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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reviews/Giveaway: On The Edge Series by Kallysten

I thought I was a fan of Kallysten's before.  I mean, I've read a couple of her books, I've spoken with her, I've stalked her on all the social media sites.  But now, after reading these two books, I can honestly say I am a hardcore fan.  So please, take a moment, read my reviews and see why.  I can not wait to read the rest of this series, I'm practically frothing at the mouth to find out what happens next with this group of people!  I'd love to hear if you've read these books, or any other books from Kallysten.  What did you think of them?  I'm putting two reviews on this one post, which is a bit different for me.  But the books are tied together anyway, and it will help you to not have to click all over the place.  And thank you so much, for coming by!  I appreciate it :)

On The Edge

Title: On The Edge
Series: On The Edge, #1
Author: Kallysten
Published: March, 2007
Format: Ebook provided for review
Tour: Yes, Beyond The Edge Book Tour

Brett Andrews thought he had it all.

His new club, On The Edge, catering to vampires and humans, is a smashing success, and the beautiful vampire Lisa is everything he could have dreamed of.

When an old lover of hers, Leo, shows up at the club, Brett's immediate fear is that he will lose Lisa. But if he just stops thinking long enough to follow Lisa's lead, he might gain a lover instead of losing one.

Ok, so this book is relatively short, coming in around 9200 words, under 40 pages.  Right off the bat it starts with a sexy shower scene - my favorite!  I don't know what it is, but the water, the steam, the whole thing just sets me off.  Here we meet Brett and Lisa, human and vampire, respectively.  And as it turns out, they are in a relationship, eleven months so far.

I felt like they were really great together.  They had a playfulness, and you could still see they cared for each other beyond that flirtation.  They respected each other for what they were, and so when Lisa went to the club downstairs to feed, Brett (and I) thought nothing of it.

But here I'm going to break off from the characters for a minute to talk about On The Edge, the club.  This place is very much a character in the story, itself.  It's vampire and human friendly, a place for them to meet and mingle, and sometimes even more.  Drink blood, or "dirty wine", or anything else a mere mortal might enjoy.  It's a place with alcoves and overhead walkways, loud music, and great ambiance.

In the club, Lisa runs into an old friend - Leo.  Right away their familiarity puts me on edge a bit.  Um, hello, what about Brett??  So when Lisa brings both of them back to the home that Brett and Lisa share, I can definitely understand - and agree with - Brett's apprehension.

But that Lisa, she's a smarty.  And there comes a point in this story when I got very angry with her, I felt betrayed for Brett, and in a very bad way.  I called Lisa some very bad names.  But like I said, she's smart.  Don't underestimate that girl, and don't think her heart is in the wrong place.

And Leo?  He turned out to be one of my favorites of the five I met through these two books.  I absolutely adore this man, and his lack of inhibitions. He's tall, dark, and handsome.  Sexy and mysterious.  Dangerous.  All of the above, and all things vampire.

This story was m-m-f and m-f-m.  And it was so wonderful and beautiful, and unbearably hot.  I definitely recommend it, and I definitely recommend reading it first, before moving on any more in the On The Edge series.

Title: Out Of The Box
Series: On The Edge #16.5, (Out Of The Box, Complete Series)
Author: Kallysten
Published: 2007, Alinar Publishing
Format: EBook provided for review
Tour: Yes, Beyond The Edge Book Tour

When she walked into the club, all Virginia wanted was satisfy her curiosity about vampires - and about being bitten. But when Anando reached out to her and asked her what games she wanted to play, he opened the Pandora box and Virginia found answers to questions she had never thought to ask.

Whew.  This story... whew.  This story is about Virginia.  And Anando. And Virginia and Anando.  And at first, I felt like it wasn't going to get very deep into them.  I was oh-so-very wrong.  Tears coming down my face wrong.  Heated and excited wrong. All kinds of wrong!!

