Cursed by Fire (Blood & Magic 1) by Danielle Annett
Release Date: January 28, 2015
It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.
Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.
When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.
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The light began to fade from his eyes as I crawled across the floor in an effort to reach my father. My nails were raw and bloody as I struggled to carry myself closer to him, digging into the rough wooden floors with each drag of my body.
“I’m coming,” I panted in between breaths. “Just hang on, Papa, I’m coming.”
I woke gasping for breath, drenched in a cold sweat, clutching the hilt of my dagger as if my life depended on it. I frantically looked around the room in search of our attacker while also taking stock of any injuries. I was perfectly whole.
“It was just a nightmare,” I told myself, though that did little to ease the ache in my chest over the remembered pain. I miss you so much.
Rubbing my hands over my face, I pushed back the wet, loose tendrils of hair that had escaped my braid during my fitful rest and returned my dagger to its resting place beneath my pillow. Taking another deep breath I registered a hint of smoke.
My eyes roamed over the room, frantically looking for the source of fire.
“You have got to be kidding me!”
I untangled my body from the sheets, tripping and falling into a heap on the floor before I was able to crawl out of my covers and retrieve an old shirt. I frenziedly swatted at the bedroom curtains with the old t-shirt but the flames continued to rise. Deciding there was no other choice, I ripped the curtains from the window and rushed to the kitchen.
Throwing the curtains into the sink and turning the faucet on all the way, I watched as the flames were snuffed and steam began to rise. The curtains ruined.
Turning the water off, I allowed my body to slide down the smooth wooden cabinets until my bottom met the cool tile floor. I folded my arms across my knees and rested my forehead against them. Closing my eyes I took several deep breaths, my heart still racing from the effects of the recurring nightmare. This was getting out of hand. I had thought the nightmares were fading, but something was bringing the memories back with a screaming vengeance and this was the third time this week they’d plagued me. I missed my parents but it’d been over six years now. They weren’t coming back and I needed to let it go. My subconscious needed to let it go and I needed to let Daniel’s death go. Not the case, no, I wouldn’t let that go. But his death was affecting me in ways I couldn’t allow to continue.
I breathed deeply in an effort to calm my nerves. Small tremors racked my body, the nightmare had shaken me more that I’d like to admit. My skin was covered in a fine sheen of sweat. A physical reminder that I needed to relax before I accidentally caught something else on fire.
Kissed by Fire (Blood & Magic 2) by Danielle Annett
Release Date: September 13, 2015
As Friend of the Pack, Aria Naveed should be untouchable, protected by the most influential group in the Pacific Northwest. But someone is unleashing rogue vampires to hunt her down, and she is determined to find out why.
When Aria gains command of Sanborn Place and takes on a case involving a mysterious paranormal, her life is put in more peril than ever as she finds herself bound to an influential power player. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s puppet, but must tread carefully as she traverses the streets of Spokane, WA, or risk being overwhelmed by the forces moving against her.
As the only known pyrokinetic in the area, Aria is in high demand, but not for her services. It seems that to those in power, she’s worth more dead than alive, and if a mysterious enemy has their way, she won’t live long enough to find out why.
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Fire called to me, tempting me to bring it forth, to destroy my foe in one quick and easy strike. It would be too easy. There was something very wrong about this, about a newly made vampire walking the streets of downtown Spokane as if he were on a leisurely stroll. The change had to have been recent. Blood soaked his light-blue shirt, leaving a large stain over his chest and the left side of his body. If I’d had to guess, he’d been changed within the last few hours. His skin hadn’t turned the pale milky white associated with the undead yet.
Before I could think further, he struck. In a split second, his once jerky movements morphed into a flash of speed as he launched himself at me. I twisted out of the way but was too slow to avoid his second strike. He grabbed me by the back of the neck, flinging me across the road like a rag doll. My body collided with a parking meter, the near frozen metal splitting my cheek and knocking the air from my lungs.
I exhaled a vicious curse before drawing my twin daggers from the thigh sheath beneath my dress and jumping to my feet. My dress rode up, but I couldn’t have cared less at the moment. I was just grateful that despite the dress, I’d managed to wear the blades. Warm blood seeped from my cheek and my ribs ached with my movements.
He charged again, and this time I was ready. I allowed my attacker to get close, his hands brushing my shoulders right before I sank my first blade into the soft flesh of his stomach. My second pierced his chest, but I missed the heart. With my blades still imbedded, he squeezed my shoulder, the pain explosive. I heard a distinct pop before my left arm went limp.
