Vagabonda Reads

Bohemian in Thought and Deed . . .

1001 Dark Nights Presents: Season 2 of Rising Storm, Episodes 1 through 8 by Rebecca Zanetti, Larissa Ione, Lisa Mondello, Lexi Blake, R. K. Lilley, Julie Kenner, Elisabeth Naughton and Dee Davis



Welcome to Storm, Texas…

A town nestled among rolling hills and painted with vibrant wildflowers, where everything seems like perfection.

But there are secrets beneath the facade.

Dark and powerful secrets. The kind that can destroy lives and tear families apart. That can cut through a town like a tempest, leaving jealousy and destruction in its wake, along with shattered hopes and broken dreams.

Rising Storm is a soap-opera style drama. A powerful series conceived by Julie Kenner and Dee Davis, full of scandal, deceit, romance, passion, and secrets.

…get caught in the storm!




Experience Rising Storm Season Two: Episodes 1-8 Here!
A new season…a new storm – get caught!

Secrets, Sex and Scandals …

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.

Note from Vagabonda Reads

Rising Storm Season Two: Episodes 1-8 is filled with all of the drama, scandal and shenanigans one has come to expect from the great authors who participate in the Rising Storm Series. Standing ovations are due to Julie Kenner and Dee Davis, the authors who conceived the idea of Rising Storm, and a big thank you is in order to the great folks at 1001 Dark Nights for their support.

It is my habit to provide you, my readers, information concerning the book (i.e., its  stand alone status, the intended target audience, etc.) at the end of the plot review, so I’m making this blanket statement at this point as opposed to having to repeat it eight times:

All of the following eight novellas can be read as a stand alone story, as a family tree for each family featured in the Rising Storm Series is provided for the reader. I would encourage the reader, however, to read the series in sequential order so as to obtain the total scenario for each novella. Every novella in this series is well written, the characters are carefully crafted and it is virtually impossible to discern variations in the characters’ behaviors from one author to another.  What the reader will discover, however, is that each author has incorporated her unique writing style into her specific novella, and that flavor is happily evident. So sit back, get out your supply of Cooder’s moonshine and enjoy the soap opera that is Rising Storm Season Two.

Rising Storm Season Two: Episodes 1-8 are targeted towards the mature reader, but can be read by new adults. My aggregate rating for this entire season was 36.5/40, which, in star-speak, is —


*ARCs provided by 1001 Dark Nights and the authors in exchange for honest reviews.*


Episode One: AGAINST THE WIND by Rebecca Zanetti

episode-1_against-the-wind-coverAs Tate Johnson works to find a balance between his ambitions for political office and the fallout of his brother’s betrayal, Zeke is confronted with his brother Chase’s return home. And while Bryce and Tara Douglas try to hold onto their marriage, Kristin continues to entice Travis into breaking his vows…


When last we visited Storm, Texas, Marylee Rush had tracked down Hector Alvarez and set his return to Storm into motion . . .

Against the Wind by author Rebecca Zanetti is the title of Episode 1 of Season Two of the Rising Storm Series, but really, an alternate title could easily be Joanne Alvarez Finds Her Spine. 

With her abusive husband supposedly out of the picture, Joanne takes control of her family and her life. Well, most of her family — her daughter, Dakota aka the Town Pariah, still hates on the world and misses Daddy, but she’s about the only one praying for Hector’s return.

Sheriff Dillon Murphy, who seems to have carried a torch for Joanne since the creation of time, decides to lend some comfort to the little lady and directs her towards his cousin, Tate Murphy. Tate is running for mayor and needs a campaign manager — Joanne’s available since Marylee Rush fired Joanne for growing aforementioned spine.

Tate Murphy is still suffering mightily because his brother (his brother!), Tucker partook of a little afternoon delight with Tate’s girlfriend, Hannah, and sadly for Tate, Tucker and Hannah’s afternoon delight is happening on a daily basis.

Sheriff Dillon’s younger brother, Logan, is still licking his wounds that his one true love, Ginny Moreno, lied to him. Ginny, as you may recall, is carrying the baby of either the late (and supposedly impotent) Jacob Salt, or sleazebag Senator Sebastian Rush (son of Storm doyenne Marylee Rush).

Adding to the cast of characters, Zeke Johnson’s long lost brother, Chase, returns to Storm. Chase left Storm years ago, guitar in hand, headed to Nashville.

So — why is Chase back? Will Joanne and Dillon give in to their attraction and swap bodily fluids? Which Murphy brother will animal lover Hannah choose? Why does Carol keep letting her autistic brother, Danny run away? How long is that wimpy Travis going to keep dragging delusional Kristin along with half-hearted promises. And, of course, who is Ginny Moreno’s baby daddy? Only one way to find out . . . .