Virginia is a woman who goes through a metamorphosis through this book. Shy and a bit naive about the lifestyle, to well, what you find by the end of the book. I don't know if it wasn't mentioned, or if I missed it, but I picture her as a bit older; she speaks of the younger girls at the club, whom she believes have more to offer than she does.  Turns out she is wrong.  Anyhow, this story for the most part is like her diary.  She is talking to us, the readers.  I really loved that aspect.  I felt like it kept me on my toes.

And then Virginia meets Anando, a vampire.  A sexy and dark vampire.  Let me emphasize SEXY a bit more.  This man has got it going on!  He is suave and mysterious.  And it isn't long before Virginia is going home with him, caution to the wind, as it were.  I can't say I blame her.  And what they do at his home, over and over... well, let's just say if you are looking for some sensual scenes, you will have to look no further at all!

Much of the first part of the book is their sexual exploration of each other.  And ohhhhhh-my-gawd, it was fantastic.  You feel like you are just reading about their sex life at first, but it isn't long before you realize how much you are actually learning about the two of them from their experiences with each other. Their connection is strong, sweet, and deep.  The eroticism between Virginia, sweet Virginia, and Anando is breathtaking.

"Before the sound had even died on my lips, he was thrusting again, just as hard, just as deep, sending sparks through my body and leaving my mind blank.  I closed my eyes, and the entirety of my world became sensations."

I really enjoyed these two together, and it wasn't long before I felt emotionally invested in them.  They had a few bumps in the road in the beginning.  Some unsaid sentiments brought things silently crashing at one point. But they can't stay away from each other, they're like magnets. And then they do something I hate for people who are obviously falling for each other do: they put boundaries on their emotions, and anything that would lead to emotions.  I don't know about you, but I've done this in my real life, and I can speak from experience that it never ends well.  This is what I immediately thought, when this all happened with Anando and Virginia.  But then, I think he was just letting her adjust to the fact of emotions.  It's not like time is an issue for him, and by this point he had already proven himself to be very patient and caring.

Their relationship was a rollercoaster.  There were extreme and sensual highs.  And when the low came - and my subsequent tears - I wanted to stop reading (but not really, its a figure of speech, people!)  I was worried Kallysten was going to break my heart the way Anando's and Virginia's hearts were being broken. It was a rough ride for me, to see these two - especially Virginia - hurting so much.


Of course, I can't give spoilers.  But it doesn't take much to figure out that they find their way.  Especially when you read the excerpt I have below, because they are in it.  But let me tell you, there was a point where I was so mad at Kallysten for making me care for these two so much, before I even realized I had, and then to do what she did... It's a road worth taking, though. It will leave you exhausted and contented, and when I read a book, that is exactly what I want.

Oh!  And Leo finds his way into this story, in several ways, several times!  I've found myself excitedly awaiting his next appearance.  Leo is definitely on my radar.  He seems like such a wonderful man, I am eagerly waiting to read more of him.  But not just him; I am eagerly waiting for more of all of them.

Ok, so those are my reviews.  I hope that maybe they spur you on to read this series.  Check out this excerpt from Beyond The Edge, and then make sure you enter the giveaway!  Thanks for coming by, everyone!

The familiar neon sign, lighting the night in alternating red and blue, had always brought a smile to Anando’s lips. He liked On The Edge. He always had. He’d seen a lot of bars in his years, a lot of places for vampires and humans to meet and mingle, but On The Edge stood far above the rest. No doubt it was the result of the owner being so close to vampires himself.

Before he met Virginia, the club had been his favorite place to let go to the sound of pounding music. His favorite place to find new prey, too.

These days, he didn’t come as often as he used to, but the place was filled with memories of him and Virginia. All he needed to do was cross the street, pass the glass doors, and he was already hard.

Usually, Virginia didn’t need much more than that either before the sweet and heady scent of her lust started to rise, wrapping around her like the delicate petals of a barely-open flower until Anando couldn’t keep his hands and mouth off her any longer. This night, though, her light eyes remained clouded even after they’d stepped down the crisscrossing staircases to the dance floor on the lower level.

