Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy
Ph.D student Angela Locke has a crush on her sexy professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev. When she learns he's actually a Sentinel with extraordinary powers, she joins forces with him to catch a psychopath. But soon, their hottest pursuit is of each other. . .
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
Cassie Tyler agrees to sub for her friend at the funeral home where she works. But she gets more than she bargained for when a group of men attack her and a vampire comes to her rescue. . .
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Richart d'Alençon can't forget the woman who rewarded him with a sensuous kiss after he saved her from a trio of vampires. While Richart knows that loving a human can only bring trouble, the taste of forbidden lust is too great to resist. . .
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
When vampire fashionista Nina LaShay's design contest rival is found dead, she's the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. He's the kind of man who makes Nina salivate. But will she have to reveal herself to have him--and to save them both? Or does Pike have a secret of his own?
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About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Nina Bangs lives near Galveston, Texas. The paranormal world has always fascinated her. When she’s not racing the clock to meet looming deadlines, she dreams of investigating old houses in hopes of meeting a few resident ghosts.
Hannah Jayne is a freelance writer and journalist. Her short fiction has appeared in Devil’s Brew and is currently featured on the websites www.chicklitreview.org and www.crisisqueens.com. She lives in San Francisco.
Dianne Duvall earned a BA in English from the University of St. Thomas (Houston) and currently lives in Texas with her husband. Information on her books and the latest news can be found on her website at www.DianneDuvall.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall, Hannah Jayne
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2013Kensington Publishing Corporation
All rights reserved.
The nightclub near the University of Missouri wasn't anything to brag about. Hell, it wasn't much more than a leaking roof held up by four walls and a prayer. In the center was a cramped dance floor surrounded by tables and at the back a long bar ran the length of the wall. Up the narrow staircase you could find pool tables and a few old-time pinball machines, while in the back parking lot the dealers strolled from car to car, searching for shoppers interested in less legal means of intoxication.
A typical college hangout.
Seated in a booth nearly obscured by shadows, Angela Locke watched the crowd of college students bump and grind to a heavy beat that was making her eye twitch.
Not that she wasn't enjoying herself, she sternly chided herself. She might be a few years older than most of the kids in the club, but that didn't mean she was a complete party pooper. Right?
On cue she winced as two girls shrieked with laughter at a nearby table, the aggravating sound some sort of homing signal to the guys who eagerly crowded around their table.
Okay, this wasn't really her scene.
She'd spent the majority of her twenty-six years in musty libraries or high-tech labs, which meant she was more comfortable with petri dishes and microscopes than the opposite sex.
Her dark thoughts were interrupted as she belatedly realized she was no longer alone.
Glancing up, she met Megan Wagner's exasperated frown. The pretty, pleasantly rounded blonde was one of Angela's few friends at the university. In the process of recovering from a disastrous marriage, the older woman was taking classes to earn her teaching degree.
"Oh, for God's sake," Megan complained. "I didn't bring you here to hide in the corner."
Angela wrinkled her nose. "I'd rather hide in corners than park myself in the spotlight where everyone can see me sitting alone."
Megan folded her arms under her ample bosom, her lush curves displayed in a tight red dress and her blonde curls allowed to fall freely over her shoulders.
"You wouldn't be alone if you didn't put out vibes that you're—"
"A geek? A nerd? A first-class egghead?" Angela offered wryly.
"Are you kidding?" Angela shot a glance down at her jade stretchy top that was scooped low enough to reveal the soft curve of her breasts and the too-tight jeans that threatened her circulation. "In this outfit I not only look available, I look like I charge by the hour."
"It's not your clothes. It's your attitude."
Angela blinked. Attitude? She didn't know she had an attitude.
"What do you want me to do?"
Megan placed her hands flat on the table, eying Angela with the same stern expression she used on her students at the local preschool.
"Pay attention to the men who are here, not the one who isn't."
Angela tried to squelch the renegade blush that stole beneath her cheeks.
"I don't know what you mean."
"I mean that it's all fine and dandy to moon over Professor Hottie, but what's it gotten you?" A blonde brow arched. "Unless there's something you're not telling me?"
Angela ducked her head, allowing her finger to trace the beads of moisture that trickled down her untouched drink.
Or, better known as Dr. Nikolo Bartrev.
He'd arrived at the university six weeks before. A tall, dark stranger who'd been invited by the president to review their science curriculum. Angela didn't know precisely what his work entailed, but she did know that one glance into those pale blue eyes and she'd been lost.
