"The second novel in this series is steaming hot, intelligent and extreme -- a must-read."
Reviewed by Mandy Burns
Posted August 16, 2010
Laisyn "Syn" Caar, second in command of the Rebel forces,
is not looking forward to informing the refugees arriving
in camp that after segregating those with military
experience and magic talent, everyone else must move
further east. They don't have enough resources to provide
security while the civilians rebuild their homes. Syn must
focus on minimizing the demons in the area and adding to
the Rebel forces. Now that the gate is down, raids against
women has diminished, but other evils must be faced and
strangers must be recruited. One stranger has caught Syn's
attention; she scans the crowd with a suspicious eye,
taking in the camp. With the weapons the stranger carries,
Syn is ready to challenge him to see if he can use those
Xan tells himself he is crazy for joining the Rebel forces
but his reason are his own. A certain commander, Captain
Caar, is sending all his senses in full turmoil, especially
when she challenges him in the fighting ring. Xan doesn't
believe woman should be allowed to fight at all, but
Captain Caar gives him a direct order and proceeds to knock
him to the mat. Since entering the camp, Xan has had a hard
time taking his eyes off the mighty Captain Caar. She stirs
feeling deep within that he didn't know he could feel. As
the danger in the area escalates, so does his attraction;
both Xan and Captain Caar do what they can to avoid the
inevitable, but they are both in a strained situation.
The second novel in this series is steaming hot,
intelligent and extreme. VEIL OF SHADOWS is a must-read
A rebel army has been established to win back the land
from demons-and a ne soldier named Xan has appeared out of
nowhere to join them. Beautiful army captain Laisyn Caar
is shocked by the powerful, all- consuming desire she
feels in his presence, but when she discovers the dark
secrets of Xan's agenda, she'll have to determine whether
the man she's starting to love is a friend of her people-
or a dreaded enemy.
"You playing today?" Kalen asked.
Syn lifted a shoulder. "Unless you plan to."
Bron went flying passed themâ€”literally. He landed with
an oomph and lay there for a few seconds, a dazed look in
his eyes. His lean face went red as he tried to breathe.
Syn and Kalen grinned at each other. Then Kalen
said, "Iâ€™ll pass. Lee and I are doing some hand-to-hand
tonight. Iâ€™d rather not start off injured. Iâ€™ll let you
have the fun today."
"Coward." Syn clucked her tongue. She watched, gauging
the distance, as Xan started towards Bron. As he offered a
hand to the other man, Syn moved.
She went for his feet and as he went down, she slid away.
It was like hitting a brick wall, she decided. A heated
brick wall. She was so used to being cold, but the moment
she touched him, even though her touch was an attack and
not a caress, his heat chased away the chill and left her
entire body suffused with warmth.
He was outweighed her, outreached her, and stood nearly
a head taller than she did. Which pretty much described
every sparring partner sheâ€™d ever had.
That unreadable gaze of his didnâ€™t change, but she
sensed some surprise coming off him as he came to his
feet. Bron was up, too, and he moved so that he stood just
a little behind Syn and off to the side. It was a
choreographed moveâ€”theyâ€™d done this a thousand times and
theyâ€™d do it a thousand more.
"So now it is two on one," Xan said, his voice
"It can be a lot of fun." Syn flashed him a cheeky
smile, keeping her weight on the balls of her feet. Her
heart was racing. Her skin felt warm, edging close to hot
as she waited.
Xan didnâ€™t make a move towards her, even though she
stood the closest. He circled around, trying to make for
Bron. Even after he had Bron back down, he didnâ€™t engage
with her. Syn lifted a brow and asked, "You do have a
second opponent you have to take down."
"Iâ€™m not putting a woman on the ground."
"Okay." It wasnâ€™t the first time sheâ€™d been told that
and sheâ€™d handle it the same way she handled it every other
time. The cold knot tried to settle back inside her, but
it faded when she attacked himâ€”when she touched him.
He deflected her next attack. And the next. Bron was
back on his feet at that point, though and as he moved
towards him, Syn went for another takedown. He went down
and as he did, he tried to catch her feet.
She was prepared for him, though, springing away at just
the last second. Xan got back on his feet and this time,
the look he shot her seemed a little bit perturbed.
"You can either spar me straight-on, or Iâ€™ll keep coming
at your back."
"Iâ€™m not fighting with a woman."
"Then get out," she told him. She wasnâ€™t touching him
now and as she crossed her arms over her chest, the cold
knot returned. "The gateâ€™s that way. You can walk out
now. If you move quickly enough, you can probably catch up
to the convoy. But you donâ€™t get to pick and choose your
poison here, my friend. You do it my way or you hit the
His eye narrowed on her face. "You sound very certain
of that fact."
"With good reason."
With the exception of Xan and Syn, everybody turned to
look at Kalen as he entered the circle. He stood a few
inches taller than Xan. He wore cavinirâ€”a light, form-
fitting armor that clung to a hard, leanly muscled body.
Kalen had been born a warrior, forced to become a
leader. At a time when he should have been dreaming about
girls and dreading his impending adulthood, heâ€™d been on
the front line of their war.
He circled to stand in front of Xan, pinning the other
man with a cool silvery gaze. "Nobody stays in my camp
without proving they can hold their own. Nobody stays in
my camp without showing they know how to handle themselves,
without showing they know how to take orders. That
includes trainingâ€”you either spar Captain Caar, as ordered,
or you get the hell out."
"I donâ€™t believe in harming women," Xan growled.
"Itâ€™s not about harming women." Syn moved between them
and gave Kalen a narrow look. He inclined his head and
fell back, letting her handle it. There was one thing she
could rely on to chase away the chill, and that was anger.
Right now, it flooded her and she welcomed itâ€”welcomed it,
Giving Xan a pointed stare, she said, "Iâ€™m not calling
you on the floor to get hurt, Xan. Trust me, I donâ€™t like
pain, although I am used to it. But this isnâ€™t about
hurting me, hurting women. Itâ€™s called trainingâ€”we all do
"Then train women against women. Females are naturally
weaker than malesâ€”the risk for injury to the woman is too
high, even in training."
"So this is about having a level playing field?" Syn
snorted. "Sure, because weâ€™re fighting a war where thereâ€™s
always an excess of fairness."
Xan stared at her, his black gaze unflinching. "I do
not raise my hand to women."
Syn smirked. "Thatâ€™s a way of thinking that could end
up with you getting hurtâ€”in a serious way." She glanced
over his shoulder and her smile took on a decidedly
devilish twist. "Bron, youâ€™re out. Elina. Coryan."
Elina Corsairs, long and lean, came at him from his
right, a blur of movement. She was all speed and grace and
as he moved to deflect her attack, the other woman came up
Coryan Holder stood at six feet and her body was nearly
as broad as Xanâ€™s. As he backed away from Elina, Coryan
caught him in a wrestlerâ€™s hold and wrenched him off his
feet. He went down and as one, the three women in the
circle moved on him.
Elina ended up on her ass first. She would have moved
back in but Syn caught her eye and shook her head.
Now facing Coryan and Syn, Xan grimaced. He looked
between the two women, his gaze measuring.
Finally. Syn knew what sort of picture they
presented. Coryan had the muscle mass to rival a manâ€™s and
her face was scarred, hardened from battle and years of a
harsh life. Syn had faced that same hard life, and many of
the same battles, but she was slender, not particularly
tall and she lookedâ€¦well, soft.
Heâ€™d go for Coryan next, she figured. Eliminate what he
perceived as the biggest threat.
This wasnâ€™t a new scenario for her. Too many of the men
who wanted to join the rebellion showed up with
preconceived notionsâ€”they were fighting a war against those
that preyed on their females and having those females
involved directly in the fight went against their baser
He feinted towards Coryan but at the last minute, he
changed direction. Moving too damn fast, he came for Syn.
Only one thing saved herâ€”he wasnâ€™t used to fighting
somebody half his size. She darted away, relying on her
flexibility and years of experience to evade him. It was
close, though. She felt the disturbance in the air ripple
against her flesh. He didnâ€™t waste any time and came at
her again, harder. Faster.
Syn took his legs out from under him, but he was
prepared this time and when he went down, so did she.
Trapped under his bigger body, she sucked air into her
Once more, touching him flooded her with heat, heat that
suffused every fiber of her being, chasing away the chill.
For the briefest moment, they were close, close as lovers
and she let herself revel in that heat, let herself feel
his strength, feel all of him. But not enoughâ€¦no where
Through their clothes, she could feel the heavy thud of
his heart, beating so close to hers.
Then he spoke, and the spell shattered.
"This isnâ€™t a fair fight," he said in a monotone.
Working her hands in between them, she jabbed at his
neck. He went red and gasped for air. As he went to shove
away from her, she caught him between his legs with her
It was utterly silent, save for the strange, choked
sound he made deep in his throat as he rolled to the side.
Syn came to her feet and stood over him.
"Youâ€™re damn right itâ€™s not a fair fight," she told
him. "But then again, you canâ€™t win a war, you canâ€™t
survive if youâ€™re busy complaining about a fair fight."
She moved to the edge of the circle, watching Xan from
under her lashes. He recovered quick, rolling to his feet
and watching her with a mix of disbelief and anger. The
anger melted away, replaced by that same measuring gaze
heâ€™d focused on every other fighter heâ€™d met in the circle.
About damn time.
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