Darkness Haunts by Susan Illene (The Sensor Series)
DARKNESS HAUNTS and DARKNESS TAUNTS are the first two installments of the The Sensor Series by Susan Illene. Funny how you can come across a new series and can’t understand how this one slipped your radar. This is absolutely one of them.
Book 1, DARKNESS HAUNTS starts with the story of a young woman Melena Sanders who has served in the army and is now living the money I think she deserved there because with all the action this books has there was no room for a job for her. When her friend gone missing she doesn’t hesitate to find her even it will bring her trouble. Susan Illene, pulls you with this book in the amazing world of Malena and the new paranormal beings she has to deal with. Together with the fast-paced story, paranormal beings like the werewolves, vampires, witches and half angels the action and the romance elements a thrilling read that almost compels you to start with the second book of this series.
Lucky for us we could start right away with the second book! Not that it made it any easier. We do know we have to stop after the second book, because book 2,5 CHAINED BY DARKNESS is scheduled september 17th 2013 and book 3 in 2014! We tried to read it slower but had no luck. It is just to fun to slow this one down!
Book 2, DARKNESS TAUNTS starts where book 1 has left off although there is a short story online on Susan Illene’s website for you to read, click here.
It is easy to go through with book 2 if you not a fan of short stories. In DARKNESS TAUNTS Melena faces a new assignment. The half angel from book 1, Lucas is going to get to play a bigger part. The Romance elements we liked to see a little bigger in the first book are a lot better in the second book. I think the readers will enjoy the second book a little better than the first. Some how it runs smoother and with the extra romance made a more enjoyable read. The only thing that is missing is the daily routine stuff. Like going to the toilet, showers, breakfast or evening diners. I have the ideas that sometimes we are missing some basic elements like this. But is nice to know Melena now has a job. Good to know where she is buying her stuff with!
All with all an amazing series. This series could easily compete with series from Patricia Briggs or Ilona Andrews!
We highly recommend this series to all paranormal fans and readers looking for a new Paranormal Series.
Melena Sanders faced her fair share of danger with insurgents and terrorists when she served in the U.S. Army, but now she is about to go up against a new threat. Her best friend, Aniya, has disappeared while on a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska—a supernatural haven. Most humans have no idea darker races lurk amongst them. Mel knows better. If she wants to get her friend back, she’s going to have to go in alone—but not unarmed.
Melena has a few special skills the Army didn’t provide, but the odds are still against her. She’s got to come up with a plan fast that doesn’t involve her, or her friend, dying. But danger likes to play it rough. A war for power is about to rise in Fairbanks and if she wants to get Aniya back, she’s going to have to step right into the middle of it.
Word Count: 92k (approximate)
*For a short prequel story to Darkness Haunts, click here.
**For a short story set between Darkness Haunts and Darkness Taunts, click here.
[toggle title=”Excerpt: Darkness Haunts” state=”close” ]
I didn’t make it outside in time. The sups pulled a late-model, black BMW into an empty parking spot right in front of the bar. My SUV sat three spaces past it. I kept walking.
Please don’t let them notice me.
“Hey, pretty lady,” the driver said. The only vamp in the group had to be the one to notice me. He stepped right into my path.
Avoid the eyes or he’ll know.
I stared at a small stain on the collar of his brown suede jacket. Dried blood?
The two werewolves snickered. “You can take that one for yourself, man. We’re going inside.”
Rock music spilled out as they opened the bar door. I didn’t look back. The vamp in front of me held all of my attention. He appeared to be in his mid-twenties, but was actually closer to thirty. He’d been undead for about five years. I could take him…probably.
My hand itched for my gun, but I remembered Wanda’s words from long ago. “Melena, don’t ever bring a gun to a vampire fight. You’ll get one shot off before they kill you.”
Okay, fine, plan B.
I put my hands in my pockets. “You wanna get out of my way?”
“Why don’t you look at me, pretty lady?” Yeah, because that would be such a good idea. He was too young to compel anyone with his voice. In another few years he’d have that skill, but not yet. He had to use the eyes for now.
I continued to stare at the stain on his jacket. He had hurt an innocent human. For all I knew it could have been Aniya. I clinched my fingers around my pocket knife. This guy had to be handled very carefully.
“Get out of my way,” I said through clinched teeth. “I’m not interested.”
His hand shot out to wrap around my throat. I flinched, but his grip wasn’t so tight I couldn’t breathe. Dead prey made bad meals for vampires.
“Look. At. Me.” He forced my head up, but I kept my eyes averted. In my hand, I flipped open my knife and pressed it hard against the bulge in his pants. The tip didn’t go through, but the threat was clear. He loosened his grip on my throat enough so I could speak.
“Back the fuck off,” I said, “or else this is really going to hurt.” Some people think the bigger the knife, the better. If used properly, a three inch blade could be every bit as effective.
He backed off.
