Jane Yellowrock used to hunt vampires, but now she must fight–and win–beside them.
As Enforcer to the vampire Master of the City of New Orleans, Jane Yellowrock stakes her reputation and her life on keeping her territory safe. But Leo has been issued a blood challenge by the emperor of the European vampires, who seeks to usurp all of his power and possessions. If Leo loses the match to the death, the city will be forfeit, and the people of New Orleans will suffer the consequences. Jane can’t let that happen.
Preparing for the duel requires all of Jane’s focus, but with so much supernatural power in play, nothing goes according to plan. She has to rely on herself and the very few people she knows she can trust to stand and fight. Only two things are guaranteed: nothing is sacred, and no one is safe.
Eli moved his foot. Instantly I was alone in the Gray Between. My head spun and spiked with pain. I took a breath to keep from throwing up and blew it out. And dropped the Gray Between. Drew on Beast speed.
The overlapping gunshots sounded, blasting the silence away as I seized the lustrous, slick black hair instead of the back of his neck. Reached between his legs and seized his testicles in a crushing grip. Lifted high, as I pulled his head down low to my right side. And slammed him inside the house and into the foyer floor. Not a textbook move but good enough. All in one faster-than-human motion.
The house shook. The man made a breathless, squealing, squeaking sound. Eli was standing over him, holding the attacker’s weapon and his own, both pointing at the man. Maybe a whole second had passed. He lay on the floor, his hands between his legs. Squeaking still. His golden-skinned face pale as death. His eyes rolled up.
“I will not,”—I hesitated— “nuwhtohiyada gotlvdi. I don’t make peace with assassins.” I kicked his foot out of the way and closed the door on the startled cries of the onlookers and the winter air. Winter in New Orleans meant the high sixties, but still.
It was the ecologically appropriate thing to do.
“I missed it. What happened?” Eli’s younger brother, Alex, asked, running in from the living room. He hadn’t answered the door. Probably playing some kind of video game and couldn’t be bothered.
“Jane happened,” Eli said, his dark skin picking up the lights through the layers of stained glass and bulletproof glass.
The man on the floor groaned. Eli patted him down and removed a weapon from a leather ankle holster. From a small pocket built in the holster, he also pulled a tooth and held it out to me. The canine tooth was curved and sharp, nearly two inches in length. A big-cat tooth, longer and slightly more narrow at the root end than a Puma concolor tooth, though curved, like all Western Hemisphere big-cats. Whatever species, it was additional evidence that the man was a skinwalker. He carried the genetic material of his favorite animal to shift into in case of injury or near death. He might feel like he was dying, but he’d live.
I curled my fist around the tooth. Ignored the base drum pounding and the icepicks stabbing inside my head. Ignored the desire to hurl my cookies.
Alex brought up kitchen chairs. We all three sat in a small ring around the downed man and watched, as if he was a one-man play. Alex passed around ice-cold bottled Cokes—my favorite way to drink Coke now—and a bag of potato chips. I smothered a laugh at the picture we must have made. I chewed, watching. The man’s color wasn’t getting any better. “How long does it take to get over a testicle twisting?”
“With your grip?” Eli asked casually. “Days?”
Alex made a sound that was mostly “gack” and crossed his legs, suddenly pale even despite his mixed-race heritage.
“Three minutes till he can breathe?” Eli guessed. He reached out and took my wrist, guesstimating my pulse, still saying nothing in front of the outsider about my headache and nausea.
“Better cuff him,” Alex advised. “As entertaining as this is, we got work to do.”
“True,” I said. “And I’m in my jammies.”
“You went to the door in your PJs? Shame on you,” Alex said.
“I know, right? I should comb my hair. Dress. Maybe even makeup. For company, you know.”
“Girly stuff,” Eli said at my makeup comment. Frowning, he dropped my wrist. “You get any sleep?” he asked, but really asking about my sickness.
“Not a lick.” I touched my head and winced. “Of course, now that I’ve exercised a little, I’m sleepy. And we have uninvited company and I can’t go back to bed.”
“Always the way,” Eli said.
“Dude showed up unannounced, and tried to kill you. Double case of the rudes,” Alex said.
The man on the floor gurgled.
“Ice pack?” I suggested.
