Healer’s Need (Ancient Ink #2) by Rhenna Morgan

When the hunter is your mate, being prey is anything but terrifying
Coyote shifter Tate Allen has been watching. Learning his mate every possible way before he moves in. Protecting her through the night, always from afar.
He’ll be the one to teach her about her gifts. He’ll be there when she changes for the first time.
With him, she’ll fulfill her destiny.
Elise Ralston loves Tate for the patience he’s shown. The faith he’s demonstrated—denying himself what he needs sexually, even as he teaches her about pleasure.
For Tate, Elise is willing to try. To revel in touch, to give him control…and to embrace her healer’s need.
But someone unknown is still stalking the clan, threatening more than Tate and Elise’s bond. And Elise is a prime target—precious for the magic she hasn’t even learned yet.

I really liked Guardian’s Bond and I’m also really glad that I made the decision to purchase that one before I read the ARC of Healer’s Need – for a lot of reasons… The first book in the Ancient Ink series not only introduced the characters in Healer’s Need, but a lot of world building ground work was laid. So… for once, you should probably do as I did 😉 (I don’t get to say that often, so pay attention – you can thank me later;) ) Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

Tate was one of my favorite characters in Guardian’s Bond. He and Jade had been a part of Priest’s life for a long time and the “sibling” banter between the two of them was natural (and entertaining), as well as the love and respect that they both had for Priest. Tate’s reaction to Elise at the end of Guardian’s Bond was priceless and I couldn’t wait to find out how things developed between the two of them. I wasn’t disappointed.

Like I said, I loved Tate in Guardian’s Bond, but he gained my respect in Healer’s Need. Given the mate bond, it was no surprise that he was amazing with Elise, but he still impressed me. Elise had been through a lot and Tate somehow sensed that and was patient. A lot was thrown at her at once, given the fact that she knew nothing of her heritage – at least nothing that she believed. I loved and respected her strength and determination to face her destiny.

I’m really loving this series and can’t wait for it to continue. Rhenna Morgan has quickly turned into one of my go-to authors. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for readers next.

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Guardian’s Bond (Ancient Ink #1) by Rhenna Morgan

Priest Rahandras has lived with the darkness trapped inside himself for years. Betrayed by his own brother and forced to watch his clan’s brutal annihilation, the only thing Priest wants more than to escape the curse that haunts him—as both man and beast—is to rebuild.
Until the mate he’s longed for walks into his life with an elder from his past. She’s everything he’s wished for, and the key to the clan’s very survival.
Kateri Falsen is a woman of logic and facts. While Priest’s cat can sense her arousal, telling her they’re fated won’t be enough. He’ll have to show her his love: with his words, with his actions and with his body.
Protecting Kateri from the evil trapped inside him is paramount. But when lost clan members are systematically murdered, he’ll have to choose between exposing his mate to his black magic, or risking her as the next victim.

I’ve been a HUGE fan of Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series since I read Rough & Tumble. Somehow I missed Guardian’s Bond when it was first offered as an ARC, but once I saw Healer’s Need, I new I had to start at the beginning, so here we are.

Guardian’s Bond was an amazing start to this series. There was a lot of world building, which is expected in the first book in a new series, but it didn’t bog down the story. The fact that Kateri and her brother knew nothing about their heritage was the perfect catalyst for the magic they knew nothing about to be explained to both them and readers.

There was a lot to love about Guardian’s Bond. I loved the connection between Kateri and Priest. I loved the connection between the clan members. I loved the magic, the world building, the suspense, the characters, even the danger. I can’t wait to continue the series. Healer’s Need is already ready and waiting for me to pick up and from the hint of what’s in store for characters at the end of Guardian’s Bond, Healer’s Need is going to be just as intense.

To Trust a Wolf (Unnatural Alliances #1) by Danielle Hardgrave

A list of things Helen Jurist never expected to see in her museum:
1. Viking relics
2. A dangerously seductive Dane with a suspicious interest in Viking relics
3. Werewolves
With the discovery of the Cutler Hoard, Helen may be forced to strike the word “never” from her vocabulary.

This one was short and sweet. Honestly, I was looking for something I could read in one sitting during Bout of Books 21 and I found this offering from Danielle Hardgrave buried under a bunch of other books on my Kindle. I also found just a bit more than I bargained for.

