Still reeling from having witnessed the battle between vampires on her property that left her friend Alex a vampire himself, Sarah Wood is surprised yet again. This time, it’s a familiar face from the past.
Sarah’s guilt pushes her into doing something unbelievable. Sarah’s ex-boyfriend, Trevor, causes some trouble that will have lasting effects. Michael finds himself in the unusual position of saving a life instead of taking one.
Katie, the sister that Sarah wants to be protected at all costs, is in a new kind of danger.
Don’t miss this new, longer look into the world of the Vampire’s Warden, Sarah, as she confronts old enemies, new friends and new lovers.
This is book 2 in S.J. Wright’s wonderfully original Undead in Brown County series. I was drawn to this book because I used to live in Greenwood Indiana and Brown County was a favorite place to picnic and sometimes camp. I have lovely memories of the hilly, heavily wooded area teaming with deer and other wildlife – and a non-forgettable outdoor hot-tub experience with my sweetie, with snow falling heavily around us (we were house-sitting a friend’s isolated cabin for a weekend, gosh! Has it really been 20 years ago!).
The author captures the feel of the area well, and I very much enjoyed that aspect of the story. This novella starts off fast, and the pace is maintained superbly throughout. I liked Sarah. She’s feisty, responsible, and has a smart mouth. She also is compassionate. Katie, her younger sister, seems more ethereal; I never felt as though I got to know who she was. The vampires are powerful creatures with deadly powers and physically gorgeous. I actually got so caught up in the story that time just flew by. There is a cliffhanger ending, but luckily the next installment should be released fairly soon. I loved this story to such an extent that as soon as I had read the last word I went to Amazon, purchased the first book, The Vampire Warden, and read it a few days later.
Reading The Vampire’s Warden helped me to understand Sarah better and to appreciate better her protectiveness of Katie. I did not like Sarah as much, though. Sarah’s whole world view is changed in book 1 when she finds herself the successor to a family responsibility that, traditionally, has been passed down to males. It is a shock and, for me, the old “why me?” whining got a bit old…but then again, if I found out something like that I guess I’d be even more whiny and out-of-sorts, too. She gets hit with several revelations in the first book, so I need to empathize more – my bad. Anyway, I love strong kick-ass, smart-alecky heroines who can hold their own, and by the second book, Sarah gives me that in spades. This is an exciting series, and I am eagerly looking forward to finding out what happens next in Brown County. Ms Wright has imagination and style; she crafts excitement and tension into nearly every paragraph.
Reviewed by Laurie-J
Tour host/Reviewer for Bookish Snob Virtual Tours
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EXCERPT FROM THE VAMPIRE’S CURSE
By S.J. Wright
When he rose from his seat and moved towards me, I froze. Until that moment, I had not realized how small the room seemed to have become. With him there, the space appeared small, cramped, the furniture tiny and fragile. Almost as fragile as I was. The heat in my stomach began to come alive again, sending tickling little electric bolts into my arms and legs and then centering again low in my womb. I had felt desire in the past, but nothing compared to this thick rolling warmth that stole through me so deliciously. I felt perspiration begin to dampen my palms, but I tried to ignore it.
The tingling, mesmerizing heat blazed even hotter in my veins as I watched him stroll towards me. There was a blatant elegance in the careless way he moved, from the slight swing of his arms to the fluid action in his long legs. He leaned over me, his eyes cold and calculating, his cool breath swirled over my cheeks like a freezing winter mist.
“You’re not afraid?”
I could not move. He was holding me prisoner without chains, without bars of any kind. He held me with the steady, penetrating focus of a hunter who will not be denied his prey. My fingers itched to touch him, to trail over his skin in slow gliding strokes. But he could not have me. No one could really have me. I could not let them. I could not let him.
Trying to gain any amount of control over the situation, and myself I gestured towards my injured ankle. However, I could not stop looking at his mouth, wondering how it would feel to have those lips locked with mine in a slick, demanding kiss.
“I would think you might try to be more of a gentleman. I do have a sprained ankle.” I said weakly.
His striking blue eyes crinkled at the corners as he gave me a slow, sweeping smile. I saw a tiny vein in his jaw pulse and knew he was angry on some level. Nevertheless, any attention from a man that required me to give up any part of myself seemed totally wrong. Then again, what did I know? It was not as if I had ever been in a real relationship. I did not think that Trevor Kincaid counted because although we had sex couple times, it certainly was not a committed relationship. He had a girlfriend that I did not know about while we were seeing each other. Sweet, huh? Yeah, he was a real winner.
