Guestpost by Author Dakota Banks + Giveaway

Filed in Dakota Banks , featured , Giveaways , Guest Post , The Geeky Lover Posted on April 5, 2012 @ 7:00 am 53 comments

We are very happy to welcome Dakota Banks back here at Book Lovers Inc. Her latest novel in her Mortal Path series, Deliverance, was released at the end of March and today Dakota is here to tell us about her heroine Maliha Crayne and what makes her the kick ass woman she is. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win the awesome prize pack Dakota brought along. Please give her a warm welcome. 

One thing that contributes to an action-packed book is the ability of the main character to kick butt when necessary. In the Mortal Path books, Maliha Crayne, former wife, mother-to-be, and healer in Colonial times, has become a superbly skilled assassin. What? How did this transformation come about?

After being wrongly accused of witchcraft and other crimes, Maliha (then known as Susannah Layhem) was abandoned by her husband and friends and burned as a witch. She loses her baby in a dark dungeon cell before being tied to the stake. Normally, the punishment would have been hanging, but more false accusations had been added at her trial that warranted the more severe penalty. Maliha was taken from her flaming situation and offered a choice by a Sumerian demon: become my assassin with immortal life or go back to the fire. Didn’t take her long to make a decision.

An unskilled assassin is of no use to the demon, so he arranged for her training with the best resource he knew, another one of his assassins who’d been around for 5,000 years. She spends years in martial arts training, learning the moves, the weapons, and how to make use of something else the demon has given her: superhuman speed. After all, he doesn’t play fair when it comes to killing humans. Maliha emerges as one finely-tuned killing machine, ready to carry out the demon’s orders. Training alone doesn’t make for perfection, but combining it with a few hundred years of field experience makes Maliha unstoppable. If the demon had some reason to want you dead, you were a dead person walking as soon as Maliha had your name. There were other immortal assassins in our world, too, all of them known as the Ageless. If a murder was sudden, efficient, and never solved, the Ageless probably had a hand—or two—in it.

After a long period of killing and the shallow, decadent lifestyle that came with it, something unusual began to happen to Maliha. She started to sympathize with her targets. Her conscience was re-emerging, after centuries of being locked firmly away. She rebelled against her role, expecting to die at the demon’s hand. Instead, she was set on a quest to reclaim her soul by saving a life for every one of the huge number of lives she’d taken. She lost her immortality, but her other gifts remained at lesser levels, such as her speed and her ability to heal quickly.

The result is that one of the most capable killers in history is now on the side of good, seeking justice instead of senseless deaths. This is a woman who can truly kick butt and does so with two goals in mind: redeeming her soul and eliminating all the Sumerian demons and their assassin slaves from the world. The clock is ticking for her, too. Whenever she saves a life, she ages a variable amount of time. Will she reach her goals before she loses the physical ability to pursue them? A tall order, but if anyone can handle it, it’s the rogue Maliha.

Action presents itself in all different ways in the Mortal Path books. Here is a scene I selected because the action pits Maliha against a very different type of enemy. Maliha and her friend Hound have penetrated a very modern, secured lab building.

“Ever killed a robot before?” Hound said.
“No. Maybe we don’t need to,” Maliha said.

The robot, about five feet tall and shaped like a hot water heater, approached them on spidery legs.

First thought: get the hell out of here.

The robot had a face of sorts, probably to make it less threatening to the scientists who traveled these halls. Maliha had no doubt that the “arms” on either side were folded-up weapons. It stopped about six feet in front of them. The letters “Bruce” were painted across the front of it.

“Do you think that’s its name?” Hound said.

“Your guess is as good as mine. If there are multiple robots, it makes sense that they’d have names.”

“Christ, those legs creep me out. I wonder how fast it can move.”

“Identification, please,” Bruce said. His voice was not mechanical sounding at all, but low, male, and the kind of voice Maliha would like to hear on the other end of the phone.

“We’re lost,” Maliha said. “Take us to the third floor, Bruce.”

