his lower jaw jumped. “I'm sorry.”

“Don't be.” Her hands were shaking cold. The past was the past. Her intensity was out of place, leaving her too exposed. “When I was a teenager, I cut a little, drank a little and fucked a lot. It was a fetish. I'm over it now.”

“Let's see if you are.” He reached for her hand.

Dismayed, Callie resisted. She felt nauseated. “Don't take me there.” Muscles tense, she stood, waiting.

“I know the darkness inside you.” Succeeding in the capture, he raised her inner wrist to his mouth. Moist warmth spread across her chilled skin.

She closed her eyes, heart skipping at the sheer primitive power of his lips on her skin. Her brain was totally paralyzed, trapped by his utterly sensual acceptance.

Another warm slow wet stoke went straight to the center of her pulsing clit. The delicious skim of his tongue was follow by the scrape of his teeth. His move, sexy, amazing, enticing, gripped her fractured senses.

“Harder,” she gasped.

Excerpt from SINS OF THE NIGHT by Devyn Quinn
Sins of the Night: Kith & Kynn Book 2

Once, Adrien Roth was a Shadow Stalker--a hunter of vampires called the Kynn. Captured, he was forced to pay a devastating price, to become the very thing he despised. Over a century has passed since that time and Adrien's revenge against the creatures who tainted him is almost complete.

Little does he know that his thirst for justice will turn on him.

Foiling an attempted rape, Adrien is stunned by his attraction to the would-be victim. Cassie Wilson is a vibrant woman, obsessed with living for every moment. Though he knows better, Adrien begins to fall in love with her. But Cassie hides a terrible secret: her cancer is incurable.

When he and Cassie are captured by his enemies, Adrien is given a choice. Should he choose death for himself, or life for Cassie by making her one of the clan he's shunned for too long?

Friday night. Mystique was jammed wall to wall.

Multi-color strobe lights whooshed to the thudding beat of a Marilyn Manson remix. Faux fog crept across the dance floor, rising to mingle with the thick haze of cigarette smoke. The theme was an eclectic mix of occult and medieval, pandering to people who believed in magick, people wishing to escape the drudgery of everyday life by immersing themselves in vampire-themed fantasies. Scantily clad waitresses wove through the sea of bodies, intent on delivering food and drinks.

Devon Carnavorn stood in front of his two-way wall of mirrors, gazing down onto the dance floor. The Goth crowd was out in full force. Anyone not having a selection of tattoos, piercings and spiky jewelry was ridiculed as a freak. In any other place but Mystique, the patrons would be considered ready for the state mental hospital. Faces pale, eyes lined with kohl, lips a slash of crimson, they mutilated themselves in ways that bordered on emotionally ill. These people drank and drugged, viewing the world through dilated pupils as large and empty as black holes and wishing they weren't a part of it.

As he watched sweating bodies thrash, a slight smile played around the corners of his mouth. He understood his patrons, those lost souls who fit like square pegs in round holes. They were searching for something beyond themselves--something that would give meaning to their tiny lives. He understood because he'd once been a young man searching for a greater meaning beyond life, beyond death. But where he'd found the answers to his many questions, these deluded souls never would. Many were called to join the true ranks of predators on the night. Few were chosen as worthy enough to cross over from human to immortal.

Devon felt he was blessed to be chosen, and for that he would always be most grateful. A hundred and nine years had passed since his initiation into the clan.

Memories of Ariel Van Sandt were tucked away in a box in the back of his mind, a box rarely opened nowadays. He was distressed that her image had begun to fade of late; her death had occurred over a century ago. In that time he had found and sired the woman who was his own destined she-shaey, his blood mate. Was it because of his happiness with Rachel and the pending delivery of their twins that he was beginning to forget Ariel?

Tension knotted his shoulders. Maybe it is better to let her memory go…

Devon shook his head, frowning at the unwelcome thought. There was still a piece of his past unresolved. Following the hatbox, a slew of packet of letters had arrived from Adrien. Obviously the letters had been written through years, then bundled together and sent. They contained more threats, terrible threats. The kind that would make a man's blood run cold, whether he be mortal or immortal.

And Devon's blood had chilled. Enough that he knew he had to take care of this situation fast. Yesterday wouldn't have been soon enough.

He checked his watch. Ten after twelve. The night was just gearing up and so were the patrons.

His restless gaze flitted back over the crowd, toward the entrance. As if on cue, the doors came open and a lone figure entered.

A brief smile crossed Devon's lips followed by an absent nod. Holy shit. He actually came.”

