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Every part of me ached. Though I was wrapped up in blankets, curled up on my side in bed, I was cold, too. Maybe it was my own shivering that stirred me out of sleep. Whatever it was, I didn't want to move right away.
Then something cool and spidery shifted under the covers, brushing over my stomach.
Startled, I screamed and twisted away, flailing at the sheets to bat it off. It only tightened against me, yanking me back against a hard, male body.
A clearly naked—quite hard—male body.
"Shush, now. You'll wake the whole building."
My voice was a lot more gravelly and perhaps a touch more peeved than it needed to be. "Let go."
"Hmm. Someone is not a morning person."
Annoyed for no reason I could readily put my finger on, I shoved at Royce's arm, trying to get him off me.
It was like trying to move a boulder. The rumble of his laughter vibrated through my body, my hot skin pressed to his cold. It was only when he took hold of the wrist of the hand I'd locked on his arm and rolled so he was on top that it struck me how easily he overpowered me.
Which served as another reminder. The belt was gone. I wasn't turning Other.
I should have been happy, I suppose. Maybe the twinge of disappointment I was feeling came from trading one version of my own personal idea of hell for the uncertain future of being a legally bound and contracted vampire's toy.
Bitter? Me? Perish the thought.
Wriggling, I pushed at Royce's arm with my free hand again, wincing as the pressure of his body rubbing against mine revealed a whole slew of hurts from my battle with Wesley—and more than likely from the far more pleasurable activities that had come after.
He didn't let go, one hand coming up to tweak one of my nipples. "Much as I enjoy that delightful squirming you're doing, I wish you would relax. I know you're feeling regrets—don't bother trying to deny it; I can feel it as well as you can—though I'll be damned if I understand it."
That did it. Snarling, I slammed a fist against his arm. Most likely it was surprise rather than pain that made him move, but he finally let me go and pulled back, putting enough distance between us for me to whirl on him. I twisted around onto my knees, leveling a shaking finger at him.
"Don't even pretend like you don't know. You feel what I'm feeling, don't you? Don't you know just how damned creepy that is? How invasive?"
The thought alone made me ill. I was his property now, and not just on paper.
He owned me, body and soul. Not only had I abandoned my morals and common sense last night, I'd liked it. Liked the feel of his lips and tongue and fingers and other parts so intimately pressed against mine, all over, inside me, all while he drank my blood. What the hell was wrong with me that I'd liked being wrapped in Death's arms and pounded into the mattress while my life was siphoned away a sip at a time?
Images of all of the ways he could take advantage of me while I was unable to defend myself whirled through my head like a maelstrom of horror-show terrors, a painful reminder that now I was just a blood whore, a plaything, and that I'd willingly put my life in his hands. Something very close to terror warred with the anger, but I wasn't about to give in to the desire to run screaming from his bed. The things he could do to hurt me ran far deeper and were many times more intimate than the threat of what he could do with his fangs or physical strength, and running from them—from him—wasn't an option.
"Shiarra, I'm hardly—"
"Oh, fuck 'hardly.' You know exactly what you've done. Instead of being Other, I'm just Other property now. A toy, right? One you can use or discard or bleed dry—"
The sharp tone of his voice cut right through the head of rant-fueled steam I was working up. He could have stopped a charging bull with that tone.
I shut my mouth and glared at him. He met my gaze squarely, his dark eyes narrowed and unflinching.
"You know better by now. You know you're not just a meal on legs. You know you're more to me than entertainment."
That was ... not what I had been expecting him to say.
"You," he continued, and this time I didn't withdraw as he leaned forward to gather my shaking hands in his, "have continued to frustrate and fascinate me since we first met. Do you realize that not one of my people noticed anything was wrong with me when I was under the influence of the Dominari Focus? Not one of them, Shiarra. Yet you, someone I could have hurt or destroyed in so many ways, chose to save me rather than leave me to my fate. Why would I ever hurt someone who did something so selfless on my behalf?"
A growing lump made it too hard to squeeze any words out in answer. I turned my eyes down, unable to meet his stare, focusing on our entwined fingers instead. He might have had a point, but it didn't mean I was ready to put my trust in him.
