"A paranormal adventure on the shores of Cape Cod..."
Reviewed by Lee Erin Berryhill
Posted October 13, 2018
Romance Paranormal | Fantasy
Alexei has lost his role as a Rider to the Baba Yagas, and now finds
himself adrift, traveling across the country drinking and fighting.
However, once Alexei reaches Cape Cod, he's not finding this life
satisfying, and surprises himself by agreeing to help a beautiful
bartender's father recover from an injury. The bartender, Bethany
McKenna, intrigues him, and while staying in her guest house with a
pregnant Great Dane, stories of a sea monster surface. These stories
will throw Alexei and Bethany into a dangerous journey to defeat a long
dormant monster, challenge greedy pirates, and possibly even find
DANGEROUSLY FIERCE is the third
novel in Deborah Blake's Broken
Riders series, and a continuation of her Baba Yaga series. Previous readers of these
series will be happy with Blake's inclusion of familiar characters, such
as Beka, Chewie, and the queen of the Otherworld. Alexei and Bethany
are a great couple. Alexei's strength and kindness combined with
Bethany's determination and intelligence make for traits that balance
out their relationship. Bethany is relatable in her struggle to care for her
injured father and her struggles running the family bar. Readers will be
pleased with how Alexei's life turns out in the end and his growth
throughout the story. Bethany's father is a well-written, comical, and
relatable secondary character, and though rough around the edges, is
very endearing. The villain of DANGEROUSLY FIERCE is probably my favorite of
Blake's, and the creativeness of combining a dragon and a pirate is a
home run. I like that the villain is truly evil and bloodthirsty, and I also
like the combination of humor found when the villain finds it difficult to
navigate the 21st century, and the dialogue between him and Len, the
other antagonist. The pacing of the story was quick and enjoyable, and
the setting of Cape Cod added great dimension to the story. DANGEROUSLY FIERCE is a story well
worth reading for old and new fans of Blake's Baba Yaga series alike.
The Riders: Three legendary brothers who kept the Baba
Yagas safe. The Ridersâ€™ immortality was stripped away,
along with their mission. But they are still much more than
Human, and their story is far from overâ€¦
His brothers may have found new paths to follow, but Alexei
Knight isnâ€™t even looking. If he canâ€™t have the life he was
meant to lead, there is no second choice. So he is bent on
drinking and brawling his way across the country until he
winds up on Cape Cod in a bar called The Hook and Anchor,
where he finds challenges he was never expecting, a feisty
red-haired bartender, and maybe a lot more than thatâ€¦
Bethany McKenna left behind an almost-completed law degree
to return home and care for her cranky disabled father and
run his bar for him. If that wasnâ€™t enough, she also agreed
to foster a very pregnant Great Dane. She has enough to
deal with without adding in a giant bearded brawler, no
matter how appealing he is. Yet somehow he ends up living
in the guesthouse, taking care of her father, and sneaking
his way into her heartâ€¦
Alexei and Bethany both think the lives they wanted have
come to an end, but after dealing with a mysterious sea
monster, pirates, dragons, and some adorable puppies, they
might just discover that love is the greatest adventure of
ExcerptAlexei Knight swallowed the last of his beer, hid a grin in
his beard, and aimed his pool cue at an innocent looking
nine ball. The ball caromed across the felt to tap in three
of its fellows before swishing into the corner pocket with
an almost smug-sounding sigh. Across the table, his opponent
let out a curse.
"Too bad," Alexei said, plucking the twenty dollar bill off
the edge of the table. "Want to go again?" His slight
Russian accent, stronger after an afternoon of drinking at a
slow but steady rate, made the first word sound like "Vant."
But his hands were still rock steady. When you were six
feet, eight inches tall and weighed two hundred and seventy
pounds, it took a lot of alcohol to made an impression, even
if you didn't have the metabolism of a formerly immortal Rider.
While the man he'd beaten conferred with his companion,
Alexei let his gaze swing idly around the room. He'd been in
so many bars over the last year they were all starting to
look alike. This one, The Hook and Anchor, was
someplace in Cape Cod, although he wasn't sure exactly
where. He'd started out in California, methodically drinking
and fighting his way across the country, hitting every state
other than Alaska or Hawaii. (The thought of flying made him
shudder, and there was no way he was leaving his beloved
But eventually he'd run out of land, ending up here in this
nautical themed bar, whose sign bore an anchor crossed with
a pirate's hook. It wasn't too bad; clearly aimed more at
the locals than the tourists, and slightly threadbare at the
edges, which was just the way he liked them.
The floors were wooden planks, worn down by time and use,
and the walls were hung with battered fishing gearâ€”old
harpoons, frayed netting, empty lobster traps, and the like.
The lighting was dim and the music a low throb of jazz that
would have seemed better suited to a more upscale
establishment. But as long as the beer kept coming, he was
happy to hang around for another few hours and use his
considerable skills to separate his fellow drinkers from
their money at the pool table. It wasn't as though he had
any other place to be. Ever.
The two men came around the table, glowering, their ruddy
faces alike enough to mark them as brothers. The one Alexei
had just beaten clenched callused hands. "You're cheating,"
he said in a low voice. "You suckered us."
Alexei shrugged. "No. And yes," he said. "But nobody forced
you to play. If you don't have the stomach for the game, run
along and let somebody else have a chance."
The second brother growled and waved his pool cue
threateningly in Alexei's direction, and a couple of other
men who had been leaning against the wall and watching
started to drift in their direction. "Give us back our
money," the man demanded. "Or you'll be sorry."
