[ARC Review] Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson

Amy's Reviews, ARC Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 21st July, 2016

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[ARC Review] Nightshades by Melissa F. OlsonNightshades by Melissa F. Olson
Published by Tor Fantasy on July 19, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Urban
Pages: 176
Source: Netgalley
Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

Nightshades is a new gritty urban fantasy from Melissa F. Olson.

I liked Nightshades. It was a very quick read. For this review, I am going to do something different. I think for such a fast short read my review is going to be short and sweet. I am going to list the things liked and the things I didn’t like about Nightshades.


Things I liked about Nightshades:

It was short and therefore a very quick read. I liked the different take on vampires. These are not shiny misunderstood beings.

The X-Files tv the x files x files xfiles

The vampires are just like humans in a way. Some vampires are evil and some just want to do the right thing. Also, I liked the potential for a romance on the horizon.



Things I didn’t like about Nightshades:

Nightshades was not anything new. It is something I have I seen or read about a zillion times. The plot was something out of The X-Files. Some parts were boring. I found myself skim reading them. I liked the police procedural parts. I don’t some of it was a bit boring.


All in all Nightshades was a quick decent read. Speaking of The X-Files, Nightshades reminds me of watching a TV pilot I am not quite sure of yet. I am not quite in love with it yet but the potential is there so I am going to keep this series.

[Review] Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 1 Comment 12th July, 2016

I received this book for free from Amazon, Netgalley, Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review] Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyDefending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on July 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Amazon, Netgalley, Purchase
There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor's always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that's what is expected of a senator's daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor's kicked out of private school. Everything she's worked so hard for is gone, and now she's starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor's escape from the pressures of school and family, but it's hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she's going through is her older brother's best friend, Ezra. Taylor's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it's hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

I just have to say Defending Taylor didn’t disappoint. I read this book in one day. It is one of those short breezy books that grab you and don’t let go until the end.

so good bruce almighty




I once heard someone I think it was another adult, say they didn’t like read because the parents are never around or they look stupid. I didn’t know what to say to that because it is true the parents are hardly ever around in YA. You know what I say now: so what. Even in Gilmore Girls Rory had to go off on her own to discover herself. That is what YA is about self-discovery. No one does it better than Miranda Kenneally. Her books are filled with so much heart. Yes the parents make mistakes and look stupid but so do the teens. In the end, we are all human.

I liked Defending Taylor because it is a story not just about a teen girl learning to find herself and move on from a mistake. It is also a story about finding real love. It is about finding love from a handsome boy who will defend you even to your own parents. It is about finding love and acceptance from new friends as well as old friends.  Most of all this story is about finding love and forgiveness from family, as well. Because, from the time we are born we just want to want to make our family proud of us. Sometimes people make mistakes but it how we learn and move on from those mistakes that matter the most. That is what I liked most about Defending Taylor because it was story about love and forgiveness. Tee and her family come out stronger for all the lessons they learn in this book.  I like the message I took away from this book. To live your life with integrity, honesty, but most of all to live your life for you.

[Review] Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 11th July, 2016

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review] Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya RodaleChasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale
Series: Keeping Up With the Cavendishes #2
Published by Avon on June 28, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
In the second novel of Maya Rodale’s enchanting Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series, an American heiress finds her reputation—and heart—in danger when she travels to London and meets a wickedly tempting rake

Terribly Improper
Lady Amelia is fed up with being a proper lady and wishes to explore London, so one night she escapes . . . and finds herself in the company of one Alistair Finlay-Jones. He’s been ordered by his uncle to wed one of the American girls. How lucky, then, that one of them stumbles right into his arms!

Totally Scandalous
Alistair and Amelia have one perfect day to explore London, from Astley’s Amphitheater to Vauxhall Gardens. Inevitably they end up falling in love and making love. If anyone finds out, she will be ruined, but he will win everything he’s ever wanted.

Very Romantic
When Amelia finds out Alistair has been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming . . . will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?

I am sure it comes as no surprise that I love all things romance. I will read anything as long as it has even a hint of romance. Over the past couple of years I have become a big fan of Maya Rodale. Her books are sweet, very sexy, and guaranteed to have that happily ever after I am looking for. When I saw Maya Rodale had new romance out, I was like sign me up because I am all over that.


