I’m not quite finished with this book, so my review will be posted later. I really enjoyed the first book in Jennifer’s other series set in this same universe; What’s a Witch to Do, so this looks like fun. Please enjoy this excerpt from High Moon by Jennifer Harlow to see if you agree.
Chapter One- Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
Watching the man you love suck face with a gorgeous woman is not the best way to start a birthday. Welcome to my world.
He sits at a back booth, lips and every other body part pressed against that succubus, appearing to love every second and caress, the rat bastard. And how can he not be? The evil slut queen of doom has everything I don’t. Long, straight hay-colored hair, big blue eyes, big breasts, long lean legs, tight body all encased in a skintight black dress clinging to her perfect curves that only a plastic surgeon could ever recreate on me. I’ve envied women like her all my life, and now that succubus has my future husband in her enticing clutches. Literally. An actual succubus is clutching his soft brown hair and kissing him as if her life depended on it. Which I guess it does—as she feeds off sexual energy to live—but still. Does he have to frigging enjoy the whole experience so much?
Howdy. The jealous, insecure, emotional wreck before you is Special Agent Beatrice Alexander of the covert branch of the FBI known to the underworld as the F.R.E.A.K.S. We fight the monsters under your bed: the vampires, the ghosts, and the soon to be decapitated succubi of the world. Those terrors in horror movies? Real. Trolls, zombies, even giant snakes. Killed them all so the citizens of America can go about their normal lives. Why am I so lucky? Because technically I’m one of them. I can move anything with my mind. It’s called tele or psychokinesis. I can carry in groceries or stop hearts without lifting a finger. And let me say doing the latter is mighty tempting right about now.
The man having his tonsils examined by the succubus is my teammate Special Agent Will Price. He’s technically a monster too, at least once a month. He’s a werewolf, not that I hold that against him. After all us freaks can’t help who or what we are. We’re actually a lot like everyone else. Though Will did literally eat my last boyfriend. The psycho was trying to kill me at the time, so I gave Will a pass on that. But this…
Will shifts in his seat to get closer to her. They haven’t broken apart in over forty-seven seconds. Forty-seven! He’s kissed her longer than he’s ever kissed me all three times combined. I don’t care that she’s more or less bewitched him. I don’t care that it’s all for a case. My hands ball into fists, fingers digging so deep in my own flesh it hurts. A cool hand touches mine. I look away from this nauseating PDA toward the hand’s owner. My friend, the delectable Oliver Montrose gazes at me, his gray eyes warning me not to put into action what I’ve been contemplating. Namely storming over there and cold cocking that female dog with the butt of my Glock. Though she so deserves it. In Virginia Beach alone she’s been linked to two deaths. Two young seamen were found naked and dead in their own beds of apparent heart attacks after going home from a club with a hot blonde. Who knows how many others she’s sucked dry over the years?
For those not in the monster killer business, a succubus is a woman who Hoovers up the life-force from her lovers, much like a vampire feeds off blood. Now, I don’t begrudge a life form getting whatever they need to live. I watch Animal Planet. Sometimes it’s kill or be killed. But a succubus doesn’t need to kill anymore than a vampire does. A little can go a long way. Some people are just evil. And right now evil has Will in a lip lock.
“Whatever course of action you are contemplating inside that beautiful head of yours, I suggest you forget it post haste,” my vampire friend warns. His hand remains heavy on mine, a reminder about restraint. We don’t want to blow our cover. While Will plays doctor, Oliver and I sit at the bar, just another couple enjoying the Virginia nightlife. A few stools down, Agents Rushmore and Wolfe, in their chic Ralph Lauren polo shirts and buzz cuts, nurse ginger ales, and keep their eyes locked on the same booth. Chandler is lucky enough to be out in the parking lot waiting for the signal to take her down. Darn you, innocent bystanders. Darn you.
Lord, I hate clubs. They’re loud, crowded, expensive, and filled with hormone crazed men and women with no sense of shame or decorum. I’ve lost count of how many strange crotches have rubbed up against my backside while “dancing.” I’d only been a handful of times before I joined the F.R.E.A.K.S., and now it seems as if I live in one. Why preternaturals feel so at home in these places is beyond me. I guess to them it’s nothing but a smorgasbord. Easy pickings. Everyone’s mind is so filled with sex and booze they forget basics like safety and common sense. And now Will has joined their ranks.
“I wasn’t contemplating anything,” I snap, downing my screwdriver. “I’m not bothered by them. Not a bit. It’s work. We’re working. Another drink, please! Now! Now!”
“That is not a wise idea, my dear.”
“Wise is so overrated,” I mutter.
I glance back at the couple. Still making out, still…oh, no she isn’t! Her graceful hand slides up Will’s thigh, resting on the bulge in his pants. At first she just traces the outline with her fingertip, and then rubs against him with her whole harlot hand. He doesn’t push it away.
