Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blog Tour: Blood Assassin by Alexandra Ivy


Alexandra Ivy's Blood Assassin book tour is stopping here today with an excerpt! Blood Assassin is the second book in the Sentinels series, published by Zebra at the end of December 2014. It's an action-oriented paranormal romance that I thoroughly enjoyed! 

For other stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

The Book



They are the outcasts of humanity. Blessed with power. Cursed by fate. Driven by passion. The Sentinels have returned…

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

At six-foot-three and two-hundred-fifty pounds, Fane is a natural born guardian. A flawless mix of muscled perfection and steely precision, he has devoted years of his life to protecting a beautiful necromancer. But after she found love in the arms of another, Fane has been a warrior adrift. He swears allegiance only to the Sentinels. And no woman will ever rule his heart again…

INTO THE FIRE

Not only a powerful psychic, Serra is that rare telepath who can connect to minds through objects. When the daughter of a high-blood businessman is kidnapped, Serra agrees to help. But when she stumbles onto a conspiracy involving secrets sects and ancient relics, her life is in mortal danger—and Fane is her only hope. Is the warrior willing to risk his body, his soul, and his heart, for Serra? Or will one last betrayal destroy them both?


Blood Assassin is available from Zebra now!

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Goodreads 

Excerpt

True.” Fane tried to dismiss the problem from his mind. Soon enough he would be in the seclusion of the monastery and the dangers of the world would no longer be his concern. Right? “It sounds like you have it covered. I’ll send you more warriors when they’ve completed their training.”

Dammit, Fane...” Wolfe bit off his words as the atmosphere in the gym abruptly changed.

Both men turned to discover what had happened.

Or rather...who...had happened.

Shit,” Fane breathed, a familiar ache settling in the center of his chest at the sight of the beautiful female who sashayed into the room.

Serra Vetrov had the habit of changing the atmosphere in rooms since she’d left the nursery.

Hell, he’d seen men walk into walls and cars drive off the road when she strolled past.

An elegantly tall woman with long, glossy black hair that contrasted with her pale, ivory skin, she had lush curves that she emphasized with her tight leather pants and matching vest that was cut to reveal a jaw-dropping amount of her generous breasts.

Her features were delicately carved. Her pale green eyes were thickly lashed, her nose narrow and her lips so sensually full they gave the impression of a sex kitten.

Although anyone foolish enough to underestimate her, was in for an unpleasant surprise.

Serra was not only a powerful psychic, but she was a rare telepath who could use objects to connect with the mind of the owner. Over the years, she’d used her talents more than once to find missing children or to track down violent offenders.

On the darker side, she could also use her skills to force humans, and those high-bloods without mental shields, to see illusions and could even implant memories in the more vulnerable minds.

Still, it wasn’t her dangerous powers that made grown men scramble out of her path. Serra had a tongue that could flay at a hundred yards and she wasn’t afraid to use it.

Wolfe sent Fane a mocking smile. “It appears I’m not the only one who listens to the grapevine. Good luck, amigo.”

Turning, he strolled toward the cluster of Sentinels who were watching Serra cross the gym like a pack of starving hounds.

Bastards.

###

Serra kept her head held high and a smile pinned to her lips as she marched past the gaping men. She was female enough to appreciate being noticed by the opposite sex. Why not? But today she barely noticed the audible groans as she took a direct path toward her prey.

She felt a tiny surge of amusement as the thought of Fane being anyone’s prey.

The massive warrior was two hundred fifty pounds of pure muscle and raw male power. He was also one of the rare few who was completely impervious to her ability to poke around in his mind.

Which was a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because it was impossible for a psychic to completely block out an intimate partner, which was a distraction that would make any lover cringe. There was nothing quite so demeaning as being in the middle of sex and realize your partner was picturing Angelina Jolie.

And a curse because Fane was about as chatty as a rock. His feelings were locked down so tight Serra feared that someday they would explode.

And not in a good way.

Or maybe it would be good, she silently told herself, gliding to a halt directly in front of his half-naked form.

There weren’t many things worse than watching all emotions being stripped away as you approached the man you’d loved for the past two decades.

Especially when she was a seething mass of emotions.

She wanted to grab his beautiful face in her hands and kiss him until he melted into a puddle of goo. No. She wanted to kick him in the nuts for being such a prick.

Maybe she’d kick him and then kiss it better.

To make matters worse she was on a lust-driven adrenalin high.

Just standing next to his half-naked body coated in sweat made her heart pump and her mouth dry.

God. She was so fucking pathetic.

Accepting that her companion wasn’t going to break the awkward silence, she tilted her chin up another notch.

Any higher and she was going to be staring at the ceiling.

Fane,” she purred softly.

His dark gaze remained focused on her face, resisting any temptation to glance at her skimpy vest. Of course, if it hadn’t been for the rare times she’d caught him casting covert glances at her body, she might suspect he hadn’t yet realized she was a woman.

Serra.”

On the way to the gym she’d practiced what she was going to say. She was going to be cool. Composed. And in complete control.

Instead the fear lodged in the pit of her belly made her strike out like a petulant child.

You’re leaving?”

He gave a slow dip of his head. “I’m returning to Tibet.”

The fear began to spread through her body, her hands clenching at her sides. “Did you ever intend to tell me?”

Yes.”

When?” she snapped. “On your way out the door?”

Does it matter?”

Oh yeah. He was definitely getting kicked in the nuts.

Yes, it damned well matters.”

He remained stoic. Unmoved by her anger. “What do you want from me?”