Chasing Lady Amelia was everything I hoped it would be. I truly fell into some serious like with this story. The best way I can describe this story is it is Roman Holiday.

audrey hepburn gregory peck roman holiday movie lover



Lady Amelia Cavendish is an American trying to live the life of an English debutante after her brother inherits a Dukedom. Of course, she is not thrilled at the prospect of being the sister of a duke. Lady Amelia longs for her simple life as the sister of a horse farmer in America. The only purpose a lady of quality has it to marry men of quality. She does not like the restrictions, the long tedious balls, and most of all the boring men her the Duchess has picked out for her. One night Lady Amelia escapes out her window and right into the arms of a handsome and dashing man. Amelia and Alistair decide to spend one day together both of them not being honest about who they really are. When that day is over both of them will have decide what the future holds.

Like I said before, I really liked this story. But, then again I am a big fan of Roman Holiday and even the movie One Fine Day. I believe that great romances can built on one really fantastic day. For some people it may takes months to really feel a connection. For others, it only takes a day of adventure and stolen kisses for a connection to be. It’s not instalove but a day in which the spark of love is ignited. I liked that the rest book is about nurturing that spark but, of course, not without obstacles because every great love requires at least a few obstacles. I can’t wait to read the next book and find out what the future holds for the next Cavendish.

[Audiobook Review] The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 10th July, 2016

I received this book for free from Audible, Edelweiss, Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Audiobook Review] The Shadow Queen by C.J. RedwineThe Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Series: Ravenspire #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 16, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 387
Source: Audible, Edelweiss, Purchase
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

I tried to read this book several times and just never could get into it. I mean I really tried. I feel like I have been reading this book for forever. I felt like if I could just get into then I wouldn’t have to DNF it so I put it on the back burner for a while. So, I decided to go ahead and use an audible credit and give The Shadow Queen another chance. I can say I am proud of myself for finishing The Shadow Queen this time. This audiobook felt like it took forever to get through and all I could keep thinking was: “Are we there yet.”

bored emma stone whatever easy a crickets



Did I like the book once I was able to get through it? Um not really. I didn’t hate it with the power of a thousand suns but I certainly didn’t love it. I hate giving bad reviews but this book was just flat out boring. I just never connected with the characters or the story itself. I knew going in The Shadow Queen a Snow White retelling. I have read other retellings that are fabulous so this knowledge didn’t put me off. I mean what is there not to like about the “huntsman” being an enslaved dragon shapeshifter. I was like magic, dragons, and evil queens count me in. For me, The Shadow Queen fell flat. It was drug out and I felt like it took way way too long to get the big fight scene at the end. I know there is a lot of world building that has to go on but it was just tedious at some points. I felt like the romance was rushed. Maybe this was because I was listening to the book but I found the magic system a bit convoluted.

I just want to say the narrator Khristine Hvam did a decent job. I have listened to other books narrated by her and loved them so I can definitely say it’s not the narrator. In the end, I sadly just did not like The Shadow Queen. I found myself spacing out or just flat not listening to parts of the story because I was like hurry and get on with it. I can sadly say The Shadow Queen is not for me.

[Review] This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 7th July, 2016

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review] This Savage Song by Victoria SchwabThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Published by Greenwillow on July 5, 2016
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives

I like horror movies and TV shows. One of my favorite movies is Jaws. The Walking Dead and Supernatural rank high in my all-time favorite TV shows. You would think that would mean I like horror novels too. Wrong. I am very picky about the any scary book, or a book that I think might be scary, I pick up. The reason: I guess when I read and I get so invested in a story I just want to be somewhat sure there is going to be a happily ever at the end. I gave This Savage Song a chance and I got so involved in the story I couldn’t walk away from it no matter how much it made want to bite nails.

scared nervous shaking kermit kermit the frog


I have to say I have read Victoria Schwab’s Shades of Magic series so I knew I would like the writing style going in. I know I am not the first to say this, the world building in This Savage Song is spot on. It takes in place in dystopian society where the evil acts done by people create living breathing monsters. These monsters run the streets at night in a town called Verity. The town is divided by two leaders. One who offers protection from the monsters for a price. Another, who fights the evil alongside lesser evil monsters.

