From Gena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lords of the Underworld saga, comes Frost and Flame, the second book in the scorching paranormal romance series Gods of War.
Bane of Adwaeweth is the most feared immortal warrior in All War history. Possessed by a bloodthirsty beast, he will stop at nothing to win. Then he meets irresistible Nola Lee. He hates the power she wields over him, but she alone can rain vengeance upon his wife’s killer.
Unaware of her destiny to rule as queen of beasts, Nola battles illness, addiction and vulnerability. With Bane, however, she experiences pleasure for the first time, and only wants more. But being with him comes with a terrible price.
With enemies lurking around every corner, Bane and Nola must fight to survive. But time is running out, and neither can resist the sizzling attraction blazing between them. Will their romance save the beast and his beauty, or destroy everything they’ve come to love?
About the Author
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over seventy books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld series, the Gods of War series, the White Rabbit Chronicles, and the Forest of Good and Evil series. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at GenaShowalter.com.
Read an Excerpt
How to melt his icy exterior!
— Nola Lee, Oklahoma Love Match Magazine
AD 701, human timeline
103rd All War, Month 2
Kill. No mercy.
On the trail of his next target, Bane skulked through a Terran jungle. Sweat drenched him, draining his strength, but a rush of adrenaline kept him going, feeding his ravenous muscles. Massive trees abounded, their interwoven limbs forming a leafy canopy, blocking the sun's too-harsh rays. A blessing and a curse. Those gnarled limbs also placed intractable walls in his path, slowing his progress.
Hurry! As he maneuvered around another tangle of vegetation, menace accompanied his every step. He did his best to remain in the shadows. Monkeys watched him from the trees, wary and frightened. Did they sense a predator greater than themselves?
An ever-present fury clung to him like a second skin, worsened by the sweltering heat and thick veil of humidity. Beneath his fury, the need for vengeance remained unflinching. A lifeline. His only friend. Maintain your focus. Do not think of Meredith.
Gloriously strong Meredith.
He bit his tongue, tasting blood, and forced his mind on the hunt at hand.
He carried no weapons; he had no need. I am the weapon. His target owned a mystical sword known as The Blood Drinker, able to cause unfixable wounds. To strike at Aveline with such a blade ... to hear her screams ... to watch her writhe in agony ...
I must have it! According to one of three All War rules, each combatant was allowed to bring a single item from home. Thirty-nine warriors meant thirty- nine weapons to claim. To activate a weapon, you had to kill its owner. Since Bane had known he could steal from combatants as well as native dwellers known as vi- kings, he'd brought a pair of goggles to protect his eyes.
So far, he'd killed a single soldier, winning a dagger able to turn its handler into mist. But the beast had burst from its cage, and shredded the metal like paper.
Today, he would kill a male named Valor, acquiring and activating The Blood Drinker.
Bane would have to remove Valor's head or heart, or burn his body to ash. The only ways to end a combatant. Even the fire-breathers like Bane could be burned, one blaze not always equal to another.
When he came upon a wall of gnarled limbs, he traced a fingertip over the Rifters on his left hand. Every combatant owned Rifters, three crystal rings able to create a one-minute portal anywhere within the Terran realm. As the rings vibrated, he waved in the direction of the limbs. Two layers of air split apart, creating a doorway through the obstacle.
Animals and insects created the perfect soundtrack as he walked to the other side. Birds squawked, frogs croaked and locusts buzzed. A jungle cat roared. The beast shoved an answering roar past his lips, the animalistic sound echoing from the trees. The rest of the forest went silent, and he paused to listen for any sign of his enemy's approach.
Nothing. Inhale, exhale. Good, that's good.
Beneath the scent of earth and foliage, Bane picked up his target's distinctive musk. So close! Anticipation drove him forward. Soon, the morning sun would rise, putting him at a major disadvantage.
Kill the combatant, return to my mountain lair.