Nothing was extreme or unusually out of place about the stranger's appearance. He was outfitted entirely in black; jeans, shirt, boots, all covered by a calf-length denim duster. He wore sunglasses, black, impenetrable and totally audacious. And unreservedly eye-catching. The stranger looked like he might belong, but that was far from the truth. He had the hardcore look that appealed and intimidated. But he didn't run with the Goth crowd. People felt it, too. All heads immediately swiveled like pivots, taking him in. The acted as though a god had walked into their presence.

“Morgan Saint-Evanston.” Devon mentally and physically held his breath. He'd taken a chance in getting in touch with his old acquaintance, a meeting he both anticipated and dreaded. There was no turning back. He'd placed the call and an answer had arrived. Thank God the Watcher's Council still knew how to contact Morgan. He was still, apparently, active in cultic circles.

Devon watched as Saint-Evanston paid the cover charge, fifteen dollars. When paying with cash, he never handed over anything less than crisp hundred-dollar-bills. He never took the change--a quirk most enjoyed. Two bouncers trained to look for trouble immediately intercepted him. No weapons were allowed in the bar. It was clear to their trained eyes that more than the average patron had arrived.

Devon winced. This could get nasty. Morgan was never unarmed. Ever. To his relief, no violence ensued. Morgan's hand rose up like a cobra coming to attention, a single finger extended as a warning. He said something, tersely, quickly and the bouncers moved aside, all grace and smiles. Devon had no doubts about the tone and content of Morgan's words. He'd heard a few of Morgan's threats in earlier times; the assassin demanded and received respect.

The drama continued. Saint-Evanston briefly surveyed the layout of the bar, then dipped back his head. You could almost hear the gears in his head ticking as he deigned to remove his sunglasses. Morgan knew exactly who was standing behind that second-story wall of mirrors. He wasn't the kind of man who'd take a chance on getting trapped in a place he didn't want to be. Always on the lookout for the enemy, he trusted no one. If things did not fall into place his way, he'd vanish--never to be seen again.

When Morgan decided to walk through the bar, the crowd rippled aside until not a single person impeded his path. The minutes seemed to tick by in slow motion. A buzz filled the smoky atmosphere, not of music or of voices in conversation. It was silence. Dead. Awed. Silence. His ominously clad figure vanished from view a minute later.

Devon did not find it odd or unusual that people should part like the Red Sea to admit the stranger into the belly of the beast--even mortals knew when death walked among them. He did find it absolutely fascinating. Morgan clearly exuded an aura of power, a silent signal that said, 'look, but don't touch'. Saint-Evanston could intimidate with just the arch of an eyebrow, and heaven forbid that he turn his laser-beam stare your way.

That was true power. An enviable power.

It was not a power Devon would ever seek for himself, though. That kind of power came with enemies. It was dangerous to seek out such a being; the entity he had summoned was of a different kind within the fabric of the occult.

When you are dealing with the devil, show no fear.

Devon was prepared when the door to his office swung open.

Without a by-your-leave, Saint-Evanston swept in as though he owned the place. Rosalie Dayton, Devon's manager, followed in his wake. She was moving as fast as a lady her age could. In her case, it was pretty damn speedy.

“I'm sorry,” he heard Rosalie saying, “But I don't believe you have an appointment to see Mr. Carnavorn.” Tenacious as a bulldog on crack, Rosalie was hard to get past. His visitor had apparently slipped on through the lower floor offices with the ease of a chameleon.

“You can't go in there,” she insisted.

“Then stop me,” Saint-Evanston growled over his shoulder.

Passing under the threshold, a flick of his fingers shut the door firmly in the face of his pursuer--even though he'd not touched it.

Nice trick, but unimpressive. Devon could do it, too.

Without lingering, Saint-Evanston made a complete transit of the office, visually examining everything, missing nothing. Satisfied with what he found, he paused before the wall of mirrors, briefly glancing down over the people partying away their night.

“I see you have made quite a success for yourself in this world, Carnavorn.” No beating around the bush. The greeting was short and to the point.

Hands in his trouser pockets, Devon also looked down on the establishment that had made his name a household word. Instead of hiding in quiet obscurity, as many nocturnal beings did, he'd brilliantly exploited the gothic subculture, bringing it into the public eye through a successful chain of nightclubs. Mystique had made him a fortune.

“Nice view, by the way. Very controlling.” Tinged with just a hint of a brogue, Morgan's voice was akin to a whisky sotto; deep and touched with a hint of gravel.

“Then you know I couldn't fail to miss your entrance.” Devon nodded to indicate the people below. “Still showing off, I see.”

Pleased that his show among the masses hadn't gone unnoticed, Saint-Evanston smirked. “I love the way they all back off.”

