Return of the Assassin by Donya Lynne-Review, Interview, Blog Tour and Giveaway
Return of the Assassin
All the King’s Men #5
by Donya Lynne
Release Date: October 29, 2013
About the Book:
Malek and Gina are two vampires with big problems and pasts they can’t let go of. Malek has never dealt with and accepted the death of his first mate, Carmen, and Gina has never been able to let go of the pain she suffered at the hands of her first mate, an abusive half-Dacian named Arman. But now that Malek and Gina have met, they had better start getting over their pasts, and fast, because Gina is Malek’s new mate, and she’s on the run from a pair of Dacian hunter-assassins out for blood vengeance.
Neither Gina nor Malek are eager to see her fill the role of mate, but biology and Mother Nature don’t want to hear their excuses. The longer Malek and Gina fight the bond between them, the more they will suffer. Will they be able to get over their painful pasts and accept the healing they can give to each other before it’s too late, or will they wait too long and lose each other forever?
REVIEW: RETURN OF THE ASSASSIN is the fourth full length novel ( and 5th storyline) in Donya Lynne’s paranormal vampire series focusing on the vampires who work for AKM and the women (and men) they love. This is Malek and Gina’s storyline and one with heartbreaking and painful pasts that each must accept and endure to get on with their lives.
Malek’s first mate was murdered and he has had a difficult time overcoming the painful memories and thoughts about retribution and death-something broke inside Malek and he was floundering in despair. And no amount of booze or sex brought any relief including the thoughts of Gina Carano and the ‘who and what’ she was about. Gina was an enigma and Malek’s thoughts continued to return to the woman who would one day be his mate-but the overriding guilt of losing his first mate had placed Malek in a position where he pushed everyone and everything away including Gina. When male vampires go into their needing nothing can stop the rush of aggression and the need for sex and nothing was stopping Malek and his possessive instincts to protect the woman he both needed and despised.
Gina’s painful past, history with the AKM and heartbreaking guilt fueled much of the character development and relationship between she and Malek. Malek’s character and personality bordered on sociopathic at times but in the end, he will realize that the only thing holding him back was the guilt and the memories of a life he could not save. The AKM needed Gina because without her, Malek would probably not survive.
Donya Lynne continues to build on the cobalt addictions and Drek premise as the relationship and intensions between Bishop and Apostle become dark and more dangerous. There is a new bad boy in town and he is out to make the lives of the vampires at AKM a living h*ll.
Donya also introduces the half-blood Dacians-a species that the AKM believed no longer existed-but to everyone’s surprise, the Dacians have returned just as powerful and aggressive as before. There is also a developing story with Kota and his history with both Sev and Gina makes for some interesting plot points.
Return of the Assassin is another eye opening and fascinating addition to Donya’s All The King’s Men paranormal series. The relationship between Malek and Gina was both difficult and aggressive but in the end, Malek will fall hard for the woman he would call his mate.
Donya has written a passionate storyline about two people who have loved and lost and who will one day love again.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Donya and welcome back to The Reading Café.
Congratulations on the success of All The King’s Men-your erotic, sexy vampire series.
Donya: Thank you. I’m enjoying writing these books.
TRC: For anyone who does not know Donya Lynne, would you please tell us something about yourself?
Donya: I’ve been writing since before I was even in school. I started out writing poetry, won a short story contest in fourth grade, and then progressed to erotic romance short stories in junior high and high school. When I saw The Lost Boys, I became fascinated with vampires and started playing with paranormal ideas in my writing. But it wasn’t until 2012, after about ten years of studying the publishing industry and taking coursework in fiction writing, that I decided to take the plunge into self-publishing with Rise of the Fallen, book one of the All the King’s Men Series. With the release of Return of the Assassin on October 29, there are now five published books in the series. I have plans for at least twenty more books in the series, including those from the two sister series in development.
TRC: RETURN OF THE ASSASSIN is the October 2013 installment in your All The King’s Men vampire series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Donya: Return of the Assassin is about an assassin and an AKM enforcer (both full-blooded vampires) who have to overcome painful pasts before they can embrace love again. Malek is the enforcer, and he was mated many centuries ago, but his mate died, and he never fully accepted her death. Gina is the assassin who nearly killed Malek’s teammate in a previous book in the series, and she was mated once before, too, to an abusive Dacian vampire who beat her so severely she lost the ability to have children. Gina and Malek met in book two of the series, Heart of the Warrior, but she left town when Malek indicated he had mated her. Now Malek is in the midst of an emotional crisis as he struggles with both Gina’s absence and the reawakened sorrow of the death of his first mate. He has to deal with her death before he can fully embrace his new mating to Gina, and he’s still in denial and very resistant. But when Gina returns, the biological connection between them becomes undeniable. Still, there are forces at work to keep Malek and Gina apart, and as with every book in the AKM Series, where none of the relationships come easily, Malek and Gina will be mightily tested by the end of the book. I predict tears will be shed.
