Dark Fae by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
by Carline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
Book 1 of the Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac Series
What do a heartless Dragon Shifter, a cold-blooded Basilisk, an arrogant Lion Shifter and a brooding, tattooed Harpy have in common…?
Elise Callisto. Vampire. Angel of vengeance. And a girl on a mission to destroy one of them for murdering my brother. I just don’t know which one did it yet.
When I kicked the ass of a Werewolf who was high on a new and dangerous drug called Killblaze, his final words painted a dark reality for me. The King of Aurora Academy killed my brother. The trouble is, there’s four kings at that school and each of them have motive and cutthroat natures.
Aurora Academy isn’t a place for the faint of heart. To put it lightly, my town is the asshole of Solaria where the dodgiest Fae in the kingdom reside. The school itself is divided by the two gangs who run this town. The Lunar Brotherhood and the Oscura Clan. And guess what? Two of the kings run the gangs at the school, their hatred for each other so fierce I hear a day doesn’t go by without blood being spilled in the halls.
I might be a petite, lilac-haired girl who looks like a fragile doll, but they haven’t been introduced to my fangs yet. And they don’t know why I’m really here. Or that I’ll do whatever it takes to bring down the Fae who took my flesh and blood from me.
I don’t believe in fate, but I do know this… the King who killed my brother is a dead man walking. And I’m prepared to sacrifice my heart, body and soul to ensure I get my revenge.
In the first book of the Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti, we meet nineteen year old Elise Callisto, who is on a mission to find out the truth of her brothers murder, and get revenge. When she discovers that the King of Aurora Academy is the one responsible for her brothers murder, she enrolls herself into the school to investigate. Her four suspects are the kings of the school - Dante, the leader of the Oscura Clan, Ryder, the leader of the Lunar Brotherhood, Leon, son of one of the most successful family of thieves in Solaria, and Gabriel, a brooding mysterious harpy, who is the most powerful in the school. Elise places herself smack in the middle of the kings and their gangs - and she doesn't care how dangerous it is: she will sacrifice anything, including her life, for justice.
Hmm. I'm not sure how I feel. On the one hand, I like the characters, and the general idea of the story. Elise is an awesome example of a tough, takes no shit female character. She doesn't let fear rule her. She has a vulnerable side, even if it doesn't show often. I love that she has no shame about sex. I like the kings as well, because they are all different. Dante is the hot and dangerous dragon shifter, who likes to be playful with Elise. Leon is just full on goofy and playful, and his lighter personality definitely lightens the reader and Elise when he is around. Ryder is broken ... but Elise brings out feels he thought long behind him. A masochist, and dominant, he is the kinkier one of the bunch. And last, but not least, Gabriel. Who is a trip to read in this series. He has a very different vibe in the Zodiac Academy books, but it will be interesting to see how he gets from here, to there. I really enjoyed the whole premise of Elise investigating her brothers death, and her wanting justice. What I didn't love ... was that I felt there was a whole lot of filler in this book. It felt stalled in many parts of the book, and not till we got closer to the end did we get closer to the books plot. I mean, I get that this is the first book, and the authors need to establish characters, and relationships, but it should be interesting. And a lot of the time, I wasn't interested. I was bored.
Am I continuing with the series? Hells yes! I felt very similar with the first book of Zodiac Academy, and I ended up OBSESSED with those books. I'm hoping its the same with Ruthless Boys. :)
Elise meeting each of the kings
Elise drinking the orange soda, and leaving Ryder in the dust
Elise trying out for Pitball
GABRIEL AND ELISE
Loved Leon and Elise miming keeping their mouths shut in class
Elise drawing a massive dick on the field, and burning it magically so it stays there
Gabriel bringing Elise an orange soda
Gabriel and Elise's make out
Elise tickling Leon
Leon wondering what happened when he enjoyed getting kicked in the nuts
Dante's test for Gareth
Dante and Elise at Dante's secret spot
Elise walking the hallway naked when Cindy Lou burned her clothes
Elise helping Gabriel button his shirt
I snorted a laugh as I made it to the top step and stood before him.
Leon: “Something funny?”
he asked, running a hand through his golden hair. Everything about him screamed sun and sand and fire. It was captivating and more than a little alluring, but I maintained the visage of being unaffected.
Elise: “Leon the Lion? Is that an unfortunate coincidence or something?”
Leon: “I come from a family of Lions actually. My mom thought it was cute.”