His grip tightened, just a bit, before he pulled one hand free and shifted on the bed. He brushed the back of his hand against my cheek before sliding his fingers under my jaw to tilt my head up so I would look at him. Stubborn to the end, I closed my eyes.
"I've been over this with you before. You still have doubts. Why?"
After taking a few moments to swallow the emotions clogging my throat and to collect my thoughts, I attempted to answer him. He was being candid with me. Even if the only way I could get the words out was slow and halting, I'd try to do the same for him.
"Doubting is one of the things I do best, I guess. It's just that being with you like this—like last night—it means my dad was right. I'm not a Waynest anymore. Not myself anymore. Just another vampire's puppet."
I peered up at him through my lashes, trying to figure out if that damning little tidbit had upset him. Royce's expression was unreadable, his gaze burning into mine. I wasn't sure if he was angry with me for being honest with him, but it was far too late to take the words back, and I'd never been good at hiding my thoughts from him. Especially when he was staring at me so intently, like he could see right past my eyes to the darkest thoughts buried in the back of my mind. Like he knew all the horrible things I didn't want anybody to know. He might not judge me for them—but that didn't mean I wanted him to know every thought inside my head as intimately as he'd come to learn the secrets of my body last night.
Practically vibrating with tension, I buried my face against his chest so I wouldn't have to think about how he was already in my head. Maybe I could pretend when I wasn't looking into his eyes that it made some kind of difference. It was as dumb as wishing for some way of taking back all the stupid things I'd done in the last month or so, but that didn't mean I wouldn't make a valiant effort at denial.
I think he got the picture that talking about the situation was only making things worse. His voice, when he finally spoke, was strangely gentle, and made me feel like an even bigger fool for finding comfort in it.
"Even after last night—you still think that I was only using you, or would abandon you once I got what I wanted?"
I nodded, not trusting my voice. He ran his fingers through my hair and down my back, not saying anything for a time. It took awhile, but after the worst of my trembling tapered off, he slid a hand between us and nudged my chin up again so he could peer into my eyes.
"What is it you fear has changed about you? What do you feel I have taken from you?"
Biting my lip, I looked away again before answering him. Though it was hard to speak without breaking into tears, making the words soft and breathy, I'm pretty sure he still heard me just fine. "My soul. My free will."
Shaking from a mix of stress and fatigue and a sickness more of mind than body, I jerked out of his grip and put some distance between us, turning my back on him as I swung my legs over the side of the futon—not that there was far for my feet to go to reach the floor—and put my head in my hands. He might own me now, but that didn't mean I had to like it.
What hurt worst of all was knowing that my dad was right. I wasn't fit to be a Waynest. I wasn't even my own person anymore. Without the belt, I was just another helpless, hapless human, at the mercy of a monster who could feed off of or kill me at any time with no cost to himself. No safety nets. No taking it back. I'd put myself here, and now I would have to suffer the consequences of my own choices.
The vampire's hand settled on my shoulder. The irony of that possessive gesture coinciding with my thoughts wasn't lost on me. If anything, it made it harder to get the tears under control. When I didn't turn around, he gripped my upper arm, not tight enough to hurt, but definitely enough to keep me from pulling away from him again.
"Shiarra, please look at me."
I wouldn't—couldn't do it. He made a soft, frustrated sound in his throat before speaking.
"I wish I had some way of expressing to you how much you mean to me in a way that you would accept. You saved my life, Shiarra, back when I meant nothing to you. You're brave when you have every reason to run scared, you've shown a remarkable ability to think on your feet, and you're resourceful. You've faced many of your fears, which is more than could be said for some of the most loyal of my number—but you hold to this idea that belonging to me makes you less than a person, and it's simply not true. You are no less the woman you were before you let me touch you last night, and I have no intentions of discarding you like some broken toy."
"This isn't something you can fix, Royce," I said. My voice might have been thick with tears, but I was proud of myself for being able to say what I was thinking for once instead of choking on my own angst like a brooding teenager. "You were just ... you. It was my choice. I let it happen."
His voice was deadly cold and quiet. "Are you telling me you consider last night a mistake?"