Head over heels in lust for the first time in her life.
A damned shame he didn't return her aching need.
"There's nothing to tell," she muttered.
"And that's the point," Megan pressed. "He stops by your lab once a day—"
"Sometimes it's twice."
Megan snorted. "He makes a little chitchat and disappears."
Angela hunched a shoulder. It was true enough.
The first time Dr. Bartrev had strolled into her lab she'd nearly had a heart attack. She'd just finished teaching a freshman biology class and he'd waited for the giggling girls to drag themselves past him before he slowly approached her desk.
She hadn't known what to expect, but after a few minutes of questioning her about her research, he'd turned and left.
Just like that.
Since that day, he'd made a habit of stopping by when she was in the lab, sometimes discussing her research and other times just randomly discussing her day.
She assumed that he was cleverly extracting information from her to use in his assessment, but she didn't have a clue what he was searching for.
And she didn't care.
His fleeting visits were enough to make her giddy for the rest of the day.
"So?" she muttered.
"Has he ever revealed anything remotely personal about himself ?"
Angela grimaced. After six weeks she didn't know a damned thing about the man.
Well, she knew the precise scent of his warm male cologne. And the way his cashmere sweaters stretched over a wide chest and how his pants clung to his tight ass.
But anything about the man beneath the gorgeous exterior? Nothing. Nada. Niente.
"Has he ever asked you out, even to lunch?"
"Has he ever brought you anything? Flowers, candy, a bagel from the cafeteria?"
"Has he tried to get his hand down your shirt?"
Megan heaved a sigh. "Honey, that man ain't interested, no matter how much you might want him to be."
Angela lifted her head to meet her friend's sympathetic gaze. "I know."
The blonde grabbed the plastic sword that held a candied cherry from Angela's glass.
"Then drink your gin fizz and give that nice stud muffin by the door a big smile." She pointed the sword toward the delectable blond Neanderthal standing across the dance floor. "And remember—"
Angela rolled her eyes. She had a mirror. She might not be the Bride of Frankenstein, but she was a long way from beautiful.
Average brown hair she kept in a ponytail. Average height with average curves. Average features that were pale from the hours she spent in the lab.
The only thing remarkable was the wide brown eyes that were heavily framed with dark lashes, but most of the time they were hidden behind her protective lab glasses.
In summation she was ... average.
"It's going to take more than one gin fizz to make me believe in fairy tales," she retorted.
"Maybe a kiss will wake you, Sleeping Beauty." Megan waggled her brows. "She was, after all, the first true wallflower."
Angela gave a choked laugh. Her friend charged through life at full throttle.
"I wish I could be like you, Megan," she said wistfully, thinking of all the nights she sat in her cramped apartment alone.
"Yeah, right," Megan scoffed. "You're a genius who's only weeks away from receiving your PhD in molecular biology and I'm trying to struggle through my undergraduate degree."
Angela shook her head. Because of finances Megan was forced to take night classes while she worked full-time, but there was no doubt her love for children would allow her to achieve her goals.
"You know you're a fabulous teacher, not to mention ..." Angela's comforting words dissolved into a silent shock as her heart slammed against her ribs.
Excerpted from Predatory by Alexandra Ivy. Copyright © 2013 by Kensington Publishing Corporation. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Out of Control by Alexandra Ivy............ 1
Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs............... 115
In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall......... 211
High Stakes by Hannah Jayne................ 319
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When vampire fashionista Nina LaShay’s design contest rival is found dead, she is the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. Their attraction to each other is instant but they have more important things to worry about…like who killed the contestant. High Stakes by Hannah Jayne is the funniest and most entertaining of the four shorts. It is part of the author's Urban Fantasy series, the Underworld Detection Agency. But this short highlights a secondary character, a vampire friend named Nina LaShay. Nina is a fashion designer and finds herself in N.Y. She is competing in a high profile fashion contest. But the problem is that all the contestants keep being murdered! She decides to do some investigating on her own and finds the mysterious and sexy Pike doing the same. But how does Pike fit in? He is an enigma that seem to run hot and cold. As they try to solve the mystery Pike has surprises of his own that are revealed! Nina was a sassy, smart mouthed and a pretty devious character. This made for amusing reading especially since the object of her affection was also a bit devious, too! They made the perfect pair and I loved the mystery. I enjoyed this story! Plenty of action, humor and lust written into a very nice package. I can’t wait to read more.
