Author: Chloe Neill
Publication: NAL Trade (July 6, 2010)
Description: Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit, Chicago's newest vampire. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene-and to spy for the vamps while she's at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.
Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She'll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals-not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries-old master vampire.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this episode in the Chicagoland Vampires series. Merit is adjusting to being a vampire even though becoming one was not her choice. She is also settling into the role of Sentinel for Cadogan House. She is approached by a group of vampires that is essentially like the police department's Internal Affairs division and has to decide whether to join it. It brings up the question for her of where her loyalty lies.
She also gets involved in shifter politics as she agrees to protect Alpha Gabriel Keene as a meeting is held in Chicago for the shifters to decided what they will do. They could choose to stay and support the vampires or they could choose to retreat to their home base in Alaska. In any event, the shifters are not out of the closet and many of them like it that way. Many are afraid that if they become known they will be treated as experimental animals. We learn a lot about Pack dynamics in this story.
Merit's relationship with Ethan Sullivan goes through some changes in this episode too. She also repairs her relationship with her best friend Mallory who is a newly identified sorcerer.
I recommend this one for lovers of vampires and lovers of strong female characters.
I smoldered as I watched him, his muscles shifting and flexing as he moved with the slinking grace of a panther. I could have justified the warmth in my belly, called my reaction a consequence of my now fully functioning vampire biology, the result of watching a predator in his prime, or a Novitiate's attraction to the Master who made her.Challenges: Paranormal Reading Challenge, RYOB Reading Challenge
But that didn't do Ethan Sullivan justice--not even close.