Nyctophilia Darkling Series Book 1 by Torri Heat Genre: Paranormal Romance
Ava Green is doing her best to live her life quietly and stay out of her small town’s gossip -- until Jasper Knight, a dark private investigator who seems to keep popping up at the worst moments, comes to town.
Ava can’t deny the pull she feels around Jasper, but the more time she spends around him, the more she has memories of a past that surely can’t be real. Jasper finally lets her in on his secret -- he’s a werewolf. But he’s not what she should be afraid of.
Someone -- or something -- in her quaint little town is hunting local werewolves, and picking them off one by one.
I rolled my eyes but let it slide. Green was about the same, if not worse, but I didn’t think we’d be spending enough time together for that to bother me. “Second of all, how do you know I wasn’t here to drop off your sunglasses?”
He pointed to the top of his damp hair, where a pair of aviators sat. Oh. I could already feel myself blushing again. I should never have come. This had been so embarrassing from start to finish. I bet this kind of stuff never happened to other girls.
Jasper didn’t seem weirded out that I had showed up at his motel to speak with him. He smiled and held the door open for me. “So then, Green, are you coming in or are you going to give Deidra more gossip to tell her knitting circle?”
Glancing over my shoulder I saw Deidra watching us from the office window. “Actually, I don’t think that’s the greatest idea. We’re already going to be the talk of the town tomorrow.”
“Doesn’t it ever get tiring?”
“Doesn’t what get tiring?” I wasn’t sure what he was getting at.
He waved his hands in the air. “Hiding. Not doing what you want. Making sure everyone isn’t talking about you.”
I shrugged. “Of course it does. But it’s the only town I know and I don’t want people to judge me any more than they already do.”
I couldn’t be certain, but I swore his face fell when I said that. I ran through what I had said in my head, realizing he might have thought I meant people would judge me for being seen with him.
I tried to recover. “I do have some questions for you. Obviously. That’s why I’m here. But maybe we could meet at the coffee shop to talk?”
Jasper had ducked into the room as I was speaking and was shrugging into his leather jacket as he considered his response. My eyes widened at how hot he looked in it, and I tried to regain my cool before he could notice.
His gaze met mine. “Dinner.”
I frowned, my question unanswered. “I’m sorry, what?”
His eyes darkened. “You heard me. Dinner. You have questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them if you have dinner with me.”
Jasper was asking me out to dinner. I weighed my options. Getting answers to the weird things happening to me, and possibly (okay, definitely) making a fool out of myself in the process and getting to have dinner with a man hot enough to be a model to boot, or eating leftovers again with Betty. It seemed like an easy choice, even with the high probability of embarrassment. My only confusion was what he was getting out of the bargain. But before I could respond, Jasper was already speaking.
“Vincenzo’s. Tonight. Seven o’clock.”
Vincenzo’s was the nicest restaurant in town. Mollie was going to freak. I wasn’t even sure how I could explain all of this to her. I responded with the only word I seemed capable of saying. “Okay.”
Jasper seemed pleased with my response and we exchanged numbers. He busied himself with locking his door, and when he looked up at me again his eyes seemed to get even darker. “Green.”
I couldn’t move. Forget icebergs, that look was melting me to my core. “Yeah?”
He leaned into me, his breath touching my ear. “Next time I invite you into my room, I hope you won’t say no.”
Caligo Darkling Series Book 2
Ava’s stepped out of her own reality and into another world -- a world where werewolves exist. She’s slowly coming to terms with Jasper and their mate bond, but now she has bigger problems. Whatever’s hunting the werewolves in her small town is still on the loose. Worse yet, her parents seem to have a vendetta against Jasper.
With Jasper’s help, Ava’s embracing her Venator heritage. Good thing she has a hot werewolf to teach her everything she needs to know about fighting. But will she be strong enough for what comes next?
He carefully handed the blade back to me. “You’re ready. You have to remember all of this runs in your blood. Weapons should come quite easily to you once you know the basics.”
“The basics? I don’t just point and stab?”
“Not in the slightest, Green. These are designed for close combat. You’ll want to slash your opponents, not stab them. Don’t want to lose your blade, especially not in the middle of a fight.”