“Bitch,” he spat.
I smiled and held up my weapon. “Go inside before I change my mind and use this anyway.”
A muscle ticked in his jaw. I thanked God he was too young to be a real threat. He hesitated a moment longer before making a move to pass me. I stepped aside, giving him plenty of room. My knife stayed up where he could see it.
He tried to catch my eyes one more time. He kept going when it didn’t work. I’d had years of practice keeping my eyes averted when vamps were around. It had kept me alive, though I preferred to avoid them altogether. One day, I’d run into a vampire who wouldn’t forget he could heal from a knife wound—even if it was pointed at his genitals.
Melena Sanders has managed to avoid all things inhuman for most of her life, but after coming to Fairbanks, Alaska to rescue her best friend from supernaturals she hasn’t been allowed to leave. That is, until her long-time nemesis comes to collect a favor she owes him. Lucas might be half angel, but he’s all bad as far as she’s concerned.
Paying him back might get her out of town for a while, but her new destination will be anything but enjoyable. Mel’s got to help the nephilim take care of a demon possession outbreak in Juneau. Although something like this hasn’t happened for thousands of years, Lucas is certain Melena’s rare abilities are the key to solving the problem.
With violence in the capital city growing, she’s going to have to figure out how to stop it fast before the trouble spreads to other places. Not only that, but working closely with Lucas is changing the dynamics of their hate-hate relationship—worrying her even more than the demons. Getting back to her captivity in Fairbanks never looked so good.
[toggle title=”Excerpt: Darkness Taunts” state=”close” ]
Lucas climbed into the passenger seat. Though his large frame took up a lot of space, he still looked comfortable, in control. There were no delays leaving the airport. The whole thing had been arranged for a quick and smooth pick-up. I wasn’t used to him being so accommodating.
“Did you eat?” he asked.
“Yeah, Emily and I went out to a restaurant earlier.”
He glanced over at me. “You didn’t feel like poisoning her with your cooking before you left?”
I fiddled with his navigation system—might as well get the lay of the land. “That joke got old a long time ago.”
“I wasn’t joking,” he said. “Leave the GPS alone.”
I switched to browsing his iPod. He had Daughtry and Nickelback on there, as well as a few other bands I recognized. Maybe he wasn’t a complete lost cause. “Where are we going?” I asked.
He nudged my hand away. “Sensor, do not touch that.”
“Why? I let you touch mine.”
He gave me a wicked grin. “I’m not sure ‘let’ would be the appropriate word. You didn’t have much of a choice.”
I rolled my eyes and made a mental note to avoid saying anything that could be misconstrued as a double entendre. Apparently he and Nik were hanging out more, lately.
“You still didn’t say where we’re going. A little information would go a long way, Lucas.”
“To my cabin,” he said. “We made some progress during your absence. I want you rested and ready to assist me with interrogating a demon first thing in the morning.”
A thrill went through me. My job in the military had been as an interrogator and I was damned good at it with my lie detecting abilities. Plus I’d gained a lot of experience during my combat tours. “You got one?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “I’ve worked on him already, but he hasn’t revealed anything of value…yet.”
I shot him a disgruntled look. “You should have waited for me.”
“Time was of the essence, sensor. You’ll get your chance to help.”
“Then why not go talk to him tonight?” I asked.
“Demons are at their strongest during the hours of darkness. We’ll have better luck after dawn.”
“Fine.” I sat back and tried to admire the mountains rising up to the east of us. They would be easier to see during the day, but the moon lit them up enough for me to make them out through the darkness. The car bumped over some of the rougher parts of the road. Plows could only keep so much of the snow off of the highways when it came down so often.
“Sensor,” Lucas broke the silence. “The next time I call…pick up the damned phone. Do not make me come in person to speak with you.”
“That’ll give me incentive,” I muttered. The pompous ass. He wouldn’t threaten me and get away with it. I let a couple of minutes go by.
“Do you know why I’m glad you never call me by my real name?” I asked.
We were stopped at a traffic light. I’d waited for that. He turned to look at me and raised a blond brow. “I suppose you’re going to tell me.”
I studied my fingernails. “Yesterday, when I heard you say Melena for the first time it gave me chills. It was like the devil himself had walked over my grave and spit on it. I’d rather you not say it again.”
The light turned to green. He jerked his attention back to the road. Lucas was a master at keeping his emotions in check, but he still gripped the wheel a little tighter than before.
What will the future bring?
CHAINED BY DARKNESS (A Sensor World Novella: Book 2.5)
Cover release: September 17
Expected release date: October 30th, 2013
(We will add this one to our must read “most wanted list of 2013” as soon as the cover is available. LINK
DARKNESS DIVIDES (The Sensor Series Book 3)
Expected release date: March/April 2014
(We will add this one to our must read “most wanted list of 2014” as soon as the cover is available. LINK
About Susan Illene
After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she’s found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.