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Friday, April 18, 2014

Review & Excerpt: Coping by J. Bennett

Title: Coping
Author: J. Bennett
Series: Girl With Broken Wings #1.5
Publication: June 24th 2012
Publisher: Endeavor Writing
Source: Author
Genre: Paranormal
Audience: 18+

This exciting follow-up to Falling (Book one of the Girl With Broken Wings series) finds Maya intent on joining her half-brothers in their secret war against the genetically-enhanced killers that call themselves angels. Still trying to cope with her new abilities and the hunger that threatens to overwhelm her, Maya may be more of a hindrance than a help to her brothers as they take on a new mission and make a grisly discovery.
Coping is a fast-paced novella that brings readers back into Maya’s darkly-humorous world where angels are not the good guys, the heroes don’t wear tights, and getting in over your head just means it’s Tuesday. Join Maya, Gabe and Tarren for more blood, bullets, and Chuck Norris jokes in Coping.

My Thoughts:  This is a fast-paced read that leaves you wanting more. Maya is trying to deal with her new identity and to prove to her brothers that she is an important asset in Angel hunting. Her relationship with her brothers continues to develop. Gabe treats her as if she has always been in his life while Tarren remains cautious of her. Maya's emotional state continues to pull at the heartstrings as she deals with her losses. 

Read my review of Falling here. Visit our blog next month for my review of Landing.

We make it to Poughkeepsie in late morning of the third day on the road. Turns out that Poughkeepsie is a quaint, pretty town right next to a thick vein of dark water, the Hudson River. We’re all tired and achy, and Gabe finds us a room at a rundown inn.

There’s no time for rest. The brothers hash out a quick plan, deciding to case the targeted house in the morning and then return for the kill at night if Hendricks proves to be present. We each take a turn in the shower, throw on a new change of clothes and then it’s back to the SUV, which stinks of our bodies and the food the brothers have eaten on the road.

At least the sky is clear, and the sun is streaming down, soaking into my skin and soothing my raw hunger.

We push out of Poughkeepsie, turning onto increasingly smaller, older roads, until we are bumping over potholes, and spindly branches tap against our windows. Individual houses crop up every couple of miles or so. I focus on the energy of my brothers, amazed at how tight and locked each are. Ready for action. The opposite of the jittery nervousness and uncertainty that is the clay of Maya.

When we hit a dirt track, Tarren carefully pulls off the road.

“How far out?” he asks Gabe.

“Bout three quarters of a mile.”

“We walk from here. Our cover is that we’re hikers.”

I get out and shade my eyes. Summer isn’t leaving New York without a fight. The air is hot and heavy enough to mix with a wooden spoon. A high chorus of insects thrums through the thick woods on either side. I feel hemmed in by these large trunks. It’s definitely giving me a B-horror movie vibe.

“You might want to go hang with Tarren for a bit,” Gabe says as he jumps out of the passenger seat. “I’ve got ta’ shake a leg if you know what I mean.”

“It was only a twenty minute drive,” I tell him.

“Yeah, well, I gotta go again. So sue me.” He turns and unzips. I beat feet to the other side of the car and cover my ears. Tarren pulls open the hatch and leans in to collect gear. He sees me, peers over to Gabe’s side of the car and shrugs.

When I deem it safe and uncover my ears, Tarren says, “The downside of enhanced hearing, huh?” His mouth quirks up in a short smile.

“Yeah, I guess,” I reply. This is weird, us bonding, and I think Tarren recognizes it to, because the smile comes off his face, and it’s almost like it was never there at all. He goes extra solider, his back cranking a little straighter.

“I want to go do the recon with you,” I tell him and try to sound self-assured. “This enhanced hearing,” I tap my ear, “could come in handy.”

Tarren doesn’t say anything for a moment, and I know his mind is churning over all the possibilities, weighing the benefits of my enhanced senses with the negatives of him thinking that I’m a total screw up.

“Okay,” he says softly, though there’s still a hint of mistrust in his features.

“Really?” I can’t squelch my surprise.

“We have a deal,” Tarren reminds me. Oh yeah. Tarren trains me to fight, and I don’t tell Gabe that Tarren’s the reason Grand found out about my existence.

Still zipping up, Gabe comes around.

“We camouflage the car and go in quiet, just close enough for a view,” Tarren says. “We confirm if Hendricks is on the premise and if he’s alone, and then we pull back.”

Gabe nods. I nod too, cross my arms over my chest and try to look like this spy stuff is totally standard. My brothers arm up. Tarren prefers a 32C Glock on each hip. Gabe slips on two shoulder holsters and sticks a loaded Barreta PX4 into each one. They both sling a pair of military grade binoculars around their necks.

While my brothers get ready, I snap off some heavy branches from nearby trees and stack them up in front of the Murano. It’s a pretty crappy camo job, but I’ll trust in Gabe’s philosophy that people don’t notice jack shit.

