Dragon in the Blood
Vale of Stars, #2
by Juliette Cross
Date of Publication: July 26th 2016
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
When desire bites, there’s no patience for a slow burn .
From The Book Junkie Reads . . . Dragon in the Blood (Vale of Stars, #2) . . .
HOT, HOT, HOT. Hot damn flames, fire, burning, scorching soul igniting passion. The longer they are in close proximity the more intense the frustration, the passion, the chemistry, the bond. The connection becomes so much more. This sensual allure of the dragon, the blood, the connection between Valla and Conn.
A mission turns in to more than just the opportunity to find information. It allows for a bond to be made that may change the course of things as they are known. With each new danger, discovery, every new step brings about something that will and could change the direction for which brought them this far. There was action, drama, passion, mystery & suspense, intrigue to follow and gather more.
Valla has been raised to be an independent woman. She was all the things that are prized as such. She was determined to never be under a domineering man again. But there was just something about Conn that she could not totally resist. The pull was there and ever present. Their banter was engaging. There was clear evidence that the attraction was reciprocated but Valla just did not want to give in. Conn on the other hand was an alpha male that had it all in spades. Looks, charm, charisma, cockiness, dominating nature, and more that could be linked to the alpha male.
My first read from Juliette Cross and not my last. The mention of the Nightwing has me intrigued enough to seek out the series to read more of them before proceeding on further. Then I must go back to the beginning of this series. I want to be lost in this world. It was so vivid. The imagery was rich, full and engaging.
**This ARC was provided via Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.**
Vale of Stars series:
Dragon Heartstrings - Vale of Stars, #0.5
Walking the Dragon - Vale of Stars, #1
Dragon in the Blood - Vale of Stars, #2
When desire bites, there’s no patience for a slow burn.
While all seems quiet in Gladium Province, the Morgon Guard—the global justice force for the dragon hybrid race—knows their enemy is rebuilding its forces in the underground.
Valla Moonring, an assassin for the Order of the Morgon Guard, is ordered on a mission into the Wastelands of Aria—a formidable, icy wilderness fraught with all manner of dangers, including outlaws, deadly weather, and big-game predators.
To her great distaste, she’s partnered with a Nightwing Security operative, Conn Rowanflame, a Morgon with the aggravating ability to get under her skin. While she takes her mission seriously, Conn’s confident charm throws her off balance, a dangerous place to be in conditions like these. Especially when cold nights require close contact.
Sensual attraction binds them ever closer, igniting a passion of unexpected force—the soulfire. But when the hunters become the hunted, their bond could prove perilous. Even fatal…
Buy Link: Amazon
Conn slowed his descent as treetops came into view beyond the fading mist, which had thinned to nearly nothing in the past hour. Whipping open my wings, I landed softly on the hard ground among a grove of evergolds. Even in this frozen tundra, the giants famous for their flora of fire-gold leaves grew tall and thick-branched in abundance. I lifted my visor to a brilliant burst of color that contrasted against the brown earth and snow-swept embankments.
Bowen landed quietly behind me. “How about some lunch before we set out on foot?” He removed and tucked away his visor and unpacked his crossbow from its sheath on his back for the first time on this journey.
“Let’s get into the cover of trees,” said Conn, moving along the natural path. “And lunch sounds perfect.”
“Benta’s breakfast wasn’t enough for you?” I asked, meeting his long stride.
“I always have an appetite, sweetheart.”
“While you two continue flirting, I’ll find some small game nearby. Set up the hotpad over near that big evergold.”
Without a sound, Bowen disappeared into the trees.
“Flirting?” I scoffed. “I wasn’t flirting.”
“I was.” Conn grinned.
“I haven’t even gotten started yet.”
“So you’ve said before.”
“Listen—” I put up both gloved hands to stop his snarky banter for just one second. “I’m glad we’re finally alone.”
“Me, too.” His lopsided grin made my heart flutter.
Exhaling a frustrated sigh, I stopped under a thick oak with ample coverage from above and unhooked my chest pack before dropping it to the ground. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about…about last night.”
“Mmm. Last night.”
He removed his own pack and gloves, then pulled out the small, electronic hotpad. After opening the tripod that kept it off the ground, he turned it on. Gisa ordered us to use the hotpad instead of fire when we were in the open to avoid alerting predators or criminals to our presence.
Conn stood and propped his hands low on his hips. “Would you like a second round?”
“No…no.” I cleared my throat and shook my head, my ponytail sliding on the smooth leather of my jacket. “Actually, that should never have happened. I shouldn’t have let that happen. But I—”
“Couldn’t resist,” he finished, a devilish smile brimming his beautiful face. “It’s okay. It happens a lot.”
