After Dark: An Anthology

After Dark: An Anthology

by Gena Showalter, Kait Ballenger


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373778256
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 06/25/2013
Series: Lords of the Underworld Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.89(d)

About the Author

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over fifty books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, and the White Rabbit Chronicles. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at

Kait Ballenger is a paranormal romance author, mother, wife, former professional bellydancer, and an adjunct English professor. She has a B.A in English from Stetson University and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She lives in Central Florida with her screenwriter husband and infant son, along with three fur babies named after fictional characters. Kait hopes that one day people will name their pets after her characters, too. Find Kait at

Read an Excerpt

From high in the heavens, Lysander spotted his prey. At last. Finally, I will end this. His jaw clenched and his skin pulled tight. With tension. With relief. Determined, he jumped from the cloud he stood upon, falling quickly… Wind whipping through his hair…

When he neared ground, he allowed his wings, long and feathered and golden, to unfold from his back and catch in the current, slowing his progress.

He was a soldier for Germanus, the leader of the Sent Ones—winged warriors, like angels, but…not. Sent Ones were far more, and Lysander was more than most. He was one of the Elite Seven. With as many millennia as he'd lived, he'd come to learn that each of the Elite Seven had one temptation. One potential downfall. Like Eve with her apple. When they found this…thing, this abomination, they happily destroyed it before it could destroy them.

Lysander had finally found his.

Bianka Skyhawk.

She was the daughter of a Harpy and a phoenix shape-shifter. She was a thief, a liar and a killer who found joy in the vilest of tasks. Worse, the blood of demons—his greatest enemy—flowed through her veins. Which meant Bianka was his enemy.

He lived to destroy his enemies.

However, he could only act against them when given permission from Germanus, who had to gain permission from the Most High—the absolute, final authority in the heavens. The Most High loved humans and wanted them protected. Wanted them trained to fight evil, not destroyed by it. But Bianka wasn't exactly human, was she?

Bianka was more like him, and she had cursed him with a taste for what the mortals referred to as "desire."

Something had to be done.

He'd seen her for the first time several weeks ago, long black hair flowing down her back, amber eyes bright and lips bloodred. Watching her, unable to turn away, a single question had drifted through his mind: Was her pearllike skin as soft as it appeared?

Forget desire. He'd never wondered such a thing about anyone before. He'd never cared. But the question was becoming an obsession, discovering the truth a need. And it had to end. Now. This day.

He landed just in front of her, but she couldn't see him. No one could. He existed on another plane, invisible to mortal and immortal alike. He could scream, and she would not hear him. He could walk through her, and she would not feel him. For that matter, she would not smell or sense him in any way.

Until it was too late.

He could have formed a fiery sword from air and cleaved her head from her body, but didn't. As he'd already realized and accepted, he could not kill her. Yet. But he could not allow her to roam unfettered, tempting him, a plague to his good sense, either. Which meant he would have to settle for imprisoning her in his home in the sky.

That didn't have to be a terrible ordeal for him, however. He could use their time together to show her the right way to live. And the right way was, of course, his way. What's more, if she did not conform, if she did finally commit that unpardonable sin, he would be there, at last able to rid himself of her influence.

Do it. Take her.

He reached out. But just before he could wrap his arms around her and fly her away, he realized she was no longer alone. He scowled, his arms falling to his sides. He did not want a witness to his deeds.

"Best day ever," Bianka shouted skyward, splaying her arms and twirling. Two champagne bottles were clutched in her hands and those bottles flew from her grip, slamming into the ice mountains of Alaska surrounding her. She stopped, swayed, laughed. "Oopsie."

His scowl deepened. A perfect opportunity lost, he realized. Clearly, she was intoxicated. She wouldn't have fought him. Would have assumed he was a hallucination or that they were playing a game. Having watched her these past few weeks, he knew how much she liked to play games.

"Waster," her sister, the intruder, grumbled. Though they were twins, Bianka and Kaia looked nothing alike. Kaia had red hair and gray eyes flecked with gold. She was shorter than Bianka, her beauty more delicate. "I had to stalk a collector for days—days!—to steal that. Seriously. You just busted Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam."

"I'll make it up to you." Mist wafted from Bianka's mouth. "They sell Boone's Farm in town."

There was a pause, a sigh. "That's only acceptable if you also steal me some cheese tots. I used to highjack them from Sabin every day, and now that we've left Budapest, I'm in withdrawal."

Lysander tried to pay attention to the conversation, he really did. But being this close to Bianka was, as always, ruining his concentration. Only her skin was similar to her sister's, reflecting all the colors of a newly sprung rainbow. So why didn't he wonder if Kaia's skin was as soft as it appeared?

Because she is not your temptation. You know this.

There, atop a peak of Devil's Thumb, he watched as Bianka plopped to her bottom. Frigid mist continued to waft around her, making her look as if she were part of a dream. Or a Sent One's nightmare.