He yearned for the day he could slay every combatant and return to Adwaeweth. First, he had to find a Terran princess, ensure she reached her eighteenth birthday and train her to fight. Which meant the All War had to motor on, even if he had to start saving combatants. Therefore, he would contain the beast, however necessary. Even if he had to obtain a lover.
Denial screeched inside his mind. He would rather die an agonizing death than touch another woman. But he would rather live with endless guilt than give Aveline what she desired.
I will avenge you, sweet Meredith. Nothing and no one will stop me.
Enough! Ignore the grief. Forge ahead.
Hushed voices drifted from a short distance away. He froze, listening more carefully. Two speakers — his target and another male with a deep tenor. Another combat- ant. One who'd brought an elaborate suit of armor with retractable spikes that ripped through flesh and bone as easily as melted butter.
Anticipation spiking once again, he stalked around a tree. Closing in ...
Behind him, a twig snapped. He ducked and spun, and a sword was swinging over his head with an ominous whoosh — the sword. The one he wanted more than his next breath. Hello, Valor.
"Voice projection," Bane said. "Nice trick." Staying low, he flowed with his momentum and kicked Valor's ankles together.
The warrior dropped, but swiftly rolled to his feet.
Movement to the left. Another warrior approached — a male named Malaki. He jumped from a tree while clinging to a vine, swinging, swooping ... The spikes in his armor slashed Bane from cheek to navel, shearing off hanks of muscle. Searing pain. Tides of blood pouring from the open wounds.
The beast snarled and beat at his skull, wanting out of its cage.
Calm. Steady. Both opponents were tall and packed with strength, yet they were no match for Bane, even with the beast under lock and key.
"Did you think we'd make this easy for you, beast?" Malaki landed on his feet, the grille of his helmet splattered with bits of Bane's face.
Valor grinned with cold calculation. "You murdered my brother during an All War." He lifted his sword, the metal glinting in a beam of sunlight. "Today, I avenge him."
Morning had arrived.
Both males spoke in their native languages. Languages Bane had never learned. Because of the translator embedded in his brain, he interpreted every word. They had translators, too, and understood when he answered in Adwaewethish. "I'm sure your brother was a worthy adversary," he said. "For others."
A dark scowl replaced Valor's grin, the taunt hitting its mark. The time for words had ended. With a ragged war cry, the male lunged and swung his sword. Target: Bane's throat.
He dodged, and a savage dance ensued. He punched, kicked, blocked and clawed, went high, went low. The two allies worked together in a constant flow of motion. When one man attacked, the other adjusted his position, preparing to deliver the next blow.
Bane deflected a particularly nasty blow, then slammed his palms against Malaki's armor. The spikes embedded in his hands, as hoped. Despite the pain, he tossed the male into a tree. The trunk split, shards of bark volleying in every direction. Leaves rained down, beams of sunlight spotlighting Bane. He hissed.
Eyes stinging, his skin blistering, he slashed, punched and kicked to herd the pair into a shadowed alcove. When Malaki's armor grazed his gut, his intestines spilled out. A flare of pain. Dizziness. The beast protested, razing more of his control as he put himself back together.
Valor thrust the sword at Bane, but Bane jumped up and latched on to a hanging vine. He soared overhead, landed directly behind the bastard and kicked him into Malaki's path. The two collided, the armor doing its job, skinning one side of Valor's chest.
Valor wailed in agony, and Malaki staggered back, his features contorting with horror.
In a quick one, two motion, Bane swung to Valor a second time, cupped the man's forehead and jaw — and twisted. Valor went limp, his spine severed.
Down but not out. Must remove the head or heart before he heals.
"You'll pay for that," Malaki snarled, diving into him.
They careened backward, those metal spikes nicking an internal organ or two. More pain, more blood. When they hit the ground, the spikes cut deeper, earning more protests from the beast.
Careful. If the beast shredded the sword and the armor ...
