Blog Tour + Release Day Review & Excerpt: The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken!

The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken

The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: The Dark Ones Saga #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 20th 2015
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To touch a Dark One is death.
To talk to an immortal is suicide.
Yet, I’ve been marked by both.
A Vampire.
And the King of the immortals.
My life is no longer my own.
And now I know the truth, my life was never mine to begin with.
It was theirs.
It’s always been theirs.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo

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The Dark Ones is a paranormal read from Rachel Van Dyken, and I found myself enjoying it so much! I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this book after reading the blurb, but this ended up being a pretty great read. The Dark Ones is the first book in The Dark Ones Saga, but it can be read as a complete standalone, which I was super thankful for. RVD includes a ton of different paranormal elements, but not too many that it became overwhelming. So if you’re in the mood to read a PNR, you should definitely give this book a try!

Genesis is a human who’s just been chosen by a Dark One, the leader of immortals, half-human and half-angel. She’s called to serve the immortals, believing that her job will be to teach them about modern technology, but when she arrives, she finds out that what she’s been taught all her life about immortals has been wrong.

“To us, you’re not ugly. You are absolute perfection.”
“To a Dark One,” Mason continued, “you’re life itself.”

After being thrust into the paranormal world, and on the run from the Dark One, Cassius, Genesis befriends a group of immortals with whom she finally find a place to belong. There’s Alex, a male siren, his sister Stephanie, also a siren. There’s the werewolf Mason, who’s actually a vegetarian and loves to cook. And then there’s Ethan, the vampire, who bonds with her in order to save her from Cassius.

Ethan is very reluctant to mate with Genesis, after the tragedy that happened with his previous mate. But since this is the only way to save Genesis, and Genesis is the one human who has the potential to save their world, he begins the painful process of bonding with her. What he doesn’t expect is to actually fall for the human.

She gave me her body.
In return, I gave her my soul.

The romance between Ethan and Genesis had a bit of insta-lust, but not until they became mates, so I was actually okay with that. I liked how protective Ethan was over Genesis, even when he was protecting her from himself. The two of them are so sweet together, and I loved that we get both of their POVs. This book is definitely not a long triangle, so for those who are against them, this is the book for you!

Overall, The Dark Ones was a fun read with a lot of potential as a series-starter. I loved the supporting characters – they made this book a lot more light-hearted than I expected. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel, because of who the hero will be. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, sexy, refreshing PNR, I highly recommend The Dark Ones!

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s an excerpt from The Dark Ones! ❤

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I still tasted her blood on my lips, was embarrassed for the first time in a century when Alex glanced up from his spot at the kitchen table to see me licking my lips like I’d just devoured the poor girl.

He shook his head. “Been that long, huh?”

“Alex…” I closed my eyes and prayed for patience. “…remind me why I let you live here?”

“I’m good-looking,” he answered simply. “Besides, I’m a hell of a fighter — scrappy, I think is how you define my kind. You need me.”

“Stop.” I pressed my fingertips to my temples and rubbed. The ache to have her had consumed me so much that I’d run down the stairs moving so fast I’d nearly collided with a wall, and grabbed blood from the fridge.

I didn’t need it.

But I craved it.

And if I didn’t drink the donated blood, I sure as hell was going to drain her and enjoyed very last drop.

“I wonder” Alex’s voice pierced my thoughts. “What’s it like?” He leaned forward. “Having to learn self-control all over again… being as ancient as you are?”

I ignored him.

He kept talking.

“Blood-free for a century and now…” He grinned and licked his lips. “Kind of like falling off the wagon, yeah?”

“You’re giving me a headache.” I threw the empty bag of blood at his face. He moved to the side and snickered. “And I’m fine. Everything is just—”

Her smell was intoxicating. She was walking down the stairs, so her heart picked up speed, her body giving off a scent of burnt vanilla and oranges with a hint of sugar. My mouth literally watered.

“Fine?” Alex said in a mocking voice. “Was that what you were going to say? Damn, man show a little decorum, you look… starved.”

“I am,” I whispered and fought the urge to rock back and forth. That was the problem with mating — with bonding. Nothing tasted like her, nothing ever would, and typically, having her as my mate gave me full access.

But the more I took…

The stronger the bond.

And the more I wanted…

It was a vicious overwhelming cycle. It would lead me to become emotionally invested while she, as a human, could simply pretend.

It wasn’t fair.

Immortals, in essence, were cursed with a deep desire to be like a human — to possess them, to bond with them forever — while humans only felt the same draw to us if they actually loved us.

Ridiculous.

“Oh, there you are.” Stephanie pushed Genesis forward and pulled out a chair.

Slowly, Genesis took a seat and glared at each one of us. “Where’s Mason?”

It shouldn’t have pissed me off.

But it had.

“He’s none of your concern,” I spat.

“Easy!” Alex chuckled. “Rule number one, don’t ask your mate where the other dude is. Just… don’t.”

Genesis blinked at Alex then back at me. “Because you guys have the capacity for jealousy.”

Alex whistled while Stephanie laughed.

Immortals were the most jealous beings on the planet. Had her school taught her nothing?