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episode-2_storm-warning-coverEpisode Two: STORM WARNING by Larissa Ione

As Joanne Alvarez settles into life without Hector, her children still struggle with the fallout. Marcus confronts the differences between him and Brittany, while Dakota tries to find a new equilibrium. Meanwhile, the Johnson’s grapple with war between two sets of brothers, and Ian Briggs rides into town…


Back in Storm, Texas, Chase Johnson returns to town — with a big secret. Determined to win the heart of his lost love, Anna Mae, Chase has to answer to both Anna Mae and his family for time lost.

While this is going on, Hector Alvarez is still making tracks to Storm, unbeknownst to all concerned (except for Marylee Rush). Hector’s wife, Joanne, is finally getting her family back on track, and the arrival of Ian Briggs, mentor to her son, Marcus, further aids in healing her family.

Ian, a lone cowboy from Montana, instantly takes a liking to Marisol Moreno, but Marisol is kinda, sorta, not really, but maybe in a relationship with Patrick Murphy. (Although just the thought of Ian makes Marisol’s body “sputter to life like a tractor starting up again after a long winter” Kindle Loc. 246 of 1205.)  Marisol’s not the only person receiving a wake up call from Ian Briggs. Free from his abusive father, Hector, and with his mentor (Ian) in town, Marcus Alvarez begins to see his dreamed-of future finally taking shape. But does his longtime love, Brittany Rush (daughter of sleazebag Senator Sebastian Rush) share the same dream? Not helping matters, that old bat, Marylee Rush starts a smear campaign against Marcus. Can Marcus beat the odds against him?

Relationships and personalities come to a head at the annual Johnson barbecue, where it seems either fists, lips or words collide with one another. And after the food is long gone, who has the hope of an olive brach accepted? Who finally comes to realize what was present is now in the past, and does anyone realize Hector Alvarez has spies in Storm?

Storm Warning by Larissa Ione sets the tone for the following episodes of Rising Storm.  There’s an ominous feel to the story as we root for the good guys, knowing evil is right around the corner.



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episode-3_brave-the-storm-coverEpisode Three: BRAVE THE STORM by Lisa Mondello

As Senator Rush’s poll numbers free fall, Marylee tries to drive a wedge between Brittany and Marcus. Across town, Anna Mae and Chase dance toward reconciliation. Ginny longs for Logan, while he fights against Sebastian’s maneuvering. And Hector, newly freed from prison, heads back to Storm…


Things are about to get more heated in Storm, Texas.

Wimpy pharmacist Travis Salt is still leading poor Kristen Douglas around in a clandestine affair, while his wife, Celeste, continues to mourn the death of their son, Jacob.  Celeste is on a fast track to join Jacob if somebody doesn’t act soon.

Meanwhile, Ginny Moreno, who may or may not be carrying Jacob’s child (we still await a Maury Povich moment), tries to reach out to her one true love, Logan Murphy. Logan’s having none of her or the sleazebag known as Senator Sebastian Rush (who is in the running for Ginny’s baby daddy).

Back at the Johnson ranch, prodigal brother Chase, finally comes clean with his brother. Next up on Chase’s list — Miss Anna Mae Prager. Old Chase is pretty clever and can still bust a few moves, so it’s no surprise when Chase pulls a “Patsy Cline” on Anna Mae (wink, wink).

And Hector Alvarez is ever closer to Storm —

Brave the Storm by Lisa Mondello is Episode 3 of Rising Storm Season 2, and it’s beautifully done. A mix of tragedy, manipulation and longing for some are balanced out by a promise of new beginnings, of new hope for others.



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episode-4_lightning-strikes-coverEpisode Four: LIGHTNING STRIKES by Lexi Blake

As Ian Briggs begins to fall for Marisol, Joanne and Dillon also grow closer. Joanne’s new confidence spreads to Dakota but Hector’s return upends everything. A public confrontation between Marcus and Hector endangers his relationship with Brittany, and Dakota reverts to form. Meanwhile, the Senator threatens Ginny and the baby…


Lexi Blake’s contribution to Rising Storm Season 2 is titled Lightning Strikes and it is a fitting title as all hell breaks out in this episode.

Joanne Alvarez is finally making progress in her relationship with her daughter, Dakota, aka the Town Pariah. Joanne’s son, Marcus, is finally accepting that he’s worthy of a future, and her other daughter, Mallory, is still a star pupil. Joanne is enjoying her new found confidence, not to mention the company of Sheriff Dillon Murphy. Oh, Joanne is still loyal to her wedding vows, and is adamant about setting the proper example for her children, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the deliciousness that is Dillon Murphy.

Things are too good to be true . . . and that feeling is fully realized when Hector Alvarez returns to Storm, Texas and reclaims his wife and children.  But will Joanne simple bow to Hector’s abuse? Will Marcus allow Hector to drag him back home? Will the Sheriff simply stand by and let any future with Joanne slip away again? And who is the father of Ginny Moreno’s Little Bit?