But "careful" got him pinned to the ground, with Malaki's knees digging into his shoulders. The warrior raised a gauntleted fist, ready to whale, but Bane acted fast, slamming his knees into his back, unseating him. The punch landed in the dirt.
The other man struggled to regain his balance. Bane slid out from underneath him, turned and kicked. A mistake. Valor had healed — and snuck up behind him. Pain ricocheted through Bane's shoulder, the blade going in one side and coming out the other. His vision blurred.
Valor hopes to kill me, to deny me the right to avenge my wife. He dies today. Now!
Rage overtook Bane. Blood screamed in his ears, his heart thudding against his ribs. Finally, the beast broke free. Bones elongated. His gums burned, his teeth lengthening and sharpening. Flesh hardened, dark green scales sprouting from his pores. Darkness eclipsed his mind.
He heard anguished wails in the distance ...
Pleas for mercy ...
Pop. Whoosh. Thump. Then, silence.
When next he blinked, carnage surrounded him. An ocean of blood soaked the ground, body parts scattered here, there, everywhere. Bits of skin and muscle dangled from tree limbs. Pieces of Malaki's indestructible armor lay on the mossy grass. Damn it! The sword ...where was Valor's sword? There! The hilt had sustained some damage, but the blade itself remained intact.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Bane labored to his feet. A sharp ache drew his attention to his shoulder, near the tree of life tattoo on his chest. A tattoo every combatant possessed. The mystical ink infiltrated their blood, allowing an Enforcer to track their every move.
The wound caused by The Blood Drinker hadn't healed, the cut just as raw and red as before. He massaged his nape. There had to be a way to reverse the damage.
Think! A combatant carried a sword with healing properties. Another owned a magic wand able to manipulate energy. Perhaps one of the two could mend the unmendable.
Very well. Bane had his next targets. Once he'd completed his tasks, he would end Aveline's tyranny at long last ...
Then, I will join you, my darling Meredith. We will be together again.
103rd All War, Month 5
Somewhere in the Arctic Circle Assembly of Combatants
For the past three months, Bane had kept his mind on his goals, burying his grief beneath layers of seething hatred for Aveline. Somehow, he'd held the beast at bay without the aid of a lover. He hadn't killed anyone else, or destroyed any more weapons. Of course, that meant he hadn't won the healing sword or magic wand, either.
Another mistake on Bane's part.
Minutes ago, the Assembly of Combatants kicked off. A mandatory roll call. Soon after, an army of vikings had attacked the combatants in droves.
Now, the remaining twenty-five combatants worked together. Immortals against humans, the immortals trapped inside an icy mountain valley, unable to leave until the conclusion of the meeting. Yet, their assailants could move in and out at will.
Metal clashed against metal, the scent of blood permeating the frigid breeze. Grunts, groans and bellows echoed, the battle as savage as the terrain. Above, streaks of green and purple lit up the night sky.
Ignoring the throbbing pain in his stitched shoulder, Bane swiped up a discarded sword and lopped off a mortal's head. Since battling Valor, the wound in his shoulder had only worsened. Blood loss winded him far too easily, and slowed his reflexes.
Footsteps. Challengers approached at a clipped pace. The beast roared, enraged, thirsty for blood and hungry for flesh. As usual.
Calm, steady. If Bane transformed, he would slaughter the vikings, yes, but also the combatants, winning the war before he'd found the Terran princess. If that happened, he would remain bound to Aveline.
Unacceptable! Her downfall trumped everything. Right now, the vikings were obstacles in his path. Obstacles got mowed down.
Bane twisted and lurched. He ripped out one man's throat with his teeth, and punched into the other man's chest cavity, removing his heart. An action that pained his own heart, reminding him of the worst day of his existence.
Inner shake. Blank your mind. Another viking raced toward him, an ax raised and ready. But, just before they collided, an arrow pierced the man's eye, and he dropped.
"Thank you," he grumbled.
Emberelle of Loandria nodded and pivoted to unleash a volley of arrows upon the mortals outside the circle.
Usually she fought with a viking sword. She must have known she'd need a different method today. Possible. From home, she'd brought a metal band that fit over her forehead and allowed her to read the minds of anyone around her. Early on, she'd won a pair of wrist cuffs that might or might not grant the wearer the ability to time travel. Weapons Bane could utilize.
He placed her at the top of his hit list. Find the princess, make my kills.
When the skylights brightened, reflecting off the ice, his eyes burned and watered. He cursed. He'd left his goggles in his lair, knowing there would be a battle at the assembly's conclusion; there was always a battle after an assembly. In the chaos, weapons were often lost, stolen or destroyed.
Should have risked it.
Another mortal approached, brandishing an ax, and the beast fought harder for release, sending a lance of pain through his temples. Bane blocked the human's swing, spun and clawed out his trachea.
Behind him, a war cry sounded. Again, he spun and blocked — a plunging seax this time. Bane rammed his claws through the male's torso, ripping out his intestines. No time to rest. The next challenger arrived. In a (literal) snap, Bane ripped off his arms — and used them as clubs.
A horn erupted, blaring through the mountains. The vikings went still before rushing backward, forming a circle around the combatants, remaining outside the strike zone.
A male wearing a horned helmet split from the group and stalked closer. Blood smeared his tanned skin, scars marred one side of his face and a thick black beard covered his jaw. He wore leather, fur and sheepskin, and held a long staff with a bulbous tip. The Rod of Clima. Bane stiffened. The Rod belonged to a combatant named Cannon. Had the viking killed him? If so ... The viking had joined the All War.
Immortals drew together, watching as two soldiers dragged a decapitated body forward. Someone else pitched the head. It rolled, rolled ... Oh, yes. Cannon was dead.
Hisses of fury blended with shouted threats, combatants throwing themselves against the invisible wall that trapped them inside the clearing, only to bounce back. "When I rip off your dick, even your future children will scream."
"Should I cut off your head, remove your heart or burn you to death? Who am I kidding? I'll do all three." "I'll enjoy making you rest in pieces, you son of a bitch."
Bane remained in place, the beast busy tearing through his skull. Deep breath in. Out. Maintain control. In, out.
The helmeted male lifted the Rod and announced, "You invaded our land and killed our men, because you did not fear us. I am Erik the Widow Maker, and I will teach you the error of your ways." He slammed the tip of the Rod into the ice.
A brutal arctic wind erupted, howling and blustering, the ground shaking. Between one blink and another, ice grew over Bane's feet, up his calves. Higher, higher.
Ice grew over all of the combatants.
Horrified, Bane battled for freedom ... to no avail. Trapped. Helpless. My fight over?
No! He hadn't used his final weapon.
Bane stopped fighting the beast, and the transformation begun. Muscles and bones —
Nothing. The beast remained trapped as well, the ice unbreakable as it spread. Over his waist, his shoulders. Panic decimated what remained of his calm. None of the combatants escaped. Then, the ice covered his face.
I am ... defeated?
I failed Meredith?
No. No! He refused to accept defeat. He would escape. He would find the Terran princess, win the All War and oversee the Blood Rite, finally severing his bond to Aveline. Aveline would come to Terra to claim the planet and then ... oh, yes, then he would have his vengeance, die in peace and rejoin the love of his life.CHAPTER 2
You've got to tease to please!
Present Day Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma
magnolia "nola" lee swallowed a cocktail of medications, readjusted the mound of covers piled atop her and settled more comfortably in bed. Well, not more comfortably. Not really. Her entire body ached, her fingers looked like sausages, fatigue rode her like she was a horse and her every nerve ending sizzled, mini-bolts of lightning zapping her again and again. And again.
It — never — ended. Disease wrecked everything. Romantic relationships. Friendships. Goals. Fun. She'd only ever wanted to be a normal girl, with a normal life. But nooooo. Early on, she was diagnosed with lupus. After going into remission, fibromyalgia decided to come and play.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Frost and Flame"
Copyright © 2019 Gena Showalter.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Such an amazing book, fell in love with Nola and Bane. Book one was great, but book two was better! I didn't want it to end.
Bane and Nola's story is epic!!!! Who's next????
This world that is being built in this series is already a big favorite of mine. The story coincides within the same time frame of Shadow and Ice. So you're seeing Nola's point of view from when she was separated from her sister in the first book. I was confused by the pacing until I realized where the timeline of the story was. The story itself was a lot of fun. Both Nola and Bane are layered characters. Bane is hellbent on revenge while Nola is doing everything she can to survive both the All War and her own physical disabilities. There is a ton of action and the romance that blossoms between the two characters is heartwarming. Nolas natural insecurities and fears are relatable as she's battling not one but two chronic diseases. While it's clear Bane has some serious PTSD he's going through. I hated putting this book down, but I look forward to reading it again to catch any little things I might have missed. If you're a fan of Alpha males and witty, smart heroines, this is a series you'll really enjoy.
Smoking hot paranormal romance with The Gods Of War series. Second book but can be read as a stand-alone. Scorcher! Must read.
A terrific second story in this new series by one of my favorite authors. Warrior gods from other realms land on Earth to fight for the planet and enslave its inhabitants. Well, humans don't take it laying down! A pair of sisters find the warriors and needless to say love connections form. This story runs parallel to the first in the series and has enough background that it is a standalone. The sickly Nola has been abducted by Zion and separated from Vale, her sister, and her medication. But it's the golden warrior Bane that she has a telepathic connection with and he has to get to her to avenge the death of his wife. He's a force as a fierce dragon shapeshifter beast and so twisted up in his hatred for the Queen of the beasts and any challenger to her throne that it effects his true feelings for Nola. As they fight to survive against the other warriors and her illness their connection grows and the soon chemistry turns hot. Bane is torn between his old feelings and the new ones that develop for Nola as they grow closer. Spectacular writing and a thrilling storyline with action, danger, fierce battles, foes galore, twists and turns, and a sexy romance in true Gena Showalter style makes for a fantastic read. I can't wait for the next story! I voluntarily reviewed an ARC.
Amazing second outing for the Gods of War series! Bane and Nola's story is riveting and I couldn't put it down. Their story takes place parallel to that of Knox and Vale so you get to find out what happens to each sister as they are introduced to the All War and their place in it. Nola is such a strong character that isn't afraid to speak her mind or go after what she wants. She doesn't let her cronic illnesses stop her. Bane is a deadly warrior out for revenge, but quickly falls under her spell. While his instinct is to protect the physically weaker Nola he never once underestimates her or her strength. It is always refreshing to see a man respect all aspects of a woman. Both books in the series have been great, and I can't wait to see what comes next. This is a must read series!
Frost and Flame runs pretty parallel to Shadow and Ice’s timeline. Both Vale London and her sister Nola Lee find themselves in a frozen cavern in Russia where they witness the awaking of immortal warriors from their frozen prison. While Vale is grabbed by Knox, Nola finds herself face to face with Bane of Adwaeweth, a man she’s been dreaming about for years. Bane is a fearsome shifting warrior with a beast dragon inside. He requires Nola for his revenge plans against his evil queen, he just never expected what he found in the package Nola provides for his next potential queen. Gods of War is a dark, bloody and an erotic series. Showalter balances the individual personalities’ darker sides with humanizing them with humor and real-life problems to the reading audience. Frost and Flame was quite riveting, with white knuckle reading and cringe worthy battles. Although this is not a story for the lighthearted reader, I highly recommend this book to any reader that likes some darkness in their paranormal romance. I received this ARC copy of Frost and Flame from Harlequin - HQN. This is my honest and voluntary review.
I have been waiting for this book for almost a year and Gena did not disappoint. I think what I like about Frost and Flame, is that it can be read as a complete standalone if you haven't read Shadow and Ice. Gena wrote it where you can pick it up and still understand the history of the All Wars, along with a little background of what happened before without giving too much away. The timelines of both books are exactly the same, but (and this is a huge but) the first book I feel was a bigger-broader look at the war and getting to know the overall characters, but it had to be for that storyline. Frost and Flame is a more intimate look at how the war affects a home, a kingdom, their people, and that was important for this overall storyline. So while both stories have points of intersection, they are not alike. Bane is a character to fall for right out of the gates. The typical big and burly warrior type, yes, but from the very first chapter you meet a very different guy than if you read book one or will meet for most of this book until he really lets his guard down. Bane is a husband and someone with feelings which we don't see because he has to bury those emotions deep. I really felt for Bane right from the very beginning and even though he's always made out to be this huge, larger than life character, he seems very fragile through Nola's eyes. I love that about this book. The two of them even each other out perfectly. So, if you love reading other-worldly, battle-warrior, fantasy/paranormal bada** male and female characters, pheromones through the roof, not the mention epic fight scenes then this book is for you! We are brought back to the beginning of the All War on Earth, back to before it even begins and this time we will see the war through Bane of Adwaeweth's eyes. We meet him briefly last time and know that he is a feared warrior like the others, but also he is one not to mess with. He doesn't fight with weapons like the others, we discover why that is in this book. The only thing he has in possession that someone may want, if they were to actually kill him, are goggles that allow him to see the tricks or illusions that the other combatants may play to their advantage, but for Bane, who is sensitive to the light, they allow him to actually not be blinded by the harsh earth sunlight. We learn that his race is sensitive to light, but not much else, for Bane is a dragon shifter. No wonder he doesn't need weapons and Bane is there purely for revenge. During his time on earth, Bane is also tasked with seeking out any Adwaewethian heirs and killing them. Bane sees this as his one chance to find that heir and actually have get his revenge on the person who killed his wife. If a new queen could take the throne than his people would be free of this evil queen. His quest brings him to Nola Lee. Nola Lee has been sick for as long as she can remember. She has been having dreams of a golden god for years. A man who refers to her as his princess. Now that's a wonderful dream, especially with the things he likes to do to her. Bane and Nola each try to fight the irresistible attraction they have towards one another. It's one that seems to pull them together like magnets whenever they are in close proximity. As Nola discovers more secrets to her ancestry she wants to help Bane, but he has to trust her not to turn on him. If they do work together they will have a better chance of achieving their goal if not it could lead to their death.
The most feared immortal warrior in all War history, Bane of Adwaeweth is possessed by a bloodthirsty beast and he will stop at nothing to win and while he hates the power Nola Lee has over him, she can rain vengeance upon his wife’s killer. Nola is battling illness and addiction, but with Bane, she experiences pleasure for the first time and wants more but being with him comes with a terrible price. Their romance will either save them both or destroy everything they’ve come to love. The second book in the ‘Gods of War’ series is an exhilarating experience that readers don’t want to miss. The author has a gift for making her worlds completely captivating and full of unique elements that makes every story a very enjoyable experience and this one is no different. The world itself it complex with lots of hidden facets, potential for backstabbing and utter violence but the story is about good fighting back against the tyranny and violence of their worlds. The fast paced plot is full thrilling suspense that has readers biting their nails and adrenaline pumping excitement that has gasping in surprise and expectation along with all of kinds of twists and turns that ensures that readers better not blink or they may miss something important. The characters themselves are strong, bold and easily grab readers’ attentions and the relationship between Bane and Nola is as complex as the war taking place. There is nothing typical in this story and every time readers think they know what will happen next…BAM, something unexpected happens. Beware, this story can be read as a standalone but takes place consecutively with the first one and of course the overall plot of the series isn’t one hundred percent complete.
Gods of War is a series you must pick up! Frost and Flame (Gods of War #2) is a brilliant sequel with all I had hoped for... and so much more. This PNR has excellent world-building, smoking hot romance, and fascinating characters. Bane and Nola have fierce chemistry with each other even when they quarrel. You want them together and hope through their entire cat-and-mouse relationship it happens. Gena Showalter is a masterful storyteller! Her words capture your senses, and attention, on the first page and keep you enraptured until the last.
Highlander meets Hunger Games. The All War continues in book two of Gena Showalter’s God of War series, Frost and Flame. This is Bane of Adwaeweth’s and Nola Lee’s story. The All War Alliance was formed by alien races to limit the casualties of war when fighting for recently discovered territories. When a new realm is discovered each race can enter one warrior to compete to win the realm for their race. It is a battle to the death. Only one survivor is allowed. This time they are fighting for Terra (aka Earth). I enjoyed Bane’s and Nola’s story. They both have interesting histories. Both characters have suffered in different ways. They are good for each other. They grow. They make the other stronger and have amazing chemistry. I appreciated how Knox of Iviland and Vale London (book #1) played a role in this story. Gena Showalter does a nice job with this novel. Frost and Flame is skillfully written. There are politics, deceit, adventure, and romance. There are interesting twists that kept me engaged throughout. I suggest reading book one, Shadow and Ice, first. I recommend this novel to people who enjoy paranormal fantasies like Highlander and the Hunger Games. This series would make an excellent television or movie series. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
This is the second book in this complex and intriguing series. Nola and Bane's story had a lot of hate you-want you-hate you going on, which did become monotonous after awhile. Like many heroes, Bane started off as a bit of a jerk. He was filled with anger, fueled by his quest for vengence and racked by occasional feelings of guilt. He did grow and get better and I really liked that he admitted to his sins and tried to make up for them. Nola I thought was a pretty awesome character. This woman had a core of steel in spite of how things appeared from the outside. I felt the chemistry was good between these two and I enjoyed their steamy scenes. The storyline and world these characters inhabit is very complicated and I do admit that sometimes things could get a bit confusing. Still, I found this to be a very entertaining read and I look forward to more from this series.
FROST AND FLAME was everything I hoped for after getting into this series through the first book last year. While the events take place at roughly the same time as the first book, we get a whole different set of people and things going on. And the romance takes the cake. Nola and her foster-sister Vale were traveling when they find a cave with many frozen and very attractive people in it. As they manage to escape their ice prisons, they begin to learn that they are in the middle of an All War, where aliens/creatures from other planets compete to decide who will rule the new realm. Nola finds herself with Zion, a man from a planet of men, who saves her in part because she is female. However, Nola felt herself drawn to another man who she had been dreaming of and communicating with for a long time. Bane is from Adwaeweth, which is a planet of essentially shapeshifters (dragons). Each generation has princesses that could be queens. His queen, Aveline, killed his wife and sent him to the All War. Bane is determined to get revenge. Aveline had sent breeders to Earth, and so, Bane knows there is a princess/queen whom he can use in his quest. As the action begins, there is plenty to keep the reader completely sucked in to this story. The characters were fantastic- I loved getting to know Nola and Bane. A major theme of the book is strength that comes from within, rather than that on the battlefield. Nola suffers from some debilitating conditions, and her strength on these is praised and obvious in the book. She's also got the typical sarcastic and brave attitude as other Showalter characrers, and I adore it all. Bane was an interesting character with his own world/culture that we learn about in the book, and it was easy to devour his side of things. Overall, this was a fantastic sequel that is everything I would have hoped for and more, with great world-building, super-steamy romance, and engaging characters. Highly recommend for fans of paranormal romance- this is a series you'll need to pick up! Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.