Bittersweet Blood: A Novel of The Order

Bittersweet Blood: A Novel of The Order

by Nina Croft

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Tara Collins just wants to be normal. Everyone else wants her dead.

Tara’s eccentric aunt raised her to be fearful of the world and follow the rules. But after her aunt’s death, Tara is ready to take control and experience life for the first time. But she quickly discovers that everything she’s been told is a web of lies. Determined to solve the mystery of who she is truly, she hires private investigator to help her uncover the truth.

Christian Roth is more than your average PI. A vampire and ex-demon hunter, Christian lives among the humans, trying to be “normal.” But recently, things seem to be falling apart. There’s a crazed demon hell-bent on revenge hunting him down, and a fae assassin on the loose with an unknown target. And the Order he abandoned desperately needs his help.

As the secrets of Tara’s past collide with the problems in Christian’s present, she finds herself fighting her attraction to the dark and mysterious investigator. Falling in love does not fit into her plans at all, but Tara soon learns that some rules are meant to be broken.

The Order series is best enjoyed in order.
Reading Order:
Book #1 Bittersweet Blood
Book #2 Bittersweet Magic
Book #3 Bittersweet Darkness
Book #4 Bittersweet Christmas

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622669592
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 02/28/2013
Series: The Order , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 298
Sales rank: 308,992
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Nina's writing mixes romance with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of nine-to-five work. She's since then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary), and has settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Nina writes all types of romance, often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Read an Excerpt

Bittersweet Blood

A Novel of the Order

By Nina Croft, Marie Loggia-Kee, Liz Pelletier

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2013 Nina Croft
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-959-2


Rule Number One: Never question the past.

Tara took a single step into the alleyway and stopped.

Up ahead, something shifted in the shadows and a waft of warm air carried the stench of dirty smoke and rotten eggs to her nostrils. A prickle of unease shivered across her skin.

No way was she ending up dead in a dark alley before she had a chance to break Rule Number One. Wrinkling her nose against the smell, she held her breath and backed out into the bright lights of the main street.

And straight into something solid and unexpected.

For a second, she thought she must have hit a brick wall. A brick wall that hadn't been there thirty seconds earlier.

"Are you okay?"

A brick wall that talked.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, she turned.

Her eyes were level with his chest and at first all she registered was his immense size. Taking a slow step back, she forced her gaze upward. In the artificial light, he was leached of color, with black hair pulled into a ponytail, and skin so pale it appeared white. She went still as silver eyes captured hers. For a second, she stared mesmerized, unable to drag her gaze away from the stranger.

"Are you lost?" He spoke again, breaking the spell.

"No. Yes. Maybe." She waved the map clutched in her hand. "I was considering a short cut."

A short cut to the railway station and a fast train away from here. For the last ten minutes, she'd been dithering. Should she go ahead, break Rule Number One, and perhaps come to a messy and premature end? Or should she run away and try to forget the stupid rules had ever existed?

"A short cut down a dark alley? Has no one ever told you it's dangerous to wander down dark alleys alone?"

Was there some subtle threat beneath his words? Did he look vaguely menacing for a moment? Or was it merely her overactive imagination playing games with her? He was just a man — a tall, powerfully built man, but quite respectable in his sleek, dark business suit and red tie.

Still, a little voice in her head whispered to her to turn and walk away — though perhaps not down the dark alley.

But something held her back.

All her life she'd been afraid. Aunt Kathy had brought her up to fear just about everything, and she'd done a brilliant job. But Aunt Kathy was dead, and Tara refused to live like that anymore.

"Well?" he murmured and she realized he was waiting for an answer.

"Actually, yes. I'm quite aware of the dangers. But I have an important meeting and my mind was on other things." Like running away.

He considered her for a moment. "Where is this important meeting? Perhaps I can help."

"CR International. You know it?"

His lips curved into a slow smile and suddenly she realized how devastatingly attractive he was. "You mean the CR International building behind you?" A faint trace of amusement tinged his voice.

She pursed her lips but turned slowly. He wasn't kidding. It stood directly opposite, on the other side of the street. An immense structure of steel and smoky glass with CR International in big gold letters over the door. How the hell had she missed that? "Oh ... thank you."