I ended up liking This Savage Song because it was arm hair raising creepy. It kept me guessing until the very end. I kind of saw the ending coming but I still had hope for a different outcome. More than that, I liked this book because it asked a very important question. Just who are the monsters really? Are they the shadow creatures who live in the sewer? Are they the blood drinking creatures? Are they soul sucking creatures? Or, are they really us, people like you and me? Going back to something I learned in Scooby Doo it’s not the things that go bump in the night that are scary. It’s the people hiding behind the masks that are the most terrifying.

Even though This Savage Song didn’t have anything I normally look for in a book which is basically a romance of any kind, it was one of those compelling reads that I just couldn’t stop reading. I also like the character growth in this book. I liked the friendship between Kate and August. It started out as something based on distrust but grew into something much deeper. In the end, monster or human we all just want to accepted and feel like we belong. That is what I took away from This Savage. It is a story about acceptance and finding out what truly makes us good or evil.

[Review] Into the Blue by Chanel Cleeton

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 4th July, 2016

I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review] Into the Blue by Chanel CleetonInto the Blue by Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces #2
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on July 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée.

Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca.

Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

I read the first book in this series, Fly With Me, in two sittings.  Luckily, I had won a copy of Into the Blue in a giveaway so I was able to dive right into this book.  I have to say I devoured this book.  I had both books read in one weekend.  I am now in so much like with these fighter pilots now, it’s not even funny!!!

TV Land Classic betty white hot in cleveland tv


Into the Blue stars Eric, Noah’s friend from Fly With Me.  Eric and the rest of the squadron are still rolling from the events that took place at the end of Fly With Me.   Eric decides to take a mental health leave.   Because, sometimes you just gotta take some time to get the issues sorted out.  He decides to go back home to see his grandma and reconnect with his roots.  Along, the way sees the girl, now a woman, he left behind.  Then the sexy games begin from there.  Oh boy, they are some really sexy games.

I really liked this book about second chances.  Sometimes making a relationship work really is all about the timing.  I liked that in this story it wasn’t only the woman making all the sacrifices to make the relationship work.  Becca and Eric both learn that it takes compromise to make a relationship work. Compromise was something neither one of them really ready to do when they were 10 years younger.  Into the Blue was about two people who had a lot of growing up to do, then a lot of hurt to get over, and finally making amends.  Sometimes things have to play out a certain way because at the time we are not truly ready for them.  Into the Blue was everything I am now coming to expect from a Wild Aces story: sweet, seriously sexy, and pulls at the heartstrings.   I find myself now addicted to these sexy fighter pilots and the women who steel their hearts.  Now I want to read Easy and Dani’s story even more.

[Review]Forevermore by Kristen Callihan

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 3rd July, 2016

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review]Forevermore by Kristen CallihanForevermore by Kristen Callihan
Series: Darkest London #7
Published by Forever on June 28, 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Miss Layla Starling, the young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy heiress, is the talk of London. Until now, she's managed to evade the marriage noose. Despite the fact that she is unfortunately American, she's received a staggering number of offers. And turned down every one.

St. John Evernight does not want to admit the relief he feels every time he hears that she has rejected one of her suitors. Which is unfair of him. Layla deserves to be happy. But he can not offer her happiness. He will never be normal, never be anything but a freak in her world. So St. John resolves to keep his distance, until he is recruited by the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to guard Layla. For she is in grave danger, and he is about to learn the full extent of his powers.

They say all good things must come to an end.

