"Outstanding urban fantasy romance by new author."
Reviewed by Paula Myers
Posted October 19, 2007
Romance Paranormal | Fantasy Urban | Paranormal - Supernatural
Catherine Crawfield, Cat to most who know her, has made it
her young life's work to kill vampires. Cat has grown up
with a hatred of vampires, for her mother was attacked by
one and left pregnant with Cat, making her half-vampire.
Driven by a need for vengeance, Cat patrols the bars at
night, luring vampires to their doom. She's yet to meet a
vampire she can't kill, until Bones.
Centuries-old Bones has been watching Cat, and he knows
what she's been up to when she makes the rounds at the
bars. Believing she's working for those he hunts, he sets
out to take her down. But he soon comes to believe she can
be a possible ally for his mission. Stunned that she's been
thoroughly trounced by the sexy vampire, Cat strikes a
bargain with the devil for her life. As she begins training
with Bones, she comes to realize that despite the fact that
he's what she despises, their goals aren't too far apart.
Things are not at all what they seem on the surface, and
soon Cat and Bones discover a human trafficking ring with
evil reaches to the government level. Cat is forced to make
choices that put her in danger in order to protect the man
she has come to love.
HALWAY TO THE GRAVE by newcomer Jeaniene Frost is an
outstanding debut paranormal that grabs the reader by the
throat and doesn't let go. Ms. Frost has created an
exciting story with tough, take-no-prisoners protagonists.
Watching the growth of Cat as she comes to realize that the
world is not simply black and white as she struggles to
make tough choices is intense. There are several twists and
turns in the story as the reader comes to realize the evil
is cleverly layered throughout and that no one is truly
safe. This story leaves the reader wondering what's going
to happen next, and I can't wait to find out!
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead
with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her
father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life.
Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and
is forced into an unlikely partnership.
In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to
train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes
are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up
as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty
soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead
doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her
status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued
by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side…
and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with
ExcerptI stiffened at the red and blue lights flashing behind me,
because there was no way I could explain what was in the
back of my truck. I pulled over, holding my breath as the
sheriff came to my window.
“Hi. Something wrong?” My tone was all innocence while I
prayed there was nothing unusual about my eyes. Control
yourself. You know what happens when you get upset.
“Yeah, you’ve got a busted tail light. License and
Crap. That must have happened when I was loading up the
truck bed. Speed had been of the essence then, not
I handed him my real license, not the fake one. He shined
his flashlight back and forth between the identification
and my face.
“Catherine Crawfield. You’re Justina Crawfield’s girl,
aren’t you? From the Crawfield Cherry Orchard?”
“Yes, sir.” Politely and blandly, as if I didn’t have a
care in the world.
“Well, Catherine, it’s nearly four a.m. Why are you out
I could tell him the truth about my activities, except I
didn’t want to sign on for hard time. Or an extended stay
in a padded cell.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I decided I’d drive around.”
To my dismay, he ambled to the bed of the truck and shined
his light in it.
“Whatcha got back there?”
Oh, nothing unusual. A dead body under some bags and an ax.
“Bags of cherries from my grandparent’s orchard.” If my
heartbeat were any louder, it would deafen him.
“Really?” With his flashlight he poked at a plastic
lump. “One of ‘em is leaking.”
“Don’t worry.” My voice was almost a squeak. “They always
leak. That’s why I carry them in this old truck. They’ve
stained the bottom of it red.”
Relief crashed through me when he ceased his explorations
and returned to my window.
“And you’re driving around this late because you couldn’t
sleep?” There was a knowing curl to his mouth. His gaze
took in my tight top and disheveled hair. “You think I’m
going to believe that?”
The innuendo was blatant and I almost lost my cool. He
thought I’d been out sleeping around. An unspoken
accusation hung between us, over twenty-two years in the
making. Just like your mother, aren’t you? It wasn’t easy
being illegitimate in a town so small, people still held
that against you. In today’s society, you wouldn’t think it
mattered, but Licking Falls, Ohio had its own set of
standards. They were archaic at best.