Alexei grinned, large even teeth gleaming whitely in his
brown beard. This was more like it. He'd been getting bored
with pool anyway. "Not going to happen," he said, and as the
others started closing in, he lifted his own stick in both
hands, getting ready to break it over his knee to make it
into a better weapon. But for some reason, the stick didn't
He blinked, looking down. A small, surprisingly strong hand
hung on to the middle of the cue, pulling it downward and
him along with it until his eyes were looking into the
steely-eyed glare of a petite red-headed woman.
"NOT IN MY BAR," she said with the hint of a Scottish
accent. "And not with my pool cue. Those things aren't
cheap, you know." She plucked the stick out of his grasp
and leaned it against the wall before turning her glare on
the other men. "Tommy and Jonah, I think I've made my
feelings clear on the subject of fighting in this bar.
You've had enough. Go home."
"But he stole our money!" Tommy whined. Or maybe it was Jonah.
The woman snorted. "Nobody forced you to play pool, Tommy
Carson. And nobody forced you to bet on it, and keep betting
on it after it became clear that you were seriously
outmatched. Go home and sleep it off, and take your brother
with you. Get, now." She shooed them out the door, and
everyone else scuttled off to sit at tables and try and look
as though they hadn't been about to pile four-deep onto a
She turned to Alexei, tilting her head up so she could look
into his eyes. "You," she said. "Bar. Sit. Now." She pointed
at an unoccupied stool towards the end, away from anyone
else. When Alexei didn't move right away, a little bemused
by the small dynamo who had just ordered around a room full
of men twice her size, she narrowed her eyes, crossed her
arms over her chest, and added, "Unless you'd rather go
after the Carson brothers than have another beer."
"Make it a vodka," Alexei said, trying to hide the laughter
in his voice. "Since you've insisted on spoiling all my fun."
"Fine," she said, stalking off toward the bar. "You can pay
for it out of your winnings."
She went to the other side and waited for him to sit before
and pouring him a drink.
"I've been watching you," she said. "I'm Bethany McKenna.
This is my place, or near enough."
"Alexei Knight," he said, holding out a massive hand. Alexei
couldn't figure out how he missed noticing her. He must be
worse off than he thought. There was something special about
her. And considering the women he normally hung out with,
that was really saying something. "You've been watching me?"
"I don't much appreciate you hustling my customers. I
realize those two boys are none too sharp, but still, I
figure you took about eighty-five dollars off them, and
that's enough." She pushed a stray stand of red hair back
into the clip that held the rest off her slender neck.
Alexei shrugged. "How am I supposed to get the money to pay
for my beer, then?" he asked in a reasonable tone.
She pointed at an well-dressed man currently being rude to
the lone waitress. "Feel free to entertain yourself with the
tourists," she says. "Just don't hustle them. I don't need
this bar getting any worse a reputation than it already has.
Play an honest game. Anyone still dumb enough to bet you
after the first one, well, I'll consider it a cheap education."
Alexei thought he might like this woman. He'd tell her so,
but he had a feeling she'd just smash a bottle over his
head. "Okay," he said instead. "Fair enough. You get a lot
of tourists in here?"
The woman grinned. "At the end of March? Nope. Hardly any."
She gave him an assessing glance. "You're not from around
here, but you don't seem like the tourist type. What brings
you to the Cape?"
He shrugged again. "I started out on the West Coast, and
I've been drinking my way across the country. Near as I can
tell, I've about run out of road."
Bethany took this in without any notable reaction. "Yup, I'd
say that's probably true, although technically you've still
got about half the Cape to go before you hit Provincetown."
She shifted a couple of inches to the left so she could wash
dirty glasses and still continue their conversation, her
eyes constantly roaming over the bar to see if anyone needed
her attention. "So what are you going to do now?"
"Not sure," Alexei said. "Turn around and do it all over
again, maybe. Or get on a boat and go drink my way across
Europe. Haven't done that in a while."
She put a clean glass upside down on a drying rack. "A boat?
Not a plane?"
Alexei shuddered. "Not a chance. Flying is for birds and
dragons. Not for people."
Bethany laughed. "I wouldn't have pegged you for a man who
was afraid of flying."
"Not afraid," he said. "Just smart enough to know when
something is a bad idea. I don't have many rules. Do not
trust a machine to carry you through the sky is one of them."
Another glass joined the first. "So, what are the other
rules?" she asked, sounding half curious, half dubious. He
understood that. He knew he didn't exactly give the
impression of a man who followed many rules. And he didn't,
although the few he thought were worth following, he'd stuck
to without exception for more years than most could count.
"An empty beer bottle is an abomination," he said, looking
pointedly at the one he'd carried over from the pool table,
until she took the hint and replaced it with a full one. He
took a swig and thought for a moment. "Never hurt an animal
that isn't trying to hurt you. Picking on those weaker than
you is wrong."
Bethany bit her lip, trying not to smile. It made the cleft
in her strong chin stand out even more. "I'm guessing that
doesn't leave many folks for you to pick on. That's a pretty
short list. Anything else?"
Alexei took another drink and stared blankly into the mirror
behind the bar, not really seeing his own reflection. "Never
pick a fight you can't win, unless you're backed into a
corner and don't have any choice."
She raised an eyebrow. "I wouldn't have thought you'd have
ever lost a fight," she said, waving a wet hand to indicate
his size, in case he'd somehow forgotten the way he dwarfed
most other people.
"It only takes once," he said with a growl, and tossed down
the shot of vodka, slamming the shot glass back down on the
bar. "It only takes once."
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