The Underground (Second Edition) by Roxanne Bland

Roxanne Bland does bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, J.R. Ward, and Laurell K. Hamilton one better with The Underground–rocketing into the upper ranks of urban dark fantasy and paranormal romance by adding a touch of science fiction to the fantastic, horrific, erotic mix. Set in an alternate Seattle, Washington, Bland’s heart-pounding, deliciously sexy adventure imagines a city where communities of “exotics”–shapeshifters, witches, elves, and vampires–live among the murderous human population and are ruled over by the cruel, insatiable vampire, Kurt.

The powerful alpha male of the city’s werewolf pack, Parker Berenson, is one of the Master’s enslaved servants, and he would like nothing better than to hasten the downfall of the vampire overlord who stole his love, the beautiful mage Garrett Larkin. But in a night city already on the razor’s edge–in the midst of a spate of inexplicable bloody murders–the alpha wolf’s passionate encounter with a stunning interstellar assassin could upset the very delicate balance and ignite a war that neither exotics nor humans can survive.

Warning: Profanity, Violence, Graphic Adult Content

Cold Coffee Press Book Review: The Underground (Second Edition) by Roxanne Bland is a blend of genres which include science fiction, dark urban fantasy and paranormal romance with an adult theme which includes profanity, violence and graphic erotic content.

It is not lions and tigers and bears, but rather werewolves, vampires, witches, and shape-shifters called “Exotics” that rule the night. You will either love it or hate it depending on your ability to meld into the author’s fantasy world and find something strangely different about her cast of characters.

Set in an alternate Seattle Washington where the night hours are more than bewitching, they are truly murderous. The book opens with Parker Berenson, alpha of Seattle’s werewolf fighting to stay in human form. Like many good stories, a love has been lost and someone or something must pay. Parker has anger issues and Garrett (Powerful Witch) is his former girlfriend and perhaps the only one who can truly see “the big picture”.

I always quote a passage to reveal the Author’s writing style without spoiling the story. With ninety-one chapters in this book, I chose an excerpt from Chapter 10.

“At nine a.m. on February second, a cinquet of five witches arrived to fetch Garrett for the first of her many ritual baths. They discovered her sitting naked in a half lotus on the floor, deep in a meditative trance.

Garrett had been awake for hours. She’d had too much on her mind the night before and hadn’t slept well. At five, she’d gotten out of bed and showered. After that, she’d meditated on the silk prayer rug next to the bed, hoping she could replace at least some of her lost sleep. The last thing she needed was to be incapacitated by fatigue when she channeled Goddess.

The cinquet waited in respectful silence until Garrett came out of her trance. Her gaze settled on Paul. “Good morning, Garrett,” he spoke for the other four witches.

Rising from the prayer rug, Garrett stepped over to Paul and kissed him on both cheeks, and then did the same to the others. Pinkie pre- sented her with a pair of soft indoor moccasins. Georgia held up a white, silk-lined satin robe and helped her put it on.

Paul smiled. “Ready, my Lady?” “I’m ready.”

The elder turned and with Garrett walking behind, led the group out of the bedroom to the purification room. The room’s most prominent feature was a square, white, marble Jacuzzi large enough for two people. One side was set into a wall covered with a slab of marble that rose half- way to the ceiling. Neck-sized indentations had been scooped out along the tub’s upper edge. From there, the tub sloped to its bottom, providing back support.

The rest of the wall to which the tub was attached, as well as the room’s other three walls, was covered in dense, dark blue carpet. The floor was laid with waterproofed linoleum in the same color. A series of wall sconces provided a dim light.

I love being in here. The room always evoked in Garrett a sense of inviolate safety, a comfort she never felt outside the Temple’s walls. This must be the way a baby feels in its mother’s womb.”

I, Theodocia McLean endorse The Underground (Second Edition) by Roxanne Bland as an adult dark urban fantasy that will either grab and hold your attention or turn you off depending on your appetite for violent, graphic and erotic content. I purchased this book in a Kindle format on June 7, 2017 and this review was written on June 9, 2017.

Genre:  Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal & Urban, Science Fiction

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Wanna Take a Ride? (The Box Set – 5 Twisted Tales from the Files of the Second Chance Limousine Service) by Gary Tenuta

The concept is simple: Let’s say the Second Chance limo has come for you. You now get a second chance to right a wrong. The consequences of the second chance, however, are anything but simple. Did you hurt someone in some way? Or did someone do something to you? Either way, wouldn’t you like a second chance to straighten things out? Enter: the Second Chance Limousine. A mysterious, black 1959 Cadillac limousine arrives unexpectedly and, one way or another, you end up in the back seat and the car rolls away into the night.

The next thing you know, you’re back at a point in time just prior to the traumatic event with no idea how you got there. You find a business card in your pocket (or on the table, or on the nightstand next to your bed). A “Second Chance Limousine” logo is on the front of the card. The card has the numbers 1 through 12 printed across the top and the numbers 13 through 24 along the bottom. You notice one of those numbers has a hole punched through it. You flip the card over and read this:

••• This Second Chance has a time limit. The numbers represent hours. The number punched on this card is the amount of time you have to make things right. Your time will begin automatically the moment you finish reading this. The card is programmed to monitor your success or failure to complete your task. This Second Chance will expire if the task is not completed within the allotted time frame. Should that happen, you will immediately find yourself back in the moment of time and in the exact situation in which you were engaged just before the driver appeared at the scene. Good luck. Your time starts Now. •••

At first you’re puzzled. This isn’t possible, and yet here you are. Somehow, by some strange twist of fate, you’ve been given what everyone wishes for at some point in their life: a second chance. Now, the rest is up to you. Will you succeed? Or will you fail? You won’t know until you try. And by the way, you’d better get a move on. Your time starts….. Now.

The 5 “Twisted Tales” in this volume are:

• ATONEMENT (novelette, 11,500 words) – A wealthy computer software entrepreneur is filled with remorse for having his wife murdered by a killer-for-hire. Can he atone for such a sin? The 2nd Chance Limo is on the way. But will it help? Or will it fail? You’ll have to read this twisted tale. Wanna take a ride?

• A BITE OUT OF TIME (novelette, 7,500 words) – Vince Blaylock, an up and coming rock star, finds himself smitten and bitten and not at all pleased to discover he’s now a vampire. A hundred years later, to the day, his Second Chance becomes a tale of revenge with an ending you won’t see coming. Wanna take a ride?

• THE GOOD LIBRARIAN (novella, 21,500 words) – The tiny, rural town of Higginsville has a rather unusual library. Perhaps even more unusual than the library is the old head librarian, Ms. Beatrice Busby. She burns books. But when a Gypsy woman arrives and all hell breaks loose in the library basement, on Halloween night, and two young girls meet their demise, well… somebody’s gonna need a second chance to make things right. Then again, who’s to decide what’s right? Wanna take a ride?

• 1ST AVENUE ANNIE (novelette, 10,000 words) – A wanna-be actress, with a life full of baggage, finally gets a shot at the big time. The stage is set, the curtain is about to go up, the audience is buzzing with anticipation. What could possibly go wrong? Rest assured, something will. Something terrible. But you know what they say: The show must go on. The Second Chance Limo is on the way and the script is about to be revised in ways no one could have imagined. Wanna take a ride?

• THE PRANK (novelette: 17,500 words) – The owner of a small grocery store plays a lottery prank on a homeless man. It was all with the best of intentions. Who would have thought it could all go so wrong? So wrong that the Second Chance limo had to make two trips. Guns and fists and turns and twists. Oh my. Wanna take a ride?

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