As seen in the October issue of Uncaged Book Review
Uncaged: The Guardian series is fast becoming a favorite of mine. Can you tell readers more about this series?
Hi Cyrene, Thank you so much for having in the Magazine this month! The Guardians is a series that follows the adventures and relationships of a group of immortals tasked with protecting the balance of good and evil in the human and immortal world. The series is a bit of a mashup between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
The series has Shifters, Elementals, Witches, Vampires, and more, all living and working among humans with no one the wiser. In book one we learn about the history of the Guardians and a gain a few sneak peaks about what comes next for our band of protectors. In the first book we meet Alex, a young woman who discovers, after a fight in the YMCA parking lot, that she is a Fire Elemental and the fated mate of the leader of the Guardians and the Dragon King, Collum Thronus.
Each book focuses on the relationship with the hero and heroine while continuing the overall story-line of the Guardian’s mission to find and stop the darkness threatening them all.
Uncaged: Fire Born, the first book in your series won the Raven Award for Favorite Paranormal Romance. How was the experience of having readers choose your book?
I was shocked and a little overwhelmed with gratitude. I love the book I wrote and feel super invested in the lives of my characters so to see that other people also liked them enough to vote for the book… felt like a gift. It made me want to write an even better book next time 🙂
Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about?
I just finished the first draft of Air Born, book three in the series. Currently I’m working through the edits and prepping it to send to my publisher. In book three, Quinn and Lachon get their story with a few more twists thrown at our Guardians, and we learn the identity of the darkness. The release date for that book is set for spring 2019.
Uncaged: What are some of your favorite genres to read?
Of course, I love Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. I also love regency and historical romances. I grew up on Johanna Lindsey books. Her, Malory Series, was my go to for a few years. I also enjoy Dystopian YA and Women’s fiction.
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you feel you can take away from them?
I do read my reviews. Honestly, I feel like we as authors, spend so much time asking for reviews that we owe it to the reviewer to read them! I’ve had a couple that hurt but everyone has an opinion and 99% of the time even the bad reviews can offer insight for authors.
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?
I try to make my characters as real as possible. I spend a lot of time creating their backstory to learn as much about them as possible before I even begin writing, so when I hear from people that they loved how I developed my characters or that they cried because of a character’s experience, that means everything to me. It’s humbling.
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth?
So, I actually love running. I sit so much that when I get the chance to throw my shoes on and run in the river valley by my home, it’s a total relief for my glutes and my eyes. One of my favorite places on earth is Salt Spring Island, one of the Gulf Islands in BC, Canada. It is remote and rugged. In fact, I spent the summer there this year and it’s where I finished writing Air Born.
Uncaged: What can you tell us that is very unique about you?
I own an English Bulldog who has a bit of an Instagram following. One of the characters in book two of the series is based on her.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
Thank you for choosing to read my book. I’ll do my best to keep them coming 🙂 You can find me on Twitter @inkrayanne, on Facebook as Rayanne Haines Author, on Instagram @rayanne_haines, and on my personal website – www.rayannehaines.com. I’m also on BookBub @RayanneHaines.
Rayanne writes Paranormal Romance with Kick-Ass Heroines. She believes in magic and legend and all the things we cannot see. Rayanne prefers her alpha males a little gritty and the women who love them, in charge of their own destiny.
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Maria Del Voscova is a powerful witch with a past. When she’s asked to become a member of the elite Guardians she knows she can’t risk sharing the truth about her messed-up family. But we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes, we don’t always know what we want.
Though Mar absolutely knows she doesn’t want Neeren, King of the Parthen. She alone sees the darkness in him and it reminds her too much of the past. She knows better than to fall for his stoic, tortured soul façade.
She’s training to be a Guardian, a shadow; tasked with keeping the balance between good and evil in the world. It’s what she wants—to be better than her family was.
But the past has a way of catching up to Mar and the future has a morbid sense of humor. On her first mission, she’s kidnapped by the enemy she’s been running from her entire life. Thankfully the guardians look after their own. As it turns out, so does Neeren.
As Mar finds herself caught between the past and the future; between blood and bond; between the light and the dark, she realizes her only chance at surviving may be in trusting a man who is the most dangerous of them all.
She must be losing her touch. Mar opened the make-shift medical office door, only to be swept up into the thunderstorm gaze of Neeren Simine.
The Parthen King’s eyes swirled green, black, and yellow.
His six-foot four-inch frame exuded cool masculinity.
Nonchalance written on every part of his body. He wore tan slacks and a loose white cotton shirt that effortlessly showcased his muscles. His sleeves rolled up above his powerful forearms. His feet were bare. As always.
Mar had been a guest on his island for close to two weeks and only managed to ruffle his feathers a couple of times. She usually pissed people off at least twice per conversation, but with this guy? Nothing. It was unnerving not knowing what he felt. Schooled in the art of diplomacy and secrecy, his face betrayed nothing. He was ice, through and through. She squinted, hoping to decipher something in his high cheek bones. His square jaw. His thick lower lip.
Neeren grinned at her. His yellow eyes remained aloof. “Do you like what you see?”
Mar snorted. Refused to give him the satisfaction of knowing he unnerved her. “Dream much?”
“Double entendres this early in the day, Maria?”
Of course, she hadn’t meant it that way. Trust him to pick up on subconscious spilling out.
Neeren was half parthen and half water elemental. Parthen were shifters (black panther variation) and dream walkers. A race imbued with the ability to enter others dreams and manipulate them. Once inside a person’s mind, dream became reality. Whatever the parthen wanted to happen—happened. Pain or pleasure. They wielded their gift with exacting precision. Needless to say, most immortals were nervous around them. The jury was out as to whether they were admired or reviled. Depends on who you spoke to.
The Elementals, a race capable of controlling all the earth’s elements, were one of only a few with a natural ability to block parthen from entering their dreams. because Neeren was both parthen and elemental he could bypass this natural blocking ability. Could do whatever he wanted to any elemental he wanted. Even kill them in their sleep.
His secret was out now though. To keep peace, he’d agreed to have his dreamwalking abilities bound against the elemental. Mar was the witch tagged to do the binding.
Mar leaned her hip against the door and winked at him. “Funny. Bet you think you’re pretty clever.”
“Hardly. If I was clever, I’d have figured out a way around this.” Neeren narrowed his eyes at her. Baring perfect teeth in a sinister grin.
A shiver raced up her spine and slammed into her gut. Goddess he annoyed her.
Mar pursed her lips. “It’s not going to hurt. I never pegged you for a chicken. Tell me, how many bodyguards are standing guard during this little tet-a-tet?”
“Ah yes, that’s it of course. I’m scared.” He grinned again. “How perceptive of you.”
She hated his grin. How his lower lip curled up slightly. Her jaw clenched. Realizing they were still standing in the doorway, she retreated a step to let him in.
He remained where he was.
“Are you coming in or what?”
“I’d rather not, thank you.”
She sighed. “Alex wasn’t such a baby about it. Just get in here.”
He growled. “Yes, well my sister trusts you for some strange reason.”
“Look, you two made a deal. It’s time to follow through, kitten.”
He bowed mockingly. “As you command.”
Turning away, she walked into the room. Better than telling him to piss off and not come back. She had a job to do. It didn’t include being mocked by some cat.
The walls pulsed. Pushed down on her. She hadn’t noticed before. Maybe it hadn’t been as glaring when it was just her and Alex, but the space felt claustrophobic. A single bed lay in the middle of the room. A lone, white metal chair beside it. A small wood burning stove heated the room. Her flesh warmed. A pot of herbs brewed over flames. The smell of sage, lemongrass, and rosemary calmed her. The smell of magic.
The room should have felt clinical. It didn’t. Magic required energy and intimacy. The strongest magic came from connection. Mar would have to get very, very close to Neeren for the spell to stick. Dread bounced in her stomach. Beads of sweat collected on her forehead. Dripped down her spine.
“So how does this work?” Neeren’s voice jarred her back to the present. “Shall I strip and lie down?”
Mar gifted him with her best don’t-fuck-with-me stare. The only way she’d get through this torturous afternoon was by maintaining control. Dude had no idea who he was dealing with. She wasn’t some wet behind the ears novice. She flexed her shoulders. Smirked. She was one of the most powerful witches on the planet. No joke. No fooling. She’d studied her ass off. Trained until her soul bled. She wasn’t the best because she’d been born special. His dreamwalking shit didn’t scare her. And no cat was going to dominate her, even if he was a King.
“Oh, kitten, you wish. Go ahead and lay down. But keep your clothes on. This won’t take long.”
His voice weaved through the room like honey. “You’ll find things always take longer with me. I expect you to be thorough, witch.”
“Oh good, now you’re gonna play the seducer? Lucky me.” She rolled her eyes. Twice.
He smirked and glanced away. Like it was nothing. Jerk. She stirred herbs. Placed another log in the stove. Watched fire lick at fresh wood.
The flames roared whenever the King’s sister, Alex, entered the room. Mar’s new BFF controlled fire and was one of the toughest people she’d ever known. They were best friends though because Alex took no one’s shit while still being kind.
Mar liked kindness.