4.5 Excellent! *Book source ~ Many thanks to Kensington for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Predatory is a paranormal romance anthology with four authors of which only Nina Bangs is new-to-me. To be completely honest, while I have enjoyed the works of Alexandra Ivy and Hannah Jayne in the past, I requested this book solely on the fact that it included Dianne Duvall's story about Richart from her Immortal Guardians series. I love, love, love the Immortal Guardians! Turns out, with this book, I had my wonderfully frosted cake and not only savored it, but had decadent ice cream, too. All of the stories were wonderful, if only a bit too short. Out of Control ~ Alexandra Ivy Series ~ Sentinels, #0.5 Angela Locke is a Ph.D student when gorgeous hunk of man Dr. Nikolo Bartrev walks into her lab. But Nikolo is not just a Dr. and Angela is about to find out she’s not just a student. She has a crazy Sentinel after her and Nikolo is sent to guard her. Peril happens, sparks fly and there’s humor. I love humor in my reads. A great introduction to a different take on the paranormal. I’m looking forward to more in this series. Ties That Bind ~ Nina Bangs Series ~ None known, but hoping so. Cassie doesn’t like being around dead people, but when her friend calls with an emergency and needs Cassie to mind the shop, er funeral parlor, what’s Cassie to do? Go hang with the deaduns, of course. She’s thinking zombie apocalypse, but what she gets is much different when she discovers a naked guy (Ethan) in a glass coffin and two thugs almost kill her. Her life does a 180 after that. I really enjoyed this different take on vampires. Color me intrigued. I really hope this is the start of a new series because I may kick my little *cough* feet in a tantrum if it’s not. In Still Darkness ~ Dianne Duvall Series ~ Immortal Guardians, #3.5 This is yummy Richart’s story in the even yummier Immortal Guardian series. I need say no more. *pauses* What do you mean you haven’t read the series?! *mind boggles* Get thee crackin’ right now! You don’t know what you’re missing! *makes shooing motions* High Stake ~ Hannah Jayne Series ~ Underworld Detection Agency, #4.5 A little side story for the resident vampire, Nina LaShay, from the Underworld Detection series. She goes to New York for a fashion competition and instead ends up giving Sophie a run for her money in the dead-people-show-up-wherever-she-goes competition. Vlad is in this and a new interesting character shows up. I hope Pike sticks around. All-in-all a fun addition to the series.
I found this anthology to be really strong, usually there's a weak story but I really enjoyed all of these. Alexandra Ivy introduces us to a new world and characters, it had everything I've come to expect from her - a mix action, intrigue & romance. I'm really looking forward to this new series. Nina gave us a vampire tale that was enjoyable and had a slightly old fashioned style to it. Richart captured my attention in the Immortal Guardians and it was great to see him finally step into the spotlight for a time, he should do it more often. Hannah is a new to me author and I can honestly say I will be hunting down her other books after this little short. This was probably the most light-hearted and fun of all the tales and it really had me giggling. There is definitely something for everyone in this anthology, varying levels of heat and seriousness throughout
4.5 stars! I’m just going to admit that I picked up PREDATORY because of Dianne Duvall and while I enjoyed all the short stories, my review is based on Ms. Duvall’s short, IN STILL DARKNESS. Having said that, I really, really enjoyed IN STILL DARKNESS. Writing a short seems like it’d be a tricky proposition. I mean the author has to fit a lot within a short: introduce characters and make the reader sympathize for them, develop a quick, fast paced plot, nurture a growing attraction, and wrap things up to realistically foster a happily-ever-after ending. Wow, that’s a lot! Out of the shorts I’ve read, I’ve always had a hard time with the insta-love that happens as a result of trying to cram everything in, but thankfully that didn’t happen with IN STILL DARKNESS. I don’t know how Ms. Duvall did it, but the story felt complete and wasn’t rushed for me. As always, I love the characters and the world Ms. Duvall has created. Richart and Jenna were believable and great together. I also enjoyed the interaction with Jenna’s son, John. Sarah and Roland continue to warm my heart and I was glad to see them. And can I just say…dude! I love Sheldon! The witty mix of dialogue, action, and romance makes IN STILL DARKNESS a great PNR short! I’m now anxiously awaiting book five in the Immortal Guardians series, NIGHT UNBOUND. Focused. Strong. True.
Ibought this book for The Immortal Guardian series. And they wereallgood.
