“It’s fucking cold out here,” I hissed through chattering teeth. No matter how much I willed my jaw to remain motionless, it didn’t listen and the rattling inside my head was driving me insane.
The fire flickered in the pitch-darkness of the Outer Realm, casting an eerie glow across the snow. Beyond the miniscule light of the fire, as large as we dared make it here so we didn’t attract other and more dangerous beings, inky blackness stretched on forever. The oppressive nature of the dark night and the fact that I knew it could literally stretch out for eternity, was some cruel realization that I was infinitesimal in an expansive place with creatures that would eat me for the hell of it.
Shaking off my descent into bat-shit-crazy, I considered the first time I’d been here and each subsequent journey back. Each time I crossed the veil into the Outer Realm, it got just a bit colder, the air bitter and chilled. This time there was a light dusting of snow on the ground with flurries brushing against my exposed skin. I’d dressed for cold, knowing full well how the wind had burned through my clothes the last time. But this was worse. The wind was piercing and sharp as it howled through the trees and my layers.
Beyond the minimal warmth and light of the fire lurked beasties and creatures of every shape and size, and the focus of their eyes on me was a weight I felt in my gut, a tight clench of fear that made me queasy, alert, and on edge. I fought the urge to run, knowing that I couldn’t outrun any of them. I could fight but I would lose. The Outer Ream was a place where strength was valued, and weakness was devoured. Maybe they were just curious. Maybe they were hungry. I had no choice but to wait and hope they remained in the dark beyond the light of our fire.
“Make the fire warmer,” Adrik snorted, landing on my shoulder and rubbing his hands together, holding them out before the inadequate flames. The four-inch-high pixie stood close to my neck, soaking up my body heat. He knew I could use my magic to increase the heat of the fire, and I’d considered it, but I didn’t want to give too much away too soon. Bargaining with the fae was a delicate balance of knowledge and cunning. Negotiating from a position of strength was better but I wouldn’t lay all my cards on the table just yet.
“I don’t want to burn my eyebrows off,” I said, smirking at the pixie. He rolled his small silver eyes at my obvious lie. “When are they going to get here?” I asked, wanting desperately to be home and warm in my bed. The longer I stayed in the Outer Realm, the bigger the likelihood that someone would notice either on this side or my side of the veil that I was not where I was supposed to be.
Adrik and I had been making small trips to the Outer Realm for weeks without letting anyone know. I was pushing my luck before either Patrick or Dean noticed and gave me hell, at the very least a lecture. After the mountain where I’d killed Rokap but lost Milagra and Konstantin, Dean and Patrick had been different. More protective. More confining. More everything. Dean especially. If they knew what I was doing, Dean would lose his shit. Right now, this was better. He didn’t worry and I didn’t have to deal with his anger. I was being a coward but right now, I was willing to be a coward to keep them safe just a bit longer.
“The representative should be here momentarily,” Adrik responded.
“You’d think I’d figure out how to dress properly to be here, but it always seems colder than the last time,” I said, unable to keep my teeth from chattering. The fleece lining wasn’t enough.“It is not your imagination,” Adrik answered, his voice rough through the already guttural accent. His English was much better, but I could still hear the centuries of Russian in the shape of his words.
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Suzanne M. Sabol's Top 10 Favorite Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Series #UrbanFantasy
Top 10 Favorite Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
10. Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole – I’m throwing this in last because I hate Evie (the main character) which I understand is a rough stance to have considering she’s the main character, but I love Jack and Aric. I kinda want the two of them to ride off into the apocalypse and have themselves a nice little bromance. I realize that won’t happen, but I can hope.
9. Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton – I add this one with a caveat. Only the first five books are on this list. After that, the focus gets lost and the books change tone. Instead of the badass Anita Blake was, it all started to erode. I hung in there for a really long time. Longer than I should have.
8. Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs – This is farther down on the list than a lot of people would probably put it. It’s here for me because upon rereads, especially one book after the other, I realized that Adam got kidnapped…a lot. Almost every book. He got kidnapped way too much for a werewolf Alpha that was supposed to be pretty powerful.
7. Vampire Huntress Legend by L.A. Banks – This is just a well thought out series and arc. The world building is diverse and immersive. I hated the first book and trudged through the it years ago because I was committed to finish it. I hadn’t learned to put things down I didn’t enjoy yet. However, and this is why it took me so long to learn this lesson, by the time I got to the end of Minion, I was hooked.
6. Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews – The world building here is some of the best. That’s something that they do very well. I love the characters and the world they’ve created.
5. Here’s where I’m going to cheat just a bit and skew a little off course. Anything by Juliet Marillier. She writes folklore-based historical fantasy (mostly Celtic) and she is a must-buy for me. Sevenwaters. Blackthorn and Grimm. The Bridei Chronicles. The Bard Warrior series. All of it.
4. Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs – the characters are very distinct and are well matched. I love dipping into that world to see what’s going on. The main characters are traumatized buy not broken and that’s a hard line to ride. Plus, I love getting a closer look at Bran who originated in the Mercy Thompson novels.
3. The Hollows by Kim Harrison – I love so many of the characters in this series. Jinx is a favorite and I’m going to be one of the few people who just ADORED Trent Kalamack from the first time he appeared. I talked my husband into allowing us to name our baby Trent if it was a boy…it was a girl.
2. IAD by Kresley Cole – These books are just drugs in book form. They’re sooooo good. I’ve read, reread, and reread all of them many times. Even the ones I’m not so keen on. I have these in multiple formats (print, ebook, audio) because both Kresley Cole and Ilona Andrews can have all my money.
1. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews – Curran. That’s all I have to say. I do an annual reread of the whole series and the side novels, short stories, etc and I’m not sad about it.
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The Blushing Death Series
Suzanne M. Sabol
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Date of Publication: May 4, 2022
Number of pages: 379
Word Count: 114K
Cover Artist: Rae Monet
Tagline: Fighting enemies on all fronts, The Blushing Death must convince humanity that vampires and werewolves aren’t the monsters they’ve always feared. But destroying her enemies and protecting her people may be harder than she realizes with all of humanity watching and their secret out in the open.
The supernatural world has come out to humanity with a bang!
All the precious planning Patrick and Dean have worked toward and all the connections they have developed are worthless. When the Master Vampire of North America decides to remind humanity of their place on the food chain, the city and its people will pay the price. The battle for the North American vampire colonies has begun in earnest and only a single vampire can be at the top.
Dahlia is waging a battle on a different front. Baba Yaga is making moves in Faerie to regain her power in both the human world and Faerie, creating chaos and leaving carnage in her wake. Faced with new crises and old enemies, Dahlia will need to balance her responsibilities to her people and her city with the creatures in the Outer Realm.
But Baba Yaga has used the darkest magic to tie The Blushing Death to her and the ramifications could be deadly. Can Dahlia build an army to defeat Baba Yaga? Can she overcome her own fears to become the power she needs to be?
Suzanne M Sabol is the author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and has two Bachelor of Arts degrees with majors in Criminology, International Studies, Russian, and Political Science. She has a Master’s degree from The Ohio State University’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs. She is married with one child and lives in Columbus Ohio.
The Blushing Death Series and the Blood and Bone Legacy are published through Soul Mate Publishing. Editor, Debby Gilbert, can be contacted through their website at www.soulmatepublishing.com.
Posted by Roxanne Rhoads at 4:00 AM