A lot happened in less than 90 pages. A mystery, romance, a historical find and a quick introduction for Helen to the supernatural world. Even though everything came to a somewhat satisfying end for Helen and Dane, I wouldn’t have minded more. Especially since it’s obvious that they have a lot more adventure waiting for them by the end of To Trust a Wolf. The next book in the series features another Unnatural Alliance in Sluething with the Enemy

Possessed (When Worlds Collide #1) by Kelly Apple

When she bought her new house, Char James didn’t plan to also take on a ghost. It’s rude, creepy, and a downright terrible roommate. Despite that, she’s determined to show it they can live in harmony. Hopefully.
But Char’s entire perspective changes when a surprise encounter rocks her world. She learns that sometimes pranks can be helpful, sometimes a ghost isn’t really a ghost…
And sometimes the scariest creature of all is the most protective.

I love smexy ghost stories… even though this isn’t exactly a ghost story. Hence the title, Possessed. Trust me when I say that When World’s Collide is off to a great start.

Char got more than she bargained for when she moved into her new home. Mal… At first he was an annoyance, then he turned into a lot more… way more… Did I mention that this was a smexy read? He also turned out to be really helpful in more ways than one. Turns out that sometimes the bad guys aren’t exactly who you might expect them to be.

Yeah, Kelly Apple is really good at creating really smexy times with paranormals. I’m kinda looking forward to see what she has planned for the next books in this series. 😉

White Collared (Wicked Pride #3) by Kelly Apple – Bout of Books 20 Review

Kane Mayhew, Alpha of the cat shifters and all around surly guy, has never been one to walk away from a challenge. So when a full-human walks into his business and asks for help, he gives it to her. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a possible inter-species war. Or trying to figure out how to keep the pretty human with him once he’d done as he said.
He was a cat, after all, and cats looked after themselves.
But Carrie Sato is intriguing. She calls to his beast and she’s fierce enough to stand up to him when he’s at his worst. When the help she asked for leads them into the territory of one of the meanest shifter breeds around, Kane knows he’s going to have to be as quick and deadly as his kind are known for.
Not only when it comes to keeping her safe, but also so he can stake a claim on her heart.
Because when a lion finds his mate, nobody better get between them.

It’s always fun when a big bad alpha gets unexpectedly tamed. It’s even more fun when the person doing the taming is a timid human, who isn’t quite as timid as they seem.

Kane’s most definitely got his hands full with Carrie, but he’s up to the challenge. Then there’s the tiny little matter of some disgruntled (and growly) bear shifters. Needless to say, things got interesting by the end of White Collared.

So yeah, it was a lot of fun, a lot of heat and plenty of smexiness… of course it was a Kelly Apple read, so I would expect no less. Needless to say, Laid Bear just moved way up on my TBR pile. 😉

Dangerous Curves (Wicked Pride #2) by Kelly Apple

Samuel Delaney’s had a rough couple of months. Not only did he find out his mom works for the government in a job she stubbornly refuses to speak about, now he’s helping his alpha deal with a sudden influx of wolves after their alpha mated with one of the cats from his pride.
Most importantly, the leopardess he’s been half in love with his entire adult life is actively looking for a mate.
And Sam isn’t even a footnote on her list of potentials.
Convincing the lovely Luna North to give him a chance would be a hell of a lot easier if he didn’t get tongue tied whenever she was around. He’ll have to rely on his cat’s instinctive ability to land on its feet if he hopes to make any headway with the stubborn beauty.
Because when a lion chooses his mate, he doesn’t back down.
Ever.

Wow! That was a fun addition to the Wicked Pride series. After meeting Sam and Luna in No Reservations, I wasn’t surprised. Besides, this is a Kelly Apple book which means that witty characters, an abundance of snark and plenty of heat between the sheets – or wherever else her characters may end up – is pretty much guaranteed. 😉

So yeah, I kinda loved Sam and Luna. Sam was adorable… he knew Luna was his mate, but she didn’t have a clue. He sat on the sidelines, waiting for his chance and growling under his breath every time she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with him. Luna was utterly clueless and never even considered Sam as a friend, much less a potential mate. Watching these two squirm until they FINALLY got their act together was perfect. My only complaint – which is extremely minor – is that I wish we had more time with them. Dangerous Curves was short and … well not exactly sweet, but oh so much fun!

The next book in the Wicked Pride series is White Collared, which is on my Bout-of-Books 20 reading list, so stay tuned! 

Spellbinder (Moonshadow #2) by Thea Harrison

Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.
When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.
One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.
Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.
But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…

The Moonshadow series is getting more and more intriguing with each couple that’s introduced. I loved the first book, Moonshadow, and readers met Morgan as he was doing his best to inflict pain on Nikolas, his brotherhood and Sophie. I was kind of surprised when Spellbinder was Morgan’s book, but I should have trusted Thea Harrison to prove that nothing is quite as it seems.