“Okay, slashing, not stabbing. Got it. Where do I aim?” The swords were a nice weight in my hands, and I felt almost graceful as I slashing the air.
“Here.” Jasper grinned and pointed to this throat, teeth gleaming in the dark. “Although I would prefer if you didn’t actually hit my throat tonight. They might not be sharp, but you could still do some damage. But in all seriousness, most of your targets are going to be bigger than you. You’re going to want to aim for the easiest spots that do the most damage.” He pointed to several spots on his body. “Throat. Armpits. Stomach.”
I nodded, taking the details in. “What about the back?”
Jasper shook his head. “Too many bones. Stay away from it. You probably won’t have much time to aim.” He dug in his bag again, coming up with two Bokken of his own. Jasper swung them around in the air expertly a few times, looking like he was born fighting with them. “Okay, you ready?” My stomach tightened, but I could do this. I knew I could. These blades felt like an extension of my arms already.
We started out slow. “Stay close to your opponent.” Jasper was speaking so easily he could’ve been at a party, not in the middle of sparring. “Your size will be your advantage. If you stay close, they won’t have the range to do as much damage.” I nodded, not enough breath left in me to respond. Soon, the talking stopped, and the pace picked up by an unspoken agreement. I found my blades easy to use, but I felt clumsy and slow compared to Jasper. It didn’t take long before Jasper had one of his swords at my neck. We were both breathing heavily, caught up in the moment. “Get out
of your head, Green. Don’t focus on my strength, think about your speed,” he told me, pushing me a few steps away to start again.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. He was right. I wasn’t going to beat him with strength alone. My instincts were good, and I had to focus on that. I could do this. Turning off the logical part of my brain, I went on my instincts alone and dropped into a defensive stance.
Jasper mirrored my movements. “Now we’re talking.”
I focused on matching his blows with speed instead of strength. Jasper’s smile dropped, and the only sound in the dark night was the cracking of wooden blades as they met each other. I found myself beginning to outpace Jasper’s moves, and I could see him concentrating as he tried to stay on top of things. There was nothing in my current world but me, these blades, and Jasper.
Nighted Darkling Series Book 3
Jasper and Ava have made it through every hurdle thrown their way -- together. Their relationship is stronger -- and hotter -- than ever. But now something new and deadly is after Ava. The pair also can’t forget the minor detail that her mother is still missing.
The supernatural world is dangerous, and full of things that go bump in the night. Will they be able to find the monster before the monster finds her?
My phone began to vibrate, waking me up even more than I had been a second ago. “Hello?” I whispered, not wanting to wake Lucy or Duke up. They were wolves, so this was a futile attempt, but I felt better all the same.
“Baby.” Jasper’s voice was warm on the other end, and I relaxed into hearing him. “I forgot you wouldn’t know.”
“Know what?” I continued to whisper, tiptoeing down the quiet hallway and silently sliding open the glass door. The moonlight was strong. We were close to a full moon, and the sky was free of clouds. In the bluish light, Lucy’s garden looked like something out of an artist’s mind. I took a seat at the painted picnic table, waiting for his response.
“About the distance.” His voice was raspy with the night, and I could picture him lying under the duvet -- eyes closed, dark hair a mess. “Being apart is hard for mates, more so if there’s actual distance. Especially if the pair haven’t been marked. It’s the soul’s way of making sure the heart gets what it wants.”
“Oh.” I was quiet, considering his words. In a lot of ways, the mate thing was something I continually had to adjust to. I loved Jasper – body and soul. But the idea separation would make me feel like a black hole was tearing me in a million directions was a lot to digest.
“What’s on your mind, Green?” Jasper’s voice was rich with amusement, knowing the gears in my head were working overtime.
“I guess, I…” I sighed, turning my face toward the cool moonlight. “I constantly worry maybe I’m not strong enough for this.”
Jasper’s laugh was quick, startling my eyes open. “Not a chance. I’m certain you were born for this. You’re the strongest woman I know.”
My blood rushed with the compliment, but I still hoped for some sign among the night sky to tell me I was destined for this. That my body could and would handle anything thrown at it. We were far from the bright lights of the city, and a thousand stars twinkled in the clear night. I chose the brightest one, and squeezed my eyes shut to make an ironic wish. It was only when Jasper’s soft voice caught me off guard, I realized I had spoken aloud.