Lightning Strikes is a very short read, but crucial to the plot of the entire season. With a very skilled hand, author Lexi Blake manages to craft a character, Hector Alvarez, in such a fashion that even this reader felt despair in his return to Storm.



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episode-5_fire-and-rain-coverEpisode Five: FIRE AND RAIN by R.K. Lilley

As Celeste Salt continues to unravel in the wake of Jacob’s death, Travis grows closer with Kristin. Lacey realizes the error of her ways but is afraid it’s too late for reconciliation with her friends. Marcus and Brittany struggle with the continued fallout of Hector’s return, while Chase and Anna Mae face some hard truths about their past…


Strap yourself in for the bumpy ride that is Fire and Rain. Author R. K. Lilley delivers up a tension filled, gripping novella in Episode 5 of the second season of the Rising Storms Series.

Hector Alvarez continues to terrorize his family, that is all except his self-centered daughter, Dakota (aka the Town Pariah), who refuses to see the truth about her father’s abusive ways. Dakota isn’t the only resident of Storm with a skewed outlook — pitiful Kristen Douglas is still playing house with the wimpy (and bordering on despicable)Travis Salt. Celeste, Travis’s long suffering wife continues to slide into a seemingly endless pit of grief, while their daughter, Lacey begins to question her own behavior.

Choices are being made and actions are taken that will change lives forever. Can Marcus and Brittany survive the interference of that old bat, Marylee Rush? Will Chase and Anna Mae finally lay all their cards on the table and Texas Two-Step their way into the sunset? Is there anyone, anyone  left to help Joanne Alvarez? Can a bench under a tree act as a beacon for rekindling friendships once thought lost?

Be prepared to have your heart in your throat for Fire and Rain.



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episode-6_quiet-storm-coverEpisode Six: QUIET STORM by J. Kenner, writing as Julie Kenner

As Mallory Alvarez and Luis Moreno grow closer, Lacey longs for forgiveness. Brittany and Marcus have a true meeting of hearts. Meanwhile, Jeffry grapples with his father’s failures and finds solace in unexpected arms. When things take a dangerous turn, Jeffry’s mother and sister, as well as his friends, unite behind him as the Senator threatens his son…


Quiet Storm is Episode 6 of the Second Season of Rising Storm. Right on the heels of a heart-stopping Episode 5, author Julie Kenner continues the gripping pace set by R. K. Lilley.

Celeste Salt finally begins to arise out of her grief-stricken state as her daughter, Lacey continues to gather support for Jacob’s memorial. Lacey continues to slowly reach out for forgiveness. Another confused soul, Dakota, begins to rethink her behavior towards both her parents — maybe all is not as it seems.

But the real quiet storm in Quiet Storm is focused around one person. One lonely person, finding a connection that will cause broken friendships to be healed, fraudulent relationships to end and set the town of Storm, Texas on an irreversible course to an unanticipated future.



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episode-7_blinding-rain-coverEpisode Seven: BLINDING RAIN by Elisabeth Naughton

As Tate Johnson struggles to deal with his brother’s relationship with Hannah, hope asserts itself in an unexpected way. With the return of Delia Burke, Logan’s old flame, Brittany and Marcus see an opportunity to help their friend. But when the evening takes an unexpected turn, Brittany finds herself doing the last thing she expected—coming face to face with Ginny…


Celeste Salt has finally come back from staggering grief, only to encounter a very pregnant Ginny Moreno. Little Bit has yet to make an appearance, but Ginny is just about had her fill of scorn from the judgmental folks of Storm, Texas. Still holding on to the hope that Celeste’s late son, Jacob, is indeed the father of Little Bit, Ginny continues to her attempt to make peace with the Salt family.

Celeste is not the only person struggling with feelings for Ginny Moreno. Logan Murphy, Ginny’s true love, can’t seem to rid himself of his fond feelings for Ginny. When an old flame reappears, Logan’s given an opportunity to move on from Ms. Moreno and her Little Bit. Can he ever forgive her? Can Brittany Rush ever forgive her?

Speaking of moving on and forgiveness, Tate Johnson has an epiphany concerning his former girlfriend, Hannah Grossman — he really didn’t want to compete with all those animals anyway.

Blinding Rain is Episode 7 of Season Two of the Rising Storm Series. With a skilled pen, author Elisabeth Naughton beings to write the characters of Storm, Texas to their inevitable fates.



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episode-8_blue-skies-coverEpisode Eight: BLUE SKIES by Dee Davis

As Celeste Salt struggles to pull herself and her family together, Dillon is called to the scene of a domestic dispute where Dakota is forced to face the truth about her father. While the Johnson’s celebrate a big announcement, Ginny is rushed to the hospital where her baby’s father is finally revealed…


Blue Skies by Dee Davis is the concluding novella in Season 2 of the Rising Storm Series and it’s the motherlode of soap opera deliciousness!

