NY Times Bestselling Author
Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.
Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.
Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.
It won’t, can’t, remain.
Not if I have anything to say about it.
Right from the start of this book I had to wonder what the heck was up with Adam. The man was closing off and jumping to conclusions, truly out of character especially where Jesse and Mercy are concerned. Of course Christy is in the middle, even from a distance Adam’s ex causes problems.
Auriele is putting her nose where it doesn’t belong again. Darryl is pissed off and Adam isn’t pleased either. Mercy gets mad and before she says something she can’t take back she goes for a run. Her destination the house that replaced her burnt out trailer, where Gabriel lived until he left for college.
This of course lead to the nature of this book, a ghost, what seems to the police to be a murder/suicide, but totally smells off to Mercy. Her sweet neighbors Anna and Dennis, gone, magic of some kind, a single word ‘Smoke’ the only clue.
Adam does follow her, and they have a bit of a discussion while waiting for the police to finish up. His real apology doesn’t happen until they are home.
This is a favorite scene.
Adam closed the door behind us but didn’t step farther into the house. He bowed his head for a moment before meeting my eyes.
“I am sorry,” he said. “I know I hurt you today. I have been angry and short-tempered and I took it our on you. On you and Jesse.”
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s talk about this. What is up with you? Why the shutdown of our bond> Why no time together? Why no–” I was trying to keep my voice clinical, but if i’d said “no making love” I would have trouble doing it. So I said, “–sex?” And my voice wobbled a little anyway.
He nodded, as if he’d been waiting for those questions.
“The short answer is that I don’t know,” he said. “But something is wrong.” He thumped his chest.
I frowned at him. “With your wolf?”
He shook his head, but then said, “Maybe? It doesn’t feel like that — though the wolf is part of it.”
I raised an eyebrow at him.
“See?” he said. “It doesn’t make sense out loud.”
“Is it me?”
He huffed out a humorless laugh. ” I promise that this is not an ‘it’s not you. it’s me’ speech.” His eyes brightened to gold. “I won’t let you go.”
“Not your choice,” I told him. “But as it happens you’d have a hard time shaking me off. You are mine, and I’m pretty stubborn about things like that.”
His whole body relaxed with an odd shudder. He closed his eyes. My stomach settled for the first time in a few days. We could work this out.
And then he said, in a voice that was not his own, “You’d leave if you knew what was inside me.”
The wolf, I thought, after a weird moment. It was just Adam’s wolf. We’d spoken a time or two. But it hasn’t sounded quite right for the wolf.
“Nope,” I told him–wolf and man. “Not happening.”
“You should leave.” This time I was sure it was the the wolf who spoke. “It would be safer for you.” And then Adam’s yellow eyes opened, but he gave a half laugh. “Yes, I know, that just guaranteed you are going to stick around until bodies start dropping.”
“Are bodies going to start dropping?” I asked.
“Mercy,” he said. “I don’t trust myself. I’ve been a werewolf for longer than you’ve been alive and it’s been decades since I’ve had trouble with it. But now I wake up and I’m in my wolf’s shape–without remembering how I got there.”
Two weeks ago, I thought. He’d been a wolf when I woke up. I’d just assumed that he’d had a restless night; we both were prone to those after the witches. Sometimes on bad nights we’d go out for a run–on two legs or four. I’d thought he’d decided to let me sleep. It had been after that night that the odd distance he’d forced between us had happened; it might have been right after that night.
He saw me remember and nodded. “Yes. That time. But it doesn’t feel like the wolf is trying to take over. I know how to control that.”
“We cannot keep the people around us safe from ourselves,” growled his wolf.
I couldn’t find it in myself to be frightened of Adam–though I remembered clearly the look in his eyes when I confronted him on the stairs. He hadn’t hurt me then–and he would never hurt me. But I wasn’t the one who needed convincing.
“Is it something to do with the witches?” I asked tentatively.
“I don’t think so,” said Adam. “it doesn’t feel like magic.”
“Yes,” contradicted the wolf–startling Adam.
