Book Reviews

Weekend Pick Me Up: Darkness by Laurann Dohner

Darkness4starWhat is sexier than sex on a stick? Sex on a stick that purrs and has momentously hugelicious control issues; in walks a manimal named Darkness and suddenly I need a shower, chocolate, intravenous injection of dilaudid and my mom talking in my ear to distract me until the hot flashes go away. From the second he was mentioned back in what, was it Moon’s book–maybe it was Shadow’s, I was all heavy in the breath for him. I love my men to be morally ambiguous; I want them to be like my coffee, black on the inside with a good dose of potential evil. Darkness isn’t called Darkness because he cuddles puppies and kisses babies; this cat likes playing with his dinner before he eats his prey. Eat me Darkness, play with me, eat me! Please mom, don’t read that!

I am a New Species slut. NO! I have not been one of those weirdos sending Laurann Dohner strangely perverse private messages on her social media, coming on to her, or fanfic-ing themselves into her books; though I have on many occasions asked her on Facebook if she could make me Brass’ heroine. #AliLovesBrass4Eva I merely meant that I lurve these books with a singular passion I generally reserve for things like sushi and the movie Signs and this incredible seaside place on the Central California coast called Cambria. New Species is special to me and when I read them I am all kinds of excited ’cause it’s like a party! Like a birthday party for a new book! I get it and it’s a wonderful start of a new relationship for the book and me! A SPECIAL relationship.

Then I read the book and sometimes I get a weird sort of ‘hmmm…’ feeling where my expectation may be more than the book could live up to because my brain works on different level of a lot of other book fans. Whereas a many read books and get to set the book aside and shrug it all off and sycophantly shower praise on the author no matter what was between the cover pages, I am stuck being very aware that what I read in the book has a great deal of weight. I witness the story with the eyes God and my mother’s side of the family gave me and look at it analytically and say, “This requires far more painkillers for me to review” in a great many instances.

This is book nine hunnit million of the Species books and I think L–that is what I call her when I talk to her in my mind when we are discussing her books–I think L has come to the same issue Sherrilyn Kenyon reached after her nine hunnit million Dark Hunter book. Both has an audience that loves what they are reading and L and Sherrilyn are getting feedback from their readership and everyone is in this JOY JOY LOVE LOVE box. It’s so difficult for the author or the readers to think outside of the parameter of that story box because they all are stuck in a feedback loop. They all love what happened with the old characters in old storylines and whether subconsciously or not, they want to see more of what works. Often that results in giving the reader more of the same thing.

Albert Camus once said, and I’m paraphrasing here: a writer only has one story to tell and they tell it over and over again. He’s not speaking about an author lobbing of the same book time and again, without effort. He is talking about an unresolved story inside of a writers soul. This is often true if you look at the tropes and archetypes with many authors and it’s often more evident with some than others. It’s very difficult for authors to escape the prison of their own inner story plot and more so once their people (their readership, their critics, their publicists, their publishers and their biggest denouncers) start telling them how good or bad they are at what they have written to date.

What is it I’m saying? I’m saying that parts of the New Species stories are becoming redundant and stale because they are being used again and again. While Kat and Darkness are unique characters the plot used in this book is really getting tired. Someone being sent into Homeland with less than honorable intentions is a dead horse. There needs to be a new premise for storylines. The Species have been around for a long time now and we can have them meet people through other means and have normal-ish outside interactions that don’t fit their understanding of humans as they have learned them to be within the protective fortresses of Homeland and Reservation instead of this cookie cutter conspiracy/terrorism thing that keeps arising. I love these books but I’m beginning to feel like I’m reading the same stories one over and over again. ESPECIALLY, when I read other series by L which contain the same themes. #SadKittyPanda

Still, despite my issue with the increasing repetition of plots and characterizations I do love Darkness and Kat and the story of their romance. Kat is a great heroine and she is sassy as eff, good match for an ornery interrogator like Darkness. She takes him as he is and allows him time to figure things out on his own. Darkness is a typical  over-protective, over-possessive, over-proprietorial Species male who is the last to know that he has claimed his mate.

I do wish that instead of meeting more and more new species we got to brush up on some old couples. I’d love to actually see Ellie and Fury together, Brawn and Becca or Shadow and Beauty. It would be great to see an old couple with a new couple for so the reader could see that after a species falls in love the females isn’t hid in a basement in Homeland or Reservation home and kept there by there possessive New Species mates for all eternity.

I will read New Species books until Laurann Dohner writes an Acheron novel and kills the series for me and I find that my shoulders are too thin to carry the burden of such an epic tale. I love these books and I love her enough not to send her macaroni art hearts and tissue paper flowers after every book! See I’m clearly not a stalker. By the way her new office looks great from the window I peeked in the other day. #waitwhat



Darkness Synopsis:

Kat’s boss wants dirt on the NSO. She is sent to Homeland undercover but everything goes wrong as soon as she enters the front gates. She is arrested by a big, powerful, sexy New Species but she is not frightened. He turns her on and things heat up fast between them. Now, she just hopes he does not break her heart.