Elise: “It is. Very cute for a little lion cub.” Static rose in my chest and filled the room, causing her hair to lift a little along with every other hair on her body. I wasn’t just any Dragon. I was a rare ass Storm Dragon. Electricity was my thing and a live wire was shooting off sparks somewhere in my body right now.
Gabriel: “He does that when he’s turned on,”
Gabriel spoke his first words of the day and I could have punched him for them as a smirk danced around his mouth.
Laini: “And happy,”
Gabriel: “And being an asshole, so it never really stops,”
Gabriel said and the new girl laughed. Dante: “Listen, vampira. There’s two sides in this school, Oscura Clan or Lunar Brotherhood. You’re either with us or with them.” Gabriel: “Or you can be your own person,”
Dante: “Chatty today, aren’t we? Funny how you only hear the things that interest you, isn’t Gabriel?”
Gabriel: “Why would I take an interest in things that don't interest me? That’s fucking moronic.” Her whole life she’d let people walk all over her. My father, Ella’s father, Old Sal and countless punters in between. She was always waiting for a knight in shining armor when she should have been strapping on her own chainmail. Elise: “I’m sure you won’t mind putting this in the trash for me. Or in your mouth. Same difference really.” Ryder: “You’re witty. I like that. Have you ever been hate-fucked against a tree?”
she gasped and I grinned as I finally shook the foundations of that cocky façade. Ryder: “I’m asking for a friend. He’s a tall guy, gets even taller when he’s happy and he has a piercing you can’t miss.”
Elise: “Please tell me you’re not describing your dick right now.” I grinned, raking my eyes up her bare legs, taking my sweet time over her nipped in waist, then riding the express train to her rack. Yep, I was happy to disembark there. More than happy. Until her hand caught my chin, yanked it up and pinched so hard I grunted. I bashed her arm away, rubbing my face.
Leon: “Be careful. This face is worth a lot.” Elise: “Not enough to afford that long of a look at my chest, Leon. Do you also stare at Dante’s tits like that, or is it just the female members of the team you perv on?”
Leon: “I don’t need to look, he lets me fondle them in the locker room.” She jogged over and Dante tilted his head as he watched her go. And her ass go. He not-so-subtly rearranged his crotch and I sighed. I loved that guy. Sharing was caring. But also…owning meant boning. Cindy Lou: “Is Dante here?”
I pressed my shoulder to the doorway and pulled the door over to block her view - and to piss her off. She huffed, her eyes sliding up me and pausing on my hair.
Cindy Lou: “Purple’s not really your colour, sweetie.”
Elise: “Green’s not yours either but you wear it every time I’m anywhere near Dante. It’s kind of sad how little you think of yourself, Cindy.” I had no issue with being called a hooker. Or even her insinuating my mom was one. Because frankly, sometimes she was. And more power to her. But a cheap one? Oh hell fucking no. Elise: “I think you’ve got me all wrong, asshole. I’m not some submissive little Fae just begging for you to fuck me. I’m a monster of my own variety. And I like it better on top.” Gabriel: “I can see how sad you are even when you aren’t crying. You don’t have to hide your tears from me.” Gabriel: “You’re so beautiful, Elise Callisto,”
Elise: “I didn’t know you’d ever even looked at me before now,”
Gabriel: “I haven’t stopped looking at you from the moment you walked into our dorm. I’ve seen your pain, your sorrow, your light and your fire. And it isn’t enough. You captivate me.” Gabriel: “What are you staring at?”
Elise: “I’m not entirely sure. But my best guess would be the result of a turkey mating with an asshole.” Elise: “Oh you’re talking now, are you?”
Ryder: “I don’t recall ever stopping, baby.”
He fixed me with a death glare.
Ryder: “Now fuck off back to Pride Rock, Simba.”
A smile grew and grew on my face.
Leon: “Oh shit, I didn’t realize you were a Disney fan, Ryder. Which one is your favorite?” Ryder: “Fuck. Off,”
he growled, trying to grab me in one of his visions again but I was ready this time, blocking him out with a mental shield. Leon: “Lemme guess…”
I tapped my chin as I took my time mocking him and a smile danced around Elise’s mouth.
