Friday, August 15, 2014

First to Burn (Immoratal Vikings #1) by Anna Richland - Book Blast, Review and Giveaway

First to Burn
The Immortal Vikings #1
By: Anna Richland
Released Jan 27th, 2014
Carina Press

A Soldier with Secrets. 
Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He's trusted the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands Wulf in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.
A Doctor with Questions. 
Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She's determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won't allow his sexy smile to distract her.
An Enemy with Nothing to Lose. 
Even as Theresa's investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf dreams of love and a normal life with her. But the lost Viking relic needed to reverse his immortality is being hunted by another—an ancient enemy who won't hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.

Wulf’s internal clock passed nineteen hours fifty-five minutes. He didn’t lurk next to the ready room door, but his team sensed not to get between him and the knob. He would answer when she knocked. At three minutes before eight, he heard two taps. He snapped the waistband of his army running shorts and counted to five before opening the door.
He hadn’t been this close to Captain Chiesa in a workout uniform since the first day in the gym. A benevolent deity had issued her the smaller size T-shirt, and she hadn’t swapped it for the gray garbage sack most females wore.
She cleared her throat.
Remembering his manners, he looked at her face. Fuck. She was frowning. He beckoned her and Mir into the room. “Welcome to our humble abode.”
Inside the door, Mir slipped off her sandals and barreled across the room to throw herself on a stack of embroidered pillows, but Theresa paused. “This is your ready room?”
“Expecting camo netting?” Rugs on the plywood surfaces showcased the colors and textures of the Silk Road. On the walls, birds with black-and-gold tails cavorted with deer in shades of brown, while geometric red-and-black designs softened the floor.
“Wondering what it keeps you ready for.”
Before he could reply, Kahananui dimmed half the lights and announced, “Aloha, ma’am. Thanks for bringing our buddy. And now Cinderella is about to begin.”
As Theresa bent to untie her running shoes, her black nylon shorts stretched across her ass like plastic wrap on cherry pie.
Fuck good manners. He stared.
Quiet, stifling as a sandpit, descended on the room until she shifted position to tuck her butt to her heels. She lowered her head, too, but not before he spotted the red color spread across her cheeks. Shit. She’d realized where every last eye had been plastered. His frown whipped the circle. Immediate conversations about the Yankees, whether frozen fish retained its texture in the mess and Cruz’s daily hypothetical—would you rather wake up as the Terminator or Linda Hamilton—where did he get those?—filled the dead air.
Her eyes and posture had the awkward, blinking innocence of a colt, as if she might leap to her feet and stagger away, so he’d let her come to him. Instead of pointing to the pillows and low table he’d chosen, he summarized the movie plot in Pashto and told Mir where to sit. The nine-year-old grinned and grabbed Theresa by the hand as Wulf brought over the coffee tray.
Good girl, he wanted to say, but the other guys understood enough of the language to catch him out, and they’d had his number since the cafeteria weeks ago. “Your beverage service, ma’am.” He said Theresa’s title as if it were an endearment, not a barrier. To a man who’d stolen Ottoman princesses, higher rank was not an obstacle.
She laid three bags of cookies on the table before she lowered herself to the pillows, but her spine didn’t bend until Mir hugged her. He’d send the kid home with reams of paper and every government Skilcraft pen in camp to start her own school if she remained on his side.
When he lifted the silver coffeepot, someone with a death wish snickered, but the modern custom of flashing a middle finger solved that.
The opening credits hadn’t finished before someone called, “Sarge, pass a cookie?”
Reaching across Mir to the bags in front of Theresa, he slipped a slice of nut and raisin roll onto a napkin and handed it away.
            “Wulfie, dude, me too.” This request came from the other side of the room.
This time he handed a cranberry chocolate chip concoction past her. Inches from his forearm, her breasts rose as she inhaled and held her breath, but he mustered his self-control. If he brushed them, even with the outside of his arm, he suspected she’d flee.
“Over here, Sarge.” The team was having too much fun.
“Don’t make me teach you manners tomorrow.” Although he didn’t mind being the butt of a joke—he’d pin them on a gym mat until they whimpered—Theresa had sunk lower and hunched her shoulders as the needling continued.
            “Yeah, knock it off, you puky wahines.” Kahananui jumped to his rescue. “You’re worse than my six-year-old. I want to hear the frigging mice.”
Immersing herself in the story despite the language barrier, Mir flipped to her stomach and slid under the low table until her head came out the other side. And when she did, the feeble obstacle her presence had provided between Theresa and him disappeared.
            He knew how to hunt. How to stalk. How to capture. He could cover the space to Theresa in one move, but it was smarter to bide his time. He shifted his hip, placed his coffee on the table and shifted again to recline. Here the carpet radiated warmth, as if she’d withdrawn only a moment before. They were close enough now that although their bare legs didn’t touch, his skin vibrated with awareness.
When the stepsisters attacked Cinderella and shredded the mouse-made gown, Theresa tensed.
He took the opening and slipped his hand over hers.
Her hand turned and squeezed as, on-screen, pearls flew and the frenzied sisters continued the mugging.
Closing his eyes, he blocked out the princess-erella so he could absorb the feel of a real woman’s fingers. His thumb traced her knuckles. Like a miracle, her thumb returned the circle on his palm. He opened his senses to her, but the syrupy blonde and squeaky rodents intruded. At least tonight Kahananui hadn’t picked Sleeping Beauty. Last week that dragon had given him a nightmare. Even after he woke, he’d had sulfur and charred horse meat in his nose and Jurik’s name caught in his throat. He’d tried to joke about his thrashing by blaming Kahananui’s socks on the end of the bunk, but it had been the fire breather. Jurik had burned while the girl ran the wrong way, ran at the beast, too fast to catch when he was hampered by chain mail.
Theresa tugged her hand. His memories had caused him to squeeze too hard.
When he loosened his grip, the next step came easily in the dark. He trailed her shaking fingers across his lips, a light brush as he inhaled. Chocolate cookies and coffee perfumed her palm, better than harem attar. Her scent replaced the vile smoke of his memory. The rustle of her nylon running shorts replaced the screams. Then the skin above her socks branded his knee, a brand that howled my woman touched here. His imagination soared with the movie waltz.
Behind him someone coughed, a throat-clearing hack that sounded like his name.
“Hah-chh-out,” someone else sneezed. Watch out, they meant.
Touching Theresa was boneheaded for at least fifty reasons. He dropped her hand.
As Cinderella dashed down the steps to escape being unmasked, the music’s shift to desolation mirrored his feelings. He didn’t want to leave these brother warriors, and whenever he chased a woman, discovery followed. Women never let details pass unnoticed. No matter how much he yearned to whisper her name and feel its shape on his tongue, he couldn’t. If he pursued Theresa, he’d end up alone on the side of the road like this cartoon girl. Doctors asked questions and collected data, yet he’d touched one willingly, as eager as a dog to feel her fingers ruffle his hair, as needy as that round mouse.
No. Pushing to his feet, he staggered to the fridge. He’d found a home with the best men he’d ever fought alongside. They’d have to be enough. A few men turned at the white glow as he grabbed a bottle, but most stayed engrossed in the movie as the mice stole a key.
The cold water froze his frontal lobe and unlocked his sanity. Real life never worked out cartoon perfect, but Wyrd offered men choices for a reason. Fate allowed him to shape his destiny. Tonight Kahananui or Deavers could escort Theresa home.
Tonight, like a thousand nights before, and ten thousand upon ten thousand before that, he would be alone.

Review / Personal Opinion

Great debut novel by Anna Richland!  

I love both military and paranormal romances, and this book delivered on both.  Wulf is an immortal warrior that fight in every war since the time of Beowulf.  He secret is kept by him military team meats, but is threatened when he is injured in Afghanistan.  Army captain and doctor Theresa Chiesa is curious as to why all medical paperwork related to Wulf has disappeared, and wants to get to the bottom of it.  The sexual tension between the two continues to grow as they both struggle to not give in to the attraction.  Wulf knows there is danger of Theresa discovering he is immortal because she is a doctor.  Theresa refuses to break the rules about fraternization.  Throw in a curse and an old enemy of Wulf's, and you get a story that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.  I'll be counting the days until the next book in the series is available!

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Anna Richland lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. Like the heroine of FIRST TO BURN, she joined the army to pay tuition, a decision that led to an adventurous career on four continents (if standing on the bridge in Panama that divides North and South America counts as two).
She donates a portion of her book proceeds to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.
To find out about her October novella, HIS ROAD HOME, and the next Immortal Vikings romance, THE SECOND LIE, visit her website at and sign up for her newsletter.



  1. Thanks so much for the review! In fact, it's only a few weeks until the next book is released! I have the novella HIS ROAD HOME coming out on October 13. It's hard to believe that's only eight weeks away. If you remember Sergeant Cruz, the flirty (but unsuccessful) guy on Wulf's Special Forces team, it's a story about him and how he finds love. So HIS ROAD HOME is a military homecoming story, and I think it's pretty emotional, but it's NOT a paranormal even though it has one of the minor characters from FIRST TO BURN in it.

    My next Immortal Vikings sequel - a full-on paranormal romantic suspense where more pieces of the quest to unravel the immortality get put together - is called THE SECOND LIE and it's out in January. It's finished, thankfully, but I haven't seen a cover yet. Hopefully it will be another Shirtless Cover Dude! I want a pair, just to bug my kids, if nothing else.