Darkness admires Kat’s courage but he cannot trust anything she says. He hasn’t been with a female for years because he knows he is too damaged. He is not mate material, despite his desire to possess her in every way. Darkness fears losing control—the one thing that defines his life. He doesn’t think he can tear down the protective walls he’s built, even for her.

Inside Scoop: Kat never realized how much fun handcuffs and dominant males could be until she discovered her kinky side through Darkness’ need for control.

Purchase Darkness:

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | KoboEllora’s Cave


New Species Books:


Darkness Excerpt:

“There used to be more ape primates but few made it out alive. They are pretty aggressive, with short tempers.” Jinx threw open a door. “Welcome to my favorite place.”

Kat peered in and grinned. “Wow!”

“Do you want to have some fun?”

She stepped into the room and stared up at the sixty-foot wall. The entire surface had been sectioned into three parts. The first was covered in rocks, the middle smooth with handholds and the third appeared to be a flat cliff face with small cracks running through it, as if nature had put it there.

“Our climbing room. We added this. The original ceiling wasn’t high enough. Would you like to try one? I’d suggest the handholds. That is the easiest.”

She stared at the ceiling. “I don’t see safety lines anywhere.”

“The mat is thickly padded. It won’t kill you if you fall.”

She turned to him. “You don’t use safety equipment?”

“What would be the fun in that?” He laughed. “Watch but don’t stand directly below me. I wouldn’t want to fall and land on you. That would hurt.”

He crossed the room and kicked off his shoes. In seconds he was climbing the rock section. He used his fingers and toes to hold his weight while he changed each handhold. He made it to the top in record time and turned his head to grin at her from above.

“It’s fun.”

“It looks dangerous,” she called.

“Not for us. Watch.”

He kicked off and Kat gasped when he flipped in the air, falling. He landed in a crouch and stood. “Easy.”

She was too stunned to speak. He approached with a grin.

“Felines are good at leaping and landing. The floor is very padded. I wouldn’t want to do that on solid ground. Our bone density is stronger than yours but they can be broken. Anything over thirty feet is iffy.”

“You look pretty agile to me.”

He laughed. “That’s easy. Don’t watch me run on a six-inch-wide balance beam. I can’t make it twenty feet without missing a step. I actually wanted to land a little closer to you.”

“I couldn’t do that.”

“Try the handholds. I’ll catch you if you fall. You’d have to slip to do that. They are for…” He sobered. “Um, beginners. I have faith in you.”

It was her turn to laugh. “I’m glad someone does.”

“Have a little fun, Kat.”

She bent to remove her shoes. “Okay. I know you guys have an onsite medical center, right? I might need to use it. I’d hate to go home with crutches or an arm in a sling.” Or dead. That fall could kill a human, no matter how thick the mat was.

Jinx cleared his throat. “You might want to leave those on. Your toes are human.”

She straightened. “And?”

He bent a leg up to show off the bottom of his foot. “See the padding on my toes? You could compare them with calluses. I’d hate for you to hurt yours or get a blister. You’ll also have better traction with your shoes on so you don’t slip.” He dropped his leg.

“Okay.” She blew out a breath and approached the middle section. She’d done indoor climbing before but not without being in a harness, rigged to a rope in case of a fall. “I wish I had gloves.”

He took her hand and turned it, studying it closely. One of his fingertips brushed over the tip of her index finger. He frowned. “Perhaps you shouldn’t climb. We don’t have gloves. I didn’t think about that.”

“I’m good.”

She grabbed one of the handholds. It was curved in a way her that fit her fingers comfortably and the rim seemed solid. The inside and top even had rubber to help a climber keep a firm grip. She caught one a little higher. There were no footholds until about five feet off the ground so she had to use her upper-body strength to hold her weight until she could climb high enough to brace her feet.

“You’ve done this before.”

“It’s been awhile.” She was a little out of breath but it was fun. “I forgot how much I like it.”

“Take your time.”

She twisted her head to stare down at him. She’d made it about ten feet off the ground. He stood under her. “Maybe you should back away in case I slip. I’d hate to land on you.”

“Just twist in the air so you fall sideways and I’ll catch you. Tense your body if it happens.”

“I think I’ll climb up and then down. I don’t have your grace. I’d just go splat!” She faced the wall and reached up for another handhold.

“What the hell?” The snarled words startled her.

Kat’s hand slipped but she managed to recover since she had solid footholds. She turned her head again and watched Darkness across the room. He looked furious as he glared up at her.

“What are you doing?”


“She’s doing good,” Jinx assessed.

“I told you to give her a tour, not allow her to use our equipment.”

“She has experience.”

“Kat?” Darkness bent and tore off his boots. “Don’t move.”

“I’m fine.”

He ignored her and pushed Jinx back. He bent at the knee and she gasped when he jumped. He landed on the wall beside her, grabbing onto handholds and finding footing. He maneuvered next to her and used his longer arms to stretch around her until he pressed against her back.