"But you know," Kaia added, "stealing Boone's Farm in town doesn't help me now. I'm only partially buzzed and was hoping to be totally and completely smashed by the time the sun set."

"You should be thanking me, then. You got smashed last night. And the night before. And the night before that." Kaia shrugged. "So?"

"So, your life is in a rut. You steal liquor, climb a mountain while drinking and dive off when drunk."

"Well, then yours is in a rut, too, since you've been with me each of those nights." The redhead frowned. "Still. Maybe you're right. Maybe we need a change." She gazed around the majestic summit. "So what new and exciting thing do you want to do now?"

"Complain. Can you believe Gwennie is getting married?" Bianka asked. "And to Sabin, keeper of the demon of Doubt, of all people. Or demons. Whatever."

Gwennie. Gwendolyn. Their youngest sister.

"I know. It's weird." A still-frowning Kaia eased down beside her. "Would you rather be a bridesmaid or be hit by a bus?"

"The bus. No question. That, I'd recover from."


Bianka did not like weddings? Odd. Most females craved them. Still. No need for the bus, Lysander wanted to tell her. You will not be attending your sister's wedding.

"So which of us will be her maid of honor, do you think?" Kaia asked.

"Not it," Bianka said, just as Kaia opened her mouth to say the same. "Cheater!"

Bianka laughed with genuine amusement. "Your duties shouldn't be too bad. Gwennie's the nicest of the Skyhawks, after all."

"Nice when she's not protecting Sabin, that is." Kaia shuddered. "I swear, threaten the man with a little bodily harm, and she's ready to claw your eyes out."

"Think we'll ever fall in love like that?" As curious as Bi-anka sounded, there was also a hint of sadness in her voice.

Why sadness? Did she want to fall in love? Or was she thinking of a particular man she yearned for? Lysander had not yet seen her interact with a male she desired.

Kaia waved a deceptively delicate hand through the air. "We've been alive for centuries without falling. Clearly, it's just not meant to be. But I, for one, am glad about that. Men become a liability when you try and make them permanent."

"Yeah," was the reply. "But a fun liability."

"True. And I haven't had fun in a long time," Kaia said with a pout.

"Me, either. Except with myself, but I don't suppose that counts."

"It does the way I do it." They shared another laugh.

Fun. Sex, Lysander realized, now having no trouble keeping up with their conversation. They were discussing sex. Something he'd never tried. Not even with himself. He'd never wanted to try, either. Still didn't. Not even with Bianka and her amazing (soft?) skin.

As long as he'd been alive—a span of time far greater than their few hundred years—he'd seen many humans caught up in the act. It looked…messy. As un-fun as something could be. Yet humans betrayed their friends and family to do it. They even willingly, happily gave up hard-earned money in exchange for it. When not taking part themselves, they became obsessed with it, watching others do it on a television or computer screen.

"We should have nailed one of the Lords when we were in Buda," Kaia said thoughtfully. "Paris is hawt."

She could only be referring to the Lords of the Underworld. Immortal warriors possessed by the demons once locked inside Pandora's box. As Lysander had observed them throughout the centuries, ensuring they obeyed heavenly laws, he knew that Paris was host to Promiscuity, forced to bed a new person every day or weaken and die.

"Paris is hot, yes, but I liked Amun." Bianka stretched to her back, mist again whipping around her. "He doesn't speak, which makes him the perfect man in my opinion."

Amun, the host of the demon of Secrets. So. Bianka liked him, did she? Lysander pictured the warrior. Tall, though Lysander was taller. Muscled, though Lysander was more so. Dark where Lysander was light. He was actually relieved to know the Harpy preferred a different type of male than himself.

That wouldn't change her fate, but it did lessen Lysander's burden. He hadn't been sure what he would have done if she'd asked him to touch her. That she wouldn't was most definitely a relief.

"What about Aeron?" Kaia asked. "All those tattoos." A moan slipped from her as she shivered. "I could trace every single one of them with my tongue."

Aeron, host of Wrath. One of only two Lords with wings, Aeron's were black and gossamer. He had tattoos all over his body, and looked every inch the demon he was. What's more, he had recently broken a spiritual covenant. Therefore, Aeron would be dead before the upcoming nuptials.

Lysander's charge, Olivia, had been ordered to slay the warrior. So far she had resisted the decree. The girl was too softhearted for her own good. Eventually, though, she would do her duty. Otherwise, she would be kicked to earth, immortal no longer, and that was not a fate Lysander would allow.

Of all the Sent Ones he'd trained, she was by far his favorite. As gentle as she was, a man couldn't help but want to make her happy. She was trustworthy, loyal and all that was pure; she was the type of female who should have tempted him. A female he might have been able to accept in a romantic way. Wild Bianka…no. Never.

"However will I choose between my two favorite Lords, B?" Another sigh returned Lysander's focus to the Harpies.