“Oh, baby. How long have you been wishing on false stars? You were always the only one strong enough to control your destiny.”
Cimmerian Darkling Series Book 4
The Venators’ secrets are getting darker, but can Ava and Jasper’s love survive the truth? A demon has possessed Ava’s best friend in the pack. Jasper and Ava are fighting an unthinkable deadline to complete an impossible task. It’s Monica’s life against Ava’s in this race against the clock.
But new secrets, new allies, and new mates within the pack turn even the most practical plans into the most dangerous. Werewolves, witches, and weddings make for a deadly combination…
Torri Heat has always loved control. Her mind was blown when she discovered she could control entire worlds through story writing. Throw some steamy romance in there, and it was pretty close to perfection. Torri loves dark heroes who ride off into the sunset on their motorcycles, fierce heroines who can fend for themselves, and a sprinkle of the paranormal to keep things interesting. When she's not creating alternate realities you can find her managing her three ring circus of kids and animals.
How did I become an author?
I’ve always written, but painting was how I really expressed myself. We adopted my daughter when she was two months old, and when she came home, she would only sleep in my arms. All the sudden I was thrust into parenthood, and I had no way to express myself because how do you paint with a sleeping baby in your arms? So I started writing on my phone. I never expected it to really go anywhere, but I just couldn’t stop. I started on Google Docs, and then all the sudden friends were telling their friends and I had dozens of people on a Google Doc!
Which books should become a movie?
Oh my God, I so badly want Darkling to go to tv/movie. You know Nico Tortorella from Younger? I want them as Jasper. (HMU Nico!!) No, but actually that was one of the first things a lot of people said to me when they read Darkling – it’s their comfort novel, one they could see being made into a movie.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After I wrote The Ruins. It was the first thing I wrote post being signed with my publisher, and it was the first time I thought to myself, “Okay. Maybe I can do this.” The Ruins was also written during a very emotional time in my life, and a lot of that spilled out into Luc and Joelle’s story, which really resonated with a lot of people in a way I wasn’t expecting! I even got a line from The Ruins tattooed on my hip – “Rich in Hell”. It’s kind of become my tagline.
How did you come up with the name of the book?
I’ve actually gotten a lot of flack for my titles. I name them like I name my paintings – they usually come to me as I’m sleeping and I’m like, “YES! This!” But it’s usually emotional. It makes sense once you start peeling back the layers of the book. Darkling, before I signed with Changeling who publishes novellas, used to be the title of book one, and then it became the title. Before it was called Darkling, it was called the very professional “Smutty Smut Smut Smut” on Google. Once I signed with Changeling, I needed more titles, so I just went with what feels right, always sticking with the idea of the love of darkness. Its not necessarily the love of nighttime, although a lot of the drama does happen at night, to me it’s also metaphorical about loving the darkness within yourself. Accepting that it’s there, and using it to create something beautiful. So thus we now have – Nyctophilia, Caligo, Nighted, and coming soon, Cimmarion.
Tell us about your main character.
Ava, the lead in Darkling, actually got some haters! People couldn’t understand how she woke up one day and decided to make a change in her life. But at her core, she is realistic. She’s a character a lot of people can connect to, one who is sick of their life going a certain way, and decides to make that change. She’s sarcastic, and a bit of a lone wolf. She’s reserved at first, content in herself, until she meets Jasper. He pulls a different side of her out. A side that isn’t scared to make her opinions known, and to take leaps of faith and make scary choices. But there’s a whole other side to the story that makes her change her life around, and I will NOT share that with you because it’s a spoiler and you’ll have to see for yourself.
Convince us why your book is a must read.
Darkling is a must read for people who love PNR, and also don’t have the time or energy to invest into a 400 page novel! Novellas are great for that. Jasper and Ava are reader’s “comfort couple” because I actively made sure that their conflicts (of which there’s a lot of!) are externally based. Jasper isn’t running off cheating. They have to work together to overcome things Ava never expected to happen in her quiet life, and the twists and turns will keep you guessing! Plus, smut.
Do your characters hijack the story?
My characters hijack the story ALL the time. I have zero control. I just sit back and watch it happen.