I twisted to look at him, shocked.
He leaned in, using his grip on my arm to push me to my back. Before I knew it, his fingers, icy and implacable, tightened around my wrists. The growl rumbling in his throat made my knees quiver, and I gasped as my hands were abruptly pinned above my head, his lips brushing over my throat with a teasing rake of fangs as he leaned into me. His usually smooth voice came out rough, ragged, and I could very nearly taste the anger and frustration radiating from him around the bitter flavor of fear on my tongue.
"Why is it you can't accept that I don't intend you any harm? I have fought everything that I am to be what I thought you would desire of me. I have left you to live your life as you wished it, rather than as I willed it. Do you know how difficult it was to wait idly by while you hemmed and hawed about whether you could trust me? Don't you know that the temptation to interfere with your choices was nearly unbearable?"
"Don't you know that's what scares me about you?" I shot back.
That seemed to startle him out of his sudden surge of anger. Though he drew back, peering down at me, his eyes still glittered with a hint of red deep in the pupils, pinpoint sparks gleaming like the reflection of light on his fangs.
His voice, though it had deepened with his anger, was steady. "I have been as kind and generous and understanding as I know how to be, Shiarra. I waited for you to come to me of your own will—and now that you have, you think that what we did was a mistake? After all that I have done? Still you spurn me, fear me. Am I not generous enough? Have I not been merciful? What must I say or do to make you understand that I have leashed everything that I am so that you would choose me of your own will?"
"I don't know," I cried, voice breaking even though I was doing my best not to let him see how much the truth of his words stung. "Don't you think I know it's stupid? For God's sake, look at you! You're a walking wet dream, you're great in bed, you've got money and power and you have this fascination with me I can't even begin to fathom. I know you haven't done anything to hurt me, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop—I just don't know, Royce! I wish I had a neat answer wrapped up in ribbons and bows to give you, but I don't know what else to tell you. I'm so scared of what I've done and what I'm becoming that I can't even think straight anymore. For crap's sake, I barely trust myself, let alone someone I hardly know who holds the power of life and death over me. I'm not even close to coming to terms with what I did this month, so to ask me to come to grips with how I feel about you, too—please, just give me time. Please."
An aggravated hiss escaped from behind his clenched teeth before he leaned in. He closed his eyes, his hair becoming an inky curtain as he rested his brow lightly against my own. It took him a bit to speak again. Probably trying to collect himself so he wouldn't throttle me out of sheer frustration.
"If you think I'm about to let your inaccurate, specious beliefs about me continue to stand, you are very sorely mistaken. You are every bit as human now as you were when you first entered my home last night. I have done nothing—nothing—to change that. Don't hate yourself for letting me make you feel good. Giving in to me isn't a crime. Liking the things I make you feel isn't a sin against your family or your God. There is no shame in it. I won't tolerate these misconceptions any longer, or see you destroy yourself, physically or emotionally, now that you're finally mine—do you understand? You mean too much to me for me to allow that to happen."
I shuddered at his pronouncement. Though a part of me was absurdly pleased with his words, the rest of me was screaming in horror at that finally mine part. It only validated the terror of losing my own identity, only to be overshadowed by a new "master" I couldn't live without.
"Damn it, Shiarra, look at me!"
I did. His normally black eyes were blazing red with anger, shining like bright beads of precious stones set in a lake of tar. His grip shifted, and he twined his fingers with mine before lifting one of my hands to press it to his cheek, much like we had done last night.
"Why do you not believe me when I say you will remain your own person? You know I still taste you, crave you, want to be inside of you again. Can you honestly tell me you don't want that too? That you don't want me?"
I wanted it. I wanted it so badly I could taste the remembered mint and copper of his mouth on my tongue.
But I wanted to stay me, too.
"Please," I croaked between shallow pants, my fingers against his cheek lightly stroking his skin, pressing the length of my body against his to ease the growing heat and need, even though I knew I should have drawn away. "Please, Royce, I can't take this anymore. I can't even figure out who or what I am, let alone what you are to me. Please."
