Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.
I'm Gin Blanco.
You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.
About the Author
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, Spider’s Revenge, By a Thread, Widow’s Web, Deadly Sting, Heart of Venom, The Spider, Poison Promise, Black Widow, Spider’s Trap, Bitter Bite, Unraveled, and Snared, along with the e-shorts Thread of Death, Parlor Tricks, Kiss of Venom, Unwanted, and Nice Guys Bite are the other works in her red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Jennifer is also the author of the Black Blade and Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series. For more on Jennifer and her books, visit her at JenniferEstep.com and @Jennifer_Estep.
Read an Excerpt
Web of Lies
By Jennifer Estep
All right reserved.
“Freeze! Nobody move! This is a robbery!”
Wow. Three clich - s in a row. Somebody was seriously lacking in the imagination department.
But the shouted threats scared someone, who squeaked out a small scream. I sighed. Screams were always bad for business. Which meant I couldn't ignore the trouble that had just walked into my restaurantor deal with it the quick, violent way I would have preferred. A silverstone knife through the heart is enough to stop most trouble in its tracks. Permanently.
So I pulled my gray eyes up from the paperback copy of the Odyssey that I'd been reading to see what all the fuss was about.
Two twentysomething men stood in the middle of the Pork Pit, looking out of place among the restaurant's blue and pink vinyl booths. The dynamic duo sported black trench coats that covered their thin T-shirts and flapped against their ripped, rock star jeans. Neither one wore a hat or gloves, and the fall chill had painted their ears and fingers a bright cherry red. I wondered how long they'd stood outside, gathering up the courage to come in and yell out their trite demands.
Water dripped off their boots and spread across the faded blue and pink pig tracks that covered the restaurant floor. I eyed the men's footwear. Expensive black leather thick enough to keep out the November cold. No holes, no cracks, no missing bootlaces. These two weren't your typical desperate junkies looking for a quick cash score. No, they had their own moneylots of it, from the looks of their pricey shoes, vintage T-shirts, and designer jeans. These two rich punks were robbing my barbecue restaurant just for the thrill of it.
Worst fucking decision they'd ever made.
“Freeze!” the first guy repeated, as if we all hadn't heard him before.
He was a beefy man with spiky blond hair held up by some sort of shiny hair-care product. Probably a little giant blood in his family tree somewhere, judging from his six-foot-six frame and large hands. Despite his twentysomething years, baby fat still puffed out his face like a warm, oozing marshmallow. The guy's brown eyes flicked around the restaurant, taking in everything from the baked beans bubbling on the stove behind me to the hissing french fryer to the battered, bloody copy of Where the Red Fern Grows mounted on the wall beside the cash register.
Then Beefcake turned his attention to the people inside the Pork Pit to make sure we were all following his demands. Not many folks to look at. Monday was usually a slow day, made even more so by the cold bluster of wind and rain outside. The only other people in the restaurant besides me and the would-be robbers were my dwarven cook, Sophia Deveraux, and a couple of customerstwo college-age women wearing skinny jeans and tight T-shirts not unlike those the robbers sported.
The women sat shocked and frozen, eyes wide, barbecue beef sandwiches halfway to their lips. Sophia stood next to the stove, her black eyes flat and disinterested as she watched the beans bubble. She grunted once and gave them a stir with a metal spoon. Nothing much ever bothered Sophia.
The first guy raised his hand. A small knife glinted in his red, chapped fingers. A hard, thin smile curved my lips. I liked knives.
“Chill out, Jake,” the second guy muttered. “There's no need to scream.”
I looked at him. Where his buddy was blond and beefy, robber number two was short and bone-thin. His wispy hair stuck up due to uncontrollable cowlicks instead of an overabundance of product. The locks were a bright red that had probably earned him the nickname Carrot at some point. Carrot shoved his hands into his holey pockets, shifted on his feet, and stared at the floor, clearly wanting to be somewhere other than here. A reluctant sidekick at best. Probably tried to talk his buddy out of this nonsense. He should have tried harder.
“No names, Lance. Remember?” Jake snarled and glared at his friend.
Lance's bony body jerked at the sound of his own name, like someone had zapped him with a cattle prod. His mouth dropped open, but he didn't say anything.
I used one of the day's credit card receipts to mark my place in The Odyssey. Then I closed my book, straightened, slid off my stool, and stepped around the long counter that ran along the back wall of the Pork Pit. Time to take out the trash.
The first guy, Jake, saw me move, out of the corner of his eye. But instead of charging at me as I'd expected, the half giant moved to his left and jerked one of the girls up and out of her bootha petite girl with a pixie haircut. She let out another squeaky scream. Her thick beef sandwich flew from her hand and spattered against one of the storefront windows. The barbecue sauce looked like blood running down the smooth, shiny glass.