This was it. Either she'd discover the truth, or she'd be blasted by a bolt of divine retribution. Time to find out which.

She took a few steps but couldn't resist glancing back over her shoulder. The man still stood, hands in his pockets, watching her, a strange almost hungry look in his eyes.

"Overactive imagination," she muttered and headed across the street.

A young man sat behind the reception desk; handsome, with dark red hair like a fox and blue eyes that perfectly matched his shirt.

"I'm Tara Collins," she said. "I have an appointment with Mr. Grant."

"I'll let him know you're here." He reached for the phone beside him, but it rang before he picked up, and he sent her an apologetic glance. "One moment." As he listened, a startled expression flickered across his face. "Sure, Christian. No problem."

He put the phone down. "Ms. Collins?"

Tara nodded.

"I'm afraid Mr. Grant can't see you tonight."

Tara sagged with relief and bit back a "halleluiah." She'd done her best, but now she could legitimately put off breaking Rule Number One just a little while longer. Like forever maybe.

"Absolutely no problem," she said. "Shall I make another appointment? Perhaps in a couple of weeks? A month? A year ... ?"

A year sounded good.

He smiled, showing perfect white teeth. "No need. That was Mr. Roth — the owner of the company — he'll see you instead. I'll take you up myself as access to the thirteenth floor is restricted."

He called one of the security guards over from beside the door and spoke with him quietly then came out from behind the reception desk.

"My name's Graham. If you'd come with me ..."

She followed him, not to the bank of elevators where a few people waited, but into a smaller one around the corner. Inside, there were just two buttons, one pointing up and one down. Graham pressed the up button, and they rose smoothly. When the doors opened, he didn't exit. Instead, he pointed to a set of black double doors opposite.

Tara stared at them, unable to shake the feeling that this was the point of no return. What if Aunt Kathy had been right? What if there was a very good reason not to question the past?

"Go ahead," Graham murmured from beside her. "Mr. Roth doesn't ... bite."

Tara scowled at the faint thread of amusement in his voice — it seemed as though everyone was finding her funny today. She stalked out of the elevator.

This floor appeared deserted, and hushed. Her feet made no sound on the thick carpets as she walked toward the imposing doors. Without giving herself any more time to think, she pressed her finger lightly to the smooth black metal and the door swung open. Inside, the room was in semi-darkness, the only light spilling in from the floor to ceiling windows that lined the far wall.

Perhaps no one was home.

She hovered in the doorway, unsure whether to stay or go, when a man spoke from inside.

"Come in, Ms. Collins."

The voice was low, husky, and vaguely familiar. She hesitated a moment more and then took the few steps inside. Behind her, the door swung shut. The air was cool against her skin and she glanced around.

"Lights," she muttered. "Lights would be good here."

A faint click, and warm light filled the room. Tara blinked a couple of times then her gaze locked on the figure seated behind the huge steel desk.

The man from the alley. Why wasn't she more surprised?

"You know," she said. "You could have introduced yourself."

A small smile curved his lips. "And spoil the surprise?"

Yeah, right.

He stood slowly, then came around the desk to stand in front of her, one arm outstretched. Tara fought the urge to hide her hands behind her back; something about this man set her on edge. Of course, it could be that the whole "breaking the rules" thing was just screwing with her mind, that right now, she was predisposed to see weirdness in everything.

She grasped his hand firmly, intending the greeting to be brief, but his fingers tightened around hers. Her gaze shot to his face. He wasn't a handsome man; his features were too harsh for that, with pale skin stretched tight over hard bones. But his silver eyes held her mesmerized as he lifted her hand. For a moment, she was sure he intended to kiss it, but he merely inhaled deeply. Something flashed in his eyes, something hot and hungry, and a shiver ran through her. Then the expression vanished as if it had never been.

"I'm Christian Roth."

"So your receptionist told me." She gave a tug. "Could I have my hand back?"

He smiled and released her, then gestured to a chair in front of his desk.

"Why don't you sit down and tell me how I can ... help you." He waited until she was seated, then returned to his own chair. "So, Tara Collins, why do you need a private investigator?"

This was the moment she'd built herself up for over the last six months. She'd even practiced the words in front of the mirror. But now, at the last second, they didn't want to come out. She cleared her throat. Took a deep breath. She could do this.

