Updated: Jan 19
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Jennifer L Armentrout
Book 1 in A Wicked Trilogy
Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.
Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.
Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.
But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy #UrbanFantasy Action-Packed
Violence #Romance Sexy
Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout is the first book in A Wicked Trilogy, and centers around Ivy Morgan, a 22 year old college student and a member of the Order, which consists of people born and raised to see past glamour, and hunt down the fae, and either send them back to the otherworld, or killing them. All is normal in Ivy's life, until an encounter with a fae who defied all she knew of the fae, leaving her with a gunshot would. While put off duty, she is assigned to show Ren Owens around, a new member of their guild. Both infuriating and hot, he easily gets under her skin. But while they are investigating the fae, something big is brewing.
Random thought ... but the cover is misleading, right? I honestly thought I was about to jump into a series about Siren's and mermaids (which would be a first for me, by the way), but nope. Fae. What's with the couple (that I assume is Ivy and Ren) in the water? Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
It took me a little bit to get into Wicked. It was a little slow to build up action, but once it did, it was steady. Any time I start a supernatural series, I become hesitant, because there is that dear that it will be cheesy, and Wicked isn't cheesy in the least. I really enjoyed it, and not just for the romance and sex, but the story itself. It's the first hunter/hunted book I have read that the hunters were straight up humans, who train to fight, which gives the book a touch more danger. That being said, the romance aspect is fun and all kinds of sexy. The interactions between Ivy and Ren will make you laugh and melt. There is Ivy's friends as well, most notable being Tink, a brownie that Ivy nursed back to health, and secretly lets him live with her (technically she was supposed to send him back to the otherworld). Tink adds a level of humor to this book like nothing else.
Ivy is a likable enough character. She pushes people away, but her reasoning is just. Unlike in other books, we are not beaten over the head with her issues (which stem from the trauma of losing her entire family, and boyfriend), and it's not dragged out. It's not instantaneous. Ivy coming to terms with her loss, the guilt she deals with, takes time, but she finds some semblance of peace. She is also an example of Jennifer Arsentrout's special brand of kick ass female heroines. Strong, smart, motivated, and brave, Ivy is a good role model for young women. Ren is an instant charmer. He is full of flirt, charm, and wit, which leads to some hilarious banter between the feisty Ivy and himself. Total romantic. Strong and capable. When he knows what he wants, he goes for it.
Wicked is an action packed, sexy, and enjoyable read. The story line with the fae was interesting, the chemistry between Ren and Ivy was scorching, and their growing feelings for one another helped propel the story when the action was lacking. Throw in an amazon-prime, cake-baking Brownie with an attraction to troll dolls and enough sass to rival any six foot human, and you have a winner. While there were some parts for me that were a touch predictable (like who the traitor is, and who the halfling is), I can't wait to read the next book and get answer to some questions I was left with.
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Val: "Don't you have something else to add to that?"
Ivy: "Gimmie ... my precious?"
Ivy: "I like boys. And can we not tlak about boys or swinging both ways or helping me out? Because this conversation is going to lead to the lack of orgasms in my life and how I need to get naked with some random dude, and I'm not really in the mood to talk about that."
The fae I spotted outside of a bar on Bourbon Street reminded me of Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. Which was made of suck since I was going to have to kill him.
Harris: "Who is it? I can't tell who it is on the monitor and I ain't got my glasses on."
Green Eyes met my gaze again, and that grin spread across his face. Dammit. He had a matching set when it came to dimples.
Green Eyes: "How would I know? But she kind of looks like that chick from the movie Brave. You know, the one with the really curly red hair."
What. In. The. Hell.
Green Eyes: "She's got really pretty blue eyes, though."
Though. Though? As if that somehow made up for the act that I had frizzy red hair like a Disney character.
Ivy: "Don't touch me."
Green Eyes: "Not something I usually hear from the ladies, but your wish is my command."
Ivy: "Bite me, and I will bury you alive in a shoebox."
Ivy: "You wouldn't lie to me, would you, Tink?"
Tink: "No. You have Amazon Prime."
Ivy: "Good to know how I can secure your loyalty."
Tink: "Don't get addicted to those. I don't want to be roomies with a junkie because then you'll move on to harder shit and end up doing bath salts and eating my face off."
Tink: "You're not going out to work, are you?"
I shook my head
Ivy: "I'm just heading out. I won't be late."
Tink: "I don't believe you. You're up to shenanigans! I can tell."
Ivy: "Wan me to bring back some beignets?"
Tink's eyes widened and a look of childlike glee crept into his expression.
Tink: "Would you? For me? A while plate for me? All mine? Not yours?"
I rolled my eyes
Ivy: "Yes, Tink."
Tink: "From Cafe Du Monde?"
Tink: "Then get the hell out of my face and get going!"
Ren: "I'm a lot of things, but today I'm your fucking saving grace."
Ivy: "Wow. You're so incredibly modest. Let me back you some damn cookies."
That grin turned into a smile that I could easily see stopping hearts across the nation.
Ren: "I like sugar cookies. With extra sugar sprinkled on top."
Ivy: "Oh, go fu-"
Jo Ann: "You look like crap today."
Ivy: "Thanks. I feel even better now."
Ivy: "If you don't let me go, you're going to regret it."
Ren: "Jesus, is this going to happen every time we meet?"
Ivy: "If you keep doing shit like this, then yes!"
Before he moved, I placed the very pointy end over a very important artery.
Ivy: "Role reversal, bitch."
Ren: "That move was really kind of hot."
I narrowed my eyes
Ren: "You really are Merida."
Ivy: "Who the hell is Merida?"
One side of his mouth kicked up again
Ren: "The chick from the movie Brave with -"
Ivy: "The frizzy red hair. Got it. Thanks. I'm seriously going to stab you."
Ren: "She didn't have frizzy hair. And besides, she was hot."
I stared down at him.
Ivy: "You think a Disney character is hot?"
Ren: "Have you seen some of those Disney characters?"
Ivy: "She was not hot. She's like the least hot of all Disney characters."
His brows lifted.
Ren: "She could kick ass, therefore she was hot."
Ivy: "Are you hitting on me? Are you for real?"
Ren: "My momma probably thinks I'm real."
I ignored that
Ivy: "While I have a stake at your throat?"
Ren: "You're also sitting on me, and sweetness, if you slide about an inch or so down, things are going to get real awkward. Or fun."
Ren dipped his head again, and before I could process what he was doing, he swooped in and pressed his lips to my cheek. I jerked back and stared up at him.
Ivy: "What in the hell?"
A wicked grin appeared
Ren: "You looked like you could use one."
Ivy: "I looked like I could use a kiss on the cheek?"
Ren: "Yeah. Everyone could used a kiss on the cheek once in a while. Plus, the expression you make when you're confused is fucking adorable."
Ren: "You going to let go of my shirt? I mean, you don't have to, but you keep tugging on my shirt like that, I'm going to get all kinds of naughty ideas that I will, without a doubt, act on."
For such a large guy, he moved as if he was made of air. Actually everything about the way he moved was fascinating to watch.
Or I really, seriously, just needed to get laid.
Then the worst possible thing in the history of mankind and beyond burst out of my mouth.
Ivy: "Do you have a girlfriend?"
Holy shit balls on Sundays, I did not just ask that. Ren looked over his shoulder at me, one eyebrow arched. I did ask that. Those words really did come out of my mouth and I wanted to main myself, but I wanted to hear his answer.
Ren's grin was like dark chocolate, smooth and rich.
Ren: "Not yet."
Tink: "You left the house with him even after he obviously broke in. I'm telling you what, you females are freaks. Guys break in and you all swoon like B&E is a desirable trait. Females of my kind? If you did that they'd eat you for dinner. And not in the fun way."
Tink: "Let's talk about sex."
Rolling my eyes, I walked away.
Tink: "Sex is good!"
Ivy: "Shut up, Tink."
