BY: JAMI GRAY
All she had to do was keep one man safe…
Raine McCord has no problem taking down the monsters of the world, it’s one of the reasons she’s so good at her job. So playing bodyguard to Cheveyo, head Magi of the Northwest, as he consults with the Southwest Kyn should be an easy assignment. Unfortunately, the simple task turns into a nightmare when Cheveyo is kidnapped and Raine is left for dead by one of the Kyn’s most feared beings, a Soul Stealer.
The Stealer’s attack leaves lasting wounds, undermining Raine’s confidence as a warrior and damaging her unruly magic. Her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand. Compelled to face the emotions raging between them, they must embrace not only their stormy relationship but their evolving magic to escape the twisted threads of murder and betrayal to find Cheveyo.
As Raine and Gavin come together and begin to unravel the complex web of secrets and hidden vendettas haunting the Southwest Kyn, they discover unsettling new truths that threaten their very existence.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: Shadow’s Soul, The Kyn Kronicles, Book Two by Jami Gray is a fine sequel to Book One, Shadow’s Edge. We get to get reacquainted with Raine and Gavin and this time we get to have sex! Well, the characters do, anyway. We pick up the story where Book One left off—with Gavin recovering from whatever the mad scientist did to him and Raine afraid he blames her for him becoming a lab rat. This book, like the first one, is written entirely from Raine’s point of view, but Gray does a good job of developing the other characters so we don’t feel slighted. I really enjoyed watching Raine and Gavin’s relationship develop. And of course, I loved the hot and spicy sex scenes. Gray more than made up for all the disappointment I suffered in Book One when these two didn’t get to take their relationship as far as I wanted them to.
While I really enjoyed the first book in the series and thought the writing in Shadow’s Edge was very good, the writing, character development, and plot are even better in Shadow’s Soul. Gray seems to have learned a lot from writing her first book and has put that knowledge to good use in the second one. If you want a paranormal series that you can really get into, pick up The Kyn Kronicles, especially Book Two, Shadow’s Soul. I guarantee you won’t want to put it down until you’re done, and then you’ll be screaming for more!
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Shadow’s Soul, Book 2 of The Kyn Kronicles by Jami Gray is an absolutely marvelous addition to Book 1. I love series books where I can develop a relationship with characters I can follow from book to book. While the first book in the series was good, especially for a first time author, the second book was noticeably better—as if Gray has finally come into her own. And not just because the characters got to have sex. There were parts of the first book where the writing seemed a little hesitant at times. Not unusual for a first time author. But the second book flowed much more smoothly, the plot was stronger, the story more complex. In Book 1, we saw Raine struggle to come to grips with and control the strange powers that came as a result of her captivity by evil scientists. In Book 2, it’s Gavin’s turn to fight to get a handle on his new powers as a result of his time in captivity by those same scientists. Together Raine and Gavin possess powers that no one in their world can even comprehend. The powers are both thrilling and terrifying. It’s great to have powers no one else has, but if they aren’t able to control them, they can destroy both themselves and the ones they care about.
I, too, was glad to see Raine and Gavin get hot and heavy as I was disappointed they didn’t get closer in Book 1. That said, this would have been a great book even without the sex. Though the sex scenes in Shadow’s Soul are done very well, sex scenes alone ‘do not a story make.’ A great story still needs a strong, unique plot, including a few surprises. Shadow’s Soul has those a plenty. In fact, I was riveted from page one until the very last word. I simply couldn’t put it down. To me, that is what a great story is all about.
Blood dripped into her eyes. Raine McCord raised a hand to brush it away, smearing the warm wetness across her face. The world shimmered feverishly around her, sunlight glinting off the snow draped forest. She stumbled over a fallen log. Pain screamed through tattered nerve endings and down her right leg before the overload caused it to go limp. Collapsing to her side, she tried to protect her right shoulder, which was singing its own chorus of agonies. With a groan, she used her left hand to push herself up to her knees.
She knelt, head down, eyes closed, trying to breathe through the never-ending dizziness. She had to keep moving. Struggling to lift her heavy head, she forced her eyes open so she could focus on the ground ahead of her. You’re dead if you don’t move, Raine! her mind screamed. Faint whimpers and the sound of ragged breathing filled her ears as she dug her bloodied hands into the wet, cold dirt. Dead leaves and fallen twigs scraped against her tender palms. The chill from the patches of snow still clinging to the forest floor under the white barked trees barely made a dint in the pain.
