When I saw that Ian was getting his own book, I was here for it. From the moment he appeared in One Foot in the Grave in a very exciting fashion that I’m not willing to give away in case you haven’t read it, I was hooked on this vamp. All I’ll say without giving my review away is that this book was definitely worth the wait, and Ian has more than met his match in Veritas!
Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Rebel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: October 30th, 2018
ARC from the publisher
| Book Review |
Shades of Wicked is the starter for Jeaniene Frost’s Night Rebel series, but if you’re a longtime fan, you know Ian is straight out of the Night Huntress world. And that his book has been long-awaited. And boy was it worth the wait. I loved Ian’s book from salacious beginning to shocking end. And Veritas had a huge hand in that. Much like Ian and Cat, Ian and Veritas had chemistry from the get-go. Though to be honest, I think Ian has so much chemistry by himself that he’d have chemistry with anyone. He’s just that charismatic. But, he’s not paired up with just anyone; he’s paired up with Veritas, and they are so much fun together! Theirs is definitely an enemies to lovers romance, and the journey is hilarious and unpredictable. Both of these characters had so many layers, and I loved the way they got under each others skin to peel them back. Their candid exchanges were so poignant, and especially for Veritas, every piece of information she shared was something she carefully considered. She wasn’t used to giving up control or sharing; it was all badass all the time for this woman, and make no mistake about it – this was a strong woman in every sense of the word. It was tit for tat for a while there between Veritas and Ian until they learned to trust each other. And good God – when they finally gave in? The sex scenes in this book were so well done and so worthy of the reputation Ian earned. The heat level was reminiscent to of the first few books in the Night Huntress series, which is right up my alley as far as steam goes!
It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a book from this world, and I will say it has certainly evolved. While I’d consider Night Huntress somewhere between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy ‘Lite,’ I’d say the Night Rebel series (so far) has a lot more magical elements and creatures to it and is much more atmospheric; I think this one has more of the traditional Urban Fantasy feel to it. While the entire story was captivating, I was particularly drawn to Veritas’ history and the mystery surrounding it, and I get the feel that what we saw here was just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re someone who loves cameos from past favorites, you’re going to love the glimpses we get here. Again, Ian’s chemistry with his mates is wonderful, and I found his relationship with Mencheres much deeper than I expected. I’ve always been lukewarm toward Mencheres, seeing him through Ian’s eyes changed that.
I loved Shades of Wicked, and I’m thrilled that Veritas and Ian’s story is just getting underway. The best part is that if you haven’t read Jeaniene Frost or this world before, you could jump on the bandwagon here and not be lost, but I do think it will make you excited to go back and read the rest of the books. On the other hand, if you have read about these characters before, you’re not going to want to miss Shades of Wicked. The highest praise I could possibly give is that if you’re a fan of Cat and Bones, you’re going to love Ian and Veritas!
| Rating |
| Buy Shades of Wicked |
| Excerpt |
This had better be the right whorehouse.
It didn’t look like the seedier brothels I’d recently been to. This three-story structure could pass as the meeting place for an elite social club. Despite its unexpected prettiness, if I had to wade through another flesh-fest only to turn up empty-handed again, I wouldn’t be responsible for what I did to my quarry when I finally found him.
To vent my aggravation over weeks of fruitless searching, I kicked the door open. Politeness had been wasted at the last several establishments anyway. No smart proprietor willingly gave up a well-paying client, and I’ll say one thing for the bordello-loving vampire I was after: He obviously paid well.
To my surprise, I didn’t see anyone in the elegant foyer. Brothels usually had several prostitutes lingering around the entryway to welcome new customers. I was further surprised when I didn’t hear sounds of carnal activity coming from the upper floors of the house. I pulled out my mobile and checked the GPS pin. Yes, this was the right place. What’s more, it certainly smelled like sex, once you got past the choking scents of various perfumes and colognes.
But where was everyone?
Faint vibrations in the floor made me stride toward the hallway. Ah, so the party must be downstairs. I followed the strongest scents of perfume until I found a staircase that descended two floors. It ended at a locked door that I also kicked in. No point in being dainty now.
