Monday, October 28, 2013

Darkness Rises (Immortal Guardians #4) by Dianne Duvall

Author: Dianne Duvall
TitleDarkness Rises
Series: Immortal Guardians
Cover Rating:

Book Rating:

Buy This Book:

 Sometimes you have to Fight for what you want....

Krysta is used to getting the drop on vampires. Her "special abilities" aren't much, but the plan is simple--she plays helpless pretty young thing to lure them in. Then her shoto swords come out and it's bye-bye, bloodsucker. Until one night she finds herself with an unexpected ally. He's a vampire, all right, but different. Mysterious. Handsome. And more interested in saving her skin than draining it.
Étienne has been an Immortal Guardian for two hundred years--long enough to know that Krysta is special. He can't stop thinking about her long legs, even more than her short swords. Then he discovers the vamps she's exterminating have friends in high places, and the Guardians are in danger too. He'll have to accept Krysta's help to save them. The stakes for a mortal are high. But the cost to his heart might be higher. . .


Étienne stared down at the house across the street and watched shadows writhe and dance on the closed curtains. The music and drunken laughter that swelled every time the front door opened didn't surprise him. But those curtains did.
Hard to imagine a bunch of frat boys out shopping for them. Choosing the right decorative curtain rods. Finding fabric of a pleasing look and texture. Damned if it didn't look like it was floral. He would've thought bent, dusty blinds would be more their style.
A faint breeze ruffled his hair.
If he concentrated, he could read the thoughts of everyone partying within. Not much there really. Just sex and a determination to get blitzed. And one poor guy who thought he had flunked his biology final. A quick scan of his memories confirmed that he had.
Étienne sighed. Things had been slow of late. Dare he say boring?
For a while there, vampires had roamed in such large packs that he and his sister, Lisette, had had to hunt together just to ensure they would survive the battles. But now ...
The frat house door burst open as a woman stumbled out. Booming bass swelled and pulsed through the night as a tall, broad-shouldered figure stepped into the doorway behind her and held the door open. "Come on. Are you sure I can't talk you into staying?" the man—twenty-one or twenty-two years of age—asked.
The woman staggered to the edge of the porch and tripped down the steps. Low, sultry, feminine laughter wafted up to Étienne.
Nice. If the woman weren't sloppy drunk he might find her appealing.
"You know me," she slurred. "Places to see and people to go."
Her friend laughed.
Odd. It was late May. Nighttime temperatures in North Carolina had been mild, in the sixties perhaps. Yet the woman wore a long, black coat not unlike the one he sported himself.
His own concealed a small arsenal of weapons: katanas, daggers, throwing stars, and autoinjectors Dr. Lipton had prepared that bore the only sedative that worked on vampires and immortals.
Hers was pretty formfitting. And fit a lovely form. She was slender, perhaps five foot five, with long, black hair that concealed her face as she fought to keep her balance.
The college boy grinned. "Hey, maybe I should walk you home."
Again she laughed. "Who says I'm going home?"
She wasn't a Goth. The style of the coat was wrong and her hair was naturally black. Or perhaps a dark brown. While he could see as clearly as a cat in dim or even no light, he sometimes had difficulty discerning color in those conditions.
The woman finally succeeded in planting both boots firmly on the pavement and straightened. Combing a hand through her hair, she drew the tangled locks back and gazed up at the moon.
Étienne's breath caught. She was beautiful, with porcelain skin, her features pert perfection.
And she seemed to be looking right at him.
She even froze for a moment.
Impossible. There were no lights up here and he stood in the shadow of a chimney where the moon's beams wouldn't touch him.
"Hey, Krysta!" someone called.
She looked to her left.
Three more college boys, who clearly had already been celebrating the end of the spring semester, approached the frat house, trampling grass strewn with the occasional empty beer can.
"You aren't leaving, are you?" a jovial blond asked.
She smiled. "Yep."
"But we're just getting here!"
She shrugged, swayed a bit, then pointed at them. "Your loss, knuckleheads."