Drawing a deep breath, Devon had to forcibly stop himself from rolling his eyes. “You just love scaring the hell out of them.”

A shrug. “If you have the power, use it.”

“Not your usual philosophy,” he countered dryly. “I wasn't sure I believed it when I heard you gone back to the occult.”

Another shrug. “Exile bored me.”

Devon shot him a look that said he didn't quite agree. “I think you missed the power,” he prodded.

Morgan cocked his head, flashing a devious smile. His pale complexion, mane of unruly black hair and piercing dark eyes added up to an exotic, almost stunning look. “That--and the benefits of being a demi-god were too damn hard to resist.” He spread his arms. “I am multi-dimensional again.”

Devon snorted, not sure the words were entirely in jest. An entity of indeterminate age, Morgan was rumored to be well over a thousand years old, though a true number was impossible to pin down. “It's frightening to think you were born into such power.”

Morgan's grin manifested a cast that wasn't entirely reassuring. “More frightening is the thought that I lost my mind centuries ago and there is nothing anyone can do about it.” An mischievous brow lifted. “Imagine that. Power coupled with absolute insanity. Quite a brilliant combination, don't you think?”

Devyn Quinn Visits Brat Sweet Nothings
Today, we've the pleasure of having goth-erotica author Devyn Quinn with us. Chime in with your questions and comments. One lucky commenter will get to win a choice of Sins of the Night, Sins of the Flesh, Eros Island or Trio! Comments must be posted by 11.59pm PST July 20, 2008.

PS: Due to the adult nature of the books, only those 18 and above may enter the giveaway.

Hi Devyn, welcome! We're very excited and honored to have you here at Brat Sweet Nothings.

Answer: Thanks for welcoming me as a guest to your blog. I appreciate your time.

Q: In keeping with the spirit of the blog, what's the most funny/lovely/memorable/nauseating sweet nothings you've ever received?

Answer: I imagine the answer to that would be when the man who was to become my second husband tied an engagement ring around my cat's collar! The funny thing was, he absolutely hated cats, but accepted them because I loved them.

Q: What is the most bratty or closest to being bratty thing you've ever done?

Answer: The brattiest thing I ever did was dump a drink on a guy who was bothering me in a bar.

Q: Tell us more about yourself. How long have you been published and what genres do you write?

Answer: I've been published since 1995, and I write on the gothic, erotic, paranormal and contemporary genres.

Q: What's the story behind your pseudonym?

Answer: Devyn Quinn is entirely the creation of my New York editor, LOL. She didn't care for other pen names I had written under and we vetted a few ideas until a name stuck.

Q: What are 5 adjectives you'd apply to your writing voice?

Answer: Dark, moody, angsty, twisted and incredible.

Q: What can readers expect or not expect to find in your books?

Answer: Readers can expect to find that my characters are not shiny, happy people. They've got problems, addictions, fears and anxieties-and they usually have a supernatural menace to battle while they are working out their problems.

Q: Series book have been the rage in recent years. Do you like writing series? Which of your books are in series? Can they be read out-of-order?

Answer: I have written books in a series (The Keeper of Eternity, The Price of Eternity), and it's a great way to keep revisiting characters you love. My Kith and Kynn books (Sins of the Flesh, Sins of the Night) are also loosely tied to the Eternity books, as they take place in the same cultic universe. It's better to read them in order, I think.

Q: What was it like getting The Call from New York? How did you react at the time? What did you do to celebrate the occasion?

Answer: I didn't actually get "the call". I got an email from Hilary Sares, making an offer for a 2 book contract. When I got it, I sat and wept like a fool, as I never though the day would come that I would be pubbing in New York. I didn't really do anything to celebrate, since I had to go to work that night.

Q: What are the highs and lows of being a published author? What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Answer: The high is holding that finished book in your hands. The lows are the struggle to create the book. With job, family, etc.sometime it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to be creative.

The advice I give to aspiring writers is the same I give myself: You have to work hard if you want it badly enough.

Q: What can you tease...ahem, tell us about your forthcoming releases?

Answer: I presently have Embracing Midnight coming up in late Nov 08. In 09, I have three anthologies and two single titles, including a sequel to Flesh and the Devil, titled Man After Midnight, and the first book of a new series with a decidedly demonic theme.

Q: What's the funniest/most embarrassing thing that's ever happened in connection to your writing?

Answer: At my last booksigning, I was propositioned by a very elderly gentleman who assumed that because I wrote "erotic romance" that I must be a hooker. He figured the sex in my books came from experience! I hated to burst his bubble and tell him it's all imagination!

Q: What are you working on now?

Answer: I am on deadline for Man After Midnight.

