Blog Tour + Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Dark Wings by Skyla Madi

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Dark Wings by Skyla Madi
Series: The Never Dark #1
Publication Date: July 13th 2013
Purchase: Amazon
Book 2: Torn Wings
Source: I received a copy of the book from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review

**Mature Content Warning** Recommended for ages 17+ due to language and sexual content.

“I don’t want to kill you, not anymore.” He said, coming to face me. “I want to be with you. I want to hold you and touch you and–” He exhaled. “I. Want. You.”

Violet Ashton is an exemplary angel with ninety-nine kills under her belt.

Nothing could make her underestimate herself until she’s sent to hunt down Death, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Or as Violet knows him–Lucas Cross, her ex-mentor and ex-lover. Defining the line between what her job requires and what her heart wants is the hardest decision she’s ever had to make.

Lucas Cross is an angel turned demon.

The only thing he had to worry about was helping his brothers end the world, that was until Violet blew into town. From the moment he saw her again his normal self has fought hard to keep down the demon that desperately wants to kill her. Torn between love and hate, Lucas is determined to push all of Violet’s limits.

The feud between the Never Dark realm and The Underworld is at boiling point and if Violet can’t complete her mission Earth will pay the ultimate price.

review

This was such an interesting take on angels! I had no idea what to expect going into this but I did enjoy it. Violet is the snarky, sarcastic heroine, and she’s also an angel. Lucas is the former angel turned demon, also known as Death from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The book is told in both their POVs, which was great, since I loved getting to see both their perspectives, the emotional angst from them.

Violet is a very… interesting character. She’s a bit too harsh and critical of things for my liking, but I enjoyed her brashness and toughness. She’s a pretty badass angel. She fights very well (she’s already killed 99 demons!) and isn’t afraid to fight bigger and badder things. The best part about her is the emotional turmoil going on when she sees her former lover, Lucas, who’s now… evil. She loved him once, back when he was an angel and, well, good, but now… she has to kill him. Isn’t that just the most intriguing thing ever? Having to kill the love of your life because he turned evil. Like, wow.

I think I liked reading Lucas’s POV more than Violet’s, because he didn’t grate on my nerves as much as Violet did. Plus, he’s got even more angst inside of him. He’s a freaking demon, but used to be good. He’s still in love with Violet, but he’s got evil urges within him that make his want to kill her and pretty much everything else in the world. He has to hold himself back, because he doesn’t want to kill Violet. What he wants is her, but a relationship between them now is even more forbidden than it already was before Lucas turned dark. Like I said, SO much angst.

When Lucas and Violet see each other again, the feelings they have between them are explosive. They want to kill each other one second, and lust for each other the next. There was both love and hate, and you never knew what you were going to get each time they saw each other. The story is very fast paced, with fight scenes and sexy scenes throughout. If you’re looking for an action-y, paranormal romance with a little bittersweetness, then you should definitely check out Dark Wings. There’s also going to be a sequel in The Never Dark series called Torn Wings!

3 hearts!

3-hearts

lacey

excerpt

I spotted him leaving Sequin nightclub. Sequin used to be the most luxurious nightclub this side of Concave City. I glanced up at its dirty exterior and cringed. Things have changed since my last visit. I stared long and hard at the club. Its walls were purple and pale, coated in a thin layer of dirt. Even at midnight I could tell how neglected the club was. The dazzling, bright white neon sign that read ‘SEQUIN’ made the building’s obvious neglect look more, well, obvious.

I watched as he lured a scantily clothed woman into a nearby alley and cringed as she bent over in front of him to pick up something she had ‘dropped.’ To me, the only thing she seemed to have dropped was her morals. When she straightened, she continued to stumble further into the alley. The bottom of her ass cheeks popped out from underneath her micro-micro mini skirt with every step she took and to top off her outrageous outfit, she wasn’t wearing a top—unless a bikini top doused in sequins counted as an appropriate blouse these days. Maybe it did? It had been a few years since I’d paid any attention to Earth’s fashion. I was human once, but then I died, and when I died, I was chosen to become an angel, to protect the Earth and all of its inhabitants. I’m from the Never Dark realm, an alternate universe. I’m not your typical run-of-the-mill guardian angel that protects you or guides you—that’s preschool stuff. I’m a special kind of angel. I hunt things that go bump in the night. Your worst nightmare wouldn’t even come close to the horrors that I’ve seen. No, it wasn’t vampires—vampires don’t exist. Angels destroyed them all decades ago, every last sparkly one of them, and you’re welcome. I hunt various creatures and demons that have managed to escape from the Underworld. Tonight, that demon was Death. This Death didn’t walk around wearing a long black robe, nor did he carry a big scythe. This Death was deadlier—much deadlier. He was one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sent to end the world, only he is much, much too early. It’s 2013 and the world isn’t supposed to end until the year 3000. My job was to find out what he’s doing here and get him to leave. If he doesn’t comply, I’ll kill him, and if I kill him, it’d be my one hundredth demon kill—not bad, if I do say so myself.

