Release Day ARC Review & Interview: Juliette Cross – Dragon in the Blood (Vale of Stars #2) ~ Excerpt/Giveaway
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Juliette Cross author of Dragon in the Blood.
Hello and Welcome Juliette!
Hi, Angela! Thank you so much for having me. It’s good to be back on Angel’s Guilty Pleasures.
What was your favorite scene to write in Dragon in the Blood? Why?
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. There were a few, but I really enjoyed writing chapter 7 where Valla is attacked by a vitr’mir—a giant, bearlike beast. Conn quickly comes to the rescue where a playful scene ensues. But in the midst of this interlude, she realizes he is more than he appears. It’s that moment where she understands he could topple the wall she’s built to keep him out.
“But the truth was, I saw him differently now. Even from that small act of kindness, Conn Rowanflame was more than a swaggering, macho playboy. Now he was even more dangerous.”
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
Valla, don’t think too much.
Conn, don’t dwell on the past.
What are two fun facts that no one knows about Valla Moonring & Conn Rowanflame?
Valla is a serious animal lover, but it doesn’t fit her badass persona. So she rarely lets it show. And while Conn appears to be all charm and confidence, he’s very sensitive and more emotional than people know.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Binge on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. My husband and I enjoy finding a new series to fall in love with. Right now, we’re devouring Orphan Black. Brilliant writing and action-packed. Love it.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I hate to admit this, but I prefer my kindle Paperwhite. It’s so convenient for bedtime reading.
What is next for you?
I’m currently writing DRAGON HEARTSTRING, a novella that is actually a prequel to the Vale of Stars series. It tells the love story of the stern businessman Demetrius Cade and the demure healer Shakara Icewing. This is my first story with the couple of a human man and Morgon woman. Promises to be interesting.
Thank you very much, Juliette, for visiting Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and sharing with us a little about Dragon in the Blood and yourself.
It was my pleasure.
Conn slowed his descent as treetops came into view beyond the fading mist, which had thinned to nearly nothing in the past hour. Whipping open my wings, I landed softly on the hard ground among a grove of evergolds. Even in this frozen tundra, the giants famous for their flora of fire-gold leaves grew tall and thick-branched in abundance. I lifted my visor to a brilliant burst of color that contrasted against the brown earth and snow-swept embankments.
Bowen landed quietly behind me. “How about some lunch before we set out on foot?” He removed and tucked away his visor and unpacked his crossbow from its sheath on his back for the first time on this journey.
“Let’s get into the cover of trees,” said Conn, moving along the natural path. “And lunch sounds perfect.”
“Benta’s breakfast wasn’t enough for you?” I asked, meeting his long stride.
“I always have an appetite, sweetheart.”
“While you two continue flirting, I’ll find some small game nearby. Set up the hotpad over near that big evergold.”
Without a sound, Bowen disappeared into the trees.
“Flirting?” I scoffed. “I wasn’t flirting.”
“I was.” Conn grinned.
“I haven’t even gotten started yet.”
“So you’ve said before.”
“Listen—” I put up both gloved hands to stop his snarky banter for just one second. “I’m glad we’re finally alone.”
“Me, too.” His lopsided grin made my heart flutter.
Exhaling a frustrated sigh, I stopped under a thick oak with ample coverage from above and unhooked my chest pack before dropping it to the ground. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about…about last night.”
“Mmm. Last night.”
He removed his own pack and gloves, then pulled out the small, electronic hotpad. After opening the tripod that kept it off the ground, he turned it on. Gisa ordered us to use the hotpad instead of fire when we were in the open to avoid alerting predators or criminals to our presence.
Conn stood and propped his hands low on his hips. “Would you like a second round?”
“No…no.” I cleared my throat and shook my head, my ponytail sliding on the smooth leather of my jacket. “Actually, that should never have happened. I shouldn’t have let that happen. But I—”
“Couldn’t resist,” he finished, a devilish smile brimming his beautiful face. “It’s okay. It happens a lot.”
“You’re such an ass.” I rolled my eyes. “I could’ve resisted.”
He broke his rigid stance and sauntered closer, a feral glimmer in his gaze. By instinct, I backed up a step, my wings scraping the rough bark of the evergold behind me. He moved into my personal space.
“What are you doing?” I asked, heart hammering.
He flattened one hand against the tree above my head, his finger grazing the arch of my wing. I shivered.
“Are you sure you could resist?”
I cleared my throat. “Of course,” I said, trying to sound confident, but my voice betrayed me and broke.
“Well…I couldn’t.” He brushed the back of his knuckles along my jaw. I held still, caught.
“Actually, I want to taste you again. Right now.”
Even stone-cold sober, I felt drunk from a single touch, longing to fall back into his arms and let him show me what his hazel-gold eyes promised without a word.
He leaned close, his warm breath grazing my ear. “Let me taste you again, Valla.”
I planted my hands on his chest, wishing there weren’t the layers of thermal suit and leather between my palms and his rock-hard chest.
He nuzzled the shell of my ear with his nose, then his lips. “Let me.”
His darkened voice pleaded and demanded at the same time, spreading warmth between my legs. What had gotten into me? I pushed him out of my way and stormed toward a densely wooded area.
“Where are you going?” he laughed. “Running away?”
“I’ve gotta go to the bathroom,” I yelled over my shoulder.
“Not by yourself, you’re not.” His footsteps crunched across the thin blanket of snow and leaves behind me.
I whirled, heat burning up my neck, now from anger not lust. “Whoa, there, big boy.” I threw up a hand, halting him several feet away. “Look. You’re not my keeper. And just because we shared one kiss doesn’t mean anything. I’m going to relieve myself by myself. Do you understand?”
His wings twitched at his back. Agitated. Whatever.
“And stop scowling at me,” I called back as I spun and trekked off the path into the brush.
Dragon in the Blood
Vale of Stars
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication: July 26, 2016
Word Count: 72K
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
When desire bites, there’s no patience for a slow burn.
While all seems quiet in Gladium Province, the Morgon Guard—the global justice force for the dragon hybrid race—knows their enemy is rebuilding its forces in the underground.
Valla Moonring, an assassin for the Order of the Morgon Guard, is ordered on a mission into the Wastelands of Aria—a formidable, icy wilderness fraught with all manner of dangers, including outlaws, deadly weather, and big-game predators.
To her great distaste, she’s partnered with a Nightwing Security operative, Conn Rowanflame, a Morgon with the aggravating ability to get under her skin. While she takes her mission seriously, Conn’s confident charm throws her off balance, a dangerous place to be in conditions like these. Especially when cold nights require close contact.
Sensual attraction binds them ever closer, igniting a passion of unexpected force—the soulfire. But when the hunters become the hunted, their bond could prove perilous. Even fatal…
I love dragons and JCross has made these Morgon men so irresistible that I can’t get enough. When they find their true mate; it’s a love like no other.
Dragon in the Blood is book two in the Vale of Stars series by Juliette Cross. This tale continues from the first book, Waking the Dragon, where the Morgan’s are on the hunt for the Blood King who is recking havoc and kidnaping human women, so you do need to read this series in order.
I couldn’t put Dragon in the Blood down and read this in a day. It’s that good! We get a different type of romance then previously featured with two Morgan’s mating in this one. I liked the different pairing and the relationship. Vale was raised by her brothers to be a strong and independent woman. She doesn’t need another alpha male in her life. Conn is the one man who get’s on her nerves. Conn knows how to sweet talk woman and loves them, but the one he truly wants rebuffs him at every turn. He doesn’t understand why it’s so important to have this one woman.
The plot thickens and the author delivers us with two different evils showing their faces. One we have seen before the Blood King and a new one the Poison Princess. Each have their own agendas. I liked that we get to see three different POV’s. It was interesting to see all the different sides and dig deeper into the plot. The story is non-stop from start to finish. I also liked that we meet other characters and the inhabits of Arians where the murders, thieves, and outcast live.
Dragon in the Blood reveals some truths, shocks use with a prophecy, and leaves us with a twist ending. I am on pins and needles for the next installment.
Rated: 4.5 Stars
*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy provided by Juliette Cross with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.
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Challenge(s): Pick Your Genre (Paranormal)(2016)
Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona. Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.
You can discover more of Juliette and her books on her website.
Tour Giveaway – $25 Amazon GC