“Leave her alone, you bastard!” the other woman shouted.
She jumped to her feet and charged at Jake, who backhanded her. He might only have been a half giant, but there was still enough strength in his blow to lift the woman off her feet and send her careening into a table. She flipped over the top, hit the floor hard, and let out a low groan.
By this point, Sophia Deveraux had become a little more interested in things. The dwarf moved to stand beside me. The silver skulls hanging from the black leather collar around her neck tinkled together like wind chimes. The skulls matched the ones on her black T-shirt.
“You take right,” I murmured. “I've got left.”
Sophia grunted and moved to the other end of the counter, where the second woman had been thrown.
“Lance!” Jake jerked his head at the injured woman and Sophia. “Watch those bitches!”
Lance wet his lips. Pure, uncomfortable misery filled his pale face, but he stepped around his friend and trotted over to the injured woman, who had pushed herself up to her hands and knees. She shoved her wild tangle of blue-black hair out of her face. Her pale blue eyes burned with immediate hate. A fighter, that one.
But Lance didn't see her venomous look. He was too busy staring at Sophia. Most people did. The dwarf had been Goth before Goth was coola hundred years ago or so. In addition to her skull collar and matching T-shirt, Sophia Deveraux sported black jeans and boots. Pink lipstick covered her lips, contrasting with the black glitter shadow on her eyelids and the natural pallor of her face. Today, the color motif extended up to her hair. Pale pink streaks shimmered among her cropped black locks.
But Jake wasn't so dumbstruck. He pulled the first woman even closer, turned her around, held her in front of him, and raised the knife to her throat. Now he had a human shield. Terrific.
But that wasn't the worst part. A bit of red sparked in the depths of his brown eyes, like a match flaring to life. Magic surged like a hot summer wind through the restaurant, pricking my skin with power and making the scars on my palms itch. Flames spewed out from between Jake's clenched fingers, traveling up and settling on the knife. The blade glowed red-orange from the sudden burst of heat.
Well, well, well, Jake the robber was just full of surprises. Because in addition to being a petty thief, Jake the half giant was also an elementalsomeone who could control one of the four elements. Fire, in his case.
My smile grew a little harder, a little tighter. Jake wasn't the only one here who was an elementalor very, very dangerous. I cocked my head, reaching out with my Stone magic. All around me, the battered brick of the Pork Pit murmured with unease, sensing the emotional upheaval that had already taken place inside and my dark intentions now.
“I said nobody fucking move.”
Jake's earlier scream dropped to a hoarse whisper. His eyes were completely red now, as though someone had set two flickering rubies into his baby-fat face. A rivulet of sweat dripped down his temple, and his head bobbed in time to some music only he could hear. Jake was high on somethingalcohol, drugs, blood, his own magic, maybe all of the above. Didn't much matter. He was going to be dead in another minute. Two, tops.
The red glow in Jake's eyes brightened as he reached for his magic again. The flames flashing on the silver blade flared hotter and higher, until they licked at the girl's neck, threatening to burn her. Tears streamed down her heart-shaped face, and her breath came in short, choked sobs, but she didn't move. Smart girl.
My eyes narrowed. It was one thing to try to rob the Pork Pit, my barbecue restaurant, my gin joint. Down-on-their-luck elementals, vampire hookers, and other bums strung out on their own magic and jonesing for more could be excused that stupidity. But nobodynobodythreatened my paying customers. I was going to enjoy taking care of this lowlife. As soon as I got him away from the girl.
So I held up my hands in a placating gesture and kept the cold, calm violence out of my gray eyes as best I could. “I'm the owner. Gin Blanco. I don't want any trouble. Let the girl go, and I'll open the cash register for you. I won't even call the police after you leave.”
Mainly because it wouldn't do me any good. The cops in the southern metropolis of Ashland were as crooked as forks of lightning. The esteemed members of the po-po barely bothered to respond to robberies, especially in this borderline Southtown neighborhood, much less do something useful, like catch the perps after the fact.
Jake snorted. “Go ahead. The police can't touch me, bitch. Do you know who my father is?”
In addition to being a Fire elemental, Jake was also a name-dropping prima donna. A wonder he'd survived this long.
“Don't tell them that!” Lance hissed.
Jake snorted and turned his red eyes to his buddy. “I'll tell them whatever I want. So shut your sniveling mouth.”
“Just let the girl go, and I'll open the cash register,” I repeated in a firm voice, hoping my words would penetrate Jake's magic high and sink into his thick skull.
