Title: Red Blooded
Series: Jessica McClain #4
Author: Amanda Carlson
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Published: September 9th 2014 by Orbit
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | ARe
After Jessica's brother is kidnapped and taken to the Underworld, she will stop at nothing to get him back. But before her grueling training is finished, Jessica's power mixes unexpectedly with the circle and she's dropped into the Underworld without protection or her escorts.
"What did you think was going to happen? That Hell would be all unicorns and rainbows?"
RED BLOODED by Amanda Carlson is the fourth book in her awesome, action-packed Jessica McClain series. It picks up squarely where it's predecessor, COLD BLOODED, left off. The Prince of Hell has kidnapped Tyler, Jessica's twin brother, and Jessica must descend to the Underworld to retrieve her brother. In a pinch, RED BLOODED could be read as a standalone as the author incorporates previous events integral to enjoying the story into the book. BUT... why would you want to? Every book in this series has been a fantastic, heart-stopping thrill ride and your enjoyment of RED BLOODED will be exponentially increased if you are fully acquainted with who and what has formerly transpired.
As the story opens, Jessica is again in crisis mode. She's in brutal training under the witches' tutelage learning how to survive in the Underworld against the Prince of Hell and his dominions. Plans are for Jessica and two companions to go to Hell together to accomplish the rescue. However, something goes terribly wrong and Jessica finds herself in the Underworld, alone and untrained, with no magical defenses. The author's version of Hell is incredibly fascinating with imaginative details that blew me away. Jessica quickly finds that the politics, culture and the hierarchy in Hell are littered with explosive land mines.
Jessica McClain, our wolf-shifter heroine, is brilliant, crafty and strong. She is in full-out survival and rescue mode for the first half of this book. For those unfamiliar with Jessica, she and her wolf are two completely separate entities that communicate with each other directly, work independently, but share a body. It's a totally different dynamic from other wolf shifter stories I've read and utterly fascinating to read.
While there's some romance herein, it's not the focus of this tale. Non-stop action is the name of the game; the characters are more in a state of reaction to events than interaction with each other. The story is still awesome, but I missed enjoying a bit more of the swoon worthy romance. Jessica's mate, Roark, is still the sexiest, sweetest alpha ever. He's a beast and a deadly force not to be reckoned with where Jessica is concerned.
Favorite returning characters including Tyler, Danny, Naomi, Tally and Ray make appearances. Jessica's companions don't make a substantial, albeit very welcome, appearance until about half-way through. Secondary characters are amazing from Lily, the Prince's demoness concubine, to the Prince's wife. What can I say? LOL It's obvious that the Prince spends a lot of time in one bedroom or another. The villains are super creepy and the author illustrates her expansive imagination with the varied types of demons and creatures that live there.
My favorite scene, of course, involved romance. Jessica's and Roark's island getaway is idyllic and mucho sizzling sexy. I didn't want their time there to end! On the other hand, it will be a while before I forget about the demon's eating process involving little pigs. Major YUCK!
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes:
"I could take nice and boring with you right now." He growled low and ran his lips across my neck. "Long, boring... and slow."
Gods, he felt so good.
My hands splayed along his now clean torso and I leaned over and bit his bottom lip. No other man in the history of the universe was as hot as he was. I would dare anyone to say otherwise. My wolf barked her agreement.
"You're the one who never seems to be finished. Don't you ever get tired?"
"Not when I'm around you." He nuzzled my throat. "I'm sure that's a huge hardship for you."
I laughed as his hands wandered their way up my chest. "It totally is. I'm drained most of the time."
"I want to be drained," he growled as he thumbed my sensitive peaks through the jumpsuit.
"I'm taking you." He leaned over. "Make no mistake about it."
I slid my hand all the way down and cupped him, giving him a gentle squeeze. A low growl issued out of the back of his throat.
"I'm all in." I rose up on tiptoe to his ear. "But only if the timing's right. I want to enjoy you."
"Oh, there will be much enjoyment to be had."
"I watched him fall in love with you in that very instant."
"Shut up." I laughed. "You can't fall in love in one glance."
The author's writing is first rate as always. The plot is solidly crafted and the characters play their parts perfectly. Twists and turns come at breakneck speed. RED BLOODED is a must-read for fans of the series. Par for the course, there's a major TELL-ME-IT'S-NOT-SO cliffhanger ending. I highly recommend the series to anyone who loves whirlwind paranormal romantic suspense! It's urban fantasy at its best! Bring on PURE BLOODED!