Release: February 23, 2016
Don grinned, his bright red nose and bushy white beard making him look like Santa Claus. With her rosy cheeks and short, curly white hair, Ethel was the perfect counterpart. If Santa and Mrs. Claus were low-down, no-good grave robbers.
“Why, we should thank her,” Don said. “Before we kill her, of course.”
Ethel nodded. “You’re right, hon. You always are.”
The two dwarves tightened their grips on their shovels and stepped toward me, but I held my ground, my gray eyes as cold and hard as the snow-dusted tombstones.
“Before the two of you do something you won’t live to regret, you should know that that box is mine,” I said. “Walk away now, don’t come back, and I’ll forget that I ever saw you here.”
“And who do you think you are, giving us orders?” Ethel snapped.
“Gin Blanco. That’s who.”
I didn’t say my name to brag. Not really. But I was the head of the Ashland underworld now, which meant that they should know exactly who I was—and especially what I was capable of doing to them.
Ethel rolled her eyes. “You must really be desperate to claim to be her. Then again, dead women will say anything to keep on breathing, won’t they, Don?”
The other dwarf nodded. “Yep.”
I ground my teeth together. Low-life criminals had no trouble tracking me down at the Pork Pit, my barbecue restaurant, and no qualms whatsoever about trying to kill me there. But whenever I was away from the restaurant, got into a bad situation, and tried to warn people about who I really was, nobody ever believed me. Irony’s way of screwing me over time and time again, and laughing at me all the while.
“Besides,” Don continued, “even if you really were Gin Blanco, it wouldn’t matter. Everyone knows that she’s the big boss in name only. It won’t be long until someone kills her and takes her place.”
He was certainly right about that. The other bosses were plotting against me, and many of the city’s criminals were waiting to see how my underworld reign played out—or how short-lived it might be—before they officially took sides. Still, it was kind of sad when even the local grave robbers didn’t respect you.
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Bitter Bite, the 14th book in the series, will be released on Feb. 23.
Jennifer also writes the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series. She is also the author of the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
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I also have the wonderful opportunity to offer a copy of Bitter Bite to one lucky reader in the US or Canada. Please leave a comment with your e-mail address about either your favorite character in this series or what superpower you wish you had and why. A winner will be chosen using Random.org after February 22, 2016. Failure to respond to notification within 48 hours will result in another winner being chosen.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep is part of the ‘Elemental Assassin’ series that features semi-ex-assassin Gin Blanco and her adventures in the not-so-quiet town of Ashland. Continuing after the bombshell revealed in the previous book, this story follows Gin’s search for the truth about the mysterious Deirdre Shaw and her designs on Gin’s brother-of-the-heart, Finnegan (Finn) Lane. Finn’s wholehearted acceptance of the woman causes some hurt feelings, but Deirdre should remember that love and loyalty create unbreakable bonds, no matter how strongly they are tested.
I love this urban fantasy series because it combines such remarkably imaginative situations with action, angst, and romance, and the intense violence is over the top yet not nausea-inducing, a tricky line to navigate. One can’t help but getting caught up in the lives of these larger-than-life characters, and I know better than to start one of this author’s books late at night, because I can’t put it down until that last exciting page!
This book starts off with one of those improbable situations that captures the attention (and reminds one of why NOBODY should mess with Gin!) and the activity escalates and expands to involve many of the characters who have become so beloved and integral to the series. I think it would be best to be familiar with the other stories to fully appreciate all of the nuances, but one could probably figure out the basics even if this tale is read as a stand-alone. The remarkable skills that Gin possesses, both physical and magical, and the close-knit bonds between her and those around her are nicely showcased in another exciting installment in a very fun series and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
A copy of this title was provided for review, which has also been submitted to Night Owl Reviews