Inadvertent sounds fell like whispers on the icy air as she pulled her battered body along the ground. Somewhere a branch cracked, jerking her attention behind her. Only drag marks denoted her path, looking as if they’d been made with scarlet paint. Forcing her attention forward, she blinked. Her vision wavered between gray and bright white. She aimed for the large, dark shape looming just out of reach.
Inch by agonizing inch, she made her way forward. The indistinct shape came into focus. It was the remains of a large tree, large enough to hide behind. Reaching the dubious protection, she managed to crawl behind it before her arms and knees gave out, sending her face first into the cold, wet earth. The winter forest was strangely silent. Each slow movement torture, she pulled her knees to her chest and curled into a ball.
Quiet. She had to be quiet. Stuffing her fist against her bruised lips, she muted the soft pain-filled noises coming from her abused throat. The rattling shivers from earlier had been replaced by a bone deep weariness. She might freeze to death, but she couldn’t find the strength to care. Closing her eyes, she let the swirling darkness and cold drag her under.
Her dreams included strangely soothing chants and curiously subdued drumming. It was a new experience. Generally, her nightmares involved cages, mad scientists, and monsters. At least the forest motif remained familiar. Rough edges dug into her spine. Trying not to be obvious, Raine reached behind her and found—tree bark? Slitting her eyes open, she was met with a curtain of dark, matted hair. Hazy light filtered through the strands. She rolled over. Her hair slid away to reveal a lattice work of branches above her with leaves dancing in the soft green light. Something was off. Something beside the fact she was lying at the foot of a freaking huge tree. The towering branches swayed hypnotically. There was no wind. How did leaves dance without wind?
Gingerly she sat up, brushing her hair out of her face and snagged her hand on a twig. Pulling the tangled mass forward, she found crushed sticks and leaves snared in the inky strands. Flowing white sleeves fell back from her arms as she pushed the mess back.
White? Flowing? What the hell? She didn’t own a white, flowing anything. Jeans, leather and steel, that’s what she was comfortable in.
The crackling of dried leaves heralded the arrival of a new player. All thoughts of the weird clothing disappeared as she instinctively moved into a crouch, reaching for her weapons. A streak of panic hit when she found nothing.
All she could do was wait. It didn’t take long before a wolf emerged from the shifting shadows. Its amber gaze was strangely calm as it padded forward then sat, like a dog. Not once did its attention waver. No dog she knew had fur blending from white to gray to black. She slowly eased back until the great oak pressed against her spine, not once breaking eye contact with the waiting animal.
Unsure of where she was, she dropped the mental barrier she held for protection between herself and the everyday world. Her senses flared to life. Thanks to her Fey heritage she could feel the presence of the natural magic in the fauna around her, a steady ebb and flow of life. If she really wanted, she could dig a little deeper and paint that energy with a visible palette of colors. A recently discovered talent which had nothing to do with her bloodlines and everything to do with her time spent as a lab rat.
She reached for her magic, only to have it slip through her psychic fingers like mist. Startled, she tried again while the strange wolf continued to watch her. The result was frustratingly the same. “What the hell?” she muttered.
Feeling behind her she dug her physical fingers into the rough edges of the tree bark. That was definitely real. She eyed the wolf, possible options cascading through her mind. Escape or confront?
As if reading her mind, the wolf gave her a canine grin full of very pointed teeth. The taunt was clear.
She snorted. “Yeah right, Mr. Big Bad Wolf. Do I look like I’m wearing a little red hood?” She was surprised at how hoarse her voice was. Only one thing had ever made her throat this raw. Problem was she couldn’t remember anything requiring that much screaming.
“Red would not be your color, Raine,” a female voice mocked. Raine jerked her head up so fast everything did a slow, stomach-churning spin. Once her vision settled, she was able to refocus on her surroundings. Other than the wolf and the tree behind her, everything else was shrouded in shadows and mists.
“You need to come back.” A woman stepped out of the shadows. Moving to stand beside the wolf, she scratched behind one gray ear. The woman was tall, taller than Raine’s own five-foot-five frame by a good couple of inches. Various shades of blonde were drawn into a simple braid. Deep brown eyes sparkled with some inner amusement. “You can’t stay here.”
“I don’t know where here is.”
The blonde tilted her head in a strange bird-like manner. “Here is where you go to heal, to get away from the rest of the world. Think of it as your own personal garden of Eden.”
Raine couldn’t stop the snort of disbelief or the bitter twist of her mouth.
“This is the first time my Eden doesn’t look like hell, so I’m not so sure this is all my doing.”
Impatience passed over the strong-boned face. “Regardless, you need to go back now.”
The snappy tone didn’t sit well with Raine. Rising from her crouch, she hid the shakiness of her legs with a sneer. “How am I supposed to get back?”
This place set her teeth on edge and getting out of here was priority number one.
Frustration tightened the woman’s lips. “Don’t you know how to do this?” Her voice was sharp, impatient. “It’s your spirit you’ve trapped here. You have to make the decision to come back to yourself. If you don’t, you’re going to die.” Her braid slid over her shoulder when she crossed her arms. A flash of comprehension passed over her face. “Ah. Perhaps that’s what you want then?”
Raine found her hands clenching into fists at her sides. Her instincts were screaming that danger was barreling toward her. “If this is my Eden, who the hell are you?”
“Tala Whiteriver, and you, Raine McCord, are dying.” Tala’s voice was melodic, yet there was something in the undertones which sent shivers down Raine’s spine.
The woman turned, her voice floating back to Raine. “Follow then, if you have the courage.”
The last was a challenge. Rising to its feet, the wolf stood, its tongue lolling out in obvious canine laughter. Tala’s figure disappeared into the thick surrounding shadows. The wolf began to follow his mistress into the haze.
Not one to ever back down, Raine stepped away from the sheltering tree. As she moved near the gray shifting shadows, the drums and chanting came back. At the edges of the glade, they became insistent, driving. A few more steps and she was in the mist of dark shadows.
They wrapped around her like ghosts, pulling her forward. A strange fear spiked deep in her bones. The flash of a tail up ahead was her only clue she was on the same path as Tala and the wolf. She tried to push the phantom mists away, but they held on, tighter than before. Obviously whatever this was, it didn’t want her to leave. She stopped her struggles and noticed the ghostly bindings began to fade as she moved forward.
“Try to keep up.” Tala’s voice drifted back to her. “There’s no woodcutter coming to save you.”
Raine’s teeth snapped together. She really disliked this woman.
Any sense of direction was compromised by the dense gray soup. Flashes of fur were Raine’s only clue she was facing forward. Time passed—she wasn’t sure how much—and the fog grew lighter and the disturbing shadows dissipated. When the wolf disappeared between one blink and the next, she stepped up her pace and broke free of the shadows abruptly.
Light blinded her, while the chanting and drumbeats took up a resonant pulse in her bones.
“Show me how strong you are, warrior girl.” Tala’s whispered taunt cut through the chaos of noise and blinding glare of light.
A strong shove sent Raine stumbling forward. She was falling blind. Panic caused a metallic taste to coat her mouth. Blood rushed through her veins in time to the drumbeats. Colors became a dizzying kaleidoscope, while sonorous chanting infiltrated her mind like a thousand voices. As she drew a breath to scream, blinding pain hit. Every bone in her body shattered at once while acid replaced the blood in her veins. The chanting swelled until it swallowed her agonized screams, following her into the terrifying abyss.
The Romance Reviews:
Jami Gray delivers another fantastic action-packed novel with SHADOW’S SOUL, book two in the Kyn Kronicles series. Carve out some time, sit down and buckle up because SHADOW’S SOUL will take you on a wild ride through the world of magic. As with book one, I had a difficult time putting SHADOW’S SOUL down. I highly recommend this book… along with a nice strong cup of coffee. SHADOW’S SOUL continues the story of Raine McCord, Gavin Durand, and others from the Pacific Northwest Kyn community. This time, trouble within the Southwest Kyn community threatens Raine and her friends. Her mentor, Cheveyo, is kidnapped while investigating Kyn deaths and disappearances in the Southwest, and Raine nearly dies trying to protect him. Fellow Wraiths, Gavin and Xander, get involved, and Kyn community politics isn’t the only thing they have to battle. Add a Soul Stealer, spirits of dead witches called chindis, a land-hungry corporation and a few burgeoning romances, and the result is an explosive plotline ready for the big screen.
SHADOW’S SOUL keeps the exciting pace introduced in book one. The characters and scenes are similarly well written. The development of the romantic relationships and the associated dialogue are believable and compelling. This book introduces a new phase in Raine and Gavin’s relationship that causes this book to have a level 2 Heat Rating. The book also introduces a new relationship that I predict will be a main part of the plotline in book three. There were some typos and grammatical issues that were a bit distracting, but the reader can easily get past them and enjoy the book. I seriously cannot tell you how great this series is. You will just have to experience it for yourself. I give SHADOW’S SOUL 5 stars and eagerly await the next installation of the Kyn Kronicles. ~ Victoria Lane, The Romance Reviews READ FULL REVIEW