Rage boils over. Involuntarily I leap up, every inch of me tense and ready to rip her shining hair out at the roots. Before I’m totally upright, a hand on my shoulder presses me back into my seat. “No.”
“No,” Oliver says as if I’m an ill-behaved dog.
Torture. This is nothing more than torture. This is worse than the time I was actually physically tortured. At least that ends. Bones heal. This will be seared into my brain for years to come. I could kill her, just pop a vein in her brain or squeeze her heart until it stops. But I reign in the homicidal part of my nature, instead gazing at my ridiculously handsome friend in an effort to calm me the frak down.
I don’t normally act like this. I’m a good, sane person. Or at least I was until I fell in love with a man who refuses to acknowledge he loves me back. He does. I mean, I’m eighty percent sure he does. The man all but said he did, and his kisses shouted it from the rooftops. He just won’t give in. Won’t let himself admit it because apparently I make him nuts. I cloud his judgment. Of course my worst offense is I give him hope. But to a control freak who watched his wife get eaten by a werewolf, these are apparently bad things. I’m in love with an idiot.
And absence did not make the heart grow fonder, at least in his case. Me, I was watching Beauty and the Beast with my goddaughter and burst into hysterical tears at the end when Belle saves the beast. Will has fared better in the past two months. I had to remain in San Diego longer than expected because of my elbow. I broke it while I ran from a crazed cop hopped up on troll blood. Long story. Ended with previously mentioned psycho ex-boyfriend being eaten by the current object of my affection. I needed surgery to repair the damage, then it healed wrong and I had a month and a half of physical therapy before I was cleared for duty. I got back two weeks ago. So I was stuck in San Diego with nothing to do but watch sappy movies and think about Will.
He returned only one of my ten phone calls, and then just asked after my health and family. I could tell he couldn’t wait to get off the phone. And since I’ve been back, well this is the longest he’s been in the same room with me. I walk in, he walks out. When we’re working, I’m either assigned to a different team or barely acknowledged. If he didn’t blush every time he looked at me, I’d be put off. But I’m no quitter. I love him, and per the songs, that can conquer all, including the neuroses of a bull-headed werewolf. I’m banking my heart on it.
“You must calm yourself,” Oliver orders. “You are acting as wretchedly as he usually does. If you recall, this was your plan.”
“Yeah, but you were supposed to be bait. Or one of the other guys. Not him.”
“A succubus feeds off living energy, which I am lacking and werewolves possess in abundance.”
“Yes, and thank you for pointing that out in the meeting. Why didn’t you just wrap him in a bow for her while you were at it? Whose side are you on, anyway?”
“The victims’,” he says. Fudge. Now I feel like a total jerk. “It is our job to keep predators off the street the quickest and safest way possible. And occasionally that requires sacrifice.” He glances back at Will, and Grin Number Two, with the tips of his fangs, forms. “Though I doubt William minds playing the martyr at this moment.”
I have to look again. Great, not only is she feeling him up, but he’s returning the favor, kneading her breast with his strong hand. Can she feel those rough calluses? Does she even care how he got them? Years of rowing on the Potomac River, that’s how. And yet she gets to second base with him before I do. “This is hell. I am in hell.”
“I do not know why you are distressing yourself over that man. I really do not. He has not showed you the slightest regard since your return. Or prior to that while you convalesced. He made his position abundantly clear.”
“You don’t understand,” I sigh. They pull apart for air, and she says something that makes him smile. He usually never smiles, except for me. She’s even stolen that from me.
“Understand what, Trixie?”
Will caresses her face and dives in for more. “Some things are worth fighting for. They make no rhyme or reason to anyone but you, but you just know. It’s outside logic, it’s outside reason, it’s just something you sense in your very core. And if you don’t listen to it, if you allow it to slip through your fingers, then you spend the rest of your life regretting it. You spend the rest of your life an empty shell. If that’s not worth a whole damn war, let alone a fight or two, I don’t know what is.”
Will moves his lips down the succubus’ neck, and I turn back to Oliver, who studies me with a mix of sadness and anger that takes away only a fraction of his exquisiteness. I can safely say he is the most physically handsome man I’ve ever seen. Pale skin, lush red lips, cleft chin, wavy shoulder length brown hair with blonde highlights, and straight nose all in perfect proportion. The impossible balance of masculine and feminine. The only other man who holds a candle to him in the looks department is the Lord of San Diego, and even Connor doesn’t come close to this level of perfection. Not outside and certainly not inside. No one does. “You are…” he touches my face with his ice cold fingertips, “such a fool.”
Want more? The book can be purchased at Amazon.
She is the author of the Amazon best-selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, Midnight Magic Mystery series, The Galilee Falls Trilogy, and the steampunk romance Verity Hart Vs The Vampyres. For the soundtrack to her books and other goodies visit her website. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest.
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