“I see you, Mr. One Hundred,” I muttered.

In my mind I was already adding another notch to my belt. I pulled the tasteless, over-chewed piece of gum from my mouth and stuck it in an empty ashtray that was concealed in my car door. I watched them from a distance, just waiting for the right time to attack. Then his smoldering brown eyes met mine and something knotted deep in my stomach, catching me off guard. I was shocked, but I didn’t let it register on my face. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He wasn’t supposed to see me, at least not yet. I wanted to watch him for a little while first. His short, black hair was disorganized, like a woman had just run her hands through it. His dark brown eyes watched me intently and he ran his wet tongue along his bottom lip. I swallowed hard as something hot and wild settled in my core. My ability to see well in the dark made it easier for me to see him smirk as he cocked his head to the side and studied me curiously. The skank followed his line of sight, but she couldn’t see well enough to know what he was looking at. She flicked her long blonde hair over her shoulder and placed her hands on his chest, trailing them down his fine, black suit and then back up before resting on his tie. Her lips moved as she spoke to him. When he didn’t respond, she leaned closer and her lips barely grazed his ear. Again, he didn’t acknowledge her. Those dark eyes only saw me. I grabbed the gun from my glove box and climbed out of the car. I clipped the gun onto its holster at the back of my black leather catsuit. It was mandatory that all field angels wear the required uniform. The catsuit was designed for speed and protection. Having it skin tight helped me move faster and prevented it from snagging on foreign objects.

I walked toward him, but he didn’t run from me like most demons did. Instead, he chuckled, exposing his perfect white teeth. He was exactly  how I remembered—perfect and incredibly sexy. My stomach turned at the thought of even thinking something so wrong.

The girl finally spotted me and took a step forward, shielding a quarter of Death’s body. I stopped when I came within ten yards of them, my legs shoulder-width apart. I raised my arms above my head and tightened my ponytail. My bright red hair draped over my shoulder.

“I was wondering when I’d see you again.” His voice was deep and husky. Images of melted caramel dripping from a spoon filled my mind. The skank turned abruptly to face him. “Who the fuck is she, Noah?” At least he’s smart enough to use a fake name.

“Who the fu—” Her voice was annoying. Rapidly, I drew my gun and shot the girl in the neck. With a quiet gasp, she crumpled to the cold, dirty floor. I didn’t kill her—I shot her with a tranquilizer and now she was sleeping it off. I returned the gun to its holster. A tranquilizer wouldn’t work on him, and besides, I’d prefer to fight him with my hands.

“Buzz kill,” he groaned, running his fingers through his hair. My fingers twitched at his movement.

“Why are you here?” I demanded.

“I could ask you the same thing.”

I narrowed my eyes at him as he bent down and stroked the girl’s cheek with the back of his finger. I ignored the pang of jealousy that coursed through my chest. You see, I knew Death personally—a long time ago, before he became Death, before he was torn in two. Back then he was an angel known as Lucas and he was the one that recruited me. He taught me everything I know about demons and how to kill them. I stared at him; he hadn’t changed in the slightest. He still had those high cheekbones and big brown eyes. His hairstyle was the same—short and messy. He straightened himself and took a few steps toward me.

“You’re as beautiful as I remember, V. Not that I expected anything short of perfection.” He licked his bottom lip and looked me up and down. His eyes lingered on my breasts for a second longer and I clenched my jaw. V was Lucas’s nickname for me. It was short for Violet. There was once a time when that nickname brought me immeasurable happiness, but now it brought me nothing but pain.

His brown eyes glistened dangerously. “Come home with me? For old time’s sake?” A cocky smile spread over his face. There was a time when he only had to bat an eyelid at me wrong and I’d jump him. I wasn’t going to lie, he looked as incredible as I remembered—maybe even more now he had that extra ‘badness’ about him…but it was different now. I hated seeing him like this, he was another person entirely. He wasn’t the same man I had met only a few years ago. Lucas took a few more steps toward me, but I didn’t budge.

He continued, ignoring my silence. “We were good together… once.”

I cringed, recalling our training sessions together—his sweat, my sweat, how his strong hands felt on my body. A warm flush flooded me, resting at my core. I shook my head. He’s screwing with you. It isn’t him! He isn’t Lucas, he’s Death. Give him the warning and leave.

“I don’t know whether your Council told you or not, but you are nine hundred and eighty-seven years early.”

He chuckled and it made me flinch, because for a few seconds, I forgot he was my enemy. “I can do as I please. I’m not hurting anybody.”