"No more tears. Not because of me." His hands cupped my cheeks as he tilted my head up so he could briefly press a kiss against each eyelid, his cool lips following the path of my tears as he whispered against my skin. "You don't need to be frightened anymore, my little hunter. You'll always be safe—and yourself—with me."
When he loosened his grip and coaxed me to embrace him, I wrapped my arms around his neck and clutched at him. The hurting, lonely, emotional side of me that wanted to believe it all—heart and soul—was winning out over the dark part whispering what a terrifically awful idea it was to trust him.
"You aren't a pet or some mindless puppet, Shiarra. I'll only take what you'll freely give me, never force anything from you. I might tease you now and again, but it will remain no more than the occasional attempt to fluster you or coax you into trying something beyond your comfort zone." The fanged smile that curved his lips spoke of wicked things he already had in mind to talk me into. Even my dark, rational side admitted that might be some fun to go along with. "You have my word."
It might have been more stupidity on my part, but I believed him. He hadn't hurt me, hadn't driven me away, hadn't done anything other than reassure and comfort me. True, his methods were sometimes abhorrent, but his intentions, though not always clear, were good. I was the one with the hang-ups here, and I felt no small measure of shame for constantly treating him as the bad guy or thinking him responsible for every evil that had befallen me since I'd been drawn into the doings of the Others in this city.
Excerpted from FORSAKEN BY THE OTHERS by JESS HAINES. Copyright © 2013 by Jess Haines. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted July 13, 2013
First, I have to say Wow! Is that an awesome cover or what? My personal favorite out of the whole series at the moment.
This time around, Shia leaves her old stomping ground for a change of scenery in Los Angeles. Royce convinces her that a temporary relocation would keep her out of trouble… but this is Shiarra Waynest we’re talking about, and she has an almost supernatural talent for stepping out of the frying pan and landing right in the middle of the fire. And by fire, I mean feuding vampires and zombies.
Because of the new locale, fans of Royce might be a little disappointed because he’s only in the opening chapters. After that, he’s just a voice on the phone. However, Royce makes the most of the time he does have, with him and Shia sharing some of the most passionate and emotional moments of the series so far.
Royce’s foolproof (??) plan consists of Shia and Sara going to LA and staying with Clyde Seabreeze, a vampire that rules the area who happens to owe Royce a favor or two. Of course, Clyde immediately decides to ignore some of the ground rules and puts the two detectives to work for him.
The case they have to solve? Find out who’s responsible for the zombies in the area and discover why that person is using the zombies to kill Clyde’s people, and only Clyde’s people. Other vampires, werewolves, and humans are of no interest to the zombies, but that doesn’t make things any less nerve-wracking when the walking dead are on the scene.
Another new vampire to enter the scene is Jimmy Thrane, a vampire that has somehow managed to carve out his own little mini-kingdom right in the middle of Clyde’s territory. Jimmy is… ummm… interesting, to say the least. It’s safe to say you’ve never encountered a vampire like him and I was a little disappointed that he didn’t play a larger role in the book. However, I have fingers crossed that we haven’t seen the last of Karaoke-loving Jimmy and his merry band of vampire followers.
The conclusion of the story offered a few surprises, which was nice because I was certain I had figured out how things were going to play out. I was right about a couple of things but was still plenty shocked by some of the events that occurred, and as usual, Jess is a master of leaving readers wanting more.
The H&W Investigations series continues to be a must-read for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Shia gets out of the new mess she finds herself in.
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Posted September 24, 2013
Forsaken by the Others by Jess Haines
Having stirred things up in New York, Shiarra Waynest’s life is in danger. Vampire, Alex Royce, sends Shiarra and her business partner, Sara Halloway, to L.A. to lay low while he tries to fix matters back at home. Royce has them stay with one of his most powerful allies Clyde Seabreeze.
Simultaneously, Shiarra is fighting a strange strand of lycanthropy that leaves black goo coming out of eyes and ears.
While in California, Clyde hires Shiarra and Sara to investigate the zombies that have been infesting L.A. and killing off vampires of Clyde’s bloodline.
I read this book in the series first and had no problem following the story. It was entertaining and original. It does end with a cliffhanger that makes you anxious to read the sequel. Having enjoyed the novel, I do want to go back and read the other four books – preferably in order.