“Identification, please.”

“We left our identification on the third floor. Take us there now.”

“Step forward for alternate identification.” A panel opened on the top of the robot and an arm extended. On the end was a cup that would fit over one eye.

“Retinal scanner. Now what?” Hound said.

Maliha waved at him to be quiet. “I’m reporting you for inappropriate human interaction, Bruce. I order you to report to your maintenance station for diagnostics immediately.”

Open the pod bay doors, Hal.

Bruce hesitated, considering the order. “Human interaction is consistent with procedures. Identify yourselves or I will take you into custody and summon security forces.”

Maliha and Hound looked at each other. Hound gave a “why not?” shrug.

“We refuse to identify ourselves. Take us into custody,” Maliha said.

A panel slid open below Bruce’s mouth and TASER probes shot out, aimed at each of them. Maliha dodged hers but Hound was hit in the chest. He yelled and went down. The robot sensed that Maliha was still up and moving and one of its weapons unfolded and fired. The response had taken less than a second.


Maliha switched to Ageless speed and rammed into Bruce, attempting to put him off balance and send him over backwards. Bruce was having none of that. A slit opened in his back, shooting out more spidery legs that caught him and levered him back into an upright position.

Hah! Try that again.

Maliha rammed into Bruce a second time, and when the stabilization legs came out, she lopped them off with her sword. Then she stabbed Bruce right in the middle of his smiling face.

Instead of sparking and smoking, Bruce was unaffected. A metal tentacle whipped out, wrapped around her legs, and brought her down to the floor right in front of the second arm. Now deployed, the arm looked like a flamethrower.

Maliha heard noises at the end of the hall. The summoned guards were on their way, and she was about to become flame broiled. She twisted away from the weapon moments before a stream of fire erupted from the nozzle. Though aimed at her, the flames barely missed Hound, who was beginning to get to his feet.

“Stay down!” she shouted. Hound, no stranger to the smell or effects of napalm, threw himself flat, then began to inch forward toward the robot. “Don’t move!”

Slicing through the tentacle holding her with her sword, Maliha was free. She leaped onto Bruce’s back and tried to gain control of him, but found that he weighed much more than she thought and his center of gravity was low. She plunged her sword through the metal skin low on his back and yanked it sideways, nearly bisecting him. Then she switched to a vertical cut and pulled upward with all of her strength, slicing a two-foot-long path through his innards.

That’s got to hit something important.

The flamethrower stopped spewing napalm and Bruce ceased his struggles under her grip. It reminded her of the old Japanese ritual seppuku, belly cutting, to commit suicide with honor. She swung her sword a final time to complete the seppuku, slicing off Bruce’s designated head portion, but leaving it hanging by a thin flap of metal. Leaving the head barely attached was the accomplishment of someone skilled with the sword, to keep the severed head from flying at the ritual’s witnesses.

Follow the Mortal Path with Maliha.
It’s the adventure of several lifetimes.

About the Book

A demon’s assassin for centuries, Maliha Crayne has gone rogue, determined to save a life for every one she’s destroyed in order to free herself from an eternity of enslavement, damnation, and excruciating torment. But as the powers that sustained her in the past fade, she is wary of trusting those closest to her-especially her lover, Jake. Should Maliha listen to her heart or the alarms going off in her head? Then her closest friends begin to disappear, one by one. Amid her anger, suspicion, and sorrow, she feels her life spiraling out of control.

Worse still, a beautiful, Renaissance murderess is recruiting Maliha as her new assassin. Maliha is turning into a lethal puppet with an evil Immortal pulling the strings, forced to kill innocents or see her missing friends die horribly. Suddenly trapped in a moral no-man’s land, Maliha is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t…and time is rapidly running out.

Purchasing Info: Publisher, Author’s Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, IndieBoundGoodreads, Kindle, Nook

About the Author
Dakota Banks lives in the St. Louis area and is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers Association, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and Mystery Writers of America.