"I want you to find out who I am."

There, she'd done it. Broken Rule Number One.

She sat very still, staring at her hands. Her aunt had always been a little vague about the actual consequences of breaking the rules — just that they'd be dire. Tara had always imagined some sort of fiery bolt from above. Now she waited for it to crash down and annihilate her.

Nothing happened.

"So, you're not Tara Collins?"

"Yes. No. I don't know. I've always been called Tara Collins. But I don't know who she is or who my parents were or where I came from."

"Perhaps you'd better explain a little more."

She wished she could. Really she did. But she had no explanations; nothing she'd discovered since her aunt's death made any sense. "Maybe I should start at the beginning."

"A good place to start."

Was he mocking her? But his expression was bland and she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. "I was brought up by my Aunt Kathryn. At least I always thought she was my aunt. We lived in a house on the Yorkshire moors. Aunt Kathy was a little ... eccentric." And that was the understatement of the century. "She never left the house and she would have preferred it if I never left, though sometimes I would ..."

"You would?"

Sometimes she would sneak out and hide on the moors, high above the nearby village, and watch the people go about their normal lives, and dream of being part of that. But that sounded pathetic and for some reason she didn't want Christian Roth to think her pathetic. "Sometimes I would go out, but mostly I'd stay. It was an odd life, but I didn't know any different, and I was happy, at least when I was younger. Then six months ago my aunt died."

The familiar sense of loss washed over her. Her aunt's death hadn't been sudden — she'd been ill for a long time — but it had been the end of everything Tara had known.


Her hands gripped the edge of the desk in front of her. "And I found everything she had told me was lies."


"I don't think she was even my aunt. I don't know who she was, or why she brought me up. After she died, I found papers, but there was nothing about her. It was like she never existed." She glanced at his impassive face. "My whole world was a lie. Everything I was brought up to believe in." All those stupid rules she had followed for the last twenty-two years.

"So what is it you'd like me to do?"

She frowned. Hadn't she been clear? "I told you, I want you to find out who I am. Who my aunt was and why she was looking after me." When he remained silent, she continued, "I have money to pay you. The house was in my name and I have all sorts of investments. I've got copies of the paperwork here. I thought it might help."

She took out the folder containing the meager amount of paperwork she'd been able to find about herself and her aunt and placed it on the desk in front of him. She watched as he flicked through the file, his eyes widening. Hers had almost popped out of her head when she'd seen how much money her aunt had stashed away, all in Tara's name.

Christian closed the file and sat back. "Why do you want to know?"

It was a good question, and one she'd asked herself many times. She had a life now. She had friends, was going to college, getting real qualifications. She had a chance of that normal life she'd always dreamed of. But while she'd love nothing more than to forget the past, she couldn't. All the time, in the back of her mind, the questions niggled.

Why had her aunt lied? What was she hiding? What was so bad that Aunt Kathy had concealed them away in that big old house on the moors? And what was it with all the stupid rules? The list of questions was endless and she needed answers.

"My life has been pretty odd until now and I just want to be normal. But what if I'm not?"

"So really, you want me to find proof that you're normal?"

She smiled; she'd come to the right place after all. "Yes."

There was a light tap on the door. She glanced over her shoulder as Graham peered inside.

"Christian — "

"What is it?"

"Piers Lamont is in reception."

"Okay, Graham. We've finished here for the moment."

Graham closed the door behind him and Christian rose to his feet. "Well, Ms. Collins —"

"Please, call me Tara."

"And you must call me Christian. Well, Tara, I'll read through the papers and see where we can go from there. Perhaps you can come back in a few days and answer any questions that come up."

She stood. "Do you think you'll find anything?"

"I'm sure I will, and don't worry," he added. "There will be an explanation."

Tara searched his face, trying to decide if he was telling the truth. Or was he just trying to placate her, because really he thought she was crazy, and he wanted to get her out of there fast? But his face was bland, impossible to read. Suddenly she felt drained. She'd done it, broken the rules, and now she had to live with whatever they found.



"One question before you go. How did you choose me?"

For a moment, she considered lying — after all, she had just said she wanted to be normal. Then she shrugged. "I didn't choose you. My cat did. He's called Smokey and I've had him all my life."