Bianka rolled her eyes. "Just sample them both. Not like you haven't enjoyed a twofer before."

Kaia laughed, though the amusement didn't quite reach her voice. Like Bianka, there was a twinge of sadness to the sound. "True."

Lysander's mouth curled in mild distaste. Two different partners in one day. Or at the same time. Had Bianka done that, too? Probably.

"What about you?" Kaia asked. "You gonna hook up with Amun at the wedding?"

There was a long, heavy pause. Then Bianka shrugged. "Maybe. Probably."

He should leave and return when she was alone. The more he learned about her, the more he disliked her. Soon he would simply snatch her up, no matter who watched, revealing his presence, his intentions, just to save this world from her dark influence.

He flapped his wings once, twice, lifting into the air.

"You know what I want more than anything else in the world?" she asked, rolling to her side and facing her sister. Facing Lysander directly, as well. Her eyes were wide, amber irises luminous. Beams of sunlight seemed to soak into that glorious skin, and he found himself pausing.

Kaia stretched out beside her. "To co-host Good Morning America? "

"Well, yeah, but that's not what I meant."

"Then I'm stumped."

"Well…" Bianka nibbled on her bottom lip. Opened her mouth. Closed her mouth. Scowled. "I'll tell you, but you can't tell anyone."

The redhead pretended to twist a lock over her lips.

"I'm serious, K. Tell anyone, and I'll deny it then hunt you down and chop off your head."

Would she truly? Lysander wondered. Again, probably. He could not imagine hurting his Olivia, whom he loved like a sister. Maybe because she was not one of the Elite Seven, but was a joy-bringer, the weakest of the Sent Ones.

There were three factions in the skies. The Elite Seven, the warriors and the joy-bringers. Their status was reflected in both their different duties and the color of their wings. Each of the Seven possessed golden wings, like his own. Warriors possessed white wings merely threaded with gold, and the joy-bringers' white wings bore no gold at all.

Olivia had been a joy-bringer all the centuries of her existence. Something she was quite happy with. That was why everyone, including Olivia, had experienced such shock when golden down had begun to grow in her feathers.

Not Lysander, however. He'd petitioned the Heavenly High Council, and they'd agreed. It had needed to be done. She was too fascinated by the demon-possessed warrior Aeron. Too…infatuated. Ridding her of such an attraction was imperative. As he well knew.

His hand clenched into a fist. He blamed himself for Olivia's circumstances. He had sent her to watch the Lords. To study them. He should have gone himself, but he'd hoped to avoid Bianka.

"Well, don't just lie there. Tell me what you want to do more than anything else in the world," Kaia exclaimed.

Bianka uttered another sigh. "I want to sleep with a man."

Kaia's brow scrunched in confusion. "Uh, hello. Wasn't that what we were just discussing?"

"No, dummy. I mean, I want to sleep. As in, conk out. As in, snores so loud he contemplates kicking me out—before realizing he can't live without me."

A moment passed in silence as Kaia absorbed the announcement. "What! That's forbidden. Stupid. Dangerous."

Harpies lived by two rules, he knew. They could only eat what they stole or earned, and they could not sleep in the presence of another. The first was because of a curse on all Harpy-kind, and the second because Harpies were suspicious and untrusting by nature.

Lysander's head tilted to the side as he found himself imagining holding Bianka in his arms as she drifted into slumber. That fall of dark curls would tumble over his arm and chest. Her warmth would seep into his body. Her leg would rub over his.

He could never allow it, of course, but that didn't diminish the power of the vision. To hold her, protect her, comfort her would be…nice.

Would her skin be as soft as it appeared?

His teeth ground together. There was that ridiculous question again. I do not care. It does not matter.

"Forget I said anything," Bianka grumbled, flopping to her back and staring up at the bright sky.

"I can't. Your words are singed into my ears. Do you know what happened to our ancestors when they were stupid enough to fall asl—"

"Yes, okay. Yes." She pushed to her feet. The faux fur coat she wore was bloodred, same as her lips, and a vivid contrast to the white ice around her. Her boots were black and climbed to her knees. She wore skintight pants, also black. She looked wicked and beautiful.

Would her skin be as soft as it appeared?

Before he realized what he was doing, he was standing in front of her, reaching out, fingers tingling. What are you doing? Stop! He froze. Backed several steps away.

Sweet heaven. How close he'd come to giving in to the temptation of her.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

One of the premier authors of paranormal romance."

—#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole

"Gena Showalter knows how to keep readers glued to the pages and smiling the whole time."

