Mon
Aug 4 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Chloe Neill’s Blood Games (August 5, 2014)

Blood Games by Chloe NeillChloe Neill
Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires #10)
NAL Penguin / August 5, 2014 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

While Merit didn’t choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she’s managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet...

A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn’t been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options. Vampires and humans aren’t on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?

Ponytailed Avenger Merit is back in Neill’s tenth, and still fresh, installment of the best selling Chicagoland Vampire series. Neill kicks that action into high speed at the get go as Merit becomes embroiled in a series of events that challenge her physically and emotionally. Although we all love Cadogan House’s Master, Ethan Sullivan, he continues to run Merit through an emotional obstacle course. Every time Merit gets closer to Ethan, something manages to push her back a step. This time it is Ethan’s past. When you are nearly 400 years old, it is impossible not to have a past. Ethan has met his match in stubborn in Merit who refuses to be pushed away again. She has, however, grown enough to let him figure things out for himself.

I had no idea what he was thinking or feeling—not just because he hadn’t talked
to me about it, but because the look in his eyes was unfathomable. Pain,
confusion, fear. Love, pride, or maybe all of them.

Chicago’s vamps have amassed a rather large fan following and appear to be gaining back the citizens' trust in Merit’s beloved city. Just as things appear to be shifting away from the anti-supernatural fanaticism, a serial killer is on the loose and the fingers are again pointed towards Chicago’s supernatural community. While Merit is helping the CPD to solve the crime, she is also busy saving Ethan from harm. Not only has Ethan recently challenged Darius for leadership of the GP, it appears that he must save him from the magical thrall he has been placed under. Ethan does like to keep himself in harm’s way. Fortunately for him, Merit is there to rescue him again. And again. And again. Fortunately for us, Merit is immortal. 

Merit is growing into her own being and becoming ever more comfortable in her vampirism and her identity separate from that of Ethan. Her confidence in unwavering as is her loyalty to her Master, her house and her city. And she loves unconditionally, something Ethan needs to see as a strength, not a weakness. She is his Sentinel and she places him above all else, including herself. There is still something more to come for Merit, something bigger. As her abilities grow we get a glimpse into something yet to come.

Our favorite vampire couple has had a rather tumultuous journey, and will most likely continue along the same path. Their relationship has not reached that of a partnership, as Ethan will always be Merit’s liege. However, they have a connection—an emotional and physical connection that could be the basis for a happily ever after. If Ethan doesn’t push Merit away again, that is.

We ended up in a pile on the floor, chests heaving.

“Dear God, Sentinel. You may be the death of both of us.”

“That was definitely something.”

“’Supernatural’” is the only word I can think to describe it.”

I opened my eyes, pointed at the tattered fabric that lay across the
bathroom floor. “That’s why vampires can’t have nice things.”

Ethan laughed hoarsely. “I’m not certain I’ll allow you to dress ever again.
I may just keep you here and naked.”

“You enjoy my wild side.”

“I enjoy all sides of you.” Ethan said, reaching out and grabbing my hand, linking our hands together. “But your wild side is particularly enjoyable.”

I am a vampire sex warrior, I thought with much satisfaction.

Merit is Ethan’s match. She is his life, his protector and his savior. She has managed to maintain her humanity despite everything and this is the key to Ethan’s salvation. Pony tailed avenger, vampire sex warrior, and former nerdy English lit student. Merit is the perfect package.

Learn more about or order a copy of Blood Games by Chloe O'Neill, available August 5, 2014:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Buy at IndieBound

 

 

Stephanie is a high school social studies teacher who enjoys escaping from reality with a good book. She is the mom of two energetic sons and when she isn't chasing herself in circles, she can be found lurking on Twitter @KindlesConsort.

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