TRC: You have hinted at a spin-off series. Are you willing to part with any information regarding the spin-off? 😉
Donya: Yes. In Return of the Assassin, readers meet Trevor Knight, who is a friend of Gina’s who runs a security agency in Miami with his ex-boyfriend, Talon Justice. The agency is called Knights of Justice, or KOJU. By the end of Return of the Assassin, readers will learn that Trevor wants a mate. He has never taken a true mate, and deep down, he yearns for that to happen. Little does he know that his future mate is lying in a bed in the AKM’s trauma unit this very moment. That’s a little insider info for you right there. *wink* Anyway, the spin-off series will start with Trevor’s love story as he returns to Miami with his love interest tagging along. A couple of other AKM characters will join the sister series, as well, but I’ll keep who they are a secret right now. Here’s the kicker. Both AKM and KOJU will reunite later when I start work on the Progeny Series, which will focus primarily on the next generation of characters (aka the children of our beloved AKM characters). The first story for Progeny is already started, simply because Micah’s son, Neal, demanded I begin it. LOL. Micah and his kids are so damn bossy, but Neal is a sexy beast, so it’s all good. But I think it’s his sister Mikayla’s story that will shock readers. Her mate has already been identified, and I think heads will roll.
TRC: Will the two series overlap; run parallel to each other; or take place during different time periods?
Donya: Yes, I believe there will be significant series overlap between AKM and KOJU, especially in book one of Knights of Justice. Readers who haven’t read All the King’s Men probably won’t get as much out of it as those who have. Obviously, since Progeny will be a spin-off of both series, there will be overlap in that the characters readers have come to know from both will be present.
TRC: All the King’s Men series contains some BDSM, M/M and erotic situations. What would you like to tell readers who are reticent about reading such storylines?
Donya: First of all, BDSM isn’t necessarily about pain for pain’s sake, and Doms aren’t always controlling sadists. Doms have insecurities and emotions, too, and I think readers will see and understand that better in Trace’s book, when Micah takes over as his Dom. And as far as Trace being a submissive is concerned, for him it’s about necessity. He is an incredibly powerful mixed-blood vampire, and the only way he can keep his power under control so it doesn’t consume him is through submission, pain, and humiliation. For Trace, submitting is survival. And in the real world, you’ll find that the most powerful and controlling individuals make the most willing submissives. It’s a very interesting duality.
As far as M/M story lines go, I’ve noticed an incredible surge in interest for M/M romance, especially from women. And I’m a self-professed conflict junkie. What better way to give these readers what they’re craving while also delving into an incredibly controversial subject, which provides ample opportunity for conflict? Historically, good M/M romance has been hard to find. I’ve read reviews of M/M books where the reviewer prays for better-written M/M romance or simply comments about how better editors are needed for the M/M genre. I want to fulfill that need for those readers. On a personal note, I received so many heart-warming comments from readers who read Heart of the Warrior and had never read a M/M book before. They loved it. Heart of the Warrior made these traditionally-het readers notice M/M, and now many of them read it regularly. One reader said it’s all she’ll read now.
Lastly, erotic situations are a fact of life and a fantasy for many. Women love to imagine that these alpha men exist, and they like to fantasize about how they’d behave in the bedroom. So I like turning up the heat on some of my love scenes, while also showing that even a knife, a necklace, or even a foot can be erotic. For me, it’s about discovering how every person is different and how we all have unique fetishes, some more intimate than others.
TRC: Where do you believe some authors go wrong or err with their BDSM/Erotic content?
Donya: I recently read a book where the sex scenes were just that. Sex scenes. Not love scenes. The difference is that sex scenes are just physical. The reader is told all the physical components of the scene about where the body parts all go, but there’s no love. On the other hand, love scenes tap into the readers’ emotions and minds. For a scene to be truly erotic, it needs to hit the reader emotionally and mentally. The reader needs to be engaged sensually, not superficially. This is why a simple scene that holds no sex or physical intimacy at all can be highly erotic. The first draft of book one in my Mark Strong Series (forthcoming) is like that. The main characters don’t have sex until well into the second half of the book, but the erotic tension between them from the moment they meet until the moment they fall into bed was smoldering even as I wrote it. I think more authors needs to focus on capturing the romance and not just the physical mechanics of what goes where.
With regard to BDSM, I’ve read a lot of BDSM novels, and sometimes I feel like I’m reading a clinic instead of a story. Or where the BDSM feels more like shock value instead of part of a legitimate story. Or I feel that the BDSM elements are contrived or forced into the plot…that there is nothing else about the character other than his or her relationship with BDSM. The character(s) live, breathe, eat, sleep, and work BDSM 24/7, which isn’t realistic. I want a story with a plot, where BDSM is the icing, not the cake. This is what I strive for in my BDSM elements within the AKM Series.
I also think there’s a misconception that a Dom is a Dom whether in the playroom or not. That’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes Doms are very subservient in the “real world.” I think that’s a lot more interesting than a control freak in the real world and a Dom in the playroom, don’t you? BDSM is about more than just spanking and flogging. It’s about the bond, trust, and communication that go into a D/s relationship. It’s about the vulnerability of both participants to the other. It’s about a Dom’s responsibility to take care of his or her sub and not betray that trust. In D/s relationships, it’s the submissive who holds the control, not the Dom. The Dom is merely allowed by the submissive to control him/her. Without the submissive’s consent, the Dom can do nothing.