—New York Times bestselling author Lara Adrian on The Darkest Surrender

"Showalter delivers yet again!"-RT BookReviews on Wicked Nights

"Non-stop action, pulse-pounding suspense, and red-hot romance ... Kait Ballenger's Execution Underground series delivers in spades!"—New York Times bestselling author Jaime Rush

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After Dark: An Anthology 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
It's good but as an anthrology it sucks. To be considered an anthrology I would think that it should consist of at least 2-3 stories be they short or long all the stories are to be at least centered on the same topic or on the same author but this book is a one horse show and is the exact same story as the darkest angel story just with a different title. If you haven't read The Darkest Angel then don't buy it if you have this book trust me. It's a waste of money. I made that mistake and thought that this being an anthrology would have at least 2 more stories to read along with the first and it's a big nope. I will say this much though, if you haven't read the darkest angel but picked up this book first then you will like the story of Lysander and Bianka. I enjoyed it for the story alone. My only regret is buying basically the same book twice with 2 different titles.
Chris2go More than 1 year ago
Outstanding as usual!! Off the charts hotness Excellent read!
aloveless More than 1 year ago
I love reading the character's stories that were never told in the original series. Very well written. Like I never stopped reading the other books. She makes the strangest situations seem real.
WHiggins More than 1 year ago
The Darkest Angel ~ Gena Showalter Well Gena always jumps right in and keeps your attention. What better way then to play with fire. Lysander despises Bianka yet he can’t stop looking at her. Would she feel as soft as she looks, get that out of my head he says more than once but when he captures her and brings her back to his home, he gets more than he bargains for. Bianca – Carefree and looking for a good time. Hanging with her sister Kaia one minute and the next she is in the arms of a beautiful creature. He says he needs to teach her how to be good, boy is he in for a treat She will be good….so good he might not know what to do with her. The passion building between them both confuses and excites them both. What to do? Ecellent read!! Shadow Hunter ~ Kait Ballenger I want to start off by saying this series is going to be a keeper! I always want to give a new author and series a chance and I’m glad that Kait was coupled with Gena , whom is my favorite author. Kait Ballenger has a great aspect of what paranormal romance is. Her story keeps building as you read on and her characters are strong. Damon and Tiffany were pen pals sorta speak at a time when they both needed someone to talk to . Damon worked with Tiffany’s brother Mark in the Execution Underground, a vampire hunter special team unknown to most people. That’s how they came to write to each other. Although they never met face to face their feelings grew during their letters But when Mark was suddenly killed in a mission and Damon didn’t save him Tiffany has never forgiven him. Damon comes face to face with Tiffany but she doesn’t know it’s him. He only knows it’s her from the picture Mark has shown him of her. One thing leads to another and they share a kiss and sparks fly. Should he tell her who he is or keep it a mystery? Tiffany is on a mission of her own. When she finds out her brother is dead, She decided she will find the vampire who gave the orders to kill Mark and kill him herself. But when the tall dark man shows up and they share a electrifying kiss, she wishes it was “B” for Brock his last name (the name Damon used in his letters) her pen pal who she fell in love with. When Tiffany figures out Damon is her “B” she can’t believe she finally kissed him and he is here and is trying to find the killer also . They team up and the trouble is just getting started. They find the killer and more information on the vampires, and not good news. Kait leaves us with a cliffhanger and you better believe I’m reading the next installment Twilight Hunter asap!! Add this to your list of great new series!!
LindaTownsend More than 1 year ago
TWO AWESOME Novellas in After Dark!  FIVE STARS to Both!!!! I'm a huge fan of Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series and knew I couldn't miss The Darkest Angel, Lysander's story. If you are a fan of the Lords, you will be in for a treat with this entry. Lysander hasn't exactly endeared himself to me as he's been a goody-goody with the Lords. I'm so glad that Bianka finally gave him a come-uppance! There were some laugh-out-loud moments that I will treasure. AND a GREAT ENDING! Thank you, Gena, for another winner! Then... I also thoroughly enjoyed Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger! She is a new author for me and I can guarantee that I will be reading more books by her! LOL! In fact, Twilight Hunter, the 1st full book in her Execution Underground series, is already on my nightstand waiting for me. Damon Brock is a vampire hunter with the EU (Execution Underground). He is still reeling from the death of his good friend, Mark, during a recent raid. Damon has made a promise to himself to take down the vamp who was responsible for his friend's death. While pursuing that goal, Damon meets Tiffany in a private room in Club Fantasy and neither of their lives will ever be the same. This novella begins the story of Damon and Tiffany and ends with a cliffhanger that will be resolved later in a book devoted to both of them. I LOVED Damon and can hardly wait for their story to be told! Bottomline: TWO AWESOME novellas in After Dark. 5 stars to both!!!!!!
PRushen More than 1 year ago
I loved Shadow Hunter. This prequel to the upcoming Execution Underground series gives you just a taste of what’s to come, and what’s coming is going to be great.  You meet Damon and Tiffany as they try to let go of the past to find each other while kicking major vampire butt.  I enjoyed this book immensely and cannot wait for Twilight Hunter to get here.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Froggarita More than 1 year ago