He scrutinized her as though wondering what to say next, or perhaps whether to say anything at all. "And just how did ... Smokey, choose me."

"Well, he didn't pick you personally, just your company. He put his paw right on your advertisement." Christian regarded her with a strange expression in his eyes, and she hurried on, "I don't want you to think I'm crazy or anything, but Smokey is actually super bright and I did look you up on the internet afterward."

"Very ... sensible."

Why did she get the impression that "sensible" was not the word he was thinking of right now? Perhaps it was time to leave.

He must have decided the same, because he strode past her and opened the door. Graham waited on the other side.

By the time she entered the elevator, Tara was grinning like the mad woman Christian no doubt thought her to be. She'd done it — broken Rule Number One — and hadn't been struck down by a bolt from above. Then again, maybe it was a delayed reaction. Maybe that bolt would hit her as she walked out the door. Her grin faded.

"Are you okay?'

The elevator had stopped, but Graham watched her, a slight frown on his face.

"Sorry?" she said.

"Mr. Roth can be overwhelming when you first meet him."

"He was very kind. I'm just a little worried about what he'll find out."

"I'm sure it will be fine." Graham pressed the button and the doors parted. A man stood waiting, and Tara's mouth fell open.

He looked like a rock star. An enormous rock star. Shoulder length blond hair pulled into a ponytail, blond designer stubble, lots of black leather. She had a brief impression of him smiling at her, before Graham nudged her out of the elevator.

The rock star inhaled deeply as she passed. "Mmm. Sugar and spice."

Her feet slowed, but Graham somehow maneuvered her, not very gently, across the reception area. She glanced over her shoulder. The rock star was definitely smiling.

The cold air hit her face as Graham escorted her from the building.

"Mr. Roth told me to make another appointment in a couple of days' time."

"Friday," he said. "Seven o'clock."

"I can take time off, come during the day, if it's easier."

"Mr. Roth prefers evening appointments. Seven will be fine."

He disappeared back into the building. Glancing at the dark alley opposite, Tara took a deep breath and set off down the brightly lit street.

Now for Rule Number Two.

* * *

Her cat?

Christian Roth stared at the closed door. He'd lived a long time, and very little surprised him these days. But her cat?

He inhaled, catching the lingering scent of her on the air. It was mouthwatering; a sweetness tinged with a sharp, bitter flavor he found intoxicating. He'd spent the entire interview wondering whether she tasted as good as she smelled.

She was also ravishingly pretty, with that bright blond hair and huge green eyes. But that wasn't usually enough to catch his attention. There was something more, something very different about Tara Collins. He just couldn't work out what.

Yesterday, someone had left him a very cryptic message, suggesting he should meet her. He'd been undecided. Then earlier this evening, Piers had called and told him there'd been a demon sighting close to his building. Hunting demons wasn't Christian's job anymore, but he'd gone as a favor. He'd tracked the demon to the alley opposite and then been totally distracted by a delectable blonde who'd crashed into him and sent his senses reeling.

She'd had the same effect when she walked into his office. For the first time in what seemed like an age, his hunger had risen. Even now, his gums ached with the need to feed. If it hadn't been for Piers's imminent arrival, he'd have gone hunting tonight with little Tara Collins as his prey.

But Piers was on his way. First the phone call, now a personal visit. Piers was head of the Order of the Shadow Accords, the organization that policed the supernatural world, and whatever he wanted, it was unlikely to be good news. Still, Christian couldn't deny the twinge of excitement that twisted his guts. He'd made the right decision to leave the Order, but he missed the exhilaration of the chase, the thrill of the kill.


Excerpted from Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft, Marie Loggia-Kee, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2013 Nina Croft. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.

