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Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: Black Widow Demon (Demon Outlaws #2) by Paula Altenburg

Black Widow Demon (Demon Outlaws #2)
By: Paula Altenburg

Passionate and headstrong, half-demon Raven is nearly executed on the orders of her fundamentalist stepfather. She escapes from the burning stake using the gifts of her otherworldly heritage and the help of a mortal stranger named Blade. Now she’s set on revenge, and only quiet, intense Blade stands in her way.

A retired assassin weary of the weight of his past, Blade has crossed the desert to seek out a new life. His journey is interrupted when his conscience demands he help Raven find an old friend who can help her. Saving her from her need for revenge and delivering her into the hands of loved ones means he’s one step closer to redemption.

But as Blade’s sense of duty becomes something more and threats, both mortal and immortal, stalk the woman he can’t abandon, he could very well fall back into the life he’s trying so hard to escape.

Raven is the spawn of a human (her mother) and a demon her mother slept with. We meet her as she sits in jail for stabbing her step father who has less than fatherly feelings for her. Her step father claims she tried to seduce him with her half demon powers of seduction and the only way to prove she's not a spawn (half demon) is by fire. If she burns, she's innocent-but dead so that really doesn't help her at all. Raven hopes someone in her town will speak up for her or come to her aid, but those hopes are dashed when she is walked outside to where she will be set on fire, and she realizes no one is going to help her, she's going to have to help herself.

Blade, a retired assassin is just passing through town on his way to the Godseeker mountains when he finds himself witness to a trial by fire, so to speak. The young woman he watches being led to what he fears will be her death pulls at his sense of morality and of right and wrong. While he doesn't want to get involved he also doesn't want to see the young woman suffer and plans to make sure her death is a quick one, that is until he watches her free herself and escape her fiery death. He's intrigued enough to follow her and that's where things get interesting.

In this book we find ourselves in a world where women are seen as possessions of men, demons have left their half-ling children scattered among us after being banished back to their own realm, and snake bites can cause horrific hallucinations. The author has created a vividly amazing world with characters that not only grab you and make you want to read more of their story, they make you feel as though you've been kidnapped, thrown in a dark corner of their world and are stuck there until they let you leave.

Even though I haven't read the first book in this series, I don't think that took anything away from this book. To say that I liked this book, would be an understatement. I loved it and will be reading the first book as well as any subsequent books that are in this series.

If you like assassins, magical amulets, demons and swoon worthy sex scenes, then you'll enjoy this book.

Blade knew he should return to his saloon and open it for business. He suspected a number of people would be after a drink. He, too, wanted to forget the morning’s proceedings, and the fate that awaited a woman simply because she had talked too much.
He had no love for the gnarled little priestess, and after the scene he had just witnessed, he doubted any would develop soon. It had taken everything he possessed to stand his ground in the heaving crowd.
Yet he could not deny that Mamna served a purpose. After the withdrawal of the goddesses, the world had soon fallen into a state of such chaos it was a wonder it had not destroyed itself. The presence of demons, who had no true interest in this world but for some reason refused to depart it, only added to that state.
Mamna had established her own version of law when she founded Freetown. She had the protection of the Demon Lord, which extended by default to the area she claimed as hers, and thus indirectly to its inhabitants. That protection was the main reason Blade, and others, had settled here, and what gave Mamna authority over them.
But what had happened in Freetown today was not law. Mamna had a cruelty to her, a disregard for life that Blade, despite his own less than pristine past, found unsettling. Perhaps it was because he, too, had once faced a demon and lost.
Instead of heading for home, he slipped away from the crowd and toward the gates of Freetown, which faced the wide expanse of desert and the distant northern mountains. There was nothing Blade could do about her sentence, and little to free her. He had women of his own to protect. But he knew he would never be able sleep that night if he stood back and did nothing.
Still, he had to be very careful.
He cut down some side streets, taking a shortcut to the city’s gates. A few small buildings skirted the city wall. He scaled the side of one, digging his toes into chinks in the rough, wind-chewed wood, and silently swung his long legs onto the clay-shingled roof. He eased one of the knives he had taken off Hunter’s would-be assassin from the wide cuff of his linen shirtsleeve. With this weapon, at least there would be nothing to trace back to him.
He saw them from the roof, gathered at the open gate and the rarely used, ill-maintained wagon trail that led through the desert. The three guards appeared unhappy and stoically silent, but had little choice other than to do their duty.
Blade did not blame them for this. They, too, would have loved ones to protect.
A few curious onlookers straggled behind the procession. The prisoner dragged her feet, pleading tearfully for her life, and Blade shut his ears to the things she promised to do for the guards if they set her free. She bargained with what she had, and no one could fault her for it.
He was not as close as he’d like to be, but still, he had a clear shot. He palmed the unfamiliar knife, thankful he’d taken the time to practice with it and at least be somewhat used to its weight and balance.
He drew back his arm, careful to keep the movement from attracting attention below, and in a smooth, experienced motion, brought it forward.
Despite the distance, the knife found its mark.
The woman let out a small groan of surprise and threw her head back, then slumped forward, limp now in the guards’ grasp. Brief panic erupted as the guards and the onlookers all realized at once what had happened, and how exposed they were to danger.
Panic was the reaction Blade had hoped for. He swung from the rooftop and dropped to the far side of the building. An assassin’s work was more difficult in daylight, and the mark of a true professional.
Blade had once been the very best. Rather than running away, he ran straight into the melee.
“What happened?” he shouted to one of the guards. The guard was young, Blade saw, and unused to his job. His skin was pale and his eyes glassy.
“Someone tried to free her but accidentally killed her instead.”
Blade wanted to make certain the woman was dead. She lay on her side in a pool of deepening blood, arms flung out like a discarded doll, her eyes wide and staring—and it was immediately clear that she would never see anything in this world again. Blade did not waste time on pity for her. She had known the rules of Freetown. She should have kept her opinions to herself, or at least been more discreet with them.
“Lucky for you someone has terrible aim,” he said, although in reality he was rather proud of his. He had caught the aorta, and the swelling around the wound indicated to him she had died almost instantly.
“It’s better for her than dying at the hands of a demon,” the young man said with feeling, and Blade could not argue with that.
“We’d best clean up here and get searching for the killer,” another guard said.
Blade left them to close the gates and take care of the woman’s remains, certain their search would be half-hearted at best. Right now he wanted to get home to the women who waited for him, and to forget about this whole morning.
Hunter could watch his own back for the rest of the day.

review: The Demon's Daughter (Demon Outlaws #1)
5 Sheep

Guest Reviewer: Mary Kirkland
Dark Thoughts blog
Yahoo Contributor Network

Paula Altenburg, author, image
About the Author:
Paula Altenburg lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband and two sons. Once a manager in the aerospace industry, she now enjoys the freedom of working from home and writing full time. She currently writes demon westerns for Entangled Publishing.
Paula also co-authors paranormal romance under the pseudonym Taylor Keating.


  1. Awesome review! Intriguing premise! Great excerpt! I think I just found my next weekend read. Thanks ISS. :)

    1. don't forget to check out book 1 also. I have this one on my list too :)

    2. Thank you, hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to read and review Black Widow Demon. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. I loved this book. :)

  3. Seems to have a lot in it indeed, great review

  4. Fabulous review. You've got me hooked. This is next up to be read. Thanks!

  5. Looks like a great series, will have to check it out. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us :)

    1. I plan on reading the rest of the series as well.

  6. New author and series for me, but I am intrigued! Thanks for the review Mary.