It was pretty weird having a three-way conversation when there were only two of us in the room. Adam and his wolf were usually more integrated than this.
“Okay, then,” I said. “Do we believe your wolf? It was something the witches did?” They had made him obey them–it was a gift one of the Hardesty witches had. One of the nightmares Adam had after that night was that under the witches orders, he killed me or Jesse.
Adam shook his head. “I don’t think he knows anything I don’t.”
“Okay,” I said, though I wasn’t sure I agreed. “Now that we have all that out in the open, how about you open up our mating bond?”
“No,” Adam said with emphasis. “I don’t want this spilling out on you.”
“No,” agreed the wolf.
“All of what spilling out on me?” I asked.
Adam flattened his lips.
“Adam?” I asked.
“No,” he said.
He backed up against the door when I tried to put a hand on his shoulder. I raised both my eyebrows and stalked forward until he was flat against the wall and I pressed myself against him.
He could have pushed me away. Instead I could feel him try to pull himself back, as if he wished his body could dissolve through the door so we would no longer touch.
He turned his head from me, his eyes…ashamed.
“To hell with that,” I muttered. He was only about four inches taller than I was, which meant that if he was trying to keep his lips away from me, there was still a lot of him I could reach. I kissed the skin under his jaw, soft but for the bristly hint of beard growing in. then I rested my face against his neck and just breathed.
Gradually, his breathing matched mine and his body relaxed, melting into mine. Finally, his arms wrapped around me.
“I’m sorry,” he told me, his lips on my temple. “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry,” I told him. “Fix it.”
His chest huffed with a silent laugh, though the expression in his eyes hurt me. “I don’t know how.”
Briggs, Patricia. Smoke Bitten. Ace Publishing. pp. (46-49).
Now things start heating up in more ways than one. Not only is there a gate to Underhill in their backyard, Wolfe is stalking her, and an unknown entity is biting folks and causing havoc.
Lots of interaction with Adam’s wolf which is as unusual as it is interesting. Of course we also see many of our favorite wolves. But Ben seems to end up in the thick of things.
Plenty of action, suspense, magic and that unique romance that is Mercy and Adam.
I wish these books came out more often, I love them so very much!
5 Contented Purrs for Patricia!
Click the Cover for More!
Patty was born in Butte, Montana, back in 1965. If you’re good at math, you’ll have deduced that she’s currently twenty-nine. In fact, she’s been twenty-nine for a while and has no intention of getting any older. Fiction authors don’t obey the laws of space and time, they invent them. Don’t argue, or she’ll make up a dragon right behind you . . .
Patricia was born book-privileged. Her mother was a school librarian, and she shared a room with an older sister who loved to read. Long after they had been put to bed, her sister would use the small night light to read Patty stories; her early favorites were fairy tales. Knights and castles, fair maidens, and monsters of every ilk became their nighttime companions.
Soon, Patty learned to read, and whole worlds were hers to explore. She rode on the Black Stallion, and flew the skies of Pern on a dragon. Sometime during that period she stumbled onto a treasure trove. Her older sister had begun collecting comic books; pristine originals were place in cellophane sleeves and organized in cardboard boxes. When her sister was away, they were removed by grubby fingers smeared with peanut butter and jelly for a clandestine read, returning with a faint smudges and wrinkled pages from reading under the covers. To this day, her sister periodically calls Patty and tells her how much more her original copies of the X-Men would have been worth if left pristine in their sleeves. The number keeps going up.
Patty is a prevarication professional. She lies for a living, telling whoppers and fibs so outrageous that people pay her to fib some more. Her only concession to honesty is that she tells people she’s lying to them, which is what separates a fiction author from a politician. She loves to play with her imaginary friends, and meeting with readers who know her imaginary friends is a treat. Her biggest complaint with writing is that she has far more ideas for stories than time to write them.
Patty and her family reside in Eastern Washington near Tri-Cities, home of Mercy Thompson; yes, it’s a real place! When not working on the next book, she can be found playing truant out in her horse pastures, playing with the newest babies.