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My name is Jen. I read too much. I drive my husband crazy. I share books with my friends and we spend too much time talking about them. I enjoy Urban Fantasy & Romance (mostly PR & Historicals.) I’m also a mother of two and work full-time as a tv news Executive Producer.
Before the Witches (Dark Mission 0.5) - Karina Cooper You won't find a boring moment in this action packed short story. The whole thing is only 78 pages long, but Karina Cooper packed those pages with enough story that it felt like more. There was sex... death... explosions... and dammit, I even cried.

Nigel is a cop trying to bust a Russian slavery/prostitution ring. When he infiltrates a brothel, posing as a dirty cop, he meets Katya. She is prostitute who is looking to escape and find freedom for the other women. The two make a fast connection. Fast forward a few pages and the earthquakes are ravaging Seattle. Nigel rushes back to the whorehouse just in time to rescue Katya and her friends. Most of the other women go their separate ways but Katya returns with Nigel to the police station. It's there that the apocalypse really kicks into action and the two of them are on a mission, simply to stay alive as the world falls apart around them.

The story has a lot going for it. The sexual tension and the romance action were great... and so were the fantastic scenes of destruction. In a very short time, the author had me caring about these characters --even the secondary ones. I could see the sequence of events playing in my mind like a great action movie.

But there were two moments that jarred me out of my complete immersion in the book. The first was, upon their second meeting, Nigel and Katya are doing it in his office. Without a condom. SHE IS PROSTITUTE, MAN! He should have more sense than that! --And second, when the two of them swing out the "L" word on the day after they meet. It wasn't necessary. We can see that they fall in love in the Epilogue. It doesn't happen in a day!

Those two things aside, it was a fantastic read. I'm very excited to start Blood of the Wicked to see how the rest of the series plays out. 4 1/2 stars.

P.S. If you're wondering if there are any actual witches in this book, the answer is yes... sort of. Katya has a little bit of premonition and some consider her a witch. But most of the witch-reference is in the Epilogue, where the author explains that many go on to blame witches for a hand in the apocalypse.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley