Fans of the UF genre will enjoy this new offering from debut author Tricia Skinner. Angel Bait provides readers with a gritty read and characters that remain in your thoughts long after the final page is turned. So let's welcome Ms. Skinner today to hear more about her debut book as well as my impressions, along with the chance to win a copy........
I appreciate this opportunity to chat about my novel, Angel Bait: Book 1 of the Angel Assassins Series.
The most common question I am asked is how I came up with the story. Now, I could say the story came to me in a dream, or I’ve been writing since the age of two, but those would be lies. The truth is, when I seriously began writing this book in November 2011, I had a few chapters, no real plot, and the heroine and I kept arguing.
Yet everything begins with an idea, right? I blended three: twisti
ng mythological tales, my hometown of Detroit, and torturing a few good men.
I don’t show every supernatural creature invented in my book, but the general notion is the paranormal is normal. Angels, nephilim, vampires, werewolves, shifters, elves. I zeroed in on that kind of universe because those are creatures (or beings) I’ve loved reading about.
What made my story a bit different was that I took the nephilim – the offspring of angels and humans in biblical tales – and made them the heroes.
Heroes forced to handle Heaven’s dirty business as assassins.
Yeah, angels didn’t get an automatic white hat in my book. They’re more like an organized crime family than pious guardians. Were all of them corrupt? I hope you’ll enjoy finding out.
One reason I set the story in Detroit was because that city has taken some hard licks economically, and even before the Big Three automakers struggled to stay afloat, the city has had a reputation of being a horrible place to live. Well, I lived there for a good portion of my life, and I still consider it “home.”
Detroit is an underdog, you see. It’s a city people gave up on so many times I’ve lost count. So it worked as the perfect backdrop to this book series. Heroes Jarrid, Cain, Kasdeja, Nestaron, and Tanis were similar to Motown. They’re gritty, tough, and stubborn. They would never back down from a challenge.
Finally, I wouldn’t know how to write a “sweet” romance to save my life. My heroes fight internal and external forces that only add to their own personal struggles. In Angel Bait, Jarrid is forced to choose between duty and desire when he falls in love with Ionie, a reporter he’s using as bait to catch an elusive outlaw. By the end of the story, I hope readers are gobsmacked by the love story, the action, and seeing angels in a fresh light.
Saved by the angel sent to kill them, four half-angel boys are trained and employed as Heaven’s assassins. Jarrid and his nephilim brothers are raised as members of The Eternal Order, and must enforce Heaven’s laws by hunting down those who defy the Directorate.
His only shot at freedom is Ascension, but his employers won’t permit the ancient ritual. Then Jarrid learns a Renegade angel is in Detroit. Such a high-level takedown is the answer to his prayers—all the leverage he needs to Ascend.
For freedom, Jarrid is willing to do anything to lure his elusive enemy out of hiding.
Even use an innocent woman as bait.
News reporter Ionie Gifford has no clue an angel outlaw wants her dead. She agrees to help Jarrid, the enigmatic nephilim with penetrating silver eyes and a worship-worthy body, but only because he accepts her terms. He’s her all-access pass into the city’s supernatural underworld where she hopes to locate her mother’s killer.
Blindsided by Ionie's beauty and tenacity, Jarrid soon finds the eternity-old glacier around his heart thawing. With duty and desire at war within him, he’s forced to make a choice—either save Ionie from the trap he snared and stay chained to Heaven, or allow her to become collateral damage.
She leaned back and studied him, taking in the casual way his thigh rested against a chair. Her throat closed, smothering her clever retort. Jarrid angled his chiseled face to study items on her desk, and Ionie caught the awed stares of her passing colleagues.
One woman tripped over her own feet.
Another face-planted into a wall.
The half-angel was so handsome it hurt. Jarrid didn’t seem to notice the attention directed at him. Or maybe he didn’t care.
“You’re upset I won’t allow photos, but you still plan to work with me,” he said, hisfingers sliding over a shriveled dictionary. “I want to know why.”