He’d thought that coming here would cheer her up after that phone call, but clearly he’d been wrong. Sliding his arms around her, he drew her close to him and slow-danced with her, even though the pounding beat was more suited to bouncing the way the rest of the patrons did. The crowd was always younger and more exuberant on Saturdays.

“We’re going to get trampled,” she said with a weak little laugh right into his ear.

Anando drew her closer still. He’d never let anything happen to her.

“The music will change soon enough,” he replied. “And you looked like you needed a hug.”

Her arms tightened around his neck, and she pressed her face to the crook of his shoulder. Her sigh was warm against his cool skin.

Damn. He shouldn’t have reminded her that she wasn’t feeling great. Or at least, not so soon. They’d have to talk about it, sooner or later, but first she needed to relax a little. Picking her up, he twirled her around, drawing a surprised giggle from her lips. He could barely hear it over the music, but it still wrapped around him, warm and soft.

For the next few minutes, they continued to rock to their own beat in the middle of the dance floor, sometimes jostled by over-enthusiastic dancers. At last, the DJ switched to slower songs, and their dancing matched the rest of the crowd’s.

Slipping a finger under Virginia’s chin, Anando tilted her face up. He looked into her eyes and gave her his softest smile, wishing he could take away her worries. She smiled back and leaned in closer, pressing her mouth to his.

As often as they kissed, he doubted he’d ever tire of how soft her lips were, how gentle her touch was at first, as tentative as when they had shared their very first kiss what seemed like an entire lifetime ago. He let her lead, knowing that this simple caress of lips on lips awakened the same fire in her as it did in him and that she wouldn’t be able to resist her own desire for long.

Indeed, after a beat or two, she pressed harder against his lips, her tongue sliding into his mouth as though she owned it—owned him. He threaded his fingers through her hair and angled her head to deepen the kiss a little more. She moaned into his mouth, a quiet vibration that spread through him as quickly as wildfire.

She wound her arms around his torso and pressed her breasts against his chest. Anando dropped both his hands to her ass and pulled it forward, trapping his cock between them. She moaned again when one of his hands sought the hem of her dress.

Her tongue stroked against his teeth until he extended his fangs the way she wanted. She pricked her tongue on the point of one, offering him the taste of her blood and stroking the flames of his desire even more.

Nothing mattered at that moment but her warmth against him, the intensity of their kiss, and how much Anando wanted her, needed her. The rest of the world did not exist as far as he was concerned.

Not until a hand tapped his shoulder while a woman’s voice said, very close and full of amusement, “You might want to cool it down before security decides you two are a fire hazard.”

Virginia pulled back as Anando opened his eyes. They both turned to Lisa, standing at their side, her eyes gleaming with mirth.

“Come on up,” she says. “Drinks are on me. There’s something I want to ask you.”

She winked before turning away and sashaying through the crowd, her hair bouncing on her shoulders. She didn’t look back to see if they were following.

Focusing on Virginia again, Anando caressed her cheek with the back of his fingers. Her skin seemed even paler than usual against his own coffee skin. She smiled a little absently.

“Do you want to talk to her?” he asked. “We don’t have to. We could just go home.”

He didn’t know what Lisa wanted to ask them, but his best guess was that it involved sex, and in the mood Virginia was in, it might not be the best time for a suggestion like that. They’d talked about joining Leo, Lisa, and Brett for another night of games, but it had been months, almost a year since the first time, and they had yet to do more than talk about it.

“A drink sounds good,” Virginia said nonetheless. “And it’d be rude if we didn’t go.” She took his hand and entwined their fingers together. “Lead the way?”

He leaned in to caress her mouth with his own, then opened a path through the dancers toward the staircase. Her fingers remained woven with his until they reached the first floor, and even then she only let go to allow him to draw a chair for her at Lisa’s table. He sat on Virginia’s right and took her hand again on the table. Across from him, Lisa offered a conspiratorial grin.