All laughed.
"Couldn't you just stay for one game of beer pong?" the blond asked hopefully. "Or maybe to shoot some pool? I need to win my twenty bucks back."
"Already spent it," she called merrily. "See ya!" She waved, nearly losing her balance again. Stumbling to one side, she threw her arms out as though she were on the deck of a rocking ship, listing one way then the other. When she didn't fall, she grinned big and threw her hands up in the air like an Olympic gymnast finishing a routine.
The men all clapped, whistled, and cheered.
Laughing in delight, she staggered down the sidewalk, turned, and headed up the street.
"You think we should walk her home?" the blond asked softly.
The brunet beside him leered after Krysta. "I'll walk her home. I'll walk her alllllll the way home."
The blond shoved him. "Cut the shit. She isn't like that."
Étienne decided he liked the blond.
The brunet scowled. "Whatever." Loping up the steps, he entered the house.
The blond frowned after Krysta, then—urged on by his other buddy—joined the party.
Étienne watched Krysta pause under a streetlight, part her coat, and reach into an inner pocket.
Beneath, she wore tight, black pants that showed every shapely curve of her long legs and a black T-shirt that hugged small, firm breasts.
Étienne had always been a sucker for women with athletic builds.
Out came an iPod touch. She conquered her inebriation long enough to tuck earbuds into her ears, but the battery must have run down because she swore and tucked everything back into her pocket.
Étienne rose.
That pause had cost her.
Dark figures slithered from the shadows on either side of the frat house and followed her as she resumed her trek uphill.
Étienne leapt nimbly to the next roof, careful not to make any sound that would alert the vampires to his presence.
He counted four and monitored their progress as they slunk from shadow to shadow, dogging the woman's wobbly footsteps.
Krysta began to sing, utterly oblivious to the creatures who stalked her.
Unfamiliar with the song, Étienne assumed it was one of the latest pop hits. His lips twitched as he leapt to the next roof. She was having a hell of a time remembering the lyrics. Or the right notes. Krysta couldn't carry a tune. And he was pretty sure it wasn't the alcohol.
She came to a corner and halted. A look of confusion flitted across her pretty features as she squinted up at the street sign.
Étienne froze, careful to ensure no light touched him.
Had her gaze flitted from the sign up to him?
No. She was looking all around like she either didn't know where she was or couldn't remember where she intended to go.
The vampires slunk farther into the shadows mere moments before she glanced in their direction.
"Hmm," she mumbled. "I think ..." She spun in a circle. "Right."
She crossed the deserted street, passed Bastien's building, and ... entered a dark alley. Really? Had she no sense of self-preservation?
Étienne drew his katanas as the vampires flowed into the alley behind her like a black tide. Their thoughts—a writhing mass of madness, violence, and anticipation—struck him like poisoned arrows.
Being telepathic could really suck sometimes.
He frowned, only then realizing he hadn't heard any of Krysta's thoughts. As he watched her stumble toward the end of the alley, not yet noticing that her path would soon be blocked by a tall chain-link fence, he focused on her tipsy head and ... heard nothing.
Very unusual. He could count on one hand the number of humans he had encountered in his two centuries of existence who could block, intentionally or not, his entrance into their minds.
She halted.
The vamps spread out across the alley, facing her. Light from the street distended and distorted the shadows at their feet, making it seem almost as though they reached for her ankles.
Étienne stepped to the edge of the roof, preparing to drop down and save Krysta's attractive, but flighty ass, then ... She ceased swaying. Her shoulders straightened.
Spinning around, she offered the menacing foursome a cool, measuring stare.
Étienne frowned.
The vampires boasted no weapons. Yet. But their eyes glowed and their lips parted to expose long, glinting fangs.
She should be screaming her head off. Instead ...
"Finally," she pronounced with a healthy dose of exasperation. "It took you guys long enough. I mean, did you really have to make me walk up that damned hill?"
What. The. Hell?

Krysta shifted, balancing her weight lightly on the balls of her feet as the vampires exchanged puzzled looks. There were four of them. Four would be a challenge. Okay, more than a challenge. Way more. She had had her ass handed to her more than once in the past couple of years when trying to combat such numbers on her own. But, until they actually closed in, she was often unable to tell just how many had taken the bait and followed her.
Sneakers shuffled on dirty asphalt.
These seemed to be typical examples of the vampires' ilk. Young. Twenties or thereabouts. Could blend in easily on a college campus if you disregarded the brilliantly glowing eyes and fangs. Hopefully they hadn't been vampires for very long. The older they were, the more insane they were. At least that was how she thought it worked. And the deeper they descended into madness, the harder they were to defeat. Krysta didn't have their speed. Or strength. Or size and weight. But she did have two things they didn't.
The first was skill. She had spent years training in tae kwon do, karate, and jiujitsu, and had trained with weapons long enough to kick ass. Most vampires had spent a majority of the time, prior to their transformation, sitting on their asses and either texting, yakking on the phone, surfing the Internet, or playing video games. That didn't lend them much skill with knives and swords, so she didn't really understand why they carried them. They were vampires. They could disarm a human easily and, if they didn't, could survive a bullet wound, so what was the deal with that? As far as Krysta knew, she was the only vampire hunter in existence. She seriously doubted her reputation preceded her.
The orange glow around the vampires moved and shifted as the not-very-bright predators tried to figure out why she wasn't fleeing in terror.
And that was her second advantage. She could see auras. Until she had begun to hunt vampires, she had never thought much of the ability. It warned her of people's moods, so she could turn and walk the other way if someone was pissed about something and she didn't want to hear it. Big whoop.
Then her life had changed dramatically, and she had actually found a use for her talent.
Vampires were incredibly fast. Like as fast as The Flash. Their movements became blurry and indistinct when they moved at top speeds. But their auras behaved very differently than those of humans. Vampires' auras moved and shifted before they did, telling her exactly where they intended to go before they even took a step.
Krysta eyed the vamps before her, waiting for the telltale shift in auras that would precede their attack.
"Aren't you afraid of us?" one asked.
"No. Should I be?"
Looks were exchanged.
"Yeah, ya dumb bitch," another proclaimed. "We're vampires!"
So polite. She slid a hand into her coat and grasped the handle of one of the shoto swords she carried, ready to teach him some manners. "Yeah, and?"
"What, are you a second?"
She fought a frown. He wasn't the first vampire who had asked her that. What the hell was a second? A second what?
"Fuck this. Let's kick her ass!" a third cried.
The aura of the one closest to her shifted. Krysta drew her sword and swung it, the blade sinking into flesh as the vampire blurred and caught up with the orange glow.
Krysta drew her other sword.
The three remaining vampires gaped as the severed head of their companion hit the ground and rolled several feet away from the body that tumbled after it.
The first kill was always the easiest.
The vampires' faces contorted with fury. Growls and snarls erupted. Eyes glowed brighter.
Crap. Here we go.
Orange auras deepened in color and shot forward just before the vampires' forms all blurred.
Krysta swung both swords with as much speed and strength as she possessed. Her heart raced. Adrenaline surged through her veins. Her blades sank into her opponents.
When warm blood slapped her in the face, she clamped her lips shut. No way did she want any of that getting into her mouth. She didn't know exactly how one became a vampire, but figured it probably had something to do with the blood.
One of the vamps landed a blow to her back that sent pain careening through her as she flew forward and hit the ground.
Rolling, she came up swinging as the vamps converged on her. The momentum of one came to her aid and made a hit that normally would have just cut him instead sever his arm. Vamps tended to not recover from such severe wounds, bleeding out faster than they could heal. As this one did, stumbling backward and falling to the ground while he fought to staunch the crimson river flowing onto the pavement around him.
The vampires divided, attacking from opposite sides.
Krysta continued to wield her deadly shotos, creating a barrier as formidable as a rotary fan's blades. Cuts opened on the vampires, who became manic in their fury, slavering like rabid dogs.
Fear a constant companion, she delivered a round-house kick to the vamp behind her. Agony shot up her leg. It was like kicking a damned boulder. But at least it had kept him from diving low and biting her leg as his aura had warned her he intended.
She landed several more slashes before silver glinted in their hands.
Needlelike pain erupted in her arms, sides, and back as they cut her.
Time to take a huge risk.
Ignoring the vampire behind her, she focused all of her attention on the one in front of her. The next time his aura shifted, she swung with all of her might.
The vampire's eyes widened. Stumbling back, he raised both hands to the throat her sword had laid open. The gray shirt he wore turned red as blood spilled down his chest and saturated it.
Spinning around, she raised her weapons. The last vamp, who should have been all over her after the opening she'd given him, stared at her stupidly and stumbled back a step.
She frowned.
He grunted. And grunted again. Blood spilled from his lips.
What the hell?
Groaning, he sank to his knees and clumsily tried to reach behind him with both hands.
Was this a trick?
Swords at the ready, she limped forward and began to edge around him to see what the hell he was reaching for.
Krysta stopped and stared. Half a dozen daggers protruded from his back. And, judging by their positions, they had pierced his heart and probably sliced through at least one major artery.
A whole new fear invaded her as she backed away, her gaze darting all around her and seeking the source of those weapons.
A sound drew her attention to the entrance of the alley.
Ice skittered through her.
Seven vampires. Eyes glowing various shades of blue, green, silver, and amber.
I'm dead. The panicked thought barreled through her brain at light speed. There's no way I'll survive this.
"She's a second!" one snarled.
What the hell is a second?
Their glowing orange auras zipped toward her.
Kysta swung and thrust as she backed away toward the chain-link fence. But, even as she scored hits, the vampires flew past to circle around and cut her off.
A thud sounded behind her. The vamps in front of her paused to look over her shoulder. Something bumped her back.
Krysta spun around and swung.
A large hand clamped around her wrist, stopping her with infuriating ease.
Her gaze rose, taking in the tall figure garbed all in black who towered over her. His luminescent amber eyes, as bright as the moon, met hers. His lips parted, exposing deadly fangs.
But his aura ...
It wasn't orange like the other vampires'. It was bright white and purple, the two colors swirling together without ever mixing. She had never seen anything like it.
Or had she?
Hadn't she seen it up on the roof earlier and dismissed it as a trick of the eye?
"You," she breathed, and waited for him to strike a death blow.
* * *
Étienne frowned.
She knew him?
He released her arm, ready to catch it again if she should try to skewer him.

Darkness Rises is Dianne's best work yet!
The Immortal Guardians rock down the house in this action packed book. A phenomenal power couple heat up the pages, Krysta and Étienne are fantastic.
I really loved getting to touch bases again with old friends from her previous novels. We as readers don't get to see that very often so its nice to see previous characters continuing on well after their individual novels.
I loved getting to see a strong female just as strong as her male. There isn't any simpering female hiding in the corners in this novel no way.
Obviously prepping for a major burst of plot thickening this novel brings it all!
I can never get enough of Dianne's books, shes a phenomenal writer!

Until next time book lovers...

Krissys Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.
If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like my post or leave a comment to let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!
Thank you so much for stopping by!


Krissys Bookshelf Reviews has a QR code for your phone!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...