Was I to be her tutor as well?

“So…” Alex trained his eyes on her, putting her at as much ease as he could without stopping her poor heart. “Now that the mating is complete, you get to learn all about us and service your man here.” He slapped my back.

Really. Really. Poor choice of words.

Genesis paled.

I rolled my eyes. “He’s kidding.”

Alex laughed. “I think it needs to be said that having a human at the house has already helped my mood immensely.”

“That makes one of you,” Genesis said under her breath.

Alex leaned forward and whispered, “Ethan, try not to be so grouchy. Keep the fangs in and all.”

I extended them just to prove a point.

Genesis recoiled.

I instantly felt guilty.

Damn it.

“You won’t…” I licked my lips. “You won’t have to service me, as Alex so delicately put it.”

“Is that what mates do?” Genesis asked, her eyes searching mine. “They…” She lifted her hands into the air and dropped them.

“If that’s what you think they do, we have a very big problem.” Alex mimicked her movements and winked.

She blushed.

I hissed at him and returned my attention to her. “It’s like a human relationship, only stronger. You’ll attend functions with me, be by my side, at my beck and call for as long as you live.”

I didn’t want to say until one day she just didn’t wake up. It sounded too cruel.

“And when I’m bored out of my mind… I do what?” She crossed her arms. “I mean, what could you possibly need from me?”

“Adorable.” Alex sighed happily. “I’m so glad we kept her.”

“Alex…” I was two seconds away from slamming him into the nearest wall. “Make yourself useful and find our human a snack.”

“I’m not a pet!” Genesis yelled. “And I’m not your human!”

“You are,” I yelled right back, “mine!”

“Kids.” Stephanie stepped between us.

I didn’t even realize I’d gotten out of the chair and was towering over her, fangs out, hands raised. She’d turned me into a monster. And still, my eyes found her erratic pulse. One more taste…

“Ethan—” Stephanie pushed against my chest. I didn’t move. “Ethan!”

“Friend…” Mason walked into the room. “Sit your ass down before she hands it to you.”

“Like she could!” I roared.

“Like I have!” Stephanie pushed me again. “Don’t tempt me… again.”

I sat, while Mason made his way over to Genesis and offered an easy smile. The man had nothing to smile about, yet he was smiling — at my mate.

I growled.

Mason gave me the finger and kept his attention trained on Genesis. “How do you feel?”

“Better.” She returned his smile and squeezed his outstretched hand. “Thanks for not… killing me when I asked.”

“Damn…” Alex said from the kitchen.

“You were in pain.” Mason shrugged. “And I’m glad you’re alright.”

“She’s fine. We’re fine. Everything’s fine,” I said through clenched teeth. “Now it’s probably time to give her answers before she thinks she can run off and actually survive in the real world without being hunted by a Dark One, or worse, found by Cassius.”

“He isn’t all bad,” Stephanie said defensively.

We all glared at her.

“What?” She lifted her hands into the air. “I’m just saying he’s been trying as hard as we have. So what if he’s gotten a bit possessive over the last few numbers that have been called.”

Alex slammed his fist onto the table. “He stole Ethan’s—”

“Enough.” I held up my hand. The pain in my chest grew until it was hard to breathe. I knew what would take that pain away.

Genesis.

But I was too angry to ask for it. Too ashamed to fall to my knees in front of a mere mortal and beg for her to end the pain by allowing me one solitary drop of her blood.

As if on cue, another bag of blood hit me in the head.

Alex must have sensed my mood.

I bit into it and looked away from Genesis’s horrified expression.

Reading Order: The Dark Ones Saga

The Dark Ones by Rachel Van Dyken Untouchable Darkness by Rachel Van Dyken

#1 ~ The Dark Ones: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Untouchable Darkness: Ebook • Goodreads

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Rachel Van DykenRachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers.

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Release Day Blitz + Giveaway: Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken

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Happy Release Day to Rachel Van Dyken! Enforce is live!

Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken

Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite #1.5 (full reading order below)
Release Date: December 18th 2014
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There’s two sides to every story…

And ours? Isn’t pretty…

Then again, what’s pretty about the mafia?

Trace Rooks, that’s what.

But she only wants one of us, and I’ll kill him before I let him have her.

The only problem?

We’re cousins.

And she may just be our long lost enemy.

Whoever said college was hard, clearly didn’t attend Eagle Elite University.

Welcome to hell also known as the Mafia where blood is thicker than life, and to keep yours? Well, keep your friends close, and your enemies?

Even closer…

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes • Barnes & Noble • Kobo

Reading Order: Eagle Elite series

Elite by Rachel Van Dyken Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken Elect by Rachel Van Dyken
Entice by Rachel Van Dyken Elicit by Rachel Van Dyken Ember by Rachel Van Dyken

#1 ~ Elite: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Enforce: Goodreads (Dec. 18, 2014)
#2 ~ Elect: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Entice: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ Elicit: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Ember: Goodreads (Feb. 19, 2015)
#6 ~ Elude: Goodreads (July 2015)

about the author

Rachel Van DykenRachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/

Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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Excerpt Tour + Giveaway: Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken

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Welcome to today’s stop on the excerpt tour for Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken!

Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken

Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite #1.5 (full reading order below)
Release Date: December 18th 2014
Add to Goodreads

There’s two sides to every story…

And ours? Isn’t pretty…

Then again, what’s pretty about the mafia?

Trace Rooks, that’s what.

But she only wants one of us, and I’ll kill him before I let him have her.

The only problem?

We’re cousins.

And she may just be our long lost enemy.

Whoever said college was hard, clearly didn’t attend Eagle Elite University.

Welcome to hell also known as the Mafia where blood is thicker than life, and to keep yours? Well, keep your friends close, and your enemies?

Even closer…

Preorder Links:
iTunes • Barnes & Noble • Kobo

excerpt

Chapter One

Nixon

I watched as the parade of cars made their way through the black iron gates, as if somehow those gates would protect them if the country went to war. Funny, they had no clue that the war—Lucifer himself, was already parading around inside, safe from the police- the feds- anyone who would be a threat.

Safe from everyone but me.

My eyes flickered to Phoenix on my right, he grinned as a new girl walked up to him and gave him a flirty wave.

I elbowed him hard in the ribs.

His grin turned sour as he glared at the girl and flipped her off.

Remember your place.

I’d said it once, twice, a million times to the guys, and they were still struggling with the idea that they weren’t here to go to school, they weren’t here to make friends. We weren’t at peace. We were in a freaking war zone.

And Phoenix’s family was our only key to redemption.

“That seems to be the last of them.” Chase’s cool gaze surveyed the main road that led into campus. It was easier on security to have one road in and one road out. Too bad life wasn’t that convenient.

If someone didn’t belong—it would take us minutes, scratch that, seconds to eliminate them, their family, all while making it look like a very unfortunate accident.

“Wait,” Tex squinted towards the iron gates, “I think there’s one more car.”

“The hell there is.” I muttered, “I counted the cars, I’ve looked at the lists, we aren’t missing anyone.”

Chase yanked the list out of my hand and started reading through the names of all the freshman enrollees. His grin made me about lose my shit as he lifted his head and handed back the paper.

“I hear Wyoming’s beautiful this time of year.”

“What?” I jerked the list away and started greedily reading through the names.

One stood out.

Trace Rooks, Female, 18, Casper, Wyoming.

“Great.” I dropped the list onto the ground and smirked, “A girl who probably smells like cow shit. What’s her background?”

Nobody answered.

I said it louder, this time grinding my teeth together.

Tex was the first to answer, “We couldn’t really find any.”

“Couldn’t. Really. Find. Any.” I repeated. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Look,” Tex shook his head, “We have Sergio on it, but the girl doesn’t really have a lot of information about her. Parents dead, Grandma dead, Grandpa her only living relative and somehow her social as well as her birth certificate were both lost.”

“Lost.” I licked my lips. I told my head not to go there, told my heart to stay in my damn chest and stop hoping as images flooded my mind. Dark hair, dark eyes, “Nixon, I’ll save you.”

“Dude, you okay?” Chase elbowed me.

“Let’s go welcome her to Eagle Elite.”

Nobody moved.

“I said,” I started marching towards the girls dorms, “Let’s go welcome her.”

“Why do I have a feeling this is a really bad idea?” Tex said under his breath.

“For once, Tex, keep your mouth shut and stay in the background, paste a shit eating grin on your face and let me and Chase deal with this. Do you think you can do that? Hmm?”

“Take a Xanax.” Phoenix grumbled.

I sent a seething glare in his direction.

He mumbled a curse and walked off with Tex to wait by the tree while we continued the next few feet to the girls dorms.

The car was a rental.

The grandpa was ancient.

The girl was…young.

And she had shit as belongings. Her suitcase was covered with stickers, her grandpa handed her a small box, and I could have sworn I saw a tear escape her eye and roll down her smooth cheek.

“Hell no.” I grumbled, “She’ll be destroyed here.”

“Won’t last five minutes.” Chase agreed.

“Tears.” I wiped my face with my hands, “Tell me I’m not seeing tears.”

“Girls don’t cry here.”

“They don’t.” I agreed.

“She isn’t like them.”

“No.”

“We need Mo.”

I laughed at that, “We need a miracle.” With a curse, I quickly dialed the number for orientation and made arrangements for the New Girl to be moved to the United States room. Mo was supposed to be on that same floor. I figured she needed all the help she could get. No way would little Wyoming survive the year with anyone else, not that I was happy about it. I mean in hindsight that was probably my first mistake.

I’d officially invited her into my life—by way of my sister.

“New girls here.” I said loud enough for Tracey to turn around and gape. So squeaky clean and innocent. Like a little lamb, right, Chase?” I tilted my head and offered her a smirk.

The old man reached in his jacket. It was a move I knew well. Another clue. He wasn’t what he said he was. He wasn’t who he said he was. As if noticing my calculating glare, he removed his hand and offered a forced smile, “A welcoming committee? This place sure is nice.”

I had to respect his control. The way he protectively stood in front of Tracey as if he was the only thing standing in the way of my devouring her.