Tink: "Sex is fun!"
I shook my head
Ivy: "The only thing you're having sex with is inanimate objects, so what do you know?"
He ignored me
Tink: "Sex is best when it's one on one!"
Ivy: "Isn't that a George Michael song?"
Tink: "Maybe. But he was wrong. I like to think sex is best when it's like three on three or something. Seems more adventurous."
Ivy: "Whatever. Goodnight, Tink."
Val: "You likie? Because I'd like to get me a piece of that, but only if you're not interested."
I opened my mouth to say no but nothing came out. Nothing. Not a no or a yes. Nothing.
Val: "Oh my God, you're interested in him? You want him to set your panties on fire."
Ivy: "I really don't want my undies for catch on fire. At all."
Ren: "You bake? You bake chocolate cake that's apparently the best in the whole world for half senile old guy?"
Ivy: "Um, yeah. I do. Baking ... is like a hobby.
Ren: "And why haven't I been offered any cake?"
Ivy: "You're going to have to get to know me better before you taste my cake."
Ren: "Was that an invitation? Because I'm willing to get to know you in any way possible if that means I get to taste your cake."
Ivy: "Invitation for ..."
Oh my God. My words replayed. My face turned crimson.
Ivy: "You are such a pervert!"
I smacked his chest hard
Ivy: "That's not what I meant."
Ren: "That's a damn shame then."
I hit him again, on the arm this time, then stormed around him.
Ivy: "You're such a dog."
Tipping his head back, he laughed loudly and deeply, and in spite of my embarrassment, my lips formed a wry grin.
Ren: "I really do want to taste the cake - the real cake. Well, I'd also love to taste your cake, too."
Ivy: "If you stop talking about cake in general, I promise I will get you a slice of cake. And I won't stab you."
Ren: "You'd stab me?"
Ivy: "Even after giving me a rose."
Ren: "Okay. Deal. No more cake."
Ren: "I don't think I've met anyone like you."
Ivy: "Sounds like a bad thing."
Ren: "It's a good thing. I think."
I bristled at his commanding tone, switching the helmet to one arm and flipping him off with my free hand
Ren laughed, the skin crinkling around his eyes
Ivy: "I don't like you."
Ren: "Don't lie. I know better. You might not want to, but you like me."
Hiding the fact that he' been unerringly observant, I smirked at him
Ivy: "You are grossly mistaken."
He hooked his fingers through the loop in my jeans and tugged me forward. Balancing the bike with just his legs, he reached up with his other arm and curled his fingers around the nape of my neck.
My breath caught as my eyes widened. I almost dropped the helmet as he guided my head to his. Too shocked to resist, I found myself staring into his eyes, out mouths so close I could feel his warm breath dancing over my lips. He didn't take his eyes off mine as he shifted his head. His lips brushed the curve of my cheek, and my pulse thundered with excitement and dismay. I didn't want him to kiss me. Or did? His breath tickled the spot just below my ear, and the muscles low in my stomach clenched. I shivered. Okay, maybe I did want him to kiss me. Ren's lips swept over the line of my cheek and his nose brushed mine.
Ren: "I bet you have the softest pair of lips out there. And I bet you taste sweet - sweeter than one of those beignets you've got me addicted to. But you got one hell of a bite - a kick to that sweetness. It'll be rough getting in there, and you're going to fight it every step of the way, but it'll be smooth once I'm there. You like me."
Letting go, he smiled up at me, that angelic face a picture of innocence.
Ren: "You just aren't ready to admit it."
All I could think as I gawked at him was, what an observant son of a bitch.
Ivy: "Jesus! How would you like it if I just went around and started pulling up your shirt?"
He paused, raising both brows
Ren: "I'd fucking love it."
Tink: "You look like you're going out trolling for sex. Like the dirty, nasty kind tht ends up with a wide array of STDs."
I left the bathroom, and Tink let out a low whistle
Tink: "If you were a foot tall, I'd be all over you."
Ivy: "So I don't look like I'm going to end up with an STD later?"