His red eyes narrowed to slits. “You'll open the cash register, or the girl diesand you along with her.”
He jerked the girl back against him, and the flames coating the knife burned even brighter, taking on an orange-yellow hue. The silverstone scars on my palmsthe ones shaped like spider runesitched at the influx of magic. I tensed, afraid he was going to do the girl right here, right now. I could kill himeasilybut probably not before he hurt the girl with his magic. I didn't want that to happen. It wasn't going to happen. Not in my restaurant. Not now, not again.
“Jake, calm down,” Lance pleaded with his friend. “No one's making any trouble. It's going just like you said it would. Quick and easy. Let's just get the money and go.”
Jake stared at me, the flames dancing in his red eyes matching the movement of the ones on the knife blade. Pure, malicious glee filled his crimson gaze. Even if I hadn't been good at reading people, that emotion alone would have told me that Jake enjoyed using his magic, loved the power it gave him, the feeling of being invincible. And that he wasn't going to be satisfied just stealing my money. No, Jake was going to use his Fire power to kill everyone in the restaurant just because he could, because he wanted to show off his magic and prove he was a real badass. Unless I did something to stop him.
“Jake? The money?” Lance asked again.
After a moment, the fire dimmed in Jake's eyes. He lowered the glowing blade a few inches, giving the girl some much-needed air. “Money. Now.”
I opened the register, grabbed all the wrinkled bills inside, and held them out. All Jake had to do was let go of the girl long enough to step forward and grab the cash, and I'd have him. Come on, you bastard. Come and play with Gin.
But some sense of self-preservation must have kicked in, because the beefy half giant jerked his head. Lance left his post by the injured woman, tiptoed forward, snatched the money out of my hand, and stepped back. I didn't bother grabbing him and using him as a hostage. Guys like Jake weren't above leaving their friends twisting in the windor stuck on the end of my blade.
Jake licked his thick, chapped lips. “How much? How much is there?”
Lance rifled through the green bills. “A little more than two hundred.”
“That's it? You're holding out on me, bitch,” Jake snarled.
I shrugged. “Monday's a slow day. And not many people like to get out in this kind of cold weather, not even for barbecue.”
The Fire elemental glared at me, debating my words and what he could do about them. I smiled back. He didn't know what he'd gotten himself intoor whom he was messing with.
“Let's just go, Jake,” Lance pleaded. “Some cops could come along any second.”
Jake tightened his grip on his flaming knife. “No. Not until this bitch tells me what she did with the rest of the money. This is the most popular restaurant in the neighborhood. There had to be more than two hundred dollars in that cash register. So where did you hide it, bitch? You wearing a money belt underneath that greasy blue apron?”
I shrugged. “Why don't you come and find out, you pathetic fuck?”
His eyes grew darker, redder, angrier, until I thought the sparking flames flickering inside might actually shoot out of his magic-tinted irises. Jake let out a furious growl. He shoved the girl away and charged at me, the knife held straight out.
My smile widened. Finally. Time to play.
I waited until he got in range, then stepped forward and turned my body into his. I slammed my elbow into his solar plexus and swept his feet out from under him. Jake coughed, stumbled, and did a header onto the floor. His temple clipped the side of one of the tables as he went down, and a resulting bit of blood spattered onto my jeans. The sharp blow was enough to make Jake lose his grip on his Fire magic. The prickling power washing off him vanished, and the flames snuffed out on the knife in his hand. The hot metal hissed and smoked as it came into contact with the cool floor.
I looked to my right. The woman Jake had thrown across the room scrambled to her feet and prepared to launch herself at Lance. But Sophia grabbed the girl's waist and pulled her back. The woman started to struggle, but the Goth dwarf shook her head and stepped forward, putting herself in front of the customer. Lance swallowed once and backed up, ready to turn and run. But Sophia was quicker. The dwarf punched him once in the stomach. Lance went down like an anvil had been dropped on him. He crumpled to the floor and didn't move.
One down, one to go.
I turned my attention back to Jake, who'd rolled over onto his side. Blood dripped down the side of his head where he'd cut himself on the corner of the table. The half giant saw me standing over him, curled halfway up, and slashed at me with his cooling knife. Idiot. He didn't even come close to nicking me. After Jake made another flailing pass with the blade, I crouched down and grabbed his wrist, bending it back so he couldn't move it. I eyed the weapon in his locked hand.
“Fuck,” I said. “Get a real knife. You couldn't even peel potatoes with that thing.”
Then I plucked the blade from his chapped fingers and snapped his thick wrist.