“Is there a problem?” He scratched his head, causing his shirt sleeve to fall, revealing a small tattoo. One I’d seen as a child but couldn’t place.

“Do I know you?” I blurted.

He laughed, “Know any farmers out in Wyoming?”

It was his tone that convinced me, the way his shook his head slightly, waiting for my challenge. It was the same look my Uncle gave me when he wanted me to stop pushing.

It was the look that my dad taught me when I was ten and witnessed my first torture.

The girl was still staring at us. Easy target. I’d leave the old man alone, he reminded me too much of mine. And I didn’t need that reminder, not now.

I lifted my arms and stretched lazily.

The girls eyes went wide as she stared at my body.

Chase hit me in the stomach.

I sauntered forward and tilted her chin towards me, closing her mouth in the process. “Much better,” I licked my lips and fought the urge to kiss her. Yeah, I was losing my shit. “We’d hate for our charity case to choke on an insect on her first day.” Her lips trembled as she looked from me to her Grandpa. I released her before she could do anything, and walked past, with Chase in tow.

I needed to talk to the girl at registration anyways. We disappeared behind the building, but I’d be back. I just needed the Grandpa to leave.

Within seconds the rental car was driving away. And the girl as all mine. My heart thudded against my chest, and for a second, I regretted what I was about to do.

But every possible outcome ended with either her death, or her in danger. And for some reason, I didn’t want someone like her at Eagle Elite. She didn’t belong in my world.

She deserved a picket fence.

A husband.

A good college experience without classmates who’d rather see her commit suicide then survive the next four years.

They would destroy her.

And she would make it so damn easy to do so.

The only way—was to beat them to it. To be the first, marking her as our target, our play-thing.

Nobody messed with what was mine.

And in the end, nobody would mess with her. They’d allow me to entertain them with her innocence. I’d dangle her in front of them like a carrot, and at the end of the day, she’d be untouchable.

I sighed as she looked up at the building gaping like someone who’d been homeschooled and never seen a sky scraper before.

She was too skinny.

I made a mental note to get her one of my access cards—she didn’t need to know how much they cost—or that every single student at EE would kill to have one. Mo would take care of the rest.

She’d eat with us.

She’d want for nothing.

It was the least I could do after what I was about to make her endure.

Licking my lips I approached her again, this time, damning myself to hell with each step I took. “Are you lost?”

“Nope.” She grinned, damn it made her prettier. “Apparently I live in the United States.” With a shrug she tried and failed to lift her heavy suitcase and nearly toppled over onto her cute ass.

I muffled a laugh, knowing that Chase was doing the exact same thing. Being mean to her would be like kicking a puppy. But the world was ugly. I just hated that I would be her tutor in the ways of reality—her prince of darkness.

Damn, I would have done anything to be the hero.

“I’m Nixon.” I stood directly in front of her, shifting my eyes from her poorly fitting clothes to her ugly shoes.

“Tracey, but everyone calls me Trace.” She held out her hand.

I itched to touch it.

To touch her skin.

Instead, I scowled, shook her hand, then wiped that same hand on my jeans as if she was diseased.

“Rules.”

“What?” She took a step back.

Chase moved past me, “He’s right. As cute as you are, Farm Girl, someone needs to tell you the rules.”

Her gaze narrowed, “Can it be fast?”

Yeah, again, I almost lost my mind. Chase was probably ready to shit his pants. The last person that talked back to him was Phoenix and that ended with a few broken bones and a trip to the dentist.

“You hear that Chase?” I said amused, “She likes it fast.”

“Pity,” Chase took a step closer, nearly touching her with his body, “I’d like to give it to her slow.” His eyes raked her in, as if she was the first girl he’d ever seen in his entire existence. Jealousy surged through me. What he hell? She wasn’t’ his. Not that she was mine, but still. He was standing too close, too close.

“The rules.” He stepped back. My heart beat returned to normal, “No speaking to the Elect, unless you’ve been asked to speak to them.” He circled around her staring a little long at her ass before he continued.

“Who are the–“

“—Nope. You’ve already broken a rule. I’m speaking New Girl.” Chase smirked. “Geez, Nixon, this one’s going to be hard to break in.”

“They always are.” I said without taking my eyes from her, “But I think I’ll enjoy this one.” The first true thing I’d said. I would enjoy it too much. I’d enjoy her too much, because she reminded me of someone I used to know. Someone who offered to save me, when I was already past saving, someone who wiped my tears, and cried as if they were her own.

Chase continued with the rules. Making me sicker as her face continued to fall.

Finally she asked, “Is that all?”

“No.” Raw desire pulsed through me as I approached her, needing to touch her, needing to make sure she was real even though I knew I was acting like a complete and utter lunatic. Chase and I would have words later. He knew me better than I knew myself sometimes. I was going too far, pushing myself, pushing him.

My hand caressed her face, then moved down her smooth neck to her shoulder. I wanted to claim her, to possess her, to make her scream—but not with fear, with utter ecstasy. I had no idea who she was, but she made me want. And that was the problem.

For the first time in years. I wanted.

I wasn’t allowed to want.

I had to die to myself.