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Bittersweet Blood: A Novel of The Order 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Worth Reading... Total Pages: 237; Story Pages: 227 The Order series, book #1 Tara's & Christian's story. New series by Nina Croft. Vampires, werewolves, demons, angels, witches, Fae, etc. Tara: half Fae, half demon. Christian: Vampire
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
Brought up by her Aunt in isolation, after her Aunt’s death Tara decides to take charge of her life and break some of her aunt’s rules and her own seclusion. That results in her learning that being normal is something she’ll never achieve and that paranormal beings really do exist. Not only that, but some of them appear to be out to kill her! After being saved by Christian Roth, she hires him to find out more about her past. Christian isn’t your usual PI - he’s a vampire who used to be the leader of The Order. With demons and fae assassins around, life is about to be totally action packed - and that’s not mentioning the added ingredient, the attraction between Tara and Christian! This is a very entertaining paranormal romantic suspense with plenty of diverse characters and a roller coaster plot with so many twists and turns it makes it an enthralling read. The characters are well developed and the world building is robust making this start to the series one that I thoroughly enjoyed and have no hesitation in highly recommending. The only problem is, it may leave you wanting more but then, that isn’t a serious problems as the other books in the series are already released! I requested and received a copy of this novel, via NetGalley. This is my honest review after choosing to read it.
PennySparkles More than 1 year ago
4.5 “I want a Smokey of my own” Stars After reading Bittersweet Blood in one night, I can safely say it was awesome. Never mind the fact that I was a useless zombie the next day, it was totally worth it. Tara had a very strange and secluded life up until the day her aunt passed. Wanting to have a “normal” experience, she starts living on her own and going to college. This is somewhat interrupted when she discovered that all the things her aunt told her about her past might not be true.That’s how she ends up as Christian Roth’s new client but unleashing the truth has consequences she could have never dreamed of. As she was completely unaware of the paranormal world and its inhabitants, Tara needs to learn fast how to cope with all the changes or she won’t make it. She was sweet and innocent but soon found she also had a temper and a backbone. I immensely enjoyed witnessing Tara blossom into herself. Christian is one hot, bad**s mofo. Current PI, “retired” demon hunter and a sexy as hell vampire, he was everything I could ask for in a hero. Once he decides he wants Tara he goes into protective mode, and it was hilarious to see who was more stubborn of the two. At the same time, their chemistry was super-hot which made their time together extra steamy. While some of the stuff that happens you kind of see coming (or at least suspect), I can honestly say some of the twists took me totally by surprise. With lots of action, intrigue, fleshed out characters, great world-building and crazy hot sextivities I absolutely loved Bittersweet Blood. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this fabulous world of the Order. *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story, intense xxx scenes and a happy ending. Grammar and spelling are good with only a few minor editing issues.
LoriC5 More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Nina Croft! I loved Bittersweet Blood, it was definitely what I’ve come to expect from this author. Tara, has grown up completely sheltered from the world. When her aunt dies, she embarks on a mission to experience the world and find out who she is. Christian Roth is a private investigator. Oh, and did I mention a sexy as hell, badass, vampire? Tara approaches him to find out where she is from and in the process, he discovers she is more part of his world than the one she's trying to find her way in. Dark things are stirring on the supernatural side. Christian fights to discover the culprit of the unrest and along the way, discovers that he must protect Tara, since she is also being hunted. Christian Roth will get your blood pumping. He's a sexy combination of dark/danger and chivalry. His fierce protectiveness and passionate love for Tara are a hot combination. “I’d hoped you would come to me because you couldn’t stay away. […]  Each night I’ve awoken and fought the urge to come to you.  Claim you. Force you to accept what you are and what we could have.” Tara is sweet and trying to be brave. She drove me a little crazy from time to time, but I loved her anyway. She discovers her bravery eventually and that redeemed her idiotic need to have a “normal” life. She is a fun and her chemistry with Christian is dreamy. “Of course, it could be that the whole ‘breaking the rules’' thing was just screwing with her mind, that right now, she  was predisposed to seeing weirdness in everything.” Nina Croft has does a great job of keeping a smirk on my face. Her dialogue is witty and the sarcasm is so very dry…my favorite kind! The story kept me interested and there were definitely some unexpected twists. Overall, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to Piers’ story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Won't continue the series.
arlenadean More than 1 year ago