Q: I understand you have several interesting tattoos. Can you share with us why you decided to get them?

Answer: I love body art and I wanted some for myself. Each tattoo I have means something specific. Most of my tattoos are gothic themed, like my reaper. I have a piece on my back designed around the Eternity series, too.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise your readers.

Answer: I am terribly shy and very soft spoken.

Q: If you could invite any 3 people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be and why?

Answer: I would invite Beethoven, the world's greatest composer. I would invite Edgar Poe, the word's greatest gothic writer. And I would invite Marilyn Monroe, the world's most fascinating and tragic woman. Is it strange that I can only think of dead people? Ok, I'd try to fit Johnny Depp in there somewhere!

Q: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Answer: I work to get my 2000 words in. Sometimes I can write in the afternoon, sometimes it's the evening. As long as the 2k gets done, that is all that matters.

Q: When you're not writing, what do you do to relax?

Answer: I rent DVD's of movies I want to see or catch up on my favorite television show, like Lost or Dexter.

Q: Is there a genre you'd like to write in the future that you haven't written yet?

Answer: I'd like to write in romantic suspense.

Contest and Guest Blogger Alert: Devyn Quinn
The divine Devyn Quinn is guest blogging here on July 18th. Mark the date on your calendar and stop by on the day itself for the interview, juicy excerpts and a fabulous book giveaway!

To get an extra chance in the giveaway, blog about the event and paste the link in your comment here!

YA Author Jennifer Laurens
Exciting news! One of my fav authors Katherine Warwick is writing YA as Jennifer Laurens! Watch her brand new "Heavenly" trailers and add her to your friends at MySpace
to stay updated on her releases. In your message, let Katherine know jennybrat sent you.

This is the book that began my love affair with the phenomenal In Death series.

The year is 2058. Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the NYPSD Homicide Division is plagued with bad dreams for not being able to prevent a young girl's murder by her father. She also dreads reporting for a psychological and physical evaluation which is a standard requirement after her termination of the murderer. The Testing is put on hold, however, when she and her partner Feeney take on a politically sensitive homicide. The victim is Sharon DeBlass, a high class prostitute and the granddaughter of a prominent senator. Eve must navigate the tricky political and media pressures and sidestep red herrings to nab the murderer. Her investigation leads her to her main suspect, Roarke, one of the richest men on and off-planet.

To Eve, the job defines who she is. In her pursuit of justice for the dead, she clocks insanely long hours on the job, running on simulated coffee that tastes more like sewage and little sleep. She is forever forgetting her gloves and the word 'fashion' doesn't exist in her dictionary. The machines in her life are old and temperamental to a fault. It is hard for Eve to open up emotionally so she only has a few close friends. On the job, she is all steely eyes and nerves. Off the job, the merest suggestion of a romance terrifies her.

A man whose origin is shrouded in mystery, Roarke is the epitome of charm, impeccable taste and breeding with a compulsive need to acquire and own things. Everything in his life whispers of obscene money and operates with clockwork efficiency. He seems to be the antithesis of everything that Eve is yet there's an undeniable attraction between the two right from the get-go and Roarke is not above exploiting Eve's weakness for real coffee (another luxury) to sneak under her skin.

Each successive encounter between Eve and Roarke is a real pleasure to read. Against her better instincts, Eve finds herself drawn inexorably into a deeper relationship with Roarke, even as her personal life places her professional career in jeopardy for the first time. From the soy burgers and chips to the snarled traffic, the noisy ad blimps, the pungent glide carts and the Autochefs (a futuristic version of a food dispenser), Miss Robb has a firm finger on the pulse of 2058 New York. She does a deft job of intersecting the romance and the investigation. The novel moves at a clipping pace to a satisfying and poignant conclusion. The ending is probably my favorite out of all the In Death books to date.

Grade: A+

J D Robb
Berkley (July 1995)
# ISBN-10: 0425148297
# ISBN-13: 978-0425148297

BEAUTIFUL DEATH by Joely Sue Burkhart
As a reader, two key factors that influence my enjoyment of a book are the author's voice and imagery. It's easy to say that Beautiful Death excels in both but the total is much more than the sum of its individual merits. This novel is so good that I'm not sure I can do justice to it in my review. So I'm going to do something different here and post snippets from the novel to show you just how lush and exciting the prose is.

In this indeterminate future, Earth is overrun by an alien pandemic virus that turn humans into insane blood-sucking monsters. The haven is this dismal setting is New Olympia, a high-tech city that releases vaccinations against new mutations of the virus.