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Posted August 24, 2013
This series has gotten progressively better after a "just okay" debut. But what I had come to think of as a sleeper hit took a decided nap with Forsaken. We are launched back to the beginning: new town, new cast, new monsters, a slew if episodic issues, and a "just okay" feeling. Perhaps after the previous novel's stunning ending I had raised my expectations too high. But this is decidedly a bridge novel (or at worst, filler) between where we were and where things get interesting again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2013
I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting. Excellent continuation and development of characters. Shia, Alex, Devon, Sara & Max all create a very enjoyable book. Definately read as part if the others series. This book is not a stand alone book.
I can't wait to find out what happens to shia and Sara next.
Posted July 20, 2013
Forsaken by the Others is not a book that reads as a standalone. People who pick it up should most definitely be up to date and ready to jump right in. It starts right from where Stalking the Others ends. If you have not read any of the other books in the H&W Investigations series…Do Not Pass Go. Turn right around and get caught up first.
I apologize right from the start. This might be a spoiler and trust me I’m not a fan of them, but you can read any other review and it was said long before me; no, no, and NO!! I was glad I missed the cliffhanger from one of the prior books, because I was late to the series and had to play catch-up. I’m very disappointed that this one ended in yet another one. Cliff hangers are not cool, especially when another book is not even on the horizon yet and this book was about a year from the last one. This was my biggest complaint, but I have other points that bugged me. Leave me wanting, but not like this.
While I enjoyed the book, there was very little forward movement in the plot. Yes, you seen a bit of Shiarra’s “problem” manifest, but no reasons why or what. Yes, a character is healed, but we didn’t even know there was a problem to begin with. So she hid out in California. Not sure if I really understand the reasoning, but there we are. Now she is there and it seems none of the issues in New York are going to be resolved and she has left TONS of them behind. Several factions were introduced and I feel they were barely utilizes to their fullest potential. I can pretty much say that most of the main characters are new additions and seem to be sticking around for a while. Not sure how I feel about that yet. I missed the “oldies” and wanted to read more about them. Bummer.
Shiarra actually transgressed in her kick-ass heroine status in my opinion. She was rather weak and well “human” in the beginning novels. She rocked my world in the last one, but after all is said and done; we are back to square one. I will say that she is coming off a very traumatic month and anyone would curl up into a little introspective ball, but she was so darn awesome last book. Again – Bummer.
I know it sounds like I didn’t like the novel, I did enjoy the read, but in its addition to the series, I didn’t. Some good points are that we got to see what happened with Royce. Sara and Shiarra are reunited, along with some memorable White Hats. The story clipped right along. There were also some scenes that had me chucking. I really love when a book makes me laugh.
Ms. Haines wrote a great book, but left me wanting. I really hope we see progression in the next novel. I’m still looking forward to next book. I hope the wait isn’t too long. I really enjoy her writing style and the H&W Investigations series. This is the kind of urban fantasy that I enjoy; fantastic paranormal world setting, interesting characters and amazing storytelling. Keep it up Ms. Haines!
Posted July 3, 2013
Shia and Sara are still on the run in "Forsaken By Others". These two can not catch a break. Barely reunited, they are told that the safest place for them to hide out is LA in the home of one of Royce's allies. Little does Royce know that Clyde has problems of his own. Shia and Sara are asked to investigate a zombie invasion that is targeting Clyde's progeny. They know that something is seriously wrong, but are fairly helpless to do anything about it other than to investigate.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a great addition to the series.
Now for the Positive and Negatives (warning there might be some spoilers listed below.)
Shia's mental state becomes more stable. She's dealing with a lot, but is doing her best to improve.
Shia and Sara stick together
We find out what has been going on with Devin and Tiny.
There will be at least one more novel in this series. I thought this was going to be the last one, however I was wrong.
A lot of threads have been left open, so anything goes during the next book.
Shia didn't seem all that upset when she was told that her father had a heart attack.
We still don't know the final verdict with wither or not Shia will turn Other.
I HATE cliff hanger endings.
