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I Belong


Early Review: Wicked Road to Hell by Juliana Stone

TitleWicked Road to Hell

Author: Juliana Stone

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: League of Guardians (Book 1)

Publication Date: April 24, 2012

Format: Paperback, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062022644 (HarperCollins/Avon)

ISBN-13: 978-0062022646 (HarperCollins/Avon)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

With the legions of the underworld gathering and chaos close at hand, Sorcerer Declan O’Hara’s deadly skills will be tested. But nothing will sway him from his duty, not even her…

Rescued from eternal darkness, vampire Ana DeLacrux owes her life to a mysterious stranger who asks for only one thing—her absolute allegiance. She serves this master without question until Declan, the one man who can make her forget her vow, returns. His magic is stronger, darker…more compelling than ever. His blood awakens a hunger she must resist, or risk deadly consequences.

As Ana and Declan join forces, the streets of New Orleans become a dangerous place for both humans and the otherworld. And the most dangerous place of all is a road Declan’s traveled before…the wicked road to hell.

Quick & Dirty: Great set up to a new series with main characters that you will either love or hate.

Opening Sentence: Declan O’Hara stepped into the middle of the crossroads, a lonely stretch of pavement on the outskirts of town.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Declan O’Hara has spent the last two years thinking that Ana was dead and since he witnessed her death he has good reason to believe that. After Ana’s death Declan spent some time in Hell as a love slave/torture victim to Lilith.  Declan had resigned himself to his terrible fate when he was saved by Bill, a Seraphim. Bill wants Declan to find someone for him and bring that person to him as soon as possible. The only problem is that Declan doesn’t really know who he is searching for but he gets wind of someone being protected by a vampire that is being chased by a very bad demon. Declan follows their trail to New Orleans where he finds more than he expected. Ana is still alive and the person he is after is just a teenager. To make things even crazier Ana was brought back to life by Bill to protect Kaden, a boy that has the mark of seven. Kaden is also a powerful sorcerer.

Ana DeLacrux is a 300 year old vampire. She was killed two years earlier by Declan’s father. Ana has been tasked by Bill to protect Kaden against anyone who comes after him. When Ana realizes Declan has the same mission, she willingly works with him to help protect Kaden. When it is brought to light that the seven that have been marked are being hunted by both good and evil, Ana and Declan and a group of others decide they must save them because if the wrong side gets a hold of them, it will cause the beginning of the apocalypse. When they are told by the enemy two of the seven are in the care of Lilith, Declan is the only one who knows Hell and Lilith’s home so he takes it upon himself to save them. Unfortunately for Declan, Ana follows him into Hell. She believes she must help him save the teenagers and Declan himself from Hell.

I struggled through the first 100 pages. I had a hard time following all the characters, who was working for who, who was good, who was bad. I also think that part of my problem was me. I was having a hard time focusing on anything, but after I made it past that hurdle I devoured the rest of the book. The world building does take some getting used to because it is huge. There are angels and demons, vampires, shifters, sorcerers, different levels of hell, but it all comes together in the end.

Declan is a man who knows what he wants and it is Ana. He stood aside while she dated someone else but then she died. Now that she is back in his life he will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. Ana has a destiny and it does not include Declan. In fact, she is already betrothed to another because she is vampire royalty, because of this she is often very harsh to Declan in the beginning (this was another thing I think I had a problem with in the first 100 pages). She tries to hide her attraction with meanness and she comes off over the top bitchy. Then later some of that transfers to Declan because he doesn’t want her to die again. It did seem a little awkward that two people who were so rude to each other wanted in each other’s pants but I guess sometimes that harshness turns into attraction which turns into hot sex.

I wish I could have read more about Ana and Declan’s past. It would have meant flashbacks but I think it would have provided more insight into their attraction for each other. I know this is a spin-off of the Jaguar Warrior series, so if their past played out in those books, I have not read that series. I would be interested to know if it does, I think that is a series I would like to add to my TBR pile.

Wicked Road to Hell was a dark thrill-ride into hell that ended up sucking me into the story. I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next. This book ends with an awesome set up to the next book in the series, King of the Damned. It’s going to be a long wait until November.

Notable Scene:

Her breath slid across his skin and he braced his body against the wall with his left hand. They were shielded from the crowd behind him, his frame covering hers effectively. His fear for her was making him crazy.

“Now,” he hissed.

Her mouth was against his throat, her body crushed to his, and when he felt the scrape of her teeth just over his jugular, his body hardened, more than ready.

She broke skin and sank her fangs deep into his flesh.

Instantly the connection was made and he leaned against her, eyes closed as she began to suckle. He heard her groan and then felt the pull as she started to take long draws.

It was the most exquisite sensation he’d ever experienced, an erotic high that was instant.

His cock hardened, his body was on fire with need, and his mind was filled with images of the two of them together. Her small, naked form above him, riding him, letting him fill her in a way he’d never thought possible.

Declan ground his hardness against hers and felt like he was spinning out of control. He wanted to crawl inside her, to hold her and make love to her. He heard the beating of his heart, loud inside his head, and then it was joined with another.

Ana’s.

She broke away with a cry, but he held on savagely. “It’s not enough,” he managed to spit out.

“I can’t . . .”

Brutally he forced her head against his flesh and again she fed, this time with an aggressive abandon that made his head swim. His legs sagged and if not for the wall, surely he would have fallen. It seemed to go on forever, but in  fact must have been only a few minutes. His body was cold, yet inside he was on fire.

She wrenched away and he stared down at her. Ana’s eyes were huge pools of licorice, her fangs were distended, and his blood lay upon her mouth.

He stared at the crimson stain for several seconds. He found the sight fascinating and bent down to gently sweep his lips across hers. He was breathing heavily and rested his forehead against her cheek.

Christ but his head was spinning. His senses were on overload, and the joy, the sheer fucking thrill he felt at finally connecting with the vampire, was overwhelming.

“Oh my God, are you all right?” she asked quickly, her fingers flying over his face. “If I hurt you . . .”

“I’m good. Just need a second.”

He was, in fact, weak as hell.

The League of Guardians Series:

0.5 Wrong Side of Hell

1. Wicked Road to Hell

2. King of the Damned

FTC Advisory: HarperCollins/Avon provided me with a copy of Wicked Road to Hell. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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