Website |Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


 Dakota has generously offered a prize pack  to one lucky commenter!

The pack includes a tote bag, 3 signed books, pens, bookmarks, magnets, and a calculator as seen on picture above.

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about the post or tell us what your kind of urban fantasy heroine has to be like.
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is opento all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, April 14th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Susi

Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

Share This Post

Subscribe and stay up-to-date

Via E-Mail:

Follow us via RSS, twitter and facebook:


Join the Discussion
  • sienny April 5, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Hi Dakota!! i hope i’ll win this time 🙂

    my kind of UF heroine is a hard as nail and tough gal. she must be strong and compassionate.

  • AH April 5, 2012 at 8:04 am

    My favorite UF heroine is kickass, creative with her weapons choices, able to run in her high heels, has a snarky attitude, and she must look good in leather.

  • aurian April 5, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Every time I see that prize packet, I so want to win it! I haven’t read before that she is no longer Immortal and ages when she saves a life! That is so cool, so different. I love it!
    My favourite heroine is of course kick ass, proficient with all kinds of weapons, and is snarky. She does need a sidekick to lighten things up, but she is fiercely protective and loyal of her few friends. She is not a girly-girl, not even in her off-time. There is a love interest on the horizon, but she will not cave in whenever he smiles or grabs her or kisses her. She enjoys the kissed but does as she plans to.

    Thanks for the giveaway Dakato, and good luck with the new release.

  • Mel S April 5, 2012 at 8:13 am

    While Kick-ass is great and a lot of fun to read about, I actually prefer my heroine’s to be smart. When they can talk or thick their way out of situations of problems rather than just using brute force or co-incidence, that is cool. And gives the rest of us hope!

    I love it when they are vulnerable as well – keeping hold off or retaining their humanity even while saving world.

    Fab giveaway – thanks for making it international! 🙂

    • Dakota Banks April 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      I agree, Mel. Maliha has more than enough brains to get in or out of situations without drawing blood, and she’ll do it whenever she can. Otherwise, the kick-ass heroine is just a thug in a pretty package.

  • Natalie Cleary April 5, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Thanks so much for the chance. Ive seen Dakotas books on line and have added them to my list. They sound like something Id love. I love my heroines to be kick ass but also smart, kind and funny. I like them to be witty as well. Nothing turns me off more in a book than a heroine that cant look after herself.

  • Diane April 5, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I love strong heroines that don’t cry or yell for help. that solve their own problems or can figure out how to. But they still have to be women.

  • miki April 5, 2012 at 10:08 am

    A strong heroine but with a good hard, persistent and in the same time with dreams

    thanks you a lot for your generosity. I really hope to finally be one of your winner but i will follow your tour as long as it takes

    all the best

  • Viki S. April 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I like an intelligent heroine but she should also be able to defend herself physically.
    This series sounds really good. Don’t know how I’ve missed it. Thank you for such a nice giveaway.

  • June April 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I like for the heroines to be intelligent, strong, be able to physically defend herself, but not be afraid to ask for help if needed. She should also not be afraid to show her emotions.
    I have not read this series yet but would love to. Thanks for the chance!

    • Dakota Banks April 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Maliha struggles with the showing emotions part. For hundreds of years, she lived in a manner where emotions weren’t important, and in fact would have been a detriment to her work for the demon. She’s had to relearn to express her emotions, and sometimes bungles it.

  • Maria pronounced Mariah April 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I like my heroines to be stron and confident in themselves and the abilities. Able to defend themselves but not afraid to reach out to others when neccessary. It is always fun with then have a smart mouth to go along with it!

    Great gift bag!
    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

  • Na S. April 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I would like my heroines to be motivated, determined and loving. She has to be a big heart but also grit because if she lives in a dark world, chances are she will face situation that tests her loyalty and perhaps force her to choose between people. I also want her to have vulnerabilities so that she can grow and learn from mistakes.