I thought that the ending was a bit predictable. I kind of figured out that something like that was going to happen from the moment Fabian's character was introduced.
Having to wait at least another year before the next novel comes out.
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Posted July 3, 2013
This is the 5th in the H&W Investigations series. The main character, Shiarra (Shia) Waynest, finds herself in less than ideal circumstances after events from the previous novels in the series that are never quite explained in this one. As best I can gather, she had at some point been infected by a werewolf as well as bound to a vampire. The vampire thing prevented her from becoming a werewolf, but she is still going through some kind of strange, rare, and quite messy transformation. As a result of previous events, she is on the run from a variety of groups, including the human police. At the insistence of her vampire master/boyfriend, Alec Royce, she is sent from New York to California, along with her partner Sara, for their own protection to stay with another vampire, Clyde Seabreeze. But Clyde has something a bit different in mind for the two private investigators. Can they find off necromancers, zombies, and vampires to find out who is friend and who is foe?
I found myself confused throughout much of this book because, as mentioned above, events that occurred in previous novels in the series are alluded to but never explained, even briefly, so that those of us who did not read them could at leave have some level of understanding about what happened. That could have been accomplished in a few paragraphs here and there, and it would have made things make a whole lot more sense and also, I think, have allowed a better connection with the characters. It's hard to sympathize with Shia, for example, when she whines about past events if we don't really know what those events were. The end of the book is definitely a cliff-hanger. If you like nice, neat resolutions to any part of a story at the end of a book, you won't find them here. I liked it well enough to perhaps go back at some point and read the first volumes, but I would definitely have to do that before I could move on to number 6.
Posted July 2, 2013
Royce wants Shia and Sara to temporarily relocate to LA. Tension is high and Royce feels it will be better for Shiarra if she “disappears” until things cool down. Royce makes arrangements for Shia and Sara to stay with an associate that “owes him one”. His associates name is Clyde.
Clyde instantly starts playing vampire games and even though Shia tries to show him she’s got her own bite, he doesn’t seem to care. Clyde ultimately finagles, Sara and Shia into an investigation that just might get them both killed. It seems there is a Necromancer killing off all of Clyde’s vampires with zombies.
If that wasn’t enough, something dark is trying to break free from Shia. She is oozing black just under her skin. No one is sure what she will become if she gives in.
This is a well developed story that will keep your attention from start to finish. Action, adventure, mystery, a little romance, with just the right amount of funny, and very interesting characters, I truly enjoyed reading Forsaken by the Others. What an ending...way to leave us wanting more! In the end, Forsaken by the Other is an enchanting and entertaining story that will pull you into the fabulous world of Jess Haines’ imagination.
I received this ARC copy of Forsaken by the Others from Kensington Books - Zebra in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication July 2, 2013.
Posted June 15, 2013
What is the world coming to when zombies attack vampires? Private Investigator Shiarra Waynest is having a tough life right now. Imagine, waking up next to a master vampire, feeling not so good AND having a sore neck. Oh, and two of the strongest werewolf packs are after you. Not good. At the suggestion and under the protection of hot vampire, Alec Royce, Shiarra and her partner, Sara, hide out on the West Coast for a while in the company of some “uniquely quirky” California vamps. Big Problem. The West Coast vamps are being attacked by zombies and someone has to be controlling them. To wait purpose? In a world filled with Others, life for these P.I.s has just gotten more precarious as they stumble through the maze of their current plight and right into a villain from the past.
Forsaken by the Others by Jesse Haines has all of the action, adventure and sarcastic wit of the previous books in this series! From page one Jesse Haines has us on the edge of our seats, with her sharp-edged, no nonsense writing technique and sense of the dramatic ! Her characters have fully-developed attitudes that loom large and caused me many-a-chuckle throughout! Each subplot is more like a detour into the strange and dangerous, and the girls are up for it! Talk about powerful characters!
I received this ARC copy of Forsaken by the Others from Kensington Books - Zebra in exchange for my honest review. Publication Date: July 2, 2013.
Posted March 12, 2014
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Posted October 4, 2013
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Posted December 27, 2013
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Posted July 12, 2013
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