With great effort I restrained my anger. My humanity tended
to shed like a disposable skin when I got angry.
“Could we just keep this between us, sheriff?” Back to the
guileless blinking of my eyes. It had worked on the dead
guy, anyways. “Promise I won’t do it again.”
He fingered his belt as he considered me. His large belly
strained against the fabric of his shirt, but I refrained
from comments about his girth or the fact that he smelled
like beer. Finally he smiled, exposing a crooked front
“Go home, Catherine Crawfield, and get that tail light
Giddy with my reprieve, I revved up the truck and drove
off. That had been close. I’d have to be more careful next
People complained about having deadbeat fathers or
skeletons in their family’s closets. For me, both were
really true. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I hadn’t always known
what I was. My mother, the only other person in on the
secret, didn’t tell me until I was sixteen. I grew up with
abilities other children didn’t have, but when I asked her
about them, she’d get angry and tell me not to talk about
it. I learned to keep things to myself and hide my
differences. To everyone else, I was just weird.
Friendless. Liked to wander around at strange hours and had
odd pale skin. Even my grandparents didn’t know what was in
me, but then again, neither did those I hunted.
There was a pattern to my weekends now. I went to any of
the clubs within a three hour drive to look for some
action. Not the kind the good sheriff thought I was into,
but another brand. I’d drink like a fish and wait to be
picked up by that special someone. One I could hopefully
end up planting in the backyard, if I didn’t get killed
first. I’d been doing this for six years now. Maybe I had a
death wish. Funny, really, since technically I was half-
Therefore my near-miss with the law didn’t stop me from
going out the following Friday. At least this way, I knew I
was making one person happy. My mother. Well, she had a
right to hold a grudge. I just wished it hadn’t spilled
over to me.
The club’s loud music hit me like a splash, jerking my
pulse to its beat. I made my way carefully through the
crowds, seeking that unmistakable vibe. The place was
packed, a typical Friday night. After I wandered around for
an hour, I felt the first stirrings of disappointment.
There appeared to be only people here. With a sigh, I sat
at the bar and ordered a gin and tonic. The first man who
tried to kill me had ordered it for me. It was now my drink
of choice. Who said I wasn’t sentimental?
Men approached me periodically. Something about being a
single young woman screamed “Screw Me” to them. Politely
and somewhat impolitely I turned them down, depending on
how persistent they were. I wasn’t here to date. After my
first boyfriend Danny, I never wanted to date again. If the
guy was alive, I wasn’t interested. No wonder I had no love
life to speak of.
After three more drinks I decided to cruise the club again,
since I was having no luck being bait. It was nearly
midnight, and so far there had been nothing aside from
alcohol, drugs and dancing.
Booths were tucked in the far corner of the club. As I
passed in front of them, I felt a twinge of charged air.
Someone, or something, was near. I stopped and did a slow
circle, attempting to ferret out the location.
Out of the light and obscured by shadows, I saw the top of
a man’s head bent forward. His hair was nearly white under
the intermittent lighting, but his skin was unlined.
Hollows and contours became features as he looked up and
spotted me staring at him. His brows were distinctly darker
than his hair, which appeared to be light blond. Those eyes
were dark as well, too deep for me to guess a color. His
cheekbones could have been chiseled from marble, and that
flawless, diamonds-and-cream skin gleamed from under his
Pasting a false smile on my face, I sauntered over with the
exaggerated walk of someone drunk and plunked myself down
on the opposite seat.
“Hello handsome,” I said in my most alluring voice.
His tone was clipped, with a distinct English accent. I
blinked stupidly for a moment, thinking maybe I had drunk
too much and misunderstood him.
“I’m busy.” He sounded impatient and mildly annoyed.
Confusion raged in me. Could I have been wrong? Just to be
certain, I reached out and ran a finger lightly over his
hand. The power nearly jumped off his skin. Not human, all
“I was wondering, um….” Stumbling over my words, I searched
for an enticing phase. Frankly this had never happened
before. Usually his kind was easy pickings. I didn’t know
how to handle it as a true professional would.
“Want to fuck?”