This book has 2 separate stories from 2 different authors and I am reviewing Shadow Hunter (Execution Underground #0.5) by Kait Ballenger. This is the prequel to Kait's Execution Underground series. Shadow Hunter features Vampire Hunter Damon Brock who works for the elite secret organization known as the Execution Underground and is out for blood for the death of his partner. Tiffany Solow is a woman who knows how to kick some ass and looking for revenge for her brothers death. She is also his dead partners sister! The book started a tad slow but soon picked up speed. The two of them work together to try and kill the head vampire while having some steamy chemistry! I loved reading the back story and learning about Damon and Tiffany story. The fight scenes were great as were the seduction scenes! Just be warned...the book ends with one heck of a cliffhanger that literally has you dying for more! Twilight Hunger which is book #1 in the series comes out August 27th! Rating - 4 1/2 potion bottles! Froggy Froggarita's Bookcase *I received this book for free for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a review of Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger. Wow! Ballenger shows a lot of promise with this explosive series-opener to the Execution Underground sequence. I am not normally a reader of paranormal romance but I could not put this book down. Ballenger saturates her characters with heartfelt, realistic emotion, which gives them real depth. And she tortures them, oh how she tortures them. The pained brooding of lead character Damon Brock is completely understandable given his tumultuous past and the roguish nature of Tiffany ignites the page as she tries to avenge the brutal murder of her family. The sparks fly as the two meet and their mutual history of untold romance eventually comes to light. Their differences and love for one another collide as they try to satisfy their own personal vendettas while at the same time attempt to foil a sinister vampire conspiracy. And that ending! Don't get me started on the whopper she leaves the reader with! I'll just say I simply cannot wait until the resumption of Damon and Tiffany's story later in the series (there will be a full-length novel dedicated to it later on). Every page crackles with sexual tension, violence, and intrigue. The sex scenes are scorching and the fight scenes are white-knuckle. Infused with wry humor and a powerful sense of place (the setting of Rochester, NY is extremely well-established and detailed), Shadow Hunter wins at every turn. I will definitely be pre-ordering a copy of the first full-length novel of the Execution Underground (Twilight Hunter) when it comes out in August.
Melhay More than 1 year ago
The Darkest Angel: We have two POV's in this story; Lysander and Bianka. I love the two. Lysander is the 'innocent' and Bianka is the experienced one in this world. I like the reversal of roles here. Bianka and her wild ways, I loved listening to her and her twin Kaia talk. They are to fun. But she has one serious thing she'd like to do one day. For a Harpy, it's unheard of. Gena takes us along as Bianka teasers Lysander to the brink of explosion. Each time Lysander comes closer to falling - what he is fighting so hard to avoid - into Bianka's arms. Bianka is wonderful. She knows exactly how to torment Lysander and reads him so well. Yet, it seems Bianka might find she is more attracted to Lysander with all her efforts to leave his cloud home that's become her prison. This world feels rich and full. One that feels like I should experience more of. I loved the creation with the play on angels and demons and everything between. There is a lot to the characters here, and I want to meet all that were mentioned and more. I will have to try this series by Gena because from what I'm seeing here, I think I'll enjoy the world and it's blended with Romance too. Shadow Hunter: We are introduced to the Execution Underground and their ways in this novella. By the end, you know who the crew is that will be working the area and ready to pick up in the first full length novel, Twilight Hunter. Rochester is becoming the hot spot for Supernatural activity of all kinds, as Damon is seeing first hand. And now is a new place to have a crew for Execution Underground to control and eliminate the threats. We have two POV's in this story; Damon and Tiffany. Romance GALORE with Damon here! Sweet. Hot. And Sexy! Mhmm, delicious tale with Damon. I enjoy him and Tiffany. Two people who didn't want partners find it might help to work together to accomplish their goal - to kill a powerful ancient Vampire. This is a romance. I liked that there is a connection between the main characters. There is an immediate desire, but there is a great tidbit of history (unknown to one - you'll have to read to understand why) to build on. I like when there feels to be something deeper in relationships in romances, and Kait has nailed it perfectly for me. The attraction heats and pulls us along with them. I enjoyed the little things about vampires that were played with and explained, to make the myth of vampires the authors own. Here, Kait describes the rules and creates her world, setting the rules to play with and around. I enjoyed this romance story. Sex, fighting, growth to a starts of a new world and characters. What more can I ask? I'll be following this series!
DaniC More than 1 year ago
This review is for the novella Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger. Don’t you just love that feeling you get when you finish a book and you realize that you have found a new favorite author? Because that is the feeling I got when I finished this very enjoyable novella! The plot and the characters totally dragged me into their world and I can’t wait to go back again. Damon Brock is a part of Execution Underground, a group of vampire hunters who protect humans from the hungry vampires. Now that his closest friend has been killed he has sworn revenge on one of the oldest vampires in New York. Unfortunately Damon is not the only after this vampire. Now he must protect Tiffany from getting hurt all the while trying his best not to fall in love with her. Now there is a huge, huge cliffhanger at the end but never fear! The next book, Twilight Hunter, will be coming out in September! So you (and I) won’t have a long wait to see what happens next!