“Ready?” Tarren asks Gabe.


“And you?” Tarren looks over at me. I could never have envisioned my life heading down this twisted path where monsters lurk on the other end. But I nod anyway. Gabe throws me a pair of sad eyes but doesn’t say anything. He hates that I’m doing the mission thing with them now. Too fucking bad for him.

“We’ll close in on 300 yards,” Tarren says.

“Check,” I reply as gruffly as I can, even though I don’t know how far away 300 yards is.

With Tarren in the lead, and Gabe behind me, we slip into the woods and slowly make our way toward Hendricks’s house. We don’t pass any other residences on the way.

Fear is a fascinating thing. How it can crawl into your stomach, small as a gooey larvae and then grow and grow until it fills up your entire body. Both Tarren and Gabe’s auras are calm. They have a technique for this that I have not yet learned, but I wonder at the thoughts that cross their minds. If they can possibly be pushing through the same mental quicksand that pulls me down further with each step.

“Here,” Tarren says softly. A bead of sweat trickles down his face, and there are growing patches of wetness beneath each arm. Sure enough, up ahead, the dirt road leads to a handsome colonial. Three floors at least, with a heavy façade of bricks and white siding.

“Lotta cars out there,” Gabe whispers behind me.

Three SUVs and a jeep are lined up behind each other at the end of the road. Next to the house is a large metal barn. Inside the barn is…oh no.

“We may be dealing with more than just Hendricks,” Tarren says. “We’ll spread out, link up by Bluetooth and find out how many angels are in that house. Gabe, you take point. Maya and I will…”

“The barn,” I whisper.

Gabe is already climbing up a tree behind me. Tarren lowers his binoculars. “What?”

“Humans. In the barn.” I feel the whisper of their auras, even from this distance.

“How many?”

“I don’t know.” I close my eyes, and try to hone my sense—that new and terrifying predator part of me that automatically locks onto the pulse of human auras. “There’s something wrong with their energy. They’re weak. Confused.”

Tarren looks up at Gabe. They don’t say anything, but I know those identical expressions. They’re sharing something, and it isn’t good.

“Shit,” Gabe whispers.

Tarren turns back to the house and raises his binoculars. “Four different vehicles…”

A side door opens from the house, and two men emerge into the daylight. One is tall and brawny, wearing a torn muscle shirt and a pair of skinny jeans that suck against his powerful legs. The second is short, slighter than his companion and blanketed with thick dark hair on each arm. He’s rocking a heavy gold watch on his wrist that glitters under the sun.

“Maya?” Gabe asks grimly.

No auras around the two men. “Angels,” I confirm. “Both of them.”

“That’s Hendricks,” Tarren says. “The shorter one.”

The two men stroll toward the barn. Hendricks has something clutched in his right fist. It can’t be…leashes? My skin breaks out in goose bumps.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Gabe whispers. His aura starts to jump, but he takes a deep breath and it soothes back down.

The bigger of the two angles pulls open the door of the barn. Hendricks saunters into the doorway and barks out a laugh. Even from this distance, his loud, arrogant voice carries to my sensitive ears.

“How are we all doing today? No, don’t get up. It’s fine.”

“Tarren…” my voice trembles.

“Quiet,” he hisses.

“Who wants to join us for brunch?” Hendricks says. “No volunteers? Again?” He laughs. “How ‘bout you hero boy? You wanna save your new friends? Step on up.”

There are scuffling noises. A weak scream. The angels emerge from the barn, dragging two young men behind them on leashes. The humans have their hands bound in front of them and collars around their necks. The angels tug on the leashes. The tall, lanky boy in my field of vision manages to keep his feet, but the other one stumbles and falls. Hendricks laughs and kicks the fallen human. He then starts walking again, dragging the whimpering boy across the ground. The other human, the one who managed to keep his footing, bends down and pulls his companion up.

He supports the boy’s weight, and his face is set with grim determination. He is filthy, brown hair matted to his head, deep cuts and gouges marring his pale face. He limps with abuse unseen beneath a stained t-shirt and jeans.  But it isn’t just their bodies. Their auras are battered, leeched of color, hugging close to their bodies. Weak as the wavering flames of a dying candle.

“What is this?” I can hardly get the words out of my mouth.

Tarren’s face is grim, set in steel, but I can tell that he’s angry. Furious.

“A farm,” he says. “It’s a human farm.”

Author Bio:
J Bennett is a professional copywriter, as well as a novelist. She lives and writes in Southern California.
She also writes the blog
Find J Bennett online at or on Facebook at
Works by J Bennett
Girl With Broken Wings
Falling (Book One)
Coping (Novella, 1.5)
(Book Two), To Be Released Jan 2013
The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles
#1 Employment Interview With A Vampire (Short Story)
#2 The Vampire Hunter Comes to Call (Short Story)
#3 Duel With The Werefrog (Short Story)

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