By: Nina Croft Published By: Entangled: Edge Age Recommend: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: 4 Book Blog For: GMTA Series: The Order #1 Review: "Bittersweet Blood" by Nina Croft was a real active force of 'werewolves, witches, shape shifters, vampires, beasties and fairies, a good paranormal, so get ready for a awesome read that only this author gives her readers. This is the first in this series: The Order #1 by this author. We will find from the read that with Tara's aunts death, she finds out that everything had been told to her by her aunt had been a web of lies. What were these secrets and rules? So, Tara hires a 'private investigator(Christian) to help her uncover the truth.' However, Tara did not know that he was not only a PI but a 'vampire and ex demon hunter' and their is a demon who is trying to hunt him down. We will find that Tara's past will 'collide with problems in Christian's present and will their be a attraction for this PI that she has hired? This is where I say you must pick up "Bittersweet Blood" to see what all this author has in store for the reader. For many of us who know this author knows she will bring it to us....the reader. Its always a interesting ride. The characters all were indeed interesting and captivating only leaving you to continue reading this good read. I liked this quote: "You smell so delicious." Tara twitched, but his hands held her in place. His lips were on her skin and a wave of heat washed over her. Her eyes fluttered closed as his mouth opened against her throat and his tongue stroked, slow and cool against her heated flesh. "Maybe just a little taste...," Wow! "Bittersweet Blood" was a quick read and somewhat predictable but still a good read that I would definitely recommend to you as a good read.
SweetGreenTangerine More than 1 year ago
Werewolves, and witches and fairies, oh my!  Most novels take on one or two of the paranormal, but this series seems to be taking them all on, and I love that.  Why not?  So many possibilities.  I was genuinely shocked at every revelation and jaw-dropper.  I love a book that can shock me.  I hate predictability.  This one had so many great twists that I didn't see coming. I loved Tara's character.  She was sweet, but tough and knew how to stand her ground.  I felt like I really got to know her and she was unique.  A lot of times in these para-romance novels, the characters just sort of blend and don't stand out.  I really felt Tara's voice in this story and I really liked her a lot. At the start, this story began to run a path a little to close to a Fifty Shades parody for my taste.  I really didn't want this story's Christian to be like that other story's Christian.  Thankfully, he wasn't.  He wasn't a phenomenally intriguing character, and I hope she develops him into something less perfect and more interesting in the next few books, but I still thought their relationship was sexy and sweet.  It had the right amount of tension without him being a controlling psychopath...whew! This series has a lot of potential and though I would have liked for her to take more risks and break the mold of the para-romance genre, I will definitely be picking up the sequel to this first book.  I just hope she sticks with Tara's journey.  I cannot wait to see how this character develops over time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
Read on May 09, 2013 BOOK SYNOPSIS Tara Collins just wants to be normal. Everyone else wants her dead. Tara’s eccentric aunt raised her to be fearful of the world and follow the rules. But after her aunt’s death, Tara is ready to take control and experience life for the first time. But she quickly discovers that everything she’s been told is a web of lies. Determined to solve the mystery of who she is truly, she hires private investigator to help her uncover the truth. Christian Roth is more than your average PI. A vampire and ex-demon hunter, Christian lives among the humans, trying to be “normal.” But recently, things seem to be falling apart. There’s a crazed demon hell-bent on revenge hunting him down, and a fae assassin on the loose with an unknown target. And the Order he abandoned desperately needs his help. As the secrets of Tara’s past collide with the problems in Christian’s present, she finds herself fighting her attraction to the dark and mysterious investigator. Falling in love does not fit into her plans at all, but Tara soon learns that some rules are meant to be broken. My Thoughts Having read a copy of Break Out , Blood Hunter series #1 , back in July 2011 was really hoping to fall in love with Bittersweet Blood as well. Although liked the first book in the new series by the author did not love it as to be quite honest found myself thinking quite bit that it would be nice if the "truth" revealed about Tara was just a little bit more unique rather than a repeat of a tried and true formula used by so many authors nowadays that it makes the books that I enjoy reading start to become hard to differentiate from one another. I admit to not minding the feeling of deja-vu that came with reading the story, the characters were unique unto themselves even though they were pretty much run-of-the-mill familiar in tone and type;the story line and plot though also familiar was given it's own flavor by the author's writing style and the easy pace made it comfortable to keep up with both the characters and the action as it happened. Tara is a young woman whose very existence is called into question after the death of her aunt and her