sad bye goodbye waving the oc



Forevermore is the last book in Darkest London series.   While I have enjoyed the side characters finding love in the last couple of books, it was great to go back to the trio of sisters and their long lost brother who started it all.  Forevermore was about Sin the brother of Miranda, Daisy and Poppy.  Sin has been made into a Judgement angel.  His first real assignment is to watch over Layla his mentor’s charge.  But, Sin means more to Layla than just a bodyguard.  Sin is her long lost childhood friend.
I really liked this book because it ties up everything nicely in neat happily ever after package.  This is a romance so I didn’t spoil that part of book.  But,  I won’t go into the details of how or why because, you know, I don’t want to spoil everything.  For me, every book in The Darkest London series is about redemption through trust and love.  They are stories about men and women who have lost everything but somehow manage to find their way back to love.  Forevermore is no exception.  Sin and Layla have demons to fight literally and figuratively.  I like how they are both able to heal their wounded hearts by loving each other.  Through the love of another learning they are also worthy of loving their own selves.  The only complaint I had about Forevermore was their so many loose end being tied up for everyone in the series that it did feel a little rushed.
In the end I really enjoyed Forevermore and I am slightly sad to it come to an end.  I can always dream for a spinoff story.  I am glad I read this series.  I am most definitely glad I read Forevermore.  This book was: sexy, steamy, sinful, sweet, and sad all rolled into one fabulous package.

[Giveaway] Just Couldn’t Put it Down July Giveaway Hop

Giveaways 42 Comments 30th June, 2016


Welcome to another great giveaway here at Romancing the Laser Pistol. As part of the “Just Couldn’t Put it Down July Giveaway Hop” hosted by StuckInBooks. This month we’re offering a Tracked giftbag full of books that we just couldn’t put down. This includes a signed hardback copy of Marked (the sequel to Tracked), a paperback copy of Tracked, A signed hardback copy of Dumplin’, a Tracked T-Shirt (XL), a $10 Amazon Giftcard, and all this comes in a reusable Tracked tote-bag.

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[Review] Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 30th June, 2016

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review] Fly With Me by Chanel CleetonFly With Me by Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces #1
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on May 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
From the author of the Capital Confessions Novels comes the first in the steamy Wild Aces Romance series.

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her.

Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down.

One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love…

I really liked this book.   I started this book not knowing what to expect but from the page I was hooked.  It was sexy as all get out.  But, it had depth too.   That makes Fly With Me my favorite kind of romance.   I really liked this story about a whirlwind romance and deciding if you can make it work for love.

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The thing I liked most about this book is that it doesn’t glamorize what being a military wife, fiancée, or girlfriend is all about.   It is not a 24hr fantasy staring a hot guy in a uniform.   It is about a man that puts his life on the line every day.   It is about a man who will not always be around when you need him most. Most of all it is about deciding if you love the man enough despite all of that to stay with him and make it work.   It is about learning to be strong enough to make it through the times when he is on missions and you are at home alone for the umpteenth time.   I know personally I am not strong enough to be that kind of partner.  I hated every minute my husband worked an overnight shift and that included weekends, the first couple of years we lived together.  I barely saw him and felt like I was still living alone.   I just want to say admire military spouses.  They are the ones at home taking care of the children.  They are ones sometimes making their own birthday cake.  Most of all they are the rock that the men and the women in the military lean on.  I really liked that Fly With Me pay respect to, in my opinion, the unsung heroes of the military.

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I really enjoyed Jordan and Noah’s story.  Their chemistry was explosive.   I could feel the heat coming off the page.   There were times I thought I was going to have to splash cold water on my face and fan myself to cool down.   I really liked that they had the kind of love that I know will last.  I really liked Jordan.   There was a maturity that she had that I liked.   Sure there was a lot of back and forth can I make this work in the last half but it is understandable.   She had a really tough decision to make.  Follow love or play it safe.   I don’t know but following love and traveling all the world with a sexy fighter pilot sounds pretty good to me.  By the end of this book I ended up becoming infatuated with all the men in the Wild Aces squadron.   I can’t wait to read the next book in the book series!

[Release Day Blitz + Giveaway] FOREVERMORE by Kristen Callihan

Spotlights & Tours 0 Comments 28th June, 2016

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Callihan_Forevermore_MMBOOK INFORMATION

Title: Forevermore

Author: Kristen Callihan

Series: Darkest London, #7

On Sale: June 28, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Formats: Mass Market & eBook

Price: $7.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

Isolated and alone, Sin Evernight is one of the most powerful supernatural creatures in heaven and on earth. As an angel of vengeance, he hunts down the darkest evil, but when his long-lost friend, Layla Starling, needs him, he vows to become her protector. Even though she will be horrified by the man he has become.