Because in the grand scheme of things? It wasn’t about me. It was about blood, family, protection. Blood in, blood out.

Her eyes dilated. Furious that she’d reacted so easily, upset with myself for making my own body suffer, I snapped.

“You feel this? Memorize it now, because as of this moment, you can’t touch us. We are untouchable. If you as much as sneeze in our direction, if you as much breathe the same air in my atmosphere. I will make your life hell. This touch, what you feel against your skin, will be the only time you feel another human being as powerful as me near you. So like I said, feel it, remember it, and maybe one day, your brain will do you the supreme favor of forgetting what it felt like to have someone like me touching you. Then, and only then, will you be able to be happy with some mediocre boyfriend and pathetic life.” Away from me. Away from it all. Safe.

A few more tears escaped down her cheek.

And I knew in that moment. It was the beginning of the end.

My end.

My downfall.

My demise.

Reading Order: Eagle Elite series

Elite by Rachel Van Dyken Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken Elect by Rachel Van Dyken
Entice by Rachel Van Dyken Elicit by Rachel Van Dyken Ember by Rachel Van Dyken

#1 ~ Elite: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Enforce: Goodreads (Dec. 18, 2014)
#2 ~ Elect: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Entice: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ Elicit: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Ember: Goodreads (Feb. 19, 2015)
#6 ~ Elude: Goodreads (July 2015)

about the author

Rachel Van DykenRachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/

Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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Launch Day Blitz + Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Elect by Rachel Van Dyken

Elect Launch Day Blitz

Happy Release Day to Rachel Van Dyken! The PAPERBACK of Elect is now available!

Elect by Rachel Van Dyken

Elect by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite #2 (full reading order below)
Release Date: December 2nd 2014
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Would you die for the one you love?

Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the We’vlove of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family’s enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family’s sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend… But Trace isn’t ready to give up on a future with Nix–and if he won’t fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iTunes • IndieBound

review

My review of Elect (originally posted here)

Okay, the first thing you should know about Elect is that it’s told in alternating POV! It was such a lovely surprise for me, because I had no idea that Rachel Van Dyken was changing things up a bit in Elect. We get to read from Nixon, Chase, and even Phoenix’s POVS! Hurray for male POV’s, and incredibly written ones at that.

There will be spoilers for those who haven’t read Elite, just FYI!

We found out in Elite that Tracey, Nixon, and the gang are all involved with the mafia in one way or another. And we finally get to know more about the mafia and dangerous people in it. If mafia/mob books are your type of thing, or you want to start reading those types of books, I highly recommend this series. Rachel Van Dyken skillfully integrates the mafia world into her book, and then suddenly you’re thrust into the world and you don’t want to leave. I had a fantastic time reading Elect. It’s fast-paced, thrilling, and so much fun to read. I couldn’t put the book down!

Since we get Nixon’s POV, we obviously get more information about the way the mafia works. Nixon is the leader of the Abandonato family, and he’s in charge of everything–the people, the money, etc. He doesn’t have a clean past, but he wants to be good enough for the love of his life, Tracey. And he’s the most caring, wonderful boyfriend in the world. He puts her above himself and all others, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe and alive–even if it means he can’t have her.

As we get more POVs from Chase, Nixon’s cousin, right-hand man, and best friend, we also get to know Chase’s feelings for Trace. Because Chase is in love with Trace too. He feels guily for loving her, but he can’t stop. Chase is in charge of Trace’s safety, which means he’s around her all the time, and he can’t stop his love from growing. I felt so sad for Chase, because we know that Nixon and Tracey are it. They’re perfect together and they belong together, and it’s so painful for Chase to watch them that my heart was hurting for him.

But then… dangerous people become involved in their lives, and Tracey and everyone’s lives are in danger. We are introduced to the mafia family from Sicily, who are powerful people, and there’s a great mystery involved with Trace’s parents deaths. Unforeseen circumstances tear Nixon and Trace apart, and Chase is there to pick up the pieces. But is Tracey willing enough to let Nixon go and take a chance with Chase?

“Choose me,” I whispered. “Because my heart? My soul? My damn existence? Has already spoken, and it wants you, and only you–forever.”

Oooh, who could it be? Who does Trace choose? Nixon? Chase? AH! I really liked this love triangle. It helped that I didn’t need to read Trace’s POV, because if there were any chapters in her POV, then I would have gotten tired of the love triangle fast. There was no “Which one should I choose?” dilemma that I had to read. We only read from the guys’ POVs, and their POVs are so amazing! I was swooning and sighing a lot in this book.

“I feel lost.”
“Let me find you.”
“I feel sick.”
“Let me heal you.” I kissed her head.
“I feel sad.”
“Let me be your happiness.”

I was Awwwing so hard here! Nixon is just so. damn. sweet.

But anyways, besides the great romance in the book, Elect had so many twists and turns that had me reeling and being so enthralled in the story. There are things that Phoenix is hiding, and once the truth is set free, it changes everything for the characters. And as bad as Phoenix was in Elite, he really had a change of heart in Elect, and he’s such a complex, incredible character.