own foray into the life that she has always wanted for herself but never got to experience in her 20 odd years living with a woman who made sure she stayed close and as much as possible did not drawn attention to herself. The secrets revealed showing Tara's true parental origins are also not unique ones but they are given a good spin to make them work for the character that the author has created as the focal point of the story. While it is a straight forward tale that in no way breaks new ground in the paranormal genre you will still enjoy the story that the author has crafted and even if like me you find it a little too much like so many other books you have read before it will still entertain you and keep you company as you while away the hours it takes to finish the book. To say that you will also be a little taken with Christian Roth's character is a given as he is totally a vampire whose masculine appeal is very genuine and his ability to be both seductive and deadly is without doubt a huge check mark in his favor. The struggles that are faced by both Tara and Christian are what makes this story work on it's own merits, for anyone who loves to read the paranormal romance genre that would be enough to lure you in and keep your attention till the end. Hopefully as the series continues it will break new ground with the way in which the story and plot are crafted, if not than for myself there will be no real reason to continue it no matter how much my curiosity is aroused as to what happens to Tara next. Not a reread for me but all told not a bad story either. [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
Hazel_G More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and Well Written! Bittersweet Blood is a Paranormal Romance written by Nina Croft. 3.5 Pretty Stars! The Review: I enjoyed this read. It was fast paced, well written and the main characters were interested, sexy and easy to connect with. I even enjoyed the plot, though entirely predictable, which was well developed and flowed easily throughout the whole story. It was filled with everything I'd want in a paranormal romance. There were Vampires, Werewolves, Demons, Fae, Shapeshifters and Witches, fun and loyal best friends and a sweet romance. So why only 3.5 stars? It's all been done before. Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable read, but in a market that's flooded with paranormal romances, there needs to be something to make a book stick out above the others in order to deserve 5 stars and to me, this one just didn't have the catch I was looking for. Characters... Tara Collins has lived a secluded life. Her mother died while giving birth, leaving her to be raised by a recluse aunt who in turn, forbids Tara from venturing out into the world and letting herself be known. Unknowingly to Tara, they have secrets to hide and her aunt is in charge of keeping those secrets hidden. They lived by a very distinct set of rules in which Tara obeys for the most part. But after her aunt passes away, she decides it's time to see what the world is about. After establishing a life for herself, she becomes curious about her mysterious past and seeks out the PI services of Christian Roth, which sets in motion a future she never wanted, new friends and enemies she could never have imagined and a love that sets her soul on fire. I liked the way Christian Roth was presented. The world building for his race was interesting and fun. We get to see part of The Order, in which Christian used to run. There's a delicate balance between the different paranormal races and war is on the brink, people are dying and others are in danger. There's a lot going on in this read. My biggest complaint was Tara. She was constantly complaining about how she wanted a normal life. I get that after such a sheltered life she wanted to experience things in a normal fashion but when you find out you have supernatural blood running through you're veins, I'd figured that after such a lonely and dull life of living with one person and never interacting with others, you'd embrace the abnormal and be excited about the possibilities she was introduced to. But that's now how her character responded. She could have come out fighting and been this total badass character but it was disappointing watching her shy away from it all. She eventually comes around in the end but by then, so much has happened that I was just tired of her complaining about her abnormal life. The Wrap Up: This was a quick and fun read and though it was predictable, I really enjoyed the story itself. I'd definitely move on to book two when it comes out and I'll probably invest some time into reading more works by this author. NOTE:: I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review by Entangled Publishing, LLC through NetGalley.
lucieparis2011 More than 1 year ago
There is blood, sex, battles and death. A mixture that gives rhythm to the story. Entertaining. This is the first word that comes to my mind. I was plunged into an "urban fantasy" with suspense, secrets, tons of supernatural entities. I took pleasure in turning pages. Amusing. Throughout the novel, the reader wants to know who is really Tara Collins. Demons, fae, vampires and werewolves know she is not fully human. But nobody expects,at the end, the revelations be revealed with an explosion of twists. There is blood, sex, battles and death. A mixture that gives rhythm to the story. Of course, there is also a hot romance between Tara and Christian. With differences between them that they must overcome. Sometimes their way of dealing is sexually charged... Also, there are many endearing secondary characters. Especially, Jamie and Graham. A dynamic narration without too much clichés or déjà vu about the supernatural beings. Yet, I missed something.  Sure, the racist side of the abomination bothered me. But I think it's my inability to experience feelings for Tara. She is charming, intelligent, with bad tempered and far from being corny. However, she doesn't give me a hoot. She showed courage, determination but I know I'll remember better the cat or the blood donor... But it is a matter of personal taste. A amusing read. Lucie