Jake howled in pain, but the noise didn't bother me. Hadn't in years. I shoved him down onto his back, then straddled him, a knee on either side of his beefy chest, squeezing in and putting pressure on his ribs. Giants, even half giants like Jake, hated it when they had trouble breathing. Most people did.
I adjusted and tightened my grip on the knife, ready to drive it into his heart. A flimsy weapon, but it would do the job. Just about anything would, if you had enough strength and determination to put behind it. I had plenty of both.
A small, choked sob sounded, drawing my attention away from Jake and his high-pitched, keening howls. My gray eyes flicked up. The girl huddled underneath a table a few feet away, her knees pulled up to her chest, her eyes as big as quarters in her face, tears sliding down her flushed cheeks.
A position I'd been in, once upon a time.
A couple of months ago, the girl and her tears wouldn't have bothered me. I would have killed Jake and his friend, washed the blood off my hands, and asked Sophia to get rid of the bodies before I closed up the Pork Pit for the night.
That's what assassins did.
And I was the Spider, one of the very best.
But I'd had an epiphany of sorts two months ago when my mentor had been brutally tortured and murdered inside the Pork Pitin the very spot Jake and I were in right now. The old man, Fletcher Lane, had wanted me to retire, to take a different path in life, to live in the daylight a little, as he was so fond of saying. I'd followed Fletcher's advice and quit the assassin business after I'd killed Alexis James, the Air elemental who'd murdered him.
Behind me, Sophia grunted. I looked over my shoulder at the dwarf, who still had hold of the other woman. The girl was unsuccessfully trying to pry the dwarf's stubby fingers off her waist. Good luck with that. Sophia had a grip like death. Once she had you, she didn't let goever. My gray eyes locked with Sophia's black ones. Regret flashed in her dark gaze, and she shook her head just the tiniest bit. No, she was saying. Not in front of two witnesses.
Sophia was right. Witnesses were bad. I couldn't gut Jake with the two girls watching and get rid of the body afterward. Not in my own restaurant. Not without blowing my cover as Gin Blanco and leaving everything behind. And I wasn't going to do that. Not for a piece of trash like the Fire elemental. But that didn't mean I couldn't let Jake know exactly whom he was dealing with.
I waited until there was a lull in Jake's howls, then tipped his head up with the knife point and gazed into his eyes. They'd lost all hint of their red, fiery magic. Now his brown irises were wide and glossy with panic, fear, pain.
“You ever come to my restaurant and fuck with me or my customers again, and I'll carve you up like a Thanksgiving turkey.”
I slashed down with the knife, breaking the skin on his beefy neck. Jake yelped at the sting and clawed at the slight wound with his sausage-thick fingers. I slapped his hand away and nicked him again. The smell of warm, coppery blood filled my nose. Something else that hadn't bothered me in a long, long time.
“Every time you move, I'm going to cut you again. Deeper and deeper. Nod your head if you understand.”
Hatred flared in his gaze, taking the edge off the pain and panic, but he nodded.
I clipped his temple with the knife hilt. Jake's head snapped to one side and fell onto the floor. Unconscious. Just like his friend Lance.
I stood up, wiped my fingerprints off the knife, and dropped the weapon on the floor. The half giant didn't stir. Then I got to my feet and headed for the girl, still crouched underneath the table.
She shrank back against the legs of a chair at my approach, like she wanted to melt into the metal. Her pulse fluttered like a mad butterfly in her temple. I put my friendliest, most trustworthy, charming, Southern smile on my face and crouched down until I was eye level with her.
“Come on, sweetheart,” I said, holding out my hand. “It's over. Those men aren't going to hurt you now.”
Her chocolate eyes darted to Jake lying on the floor. Her gaze flicked back to me, and she chewed her lip, her teeth white against her dusky skin.
“I'm not going to hurt you either,” I said in a soft voice. “Come on, now. I'm sure your friend wants to see how you are.”
“Cassidy!” the other woman called out since Sophia still wasn't letting her go. “Are you all right?”
Her friend's voice penetrated Cassidy's fearful daze. She sighed and nodded her head. The girl reached out, and I grabbed her trembling hand. Cassidy's fingers felt like thin, fragile icicles against the thick scar embedded in my palm. I tugged the girl to her feet. She eyed me with understandable caution, so I kept my movements slow and small, not wanting to startle her.
“I'm fine, Eva,” Cassidy said in a low voice. “Just a little shook up is all.”
Sophia let go of the other woman, and I stepped back. Eva rushed forward and caught her friend in a tight hug. Cassidy wrapped her arms around the other women, and the two of them rocked back and forth in the middle of the restaurant.