Michael tossed a dismissive glance over his shoulder at me and wandered back to the windows again. He leaned against the wall, his face turned away from me.
“Did Alex tell you about the Breath-Giver?” He asked.
I released the breath I had been holding back, “Yes, a little.”
“I’ve been wondering what my chances would be if I asked her to change me back into a human as she did Alex.”
“Oh.” The idea of Michael being human was soul stirring. The possibilities stretched out before me like a dazzling parade. I envisioned him laughing beside me at the kitchen table, eating my French toast. I could see the two of us walking quietly together, hand in hand down the driveway to get the mail. Pretty pictures. But it was completely unrealistic, I reminded myself sternly. And I was still extremely skeptical of the whole “breath-giver” thing.
Alex had told me before he had gotten hurt that he used to be a vampire and then some strange unearthly creature turned him back into a human. Sounded too farfetched to me, but then again, I did not used to believe in vampires either.
Michael turned his head back towards me, “What price do you suppose she might ask for such a thing?” The timbre of his voice was ripe with vulnerability.
I watched the play of emotions cross his face. Hope. Frustration. Passion. However, I remained silent, fearing a return of those heartbreaking scenes that had played out in my head. There were more practical questions to ask. If Michael were human again, what would that mean to the Council? The vampire Council had sent him here because of some crime. If he were human, would they permit him his freedom?
“Why did they send you here? What did you do wrong?” I finally asked.
A mysterious grin lifted his lips, “They were afraid.”
“So you didn’t actually do anything wrong? They just fear you?” I refolded my arms across my chest and met his suddenly hostile stare calmly, “That sounds like a load of horse shit, if you ask me.”
He shrugged slightly, “They wanted an excuse. They found one.”
His muscular body turned my way, and he crossed the room in a few decisive steps. I noticed with a startling sense of awe that his eye color had changed. Instead of the crystal-blue hue that I had seen time after time, even in my dreams, his eyes were brilliantly silver and the dark brows arching defiantly over them were creased with tension. He grasped one of my hands, pulled it towards him, and turned it over.
“Michael…” I breathed his name like a prayer.
I watched, disbelievingly, as he pressed a fiery kiss into the palm of my hand. I had never before felt the alarming sensation of Michael’s lips on my flesh. It was a moment I would not soon forget. Every other sensation in my body ground to a sudden and silent halt when I felt the warmth of his lips. It seemed as if every other part of my body had gone numb with the shock of it. But the palm of my hand was burning. A rolling heat made me gasp.
When I raised my head to look at him, all I saw was a blur of motion. He had moved so fast that I had barely realized he was leaving. I heard the backdoor open and the screen door squeak as he passed through to the back yard. Then a terribly cold silence fell over the room.
I looked at the hand he had kissed. There was nothing there. I had expected it to be blistered and red. Curling my fingers into the place where he had pressed his mouth, I leaned my head back against the armchair and sighed. It was a good thing that he had decided to be a gentleman. Because I was positive that the next time we were completely alone, I would not have the will to keep myself away from him. Stupid, sexy vampire.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, at a time when children were still not required to use seatbelts in a vehicle, S.J. Wright grew up as the sixth of seven sisters. She moved around a lot as a child, spent a good deal of her time reading books about horses, roller-skating (in an attempt to find Xanadu), and daydreaming about becoming a novelist.
She now lives in Little Elm, Texas with her husband, two sons, and one Jack Russell terrier that follows her around the house like a shadow. She is the prime caregiver to her youngest son, who has spina bifida. She loves horses (and swears one day she’ll actually get the guts to ride one again).
In February of 2011, she released her first paranormal suspense/romance novel called The Vampire’s Warden. She plans to release a total of four books for the series. S.J. (Stephanie) also loves hearing from her readers! Be sure to check out her website at http://www.sjwrightbooks.com/.
The next blog stop
Aug 14 – Paranormal Opinion
Disclaimer: Promotional materials for this tour stop were provided by the author and The Bookish Snob Promotions. I received a complimentary digital copy of The Vampire’s Curse in return for my honest review. I have not been given any other compensation.
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