Now a famous singer and the toast of London, Layla believes that Sin is only here to guard her from rabid fans and ardent suitors. However, the truth is far more sinister. Desperate to avoid losing Layla a second time, Sin will face a test of all his powers to defeat an unstoppable foe – and win an eternity with the woman he loves.

(Scroll down for an excerpt from Forevermore!)


Darkest London Series





Firelight, #1

Moonglow, #2

Winterblaze, #3

Shadowdance, #4

Evernight, #5

Soulbound, #6

Forevermore, #7

Series Page on Goodreads



Barnes & Noble


Google Play





Kristen CallihanUSA Today bestselling author Kristen Callihan is a writer because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewers’ Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Book Reviews’ Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.













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One might think being an immortal was a blessing, never grow old, never grow sick, never die. At one time in St. John Evernight’s life, he considered it a blessing too. He would be around long after the simple humans who surrounded him were nothing but dust. They could stare all they liked at his “strange” hair and frosty green eyes. They could gossip and speculate about him until they lost their voices. It didn’t matter. He was untouchable, and they were but fragile sacks of blood and bone.

How naive he’d been. Because living forever merely meant a lack of escape from the desolation of regret and loneliness. He knew now that he could walk down Jermyn Street endlessly, see the sands of time shift and rearrange before him, and never be a part of life.

“Brooding, Mr. Evernight?”

Sin almost jumped at the sudden sound of Augustus’s voice by his side. Damn, the blasted man loved to startle him. He gave Augustus a passing glance. Dressed in conservative brown tweed and a bowler hat, the angel appeared every inch the English gentlemen, save for his dark coloring that marked him to be from Southern climes.

“It’s really quite the trick, popping up like a soap bubble whenever you choose, Augustus. You must teach me how one day.”

The man’s mouth twitched. “With your luck, you’d pop up in the middle of a parliamentary session.”

Yes, Sin had abominable luck. Or perhaps it was more a matter of making abominable choices.

“You’re brooding again,” Augustus remarked.

“I’m not brooding. This is simply my face.”

Augustus snorted but remained silent as they walked along, past Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall.

“Care to tell me why you called me here?” Sin asked, when they came upon the grounds of Westminster. For the past year, Sin had been in Rome, soaking in the warmer temperatures, drinking espresso in cafes along the Piazza della Rotunda, under the shade of the ancient Pantheon. He’d eaten simple but delicious food, and listened to the rapid fire of Italian, and felt…well, not peace, but a measure of contentment.

Until Augustus had sent for him. Returning to England sat like a stone in his gut. But he would obey. Augustus was his mentor, and the man who’d given him salvation. The price was a lifetime of servitude. To be fair, his role was for justice, not evil, which was a nice change of pace.

A massive dray rattled past, kicking up dust and sending a fug of stale manure into the air. They hurried past the cloud and headed for Westminster Abbey. Sin hadn’t planned on visiting today, but here they were all the same. He wondered if Augustus somehow had led him to their usual meeting place or if Sin had merely headed that way because of the man’s sudden arrival.

He’d like to think the latter. It did not sit well with him having another control his actions. Not since a certain evil fae had kept Sin as a blood slave for years. Even now, the memory made his stomach turn.

Not a soul acknowledged them as they walked through the abbey and into the cloisters. Here, a rare bit of sunlight peeked through the constant cloud cover and cast lacy shadows along the walkway. The sound of their boot heels clacked out a steady rhythm as they strolled along.

“Layla returns to London tonight.”

At the mention of her name, Sin’s heart stilled within his breast. He’d tried his best to ward off all finer feelings, to remain numb, detached from life. And yet he could not, for the life of him, remain immune to Layla Starling. His childhood friend. The one woman who could take his breath, his reason, simply by laying eyes upon her.

Stuffing his shaking hands into his trouser pockets, Sin forced himself to keep an even tone. “So then I am to begin watching over her?”

God, but he did not want to. It would be agony, staying so close to her and never being allowed to show his true feelings. And yet a thrum of anticipation went through him at the mere prospect of seeing Layla once more.

“Are you ready?” Augustus asked, though his expression told Sin he fully expected an affirmative answer.

So Sin told him the only truth left to him. “I will not fail her.”