Leon: “You get your inspiration from The Jungle Book and sing yourself to sleep with the snake's Trussssst in meee song." Ryder: “Well my option doesn’t expire. If you get bored of Mufasa’s kid and fancy a taste of Scar, you can come to my room. And all over my room too. I’ll wait to hear about the safe word.” Gabriel twitched a smile at me which seemed to say you will and I dropped my gaze to the grass between us. Before I could make any effort to explain myself, Gabriel reached out and tucked a lock of my hair behind my ear. His touch on my skin sent heat skittering through me and I looked up at him between my lashes as I tried to figure out what he expected from me. I was so shocked by the gentle gesture that I didn’t even bat him off of me, I just stared, trying to figure out what the fuck was going on.
Gabriel: “You can tell me when you’re ready,”
he breathed, his hand lingering on my cheek for a moment. My skin tingled at his touch and memories of his flesh against mine surfaced like they’d been lurking there all along.
Gabriel: “I’ll be waiting.”
I frowned, wanting to remind him that I didn’t believe I was his mate or anything of the kind and had no intention of handing out personal information to him but he’d already risen to his feet. I looked up at him in surprise and he reached into his bag, holding out a can of orange soda for me.
Ryder: “To everyone else you’re like this perfect little doll, but I can see how fractured and torn apart you are inside. I can see the cracks in the perfection. I can see the poison that’s tainting your essence. And every break, every scar and burn and fissure in your soul only makes it more beautiful. Only makes you more perfect to me. This pain is strength. This agony is beauty.” Elise: “What made you think of the gum?”
Leon: “I can’t get the taste of your cherry kisses out of my head, little monster. And I wanted to make sure you still tasted the same when I kissed you next time.” I rummaged through his bag, finding his Atlas and chuckling as I opened up FaeBook. I left him a status with a grin on my face. He’d know I’d done it, but we always ribbed on each other. He’d go full Storm Dragon when he saw it then be laughing about it by dinner. That was how we rolled.
Dante Oscura: The stars are not in my favour today. First I shit my pants in front of Professor Mars (like legit down the leg) and THEN while cleaning it up, I managed to flick it into my eye – and mouth! Cures for pink eye needed. Professor Mars: “Detention! You’ve missed nearly half my lesson you little shit.”
Leon: “It’s my Order, sir. I can’t be blamed.”
Professor Mars: “Yeah, well my Order makes me wanna rip your head off with my bare hands, but actions have consequences. Detention. Thursday. If you’re late I’ll extend it to the end of the month. Now get to class.” Leon: “Do you have a dress yet?” Elise; “Oh um…no.”
She chewed her lip.
Leon: “Tick tock. If you don’t hurry you’ll have to go naked.”
Elise: “Or in my sweats,”
Leon: “Mmm tell me more,”
Elise: “They’re gonna be so baggy.”
Leon: “Fuuuck. More.”
Elise: “They’ll be grey…stained with ketchup and so, so-”
She dipped her head, her mouth mere centimeters from mine.
Elise: “Threadbare.” I grabbed her wrist, hooking my leg around the back of hers to drop her to the ground, but her knee came up between my legs so fast, I wasn’t fucking prepared.
I croaked as I dropped to the ground, cupping my manhood as tears pinched my eyes.
Professor Mars: “Very good, Miss Callisto,”
Mars called to her as Dante’s laughter crashed against my ears.
Professor Mars: “Ten rank points to you.”
Elise dropped to her knees before me, her hand slipping down under mine to rub my junk. It was the bitterest, sweetest thing I’d ever experienced and made me choke on my own tongue.
Elise: “Poor baby,”
she purred, mischief in her eyes.
With the way we were angled toward each other, I didn’t think anyone could see what she was doing, but fuck if I cared anyway. She laughed cheekily, standing up and I stared after her, lost for words.
What the fuck just happened? Did I just enjoy getting kicked in the nuts?
I died inside. Like literally some part of me withered up and fucking died. I lifted a hand to hide the image of my Principal being screwed up the ass by a pretend Dragon, grimacing.
Gareth: “You made me do this as a test, didn’t you?”
Dante said with a bright smile.
Gareth: “Did it really have to be that extreme?”
He started laughing.
Gareth: “You know you’re an asshole, right?”
I broke a grin.
Dante tossed the Atlas into the back seat, kicking the engine into gear as laughter tumbled from his throat.
Dante: “You know what? I think you just became my new friend, cavallo.” Elise: “I wasn’t sure how long to wait to tell you I’m here, but in case you came here to jerk off, I figured I’d better speak up.” Dante: “Seems like you want to see my dark side. But I wouldn’t encourage that. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it.”
