From the masters of paranormal romance, three brand-new tales of seduction…
The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter
A Lords of the Underworld tale
An iron-willed demon assassin, the angel Lysander has never known lust—until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of Lucifer, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the pure-hearted Lysander into temptation….
Love Me to Death by Maggie Shayne
Twenty-two years ago four teenage boys were convicted of a young girl's murder. Now, in the form of a beautiful woman, the "victim" is seeking vengeance. And only one man dares to dig into the past to uncover its secrets… and set her free.
Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard
Lady Tameri believes herself to be the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess, and Leo Erskine has set out to prove her wrong…never dreaming that the two of them are about to discover a prophecy that will bind them together forever.
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.80(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 GenaShowalter.com.
RITA Award winning, New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne has published over 50 novels, including mini-series Wings in the Night (vampires), Secrets of Shadow Falls (suspense) and The Portal (witchcraft). A Wiccan High Priestess, tarot reader, advice columnist and former soap opera writer, Maggie lives in Cortland County, NY, with soulmate Lance and their furry family.
Susan makes her home in New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment,” with her husband, Serge, her dogs, Freya, Nahla and Cagney, and her cat, Jefferson. Susan’s interests include music (just about any kind), old movies, gardening and getting out into nature. She also bakes a mean chocolate cake.
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 the One True Deity. One of the Elite Seven, created before time itself. 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.
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 Lucifer—his greatest enemy and the sire of most demon hordes— flowed through her veins. Which meant Bianka was his enemy.
He lived to destroy his enemies.
However, he could only act against them when they broke a heavenly law. For demons, that involved escaping their fiery prison to walk the earth. For Bianka, who had never been condemned to hell, that would have to involve something else. What, he didn't know. All he knew was that he'd never experienced what mortals referred to as "desire."
And he didn't like it.
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 pearl-like 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 Pérignon 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 an angel'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.
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 Bianka 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—since their demons had escaped hell before those laws were enacted, no one having thought escape possible, they had not been killed but thrust into that box first, and the Lords second—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 angels 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 angels.
There were three angelic factions. 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 Angelic 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, once again drawing his attention.
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, snore my ass off."
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, once more flopping to her back and staring up at the bright sky.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Because this was an anthology, and I had such drastically different opninions on each story, I'm going to take them individually: Darkest Angel: This was a weird story for me. Lysander is just a little too good and Bianka (a Harpy we first met in Darkest Whisper) is just a little too bad, and it makes for an almost unbelievable match. It's not until the end that we find out that they are neither as good nor as bad as they appear, and that they just might be meant for each other. While everything was just a bit over the top, it was fun to watch continuing struggle for dominance in the relationship. And then there's a scene with Lysander and Paris (host to the demon Promiscuity) in loin cloths, wrestling in oil, so it can't be all bad. The really cool part about this story is that we are introduced to an angel, Olivia, who is going to be the female half of Aeron's story (The Darkest Passion, which will be released in May) and it set up a little of that story-line. 3 out of 5 stars Love me to Death: Another weird story for me. It's got soul mates, reincarnated lovers, shared dreams, a spirit's revenge, all of which is okay, and a plot twist you see coming a mile away. I think it tried to cover too much in too little space, and it took too long to get to the real meat of the story. Because of the soul-mate thing, Shayne didn't have to really build to relationship between Sara and David, which in a novella is probably okay. I didn't like or dislike it-I guess, in the end, it was just okay. It would have been better with less, or as a full-length novel that would have been able to better explore the story. 2 out of 5 stars Lady of the Nile: This one didn't really work for me. The plot was kind of convoluted. From what I could understand, a man occasionally possessed by a man possessed by an Egyptian god (nope, that's not a typo) must hook up with a woman occasionally possessed by an Egyptian goddess to defeat evil. There were a number of dream sequences/flashbacks that were confusing and I found myself having to re-read passages to understand what was going on at times. It was really disappointing to me because I usually enjoy Krinard's wolf stories. 1 star
This book has three stories by three great authors. The authors excel in paranormal romance. Gena Showalter, one of the authors is the reason I bought the book. Showalter's books are excellent. If paranormal romance is what you're after then the "Lords of the Underworld" series is one of the best series you could ever read. Characters are amazing to follow from one book to another they grow on you. Start with (in order); The Darkest Fire, The Darkest Night,The Darkest Kiss,The Darkest Pleasure,The Darkest Whisper,The Darkest Passion,The Darkest Lie,Dark Beginnings,The Darkest Facts and ending with Into the Dark. In this book SHowalter writes about a demon assassin,Lysander who is righteous and even a little judgmental of others. Then he meets a beautiful harpy, Bianka. Her father is Lucifer, and is tempted to act like he never has before. Its a fun afternoon read.
I have been a fan of Ms. Showalter since I read Jewel of Atlantis nearly four years ago. I did read the series out of order, but it was fantastic just the same. She writes beautifully and makes you believe anything is possible (even the existence of Atlantis itself and all its creatures). It's a must read. Add it to your personal library.
This book was brilliant. The three stories combined were short but earthshaking. It was definitely an experience--just like any of Gena's books.
This book was amazing! I love all of Gena's books personally this book was not only an easy read but it was a great one. This book featured one of the Lords of the Underworld it was a very pleasent suprise. I was also very happy with the other short stories in the book as well. This book is a must read for any fan of paranormal romance.