I just read two books by AJ Rose (Power Exchange and Safeword) that were wonderful representations of BDSM in fiction, for anyone interested in reading good BDSM.
TRC: You are currently working on a new series-a new adult, romance storyline. Would you please tell us something about the series?
Donya: The Mark Strong Chronicles is a series that I think will include four books: Good Karma, Bad Karma, Strong Karma, and Full Circle. I completed the rough draft of Good Karma a few months ago, and even though the majority of beta reader feedback was overwhelmingly positive (one beta reader said it was the best book she’d ever read, and others said it was my best book to date), there were elements I wasn’t happy with and which a couple of beta readers pointed out as problem areas. So I’m rewriting almost the entire beginning one-third of the book to eliminate those issues.
The overall story is about how my hero, Mark Strong, and my heroine, Karma Mason, are brought together through a series of coincidental—and somewhat comical—events. Karma suffers self-esteem issues as a victim of moderate childhood bullying, which has given her a stigma over her appearance. She’s also had horrible dating luck. After yet another nightmare date, her best friend decides to give her a makeover to lift her spirits.
Mark was engaged to be married six years ago, but his fiancé left him at the altar. Now he has commitment issues and refuses to allow himself to be in a relationship for longer than a few months. But the revolving door of girlfriends is tiring, and the emotional toll of breaking up and hurting the feelings of the women he dates is beginning to wear him out.
When Mark and Karma meet, there’s promise for them both that the other could be just what each needs, until they meet a second time when Mark shows up at her place of employment as the company’s new consultant. When Mark makes it clear he’s not interested in long-term commitments but would gladly show Karma that not all men are pigs with no clue how to treat a lady, Karma must decide whether or not a wild fling with sexy Mark could be hazardous to her job or worth the risk. When the time comes for Mark to leave, saying good-bye won’t be as easy as they thought.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Donya: Four books are planned for the Mark Strong Chronicles, and I have no idea how many more books are in store for All the King’s Men. Too many to count right now.
TRC: Will you tell us what is in store for Donya Lynne in 2014?
Donya: I have an affirmation taped to my computer monitor and my bathroom mirror that says, “2014 is the year of Donya Lynne!” LOL. Right now I plan to release the first two books in the Mark Strong Chronicles, as well as two more books in AKM, one of which is the much-anticipated Bound Guardian Angel, which is Trace’s book. Other than that, I have several more projects in development and would like for at least one to win an RWA contest. I am also beginning a search for an agent, because I would like to be a hybrid author and have bigger guns, so to speak, in the market for me. An agent could help me get TV or movie deals down the road, or assist in finding the right fit with a Big Five publisher to make my dreams of becoming a hybrid author come true.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Donya: Currently, I’m working on Good Karma rewrites, the Bad Karma draft, the draft for Bound Guardian Angel, a mini-prequel for AKM, and a stand-alone novel I think could be something very special. But waiting in the wings are a ton of books I’ve either started or that I’m about ready to start once Return of the Assassin is released.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Donya: Everyone have a great holiday season! And don’t forget to show your local vampire some love.
If you haven’t read Donya’s ALL THE KING’S MEN series why not start with a FREE copy of RISE OF THE FALLEN: book 1 in her All The King’s Men series.
Cat or dog
Red or white wine
Neither. I’m not a big drinker.
Vampire or werewolf
Vampire! Micah, Micah, Micah!
Coke or Pepsi
Coffee or Tea
Summer or Winter Vacation
Favorite Fast Food
Last Movie you Saw
Star Trek II
TRC: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. It is always a pleasure catching up the with author and finding out what is in store for the reader.
Donya: Thank you for having me!
There are TWO ways to win with the RETURN OF THE ASSASSIN tour.
Donya will be giving away an ecopy of RETURN OF THE ASSASSIN to ONE lucky reader at each of her blog tour stops including The Reading Cafe.
1. If you have not registered, please log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.
2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.
3. Please comment and tell us to enter you into the draw
4. For additional entries:
- Tweet: ” #NewRelease #RWAFinalist RETURN OF THE ASSASSIN #RaveReviews #SexyVampires #AKM @DonyaLynne http://amzn.to/1aozesD “
- Like my FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/DonyaLynne
- Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonyaLynne
Share the Amazon buy link on Facebook: http://www.amazon.com/Return-Assassin-All-Kings-Men-ebook/dp/B00G7WGTDC/ref=cm_rdp_product
Then come back and paste the link to where you shared!
5. Giveaway runs from November 7 to November 15, 2013
6. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL.
Two Grand Prizes will be given away at the end of the tour, drawing to be held on Christmas Day (Merry Christmas!).
Rafflecopter giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY!!
The first name drawn will have their choice of the following two prizes, and the second name drawn will receive the other. The two prizes are valued at $210 each and include:
Grand Prize #1: Coach bag and a $50 Amazon gift card
Grand Prize #2: The newest version of the Kindle Paper White, leather cover (winner’s choice of color), and an AKM blanket.
NOTE: The Reading Cafe is NOT responsible for the rafflecopter giveaway. If you have any questions, please contact the author.