Elise: “Like your dick?”
she smirked and I bit down on a grin.
Dante: “Yeah, carina. And once you feel it, you can’t un-feel it.”
Elise: “Well I wouldn’t get much done with my day if that was the case.”
I laughed and she blew a bubble with her gum, the scent of cherries popping under my nose.
Elise: “So what do you do in here? I’m guessing from the clothes stash you come here a lot?”
Dante: “Well it involves copious amounts of Vampire porn and several tubes of lube.” Dante: “Well your father was a fucking idiot to give you up. If you were ever mine to protect, I’d keep you close and never let go.”
Elise: “You know I don’t need that,”
she whispered and I leaned in to press a gentle kiss to her forehead.
Dante: “I know, carina. But the earth would still turn whether the moon was watching or not. Maybe she likes the company though.” Cindy Lou’s laughter rang out and I turned to face her across the magnolia tiles as she slapped a hand across her mouth.
Cindy Lou: “I’m so sorry, Elise,”
she gasped falsely as her friends Amira and Helga tittered.
Cindy Lou: “I lost control of my fire magic and burned your things. I guess you’ll just have to shoot back to your room before anyone sees you!”
I pursed my lips. She was right; I could shoot back to my room with my Vampire speed like a whipped little bitch and let her see me run from her with flaming cheeks. But there were a lot of things Cindy Lou didn’t know about me and one of them was where I came from. When your mom was a stripper you grew up without a fear of naked flesh. I’d spent my evenings and weekends hanging out with people wearing nothing but their birthday suits for as long as I could remember. I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of flinching away from showing mine.
Elise: “Don’t worry about it, sweetie. I’ve got more clothes back in my room. I just hope you manage to learn how to contain your Element before graduation. It’s pretty embarrassing that you still haven’t got it pegged down yet.” Dante: “Why would you want to sit with that stronzo?”
Elise: “Well I’m walking with you aren’t I? So maybe assholes are my thing.” Dante: “I was born into this life, carina. Being an Oscura isn’t just something you can claim by name alone. I was forged into the man I am with blood and steel. My father trained me in everything I’d need to survive in my role as the leader of my people. The things I’ve done aren’t the kinds of things nice girls want to hear about.”
I looked up at him in surprise, wondering if he was really so blind that that was all he saw when he looked at me.
Elise: “Look a little closer, Dante, I’m not a nice girl. And being a Callisto was never a walk in the park either. Your father may have forged you into the man you are, but I built myself up into the woman I am. Each cut and every scar only toughened my skin. Every break and fracture only steeled my determination. And everything I’ve lost has only strengthened my soul. I won’t flinch at the worst of you because there is no best of me anymore.”
Elise: “Aren’t you supposed to say something about how pretty I look?”
She coiled a lock of lilac hair around her finger, swinging her hips as she put on an overly girlish expression.
Ryder: “You don’t look pretty. You look like the most lethal poison I’ve ever seen. It’s fucking divine.” Leon: “Are you ready for your surprise, little monster?”
I whispered in Elise’s ear as she ground her ass against me on the dance floor. I was rock hard. She knew it. I knew it. Even the band knew it. And I was definitely down with that. We’d had several drinks and I’d fetched them all. Like a damn saint.
Elise: “If it’s your dick, it’s not much of a surprise,”
Elise said, sliding her hand around the back of my neck as her ass ground into me again.
Fuck. Me. Sideways. I didn’t think I’d ever been this hot for a girl before. I was doing stuff for her. Actual nice gestures. It didn’t make any sense, but it felt like a freaking rollercoaster ride I didn’t wanna get off of.
Leon: “Damn, I tied a ribbon around it and everything,”
I joked and she laughed, her tits rising and falling with every note of the song that was playing. I gripped her waist and flipped her around, grinning mischievously.
Elise: “Hm, well if there is a ribbon…”
She bit her lip, her eyes dancing with the game.
Leon: “Finish your sentence,”
I commanded and she laughed again, pressing a hand to my chest and tip-toeing up to speak into my ear. Elise: “Maybe I want to untie it with my teeth.”
Dammit, why didn’t I go with the dick ribbon idea?
Why did he have to talk? I liked looking at his face when there wasn’t any noise coming out of it.
#neighbor #mates #secretidentity #friendswithbenefits #squad #dark #reverseharem