Unlike Sophie, Sidonie was totally human with no power whatsoever. What she did have was her music, an unwillingness to give up and a strategic mind that saved her more than once. Even with all of that, she never would have had a chance if it weren’t for Morgan.

After reading Moonshadow, I never expected to like Morgan, much less sympathize with him. He didn’t win me over immediately, but it didn’t take long. Because of Sidonie’s intuitiveness, he finally had a little bit of hope and an ally he never expected.

There were a few twists and turns and things didn’t turn out exactly like either Sidonie and Morgan planned, but the path to a HEA isn’t always easy.

A few characters from previous books made some unexpected appearances and at least one of them made me want to go back and re-read one book in the Elder Races series (if not more.) Those appearances also proved that things are bound to get even more interesting as the Moonshadow series progresses. I can’t wait 😉

Moonshadow (Moonshadow #1) by Thea Harrison

Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….
Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.
He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….
Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.
When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.
Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.
As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.
Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…

Strangely enough, I missed Moonshadow when it was first released, but once I noticed Spellbinder, the second book in the Moonshadow series, was available for review, it definitely got my attention. Why’s that so strange, you may be asking? Because it’s not only the first book in a brand new Thea Harrison series, it also introduces readers to some new members of the Elder Races. Enough said…

Sophie was amazing. I fell in love with her from the very beginning. She was slightly broken because of the shooting she barely survived, but she was brave, loyal and alone. When she was approached by someone offering her a way to acquire a mysterious property. She figured she has nothing to lose. She ended up getting a lot more than she bargained for – including maybe some insight into her past.

Nikolas was a little harder to read, but the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. He wasn’t used to someone as kind and genuinely caring as Sophie and her willingness to help kind of threw him. Just another reason to fall in love with her… that’s if he had the ability to fall in love. His one and only priority was to keep what’s left of his brotherhood safe and find a way home.

Action, magic, mystery and more… I’m thinking I’m going to like this Elder Races spin off series. Not surprising at all. As I mentioned, Spellbinder is next and it’s already way up on my TBR list. Stay tuned!

No Reservations (Wicked Pride #1) by Kelly Apple

Cami Patterson has the worst luck with men. Everyone in her pride knows it and they steer clear of her so they don’t end up with a broken bone or two or, even worse, dead. Needless to say, when her best friend sets her up on a blind date with a werewolf visiting from out of town, she doesn’t expect anything to come of it.
She certainly doesn’t expect a night of non-stop excitement including thwarting a robbery, getting chased by the police, and almost causing an international incident. Who has time to enjoy themselves with all that going on? Or of hooking up with her sex-on-a-stick date?
Cami just might have met her match in the wolf who laughs in the face of danger and doesn’t hesitate to jump in when there’s a damsel in distress. Who knew it would take a wolf to brave this cat’s run of bad relationships?

Well, that was fun… but that’s one thing I know I can always count on when I pick up a book written by Kelly Apple. Doesn’t matter whether the focus is on shifters, monsters, or even demons, the characters are going to be witty and they’re going to make me want to spend some time getting to know them. As a matter of fact, the only complaint that I can come up with for No Reservations is that I wanted more. 😉

I think it goes without saying that I loved Cami and Bran. Their connection was amazing and yeah… they were fun. I think I’m going to like this romp through Wicked Pride. Dangerous Curves is next and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for Luna and Samuel. 😉

Cat Scratch Fever by Sarah O’Rourke – Bout of Books 19 Review

Beau LaForte felt an internal pull to the beautiful, innocent Alexa Davidson. Oh, this was not the typical boy-meets-girl story. This was anything but typical. You see, Beau was a shifter – a panther – and the alpha of the pack. What his panther wanted, his panther got. And together, they wanted Alexa.
But when Alexa finds the pretty kitty lolling on her bed, she is determined to get him out — before he sheds more on her brand new sheets!

Full disclosure here. There have been some really exceptionally emotional books on my reading list lately. I’m not complaining, I’ve chosen all of them and was fully aware of what I was getting myself into. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need a break and Cat Scratch Fever was the perfect, fun distraction.

It’s also been a while since I’ve read a Sarah O’Rourke book and this was a great reminder of what I’ve been missing. The characters were witty, the smexiness was hot and heavy and the insta romance was kinda sweet. Pretty much every thing I needed to break my overly emotional reading streak 😉