She lowered her voice. It wasn’t that she gave a shit that they had an audience. Living in Valhalla meant that privacy was a rare commodity. But she had some pride, dammit. She didn’t want them to hear her beg.

You know what I want.”

Something flared through the dark eyes. Something that sliced through her heart like a dagger.

It’s impossible,” he rasped. “I’ll always care for you, Serra, but not in the way you need.”

She should walk away.

It’s what any woman with an ounce of sense would do.

But when had she claimed any sense when it came to this man?

Instead she stepped forward, bringing them nose to nose. Well, they would be nose to nose if he didn’t have six inches on her.

Liar.”

He frowned, the heat from his body brushing over her bare skin like a caress. Serra shuddered. Oh god. She’d wanted him for so long.

It was like a sickness.

A Sentinel doesn’t lie.”

She snorted at the ridiculous claim. “Maybe not, but you can twist the truth until it screams. And the truth is that you’ve always used your duty to Callie as a shield between us.”

His fists landed on his hips, his eyes narrowing at her accusation. “My duty was more than a shield.”

Okay. He had a point.

His bond with Callie had been very real.

But that didn’t mean he hadn’t hidden behind his obligation as a guardian.

Fine.” She held his gaze. “And now that duty is done.”

He was shaking his head before she finished speaking. “My duty to Callie is done, but my duty to the Sentinels remains.”

She clenched teeth. It was true most Sentinels never married. But it wasn’t against any rules.

Niko had just returned to Valhalla with a wife who promised to be a valuable healer, and Callie had recently married Duncan who’d recently become a Sentinel.

It might demand compromise and sacrifice on both sides, but it could be done.

So why was Fane so unwilling to even give it a try?

I assume that’s going to be your new excuse?” she forced between gritted teeth.

Without warning his expression softened and his fingers lightly brushed down her bare arm.

Serra, I don’t need an excuse,” he said, the hint of regret in his eyes more alarming than his previous remoteness. She was used to him pretending to be indifferent to her. Now it felt like...goodbye. Shit. “I’ve never made promises I can’t keep,” he continued, his tone soft. “In fact, I’ve been very clear that you should find a man who can give you the happiness you deserve.”

For one weak, tragic moment she allowed herself to savor the brief touch of his fingers. Then her pride came galloping to her rescue and she was jerking away with a brittle smile.

She would endure anything but his pity.

Hell no.

Very generous of you.”

He grimaced at her sarcastic tone. “I know you don’t believe me, but all I’ve ever wanted was your happiness.”

And you assume I’ll find it in the arms of another man?” She went straight for the jugular.

The hesitation was so fleeting she might have imagined it. “Yes.”

She leaned forward, infuriated by her inability to read his mind. Dammit. Just when she needed her talents the most she was flying blind.

Was this how humans felt?

This maddening helplessness?

It sucked.

It won’t bother you at all to know that I belong to another?”

I will be...” He took a beat to find the right word. “Content.”

My Review

Alessandra Ivy's Blood Assassin gives us a power couple in Fane and Serra. This book is right in my wheelhouse - paranormal romance with plenty of urban fantasy elements. The romance between Fane and Serra is a really significant component of the book, but they're united through an investigation, and we have a couple of other viewpoint characters so it felt very much on the border between paranormal romance and urban fantasy to me.

Blood Assassin has the familiar paranormal romance motif of the guild of 'more than' humans (called high-bloods), providing both hero and heroine in this novel. The twist, which I really appreciated, is that this guild isn't fighting to protect humanity from great evils but instead has banded together to seek peace with humanity. Norms, as regular humans are called, often fear high-bloods and so the guild in this book series is more about creating a united front to promote peace between norms and high-bloods.  

Now, I was new to the Sentinels series when I started reading Blood Assassin and that definitely put me at a disadvantage. There's an infodump before the book starts explaining who the Sentinels are, and then I felt that there was more within the novel itself to get me up to speed. My eyes definitely glazed over a bit at these. I really liked this world, I just wish that I learned about it in a more organic manner.

Despite that, I really enjoyed Blood Assassin. The couple - Serra and Fane - were very endearing. Fane's habitual rejection of Serra over the years takes an obvious toll on her ability to trust him. I enjoyed how that played out as he found himself forced to work for her affections for the first time. 

I really appreciated that Fane and Serra were both at the top of their respective fields. Fane's extreme physicality really needed the balance that Serra's psychic talents provided. If Serra hadn't had her own realm of expertise, I think the partnership would have been really uneven - it would have been harder for her to stand up to him and that was a really critical component of their relationship.

The relationship develops during the investigation of a kidnapping. I really enjoyed the circumstances around the investigation, which elevated the stakes above and beyond. Blood Assassin is steeped in tension, and I loved that. The story really grabbed me and kept me flipping pages long after I should have gone to bed.

Blood Assassin features some excellent secondary characters, including the businessman referred to in the blurb - the morally ambiguous Bas. I'd like to find out what happens next for him. I also enjoyed Wolfe and Lana, two leaders of the high-bloods. I was so invested in Fane and Serra that while I was reading, I often wanted to skim through these other point-of-view characters' sections to get back to the main romance. I felt like I was really shortchanging these characters because they *were* excellent and I do want to read more of them. Just, you know, in their own books. 

The Bottom Line:

I happily recommend Blood Assassin to fans of paranormal romance or even urban fantasy. I found enough new material here to really keep me engaged and I really liked Fane and Serra. I'll be back for the next book in the series.

4.5 stars
For fans of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, romantic suspense

About the Author



ALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com.

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2 comments:

  1. This is on my wishlist :) I really liked the first one!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for taking the time to host BLOOD ASSASSIN!

    ReplyDelete