I walked over to Sophia, who was watching the two women with a flat expression on her pale face.
“Friendship. Ain't it a beautiful thing?” I quipped.
“Hmph.” Sophia grunted again.
But the corners of the Goth dwarf's lips turned up into a tiny smile.
The two girls hugged a minute longer before Eva pulled a cell phone out of her jeans.
“You call the cops,” Eva told her friend. “I need to let Owen know I'm okay. You know how he is. He'll freak when he finds out about this.”
Cassidy nodded her head in sympathetic agreement and pulled her own phone out of her jeans. The two women started dialing numbers, instead of asking me, the restaurant owner, to do it for them. Not surprising. If you wanted the cops, you called them yourself. You certainly didn't depend on the kindness of strangers to do it. Not in Ashland.
I frowned. Cops. Just what I needed. Some of Ashland's finest getting an eyeful of me, the former assassin, a Goth dwarf who liked to dispose of dead bodies in her spare time, and the two guys we'd so easily dispatched. Not the kind of attention I wanted to draw to myself, even if I was retired. Nothing I could do about it now, though.
Sophia went back to the stove to check on her baked beans. Eva spoke in a low voice to someone on her phone. Cassidy finished her 911 call and sank into the nearest chair.
The girl stared at Jake on the floor; then her brown eyes flicked to the bloody knife. Her lower lip quivered, her eyes grew glossy, and her hands trembled. Trying to hold back the tears. Something else I'd had to do, once.
I walked over to the counter and picked up a glass cake plate filled with the black forest cookies I'd baked this morning.
“Here.” I took the top off and held the plate out to her. “Have a cookie. They've got plenty of sugar and butter and chocolate in them. They'll help with the shakes.”
Cassidy gave me a wan smile, took one of the treats, and bit into the concoction. The bittersweet chocolate melted in her mouth, and her eyes brightened with pleasure instead of worry.
Eva finished her call and sat down next to her friend. Her hands didn't tremble as she snapped her phone shut, and she looked at Jake with a thoughtful expression. The only sign anything had happened to Eva was a red welt on her cheek, where her face had smacked into the floor. The girl had a level head on her shoulders and a firm grip on her emotions. But that didn't mean she wouldn't crash later.
I held the plate out to her. “You too.”
Eva took a cookie, broke it in two, and stuffed half of it into her mouth. Not shy, either.
I also plucked one of the chocolate treats off the stack. Not because I had shaky nerves, but because they were damn fine cookies. I'd made them myself, and I was just as good a cook as I had been an assassin.
I looked at the two unconscious men on the floor. Lance lay spread-eagled next to one of the booths where Sophia had dropped him. Blood continued to drip from the cuts on Jake's throat and temple, staining the floor a rusty brown.
I grabbed another cookie off the plate and watched him bleed.
© 2010 Jennifer Estep
Excerpted from Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep Copyright © 2010 by Jennifer Estep. Excerpted by permission.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Omg, Gin is awesome. From her kick butt attitude to the silverstone knife sheathed in the small of her back, gin just REEKS cool and collected. One of the best assasian books i have read so far. A++++++++++++++++!!!!!!
I have absolutely LOVED this series and have a hard time putting the book down. This one could have done with less recapping but if you have read the first one you are ok. There's enough recapping in this for you to understand what happened. I'm not on the third one and hate it when I have to stop reading. Gin is awesome!
Great story and Great characters. Love the sassy, kick ass woman. Gotta love a woman that can take care of herself. Love the auther and her writing and will read anything that she brings out. The whole series is good, and the reading just flows for a quick finish.
Gin Blanco is a feisty, fun, and very dangerous woman. This is the 2nd book in the Elemental Assassin series and continues Gin's story, proving retirement isn't as easy as it seems. I found this story to be entertaining and hard to put down. So often in action stories, the hero is a tough guy that can kick anyone's butt without so much as a scratch in return. Gin is very real in the sense that even though she's a tough woman, she's also just as vulnerable to danger, heartache, and guilt as any other woman. If you're looking for a fast, easy read with a fair amount of excitement and a bit of magic, then I would highly recommend this book and series. However, if you prefer deep thought and technical details, you might want to look elsewhere.
What can I say - Get it get it get it... well I can say... get them ALL!!!! This series is just great!!!!! I am on pins and needles waiting for the next!!!!