In New Olympia, it is the fashion for residents to adopt Greek names from ancient legends. It is therefore appropriate that the First Marshal of New Olympia names herself Isabella Thanatos. Also known as Beautiful Death, she is ruthlessly efficient when terminating contaminated humans who breach the city's shields. As the aliens brought the virus that took her mother, she hates them with a vengeance, in particular their leader Hades.

Exiled to Earth, Hades yearns to return to his home planet and seek justice for those who've died in exile. Isabella represents his best chance of doing so. For years, Isabella has resisted his unearthly beauty and dark, seductive power but when Isabella finds herself mysteriously infected, the time has come to claim her. This time, nothing will stop Hades from gaining her trust and love. As secrets unfold, Isabella finds herself caught in the centre of a massive power struggle.

Miss Burkhart's confident and bold execution of the story is something I come to appreciate. No chunky paragraphs to introduce the characters or backstory for this author. The plot plays out like a rapidly shuffled deck of cards, with information revealed at exactly the right time.

The beginning is strong, thrusting the reader into an elaborate world where advanced technology and soaring, shimmering cities coexist with terrifying disease and mayhem.

“Damn, Thanatos, who pissed you off this time?” “No one,” Isabella Thanatos replied as her second-in-command fell into step beside her. No matter the hour, the skyways were usually packed with busy citizens heading to MedCorp offices or one of the exclusive shops that crowned Athens the diamond of New Olympia. Today, the pathways circumnavigating their City were deserted.

I love the spectacular entrance of Hades where we immediately sense Isabella's mistrust of him and their underlying sexual tension:

“Ah, but what a sweet surrender that would be.” Stiffening, she tried to whirl and draw the weapon, but it was too late. A hard male body pressed against her, pinning her to the wall. She knew that sinfully low voice, smooth and dark and rich. An alluring scent filled the air, whispering of a decadent, secret world far away...He shuddered against her. “Both. I can’t get you out of my mind.” Silver radiance filled the hallway, sizzling through her clothes, through her mind, stroking deep inside her. His power touched where no hand could reach. Breathing shallow and fast, she fought to remain calm and control her body temperature.

There are plenty of exciting and stunning action scenes. Here's a snippet from when Isabella is pursued by the Erinyes, a class of elite killers, after her contamination:

“Kill me, if you can.” She leaped at the three before the Gate; they were quicker than their two comrades, now bleeding on the ground. The leader’s sword met hers, still glowing an eerie blue in the dank shadows. The elaborate writhing snakes decorating the hilt of his sword tangled with hers, nearly jerking the sword out of her grip.

In particular, I find myself riveted by the breathtaking depiction of alien powers in action, so very like watching a big-budget, special effects movie in my head:

Coiling his power like whips of steel, he lashed into the people, driving them back. The touch of his power quelled the rising beasts, and they cowered away from him. He pulled harder on his internal reserves, blazing an impressive show of raw silver into the night.

The bonding process between Hades and Isabella is at times, sensual and erotic, such as her initial vehement resistance:

Tears spilled from her gleaming eyes and she tried to speak. “You... me...never.”...“Always, Bella,” he whispered against her mouth. He deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue inside her mouth. It was a primitive urge, perhaps, but the taste of his own blood on her tongue sent a rush of male satisfaction through him.

and at times heartrending, such as when Hades was worried that Isabella would succumb to the virus:

“Oh, I know,” he growled, releasing some of his frustration. “I know you hate me. I hate myself for this foolish longing for something that can never be mine. Live, and make me hate every day you’re here with me, cold and untouched by my love... A small cry of heart-rending pain escaped her lips. Immediately, he crushed her tightly against his chest. “I love you, Bella. I need you. Fight me every day for the rest of your very long life.”

And then, there's the incredibly tender scene where they admit their mutual love:

She wanted him wanted him to love her. The thought trembled through her mind and the bond. Hades froze, too, breathing hard.

Also noteworthy is that many of the villains have sympathetic, tragic sides to them. As readers will soon realise, few things are black and white in this world. The PDF version of this book contains gorgeous illustrations of the butterfly as it is a recurring motif in the story for metamorphosis and death.

Emotionally rich and action-packed, Beautiful Death holds intriguing surprises at every turn, right up to its explosive climax. Miss Burkhart has four books published to date but if I'm not wrong, this was the first manuscript she completed. If this is representative of her writing, I certainly can't wait to savor her other works.

Available in PDF, MS Reader and Mobipocket at Drollerie Press.

Grade: A+

Joely Sue Burkhart
Drollerie Press (June 20, 2008)
# ISBN-10: 0-9798081-9-7
# ISBN-13: 978-0-9798081-9-7

© 2006-2008 Brat Sweet Nothings
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without permission.


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