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars ~This UTC Team Review is also posted at Under the Covers Book Blog “Funny, yes. Cute and romantic, yes. HOT, absolutely. And … totally memorable” ~Under the Covers Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger I was pleasantly surprised of how good this novella turned out to be. Shadow Hunter is the prequel for Execution Underground but not one time that this book felt like it was a prequel. The author’s execution of a good world building and character build up was awesome. Ms. Ballenger delivered a good blend of action, suspense and an ending that will have you panting for more. This author certainly captured my attention and believe me, I will be keeping an eye out for more of her work. Damon Brock and Tiffany Solow had several things in common. First is the loss of a loved one. Tiffany’s brother, also Brock’s best friend was killed by a vampire. Unfortunately, Mark’s death is not something neither of them can forget. They also have the same drive to seek out revenge. Brock continues to work for Execution Underground waiting for the opportunity to kill his friend’s murderer. And Tiffany’s goals are the same but has become an undercover vampire hunter. Fate has a funny way of bringing them together. As the infected vampires and deaths are on the rise, they will end up working side by side toward the same goal but ultimately to revenge Mark’s death. I really like Damon and Tiffany. Damon is a classic hero who is strong physically and mentally, very sexy and respects a woman who is just as strong. And Tiffany is equally strong. I mean this girl can kick ass and has balls bigger than most man I know. Their relationship was cute and heartfelt throughout the book until the story took a turn at the end. I honestly didn’t expect a tearful and jaw dropping end. By the way this book ended, gave me the impression that this series will be of UF genre. But looking at Twilight Hunter’s blurb, looks like Execution Underground is PNR. I have not had much interaction with the author and I have not had any discussions with anyone about this book, so, I’m not really sure, but damn it, I am hoping to get more of Damon and Tiffany. I know that this is not…CANNOT be the end of their story. If the rest of the books from Ms. Ballenger are as good as this prequel, She will most definitely be added to my favorite authors list. The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter The harpies are my favorite females in this series, well with the exception of Anya, of course. The Darkest Angel is the story of how Bianka and Lysander got together. We’ve known from the series books they are a couple, but how did a harpy manage to get with an Angel? I think these two could’ve gotten their own book, they were certainly amazing together and I would’ve loved to see their relationship more developed. But what we got was full of humor, tensions, battles of will and naughtiness. Lysander wants to convert Bianka from her evil and impure ways. So he decides he will kidnap her and bring her to his home, in a cloud, keep her there, and teach her how to be good. Not counting on the fact that he wants her too much, and he can’t help it if she affects him in ways he doesn’t even understand. What are these feelings? How can he deal with them? Well, maybe he shouldn’t. And he leaves her alone in his house for long periods at a time. This just makes Bianka furious. Doesn’t he know that a harpy can’t even eat or drink unless she steals! There’s nothing for her to steal, how is she going to survive? And why is her traitorous body warming at the mere sight of the Angel. Funny, yes. Cute and romantic, yes. HOT, absolutely. And … totally memorable. Let’s just say if you’ve ever thought about Paris half naked in a mud fight with another hot half naked guy, then you have to read this story!
TheBookNympho More than 1 year ago
I only read Shadow Hunter by Kati Ballenger.  Set Up: Supes are unknown by humans with the exception of the Execution Underground, think special ops warriors that hunt all kinds of supes. Hero: Damon is a member of the Execution Underground and it specializes in hunting vampires. And he is Über sexy! He is looking for one bloodsucker that killed his partner. When he finds where the vamp is, he hopes to not run into her. Heroine: The her being, Tiffany. Tiffany is the little sister of Damon's dead partner. The two wrote letters to each other for years as part of a program the EU forces on their warriors when they are in need of making a personal connection so that they don't go all killer. Damon chooses Tiffany as his "pen pal" since she is the little sister of his partner, thinking she will be a safe choice since she was only 16 at the time. I also like that the heroine is no whiny chick. After the death of her brother she starts hunting vamps in hope of killing the bloodsucker that caused her brother's death. What I liked: I liked that Damon and Tiffany had a connection that was built over a few years. So it's believable that they are in love with each other. We don't get that instant-a-love thing. We do get instant-a-lust the first time they meet face to face.  What I wasn't too crazy about: Another 22 year old virgin. (eye roll) After reading Tiffany and Damon's story I guess it's plausible that she could still be a virgin at 22 when you see that she is in love with Damon before she even meets him. No other man peaks her interest so it' could be that she is subconsciously saving herself for Damon. Will I read this author again? Yeah. I'm looking forward to reading Twilight Hunter and I hope we get answers to the cliffhanger we're left with at the end of Shadow Hunter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great start to Ballenger's Execution Underground series and another great tale from Showalter's Lords of the Underworld!