Noise blasted out. The basement must have been soundproofed for me to miss it before. Now, I wished I couldn’t hear what was going on. A boisterous chorus assaulted my ears, repeating over and over. Thunder and Blazes, the favorite opening song of the former Barnum and Bailey circus.
And I had walked into a circus, I saw now, although one without any real animals. About a dozen naked women and men frolicked on the ground, doing woefully inadequate impressions of the creatures their full body paint represented. No work ethic, I thought when three faux lions appeared more interested in petting each other than in more realistic fights for dominance, and don’t get me started on how they ignored the two faux gazelles that walked by them.
The dozen or so prostitutes dressed in clown suits showed more dedication for their roles. They emerged from a fake car in the far corner of the room, some falling forward in rolling somersaults once they exited, some tripping each other with comedic exaggeration, and some blowing up balloons into explicit body parts that they then graphically connected.
An eruption of fireworks yanked my attention to the other side of the room. They were going off around what looked like a throne, haloing its occupant in a blaze of sparks, fire and smoke. The mini pyrotechnic display was so bright, I couldn’t make out the enthroned person’s face, but when he called out, “Act Eight will now begin!” I heard a distinct English accent.
Then the smoke cleared enough to show a tall man wearing a blue circus-ringleader jacket. The smoke still concealed him from the waist down, but I didn’t need to see more to know I’d finally found my target. The vampire who’d blazed a trail through a dozen whorehouses in only two weeks had a face as beautiful as an angel’s, not to mention that his fire-and-umber hair was as distinctive as his looks. When he got off the throne, revealing he wore nothing beneath the ringleader jacket, I realized those weren’t Ian’s only notable attributes.
For a moment, I stared. What vampire in his right mind would pierce himself with silver there?
I was the only one shocked by the silver piercing through the tip of Ian’s cock. Everyone else stopped what they were doing and rushed toward him. Even the glitter-covered acrobats leapt from their swinging perches near the ceiling, gracefully landing near the pile of limbs that now formed around the red-headed vampire.
It wasn’t enough that I had to be burdened with a vampire so mentally deficient that he’d willingly given himself a case of perpetual cock burn. He also had to be depraved enough to indulge in carnival-themed orgies. I wasn’t about to find out what the rest of Act Eight entailed. I made my way to the growing flesh pile and began flinging people aside, taking care not to throw them too hard. Their heartbeats meant they were human, so they couldn’t heal the way my kind could.
“What’s this?” Ian asked in an annoyed manner when I reached the bottom of the bodies. Then he let out an appreciative noise when I yanked him up with none of the care I’d shown the other people.
“Why, hallo, my strong blonde sweeting.” Now he didn’t sound annoyed at all. “Are you the surprise I was promised?”
Why not let him believe that? “Sure,” I said. “Surprise.” And I grabbed him by the cock. I had one more thing to verify before I went any further.
Ian chuckled. “That’s the spirit, poppet.”
I dropped to my knees. I wasn’t about to do what he thought. Still, this act allowed me to zero in on my goal with the least amount of resistance from him. Once I got a good look at the smoke-colored brands near the base of Ian’s groin, I released him. Only one demon branded people with these particular markings, and it was the same demon I’d been after for thousands of years.
“Ian,” I said as I straightened. “Say good-bye. We’re leaving.”
He laughed outright. “I don’t think so. You might be lovely, but two’s lonely, while a dozen is a party.”
I gave a disparaging look around. “No great loss. The clowns were fine, but none of your faux animals fought each other or even attempted to jump through the fire rings.”
At that, he gave the animal-painted prostitutes an accusing look. “You didn’t, did you?” Then, his eyes suddenly narrowed as he looked back at me. “Wait a moment. I know you.”
We’d only officially met once before, so I hadn’t thought he’d remember me. Someone with his tendencies had to have crossed paths with vast numbers of blonde women.
“Veritas, Law Guardian for the vampire council,” I confirmed. Then my hands landed on his shoulders. “And as I said, you are coming with me.”
| about the author |
JEANIENE FROST is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress and Night Prince series, as well as the Night Huntress World novels. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in Florida with her husband, Matthew, rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling — by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.