I strongly recommend you read the previous books in the series (Spider's Bite and check out three free short stories on the author's site under "excerpts & More": "Spider's Bargain" a prequel to Spider's Bite; "Web of Death" takes place after the events of Spider's Bite but before the beginning of Web of Lies; and "Web of Deceit" which takes place when Gin is a teenager. It's told from the point of view of Fletcher Lane, Gin's assassin mentor, and focuses on Gin's first solo job as the assassin ) prior to reading this installment. This was a fantastic read that just seemed to fly by. Retired assassin Gin has finally found a good way to put her deadly talents to good use; killing for the poor and downtrodden...... This was one of my most anticipated May releases and I wasn't disappointed. The story hit the ground running and never slowed down! The exciting action, spectacular magic and twisted hilarious humor just kept my attention completely glued to each page. Gin is the kind of heroine I love to read about, tough, smart and a force to be reckoned with. The author did a fantastic job of incorporating all the secondary characters and including a hottie who just makes you say Donovan Caine who? This installment was just about flawless and I can't wait to see what mischief Owen Grayson stirs up for Gin in the future. I highly recommend this book to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and I can't for the next book in the series Venom due out 9/28/10.
Unfortunately, I wasn't quite paying attention when I picked this book up, so I didn't realize that it was the second book in a series until after I was a good ways in. Now, it definitely shows the author's skill when someone can pick up a book in the middle of a series and still be able to understand what's going on and be able to get into the characters, but now I definitely want to go back and read the first book.In Web of Lies, retired assassin Gin Blanco (yeah, gotta love that name), also known as The Spider, is attacked in her own restaurant, the aptly-named Pork Pit. But she soon finds out that she's not the one the assassin is after, but a young woman named Violet Fox. While trying to defend Violet, Gin becomes tangled up in a fascinating web including a sexy detective, wild cowboy gear and going undercover as a hooker to trap the bad guy. Filled with non-stop, high-octane excitement, Web of Lies stands up against the flood of urban paranormal novels out there and delivers wonderful, mindless fun.I think that's the best word to describe Web of Lies: mindless. I'm not saying that in a bad way. In fact, I enjoy a fun, easy read that's just great escapism and that's what this book is. It has a bad ass, exciting main character, is set in fascinating and engaging world, has fun, semi-cheesy dialog that left me chuckling, and of course, steamy sex scenes worthy of any paranormal romance.Perfect for fans of the genre, Web of Lies is one of the most pulse-pounding books I've read in a while.
Well, she didn't hit a sophmore slump with this book. Gin still hits the ground running. And I for one, am glad she didn't get the guy. He was way to goody two shoes if the po-po was as corrupt as Gin states. My only question is, who gets the diamonds? If more than one person knows a secret, then it won't stay secret for long. Maybe that question will get answered in a future book.
Synopsis: I'm Gin Blanco. You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I¿m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren¿t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I¿m beginning to wonder if I¿m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I¿m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn¿t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My thoughts: First, please, please, please read the first book before jumping into this one. Trust me you will not be disappointed. Second, Gin is one of those in my top 10 female heroines and I don't see that changing anytime soon. This is the second book in a series that has been extended to five books on October of 2011
So, even though Gin made some changes in her life at the end of the first book (I'm being vague to avoid spoilers), she still gets sucked into trouble very early on in this book. She ends up feeling obligated to help the friends of a friend out of a territory dispute with a very dangerous and powerful dwarf. As she does so, she finds out some things about her own magic that surprise her - and will definitely surprise you!We get more time with the side characters, JoJo and Sophia, who I absolutely love. Basically I love just about everyone in the series. The exception being Detective Donovan. Man...I hate that guy. Estep makes their chemistry jump off the pages, and there is definitely something between him and Gin...but that doesn't mean he isn't a complete moron. Still waiting for him to jump off that cliff...The good news is an addition to the party: Owen Grayson. Yes, please. I hope Gin takes a nice long look in his direction. He is a much better fit for her, and I really hope that relationship develops. A lot. And soon.Overall, this book is a great addition to the series, the action and character development don't lag at all!
