Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of May releases in science fiction, epic fantasy, and young adult paranormal. Today’s column examines new releases in URBAN FANTASY and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.
The Symptoms: Who said vampires were dead? Well, okay, they might be dead, but they’re not resting in peace. Sookie’s not the only one in Paranormaville with vampire troubles this month.
The Diagnosis: Forty-four new urban fantasy (21) and paranormal romance (23) books storm into May, including Sookie and Eric, some new Argeneaus, a Psy/Changeling or two, and lots and lots of fangs and demons.
The Cure: Uh, turtlenecks? Garlic? Holy water? They don’t work. Might as well bare that carotid and let ’em have it, or call on that Druid shapeshifter for help if he isn’t out running with his wolfhound.
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye—and an ex-con. He’s free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and objects in his vicinity, and the Bureau of Investigation calls on him when they need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical talents. But the last operation he was sent along to help with went completely wrong, and Delilah Jones, the woman the G-men were after, who just happened to be an old friend of Jake’s in happier times, had a lot of magical muscle with her, too much muscle for the cops to handle, even with Jake’s help. And then things get really bad. First in the Grimnoir Chronicles series.
Cesca Marinelli has been slacking on her duties as a vampire princess, but she will be the best maid of honor ever for Maggie’s Victorian wedding. However, when her mostly-human honey, Saber, falls ill due to a magical construct called the Void, she knows she’ll have to go beyond the call of bridesmaid duty. The Void is affecting every supernatural being in Cesca’s afterlife, including her shapeshifter ex, Triton. To counter the Void’s reign of terror, Cesca must fully summon her vampire powers, which may lead to her own doom. Third in the Oldest City Vampire series.
With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can’t “read” vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam well, and she realizes they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot, which is much more complicated than she knows—because there is a new Queen on board. Eleventh in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series.
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shapeshifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about 21 years old—make that 21 centuries. Not to mention he draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil. First in the Iron Druid Chronicles.
Graphic novelist Willow Tate is a Visualizer, able to draw images of beings from the realm of Faerie, bringing them from their world to ours in the process. Three magical mares are searching her Long Island village for a missing colt, and their distress is causing sleeping nights, bad tempers and dangerous brawls among the gifted but peculiar residents. Though the Department of Unexplained Events sends Willow a world-famous horse whisperer, Texan Ty Farraday seems more interested in whispering in her ear than in rescuing the kidnapped colt. Second in the Willow Tate series.
Medieval studies scholar Tess Alexander is thrilled for the chance to live in a medieval castle. But then a trip to the village brings her face-to-face with the owner of the local garage, who looks a great deal like the man who married her sister—800 years ago. She’s determined to remain objective about magic and destiny, but she can’t help wondering about that mysterious, sword-wielding mechanic.
Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals—and they’re camping outside Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else. Fourth in the Chicagoland Vampires series.
Adrian Brézé defied his own dark heritage as a near-purebred Shadowspawn for years, until his power-hungry sister Adrienne kidnapped his human lover Ellen. Now, Adrienne is dead, and the Council of Shadows is gathering its strength. To stop the Council from launching an apocalypse, Adrian and Ellen must ally with the Brotherhood, a resistance group dedicated to breaking the Council’s hold on humankind by any means necessary. In the coming confrontation, Adrian must fight not only the members of the Council but also his own nature—and, as he will come to suspect, traitors within the Brotherhood itself. Second in the Shadowspawn series.
Professor Piers Knight is the Brooklyn Museum’s very own Indiana Jones. His specialties include lost civilizations, arcane cultures, and more than a little bit of the history of magic and mysticism. What his contemporaries don’t know is that in addition to being a scholar of all these topics, he is also proficient in the uses of magical artifacts. Knight receives a chilling message from Tian Lu, a former lover and an agent for the Chinese government. Years ago, they made a frightening discovery at an archeological dig when out of the depths rose… a living, fire-breathing dragon. Now, the dragons are waking from their slumber before their scheduled time. And one particularly diabolical dragon is set on eliminating the others and taking over the world.
The New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series delivers her first novel for adults, a story about the living, the dead, and a curse that binds them. Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. There wasn’t a funeral that Maylene didn’t attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.” Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place—and the man—she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected.
River Weston thinks her problems are over. She managed to escape the virtual world of her video game—and the clutches of the Dark Lord who attempted to enslave her—with body and mind intact. But her return to the real world is anything but easy. Framed for monstrous crimes she didn’t commit and hunted by members of a dark government agency, it is all she can do to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. Guardian Chase Hawkins gained his freedom from the Dark Lord’s prison, but it came with a heavy price. Trapped in another man’s body, his soul slowly deteriorating, Hawk knows he must return to his world—and his body—before the damage is irreparable. Racing against time, River and Hawk know that in order to have a future together, they must work to reveal the secrets hidden in River’s past. Second in the Guardian series.
Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists’ studios of Soho. Terri Windling’s original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today’s urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner. In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more.
Nyx hates zombies. Seriously. Ever since she was a youngling, she’s been haunted by them. And even though she’s a big girl now—a half-human, half-Drow private eye—Nyx bristles at the mere thought of the walking dead. Meanwhile, the corpses of humans and paranorms alike are turning up all over New York City. Now it’s up to Nyx to find out who—or what—is behind this series of horrific attacks. But it’s only a matter of time before Nyx is drawn deeper into her darkest fears—and her worst nightmare about meeting a real, flesh-and-blood-hungry, body-snatching Zombie comes to life. Or death. Fourth in the Night Tracker series.
Diana’s life was in a rut. She hated her job, she was perpetually single, and she needed a place to live. But then the perfect apartment came along. It seemed too good to be true—because it was. As it turns out, the apartment was already inhabited—by monsters. Vom the Hungering was the first to greet Diana and to warn her that his sole purpose in life was to eat everything in his path. This poses a problem for Diana since she’s in his path, and is forbidden from ever leaving the apartment. But there are older monstrous entities afoot, ones who want to devour the moon and destroy the world. Can Diana, Vom and the other horrors stop this from happening? Maybe. If they can get Vom to stop eating everyone.
Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn’t easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn’t bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt. Fifth in the Kate Daniels series.
A dead body on the beach turns out to be a live demon on the run from some of the nastiest bounty hunters in this dimension, or the next. Protecting one demon from another, Tess gets wrapped up in a case that’s as dangerous as it is mind-boggling, especially when it begins to involve her own past. Fourth in the OSI series.
After three years and more creepy demons than she’d care to recall, Emme Vaughn has finally found her mama. Only the reunion doesn’t go as X expected. It’s not easy adapting to a new life in New Orleans, with a mother who was possessed by the devil until recently and a stepfather she didn’t know existed. Especially when a mysterious stranger, her stepfather’s charming and handsome protégé Jean-Paul, drives a wedge between Emme and Francis. Is the enigmatic outsider trying to replace her man? Or does he have a more sinister plan— one she couldn’t have imagined?
Chesney Arnstruther: by day, mild mannered insurance man. By night, fearless superhero crime fighter. By his side, his wisecracking demonic sidekick, in a somewhat ill-fitting costume. Watch out all you freaks, weirdos, werewolves and assorted furry monsters, the Damned Busters are on your trail! First in the Hell to Pay series. U.S. Release.
Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dreams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t. Including helping law enforcement—and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town. First in a new series.
Jordan helps kids on the run find their way back home. He’s good at that. He should be—he’s a runaway himself. Sometimes he helps the kids in other, stranger ways. He looks like a regular teenager, but he’s not. He acts like he’s not exactly human, but he is. He treads the line between mundane reality and the world of the supernatural, including the awesome Powers That Be. Desdaemona also knows the non-human world too well. She tracks Jordan down and enlists his aid in searching for her lost sister Fay, who did a Very Bad Thing involving an immortal. This may be a mistake—for both of them.
Once she was a soldier for the Light, the prophesied savior who would decide the outcome of the eternal conflict raging unseen in the dark corners of her glittering hometown. Now Joanna Archer is just another mortal and carrying the unborn child of a lover held captive by a depraved demon goddess. Joining forces with a band of rogue Shadow agents, Joanna’s ready to storm the stronghold of her demonic foe, risking everything to enter this ghastly, godforsaken realm where the price of admission is her eternal soul. Because in a world that has stripped her of her power, identity, and fortune, Joanna has nothing left to lose—except her baby, her future, and the epic war poised to consume the city. Sixth in the Signs of the Zodiac series.
Historian Bree Kirkland has always been in love with the past, but when she accidentally wakes an ancient Scottish warrior who’s spent the past 150 years sleeping in her backyard, her present is suddenly fraught with danger. Faelan has awakened from the time vault hungry and horny. He grieves for his lost family, wondering who sent the woman to wake him. If she’s a demon, Faelan will have to kill her. If she’s innocent, she’s unleashed the gates of hell in her backyard. Either way they must rely on each other to save their future.
Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, ’cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown—until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen.
The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shapeshifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival. Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen… and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept. She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort, Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. First in a new Dark Breed series.
Cinderella’s Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead-end in his career, so he opens a bookstore and travels the land ordering books and discovering new authors. Still handsome and charming, he has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future. Mellie is sick and tired of being called the Evil Stepmother. She did her best by her stepdaughter Snow White, but the girl resented her to no end and made all kinds of false accusations. Neither of them believes in happily ever after anymore, but both of them believe in happily for the moment.
