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Death's Rival (Jane Yellowrock, #5)

Death's Rival  - Faith Hunter Death's Rival is the 5th book in Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series. If you haven't read the first 4, stop reading this and get 'ta readin' those! Spoilers may exist throughout - consider yourself forewarned.I'll let Jane give ya a rundown of the sitch ~I'm Jane Yellowrock, and I used to kill vamps for a living. Until I started working for them. It wasn't easy money, and I'd dumped the contract with Leo Pellissier, the chief fanghead of the Southeastern U.S., when the retainer ran out. But when Leo had requested my help yesterday, I'd re-upped to resolve this problem, because it was the right thing to do. Leo and his people had been attacked under my watch. Humans had been injured. Blood-servants had died. I'd killed some of them. No one knew who this new enemy was, and now vamps were sick, maybe dying, and a new, powerful vamp had entered the vampire political scene.Somehow, someway vamps (new, old and old, old) are becoming sick with some sort of virus or plague. Seems impossible, but Jane's witnessed it firsthand. This on top of fallout from her actions while in Asheville in Raven Cursed means Jane's plate is full. She's tasked with finding out who is making vamps sick and how while also trying to deal with the aftermath from her earlier protect-yourself-now-ask-questions-later sharpshooting.What else is full to overflowing? Her dance card! Many a men make her heart (and mine) go pitterpat fastfastfast. To include the newest testosterone filled morsel in her life, Eli Younger. Remembering that Derek belongs to Leo first and foremost, she asks him to suggest some security and intel boys for her to hire independently. Eli, a former Ranger, and his younger brother, Alex, a computer whiz show up for the job. They're a package deal though - take it or leave it. Jane takes it, for now. And, it's the right decision because these two are just what she needs - companionship around the house, trustworthy intel and added badassery on the field. Eli's an enticing man; he's got skills and looks - and he's human. But, when you add into the mix Rick LaFleur, who was infected with the were-taint and is currently physically off-limits, but holds a piece of her heart and Bruiser (George Dumas, Leo's right-hand blood-meal, and arguably the most powerful nonvamp in New Orleans) who is going through some potentially major changes, but winds her up quicker than you can blink, she has one helluva decision to make. (Poor Jane. Not!) Beast finds each of these lovelies and Leo, not surprising based on his strength, as strong mates. Which will Jane choose? For me, the romance in this series is but a delicious side story so I'm not too upset that she hasn't fully mated/paired with anyone as yet. Instead, my enjoyment comes from watching Jane's growth since we first met her in Skinwalker. She's lost a great deal, including much of her past. But, with each recovered piece of her past (with the help of Aggie) the puzzle of her life becomes clearer. She is beginning to realize that she cannot continue (or may not be able to continue) to hide what she is, but she seems okay with that, which is awesome! I am anxiously awaiting Blood Trade as this one ended with a "Well, crap" from Jane, an amused huff from Beast and a bit of a cliffhanger. » Below are some notes for myself, so I can quickly refresh before reading Blood Trade in April. They are spoiler blocked for a reason, but feel free to read them. «Leo force fed on Jane to bind her to him, while Katie and Bruiser (who was bloodcrazed and unable to fight the compulsion) held her down. Thankfully, Beast was able to break the bond, but Leo was able to tell by smell alone and promises to rebind her. Katie, as his heir, also had a drink, so there's that. Bruiser feels like a total shitbag, which he should, and tries to make amends. Jane sorta-kinda forgives him, but she's understandably still upset about it. Beast, on the other hand, reminds her that he still gets her motor runnin'. In RAVEN CURSED, the Enforcer Jane killed, the one who showed up armed in her hotel room has come back to haunt her. Not as a ghost, but the consequence (now that his position is revealed) is (1) blood feud/challenge made and (2) murder trial - death if convicted. Instead she challenges new Enforcer (an old vamp who cheated like a little bitch by bringing a knife to a fist/claw fight) to fight to the death. She, as Beast, kicks his ass. Eli and Alex are awesome! Eli is observing Jane closely enough that shows he's interested, but he's also seeing the tension between her and Bruiser and whispering between her and Rick, so we'll see. "You look good curled up in that bed, wearing a thin tank and not much else but a gun." Alex (AKA: Kid and Stinky) is a doll and he's a good replacement/back-up to Reach.Some hot scenes with Bruiser and Rick scattered throughout. Cannot forget ... Jane asks Rick how he made out on during the last full moon ~ {Rick} "I did okay. Solved a crime. Got a badge. Lost my girl."Beast rose in me, watching him, intent as if he was prey. Mine, she murmured. "I haven't gone anywhere," I said."I can't have sex. If I have sex with you, Pea will kill me. Then she'll kill you.""There's more to love than sex," I said.He didn't look at me. "Do you love me, Jane?""Yeah. Do you love me?""Yeah." He smiled then. "We're so damn romantic."* Jane thinks they can eventually find a way to be together, but I'm not so sure. Will be sad though if that's the case. Rick's devasted when she says that she'd thought he was the one who shot her. Of course he wasn't, but earlier promises of not letting her become crazed had her thinking he was keeping that promise. Hopefully, if nothing else, they'll be able to work past that misunderstanding.Rick is now an investigator with the PsyLED, the Psychometry Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security. His unit consists of a werewolf stuck in wolf form and Pea, a juvenile grindylow and his supervisor/trainer, Soul. Soul has some kinda magic, though Jane's not sure which kind. In Beast sight, she glowed with the heat of magical energies, not witch, not were, but something not human. She was also carrying a staff with a psy-meter mounted on the top. A supernat working for the PsyLED.Lucas Vazquez de Allyon, a 1200 year old vamp, was the baddie. He also killed and drank all (or so he thought) skinwalkers. Jane killed his sorry ass in a kickass battle after she'd killed his Enforcer.