Night Huntress Read-Along: One Foot in the Grave

NightHuntRA.2.OFGWith the conclusion to the fabulous Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost coming in January, the girls and I took that as an excuse to re-read the entire Night Huntress series, with all the novellas and spin-offs (aka Night Prince and World books) in chronological order. Honestly, we really didn’t need an excuse, it is a great series after all, but why not celebrate this series by doing a read-along? So that’s what we’re doing and each week we’ll be posting a discussion of each novel.

Today is the day, the beginning of the end as we discuss the second novel, One Foot in the Grave. Haven’t read it yet? You can read the first 20% here.

One Foot in the GraveYou can run from the grave, but you can’t hide . . .

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She’s still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.

Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she’ll find that desire lasts forever . . . and that Bones won’t let her get away again.

With one of the hottest chapters out there, it’s very possible that you’ve already heard of One Foot in the Grave. How many times have you heard Chapter 32 and have heard everyone in a room sigh?

World/Society:

It’s been four years after the end of Halfway to the Grave and Cat has been working for Don Williams and his Homeland It’s been four years after the end of Halfway to the Grave and Cat has been working for Don Williams and his Homeland Security department focusing on crimes committed by the supernatural. She hasn’t seen or heard from Bones in all that time.

Cat’s boss, Don, has developed a miracle drug from vampire blood called Brams, in honor of the writer who’d made vampires famous.

Cat

Even though Cat hasn’t seen Bones in 4 years, she still loves him and misses him.

English accents held memories for me.

When first meets Liam Flannery (aka Ian), she’s sent to kill him per her orders, but as she’s about to finish it, he utters the one word that would make her stop.

“I thought if the Alexander didn’t kill me, nothing would…” Once Cat realizes that Liam is actually Ian, Bones’ sire, she couldn’t do it. Eventually it boiled down to one simple truth – I might have left Bones, but I couldn’t kill the person responsible for bringing him into my life.

Cat meets Noah when she accidentally hits a cat on her way over to Denises. This kitten ultimately turns into her trusty feline friend,

While working for Don, Cat goes by the name Cristine Russell. That was the name I went under now, another tribute to my lost love, since Bones’s human name had been Crispin Russell.

Cat ends up going on a first date with Noah when Denise bails on a movie the three of them were going to. Cat is not thrilled to be going.

I’ll go, but I’ll probably say something completely inappropriate and be home in an home.

When Cat sees Bones for the first time, she’s thrilled, but then wary.

Joy. Pure, unadulterated joy flooded me. I was actually about to spring forward and hurtle myself in his arms, when I stopped myself. What was Bones doing here? And why didn’t he look surprised to see me?

One of Cat’s biggest fears of having a relationship with Bones is eventually having to face growing old while he doesn’t. However, she never thinks that being half-vampire, that her lifespan may be a bit different than a typically humans.

“You’re half vampire. You’ve never been sick, your body heals at an inhuman rate, and you can’t catch any of the diseases that afflict the living population. Even poisons or drugs need to be administered in massive doses before they affect you, so what makes you think you would only live to an average age?”

Cat is considered a Master vampire, at least by Bones.

“You’ve seen her fight for years, so you’ve seen a Master vampire in action. She just also has a heartbeat.”

Cat may be a Master vampire, but since she was born, and not created, she’s not associated with any line.

“you weren’t changed – you were born, so no vampire’s ever claimed responsibility for you. THat makes you without a Master to defend you against any outside attack.”

Cat does not like Annette upon their first meeting. For one, Annette still has desires on Bones, which Cat does not approve of, and she causes quite a scene when she tries to come between the two. Instead of allowing Bones punish her, Cat gives him another option.

If you have any former-whore-turned-promiscuous-vampire tricks you’ve been holding back, well, bring them on. I only have one stipulation: You’d better outperform any service you gave to her or anyone else, because if I don’t wake up tomorrow red in the face from embarrassment at what you did to me, I’ll be disappointed.”

When Cat finally meets her father, Max, she’s stunned by the comparison.

His hair was crimson, just as bright and thick as my own. God, those eyes, silvery gray and exactly like mine He had high cheekbones, a full mouth, straight nose, strong jawline…Everything was identical to me but in masculine proportion. Even the way he stood was similar. It was like looking in a weird gender-bending mirror, and for a minute, all I could do was stare.

Bones

Bones finally finds Cat after meeting up with his friend Randy, after he spent an afternoon with Cat moving his furniture in with Denise.

It wasn’t until this week, after I’d accepted my position in his wedding, that he met me at a bar with your scent all over him. You’d helped him move furniture that day.

Bones makes his reappearance during Denise and Randy’s wedding. His presence catches Cat unawares, but Bones.

“So, then, why are you here?”

“Not happy to see me after all these years? Do you know why I wanted to catch you unawares?” So I could see your eyes, and know what you felt in that very instant.”

Bones has been looking for Cat since the day she left and wants his chance with her. Regardless of what it takes.