For fans of Elite, you don’t want to miss Elect. It has everything you’d expect from a mafia romance and more. 4 hearts!

“Besides, romance isn’t something you work at–not when you find the right girl. When you fall in love, when you take that leap, it’s as natural as breathing; it’s as simple as that. I’m romantic because my heart demands I be nothing less than one hundred percent, for you, day and night.”

4-hearts

lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from Elect! ❤

excerpt

“Trace, we can’t be seen together right now.”

She jerked her hands away from mine and glared. “Oh no you don’t, Nixon Anthony Abandonato!”

Wasn’t expecting that. I laughed without really thinking, and then she slapped me across the face. It stung like hell. “What was that for?”

“You aren’t leaving me!”

“Did I say I was?” Although my cheek was throbbing I couldn’t help but keep laughing at her response. And this was why I would never walk away. Who would walk away from such a little pistol?

“Oh.” Trace tugged her lower lip between her teeth and sheepishly looked up at my cheek. “You should probably put some ice on that.” I winced as she touched my cheek.

Covering her hand with mine, I winked. “Yeah, well, I’ve had worse. Promise.”

Her eyes welled with tears, but to her credit she kept them all in. If anything I fell in love with her a little bit more. Her strength was so damn sexy, I couldn’t even put into words what she did to me.

I kissed her softly and sighed against her still chocolate-tasting mouth. “Sweetheart, Chase was . . . well, today he was gifted with a stroke of brilliance. The head of the Nicolosi family talked with us this evening, and he had Phoenix with him.”

I quickly explained to her what had happened, leaving out all the violence, guns, and threats. So basically I censored everything and then dropped the bomb. “You and Chase need to pretend to be together. People will be watching you, they’ll be following you.”

Tracey swallowed and licked her lips. “And you’ll what? Pretend you hate me again?”

“Hell no!” I snapped, grabbing her ass and lifting her until her body was firmly pressed against mine midair. “I’ll just be the friend. Basically, Chase and I are switching parts. He gets to play the boyfriend, I get to play the jackass.”

That earned an eye roll and a laugh from her. I dropped her to the ground and kissed her nose. “If they find out how much you mean to me, they’ll use that against our family and against your grandfather.”

She was silent for a moment. Her hands traced circles around the tattoo peeking out from underneath my white t‑shirt. The writing was in Sicilian, but it said, “Every Saint has a past, every sinner has a future.” I had always wondered which I was. The saint or the sinner?

It was Trace’s favorite tattoo, even though I had several down my left arm and a few on my stomach and back. Her favorite had always been that one, on the left side of my chest. She said it gave her comfort. I guess she was using it for comfort right now.

“Okay,” she whispered, “I’ll do it.”

I was waiting to feel relieved, but all I felt was tense. My muscles literally tightened underneath her touch the minute the word “okay” had fallen from her perfectly pouted lips.

“I’m going to apologize in advance, though.” Tracey sniffed as a tear ran down her cheek.

“Why are you apologizing?”

Her eyes met mine. “Because I’m going to break your heart.”

Reading Order: Eagle Elite series

Elite by Rachel Van Dyken Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken Elect by Rachel Van Dyken
Entice by Rachel Van Dyken Elicit by Rachel Van Dyken Ember by Rachel Van Dyken

#1 ~ Elite: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Enforce: Goodreads (Dec. 2014)
#2 ~ Elect: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Entice: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ Elicit: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Ember: Goodreads (Feb. 2015)

about the author

Rachel Van DykenRachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/

Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads • Amazon Page

giveaway

5 copies of ELITE and ELECT
10 copies of ELECT

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Paperback of ELECT
(US/CAN only)

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Synopsis and Chapter One Reveal: Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken

Enforce banner

I’m so excited to share the synopsis and chapter one of Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken! Enforce is Elite Nixon and Chase’s POVs.

Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken

Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite #1.5 (full reading order below)
Release Date: December 18th 2014
Add to Goodreads

There’s two sides to every story…

And ours? Isn’t pretty…

Then again, what’s pretty about the mafia?

Trace Rooks, that’s what.

But she only wants one of us, and I’ll kill him before I let him have her.

The only problem?

We’re cousins.

And she may just be our long lost enemy.

Whoever said college was hard, clearly didn’t attend Eagle Elite University.

Welcome to hell also known as the Mafia where blood is thicker than life, and to keep yours? Well, keep your friends close, and your enemies?

Even closer…

Now here’s chapter one of Enforce! ❤

excerpt

Chapter One

Nixon

I watched as the parade of cars made their way through the black iron gates, as if somehow those gates would protect them if the country went to war. Funny, they had no clue that the war—Lucifer himself, was already parading around inside, safe from the police- the feds- anyone who would be a threat.

Safe from everyone but me.

My eyes flickered to Phoenix on my right, he grinned as a new girl walked up to him and gave him a flirty wave.

I elbowed him hard in the ribs.

His grin turned sour as he glared at the girl and flipped her off.

Remember your place.

I’d said it once, twice, a million times to the guys, and they were still struggling with the idea that they weren’t here to go to school, they weren’t here to make friends. We weren’t at peace. We were in a freaking war zone.

