Jonas Stone has been given his first independent operation: rescue the insurrection leader’s imprisoned grandson from the Mission. Getting the job done means more than getting Danny Granger out-it means staying with him while he heals. Staying too close, for way too long.
Danny is everything Jonas isn’t: confident, optimistic, honest–a man to be reckoned with. If only it didn’t mean going against everything Jonas has planned. He’s kept his secrets for years, hid behind a mask no one could see through…until now. Danny isn’t the kind of man Jonas deserves. But he might be exactly the man he needs…
A Dark Mission Novella
by Karina Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Romance (Avon’s first male-male romance)
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of Publication: 3/5/2013
Why can’t this story be longer?????
Wicked Lies was two firsts for me – my first Karina Cooper read and my first male/male romance.
First – Karina Cooper. I absolutely loved her writing style. The book drew me in right away and held me all the way through to the end. I blew through Wicked Lies amazingly fast, even for a novella. She’s descriptive but not so wordy that the average urban fantasy fan would lose interest.
Now here’s the biggest reason why I wish this had been longer: this novella is a half release during an established series. A series that yours truly has not read. You are dropped into the story in the middle of some rather big events and it ends without really wrapping anything up. I was confused as to who was who and what was what but as I stated, this is my own damn fault because I hadn’t read the series when I agreed to the novella. However, if the novella is any indication of how good the rest of the books are, the series is well worth the time I am going to take to read it.
We have an urban fantasy atmosphere but the novella felt more like an action movie with supernatural plots. Think the movie ‘Taken’ meets the TV show ‘Charmed’. As I mentioned above, it drew me in right away and had the non-stop adrenaline feel of a storyline like ‘Taken’. I was blowing through page after page of Wicked Lies dying to see what happens next and when I reached the end, I freaked out a little bit. It just………ends. If the mission of the novella was to get you hooked on that world – mission accomplished.
I loved the two main characters in this novella and I can only hope they are or they become regulars in the series because I so badly want to see where their story goes!!
The second “first” I mentioned – this was my first male/male romance read. Anyone that knows me personally knows that I am 100% for gay rights. And I hate calling it that because I don’t believe it is a gay vs. straight issue anymore. I firmly believe in the year 2013, it is time for people to get over it already. It is human rights issues now. Gay. Straight. Into farm animals. It shouldn’t matter. And I am rather open about my feelings on this. Given my stance on HUMAN rights, I can’t tell you why I have never read any LGBTQ fiction. I am not in any way, shape or form against it. Not at all. I’ve just never read any before. Well, the two main characters in this book are two gay men – one quite open and not afraid to go after what he wants. The other is very much an introvert and keeps his private life private with his sexual experiences being nothing more than one-night stands with no names to avoid any sorts of connection. He’s damaged goods. I have had many gay friends in my life, people that I care deeply about, and the bulk of them have had it relatively easy as far as coming out and being able live in peace once they were so I have never met anyone like our introvert in Wicked Lies. By the mid-way point in the novella, I wanted to just reach out and hug him because no one should have to feel the way he does.
The story between Danny and Jonas is a fantastic one. It’s sweet and romantic. It’s raw and emotional. I’ll be honest, it’s kind of hot too. Wink wink. I fell in love with Danny right away. He’s funny and sarcastic and blunt and I totally want to hang out with him. The pair are such polar opposites and yet soooo perfect together. They create a great balance. Although the story was brief, the romance didn’t feel rushed or unrealistic (which is a common problem I see in romance).
I made it to the end of Wicked Lies flat-out CRAVING more. And then got all teary.
There’s a letter from the author at the end of Wicked Lies that is incredibly touching:
Every day, thousands of LGBTQ teens are subjected to horrific bullying from peers, met with silence from the adults that should be protecting them, and forced into a miserable existence of denial and shame. Parents who won’t try or can’t understand how to help and teachers who are gagged by school policies or fear of litigation can turn a child’s life into a walking nightmare of self-doubt, -incrimination, and –harm.
As an adult who found her place after high school, I can’t imagine what it must be like for these teenagers. The culture of bullying in school is so prevalent that even the straight kids, the “normal” kids, feel the bite. It can be so bad for those considered “different” or outcast that suicide is often seen as the only sure way out – studies show that the risk of suicide or the attempt of LGBT teens is systematically higher, and that’s just not okay. Not when we have the means to reach out.
Like Jonas, who needed help finding the courage to accept himself and to allow himself to take a shot at happily ever after – there are kids out there who need someone who understands.
The It Gets Better Project is committed to helping at-risk youth, raising awareness for LGBTQ teens and funding for resources to help them. To that end, I will be donating the proceeds from this book to the It Gets Better Project. With the purchase of Wicked Lies, you are helping me give money and support to a wonderful and valuable cause.
From the whole of my heart, I thank every one of you who gave this book a chance, Avon Impulse for publishing it and Edi – the editor who didn’t just get behind this, but made it even better, Together, we can make a different in so many lives.
Yours with so much pride,
My heart melted when I read this. Before I saw the letter, I was fully prepared to give Wicked Lies a shining review and 5 stars. The story is excellent. Excellent execution and written wonderfully. After reading this letter, I also want to give the author a gold star. Karina Cooper, I have a deep respect for you, both as a writer and a human being. Thank you for the wonderful letter at the end of the book.