Blunt and to the point.
“I’m not upset.” Ionie snorted, a sound she hoped made her seem indifferent. “You’ve answered my prayers. I’m used to working obits, or chasing the occasional fire truck.”
He flicked his head at the desk adjoining hers. “You work with someone?”
“I don’t do partners.”
“Yet you will do me.” The simple statement, spoken in his sexy rumble, liquefied the marrow in Ionie’s bones.
“Uh,” she said. “My work takes on a whole new meaning when you say it.”
He leaned in, a smooth slide of firm muscle and taut flesh. She caught a whiff of his scent; she hadn’t noticed it before. Something nameless, celestial like the man – the being – it belonged to. She inhaled deep, lulled by his nearness. Gorgeous. No other word fit him better.
“Is there a problem?” Jarrid’s lips curved down. His tone held an edge she couldn’t place.
“Problem?” Mario’s smooth voice yanked Ionie from her trance. She shook her head and leaned away from the nephilim. “You okay, kid?”
What the hell am I doing?
What the hell am I doing?
Ionie strained to smile at Jarrid. The half-angel’s face presented a solid mask, obscuring any hint of his reaction.
“I’m fine,” she said. “Mario, this is Jarrid. He’s with the Eternal Order ... and my new story. Jarrid, this is Mario Hernandez. He trained me on the graveyard shift.”
“Story?” The men exchanged handshakes. She could see Mario’s mind working behind his casual expression.
“On Patrick’s say so.” She suppressed some of her excitement. “I’m doing a feature on angel society.”
“Angels don’t seek attention. Why the switch?”
“Times change,” Jarrid said in a tight, controlled voice.
The older reporter narrowed his eyes at the flat tone. She didn’t blame him. “Doesn’texplain why the boys above have sent a nephilim. Aren’t you guys a bit high level for PR?”
The muscles in Jarrid’s arms ticked. “My work is classified.”
“I bet,” Mario said.
What the hell?
Ionie stared at her friend, then Jarrid. The corded line of his neck bulged with thickthrobbing veins. Her source appeared ready to pounce on the curious old coot. She slid off her chair. “We should get going.”
Neither man moved. Ionie reached out and touched Jarrid’s bicep. His arm shifted beneath her hand like she’d branded him. She removed her fingers before he decided to break them off.
No touching. Got it.
Without a word, he marched from the office. With the weird question and answer session over, she grabbed her bag and hauled ass to catch up.
“What happened back there?” She jogged to keep pace with him, his long strides churning yards of polished marble floor in his wake. “Why are you acting like this?”
Jarrid turned on her with a scowl. “Your buddy is inquisitive.”
“Newsflash. He’s a reporter, like me. Nosey is what we do.” That didn’t help. Not the way Jarrid stared at her as if she’d sprouted horns. “You’re a big deal in Heaven, huh? If it’s a secret, you shouldn’t be hanging around journalists. We suck up secrets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
“We keep to ourselves.” A tremor of annoyance filtered through the words.
“Not anymore.” The two of them standing in a newspaper lobby made the whole conversation seem ridiculous. Ionie stepped closer to Jarrid and angled her head to see his eyes. “Not many people can say they’ve seen, or met, an angel. Your kind might want to keep on the down low, but when you step out, you’re going to draw attention.”
His steady glare told her he didn’t believe a word. Or maybe he didn’t like what he heard. Or maybe he just liked glaring at her like she’d eventually shut the hell up.
Jerk. Angels weren’t the only ones who preferred seclusion. Try tracking down the Fae. Those bastards were near impossible to get out in the open. She’d tried.
“Angels and nephilim are private. I get the cloak and dagger bull, but you came to me. This covert thing? You want people to answer your questions?”
He gave a microscopic bob of his head.