And Phoenix’s family was our only key to redemption.

“That seems to be the last of them.” Chase’s cool gaze surveyed the main road that led into campus. It was easier on security to have one road in and one road out. Too bad life wasn’t that convenient.

If someone didn’t belong—it would take us minutes, scratch that, seconds to eliminate them, their family, all while making it look like a very unfortunate accident.

“Wait,” Tex squinted towards the iron gates, “I think there’s one more car.”

“The hell there is.” I muttered, “I counted the cars, I’ve looked at the lists, we aren’t missing anyone.”

Chase yanked the list out of my hand and started reading through the names of all the freshman enrollees. His grin made me about lose my shit as he lifted his head and handed back the paper.

“I hear Wyoming’s beautiful this time of year.”

“What?” I jerked the list away and started greedily reading through the names.

One stood out.

Trace Rooks, Female, 18, Casper, Wyoming.

“Great.” I dropped the list onto the ground and smirked, “A girl who probably smells like cow shit. What’s her background?”

Nobody answered.

I said it louder, this time grinding my teeth together.

Tex was the first to answer, “We couldn’t really find any.”

“Couldn’t. Really. Find. Any.” I repeated. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Look,” Tex shook his head, “We have Sergio on it, but the girl doesn’t really have a lot of information about her. Parents dead, Grandma dead, Grandpa her only living relative and somehow her social as well as her birth certificate were both lost.”

“Lost.” I licked my lips. I told my head not to go there, told my heart to stay in my damn chest and stop hoping as images flooded my mind. Dark hair, dark eyes, “Nixon, I’ll save you.”

“Dude, you okay?” Chase elbowed me.

“Let’s go welcome her to Eagle Elite.”

Nobody moved.

“I said,” I started marching towards the girls dorms, “Let’s go welcome her.”

“Why do I have a feeling this is a really bad idea?” Tex said under his breath.

“For once, Tex, keep your mouth shut and stay in the background, paste a shit eating grin on your face and let me and Chase deal with this. Do you think you can do that? Hmm?”

“Take a Xanax.” Phoenix grumbled.

I sent a seething glare in his direction.

He mumbled a curse and walked off with Tex to wait by the tree while we continued the next few feet to the girls dorms.

The car was a rental.

The grandpa was ancient.

The girl was…young.

And she had shit as belongings. Her suitcase was covered with stickers, her grandpa handed her a small box, and I could have sworn I saw a tear escape her eye and roll down her smooth cheek.

“Hell no.” I grumbled, “She’ll be destroyed here.”

“Won’t last five minutes.” Chase agreed.

“Tears.” I wiped my face with my hands, “Tell me I’m not seeing tears.”

“Girls don’t cry here.”

“They don’t.” I agreed.

“She isn’t like them.”

“No.”

“We need Mo.”

I laughed at that, “We need a miracle.” With a curse, I quickly dialed the number for orientation and made arrangements for the New Girl to be moved to the United States room. Mo was supposed to be on that same floor. I figured she needed all the help she could get. No way would little Wyoming survive the year with anyone else, not that I was happy about it. I mean in hindsight that was probably my first mistake.

I’d officially invited her into my life—by way of my sister.

“New girls here.” I said loud enough for Tracey to turn around and gape. So squeaky clean and innocent. Like a little lamb, right, Chase?” I tilted my head and offered her a smirk.

The old man reached in his jacket. It was a move I knew well. Another clue. He wasn’t what he said he was. He wasn’t who he said he was. As if noticing my calculating glare, he removed his hand and offered a forced smile, “A welcoming committee? This place sure is nice.”

I had to respect his control. The way he protectively stood in front of Tracey as if he was the only thing standing in the way of my devouring her.

“Is there a problem?” He scratched his head, causing his shirt sleeve to fall, revealing a small tattoo. One I’d seen as a child but couldn’t place.

“Do I know you?” I blurted.

He laughed, “Know any farmers out in Wyoming?”

It was his tone that convinced me, the way his shook his head slightly, waiting for my challenge. It was the same look my Uncle gave me when he wanted me to stop pushing.

It was the look that my dad taught me when I was ten and witnessed my first torture.

The girl was still staring at us. Easy target. I’d leave the old man alone, he reminded me too much of mine. And I didn’t need that reminder, not now.

I lifted my arms and stretched lazily.

The girls eyes went wide as she stared at my body.

Chase hit me in the stomach.

I sauntered forward and tilted her chin towards me, closing her mouth in the process. “Much better,” I licked my lips and fought the urge to kiss her. Yeah, I was losing my shit. “We’d hate for our charity case to choke on an insect on her first day.” Her lips trembled as she looked from me to her Grandpa. I released her before she could do anything, and walked past, with Chase in tow.

I needed to talk to the girl at registration anyways. We disappeared behind the building, but I’d be back. I just needed the Grandpa to leave.

Within seconds the rental car was driving away. And the girl as all mine. My heart thudded against my chest, and for a second, I regretted what I was about to do.

But every possible outcome ended with either her death, or her in danger. And for some reason, I didn’t want someone like her at Eagle Elite. She didn’t belong in my world.

She deserved a picket fence.

A husband.

A good college experience without classmates who’d rather see her commit suicide then survive the next four years.

They would destroy her.

And she would make it so damn easy to do so.

The only way—was to beat them to it. To be the first, marking her as our target, our play-thing.

Nobody messed with what was mine.

And in the end, nobody would mess with her. They’d allow me to entertain them with her innocence. I’d dangle her in front of them like a carrot, and at the end of the day, she’d be untouchable.

I sighed as she looked up at the building gaping like someone who’d been homeschooled and never seen a sky scraper before.

She was too skinny.

I made a mental note to get her one of my access cards—she didn’t need to know how much they cost—or that every single student at EE would kill to have one. Mo would take care of the rest.

She’d eat with us.

She’d want for nothing.

It was the least I could do after what I was about to make her endure.

Licking my lips I approached her again, this time, damning myself to hell with each step I took. “Are you lost?”

“Nope.” She grinned, damn it made her prettier. “Apparently I live in the United States.” With a shrug she tried and failed to lift her heavy suitcase and nearly toppled over onto her cute ass.

I muffled a laugh, knowing that Chase was doing the exact same thing. Being mean to her would be like kicking a puppy. But the world was ugly. I just hated that I would be her tutor in the ways of reality—her prince of darkness.

Damn, I would have done anything to be the hero.

“I’m Nixon.” I stood directly in front of her, shifting my eyes from her poorly fitting clothes to her ugly shoes.

“Tracey, but everyone calls me Trace.” She held out her hand.

I itched to touch it.

To touch her skin.

Instead, I scowled, shook her hand, then wiped that same hand on my jeans as if she was diseased.

“Rules.”

“What?” She took a step back.

Chase moved past me, “He’s right. As cute as you are, Farm Girl, someone needs to tell you the rules.”

Her gaze narrowed, “Can it be fast?”

Yeah, again, I almost lost my mind. Chase was probably ready to shit his pants. The last person that talked back to him was Phoenix and that ended with a few broken bones and a trip to the dentist.

“You hear that Chase?” I said amused, “She likes it fast.”

“Pity,” Chase took a step closer, nearly touching her with his body, “I’d like to give it to her slow.” His eyes raked her in, as if she was the first girl he’d ever seen in his entire existence. Jealousy surged through me. What he hell? She wasn’t’ his. Not that she was mine, but still. He was standing too close, too close.

“The rules.” He stepped back. My heart beat returned to normal, “No speaking to the Elect, unless you’ve been asked to speak to them.” He circled around her staring a little long at her ass before he continued.

“Who are the–“

“—Nope. You’ve already broken a rule. I’m speaking New Girl.” Chase smirked. “Geez, Nixon, this one’s going to be hard to break in.”

“They always are.” I said without taking my eyes from her, “But I think I’ll enjoy this one.” The first true thing I’d said. I would enjoy it too much. I’d enjoy her too much, because she reminded me of someone I used to know. Someone who offered to save me, when I was already past saving, someone who wiped my tears, and cried as if they were her own.

Chase continued with the rules. Making me sicker as her face continued to fall.

Finally she asked, “Is that all?”

“No.” Raw desire pulsed through me as I approached her, needing to touch her, needing to make sure she was real even though I knew I was acting like a complete and utter lunatic. Chase and I would have words later. He knew me better than I knew myself sometimes. I was going too far, pushing myself, pushing him.

My hand caressed her face, then moved down her smooth neck to her shoulder. I wanted to claim her, to possess her, to make her scream—but not with fear, with utter ecstasy. I had no idea who she was, but she made me want. And that was the problem.

For the first time in years. I wanted.

I wasn’t allowed to want.

I had to die to myself.

Because in the grand scheme of things? It wasn’t about me. It was about blood, family, protection. Blood in, blood out.

Her eyes dilated. Furious that she’d reacted so easily, upset with myself for making my own body suffer, I snapped.

“You feel this? Memorize it now, because as of this moment, you can’t touch us. We are untouchable. If you as much as sneeze in our direction, if you as much breathe the same air in my atmosphere. I will make your life hell. This touch, what you feel against your skin, will be the only time you feel another human being as powerful as me near you. So like I said, feel it, remember it, and maybe one day, your brain will do you the supreme favor of forgetting what it felt like to have someone like me touching you. Then, and only then, will you be able to be happy with some mediocre boyfriend and pathetic life.” Away from me. Away from it all. Safe.

A few more tears escaped down her cheek.

And I knew in that moment. It was the beginning of the end.

My end.

My downfall.

My demise.

Reading Order: Eagle Elite series

Elite by Rachel Van Dyken Enforce by Rachel Van Dyken Elect by Rachel Van Dyken
Entice by Rachel Van Dyken Elicit by Rachel Van Dyken Ember by Rachel Van Dyken

#1 ~ Elite: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Enforce: Goodreads (Dec. 18, 2014)
#2 ~ Elect: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Entice: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ Elicit: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Ember: Goodreads (Feb. 2015)
#6 ~ Elude: Goodreads (July 2015)

about the author

Rachel Van DykenRachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/

Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads