vrijdag 30 september 2011

Allyson James – Shadow Walker – Warning, spoilers.

The third book in the Stormwalker series, published June 2011.

Shadow Walker

Racing her motorcycle down a lonely winter highway, Stormwalker Janet Begay feels the ground collapse beneath her feet. After tumbling two hundred feet into an underground cavern, she manages to escape with help from her sexy dragon-shifter boyfriend, Mick – but not before they disturb some dark forces.
As Janet contends with a hotel inspector intent on putting her out of business, as well as her grandmother, who’s taken up residence, Mick’s behaviour becomes strange and erratic, until he is a clear danger to Janet and her friends. Janet’s drag-queen, attitude-ridden magic mirror insists that Mick has been touched by shadows, and the Stormwalker realizes that someone is out to enslave her dragon. Now she must free Mick before he kills her …

Sorry, can’t write this review without spoilers, so be warned.

Janet has just spend a lovely day back home with her father, and is driving back to her hotel on her Harley, when she is caught speeding by the sheriff, Nash Jones. Only 8 miles over the speed limit, she has no intention to stop. So Nash is pursuing her, when the road opens, and both Janet and Nash fall into a sinkhole. Into a deep cave beneath them, Janet just barely avoiding getting hit by Nash’s car. Never was she so grateful to have been wearing her helmet. Of course her cell phone didn’t survive the fall, and Nash is unconscious, but alive. She hopes her magic mirror has alerted her friends about this, and someone will come to their rescue. But will it be in time? Magic lights are glowing on the rocks around them, forming little skeleton hands coming after her, and Janet’s Beneath magic only seems to aggravate them. But then there is Mick, flaming his way too them, getting them out of the hole just in time. Where Janet’s ankle was touched she has frostburn, dead skin. Would those hands have killed her?
Nash is taken to the hospital, and Mick is taking Janet home with him. He can heal her better than the people in the hospital can. But his magic won’t work on Nash. Janet alerts Maya that her boyfriend is in the hospital. The next morning they go for a check up on Nash, who is still unconscious, and come just in time to prevent a strange woman to hurt Nash or even kill him. It takes a lot of Dragon fire to kill her, and Janet’s Beneath magic doesn’t work on her. They totally destroy the hospital room in their fight, and are arrested for it. No one without magic saw the woman, so the hospital personnel did not know why they destroyed the room and almost killed their patient in it.
Luckily, they are save by Coyote, masquerading as an FBI-agent arresting them. But back home, the trouble is just starting. A very arrogant and condescending building inspector is threatening to shut the hotel down, and disown Janet. Apparently, a lot of the paperwork she filed before the opening is gone missing, and lots of things are wrong with the hotel. She has one week to fix it all …
And to her horror, in the basement, all the wiring and plumbing that Maya and Fremont have done, looks like it is 30 years old again and deteriorating rapidly. No way they can repair everything again in a week. Someone is sabotaging them, but how could that have gotten trough their wards? And then Mick is starting to act strangely, disappearing again, but also yelling at Janet, something he has never done before. The magic mirror keeps screaming when it sees Mick, something about shadows. But Janet soon forgets it, when Mick sort of proposes to her. He wants to know how a human man goes about getting his wife … Stunned as Janet is, she tells Mick she is happy as they are now, but Mick wants more, and storms out, leaving her with only a beautiful engagement ring on her finger.
When Mick next gets home, he warns her, the next time she sees him, she should run fast and far. His aura and eyes have changed, and he is just a different man, cold and heartless. Janet fears he is somehow possessed, but it is much worse than that, Mick has been enslaved by a very powerful witch. Cassandra is powerful too, but not enough to fight that one, or even find her. Only if Janet can find Mick’s true name, will she be able to free Mick. That is, if Mick doesn’t kill her and their friends first, or if the witch drains all of Mick’s magic. A race against the clock is starting, made double dangerous when Janet’s half sister Gabrielle decides she wants to play …

Another great book in this series. I enjoyed every page and devoured it. There is more Native American lore in here, things I have never read about before, and I loved that. All the usual secondary characters are here, and we learn a little bit more about Janet’s scary grandmother. If even Coyote is cautious around her, she has to be a scary powerful shaman. She dislikes Janet’s friends, Cassandra for being a witch, even if she is Wiccan, and for loving Pamela the Changer (wolf) instead of a man. How can she get a daughter who will inherit her gifts and possessions like that? And then Ansel, a Nightwalker in the hotel as a guest?
But still, grandmother is here to stay and take care of Janet, together with her old Apache friend Elena, the cook. They want to catch Gabrielle, and teach her. Gabrielle is dangerous, more dangerous than they know, and she is also after Nash, for her own reasons. Reasons Maya is extremely upset about. Nash is her boyfriend!

Janet is such a great character. Native American, and sassy and independent. She gets rescued by Mick and her friends a lot, but she also saves them in turn, and is loyal. She is not a wimp but a biker babe, and her powers are still growing. In this book it is winter, and she can control the snowstorm, meaning ice and snow are hers to command. And that is what saves her from Mick’s fire. And Mick, the arrogant and sure of himself dragon learns a lesson here, when he is enslaved by a witch, and Janet still doesn’t want to kill him. He never thought it could happen to him.

The relationship between Nash and Maya is progressing, finally, and I am curious about them as well.

This book tugged a bit more on my emotions than the previous ones, with Mick and Janet as adversaries. Yes, of course you know all will end well, but it is the journey there that counts. And the end had me chuckling when I closed the book. I could have read on for hours more, so I hope the next book will come soon. This is now a series on my autobuy and need-to-read-immediately-list.

Yes, lots of great scenes, filled with action and magic. Less love scenes than the previous books, but that is understandable as they are not so much together.

10 stars.

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