  • LSUReader April 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I like heroines who are intelligent, capable, strong and loyal. If she has a bit of an attitude or some snark (I’m looking at you, Charley Davidson,) all the better.

    Finally, I really like it when the heroine has a family–either actual (like Kelley Armstrong’s Elena Michaels) or pulled together (like Jennifer Estep’s Gin Blanco.)

  • Jessica@a GREAT read April 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I definitely like my heroines to be a variety of things! I like the kick butt type who are edgy and tough. But then I like the snarky heroine as well! Like Charley Davidson as well! Nice pick, LSUReader!

  • sRy_ April 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Electra for me 🙂

  • Ileana A. April 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    urban fantasy heroine? The one who can kick anyone’s butt! Girl power!

  • Amanda Grinstead April 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Hmmm- my kind urban fantasy heroine has to be witty and strong with a bit of a temper. I love reading about heroines who aren’t usually prepared for what struggles they face and I absolutely love it when the heroine hates a certain a character and over the course of a series learns to care or even love their former adversary. Two of my favourites are Kate Daniels and Cassandra Palmer.

  • Jen B. April 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I really like reading urban fantasy with female protaganists because the woman have to be strong and resilient. They can love a man if they choose but they can certainly take care of themselves.

  • Lexi April 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    That is quite the journey to assassin, a journey that sounds like a great story. Everyone feels like they need to be redeemed of something. But for Maliha to have to account for every soul she took, a big undertaking. I like how you bring her emotions back to her, make her human again. Yet she still kicks ass, in leather pants if the covers are anything to go by. I can’t wait to check out your series! Congrats on the newest release =)

  • Barbara Elness April 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    My favorite kind of urban fantasy heroine is strong, independent, courageous when it counts, has some kind of ability or is a supernatural being, and has a tender heart she just can’t hide.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  • MJB April 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Congrats on the book release and what a great giveaway! Books and swag – my favs!
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  • Mary Preston April 6, 2012 at 3:39 am

    My favorite kind of Urban Fantasy heroine, does NOT need a hero to rescue her.


  • Filia Oktarina April 6, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Congrats on the newest release, Dakota.
    My favorite UF heroine is strong, kick ass, courageous, and don’t need a hero, like Lieutenant Eve Dallas from In Death series.
    Thanks for this amazing giveaway.

    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  • Julie S. April 6, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I love a good strong UF heroine. She needs to be brave and wise but also relate-able.

  • JOYEJWISLEY April 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

    thanks for the comments and excerpt. I like reading these kinds of books. I like a strong heroine with an attitude and a goal of settling challenges with common sense and fortitude.

  • Shawnee Robinson-Poling April 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the series, but it sounds amazingly kick ass! I love a heroine who is not afraid to be a bad ass, but like some of the comments mention, she needs to be down to earth and not so out of character no one can relate. Cool female protagonists rock and the men that love them like they are are a smexy bonus. I loved the interview and the excerpts from the books!

  • Lingeorge April 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    What a fascinating premise! This sounds like my kind of heroine. I have not read Dakota’s books, but this sounds like a series I could really get into and enjoy. I will have to do so.

  • Diane Sallans April 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve only read a few Urban Fantasy so far, but 2012 is my year to branch out from the standard romance books. I like a feisty heroine, which I imagine has to be the way of the Urban Fantasy heroine. Plus confidence & competence. A sense of humor is also much appreciated – to lighten some of those really dark moments.

  • elaing8 April 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Great post and excerpt.I love a kick ass tough,smart,can think on the spot heroine.But also can ask for help when she needs support from her friends.
    Thanks for the chance to win this.

  • Victoria Zumbrum April 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Strong, compassionate, caring and tough. Please enter me in contest.

  • Dakota Banks April 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    I’m taking notes on all these characteristics of kick-ass heroines! Thanks for the comments–keep them coming. ~♥~

  • Brenda Hyde April 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I love heroines that are witty, strong, often stubborn BUT they are also compassionate when they need to be, and not afraid to ask for help. Nothing more frustrating than a heroine that wanders blindly into trouble all the time because they don’t think it out.

    Love your series Dakota and can’t wait to read Deliverance:)

  • Rachel @ theJeepDiva April 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I love assassin books. I think this series is no exception. I have not had a chance to read this series but I would like to. Thanks for the giveaway.

    rachel at thejeepdiva dot com

  • JessS April 8, 2012 at 2:36 am

    I don’t like to stricts define what type of heroine I look for but they usually have to be strong, confident and at least sort of know what they’re doing. Smart is good, and I like witty, but not over the top, cracking-a-joke-every-5-seconds. And I would be willing to read about other types of heroines, as long as they’re actually an active part of the story, not just following along, agreeing with someone else. Thanks!


  • Jacqui R April 8, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I’m like a heroine who is intelligent, funny, kickass, brave hmm not much for a person to be is it!

    ticklebear2 at yahoo dot com

  • bn100 April 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I enjoyed the excerpt. The heroine would have to be smart, brave, courageous, and strong.

  • Stéphanie Leroux April 9, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I really want to read this series so I would love to win this giveaway!

    My kind of UF heroine needs to be pretty kick a** and intelligent. She need to be unafraid to take chances to leap into action when danger comes. She needs to be witty, and if she’s funny, then that’s a plus.

    stephanieleroux (at) hotmail (dot) com

  • traci loya April 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    hi again dakota!! urban fantasy heroine has to be large and in charge. willing to kick butt and take names..i havent read ur books yet, but all reviews make mahlia sound like just such a character!!! thsnks for the giveaway dakota.

    • Dakota Banks April 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      “Large and in charge” – great phrase, Traci!

  • reading mind April 10, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Great post! My heroine has to be strong, witty, smart and she should be able to kick some asses. I’d love her to have some flaws (like, she doesn’t have to be absolutlely beautiful/thin/gorgeous, I like her more real). She should also be able to understand that she might need help. Too proud is never a good thing!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

    • Dakota Banks April 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      One of Maliha’s key steps on her return to humanity after hundreds of years as an immortal demon’s assassin was that she could rely on others for help. She didn’t have to do everything in isolation. It was a tough change for her!

  • Justine April 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Ok, I’m curious about these Sumerian demons. An UF heroine I like is Lila from the YA Curse Workers series by Holly Black. Her father’s a mob boss and she’s next in line to lead the mob. While she doesn’t yet have the kick-ass fighting skills of adult UF heroines, she knows how to wield a gun, deceive others, and be ruthless with emotions (both her own and others).

  • Riva Laughlin April 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I’m new to this series, but Maliha sounds like my kind of UF heroine. Tough and strong when needed, but smart too – and willing to try thinking her way out of trouble before going all “whoop-a@@” on folks.

  • Amanda Grinstead April 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    My kind of UF character is tough, witty and quick-thinking about how to solve whatever crises she’s facing.

  • Dina April 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I also like touch and strong, yet sweet and “innocent” when the story needs it 🙂

  • Mary @SweepingMe April 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I would love to be the kind that rarely gets hurt and kicks a lot of A**. That would be so awesome.

    mary_reiss @

  • wanda flanagan April 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I love an urban fantasy heroine who is tough she can kick butt but still has a soft side.She has a smart mouth ,an attitude and maybe a chip on her shoulder .Shes ben burned before so isnt easy to get close to.

    • Dakota Banks April 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Maliha’s been burned, literally. 🙂

  • Kimberly Lim April 15, 2012 at 1:20 am

    I sure hope i could win this giveaway…
    I books having the genre of urban fantasy, cause the characters are most probably awesome and strong…

    I like it when the many characters can take care of themselves…
    Thanks for the chance in this giveaway

  • eli yanti April 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

    smart, protective, care, have a devilish smile *grin 🙂

Previous Post
Next Post
Luvo designed by Internet Marketing In conjunction with Template Wordpress , R4 DS , Best SUV.