The Darkest Angel by Gena Showalter
Insert my usual comment about how absolutely annoying having part of a series be included in an anthology is. Sometimes I completely miss the anthology with the story, and I think when reading another book in the series, "Wait a minute, x didn't have a significant other in the last book. How did that happen, and who is this mate?" That's one of the reasons I'm not a fan of series, always worrying about keeping up with the various books and anthologies, though I seem to be reading a great deal of them these days!
That being said, I definitely enjoyed the latest entry from Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series: The Darkest Angel (2010) from the Heart of Darkness anthology. The other entries in the anthology, to be blogged later, are Love Me to Death by Maggie Shayne (liked it) and Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard (severely disappointed).
The Darkest Angel is the story of Lysander, the angel who serves as a demon assassin, and Bianca, the part-Harpy, part-phoenix shapeshifter he kidnaps, though Showalter manages to include tidbits about Aeron, Paris, and Sabin in the story, as well.
Can a goody-goody, virginal angel and a consummate liar and thief be happy together? As this passage illustrates, the attempt is certainly worth the effort.
She shrugged and released him. "Now for my second order. Let me go home." As she spoke, she assumed a battle stance. Legs braced apart, hands fisted at her sides.
He mirrored her movements, refusing to admit, even to himself, that her bravery heated his traitorous blood another degree. "You cannot hurt me, Harpy. Fighting me would be pointless."
Slowly her lips curled into a devilish grin. "Who said I was going to try and hurt you?"
Before Lysander could blink, she closed the distance between them and pressed against him, arms winding around his neck and tugging his head down. Their lips met and her tongue thrust into his mouth. Automatically, he stiffened. He had seen humans kiss more times than he could count, but he'd never longed to try the act for himself.
Regular readers of the Lords of the Underworld series won't be disappointed with this story. At 140 pages, there's enough time and opportunity to fully develop Lysander and Bianca's romance, so I didn't feel shorted as a reader. Bianca is one of Showalter's usual strong heroines. There's plenty of sexual tension and passion, too, as always with the series.
You can learn more at the author's site here.
My overall personal rating of The Darkest Angel is a B+.