This is the second book in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep. Right now Estep is contracted for 5 books in this series; the third book Venom is due out Sept. 28th 2010 and the fourth book Tangled Threads is due out April 2011. This book was a great addition to this series. I enjoyed the fast pace and the great action scenes.Gin is trying to take retirement from the assassin trade seriously. She is back in college part-time and running the restaurant The Pork Pit, that Fletcher left her. Things won't be calm for long though. One of the son's of Ashland's top powers stops by to hold up Gin's restaurant and then someone tries to assassinate one of Gin's restaurant clients. Well this just pisses Gin off and pretty soon she is immersed in a plot to stop one of Ashland's mining companies from taking out the people who run an old general store on the mountain. Of course she runs into Donavan in the course of her investigations. So that complicates things too.Like the last book this book is full of non-stop action and a great plot the clips along at a fast pace. I didn't like this book quite as much as the last one because it seemed to be more of a transition book and the plot wasn't as tight. But it was a necessary book, Gin needs to get on with her life after Fletcher's death and this is how she does it. That didn't stop me from tearing through it at a breakneck pace though...I just couldn't put it down.Things heat up between Donavan and Gin again, but we see these characters having a lot of the same problems they did in the last book, Estep tries to resolve this and I think she did a good job with that. I am just hoping the Donavan/Gin issues are dealt with and don't drag on into the next book. We do see Gin changing as a character and she is growing in power; I am eager to see what happens as her power continues to grow and becomes more complex.I like Gin's sassy attitude and her snide humor. This book brought some more great characters into the mix with Eva and Violet, some young girls that get caught up in the robbery at Gin's restaurant. They add some additional fun and lightness to the story. I also found Owen Grayson intriguing; he is set up to be another potential love interest for Gin but also has his fingers in a lot of plots and intrigues which could prove interesting in the future books. The basic story dealing with the attempted assassination of Violet Fox is wrapped up neatly. The broader story about Gin's past, her younger sister, and how everything ties in with the city's deadliest fire elemental is deepening. Hopefully we will see these issues addressed more in the next book; they didn't really get a lot of page space here.Overall an excellent addition to this series. I love the characters and the world Estep has created. I am eagerly awaiting the next book Venom. Luckily I only have a few weeks to wait! Fans of Kate Daniels, Jane Yellowrock, Jaz Parks and other kick-butt female urban fantasies out there should really give this series a try.
Gin Blanco is now a retired assassin, and running the Pork Pit full time since inheriting the BBQ restaurant from Fletcher. Yep, life is a little boring, but Fletcher had asked her to retire before his brutal murder. She feels like the least she can do is honor her dead handler¿s wishes. At least until things get a little monotonous, and Gin finds a girl who needs protecting. Still pondering the meaning behind the file Fletcher left her, Gin could use the distraction and the action.I liked this one so much more than the first. I¿m still not a Donovan Caine fan though. Gin, you can do better girl! This one was packed full of serious action. I love Gin, and have nothing but admiration for her tenacity. A few mysteries brought up in the first book are solved in this installment. Of course that means a few new ones also pop up. I¿m so excited to see where Gin¿s adventures take us next. Thanks to a few well timed flashbacks, we learn more about Gin¿s past. We also witness her attempt to digest what was in the file Fletcher left her. Retirement is turning out to be almost as exciting as when Gin was working as a paid assassin.I also enjoyed learning more about Gin¿s nontraditional family unit, the love they share, and how far they are willing to go to protect each other. Gin has come so far from the frightened orphan living on the streets. Definitely a character you can¿t help but to love (knives and all). This is a fantastic series brimming with the potential of more awesomeness to come. I loved it!
I loved the first book in this series, Spider's Bite and was hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed in the sequel. I wasn't. I loved the second book as much as the first and am waiting impatiently for Venom to be released.
I loved this book, but not as much as the first one. Not because of anything lacking in the plot, but simply because I hated how Caine acted, esp. towards the later half of the book. But it's a good thing there's a lot more to this series than romance, because the action was amazing and extremely engaging. The side characters are also very interesting and I love seeing the development in Gin's persona. And judging from the cliffhanger at the end of this book, the next book's sure to be as fascinating as its prequels.
I was pretty sure after I read Spider's Bite that Jennifer Estep would be an author to watch but Web of Lies has me putting her in my top 10 authors to read. I love the way her writing flows, how she drives the story in direction I just don't see coming and she crosses that line into the gray area of morality.Gin Blanco, an assassin and the heroine of this series, is flawed in a fabulously real way that makes her personality come alive for me and has me cheering for her every step on her path to finding herself. The supporting characters, the dwarven sisters Jo Jo and Sophia along with her surrogate brother Fin, have me feeling a companionship with them that makes the story even more personable.Then there's Donovan Caine, who is a straight-laced cop that likes to go by the book and whose also Gin's love interest. They are exact opposites but as they say, "Opposites attract." Because of their difference in morality, things are always high strung between the two, with Gin and Donovan wanting more but Donovan fighting it every step of the way. I have to say that there were a few times I wanted to open a can of whoop-ass on Caine, probably as much as Gin does herself at times.Ah, then there are the bad guys aka the villains. They are deliciously evil, making you believe the worst can happen and will happen.If you like your Urban Fantasy steeped in all things dark, gritty, sexy and full of excitement that's different from the traditional good versus evil then this book is for you. For myself, the darker and grittier the story is the more I like it and this one fits the bill.