My brain took a backseat as adrenaline flowed through my muscles. I kicked out with my left foot, the heel in my shoe sinking into his calf. His leg buckled under the assault and I pulled free, losing my heel in the process but retaining one of my blades. The other remained in his chest.
My left arm hung loose at my side. My right lifted and was ready with my dagger, dark-red blood dripping from its point. His eyes glowed an even deeper red, fangs descending farther to cover his bottom lip. You might as well put those back, mister. You won’t be making a meal out of me. Hot blood surged through my veins. I hastily kicked off my remaining heel, ignoring the discomfort of the snow and gravel beneath my feet. I needed to move faster.
When he struck again, I threw myself to the left, my right arm coming up and slashing his throat in a swift motion. A gurgling sound emanated from his throat, but I knew it wouldn’t last. He would begin healing almost immediately.
Damn vampire. I needed to disable him somehow without killing him. My fire was calling to me and I shoved it down with everything I had. I could not light him on fire. I was determined to find out who had turned him and why he’d been set loose. I moved to deliver another blow, a deep stab to his stomach once more, but just as I moved to strike, a deep growl echoed through the streets. Another predator making itself known. Like an idiot, I turned, and the moment of distraction cost me as I felt the vampire sink his teeth into my raised forearm. A scream escaped me, and then the growl turned into a thundering roar.
I watched in suspended silence as Declan tackled the fledging vampire, bringing him to the ground, the crunch of bone loud to my ears as his body hit the pavement. He’d taken a mouthful of my flesh with him when he’d gone down, and blood flowed freely from the wound, staining the ground red. I tried without success to staunch the bleeding with my left hand but couldn’t get my arm to corporate.
Before I could stop him, Declan brought his hands to the vampire’s neck and, in one quick movement, snapped it. The sound made me cringe. He rose from the body and kicked it once. He grunted in satisfaction when the body didn’t respond.
As though a switch had been flicked, I snapped out of my daze, fury and so much frustration rising to the surface. “What the hell did you just do?” I yelled at him. Don’t light the Alpha on fire. Don’t light the Alpha on fire. I repeated the mantra over and over in my head. It would not bode well for me to attack him right now. No matter how much he deserved it.
Declan looked taken aback for a moment. “I saved your life,” he said.
Urgh. Moron! “No, you didn’t. You ruined it. I cannot believe you just snapped his neck like that, without any thought.” My temperature rose and I had to take a calming breath to contain myself. It didn’t help much.
“Why would I think about it? He had his fangs buried in your arm. I’d expect a little gratitude here.”
I stormed past him and crouched beside the vampire, tearing my blade from his chest. I wiped the blade on the edge of my dress before sheathing it. It was already ruined so a little more blood couldn’t hurt it. I needed something else to focus on aside from Declan’s stupidity or I was going to lose what little control I had. I skimmed my hands over the now cold body, checking the pockets of his shirt and pants to find anything that may provide me with some sort of clue.
“What are you doing?” Declan asked, obviously annoyed.
Join the club, buddy. I was pretty damn annoyed myself.
“I’m looking for information,” I bit out. “It would have been much easier to just question the vampire but no, you had to go and snap his neck and be all ‘I am tiger, hear me roar.’” I threw my hands in the air in frustration.
He snarled beside me. “I saved your life.”
“No. You interfered. I’m a pyrokinetic. Don’t you think if I’d wanted him dead, I’d have lit his ass on fire as soon as he got close? I wasn’t trying to kill him. I was trying to disable him, and then you had to come out here all hot-headed and kill him.”
The Blood and Magic series has everything I love about fantasy- intense action, suspense, supernatural elements and a woman who can more than take care of herself. In the first book, Cursed by Fire, we meet Aria and a host of characters, and we learn that the world is in turmoil even though things appear to be peaceful. There is a great deal of fighting taking place and I was very impressed with the scenes which could make you cringe and cheer in one breath. This continues in the second book, Kissed by Fire and only gets more extreme. I enjoyed the pace- often fast but with enough breaks for you to catch your breath from all the running around. The first book was a bit less revealing than the second, as with most series, so we definitely learn some new things about this world and how it works. There’s also a bit of parnormal fbi sorta thing happening which added another layer of fun. Basically this is similar to Patricia Briggs or Jennifer Estep, but also quite original in its voice and characters. I highly recommend Blood and Magic for mature ya and older.
Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.
Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vie for her attention.
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