I’ve been looking for you every day since you left me, Kitten, and I’m sick of being without you. You’ve had your shot at things, now let me have mine.

In order to stay with Cat, who wants to remain with Don’s taskforce, Bones offers Don the one thing he wants.

I can give you what you’ve been secretly itching for ever since you started your little science project here.”

“And what do you think that is?” Don asked, openly skeptical.

“Vampires,” Bones responded. “You want to make your own vampires.”

Bones has a bond with Ian. They survived sailing to the Australian colonies while human, he was the one who turned Bones, and they’ve been friends ever since.

We learn what life became for Bones after he was turned by Ian, and how he evolved into a hitman for hire.

Bones has had a thing for Cat since the beginning and has quite a few fantasies involving her. When he’s giving the chance to act on some of those fantasies, well…

I am short on props, and there isn’t nearly enough time in one night to run through all the ways I’ve fantasized about taking you, but I promise you this…” His voice deepened. “You’ll be scandalized in the morning when you can think again.”

Supernatural Facts:

We find out about the wonders of vampire blood. That it can be a miracle drug when administered to humans.

After four years and a team of brilliant scientists, my boss, Don, had managed to filter through the components in undead blood to come up with a wonder drug. On regular humans, it repaired injuries such as broken bones and internal bleeding like magic.

Vampires in a nutshell:

their strengths (many!), weaknesses (few, and sunlight, crosses, and wooden stakes weren’t among them), Cain was the first vampire, …and how they lived in pyramidlike societies where the top vampire ruled over all the “children” they created.

When humans drink vampire blood, they become less susceptible to vampire mind control.

They have undead blood running in their veins. Like a remote control with low batteries, your signals aren’t getting through.

Drinking vampire blood can add years to a human’s normal lifespan. For instance, two pints of aged nosferatu would add 50 years; if someone were to continually drink vampire blood, they could extent their life quite a bit.

Vampires can fly. If a Master gets to be powerful enough and old enough, this is one of the perks.

Vampires are territorial and anyone they’ve bit and/or shagged becomes their property.

Vampires and ghouls are considered sister species as they are both created very similarly.

You know a vampire is born after a human is bleed to the point of death and then drinks deeply of vampire blood. Making a ghoul isn’t that dissimilar. You first mortally wound a human, then have him drink vampire blood, but not enough for him to live. After he dies, a ghoul takes the human’s heart and switches it with his own.

Supernatural Characters:

Cat’s father is a vampire named Max, who also happens to be Don’s brother. Max was sired by Ian. He is not exactly thrilled to be a father. Especially once he finds out that she’s strong enough to best Ian, his sire, and is gunning for him.

Max found her long before I did, but he kept that to himself. He’s been going behind your back for months, Ian, trying to murder her to protect his own miserable arse.

Mencheres is the vampire who sired Ian, is Bones’ fang granddaddy, and can measure his own life by millennia.

Mencheres looked no older than thirty. He had long black hair, charcoal-colored eyes, and a hawkishness to his nose, that combined with his finely tinted skin, suggested MIddle Eastern ethnicity. But it was his power level that flabbergasted me.

Mencheres can “see” things – visions/glimpses of the future. He’s also a telepath, which Cat finds out to her chagrin.

Shouldn’t you already know that, Miss Cleo?

Mencheres gave me such a look that I shifted uncomfortably. Jeez, I hadn’t said it aloud.

Bones sighed. “Kitten, I’m guessing I need to inform you that Mencheres can also read humans’ minds, and from his expression, half-breeds too.”

Uh on. I was so busted.

Annette is the first vampire Bones ever made and has also known him since before he was turned. It was by her favor that Bones was sent to the Australian colonies rather than hang for theft.

Her cool, patrician features screamed aristocracy, and her lightly lined skin had that trademakr glowing luminescence. Why couldn’t she be ugly? was my first thought. She looks like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Susan Sarandon.

Rodney, a ghoul, is back and helps Cat with her Ian situation. He’s also the ghoul who ends up bringing Dave back from the grave, as a ghoul.

Spade, Bones’ best friend, is also back to help.

Ian:

We meet Bones’ sire, Ian, for the first time, but we’re introduced to him as Liam Flannery. Cat’s first impression:

Flannery looked even better than the picture in his FBI file. His pale crystal flesh almost shimmered against the tan color of his shirt. LIam’s eyes were a clear turquoise, and his chestnut hair fell past his collar. Yep, he was pretty.

Upon meeting Cat for the first time, Ian notices that she looks familiar, giving us a clue that he might know who her father is.

It’s because of Ian that Cat hears about Bones for the first time in 4 years.

Ian had just confirmed what I hadn’t’t allowed myself to wonder. Bones was alive. Even if he hated me for leaving him, he was alive.

After meeting Cat and seeing her green eyes flare, Ian has decided he must have her. He’s enamored, of course. Ian’s a collector of rare things, and there’s no one rarer than you, my beautiful half-breed.”