Loved some of the stories. Others moved too fast with not enough detail
Out of Control I really enjoyed this story as this is one of my favorite authors. Niko has to go undercover to watch over Angela and falls for her. Angela has a power and someone wants her to use her power. Niko and Angela work together and Angela really becomes strong. While Niko says he will look out for her she in the end to me is the strong one. I liked the chemistry between the two and the flow of the story. As always this is another great story by an amazing author. Ties That Bind Cassie hates funeral homes but agrees to work for her friend one night. While her imagination is already in over time she is attacked by several men and Ethan comes to her rescue. Ethan is a vampire who is different in many ways from Cassie. Cassie is not brave and lets her imagination scare her a lot of times. Of course at times she should be scared. Ethan will do whatever to protect her. They work great together as a couple and the story has a good plot and flow. In Still Darkness I have to say I looked forward to this story the most in this book. Richart has finally found the woman he cares deeply about. He saves her from a vampire attack and watches over her for days afterwords. Jenna is a female character after my heart. She is in her 30's with a grown sun and seems like a real person. It was very easy to get attached to her. I love how she and her son are close but she still has her own life and wants him to have his own. She is thrown into a new world she never knew about and handles it really well. her and Richart are perfect for each other. i look forward to seeing more about them in the series. High Stakes I have to say this is my least favorite book in the series. I just couldn't connect with the characters and didn't like the plot. The author does a great job in writing the story it just wasn't for me. Overall This is a fantastic book with four short stories. I would recommend it to anyone who loves paranormal romance with action. If you have never tried these authors this is a good book to try four different ones in. You may find a new author to love.
Predatory contains short stories by Alexandra Ivy, Nina Bangs, Dianne Duvall and Hannah Jayne. As with most anthologies, a reader will get a mix of strong reads and at least one weak read. Here is my breakdown of the four stories. Out of Control by Alexandra Ivy Angela Locke is special. Even though she doesn’t know how special she soon learns when she is kidnapped by a woman named Dylan. What Angela learns is that it isn’t her intelligence that helps her alter DNA, but her “otherness.” This soon makes her target of the psychopath that is Dylan. Angela soon discovers that the hot professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev, is also different. He is a Sentinel from Valhalla send to protect Angela but along the way he ends up falling in love. Ivy’s new world is intriguing. This short story is just the very tip of the iceberg. I lapped up every word written and now I am excited to read the first book in this series, Born in Blood. This world is unique and I enjoyed all the interesting characters. If you are looking for a fresh take on urban fantasy, this is a series I would recommend. Ties that Bind by Nina Bangs Cassie Tyler gets more than she bargains for when she agrees to sub for her friend at a funeral home. All of a sudden she is thrust into a world of vampires and other things that go bump in the night. Ethan, a vampire with a face so beautiful and will kill you (for real), becomes her savior as they try to escape the bad guys who are capturing vampires and turning them into something else unworldly and frightening that they are able to control. This was my least favorite short story. The storyline just fell flat for me and didn’t keep my attention. In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall Richart d’Alencon’s secret is finally revealed! As a fan of the Immortal Guardian series, I have been patiently waiting to read what he has been up to. I figured it was because of a woman and I was correct. Richart saves Jenna after she is attacked by vampires. He returns her home (drugged up) but is unable to shake off the incredible kiss they shared. He begins to court her because Jenna remembers nothing from that night. Slowly Jenna becomes sicker and sicker and after Richard appears suddenly in the middle of Jenna’s living room after being gravely injured, he has no choice but to bring her into the fold. Mainly to discover why Jenna is becoming so sick and also to explain what he is. There is a lot packed into this delicious story and well worth picking up this book. High Stakes by Hannah Jayne Nina LaShay’s design contest rival turns up dead and she becomes the number one suspect with the sexy photographer Pike being their number two. Nina risks outing herself as a vampire but it could be the only thing that will save her. There is bits and pieces that I liked and then there was other scenes I just didn’t care for. I thought the characters were interesting but the story was a bit weak and predictable. I did like the humor that was interjected throughout and had be laughing out loud. Since this was my first book by Hannah Jayne and I won’t judge an author on their short story, I do plan to read something else by her. Conclusion Overall, Predatory is a mixed bag of stories, all of which work together to make this anthology a great one to pack on your carry on for a quick airplane read. (Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Out of Control (Ivy) 4/5 -I most certainly want more of the sentinels. I am looking for this series. Ties That Bind (Bangs) 4/5 - 1st read, HOT damn! with a new vamp twist I won't as for more. In Still Darkness (Duvall) 5/5 -Action, drama, suspense, and oh yeah, romance. Another high score for Duvall and her Immortal Guardians. Highstakes (Jayne) IRR 3/5 - Not overly impressed or depressed. Just there.