One of an army of human soldiers injected with alien DNA, Michael is a legend within this new race, split between good and evil. Untamable, he has walked on the dark side and returned to the light. Feared and misunderstood, he leaves everything behind, including the one woman destined to be his mate. Fate leads Michael back to Cassandra Powell, for she holds the key to defending his comrades. With their loyalties divided between duty and the people they love, only together can Cassandra and Michael overcome insurmountable odds to save humanity from the wrath of a madman. First in the Zodius series.
In the beginning, there were lovers: a winged deity of power and light, and a queen of grace and beauty. Phoenix was murdered, his beloved stolen away to the Whisper-world. But their passion inspired the Muses. Through great sacrifice, it could live again. The Guard: There are always six, mortal hosts for the divine. Battling spirits through the ages, they defy Darkness, Lord of the Dead. In 1867, a shadow rises. The tide turns against them, and all hope falls on a child of prophecy, an eerie, snow-white girl yet to be born. But her path must be cleared. A Great War is coming, and song, wind and stars whisper that the 18-year-old Beatrice Smith must give everything to prepare. The goddess Persephone begins her quest to be reincarnated with her true love, and more secrets of The Guard are revealed. A prequel novel in the Strangely Beautiful series.
When Maggie Graham lost her job and her apartment fell to pieces, she decided to flee New York City for a while and hide in Vermont, at the Crossroads Theatre. She hadn’t planned to audition, yet soon found herself part of the summer stock cast. But her previous acting experiences couldn’t prepare her for the theater’s unusual staff—and its handsome, almost otherworldly director.
Kidnapped while combating a devastating plague, Jayleia Durante fights to resist the attractive Major Damen Sindrivik, an officer from a rival government’s spy corps. But with her spymaster father missing and mercenaries hot on her trail, Jayleia must join forces with the magnetic, charming and manipulative spy. She must see past her desire and remember that his single-minded agenda is for the protection of the empire—not her or her people. Damen knows a shadowy network of traitors has allied with the violent Chekydran and that Jayleia’s father holds the key to dismantling that web. She becomes his only lead in a circuitous round of hide and seek and despite their opposing sides, he can’t resist her. Too bad his instincts tell him Jayleia is lying.
Five years after the Second Civil War ends, humans and otherborn—humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA—still struggle for peace. To ensure the continued rights of both, the FBI forms a Para-Ops team with a unique set of skills. Leader of an Otherborn clan, half-breed vampire Knox Devereaux would do anything to find a cure for the anti-vamp vaccine slowly starving his people into extinction. When the FBI contacts him about leading a team of hand-selected Others on a mission to reclaim the stolen antidote, Knox accepts. His new assignment places him in direct contact with special agent Felicia Locke, the beautiful human he’s craved since their first meeting. First in a new Para-Ops series.
As Montana Grant struggles to lead her late father’s company, her estranged mother suddenly reappears, spouting nonsense about Mount Olympus, immortal warriors, and curses. But after an event that puts the company’s future (and Montana’s life) at risk, she decides to take her mother’s advice. Quinn Tanner is Montana’s security specialist and a Taurus Warrior. With worldwide peace hanging in the balance, it’s up to Quinn to help Montana rise to her destiny. Third in the Sons of the Zodiac series.
Ysolde de Bouchier is a woman beset with trials. The dragon part of her buried deep for centuries is still making itself known, but in ways that don’t make sense. Her visions involve events she wasn’t present to witness, and she’s caught up in a tangled web of plans that seem to grow more complex each day. Not only does she have to work out peace between her Light Dragon mate Baltic and the weyr, she also has to free his friend, convince an archimage to lift the spell controlling her magic, figure out what it is that the First Dragon expects her to do, rescue a half-dragon damsel in over her head, and once and for all clear Baltic’s name of murder charges that continue to plague him. No one told Ysolde that dragon love would be so hard. Second in the Light Dragons series.
Vampire Jace Johnson was not a family man until he met Miri. But their forbidden relationship ended when she disappeared. After a year of searching, Jace finds Miri in a Sanctuary enclave—no longer the passionate wife Jace remembers following a year of cruel experimentation. She only lives to rescue the daughter Jace never knew they had. Now, they must overcome the tragedy of their pasts if they are to reclaim the future they both desire. Third in the Shadow Wranglers series.
Walker, a shaman, has dedicated his life to hunting the demon warriors who destroyed his tribe. But his latest captive is a daring and new kind of challenge: a beautiful, dangerous, and irresistible assassin. Third in the Four-Sided Pentacle series.
