Jacquelyn Frank, Kate Douglas, Jess Haines and Clare Willis
Kensington, Sep 1 2010, $6.99
“Phoenix Project” by Jacquelyn Frank. Amara regrets becoming part of the Phoenix Project as the experiments have led to attacks and rapes though it has not happened to her so far. She is paired with undercover Federated States cop Nick. In spite of being watched, they both bite one another as they have been turned into vampires with a desire for each other.
“Crystal Dreams” by Kate Douglas. Banker Mari heads to Evergreen to take over her mom’s store while her dad heals. Mica of Kronus uses his crystal sword to kill demonkind leaving the abyss to enter earth. When some get past his effort, he goes to earth. A cat attacks Mari. Mica rushes into the store and kills the demon possessing the cat. Attracted to each other, he calls her a warrior.
“Speak of Temptation” by Jess Haines. Royce the vampire hires private investigator Sara to find out who is trying to sneak into his vampire nightclub the Underground and why. His security chief Angus shows her a photo; she says this is a rival investigator Joe. Sara calls Joe who warns her to stay away from the Anti Others Alliance who hunt the Others, but do not worry about collateral damage.
“My Soul to Take” by Clare Willis. In San Francisco, Maggie is the chief resident of the psychiatric unit. Her patient Derek insists he is possessed by Edgar. Derek tells her he died in a fire, but came back with a hitchhiking soul joining him. They begin to make love until she sees Edgar take over take over the body. Maggie asks her sister Eva to help her save her beloved.
These four romantic urban fantasies are fun to read, but the novella format limits character development. Harriet Klausner
Tor, Aug 31 2010, $6.99
In 2100 Armand is a fallen angel who knows what he must do to regain his wings that he sacrificed to save mankind. To rejoin the exclusive club, Armand and his fallen angel partner Baruch must assassinate Maximilian Blackstone, who is running for president of the Republic. Nothing goes right and Baruch is severely hurt.
If the credit is right Theodora the wraith will kill. However, though her clients assume she is a hedonist seeking blood stained credit while ignoring the fact they hire her to do their dirty work; she has a secret motive to provide for her loved ones that if revealed would make her vulnerable to nasty sorts; so she hides from everyone while doing the kills others prefer not to do. As the government’s eyes are everywhere, Armand and Theodora team up. They soon begin to understand what is divine and what is human.
The third futuristic angelic post-apocalyptic thriller (see Fallen and Guardian) is a great tale due to the pairing of the fallen angel who gave up everything to save humanity but wants a second chance at heavenly redemption and a hit woman wraith with a hidden altruistic agenda. Both sacrificed a lot for others, but their call for duty brings them together as The Republic is at a crossroad with the pending election as are Armand and Theodora. Harriet Klausner
Zebra, Sep 1 2010, $6.99
For his role in the escape of the former demon Dax and the human Eddy Marks from a Lemurian prison, Alton the son of the ruling Chancellor, was sentenced to death. He would have preferred to have persuaded his father and the Council of Nine of the long term danger to their world by the increased demon activity, but does not rue his choice even if he dies for it. His action against the demon horde activated his crystal sword HellFire, converting it from a seemingly inanimate though actually dormant to an intelligent speaking species.
Alton also admits he is attracted to the human Ginny Jones, who is passionate about life; unlike females of his species. He sent her to safety to Sedona using hypnosis, but has learned a new portal has allowed demons to invade earth possessing animals. With Ginny at his side and hellfire as his weapon he fights the demons, which is the easier task than persuading the Council of Nine that not just earth is endangered as Lemuria is the obvious next stop once the evil ones defeat the humans.
The latest DemonSlayers romantic fantasy (see DemonFire and the novella Crystal Dreams in Nocturne) is an enjoyable thriller that continues the few rebellious Lemurians risking their lives to save humanity from the invading demon horde. The matching of Alton and Ginny is fabulous as he assumes her being female she will be dainty like those of his race, but instead she kicks demon butt. Though somewhat similar to DemonFire in tone, readers will enjoy HellFire as the war of the worlds continues on battlefield earth. Harriet Klausner
My Soul To Keep
Pocket, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
In Paris her father was abusive to everyone especially his family. In that cruel world, Sorcha the half-breed Lycan grew up distrusting everyone. In fact only her father’s top assistant, half-breed Jonah was ever nice to Sorcha. She never forgot the kindness he gave her.
Twelve years later, Widow Sorcha seeks to avenge the murder of her husband that she blames on a demon-witch who cursed the Lycan. The person she wants to murder is under the protection of Jonah who thought his Sorcha was dead and felt guilty all these years for failing her. They have not seen each other in what seems to each as forever, but their attraction that both avoided in the past explodes between them. As they fall in love, Sorcha and Jonah must move beyond their pasts if they want a future preferably together especially when someone wants both dead.
The lead couple is a terrific pairing as they have a past that ended tragically and seemingly no future second chance at love since they are adversaries. The story line focuses deeply into the souls of Jonah and Sorcha so the action is somewhat muted. Still fans of the Moon Chasers urban fantasy woo enjoy this spellbinding tale. Harriet Klausner