katfish184 More than 1 year ago
I blazed through this book! I couldn’t put it down…. I love when a story sucks me in and and time speeds by. :D I adored the world building in Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft. It’s filled with some of my favorite fiction beasties. Vampires, fey, demons, shifters, and witches oh my. And the two realms they come from besides earth, the Faelands and the Abyss, were intriguing. I want more! I was nearly clapping my hands in glee. So much fun! The heroine is named Tara. She had a rather unusual upbringing and is determined to unravel the mysteries of her past. She wants to know why she was isolated and hidden from people most of her life. She had rules, THE RULES, drilled into her head, Never question the past, don’t drink alcohol, don’t take off the necklace. I was hooked from the moment I met Tara. I really liked her. Yes, she’s pretty innocent, but I didn’t feel she was naive. I thought she was brave and funny and I was rooting for her. Oh! She doesn’t know anything about the supernatural…. yet. Her cat helps her pick an investigation agency… He stepped on its add and drew her attention to it. The agency is run by Christian Roth. He’s yummy! *swoon* really yummy. He’s a 500+ year old vampire. He loves the way she smells and loves her attitude. He became a vampire for vengeance against the demons that slaughtered his family but he’s been out of the demon hunting business for over 20 years and is focused on running his business. He’s rich, charismatic and single with a heart open to committed love. Damn! I love that fiction trope. I want a rich, single, hot guy too. :P I fell for him with Tara. He’s determined, forceful, when desired, and he could be so gentle with Tara . As they begin looking into her past and secrets are revealed I liked Tara even more. I admired her determination, her acknowledgement of a new reality and her honesty regarding her feelings for Christian. I loved watching them spend time together investigating her beginnings and each others emotions and potential futures. *swoon* They are delectable together. lol Yep. In more ways than one. He is a vampire. The secrets discovered about Tara and what that means for her and their worlds was full of suspense, danger and death. I liked that it wasn’t easy and there was risk and loss. I wanted to shake a certain someone for his solo decision making before he went all noble. Grr! Men! I also adored that Tara was not about to just sit like a fragile doll and let everyone else protect her. I got a kick out of the secondary characters too. The friends of Christian, Graham, his human assistant and Piers, the vampire head of the demon hunting Order especially. I also want to know more about Tara’s friend Jamie. I’m hooked on this world and I want more stories! Some of my fav lines: ♥ “I want you to find out who I am.” There, she’d done it. Broken Rule Number One. She sat very still, staring at her hands. Her aunt had always been a little vague about the actual consequences of breaking the rules—just that they’d be dire. Tara had always imagined some sort of fiery bolt from above. Now she waited for it to crash down and annihilate her. ♥ He hadn’t been able to resist that one fleeting kiss, and she tasted as good as he’d expected. A delicious combination of bitter and sweet he’d never encountered before. If he had put his hands on her he probably would have dragged her back in here and not let her out again until sunrise. ♥ Still, she wasn’t going to sit back and let him do everything alone. He would keep her safe but she planned to do the same for him If you are in the mood for an exciting paranormal romance with delicious chemistry, characters and world building that made me hungry for more, then give Bittersweet Blood a try. I’m glad I did. ((hugs))) Kat The Queen of Tarts ♦ ebook provided for review for my honest opinion.
Shanrock19 More than 1 year ago
*may contain slight spoilers* If you are looking for a story featuring a spicy alpha male and a virginal damsel in distress, look no further! Tara, our main female character, has been living in isolation since her birth. When her "aunt" dies, she decides it's time to join the real world. But Wait! There are family secrets that are unknown to our Tara. So who better to help her find these secrets out than vampire PI, Christian Roth! So starts an interesting story involving all types of supernaturals, all which Tara has no clue about! You've got vampires, demons, faeries, werewolves, and shapeshifters! There's steamy love scenes with sweet romantic yearning. Also gruesome fights. Great cast of characters. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves steamy romance with alpha males. There is some violence, so beware of that. This seems to be part of a series, and I will definitely be read more in this series. I will also read any further Nina Croft books.