As undisputed Alpha, Rafael must choose a life mate to preserve the dominance of his Lycan pack. He never suspected his mate would be a human, the same wounded girl-woman he seduced from the brink of death. Falon is a dangerous combination of Lycan and Slayer—beings bred to destroy his kind. Even more, she’s a mesmerizing beauty whose sensuality tempts the seasoned warrior to take unnecessary risks. First in a new Blood Moon trilogy.
Rafferty Powell has resolved to destroy his hated arch-nemesis, Magnus Montmorency. The pair has exchanged challenge coins, and their next battle will be their last. But Rafferty never expected to meet a woman whose desire for Magnus’ end matches his own, and whose soul sparks the firestorm within him. Sixth in the Dragonfire series.
The morbidly monotonous Dullsville has finally become the most exciting place on earth now that Raven is in love with her hot vampire boyfriend Alexander, and a crew of vampires has taken residence in Dullsville’s old mill. Raven discovers Jagger’s plan to open a new club, The Crypt, but is it her dream come true or her worst nightmare? Raven and Alexander have to figure out what the nefarious vampire has in store for Dullsville’s teen and vampire population. Eighth in the Vampire Kisses series.
As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she’s been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind. A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what’s left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him tot he witch he has to kill: her brother. First in the new Dark Mission series.
Azazel should have extinguished the deadly Lilith when he had the chance. Now, faced with a prophecy that will force him to betray the memory of his one true love and wed the Demon Queen, he cannot end her life until she leads him to Lucifer. Finding the First is the Fallen’s only hope for protecting mankind from Uriel’s destruction, but Azazel knows that ignoring his simmering desire for the Lilith will be almost as impossible. Rachel Fitzpatrick wonders how Azazel could confuse her with an evil seductress. She’s never even been interested in sex! At least not before she set eyes on her breathtaking captor. And now she can’t think about anything else—besides escape. Second in The Fallen series.
Temptation and seduction are the tricks of the Devil’s trade, and when offered the chance to regain his wings by playing guardian angel, Sammy Divine is hell-bent on doing things his way. Faith McFarland is in need of a miracle. So desperate to save her sick child, she’s willing to make a deal with the Devil: steal a ring worn by Finn Payne, the bad boy rock star who long ago sold his soul for rock n’ roll. Temptation and seduction become necessary evils, yet Faith’s salvation means Finn’s damnation—because the ring is all that stands between him and Hell. First in the Devil’s Bargain series.
Skilled in the seduction of men, both mortal and immortal, Narcise Moldavi is the greatest weapon in her twisted brother’s war among the Dracule—until she falls for Giordan Cale. Her first searing encounter with Giordan brands them with a passionate love. But Giordan’s vow to help Narcise escape her brother’s rule is followed by a betrayal more agonizing than sunlight. Wounded but determined, Narcise ensnares vampire hunter Chas Woodmore in her quest for revenge and to reclaim her life. He wants her, worships her, will kill for her. And the Dracule never forget a wrong—nor do they forgive. Third in the Regency Draculia series.
D.J. Clayborne has finally met his match. After weeks of playing cyber tag, a mysterious hacker bests D.J. at his own game. His nemesis downloads a top-secret history of the Paladins, forcing him to go on the hunt. The trail leads D.J. straight to Regina Morrison, a woman who is as sexy as she is talented in the cyberworld. Reggie has been working around the clock to stop a legendary computer hacker from accessing her clients’ files, but the last thing she expects is to have D.J. show up at her door. Or that he’s even hotter than his evasive avatar. Soon they’re flirting with a dangerous line between duty and desire. Ninth in the Paladins series.
Once an irresistible, soul-destroying seducer of men and women through the ages, fallen angel Brynna Malak has fled Hell to seek redemption. But is such a thing possible? While dodging the brutal Hunters sent to retrieve her she must also save the life of a teenaged girl fathered by an angel and whose destiny is to complete a preordained task. At her side is a Chicago police officer who fights his undeniable attraction to her. And Brynna has made up her mind: she will die for eternity rather than return to Hell or give up her quest. Second in the Dark Redemption series.
Harper lost his lifemate, Jenny, during her turn and has blamed himself for her death ever since, so he’s rather happy for the distraction when Tiny and Mirabeau arrive with a young immortal in tow. Stephanie McGill is a young, newly turned immortal who is being hunted by a mad no-fanger named Leonius. When Anders and Drina Argenis (Argeneau) arrive to help, Harper finds himself working with the beautiful young Spanish woman. But things get interesting when Stephanie decides to take on the role of cupid and bring Drina and a reluctant Harper together. How much trouble could a newly turned teenage vamp be? Fifteenth in the Argeneau series.
Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness. Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would’ve been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf. Then Sienna changes the rules and suddenly there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Tenth in the Psy/Changeling series.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson finds demonic romance vaguely unsettling. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.