“Nah. Let him suffer,” Eli said. He bent forward and rested his elbows on his knees, hands together under his chin, watching the man’s ribs try to work. Casually, he added, “He’s turning blue.”
“I see that,” I said.
“You people are sadistic. I’m going back to my game.”
“Shooting and dismembering nonhumans on video? Sadistic, much?” Eli asked, his words sorta mushy, due to his chin on fists.
“Totally not the same,” Alex said, shaking his head, the long, tight curls around his face swinging. “Alien bugs. Exoskeletons. Antennae. Multiple legs. Green goo instead of blood.” The curls stopped swaying. They were tangled, hanging in spirals like a shaggy mop. He needed a haircut. And a shave. Alex had a lot of whiskers on his dark-skinned chin.
I blinked, surprised. His masculine chin. His eyes were deep-set over sharp cheekbones. His shoulders were broad and his arms were well-defined under his T-shirt. Holy crap. He had been doing chores and helping to cook and clean up without being asked for months. Taking showers regularly. Joining us in weightlifting, martial art practice, and sparring workouts, and he had been to the shooting range several dozen times. Alex was . . . adulting. Stinky had grown up into a very nice-looking man.
“What?” he demanded when he caught me gawking, jutting out his chin, peeved. His tone was the one a teenager makes to
meddlesome parents. He squinted his eyes and frowned, short-tempered and petulant. A child still.
“Never mind. Just a bad dream. Go back to your game.”
Alex stomped off.
“Kid’s growing up,” Eli said without looking up, reading my mind. “It’s disconcerting.”
“Yeah. It is.” I picked up my vamp-killer and went to my room, setting the blade on the bedside table beside the nine-mil and bringing back my cuffs. “You cuff him. I’ll sit on him in case he’s faking.”
“No way he’s faking. Men do not turn that color from anything else. You cuff him.”
I shrugged, bent over the man on the floor, grabbed his arm, and whipped him facedown. Stepped on his spine. Yanked up his arms. Cuffed him. He made a sound that let me know he had managed a breath. “He’ll live. If he’s a skinwalker he’ll heal even if he has to shift. And I’m not feeling really chatty right now with a guy who tried to kill me.”
This will be a very short review as it is next to impossible to review without spoilers!!
This continuation of the story made me laugh, swoon and cry. By the end, I didn’t know what I felt but I knew that I would be reading it again to properly digest it, because a whole host of things happen.
This book is the scene of the Mithran fight. The Euro-vamps are coming and it is up to everyone to fight together to protect New Orleans from the regime that they want to impose. Everyone shows up in this book and it took a few attempts to get the events straight in my head.
So, I’ll answer some questions instead of reviewing I think …. Did Jane and Brusier make me all swoony? Yes, I love them although Jane isnt’t very nice in parts. Is Beast funny and wise again? Yes but Beast knows something that Jane doesn’t and it isn’t good news (I love Beast, Beast is awesome) Did Eli, Jane and Alex make me all swoony at how lovely they are as a family? Yes … I adore their family unit. Is Leo a devious, yet dashing, pain? Yes, but he is more devious than I ever did think , although he cannot help but fear the arrival of the European Mithrans. Does Angie baby help out? Of course – she is all kinds of awesome! Does it all end happily ever after? I won’t be telling you that however, I want to warn you fellow fans, this book put me through the wringer and I haven’t yet healed. Some of the events are fantastic but this is war and some are not.
Overall, this is my favourite of the series however it doesn’t feel complete. I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff, being held up by my belt, not sure if I’m being saved or falling to my doom. Yes, I am being dramatic but come back to me when you’ve read it!
New York Times and USAToday bestselling fantasy author Faith Hunter was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. Altogether she has 40+ books in print under the names Gary Hunter, Gwen Hunter, and Faith Hunter. As Faith, she writes two contemporary Urban Fantasy series: the Jane Yellowrock series, featuring a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires, and the Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. Her Rogue Mage novels are a dark, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. The role playing game based on the series, is ROGUE MAGE, RPG.
I have the audiobook of Dark Queen ready and waiting for me.
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Oh my. Thank you for the spoiler free review, a pertinent Q&A, and the warnings. I’ll get chocolate and kleenex to settle in with this book!