Born in Blood
Zebra / December 31, 2013 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
Sergeant Duncan O'Conner has seen it all before. Beautiful erotic dancer murdered at home, no suspect, no motive. But there's one clue: she's missing her heart. It's enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It's a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures. Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer's final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie's skills to the test, O'Conner's career at risk, and both their hearts on the line...literally.
Alexandra Ivy's Born in Blood is a sexy book. It’s a paranormal romance, so the world-building is solid and believable, the magic drives the plot, and the characters are in constant mortal danger, but when it comes right down to it, readers will enjoy the love scenes as much as—if not more than—the fight scenes. Thankfully, the story is filled to the brim with sexual tension.
The book is set in the Midwest—Kansas City, Kansas, to be exact—where the human population has established an uneasy peace with its otherworldly residents, such as witches, psychics, necromancers, Sentinels, and more. The heroine Callie Brown is a talented necromancer. Abandoned at birth like many of her kind, she was raised in Valhalla, a magically protected compound for “high-bloods,” which is what the magical residents call themselves, or “freaks,” which is what the humans call them. Using her magic, Callie can enter the mind of a dead person and see the last minutes of their lives. Her ability helps the human cops solve crimes, so they reluctantly call on her for assistance.
The hero, Sergeant Duncan O’Conner, is a talented young cop who finds himself strangely drawn to Callie, despite the fact that he’s human and she’s not. At least, that’s what he tells himself—that he’s “human,” even though he can see people’s auras. When he was little, his mother told him to keep quiet about his abilities out of fear he would be taken away from her. So he doesn’t let his coworkers know about his gift, but he does use it to help him solve crimes—and choose his lovers, apparently. When he looks at Callie’s aura, he likes what he sees.
But for Duncan it was the white aura that flickered around her diminutive body that made his blood burn.
So pure. So completely and utterly innocent.
And like any bastard, he ached to be the one who debauched that wholesomeness even as he savored the rare beauty of her soul.
Callie feels equally drawn to Duncan.
Duncan would be pleased to know that it was only her years of training that allowed Callie to ignore his raw sexual magnetism.
He was the sort of primitive male that should have infuriated her, not tantalized her deepest fantasies.
Duncan O’Conner is an alpha male. He wants to throw her down on his bed and ravish her. He can’t stand that she’s been assigned a Sentinel named Fane, a magical bodyguard whose only job is to protect her. Duncan wants to be the only man guarding Callie’s body. In one early scene, Duncan reveals his jealousy of Fane and his amorous intentions toward Callie.
Duncan turned his head back with a snap. “Is he your lover?”
She blinked at the abrupt question. “That’s none of your business.”
He boldly reached to grasp her chin in his hand. “Since you’re going to be sharing my bed, I’d say it’s very much my business.”
She scowled, pretending that her stomach wasn’t fluttering with excitement. “Fane was right.”
His gaze lowered to her lips, the heat smoldering in the hazel eyes promising all sorts of wicked pleasure.
“Right about what?”
“You are a menace.”
Despite being an alpha male, Duncan has a little bit of beta in him. For one thing, he knows how to communicate his feelings! He talks about his love for his family, his disappointment over his divorce, and his desire to have children. Early in their relationship, Callie interrogates Duncan about his ex-wife Susan over dinner, and he’s not afraid to answer her questions.
“I was truly fond of Susan, but I didn’t crave her like a man should crave his wife,” he abruptly admitted.
“Crave?” She blinked in surprise. “That’s an interesting choice of words.”
He surged forward, grabbing her hand and pressing her inner wrist to his lips.
“A relationship shouldn’t be a comfortable arrangement,” he growled against her racing pulse. “It should be heat and passion and raw emotions.”
Also, before Duncan and Callie even have sex, he talks about introducing her to his family and taking her to Sunday dinner—so it’s clear that getting her into the sack isn’t his only intention.
Duncan sucked in a sharp breath. It was frighteningly easy to picture Callie in his childhood home. The O’Conners were loud and boisterous and rough around the edges, but they all possessed the same overriding urge to be protectors. One look at this fragile beauty with her jewel eyes and they’d be tripping over each other to play mother hen.
The fact that Duncan talks about other feelings aside from his swelling cock (although a few of those references do make it into his internal monologue) is refreshing. His sensitivity helps readers—and Callie—bond to him.
Callie and Duncan’s future happiness is threatened, however, by an evil necromancer named Lord Zakhar. He wants to raise the dead and create an army of zombies, and Callie’s the only one who can stop him. The question is: Will she and Duncan—and their newfound love—survive?
Learn more or order a copy of Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy, available December 31, 2013:
Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.