Author: Jess Haines
Publication: Zebra; 1 edition (May 1, 2010)
Description: Shiarra Waynest's detective work was dangerous enough when her client base was strictly mortal. But ailing finances have forced her to accept a lucrative case that could save her firm - if it doesn't kill her first. Shiarra has signed on to work for a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact owned by one of New York's most powerful vampires. As soon as Shiarra meets sexy, mesmerizing vamp Alec Royce, she knows her assignment is even more complicated than she thought. With a clandestine anti-Other group trying to recruit her, and magi being eliminated, Shiarra needs back-up and enlists her ex-boyfriend - a werewolf whose non-furry form is disarmingly appealing - and a nerdy mage with surprising talents. But it may not be enough. In a city where the undead roam, magic rules, and even the Others aren't always what they seem, Shiarra has just become the secret weapon in a battle between good and evil - whether she likes it or not...
My Thoughts: This was a great story about a very reluctant kick-ass heroine. If Shia had her way, she would have absolutely nothing to do with the Others that came out in New York after 9/11. She is afraid of them all. When she found out her boyfriend was a were, she screamed the house down and dumped him immediately. But the investigation business she and her best friend started when they graduated from college isn't going well and a mage comes to her with an offer that she can't afford to refuse. She, very reluctantly, agrees to investigate an old, rich, and powerful vampire to find the magic object the mage wants.
But things start to go wrong almost immediately. The vampire tries to force her into a binding contract, the mage she was working for was murdered, and she has become the focus of another mage's attention. The object she is looking for can allow a mage to control vampires and weres or vampires to control weres. Even worse, her mother is trying to get her back together with her werewolf boyfriend Chaz though the mother doesn't know he's a werewolf and is quite prejudiced against Others.
There was a lot of adventure and danger as Shia, her best friend Sara, Chaz, and Arnold - a wizard from the Circle, try to find the focus and stay alive in the process. This was an enjoyable Urban Fantasy with likable and realistic characters. The two possible romantic interests for Shia - Chaz the werewolf and Royce the vampire - were both attractive with positives and negatives. I don't know which I'd choose. I am eager to read the sequel - Taken by the Others - to see if Shia is any nearer to choosing between them.
I recommend this title to lovers of Urban Fantasy. This was an entertaining story in a well-built world. When I downloaded this title to my Kindle, it was free. Now I see that it is selling for $4.39.
Vamp-run establishments are "the thing" right now. I guess to some people, the idea of rubbing elbows with a leech is titillating.Source: This was a free download for the Kindle in late December or early January. It is no longer free.