Lucas—Death was a category five demon. In my world, demons are ranked by the damage they do. The Banshee, Tracker demons, Seers, and other demons that blend in with society are category one demons. They’re allowed to roam Earth freely provided they don’t kill anybody, and most of the time, they didn’t. Category two demons were Succubi and Incubi. They pass off as human easy enough and generally stick to morally questionable careers in the sex industry, but could inflict minimal damage to one person if they wanted to. Category three demons were your vampires, but they’re gone now, leaving only werewolves and Shards in that category. Shards are a catlike demon that preys on wild animals and occasionally on humans. Category four demons are fallen angels and your average human-like demons. An angel becomes a demon once they’ve been banished from the Never Dark realm. Most fallen angels choose to leave the Never Dark realm once they realize their powers would be a little stronger if they embrace their darker side. A human can become a demon if they’re turned by another demon. This gives them superhuman strength. Category five demons are the worst. Cat five demons can’t appear on Earth without causing mass destruction and death. These demons are Skatters (dumb, gimp-like creatures that are sent into a frenzy by a rapidly beating heart), necromancers, the four Horsemen of the apocalypse, and the Underworld Council. These demons are highly dangerous and must be removed from Earth immediately, unless scheduled otherwise. It’s sad, but sometimes life on Earth needs to be balanced out. Only once in history has the Earth been completely wiped of life by the four Horsemen and then started again… or so I was told.

I swallowed hard, remembering to force some kind of formality into my voice. “You’re not welcome here and if you don’t leave now, I’ll kill you.”

His eyes darkened and narrowed. “You forget one thing, my sweet V.”

“And what’s that?”

“I taught you everything you know.” His sinfully dark voice wrapped around the words like a boa constrictor wraps around its victim. Lucas swung at me, but I managed to duck just in time. He came at me full force, throwing punches and kicks. Most of them I managed to dodge, until one kick hit me square in the stomach. I fell backwards, hitting my head against the concrete. My vision blurred for a few seconds and I shook my head, trying to get my bearings. A few seconds later my vision returned and I used my wrists to spring back onto my feet. Lucas removed his jacket, throwing it down onto the damp concrete and rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt.

“You’re faster, stronger, and meaner than you used to be, but I still don’t think that’s enough to beat me.”

I sprang toward him, hoping to catch him off guard, but even in the middle of rolling up his sleeves he was expecting my attack. Nothing is more infuriating than an opponent that knows what you’re going to do before you do it. He grabbed me by the waist and slammed me into a brick wall. I recovered quickly and we circled each other, testing each other. I tried to remember everything he’d taught me and everything I knew about him. I’d trained with him for years. I made a mental check list of all his strengths—he was tall, he had reach on me. If I ran at him, he’d knock me out before I got within a few feet of him. He was strong and lean. If I wrestled him, he’d be able to pin me and break my neck easily. The only weakness he had was… was… well, nothing. Lucas was hands down the most well-rounded fighter I’d ever met. Couple that with his new found strength, speed, and stamina… I was out matched—a hundred to one.

“Realize something, did you, darling? You’re no match for me and you never will be. Why they sent you, I have no idea.”

A light growl escaped my lips and Lucas smiled at me. I dove at him, catching him by surprise. We tumbled to the floor, locked in a full-blown wrestle. He grabbed my neck and squeezed, but I thrust my elbow into his ribs and shoved him off me. I sprang to my feet and kicked him in the face. As my boot connected, I heard a gruesome crack and then blood splattered the concrete. My chest rose and fell rapidly, leaving me slightly breathless. “You have until sunrise to leave Earth or I will come back and kill you.”

I walked away from him, not knowing if he’d attack me from behind—he didn’t. I didn’t look back until I was in my car. He was gone. A sad feeling swirled around my stomach and tears threatened. Suddenly, I felt claustrophobic in my suit.

“Don’t be an idiot.” I breathed deeply, banging my forehead on the hard steering wheel. “That wasn’t Lucas.”

My SUV roared to life and I drove off. I was going back to our headquarters. I still had to fill out a report of tonight’s events. I sighed and suddenly became aware of all the bumps, scrapes, and bruises that I’d sustained. The fight was a lot more brutal than I thought, but my physical pain was the least of my worries. I just went head to head with my friend, my mentor, and the love of my life—my heart hurt a lot more than any physical injury I’d sustained. I hadn’t seen Lucas in years, not since our last passionate night together, and then he was taken. The motorway rolled silently under me. Don’t cry. You’re not going to cry. I bit my lip and blinked a million times, but I couldn’t shake the tears and I cried. I cried because he was lost to me. I begged for this assignment. I thought that if I saw him again. I’d be able to put what we shared behind me.

There was no way it was going to be that easy.

about the author

Skyla MadiSkyla Madi was born in the small town of Port Maquarie, New South Wales in 1993. She spent half her life growing up in Wauchope, a thriving rural town at the heart of the Hastings River Valley before making the leap to the busy city of Brisbane.

Whenever this young Australian writer isn’t changing diapers, watching cartoons, cooking for her husband or doing other motherly-wife things she is actively working on her writing and improving her writing skills.

Skyla loves to read just as much as she loves to write and since discovering that YA/paranormal romance/urban fantasy/ are her favourite genres, she has embarked on her own writing journey and is currently working on a YA series titled ‘The Guardian Angel’ series which is being published by Limitless Publishing.

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