Monday, 18 November 2013

BEWITCHING TOURS: "Blood Will Tell" and "Blood Is Thicker" by Meredith Mansfield

Blood Will Tell (Book One) by Meredith Mansfield
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1484141137
ISBN: 9781476442884
Number of pages: 249 pages

Being a half-blood is inconvenient on a good day, especially when the half you got from your mother is werewolf.  Valeriah can’t take wolf form, but the full moon still fills her with manic energy.  Running helps; a tired werewolf is a good werewolf.

Living perennially caught between two worlds--human and werewolf, magic and non-magic--doesn't leave much room for love. That suits Valeriah just fine. She's never had any luck with that anyway.
Until her cousin’s life is threatened, that is, and out of necessity she accepts the help of a mysterious young man to protect Cristel. Rolf is everything that makes Valeriah's pulse speed up in spite of herself. Now, with Cristel's life in the balance, is the worst possible time for that kind of complication.

But Rolf's secrets could destroy her trust and that might cost her life.

"Will you be in trouble for telling us?" Cristel asked halfway through an unnaturally silent dinner back at their little rented house. "That you're really a dragon, I mean."

It was a clear attempt to let him play for sympathy. After a second of temptation, Rolf refused to use it that way. He doubted it would work, anyway. It would only cheapen any real attempt to make amends. "No, not really. It was Jetta Black who let it slip, anyway. Flaunting that pendant of hers and talking about the other side. She should be more careful about knowing who she's talking to first. She could have gotten away with it if you were from here. But it was practically a flashing neon sign to another Chimerian.

"Besides, I really would have had to tell you soon, if I was going to continue to court Valeriah."

Valeriah snorted at that, but made no comment and the meal returned to silence, sullen, wary, or remorseful, depending on the point of view. Cristel bit her lip and looked from one to the other. Valeriah looked straight ahead and chewed as if her steak had offered her a personal insult. Rolf sighed.

"So, how are we going to go about getting this Lock so we can put an end to this?" Valeriah asked suddenly. She had showered and changed and even slept a little. 

Now she looked less feral. But no less angry and hurt. It was her first attempt at conversation during the meal.

Rolf didn't miss the implication that they could also be done with him as soon as Cristel was made safe. "I'll go back through the portal. I'm in no danger. If the Lock is in the crypt and I can get control of it, game over. With the Lock, I should be able to find out who has the Key. The two items are linked. Once I know who, the dragons will make sure that person is not able to cause any more trouble--for you or anyone else."

Valeriah shook her head. "You can't."

"Why not?"

"The key to the crypt is in Grandfather's study. And the key to the tower will only work for Cristel and me, together."

Rolf paused. Her grandfather's wards couldn't bar him from the tower. That spell was made with one of the magical objects made by the dragons in the first place and based on draconic powers. He could break anything done with them. Or, as a dragon, he could fly to the top of the tower and get in that way. Or he could simply crash directly through the wall of the crypt--although that approach might destabilize the whole tower. But that wouldn't help him rebuild Valeriah's trust. Telling her that the greatest safety she and Cristel knew was not even a test for his kind was not likely to make her feel better about him.

Rolf nodded. "All right. Then I'll send a message through to Chimeria. If we give them a week or so, I have several friends who can gather near the portal. You'll be safe with an escort of dragons.

"We'll retrieve the Lock, if it's there. And then my friends can bring you back to this side where you'll be safe, until I can find the Key--and the person who's been using it." That would give him a few more days to try to get back in Valeriah's good graces, too.

"If we're to have dragon guards, we'll be safe enough in Grandfather's tower, won't we?" Cristel asked. "I'd really rather be home. This isn't fun any more."

Rolf and Valeriah both nodded in silent agreement.

Blood Is Thicker (Book Two)
Meredith Mansfield
ISBN: 978-1492105138
ISBN: 9781301244065
Number of Pages: 212 pages

In the sequel to BLOOD WILL TELL, the newlyweds, Rolf and Valeriah, face a new crisis.

Born half-werewolf, Valeriah's life has never been simple. Her recent marriage to a dragon has led to a transformation--Valeriah is now a dragon, too. But, taking the form and knowing how to actually be a dragon is not the same thing. Her life has even more complications than ever. So many, in fact, that she doesn't recognize the signs of her own pregnancy until Rolf rushes her to the Hatching Grounds to lay their eggs.

But then things only get worse, because something's wrong on the Hatching Grounds. The underground source of heat that sustains the eggs is slowly dying. Valeriah and Rolf have to scramble to discover what's gone wrong and find a way to fix it before their eggs die.

Excerpt- From Blood Is Thicker, Chapter 1, Scene 2:

Valeriah huffed irritably as she beat her giant leathery wings to gain altitude for the next pass. This flight school boot camp was not what she'd had in mind when Rolf suggested the isolated villa for the remainder of their honeymoon.

The full moon and the manic energy it brought out in her never did improve her mood and having indigestion to go with it wasn't helping any. Used to be, she'd run for miles to calm that madness. Or engage in practice fights. Now she'd do well to run anywhere without tripping over her own feet or tail and fighting was out of the question. She used to be able to take care of herself, not have to depend on Rolf to catch her food and take care of her. No doubt he was enjoying it, but she didn't like the feeling at all.

Of course, Rolf was always ready to help her work off the full-moon energy in other ways. In human form, that would have been fine with her. While she'd never say this to Rolf, on the whole, she found the mating of dragons unsatisfactory--not unpleasant, but far from breathtaking. He'd been a much more versatile and exciting lover as a human. Hanging upside down, wings folded, clutched in Rolf's talons, while he slowly circled the lake just didn't have as many thrills. It was like trading the most spine-tingling rollercoaster at Magic Mountain for the merry-go-round. You were still moving but it just wasn't the same. Thank the Goddess that he was more than twice her size as a dragon and strong enough to carry her. Otherwise, they wouldn't have even that. It was going to take her a while to master flying upside down.

She reached her intended altitude in a bad mood. 
Rolf had been drilling her in aerobatic maneuvers for hours and she was sick of it. Well, let's see what he thought about this. She folded her wings back for the dive, pulling out only at the last second into a perfect barrel roll.

Rolf's trumpeting crow of delight echoed back from the surrounding mountains. "You're ready!"

"Ready for what?" she asked as she landed in front of him.

"For me to show you how it's really done. Fly with me."

As soon as they lifted off, Rolf darted in and grabbed her talons in his own. Well, that wasn't what she'd thought he'd meant when he was so excited about her aerobatics, but all right.

Rolf gestured skyward with his chin. "We need to go higher."

Maybe this was going to be a little different after all. Any change would be a good thing. They climbed, talons still joined and wings beating in unison. Up and up until even dragon lungs could barely suck enough oxygen from the thin air. Then they hovered for a moment.

Rolf shifted his grip on her talons to draw her closer, so close she had to curtail her wing beats. His much wider wings continued to beat, nearly encompassing her completely at each stroke. He pulled her closer until their bodies met. She could feel the heat of him against the delicate scales of her belly and then, with one sharp movement, the heat was inside her, too.

Valeriah pressed against him, wrapping her neck and tail around his to bring him closer. In spite of the minor inconveniences, she really did love Rolf. Moments like this helped to remind her how much. She started to let her weight fall backwards, but Rolf pulled her back up.

"Not this time. Fold your wings and dive," Rolf said.

She did. They plummeted, necks and tails entwined, wings clasped. Yes! This was what she had been missing. 

The rush of freefall sent a tingling sensation surging down the length of her body. She shivered and that sent another wave exploding outward from her center and then back again until she felt she would break apart if he were to let go of her.

They pulled out only at the last second, rolling together, which sent altogether new and delectable sensations through her body.

"Up again?" Rolf asked.

"Up! Yess!" Valeriah answered.

They climbed and plunged again, still joined. When they pulled out, Valeriah screamed, "Up!"

Rolf obliged. This time, when they dove, they were above the deep lake behind the villa and they did not pull out. They plunged into the waves, continuing the dive until their lungs were near to bursting. Only then did they finally separate, each driving for the surface and air. 
They paddled over to the beach and lay, wing-tip to wing-tip, utterly spent, wings extended so the afternoon sun could warm them as they sucked air into their starved lungs.

"Goddess! I've never gone for three falls before," Rolf said, gasping.

Valeriah raised her head. Her grin exposed rows of serrated, razor-sharp teeth. "I'll try for four, if you want."

The rumble of his laughter made wave-like ripples in the sand of the beach. "Mercy! I fear that would burst even my heart." He stretched his wing so that he could caress the edge of hers. "Do you forgive me, now? For driving you so hard to learn to fly?"

Her laugh sounded more like a purr. "Oh, I think sso. Yess. Definitely." Just now she was very glad she'd slowed down enough to let him catch her last spring.

Professionally, I've been a financial analyst and a visual basic programmer. I also have a paralegal certificate, although I've never worked in that field. It's anybody's guess what I'll be when I grow up.

Imagining stories and writing have always been an important part of my life. It's one I've finally gotten to spend a significant amount of time on while I care for my mother who has Alzheimer's disease.

Twitter: @MansfieldMJ

Blood Will Tell

Bit of mixed feelings about this one.
It starts with Valeriah being a strong heroine in the story, but that quickly slides when her grandfather passes away and his will has to be approved by the Council of Chimiera.  It isn't due to Valeriah's half werewolf side.  This is then contested...

But all is not it seems to be, their home tower soon becomes surrounded by men who desperately want in to get something.
Rolf is in this story as he was at the bar when Valeriah and her cousin Cristel were talking and a knife was thrown towards Cristel and Rolf saved her.
He initially is after something as well.

Who can Valeriah trust? She's a very sceptical person and it takes a long time for her to trust Rolf, only to find he's been hiding his own lies.

When Valeriah is sprayed with a rabies virus, the need to find who is willing to kill the cousins to get what ever is in the attic is more urgent.

Rolf reveals his secrets to Valeriah.....their friendship grows...

I wont deny there were a few areas i skim read (which i do when the story seems to slow down and lag a bit) but in general, it was a good story.
I've started the next book which has started extremely differently, but i hope it does return to these roots!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the spotlight and review. I'll be by again later.


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