Tink: "You still kind of do, but one that goes away with treatment. Not the gift that keeps on giving kind of STD."
Ren: "What was that?"
A very dead brownie if he didn't knock it off
Ivy: "I ... I have a cat. It probably knocked something over."
Ren: "You have a cat?"
Ivy: "Yeah, a really annoying cat. It's old. Gonna die soon. I've been thinking about getting it euthanized, you know, to put it out of its misery."
The thumping noise came again, and my lips pursed as I inhaled deeply through my nose
Ren: "Don't knock the music, sweetness. We're off to such a great start tonight. I'd hate to have to kick you out of the truck."
Ren: "You're doing good, but I know you can do better."
Ren: "Dancing. You own a dress like that, I know you can move that body."
Ivy: "I am moving my body."
He glanced behind me
Ren: "You're just moving side to side."
Ivy: "Screw. You."
My fingers found the hair at the nape of his neck. I tugged with just enough force to cause his eye to open wide.
I smiled innocently up at him but immediately regretted it when he dipped his mouth to my neck.
Ren: "That was naughty. And I liked it."
Ivy: "I didn't need your permission."
Ren: "Honey, I know what you need and you're going to get it."
Ren: "Yeah. Okay. Then how do you explain your panties being so wet they were practically drenched? I bet I could taste you on my fingers right now. But you were pretending? Then that sweetness between your thighs must be one hell of an actress."
I didn't even think.
Stepping forward, I swung at him. No bitch slap either. My closed fist was heading for that jaw. Unfortunately, he was too fast for that. He caught my wrist before my first connected.
Ren: "That's not nice. No reason to be violent and a liar."
Ren: "I'm going to try to be the good guy here."
A shaky laugh burst out of me
Ivy: "I think ... you are failing at that."
Ren: "Nah. If I wasn't trying, I'd have these tiny panties ..."
he trailed his hand up, under the band along my bottom, causing me to gasp
Ren: "... down by your ankles, and I would be so deep inside you, right here, against a goddamn cement beam."
Ivy: "Can you meet me at the shopping center on Prytania Street? There's something I want you to do with me."
Ren: "If I told you the images and thoughts flashing through my head right now, you'd probably hang up on me."
Ivy: "What ... what was that for?"
Ren: "It was a just-because kiss. Get used to it. You're going to get a lot of them."
Ivy: "What if I don't want them?"
He looked over his shoulder, arching a brow
Ren: "You want them."
I sighed. I did want them.
Ivy: "Am I doing this right?"
Ren: "Fuck, Ivy. You're doing it perfect. Anything you do is going to be right. Anything."
Tink: "No. That can't ... well, nothing is impossible. I mean, look at you. You spent all of Sunday with a guy, and I never thought that would happen."
David: "First off, that's not a huge surprise. We've had situations before where the fae fed off humans who were police. And most importantly, I'm surprised you've actually seen a fae since you've been here, because boy, I'm pretty sure the only think you've been concentrating on since you got here is how to get in that girl's pants."
Val: "Oh my word."
My jaw dropped, but it was the eerily calm smile that graced Ren's lips that concerned me greatly.
Ren: "Now that's an unjust observation, David. I can multitask."
Ren: "First off, Ivy, I do want that from you. Always. Hell, it's what I've been thinking about since the first time you took a swing at me."
Ivy: "That's ... kind of demented."
Ren: "Can I keep you?"
Ivy: "I've lost everyone I loved. I've lost everyone."
Ren: "Do you really ever lose anyone, Ivy? They may be gone, but they still exist."
He brought my hands to his chest, above his heart
Ren: "They still live here. They always will."
I started to pull away, but he clasped my upper arms
Ivy: "Ren ..."
Ren: "I'm still here. You haven't lost me."
Ivy: "But what if -"
Ren: "Sweetness, you can't hold your life back on a bunch of what ifs. Who the hell knows what could happen? Either one of us could walk out of this house and get struck my lightning, or both of us could live until we're ninety. Tomorrow we could die or we could come back here. We don't know. But we're both here right now and that's all that matters. The right now."