For the record, I received this book as a digital ARC but after reading the letter, I also bought myself a copy.
So that’s my review. I give Wicked Lies 5 stars and Karina Cooper has a new fan. I can’t wait for my reading schedule to loosen up next month so I can read the rest of the series that lead to this novella!
The author is giving away a complete paperback set of the Dark Mission novels to date!!
Includes: Blood of the Wicked, Lure of the Wicked, All Things Wicked, and Sacrifice the Wicked
Open to United States shipping addresses only.
For my Uncle Stephen. You were the first man in my life who bravely came out to me, and who paved the way for me to be myself. I loved you so much before, and I love you just as much now. You are my inspiration.
And for every gay, lesbian, bi-, trans-, queer, and questioning youth out there. Life can be hard, sometimes it can get mean. There will be days when you feel like it’s impossible, but I want you to know that there are people like me out here who support you. I promise : it gets better.
A blue-white light flickered in the dark. Sparks glinted off the tool racks bolted to the wall across the shadowed room, reflected from the metal braces left leaning against the desk. As silence—mind-numbingly loud, thick as water, and twice as hard to breathe—filled the narrow room, that blue-white light caught in the circular lenses of a pair of glasses and threw a glare across the screen.
Jonas Stone stirred. “It has to be now,” he said, his voice too loud in the oppressive weight of the shadows behind him. He couldn’t look away from the feed spilling its incandescent glow over his desk, his keyboard.
Because the man framed in that digital feed—the kid strapped to the chair dead center of the surveillance footage—wasn’t the first suspected heretic to sit there. To sweat there.
“Be sure, Jonas. We get one shot at this.”
His brain wanted to look at the comm unit beside his left hand. His body refused to obey, every cell focused on the prisoner’s dark, drooping head. Scarred fingers twitched, knuckles whitening, and Jonas frowned as he realized his right hand had closed into a painful fist.
It had to be now. The kid wouldn’t last much longer.
“There’s no alternative,” he replied. “We’re not going to get another opening soon enough to . . .” He hesitated.
The voice over the comm link didn’t waver. Not even a fracture. “Soon enough to save him.”
Only through recent experience did Jonas know that the raspy, lifetime-pack-a-day voice coming out of the secure line belonged to a woman named May. Leader of a rebellion that had saved Jonas’s life, and the perpetrator behind a string of hacking jobs that left Jonas seriously reconsidering a career shift before the Church had made that choice for him.
The fact that she was very, very good was all that kept him from throwing in the towel now.
But he’d never met her in person. Hell, he’d never met the prisoner now struggling to raise his head in Jonas’s feed, either. Instead, all he had was a picture in a box, a hacked security feed, and too many hours spent staring at the incandescent screen until his eyeballs throbbed and the vicious curl of helplessness inside him turned to a spiraling ache.
That boy didn’t belong in that kind of interrogation room.
A single light, faded blue, gleamed over shoulders broader than Jonas’s, but not by much. The prisoner was athletically lean where Jonas was simply skinny. The narrowly defined muscles of his chest were outlined by the stained remains of a thin, long-sleeve shirt. Blood and sweat had turned it nearly brown. His slumped shoulders strained against the restraints confining him to the hard metal chair, a position not just awkward but painful as hell. Jonas hadn’t seen his face for over an hour.
He didn’t have to. He knew what he’d see when—if—the kid raised his chin again.
Blood caked into a ridged scab across the fine slash of his upper lip, under his broad nose and over a determinedly sculpted chin. He’d see the blackened stains of it dried into the man’s ears, blending into his dark brown hair. Even now, that greasy fringe flopped over his forehead, long since sweating off the gel that had held it into its fashionable spikes. The longest of the textured strands would slide into one swollen eye, if it ever opened again.
The prisoner had eyes the color of the computer-lit confines of the places Jonas preferred to inhabit. Almost black, even without pain stripping them to an endless void. When open, those eyes all but crackled with an intensity that could take a lesser man’s objectivity away in a single glance. Like a hungry kid or a kicked puppy.
Or a man on the edge of desperation.
Jonas’s chest kicked.
“Let me know when your people are ready.” He didn’t bother hiding the raw regret in his voice. He’d felt a lot of it, lately. After all, he used to be the man who helped put people into rooms just like that.
“Fine.” May’s voice cracked. Flattened. “I’m trusting you, Jonas.”
“I know.” They always did. “Let me try. I’m positive I can get him out. They won’t expect it this soon.”
Born from the genetic mash-up of lesser royalty, storytellers, wanderers and dreamers, Karin Cooper was destined to be a creative genius. As a child, she moved all over the country like some kind of waifish blonde gypsy and thrived in the new cultures her family settled in. When she (finally) grew up, she skipped the whole genius part and fell in love with writing because, really, who doesn’t love making things up for a living?
One part romance fanatic, one part total dork, and all imagination, she writes dark and sexy paranormal romance and urban fantasy. When she isn’t writing, Karina is an airship captain’s wife and Steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful and rainy Pacific Northwest with a husband, four cats, two rabbits, the fantasy of a dog, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.