The first story is The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter and is part of her Lords of the Underworld series. This story is what I have come to expect from the masterful Showalter. It follows Lysander a demon assassin and angel as he deals with his one temptation-Harpy Bianka Skyhawk. Both fight against each other and their growing feelings. This story grabs you from the first lines and doesn't let you put it down until the end. The only thing that I can complain about is that I have to wait until May 2010 for the Darkest Passion the next book in the LOTU series. If you are looking for great series to read LOTU is it. As always Gena Showalter delivers a passionate read with a sexy hero and a strong heroine. (5 Stars) The second story in the anthology is Love Me to Death by Maggie Shayne. This is the first time that I have read anything by Shayne and will be adding her to my list of authors to check out. The story was great. It had all of the different types of stories that I like Mystery, Thriller and Paranormal Romance rolled into one. It follows David and Sara as they deal with the past and past secrets so that they might have a future together. I will be looking for more from Shayne. (4 Stars) The final story in the anthology is Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard. Now, full disclosure here: I am not a huge fan of historical romance and anything that has to do with Egyptian pyramids or mythology gives me the creeps so this review is going to have to be taken within those contexts. In this anthology this was the weakest story for me. It is about a reincarnated Princess and a man who is out to prove her wrong. The writing was great, but I didn't care for the story as much as the other three. If you do like historical romance and you do like things that have to do with Egyptian pyramids or mythology then you will like this story better then I did. (3 Stars)
I'm currently reading the Lords of the Underworld series and since I want to get to the next book, I only read Gena Showalter's novella "The Darkest Angel". It was really, really good. I absolutely love this series and it was fun to see things from the harpy, Bianca's POV as she is almost as much fun as Anya, the goddess of Anarchy. Though they've been mentioned, this is the first time angels have actually been introduced in the series. I thought Lysander was great and really enjoyed meeting Olivia who happens to be the heroine in the next book. That being said, I'm off to start reading Aeron and Olivia's story. Once I read the other novella's in this anthology my rating will probably change. I can guarantee that the other stories will not compare to this one.
Darkest Angel by Gena ShowalterPart of the elite seven (Angels that destroy all those who break heavenly laws), Lysander was watching the Lords of the Underworld when he saw her. As Harpies went, Bianka Skyhawk was fascinating, feeling the need to keep her safe, keep her from doing anything that might make him have to destroy her, he whisked her to his home in heaven. Being trapped in a cloud was a new on Bianka, never been to heaven, but she had to get back to her sisters and being trapped was not ideal because of the curse that Harpies had to live with, or in this case may die because if she couldn¿t eat. Angel or not, Lysander was fighting himself on what to do with her and about her, but he never meant to harm her.***** Love the Lords and this is one good short story to add to it. Gena Showalter has added the humor with the Harpies that some of the books have not had. Lysander is the perfect show of balance between good and evil, he is strong and knows what he is and how he should act, until he is confronted with who he really is and how he wants to continue.Love Me to Death by Maggie ShayneA group of boys (Mark, David, Brad and Kevin) bored set out to do the town a `favor¿ by getting rid of an eye sore. Burning down the Muller place ended with the death of Sierra Terrence, the girl David had always liked. Twenty-two years later, the boys had paid the price for their crimes but after Mark suffers a terrible accident all the boys get together only to learn that Mark believes Sierra is back to get them all. Terrible dreams of being burned alive sent Sara Jensen to the small town in Maine after she finds out that the house she has been burning in really did burn with a young girl in it. Not knowing who to talk to or what to say, Sara wonders the town, not meaning to hurt anyone. ***** Great story, this is the type that I wish was longer. There was too many characters for a short novella but they were all so good. Really wish this one was longer.
I bought this book only really caring about Gena Showalter's story, Darkest Angel, so that's the only story I can reasonably review. I was fairly pleased with it. For an approximately 140 page long story in manages to accomplish a lot. The premise is that Lysander, who belongs to a high class of angels, identifies Bianka, a harpy, as his one temptation. He chooses to try to deal with this by kidnapping her and teaching her to be like him--good in every way. She in turn tries to seduce him.I can't really say the characters were deep or well developed. But they were likeable enough. And I feel this book will tie in well with the next full novel. It introduces the angel Olivia, the next leading lady, and comments a lot on the rules and duties of the angels. I really wish the story had been a bit longer, so that more developement could take place. But, I think that if you are a fan of the Lords of the Underworld series, you should make an effort to read this story.
She ran back in and sang quickly," Lava hot and lava bright hide me from thr enemies sight. Bubble leap an hiss and burn make these people quickly turn." A thin wal of lava erupted in front of her.
Used the tip of her wing to touch the necklace on her neck,frost grew and it poped with a *clink* "There,you shal live to fight anouther day"
Not bad at all. I'm glad I made sure I gave this a chance. I only did for the G S series but the other two turned out to be authors I will like from now on, too. I will look up their other books. After I finish the hotties of the underworlds , of course.
Ebony black with yellow lightning markings on all 4 legs and tail. Azure blue eyes. Shapeshifter. Wings when she wants. SPECIAL: has the ability to attack or run faster than any cat alive. Eyes glow in the dark brighter than any other cats. Also glow during the day when she is having a history problem. STORY: parents killed. Grew up alone. Siblings need rpers.
Darknessstar- Black shecat with black wings and orange eyes. She has the power to burst into flames and create fires. No mate or kits. She is the leader.
Only read Lysander and Bianka's story. Love the match up. He is clueless and Bianka rocks his world. I wish that he spanked her when she was a bad girl though lol. SPOILER his proposal was sweet.