Okay, I loved the first book in the series. I really do like the world that Jennifer Estep has developed in this series. I really do adore Gin and her friends and the fact that this is a very different world we live in with a very shady set of morals. Which I'm fine with. There were some components that bothered me about this book. The love interest for Gin, really pissed me off Donovan Caine. I liked him in book one. This book he was a complete idiot towards her. In some ways the sex scenes were excellent. Yet what I didn't like about Donovan Caine was that he can't seem to make up his mind and what does he do at the end, he decides to leave because he doesn't want to end up shady. So I did like it when we got introduce to Owen. Owen I hope will be a much better love interest for Gin and not be all wishy-wash like Caine. I also felt like this book was kind of filler in some ways. This book I think is going to set up the next book in the series, Venom. (Hey I'm playing catch up with this series). I also like how the Author makes Mab Monroe seem more important, and I'm betting she will play a major role in book 3. The other thing that made me like Gin a lot more in this book that she is trying to help the Fox family in this book. I like that in some ways her helping the Foxes made her seem more real and try to be a better human being, and in some ways honoring her late guardian. I think this book was okay, but felt that there was something missing. I felt that even though it move forward a little and maybe this was my problem with it, was there seemed no progression of Gin's powers towards the end and her start to make an investigation to find her long lost sister, which I felt should have happened in the beginning. Oh Well maybe Venom will be better. I give this book a rating of 3 Hearts
I didn't like it as much as the first one. It is very similar in some ways, but had a lot more "angst" between Gin and her completely unexpected, out-of-character and out-of-the-blue "love" for Caine. To the point that her continual harping on about him became annoying. At one point, near the end, she decides she's had enough of his cold shoulder and yet, a bit later in the story, she's all up in a twist over him again. They were never a couple, he never indicated he wanted to be one - sure he shagged her a couple times, but so what - and yet she gets all miffed because, gasp, he doesn't want to be in a relationship with her? It was just out of place.My other bother was the whole "trapped in the mine" scene that went on and on and on with nothing much happening... like it was a page quota filler. Oh, and I thought the whole Jake thing was kind of lame... an unexpected problem pops up and is cleared up as unexpectedly... and sorta unbelievably. If someone kicks your butt once, chances are she's going to be able to do it again next time, so don't go following her around and expect to live. Overall, I was disappointed in the story. I will read the next one and hope Gin stops being so sad-sack and gets on with her life.
“You could just run over him, I said. “He’s already dead, and it’s not like you haven’t done it before.” “Yeah, but I don’t want bloody bits of dwarf stuck in my wheels for the next two weeks.” Finn sniffed “This is an Aston Martin, Gin. You don’t run over dead bodies in an Aston Martin.” “Tell that to James Bond.” Finn shot me a dirty look as he pulled out onto the street. ' - Pg 100 quote from Web of Lies Another suburb installment in the Elemental Assassins series. It’s packed full of suspense, action, snark, unforgettable characters, & mystery. Web of Lies packs a punch. Fletcher, her adaptive father, left her a parting gift when he passed away and this gift had some important and unexpected information on her family’s murder. Besides learning more about Gin and seeing her adoptive family we get to see Gin at work helping the little guy. Tobias Dawson was a nasty character and seeing Gin deal with that issue; just unforgettable. Gin I adore her. She’s a kick-ass women. We see so many different sides of her. I don’t always step into the heroine’s shoes, but with this series it’s not hard not to. Now the only thing I didn't care for and I saw this coming in book one, Spider’s Bite, was Detective Donovan Caine. He’s a douchebag. The only thing they had going was the scorching sexual chemistry. I couldn’t see any long term potential for them, so it was no surprise he left. I felt bad and sad for Blanco about the way she was treated and how it all blew up, but I'm glad Caine is gone. He wasn't right for Gin. Now I’m very intrigued with the introduction of Owen Grayson. Now, him I can't wait to see more of. There’s just something about him that makes go, oh ya! What can I say. After two extraordinary installments I think it’s safe to say that the Elemental Assassin series is a must read for Urban Fantasy fans. I’m hooked and I had a wonderful time reading Web of Lies and can’t wait to pick up the next book. Rated: 5 Stars
Really enjoyed it. I look forward to the next one
Love this entire series, have read everything she's written!
The story line is decent, however, there is way too much review from the prior books in the series. And then more reviews of the reviews . Too much explicit sex. I want to read an adventure story, not a romance novel.
Forced at times
Wow loved it read it in a day to 2 days hope the rest are this great