Ivy: "The right now?"
Ren: "Yeah. Right now. We're both here. That's all that matters, and I can't promise that I'm not going anywhere, but I'm going to try damn hard not to. That is one thing I'm going to tell you to trust."
Ivy: "Don't let me go."
Ivy: "You're blushing, Renald."
Ren: "Oh, you call me that again, and I will turn you over my knee and spank you."
Ren: "You're fucking adorable."
Ivy: "Shut up."
Ren: "You're as adorable as a -"
Ivy: "If you say a Disney character, I will kick you out of this bed."
Throwing a leg over mine, he buried his head under my chin, kissing my neck.
Ren: "I'm not going anywhere. You're going to have to pry me from between those even more pretty thighs."
Ivy: "Oh my God."
Ren: "True story."
Ren: "You owned me with just one kiss. I just want you to know that."
Tink: "I wasn't doing anything!"
Ren: "You were in her kitchen. Eating her Frosted Flakes. What in the actual fuck?"
Tink: "I always eat her cereal! And you're naked. You're completely naked!"
Ivy: "What are you doing, Ren?"
He sent me a dubious look
Ren: "I was going to make you breakfast, but I found this little freak in your kitchen."
Tink: "You were going to make her breakfast while naked? Your junk out and everything?"
Ivy: "I'm sorry. I should've warned you -"
Tink: "You should've warned me. I'm the one who had to see his dong swinging around -"
Ivy: "Tink! Okay. I can explain everything, but I need you to let him go, and you should ... um, put some pants on."
Tink: "I second that."
Tink: "You got some last night. You hussy."
I turned my glare on him
Ivy: "What were you doing? You have to know he was here."
Tink: "Oh. I know! I heard him. I didn't think he'd stay the night. One night stands don't stay the night!"
Ren: "Not a one night stand, asshole!"
My heart got all happy about that, but then Tink lowered his voice
Tink: "Him? Really? You decide to dust the cobwebs off and you do it with him?"
Ivy: "Nothing is wrong with him, you little jackass."
Tink: "I'm the jackass? He manhandled me! While he was naked!"
Ren: "Do you have any idea how powerful brownies can be? Do you have an inkling of what is living in your home?"
Ivy: "He's really good at cleaning the house."
Ren stared at me
Ren: "So you basically have a pet brownie?"
Ivy: "I wouldn't necessarily call him a pet."
He was more expensive than a pet.
Ivy: "I couldn't tell you how I knew. If I did, then well, I would have to tell everyone about Tink, and as much as I want to punt kick him across the room sometimes ..."
Tink: "Uh. Love you too."
Grabbing a scarf off the chair, I threw it at him. He caught it, clutching it to his chest as he flew into the air.
Tink: "You gave Tink a scarf. Tink is free!"
He flew out into the hallway like a little cracked-out fairy, screeching
Tink: "Tink is freeeee!"
Ren looked at me
Ren: "What in the actual fuck?"
Ivy: "He's obsessed with Harry Potter. I'm sorry."
Tink: "There is no reason to apologize when it comes to Harry Potter."
Ivy: "You do remember what happened to Dobby, right?"
Tink's eyes widened and then he dropped the scarf
Tink: "Fuck that shit. I'm hungry. Someone - no name mentioned - ruined my breakfast. So I'll be in the kitchen. I got my eyes on you, buddy."
Ren lifted a brow
Ren: "God, you're beautiful when you're not smiling, but when you are? Fucking breathtaking."
Ivy: "How bad do I look?"
Ren: "You never looked better."
Ivy: "You're such a liar. I can feel how much of a hot mess I am right now."
He raised my hand to his lips and kissed the center of my palm
Ren: "You're here. I don't care how you look. Not when I though I'd lost you."
Ivy: "Did you think you'd get rid of me that easily?"
Ren: "Honey, that's the last thing I ever want."
Check out the rest of A Wicked Trilogy, and the novellas below!