Ian does have moments of humanity in when, especially when he gives Bones the chance to be his own Master.

Ian let out a resigned noise. “We’ve been together a long time, Crispin. It will feel odd not having you as one of my people.”

Ian’s relationship with Bones is often like that of brothers. You can even see this when Mencheres sides with Bones over their fight involving Cat.

“You have ever taken his side over mine!” Ian snapped, losing his quiet deference.

Bones rolled his eyes. “Not this again.”

Human Characters:

Cat meets Denise during one of her off nights and they instantly hit it off. Denise becomes Cat’s best, and in all honestly first, friend.

Denise knew what I did, and she knew what I was. One night while minding my own business, I’d come across a vamp trying to turn her neck into a Big Gulp. By the time I killed him, she’d already seen enough to know he wasn’t human. To her credit, she hadn’t screamed, fainted, or done any of the things a normal person would do. SHe’d simply blinked and said, “Wow. I owe you a beer, at least.”

Noah is the human vet that Cat takes her cat to when she first finds him (aka accidentally runs him over). After scheduling a re-check for the kitten, he asks her out.

We met Tate in Halfway to the Grave, but he’s become a major side character as he’s Cat’s second-in-command. He’s a counter balance to Cat:

Tate had been a sergeant in Special Forces before joining Don, and his years in the military showed. Follow orders, don’t question command decisions. It was what Don loved about him – and why I frustrated my boss so much, because my credo seemed to be the exact opposite.

Dave, a member of Cat’s inner circle, loses his life during a skirmish with vampires outside of Bones’ old cave in Ohio.

“Why did you listen to me and deploy that missile? He’d be alive now if you had.”

Juan touched my shoulder. “Dave wouldn’t do it, quierda. He said no way was he going to detonate. Said we’d get to drag your ass out for once.”

Cooper used to be an undercover narcotics agent before joining Cat’s team. He’s smart, fast, and ruthless. His first field assignment is the mission that results in Dave’s death. He views Cat as a freak, but eventually becomes to be a part of her inner circle.

“When I first heard what you were, I thought you were a freak.” His voice was matter-of-fact. “Or an accident of nature, a mistake – I don’t know. But I know this. You lead, and I’ll follow. Just like Dave did. He didn’t make a mistake by doing that.

Juan was caught doing something he shouldn’t and chose to work for Don and his department rather than spend 20 years behind bars. He’s a womanizer and flirts shamelessly with Cat.

Randy has known Bones for six months prior to meeting Cat.

Your man Randy I’ve known for six months. Long before Denise met him. Unusual bloke, don’t you agree? You know what his first words were to me, after we sat side by side for an hour in a bar? He said, “I hope this won’t be engraved on my headstone, but you haven’t breathed this whole time. Care to tell me how you do that?”

“He knows what you are?”

Bones nodded. “I gave him a peep of the eyes, you know, with the green lights on, and told him he hadn’t seen anything. He blinked at me the same way you just did and asked me if that was supposed to work.”

We find out that Don is in fact Cat’s uncle; his brother, Max, was the one who raped Justina and thus sired Cat.

“I now know just how Luke Skywalker felt when Darth Vader told him who he was, only you’re not my father. But you’re his brother!”

Plot:

We learn more about Cat’s natural father and his desire not to be a father. As such, there’s been a hit placed for Cat.

After meeting Ian for the first time, Cat becomes an object he must possess and he’s not one who takes no well. Bones hatches a plan to keep Cat out of Ian’s hands.

Favorite Quotes:

“Looks like I’m not the only one who’s frustrated, Mr. Optical Hard-on. Might want to tone your eyes down. People will notice.”

“Oh, Kitten…” His voice deepened. “Now you’re just daring me, aren’t you?”

“It would be better for everyone if you’d just stake yourself and die for good. If you really loved her, you’d do that.”

Bones gave her a jaded look and then let it rip. “You know what your problem is Justina? You’re in desperate need of a good shag.”

“You know the old saying. Once you go dead, no one’s better in bed.”

Juan gave Bones the most admiring look he’d bestowed on him yet.
“You talked her into going without panties all these years? Madre de Dios, now that’s impressive. I could learn a great deal from you, amigo.”

“And that, Annette, is called Pilates,” I said, giving an exaggerated stretch.

“And there is my payment, the rubies in your cheeks. Are you properly scandalized by your wicked behavior?”

“You worthless piece of shit, you’re about to do the first, last, and only thing you’ve ever done for me as a father, because there’s someone in my life who means more to me than even killing you. Congratulations, scum. You just gave away the bride.”

At my nod, he slowly stood up. “I hate cemeteries. Let’s get the fuck out of here.”

Discussion:

If this is your first time reading One Foot in the Grave, what did you think? If you’ve read it before, what was it that made it an instant hit for you?  What was your favorite scene/quote? Besides Chapter 32? *grin*

If you’re as hooked as we are, we’ll be discussing the third novel, At Grave’s End, next Monday!

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.