“I ordered for all of us, I hope you don’t mind. I want to be done before Brett sees us on those damn cameras and decides to come down.”

She was finishing when Leo approached the table, and Anando threw Virginia a look. She seemed as confused as he was. Why wouldn’t Lisa want Brett to join them?

Smiling, Leo said hello as he set a champagne flute in front of all three of them, then sat, a fourth one in hand.

“Champagne?” Virginia said. “What’s the occasion?”

Lisa peered over Anando’s shoulder—to the back of the room, he realized, where a private door led to the apartment upstairs. Was she really keeping an eye out for Brett?

“The occasion is Brett’s birthday,” she said. “In two weeks, on the sixth. We want to throw him a big party—”

“—but he’s already suspicious,” Leo continued her thought for her. “So we can’t organize it here.”

“And a restaurant or party hall feels a bit impersonal. So we were wondering if maybe you’d care to host the party for us. He’ll never suspect that.”

Lisa finished with a grin that made it all too clear how happy she was about that idea. She was looking at Anando, waiting for him to reply, but he tilted his head toward Virginia. “Ask the lady of the house. It’s up to her.”

Virginia’s fingers tightened over his. She looked thoughtful as her gaze drifted from the glass in front of her to Leo and finally Lisa.

“When you say ‘party,’” she said, “do you mean an actual party with guests or… the other kind of party?”

Even now, after all this time, all that had happened—after she’d been in the same bed as all three people sitting with her at that table—Virginia could still blush. It was rather adorable, and Anando couldn’t help leaning toward her and kissing her cheek. She flashed him an impish smile completely at odds with her blushing.

“We meant the regular kind of party,” Leo replied, flames lightening his eyes. “Twenty to thirty guests. We’d take care of the food and drinks, of course. But if you two are up for an after-party when the guests are gone…”

Virginia held Leo’s gaze until his voice trailed off, then she looked at Anando, her cheeks brighter still, but embarrassment wasn’t the only thing warming her.

“Like I told Lisa,” Anando said, trying to keep his tone neutral but unable to suppress a grin, “it’s up to you.”

She clucked her tongue. “That’s not how it works,” she reminded him. “You have a say in it, too.”

Anando shrugged. “You know I’m up for it.”

She snickered, as did Lisa.

“No pun intended,” he belatedly added.

It was nice to see a smile back on Virginia’s lips. It widened a little more when she asked Lisa, “Are we going for a specific theme or a plain old birthday party?”

The two of them figured out the details while Leo, emptying his glass in one long gulp, returned behind the bar. As Anando sipped his champagne, it occurred to him that Virginia hadn’t said whether she was agreeing to a simple party or an extended one. Somehow, he didn’t think any of them had the slightest doubt about it.

As Brett Andrews, owner of the famous club On The Edge, reaches the big ‘four-O,’ he has one request and one question for his two vampire lovers, Leo and Lisa: he doesn’t want them to organize any sort of celebration for him – but he does want to know why neither of them has ever mentioned the possibility of turning him into a vampire.

The question finds an answer, and the three of them share a promise for the year to come. His request, on the other hand, is doomed from the start as they already have plans for the big day: they have a gift for him to match presents he offered each of them, and the party they planned with help from a couple of friends promises to be something special.

Vampire Anando and his human lover Virginia met at On The Edge. They are friends and occasional lovers of Leo, Brett and Lisa. When asked, they gladly accept to host the big-bash birthday party – and the private after-party, too. A good time is had by all, but the last gift is only revealed a few weeks later, to be delivered after nine months.

With both humans in love with vampires, neither expected a child in their future. As for the vampires, they knew for a fact that they’d never become parents. For all five, once the first shock has passed, decisions have to be made. Will this new adventure strengthen bonds of love and friendship, or will it tear lives apart?

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