tracier More than 1 year ago
Shadow Hunter (Execution Underground 0.5) Shadow Hunter is a promising start to the Execution Underground (EU) by Kait Ballenger. Damon Brock is one of the Execution Underground best men he has taken an oath to protect the humans from the dangerous creatures that lurk and seek to harm them. Damon has been tracking the person responsible for taking his closest friend and partner Mark. Locating him in Rochester Damon has requested a transfer to seek his own justice for Mark and the sister he left behind. Tiffany Solow lost everything the day her brother was killed not only did she lose the only family she had left she also lost the man who captured her heart in a letter. Now determined to find the person responsible she has inserted herself into the seedy underground of Rochester. The closer Damon gets to Mark's killer the stranger things become and when he comes face to face with his best friends sister things are about to take a turn. Determined not only to get justice for his friend, Damon must also try to keep Tiffany safe and with things happening that can't be explained there are no guarantees he will be able to do either. I enjoyed reading Shadow Hunter and look forward to reading Twilight Hunter book 1 of the Execution Underground. Reviewing with Book Monster Reviews
MyParaHangover More than 1 year ago
There are two novellas in this book and I'm only reviewing Shadow Hunter (Execution Underground #0.5) by Kait Ballenger. I love paranormal romance! I actually started reading urban fantasy novels but for me, UF was missing the extra bit of romance I was looking for in my books. Give me a book that's 50% urban fantasy and 50% romance and I'm completely ga-ga over the moon and I won't be out of the house for days. I'm a big, fat fan of long running series such as Larissa Ione's Demonica, Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark and Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld. So when a call went out for help promoting Kait Ballenger"s debut story, all I had to do was see that she's published with Ms. Showalter and slam dunk, sign me up!!! I'll help the cause. Because if the story is even close to the greatness that is Ms. Showalter, I'll have no problems standing behind a review for Ms. Ballenger's story. So wasn't I totally surprised by the depth of story and the world building Ms. Ballenger managed to squeeze in to this introduction to her new world, Execution Underground? This novella was a spectacular way to start off her series. A sweet, shorter story so readers don't have to invest too much time into the world. But I was completely sucked in and left dangling at the end screaming, "More!! Don't stop now!!!" Here's my reasons why I'm loving this debut PNR author... Characters First, let me share with you a very cool thing that Ms. Ballenger did when she sent out the uncorrected proofs of her story for review. She wrote a little letter entitled "Dear Reader" that explains how she came about structuring the series and why the stories are the way they. Here's the letter, reproduced with Ms. Ballenger's permission, in its entirety: -------------------------------------- Dear Reader, In the upcoming pages you'll find a prequel to my paranormal romance series, the Execution Underground, about an international organization of elite men, hunters of the supernatural who fight to protect humanity from the evil lurking after dark. The prequel, SHADOW HUNTER, is the story of Damon Brock, vampire hunter and founder of the Rochester division of the clandestine organization. When the hunters of the Rochester division first came to me, the attitude I received from Damon's character simply said: "piss off, lady"...not surprising that Damon became the last member on my roster for the order of the six novels. In September 2013, TWILIGHT HUNTER, the first full length novel in the series featuring werewolf hunter Jace McCannon, debuts. I intended TWILIGHT HUNTER to be the beginning of the series, but when Harlequin approached me with the offer to fill the remaining section of this anthology with a prequel I jumped at the chance. With the help of some whom had already read TWILIGHT HUNTER, the thought of a prequel, the pre-story of Damon, the elusive badass we see brief glimpses of within Jace's novel arose. Though I never wanted to showcase Damon's soft side which you will see in this short novel, the more I told Damon's origin story, the more his character opened up. Now, I can't wait to tell the rest of his story and I hope once you finish reading his prequel, you'll be equally as excited, too. Though his full novel will still be last in the series, Damon's metamorphosis is intertwined within the stories of his fellow hunters. I hope that reading SHADOW HUNTER before the other novels in the series will reveal that to you in the way I've always seen it, and I hope Damon's story brings you all the smiles, laughs, gasps, and tears it gave me. Thanks so much for reading. I'm blessed to be able to share this with you. Sincerely, Kait Ballenger ----------------------------------------- So we have Damon, who has just arrived in Rochester, NY to avenge the death of his best friend. He blames himself for his best friend's death but ultimately, it was a vampire who killed Damon's fellow hunter on the Execution Underground. Damon seems to be one of those guys who has always had a tortured soul and blames everything wrong that happens around him on himself. He's a big, tall drink of sexy and pretty much lives a loner existence. Damon runs into Tiffany at a nightclub where he's trying to apprehend the vampire who killed or played a part in killing Damon's best friend, Mark. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you're looking at the whole mess), so is Tiffany and they end up running into each other quite literally. Tiffany is great as a protagonist because she's both young and gutsy but at the same time intelligent in her hunting skills. She doesn't have any of the super human strength that Damon has but she can think quick on her feet. She is vulnerable and sensitive, too. She's never kissed a boy before, let alone done "other things" with them. She's been too busy hunting vampires, avenging her family's death, and going to college. A girl's gotta have priorities I guess :) Story / World Building / Tempo The story behind this couple is quite cool - Damon and Tiff have "met" in the past but have never "met" in person. Damon figures out who Tiff is and tries to steer clear of Tiff but of course that's impossible for young love *sigh*. Through a series of "not telling the entire truth"-s, their lives become more and more wrapped up and it all comes down to that final battle every reader wants in a great PNR story. Honestly, this ending threw me for a loop and a half . We're talking non-stop story, no lulls, all the way until we're down to the very last sentence in the story. So much story for such a little "story", novella style. So worth it!!
Book_Sniffers_Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Damon is on the hunt for the head vampire who killed his partner, Mark. However, when he tracks down the bloodsucker, he finds Mark's little sister acting as a potential feeding host. She's no longer the teenager he used to write letters to. She's hunting her brother's killer and will do anything to seek revenge, even if it means putting her life on the line. I don't know why but I'm always a fan of the best friend's little sister stories. This one had a fun twist to it though. Damon and Mark were Hunters together and in an attempt to help Damon release some pent up emotions, Mark gets his little sister to start writing Damon. Pretty soon the two of them are close pen pals but neither of them have met. So fast forward to the present time, Mark was killed in action, Tiffany blames Damon for not saving him and Damon agrees with her assessment. When these two meet, she has no clue that her brother's partner "B" is the same man standing in front of her and of course Damon isn't going to be forthcoming with that information. However, they have a common goal and that is to take down the vampire responsible for Mark's death. So they team up to try to take this vampire down, while becoming closer in the process. Even though this is a novella that sets up the Execution Underground series, there was a lot going on. We got to understand the characters, the world that they live in as well as get a grasp for the stage that Kait is setting. This series isn't going to revolve around just vampires, the EU handles all things supernatural and apparently there is a whole butt load of supes in Rochester, NY. "I hate to tell you this, but Rochester is swamped with supernatural predators. There are reported werewolf sightings, possibly a full-on pack, there are demons lodged so deep the people they've possessed are pretty much done for, there are several small witch covens, loads of non-wereworlf shifters-oh, and that's not even including all the poltergeists and ghosts reported in the old abandoned asylum." So with all the action taking place in Rochester, Damon finds himself appointed team leader and will soon be getting a team of Hunters to help him handle all the things that go bump in the night. If the prequel is anything to go off of, this is going to be an amazing series. I'm so glad I found out about this debut author. The whole story was captivating, from the intense fight scenes to the seductive bedroom scenes. If you are a fan of paranormal romance than this is an absolute must. I personally cannot wait to read more of not only the EU series but anything that Kait comes out with.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
Great start to a new series:   Shadow Hunter is part of an anthology called AFTER DARK with Gena Showalter and Kait Ballenger. Shadow Hunter is Kait's storyline featuring Vampire Hunter Damon Brock and Tiffany Solow-a woman he has loved from afar but never really knew. Damon Brock has been desperate to prove himself worthy of the title vampire hunter, but when his best friend and fellow hunter at the Execution Underground was killed while on assignment, Damon cannot compete with his own guilt. Feeling he has betrayed his best friend, Damon makes it his mission to hunt down the vampire who struck down Mark Solow. And the last person Damon ever thought he would meet on assignment was Tiffany Solow-Mark's little sister-all grown up and hunting the vampire who took her brother's life. When Damon discovers Tiffany's plans, he must decide whether to reveal the truth about his identity and relationship to Mark or continue to hide behind a cold façade of anger and pain. Meanwhile there is a string of vampire killings that resemble something similar to zombie feasts. With no explanation, Tiffany and Damon seek out known vampire haunts and discover that the mysterious zombie-like behavior plaguing new vampires may not be a naturally occurring event. Hoping to take down one of the oldest vampires, Tiffany puts her life on the line and in doing so, discovers the truth behind the origins of the vampire virus. The relationship between Damon and Tiffany begins as one of disdain and animosity then friends to lovers. When Damon discovers that Tiffany is willing to risk her life to take down the vampire who killed her brother, his hopes and fears for his best friend's sister turns Damon into both protector and warrior. But Damon holds back a few secrets from Tiff, and if those secrets were revealed, Damon believes his relationship with Tiff would never be the same. SHADOW HUNTER is a well-written, fascinating and amazing storyline that introduces the premise behind Execution Underground and the men and women who risk their lives fighting the supernatural creatures that stalk the human world. Kait's fantasy world of vampire hunters and the undead they seek had me reading until the very end- and oh, what an ending it was. I hope to learn more about what happens to Damon and Tiff-but the ending was heart breaking and painful to read. see all of my reviews at :thereadingcafe(dot)com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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