Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit, Chicago's newest vampire. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene-and to spy for the vamps while she's at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.
Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She'll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals-not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries-old master vampire.
Neill's briskly paced third Chicagoland Vampires paranormal romance (after 2009's Friday Night Bites) makes new readers comfortable with a thorough recap before diving into swiftly developing events that will satisfy returning fans. In the two months since graduate student Merit was involuntarily turned into the Cadogan House Sentinel by master vampire Ethan Sullivan, she's become part of the vampires' recent emergence into the public eye, battled another master vampire, suffered several emotional upheavals, and honed her fighting skills. Now she's assigned to guard the leader of North America's shape-shifters as the packs gather in Chicago to discuss the future of their often strained relationship with vampires. Merit's frequently snarky voice and amusing observations about the occasional absurdities of her situation combine with the magic of Neill's world in a refreshing take on urban fantasy. (July)