The words burst out, and I was horrified at myself for
saying them. I barely managed to avoid clapping a hand over
my mouth, never having used that word before.
He glanced back with a curl of amusement on his lips,
having turned away after his second refusal. Dark eyes
raked me appraisingly.
“Bad timing, luv. Have to wait until later. Be a good bird
and fly away, I’ll find you.”
With a flick of his hand, he dismissed me. Numbly I got up
and walked away, shaking my head at the turn of events. Now
how was I supposed to kill him?
In a daze I went to the ladies room to inspect my
appearance. My hair looked okay, albeit its usual startling
crimson shade, and I wore my lucky top which had led the
last two guys to their doom. Next I bared my teeth at my
reflection. Nothing was stuck in them. Lastly, I raised my
arm and sniffed near the crease. No, I didn’t smell bad.
What was it, then? A thought occurred to me. Could he be
Reflectively I considered it. Anything was possible - I was
proof of that. Perhaps I could watch him. Follow him
whenever he tried to pick someone up, male or female.
Decision made, I headed out with renewed determination.
He was gone. The table he’d been crouched over was empty,
and there was no trace of him in the air. With growing
urgency I searched the surrounding bars, dance floor, and
the booths again. Nothing. I must have dawdled too long in
the bathroom. Cursing myself, I stalked back to the bar and
ordered a fresh drink. Although alcohol didn’t dull my
senses, it was something to do, and I was feeling very
“Beautiful ladies should never drink alone,” a voice said
next to me.
Turning to give a rebuff, I stopped short when I saw my
admirer was as dead as Elvis. Blond hair about four shades
darker than the other one, with turquoise colored eyes.
Hells Bells, it was my lucky night.
“I hate to drink alone, in fact.”
He smiled, showing lovely squared teeth. All the better to
bite you with, my dear.
“Are you here by yourself?”
“Do you want me to be?” Coyly, I fluttered my lashes at
him. This one wasn’t going to get away, by God.
“I very much want you to be.” His voice was lower now, his
smile deeper. God, but they had great intonation. Most of
them could double as phone-sex operators.
“Well, then I was. Except now I’m with you.”
I let my head tilt to the side in a flirtatious manner that
also bared my neck. His eyes followed the movement, and he
licked his lips. Oh good, a hungry one.
“What’s your name, lovely lady?”
“Cat Raven.” An abbreviation of Catherine and the hair
color of the first man who tried to kill me. See?
His smile broadened. “Such an unusual name.”
His name was Kevin. He was twenty-eight and an architect,
or so he claimed. Kevin was recently engaged, but his
fiancée had dumped him and now he just wanted to find a
nice girl and settle down. Listening to this, I managed not
to choke on my drink in amusement. What a load of crap.
Next he’d be pulling out pictures of a house with a white
picket fence. Of course he couldn’t let me call a cab, and
how inconsiderate that my fictitious friends left without
me. How kind of him to drive me home and oh, by the way, he
had something to show me. Well, that made two of us.
Experience taught it was much easier to dispose of a car
that hadn’t been the scene of a killing. Therefore, I
managed to open the passenger door of his Volkswagen and
run screaming out of it with feigned horror when he made
his move. He’d picked a deserted area, most of them did, so
I didn’t worry about a Good Samaritan hearing my cries.
He followed me with measured steps, delighted with my
sloppy staggering. Pretending to trip, I whimpered for
effect as he loomed over me. His face had transformed to
reflect his true nature. A sinister smile revealed upper
fangs where none had been before, and his previously blue
eyes now glowed with a terrible green light.
I scrabbled around, concealing my hand slipping in my
pocket. “Don’t hurt me!”
He knelt, grasping the back of my neck.
“It will only hurt for a moment.”
Right then, I struck. My hand whipped out in a practiced
movement and the weapon it contained pierced his heart. I
twisted repeatedly until his mouth went slack and the light
faded from his eyes. With a last wrenching shove, I pushed
him off and wiped my bloody hands on my pants.
“You were right.” I was out of breath from my
exertions. “It only hurt for a moment.”
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