Life and death come to Storm, Texas, and as a child is born on one side of town, gunfire explodes on the other side. Lives are forever altered, some with joyous triumph, others with staggering defeat.

Does Celeste Salt finally show Travis what it’s like to have a pair? And her sister, Payton Rush, will she remain with the sleazebag Senator, or can she find happiness elsewhere? What about old bat Marylee Rush — how much more evil can she spread? Can Logan Murphy ever forgive Ginny Moreno? Town Pariah Dakota Alvarez — is there anything left for her in Storm? All questions are answered in Blue Skies — and, yes, we finally find out the paternity of Little Bit. But my lips are sealed . . . .

A huge round of applause for Dee Davis in crafting an absolutely satisfying conclusion to Season 2 of Rising Storm. And again, congratulations to Julie Kenner and Dee Davis, along with all of the participating authors, as well as the good people of 1001 Dark Nights. It was a great ride!



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About the Rising Storm Season Two: Episodes 1-8 Authors


rebecca-zanetti-author-imageRebecca Zanetti:

New York Times Bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the USA TodayNY TimesAmazonBarnes and Noble, and iBooksbestseller lists. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Her current series are: The Scorpius Syndrome, The Dark ProtectorsThe Realm Enforcers, The Maverick Montana Cowboys, and the Sin Brothers series.

Visit Rebecca Zanetti’s website.

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larissa-ione-author-imageLarissa Ione:

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

Visit Larissa Ione’s website.

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lisa-mondello-author-imageLisa Mondello:

New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lisa Mondello, has held many jobs in her life but being a published author is the last job she’ll ever have. She’s not retiring! She blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she’d still be penning stories with paper and pen. Her book The Knight and Maggie’s Baby is a New York TimesBestseller. Her popular series includes TEXAS HEARTS, DAKOTA HEARTS, Fate with a Helping Hand and the new SUMMER HOUSE series. Writing as LA Mondello, her romantic suspense, MATERIAL WITNESS, book 1 of her Heroes of Providence series made the USA TODAY Bestsellers List and was named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2012.

Visit Lisa Condello’s website.



lexi-blake-newsletter-author-picLexi Blake:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. She began writing at a young age concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.

Visit Lexi Blake’s website.

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rk-lilley-author-imageR.K. Lilley:

R.K. Lilley is the best selling author of the Up In The Air, and Tristan & Danika, and The Wild Side series. She lives in Texas with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day.

Visit R.K. Lilley’s website.

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julie-kenner-author-imageJulie Kenner:

Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner) is the New York TimesUSA TodayPublishers WeeklyWall Street Journal and #1 international bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas, and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” JK writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense, paranormal mommy lit, and, with Rising Storm, small town drama. Her trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries, and her Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series (written as Julie Kenner) has been optioned by Warner Brothers Television for the CW Network.

A former attorney, JK lives in Central Texas with her husband, two daughters, and several cats. One of her favorite weekend activities is visiting small towns in the Texas Hill Country.

Visit Julie Kenner’s website.

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elisabeth-naughton-author-imageElisabeth Naughton:

Before topping multiple bestseller lists–including those of the New York TimesUSA Today, and the Wall Street Journal–Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A voracious reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned into a flame, and Naughton now writes full-time. Besides topping bestseller lists, her books have been nominated for some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, such as the RITA® and Golden Heart Awards from Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Golden Leaf Award. When not dreaming up new stories, Naughton can be found spending time with her husband and three children in their western Oregon home.

Visit Elisabeth Naughton’s website.

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dee-davis-author-imageDee Davis:

Bestselling author Dee Davis has a masters degree in public administration. Prior to writing, she served as the director of two associations, wrote award winning PSAs, did television and radio commercials, starred in the Seven Year Itch, taught college classes, and lobbied both the Texas Legislature and the US Congress.

Her highly acclaimed first novel, Everything In Its Time, was published in July 2000. Since then, among others, she’s won the Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Holt and two RT Reviewers Choice Awards.

Recently she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Romance Writers and has also been nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award for romantic suspense from Romantic Times. In addition, she is Hall of Fame member of the New Jersey Romance Writers and was awarded an Odyssey Medal from Hendrix College.

To date, she has written over twenty-five romantic suspense, time travel, and women’s fiction novels and novellas. Among her latest books you’ll find her A-Tac, Liar’s Game, and Last Chance series.

She’s lived in Austria and traveled in Europe extensively. And although she now resides in an 1802 farmhouse in Connecticut, she still calls Texas home.

Visit Dee Davis’ website.

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