by Amanda Carlson
Release: August 18, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Summary: Diesel Jones is a shifter who has issues with the moon, but he quickly finds that Sofia Cabrera, a clever witch who just moved in to town, is his only hope to reach his goal of becoming a Collector. When they pair up to take down an incubus, she not only saves his life, but wins his heart in the process…
Review: Ante Up is Amanda Carlson's second novella in the Sin City Collectors series. Most of the main characters were introduced in her previous one, Aces Wild, though you wouldn't need to read that one first to follow the story. It also introduces Diesel's brother Luke and Sofia's friend Ginger (who are starring in Carlson's next novella.) One of my favorite things about this story is that it brings all of those characters together for much of the action. I really liked the buddy cop movie type atmosphere that created, as well as the chemistry, or lack there of, between Sofia and Neve, the heroine from Aces Wild. They seem to be on the verge of either a bonding moment or a cat fight most of the time.
Having all their friends around also makes it a little more difficult for Sofia and Diesel to consummate their relationship. The villains who keep trying to take control of her mind certainly don't help either. The tension between them continues to build until the very end when he gets tired of waiting (and gets creative.)
I also enjoyed learning more about the witches in the Collector's world. Sofia explains the different disciplines in which they can specialize, how to become a Master Spellcrafter and what makes her so special. (She insists from the moment we meet her in Aces Wild that her spells are better than everyone else's. And the incubus who wants to capture her seems to agree.) Her powers are more like those you might expect from an angel or a god, except that they're more narrow in scope. I don't think I've ever read about a witch like her.
I always remark in my reviews how Amanda Carlson has brought a unique twist to a familiar supernatural character. This time it's the incubus. They're often portrayed as the romantic lead, but she does something completely different. These incubi are a polygamous cult abducting supernatural women and their leader has twisted the incubus powers in a terrifying way.
I'm really enjoying this series so far. It's full of fun, quick reads with great action and unusual characters. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
Recommended for fans of: Action-packed paranormal romance, The Jessica McClain series
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.