“Turn and wrap around me.”

She refused to let go. “I’ve got this.”

“Do it,” he snarled.

The look on his face wasn’t something she could ignore. He was enraged and his eyes were almost black. He bent a little and braced. “I can take your weight. Just release with one hand and twist your body. Wrap one arm around my neck and then the other. You won’t fall.”

“I wouldn’t have fallen anyway.”

“Kat,” he hissed, “do it or I’ll tear you off and just fall back so you land on top of me. You could get hurt that way.”

He braced his arms wider and gave her room to move. She followed directions and ended up clinging to him. He pressed her body against the wall and let go with one hand to hook an arm under her ass. He hefted her higher.

“Wrap your legs around my waist.”

She did, with his help. Her upper arms were braced against his shoulders. He climbed slowly down until his feet reached the floor. She eased her hold and slid down him until she stood in front of him.

“I was fine.”

He growled low but fixed his angry stare on Jinx. “We’ll discuss this later. Take her to Security to finish the tour. Don’t let her play with our weapons while you’re there, either, or put her in a uniform and take her to the wall to discover how rude the protestors are…for the fun of it.”

“Can we have a minute alone, Jinx? I have a few words to say to Darkness that aren’t for polite company.”

“Um, sure.”

She waited until the door closed behind him. That was her cue. “What is wrong with you?”

“Me? You could have fallen.”

“I was doing fine until you almost scared the hell out of me.”

“You’re not Species. You could have broken your neck if you’d fallen from higher up.”

“I would have been fine. You were also really rude to Jinx. He was just trying to make the tour fun. It was until you arrived. Is he in trouble? That’s messed up, Darkness. It’s my fault. I insisted on climbing.” It was a little white lie. I’m dressed.

His lips pressed into a tight line.

She tried to notch down her temper. “I don’t know why you’re acting this way. Just don’t tear Jinx a new one, okay? He didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You’re protective of the male?”

“I guess. He shouldn’t—”

Darkness moved fast and grabbed Kat around her waist, yanking her off her feet. She slammed into his chest hard enough to knock the air from her lungs. He held her so tightly that it took her a second to suck in a breath.

“Do you want to share sex with him?”

She stared into Darkness’ eyes and felt a shiver of fear. The cold look in them would have frozen lava. “No.”

His nose flared.

She opened her hands cautiously and placed them on his biceps. “Are you jealous?”

He didn’t say a word to admit or deny it, just held her gaze. Some of her fear eased. She had faith that he wouldn’t hurt her since the worst thing he’d done was to put them at face level in a bear hug that wasn’t painful.

“Don’t start mind games,” he warned softly. “Do you understand? I’m not a male who plays well.”

“I’m not.”

“Are you interested in Jinx?”


He blinked and his hold eased. “Yet you are defending him.”

“He didn’t do anything wrong. For someone who doesn’t do commitment, you’re acting irrational. You realize that, don’t you?”

He lowered her to her feet and backed away, letting her go. “He’s waiting to take you to Security.”

“You don’t want to talk about this?”

“No. Forget it.”

As if. She stepped forward but didn’t touch him. “You’re jealous,” she accused.

“I was worried.”

“About me wanting to nail Jinx?”

His upper lip curled and his fangs showed. “Stop, Kat.”

“Fine. Are you coming by later?”


“Okay. I’ll see you then.” She spun away and crossed the room, refusing to glance back. He was jealous, whether he wanted to admit it or not. She opened the door. Jinx paced the hallway but stopped when he saw her. “Ready to show me your security setup?”

“Sure.” He flashed a dubious look toward the door.

“He’s not friendly. You were right.” She walked away, hoping to lure Jinx from the doorway before Darkness appeared. He needed some time to cool off and she wanted to analyze what had happened. She did cover for him though. “Darkness is bent out of shape, thinking how bad it would look to send me back to work at the crime lab if I sprained an ankle or something.”


Meet Laurann Dohner:

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

I’m a full time wife, mother, and author. I’ve been lucky enough to have spent over two decades with the love of my life and look forward to many, many more years with Mr. Laurann. I’m addicted to iced coffee, the occasional candy bar (or two), and trying to get at least five hours of sleep at night.

I love to write all kinds of stories. I think the best part about writing is the fact that real life is always uncertain, always tossing things at us that we have no control over, but when your write you can make sure there’s always a happy ending. I love that about being an author. My favorite part is when I sit down at my computer desk, put on my headphones to listen to loud music to block out everything around me, so I can create worlds in front of me.

For the most up to date information, please visit my website.


Laurann Dohner’s Web Tracks:

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Laurann Dohner on All The Things Inbetween:

Makin’ The Love Monday – Haunting Blackie by Laurann Dohner
Book It – In News Today: Laurann Dohner’s Date To Free Mated Cyborg
Makin’ the Love Monday – True by Laurann Dohner
Book Boyfriend Report – Propositioning Mr. Raine by Laurann Dohner
Makin’ the Love Monday – Moon by Laurann Dohner



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