Binding Alex had been easy. Her friend was newly immortal. She’d known about the immortal world for less than a month. When Mar reached into her subconscious, she’d discovered Alex hadn’t fully embraced her immortality. Neeren wouldn’t be so easy. The guy had been born and raised a King. Considered the most powerful of his kind, he’d spent his one hundred and twenty odd years protecting his people from outsiders.
Her gut clenched as he climbed onto the bed and stretched out his legs. Muscled calves hung over the edge. His slacks pulled taut around long limbs. Even his stupid feet were perfectly proportioned.
Her stilettos clicked her frustration as she stomped across the floor with a pot of herbs. She allowed herself a moment to study him as he closed his eyes. Thick, black lashes swept above his cheekbones. He breathed easy. Ice, she thought again. And too damn masculine for his own good.
Mar licked her lips. “I’m going to have to touch you to do this. I’ll reach into your sub consciousness to access your dream world. Then using magic, I’ll lay a block over your abilities. To do this, I’ll rub a herb mixture across your forehead and temples. I may have to touch more of your face. There will be a sense of connection.” She swallowed. “Don’t get any bright ideas about touching back.”
Neeren’s eyes remained closed as he replied, “I will endeavor to remain passive and non-reactionary.”
Mar leaned over his chest. Her hair spilled across his face.
“Sorry,” she said.
She pushed her hair off her shoulders and leaned in again. A few stray strands fell across his lips.
She grinned. “Sorry.”
“Get an elastic band for fuck’s sake.”
“I don’t have one.”
“Suck it up, Norman. It’s just hair. Now don’t move.”
Mar positioned the pot next to his chest, lightly touching his flesh. Placed the fingers on her left hand along his temple. With her right hand, she traced a pattern through the herb mixture. She hummed under her breath. Tracing the exact pattern in a continual motion, until it began to glow. Fire sang. Sweat broke out across her chest. Moisture glistened along Neeren’s upper lip. A blue mist rose above the floor. As it reached her knees, she placed her fingers, coated in moist herbs, against his jaw.
He remained motionless.
The chant became a wave. An echo. A siren call. The air vibrated.
Slowly, Mar traced a new pattern across his face. Swept fingers across his cheek, up his nose, over the forehead, and down his hardened jaw. Repeated the movement again and again.
His breathing echoed her chant. Her breathing echoed his. Matched the staccato beat. As they joined, the pattern across his face glowed the same blue as the mist now at her chest.
Mar reached for his mind. Stretched for connections. Searched for pieces of him linked to the elemental. Let the spell weave between her and Neeren so they might become one.
A shadow appeared. Her consciousness pushed at it. Heat bit her. The blue glow on his flesh singed her. His subconscious fought. Pushed back at light seeking entrance to this deep place.
Mar pushed harder. Ignored a burning against her skin. Reached into shadow. Directed light energy. Battered with wiccan power. She would not be stopped. A crack appeared in the gray. She channeled her glow past the barrier Neeren erected.
Pain engulfed her. Agony. Her lungs constricted, trying to hide from the force beating at them. Her limbs weakened. Dizzy, she tried to pull free. Neeren grasped her hand. Held it against his face before she could escape.
“Finish it,” Neeren moaned through gritted teeth. Clenched jaw.
This was wrong. She shouldn’t be feeling this.
“I can’t,” she moaned back.
“You have no option now,” he growled. “Complete the spell so we can be done with it.”
His eyes remained closed. His face glowed electric blue. His entire body illuminated.
Mar forced herself to ignore the burning inside her gut. To ignore the cries of death she heard in his mind. To pretend she hadn’t felt his content. She resumed chanting. Louder this time, almost frantic. Watched as the blue glow finally weaved itself into a wall blocking his power.
As soon as it was done, she ripped her hand out of his and fled across the room. “What did you do?”
Neeren sat up. Controlled. Swung his legs over the side. Rested his hands on the edge of the cot. Smiled his knowing smile.
Replied, “What I was born to do.”
In the second installment of The Guardians series, you won’t find a sophomore slump here. And when I opened the book immediately after finishing book one, I was happy to discover this one was about the witch Mar and Alex’s brother Neeren. This book is just as good, if not better than book one.
Jumping in after the events of book one, we finally will find out about Mar’s dark and painful past, and the new family she has in Alex, Collum, Glenn and Neeren. If anyone was going to break Neeren’s ice cold exterior and control, leave it to a sassy witch. Many things are not as they appear again, as the author weaves her own brand of magic around her readers. After being asked to be a Guardian, Mar is sent off to Madrid on her first mission, and in the process gets kidnapped. Will Neeren, Collum and Alex find her in time?
All our friends from book one are back, and this series is just getting better, plenty of action, romance and snark, along with a good dash of humor, and the author just can’t write fast enough for me. Reviewed by Cyrene