“You’re such an ass.” I rolled my eyes. “I could’ve resisted.”
He broke his rigid stance and sauntered closer, a feral glimmer in his gaze. By instinct, I backed up a step, my wings scraping the rough bark of the evergold behind me. He moved into my personal space.
“What are you doing?” I asked, heart hammering.
He flattened one hand against the tree above my head, his finger grazing the arch of my wing. I shivered.
“Are you sure you could resist?”
I cleared my throat. “Of course,” I said, trying to sound confident, but my voice betrayed me and broke.
“Well…I couldn’t.” He brushed the back of his knuckles along my jaw. I held still, caught.
“Actually, I want to taste you again. Right now.”
Even stone-cold sober, I felt drunk from a single touch, longing to fall back into his arms and let him show me what his hazel-gold eyes promised without a word.
He leaned close, his warm breath grazing my ear. “Let me taste you again, Valla.”
I planted my hands on his chest, wishing there weren’t the layers of thermal suit and leather between my palms and his rock-hard chest.
He nuzzled the shell of my ear with his nose, then his lips. “Let me.”
His darkened voice pleaded and demanded at the same time, spreading warmth between my legs. What had gotten into me? I pushed him out of my way and stormed toward a densely wooded area.
“Where are you going?” he laughed. “Running away?”
“I’ve gotta go to the bathroom,” I yelled over my shoulder.
“Not by yourself, you’re not.” His footsteps crunched across the thin blanket of snow and leaves behind me.
I whirled, heat burning up my neck, now from anger not lust. “Whoa, there, big boy.” I threw up a hand, halting him several feet away. “Look. You’re not my keeper. And just because we shared one kiss doesn’t mean anything. I’m going to relieve myself by myself. Do you understand?”
His wings twitched at his back. Agitated. Whatever.
“And stop scowling at me,” I called back as I spun and trekked off the path into the brush.
Buy Link: Amazon
INTERVIEW WITH JULIETTE CROSS
How would you describe you style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
Dark, sensual, dangerous, and always a touch of snarky humor to lighten the mood.
What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?
Typically, I put on my headphones with Game of Thrones Pandora radio playing. Somehow, it puts my mind in the right place.
Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or do you build upon your character during story creation?
It will depend upon the character and how much time I’ve already spent with them in previous books. For example, I’m about to get back to writing THE DARKEST HEART, book 2 in my Age of Gray series, and the demon Dommiel has been in three previous books. Still, I wrote a brief character sketch on him to be sure I had him solid in my head. However, I had to write an extensive character sketch on the heroine, the angel Anya, so I understand her internal motivation before I ever wrote a word from her POV. But there have been times where I had to write scenes for a character that never showed in the book, just to get a clear grasp on his/her voice. For me, good character development is crucial to good storytelling.
Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so which one(s)?
I bonded with Conn in DRAGON IN THE BLOOD, Moira in WAKING THE DRAGON, and Ella in NIGHTBLOOM. I think because I’ve experienced the family strain Conn feels, the determination to succeed that Moira feels, and the lack of self-confidence Ella feels, all at some point in my life that it was easy to transfer those emotions onto the page through the characters.
Do you have a character that you have been working on that you can't wait to put to paper?
Yes! Two actually. Dommiel, the jaded demon in desperate need of redemption who I mentioned above. Also, Bastien Silverback who appears for the first time as a secondary character in DRAGON IN THE BLOOD. His book won’t take place for at least three more down the road in the Vale of Stars series, but I’ve been thinking about him a lot. This is why I wrote a short for him in my July newsletter. If readers missed the newsletter, they can stay tuned to my website where it will appear in late August.
Have you ever felt that there was something inside of you that you couldn't control? If so what? If no what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?
I don’t believe I’ve experienced something I couldn’t control. I am very sensitive emotionally, but I’m also a deep thinker. I look before I leap…most of the time. But as for the other, I so long to seize every moment of life and enjoy each new experience. I love to travel to new places simply for the fact that I’ve never been there. And I cherish all that life has to offer. It is too short to stay secluded in one’s little bubble. Step out and see the world and be glad of it, I say.
I would like to say thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I have a firmer grasp on you as an author. I can more conceptualize the direction you are taking me and the journey that I will get the opportunity to enjoy with each new read that I sit down and open up.
I do look forward to more of your work and I thank you for allowing me to view Dragon in the Blood. I love this read and want more.
The Book Junkie Reads . . .Author Links:
Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona. Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.