“First lesson? People are naturally curious, especially humans.” Ionie moistened her bottom lip. She hated the nervous response, but Jarrid held a remote control on her anxiety. “They may have questions for you, too. We’re drawn to the unknown like butter to toast, at least according to my grandma. I’ll help you. You’ll help me. Everybody gets what they need.”
Silver eyes dipped to her lips.
The gap between them sizzled like someone had flipped on a low-voltage current. Every hair on her skin saluted. She stared into his eyes and her heartbeat doubled. By now she should be nervous, but the hint of danger she sensed in him only brought an embarrassing rush of arousal.
Her face must have flushed apple red because Jarrid’s mouth parted. His now wide gaze traced over her features, lingering on her cheeks and lips. She should kiss him. Kiss him right in the middle of her workplace. Kiss him in front of Stan the desk clerk who took classified ads. One kiss on the nephilim’s too-full lips. One hard press ....
She licked her lip again. His gaze tracked her tongue. Before she could lean into his body and act on the impulse, he jerked back and stepped out of reach.
“What are you doing?” His voice was low, dangerous.
What was she doing? She’d almost pounced on a guy at work! She didn’t jump her sources. Another wave of heat seared her face and she stared at her feet. “So ... we still have a deal?”
Jarrid didn’t reply. She chanced a peek at him. He looked pissed. His back was ramrod straight and his eyes glowed. Maybe she’d offended his angel sensibilities with her odd human reactions.
Wasn’t he half-Human? Did he feel an attraction to her?
A miserable minute ticked by.
“We still have a deal,” he said. “First, you meet my brothers.”
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Tricia Skinner has crafted an exciting, action-packed story with endearing and fully fleshed-out characters which made Angel Bait a wonderfully memorable start to what promises to be an intriguing mythological journey towards redemption. After a slightly slow start the story picks up and perfectly balances both the romance and life or death circumstances these characters get put through and races towards a completely satisfying conclusion that leaves you clamoring for more.
Set in the dark and gritty world of Detroit where there are otherworldly creatures side by side with humans comes a group of sexy and distinctively appealing Nephilims set on saving the world and hopefully gaining their just rewards in return. First up is Jarrid who's cool and calculating yet oozes charm and sex appeal. Tired of his lowly status he's willing to do anything and use anyone to gain Ascension. He doesn't expect the strong and smart Ionie to be the pawn he needs to reach his goal and what follows is a constant flow of sexual tension and steamy interludes that bring them closer together. Their witty and snarky banter further illustrated their intense sexual connection and made their burgeoning relationship even more entertaining. Ionie is a great heroine able to keep up with the boys. Her mental and physical strengths kept her on an even playing field with the rest of those half-angelic bad boys and the perfection of her and Jarrid being together had me rooting for their HEA.
Through its strong and vividly depicted World Building and unique mythology this story kept me fully immersed in the lives of the Angel Assassins. The brief glimpses we get of each has me dying to know more about them. There's a good ol boy mentality between them that's utterly endearing and it doesn't hurt that they're sexy too!
For a debut book Ms. Skinner shows great promise with her mature writing style and unique view of long-held myths. The action scenes keep your heart racing and the romance is spicy and perfectly interspersed throughout the rest of the action. Just enough info is given to keep you on the edge of your seat and yet breathless for more. Here's to a satisfying new entry into the UF genre and I'm greatly looking forward to being reintroduced to another sexy Angel Assassin soon!
My rating for this is an A.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
In those rare moments when she’s not writing, Tricia is a newbie “green” practitioner, a fitness procrastinator, and a technology geek. She is a mother and a wife. Her family includes two Great Danes.
Tricia stays active in various writing communities. She’s the Web Editor for Pony Express(ions), the online literary journal of the Masters of Liberal Studies Program at Southern Methodist University; a volunteer with SMU’s The Writers Path; the Newsletter Editor and a Mud Puddle Critique Group moderator for the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America. In December 2012 she received a master’s degree with a Creative Writing focus from SMU. She welcomes correspondence from readers.......
Visit her online at: www.TriciaSkinner.com
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