I loved this book. It was an anthology by 4 different writers. Each with their own spin on guardians and immortals. It is a must read to get to know authors and their worlds. I will just talk about the first book . This book was great, it had a different twist on Valhalla. In this book Valhalla was where the home of the freaks. The people that were so smart or had special talents that they couldn’t function in normal society. We have Angela who is a molecular biologist and Niko who is a Sentinel. His job is to protect Angela from a freak who is after her to alter her DNA. Niko does everything in his power to keep Angela safe. He is even willing to give his life for hers. Angela doesn’t want to believe she is a freak They work together to protect each other, but will they protect their hearts?
Another awesome book by Dianne Duvall and Alexandra Ivy
Loved reading this book. All four authors came thru with exciting and intoxicating characters. Nina Bangs, Ties That Bind, was exceptional read as always.
Loved this book. The last story was ok, but the rest were awesome and impossible to put down.
OUT OF CONTROL by Alexandra Ivy An introduction to her new series “The Sentinels”, this novella is about Nikolo, a Sentinel from Valhalla on the hunt for deranged/rogue Sentinel, Dylan, who murdered his friends in her escape. To catch her, he must guard the one person Dylan thinks can make her normal….Angela Locke. All her life, Angela has felt out of step with others. Incredibly smart with a natural talent in molecular biology, she rarely cared about anything outside the lab…until she met Niko. There was an immediate attraction and they were helpless to stop it. ** I enjoyed this story! There was plenty of action, humor and lust written into a very nice fun package. I can’t wait to read more. TIES THAT BIND by Nina Bangs Cassie has a fear of dead bodies and can’t believe she agreed to work a few hours at a funeral home for a friend. If that isn’t strange enough, she is attacked and now under the protection of a handsome and mesmerizing vampire named Ethan. The vampires are being hunted by the Collector and his minions. While Cassie helps them fight back, the desire between her and Ethan grows until there is no denying their love. **There was lots of action and an interesting storyline. The romance was warm and heartfelt. I liked that the writer made you care about the people. I liked it! IN STILL DARKNESS by Dianne Duvall When Immortal Guardian Richart d’Alencon saves single mom, Jenna McBride from a vampire attack, the sensual pull was immediate. Jenna has no memory of the attack and no idea that the man she is falling for is an immortal vampire hunter. As their love grows, so does the danger. **I enjoyed this story! The action was intense, the romance steamy and the camaraderie was enjoyable. I’m already a fan of the Immortal Guardian series and this was a nice addition. HIGH STAKES by Hannah Jayne When vampire fashionista Nina LaShay’s design contest rival is found dead, she is the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. Their attraction to each other is instant but they have more important things to worry about…like who killed the contestant. What will happen if Pike finds out what she is….and what happens if she finds out he is much more than he seems? **I enjoyed the fast paced writing and snarky sense of humor in this story. A very fun read! **Review copy was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
What happens when you take 4 of my favorite paranormal romance writers and put their novella length stories together in a book called Predatory…you get an magnificent read. Each story was fan-freakin’-tastic, riveting and long enough to suck you completely in. This anthology is a great way to try out each of these author’s series, but for fans it gives you a grand snippet of adventures we’ve come to love. Page turning action, steamy romances and super hot alpha heroes Predatory hit the spot. This ARC copy of Predatory was given to me by Kensignton Books - Zebra in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication on May 7, 2013.
In "Ties that Bind," a novella from the anthology PREDATORY, no good deed goes unpunished. When Cassie agrees to fill for a friend at a funeral home, she discovers three things: her friend is dead, vampires are real, and she's in danger. Two men attack Cassie, she kills one, a binder, and with his death, she inadvertently releases Ethan, a vampire who can kill with one look. Instead of leaving her to her own fate, Ethan decides to protect her while searching for answers from those who captured him and are hunting vampires with special powers like him. Although human, Cassie turns out to be a formidable foe and asset to Ethan. Their mutual attraction penetrates with every glance and touch and together they embark on a quest to stop the hunters and the unknown evil called the Collector. Nina Bangs created a story that grabs you from the first sentence and keep you entranced through every scene and chapter until Cassie and Ethan’s journey is complete. The characters were a perfect combination of strength and perseverance and I absolutely loved the chemistry between the two. I found that this was a quick, but complete read. A perfect compliment to the other stories in the anthology.