So all the books I used my Harlequinn giftcard on have either been reviewed on SBTB already (hi Victoria Dahl!) or were purchased by people who are funnier than me and say they are going to review them (Blaze Historical Bundle, you are in safe hands, I swear). Instead, I chose one of the free Harlequinns that is out right now, a Nocturne called Kiss Me Deadly. It has vampires. I freely admit the last vampire book I read was Twilight (if that even counts). It’s really not going to take much to impress me here.
Kiss Me Deadly
Our story starts with Nikolaus Drake who is a vampire. I’d love to say Nikolaus was a centuries old semi-human monstrosity but a) he’s the hero, and b) he was turned in like the seventies or something. Which so does not explain how he came by a name like “Nikolaus”. Anyway, Nikolaus is killed by a witch before the story even begins.
It’s okay, he gets better.
Here’s the crux of the story – a witch’s blood is the equivalent of Alien blood to vampires. If so much as a drop touches them they are ever so painfully toast. This makes vampires and witches natural enemies. It’s like the Montagues and Capulets, but with poison blood. When Ravin Crosse – witch – fires a blood bomb into Nik’s clan, things get slightly uncomfortable and lots of vamps die [Note: Nikolaus’ clan name is the Kila, which I imagine is meant to be pronounced as a variation of kilo. If, however, you are like me, you will pronounce it “Killah” which is both hilarious and not the least bit subtle if it was intentional.] Anyway, Nik survives his blood bombing by chowing down on a buddy and vows REVENGE (and this is total all caps revenge, you can tell) on the witch. When he arrives to exact his REVENGE she has just finished a love potion. And would you look at that... hijinks ensue.
I know what I’d do if a hunky vampire showed up in love with me, but Ravin has vampire issues and way more self-control than me. So while I sat on the sidelines shouting “Ride him cowgirl!” she takes nearly a hundred e-pages to reach the same conclusion.
As to why she had a love spell just lying around... Ravin made a pact with the Devil (dun-dun-DUN!) and one of her three tasks is to make the love potion. Only he can release the vamp from it. This is in no way becomes a plot point and the Devil (dun-dun-DUN!) immediately releases the vampire from the spell.
What? You’ve actually read a book before? Okay, how’s this... the Devil (dun-dun-DUN!) releases the vamp at the most inopportune time possible – right after Ravin proclaims herself in love with Nikolaus.
Dear Ravin (and to a lesser extent all heroes/heroines who fall in love with someone while the are under a spell or amnesiac),
Falling in love with a person who is not themselves at the moment is not a good idea. I cannot stress this enough. I don’t care how perfect they are, they are for all intents and purposes either brain-damaged or drugged – pick one. DO NOT make a pass at this person. It’s a gross abuse of trust, I don’t care who you are. (Okay, if you knew the person beforehand you might get a pass on this one but I’m going to want to know why it takes brain damage to make you make a move). When people regain their sense of self they’re going to have a lot to deal with, they don’t need your sorry ass hanging around.
So why on god’s green earth, Ravin, did you think a vampire sworn to REVENGE was going to harbour warm fuzzies when he regained himself? You told him and yourself it was a bad idea! And guess what?
It was a bad idea!
Okay, where was I? Anyway, when Nikolaus gets his memory back there are many hard feelings (not like that). While he was away screwing a witch, Truvin (Really? Truvin? We’re just making names up now? Okay, whatever, Truvin) has taken over clan Killah and turned them back to eating peoples. Every vampire ever is apparently some variation on ‘vegetarian’ when it comes to eating people. I call ‘em like I see ‘em y’all.
Anyway, Truvin does bad things to Gabriel (Gabriel who? I don’t know either) a vampire friend of Nik’s. When Nik gets all righteous fury on his ass, Truvin kidnaps Ravin, oh noes! and threatens to kill her. Then werewolves (Werewolves? Just roll with it at this point, serious) show up and kick some peoples asses – but not Nik’s cause he’s a phoenix now with all the witchy blood and sex in him and can totally walk in sunlight and everything.
Also, there is a first-born child subplot that seemed extraneous but maybe we’re setting up a sequel I don’t know, and the Devil (dun-dun-DUN) is around a bit more.
...and it was the best vampire novel beginning with eating a friend’s corpse and ending with werewolves prancing into the sunrise I ever did read.
Honest, in the Venn diagram of ‘Things I Like to Read’ and ‘Things I got from Harlequin”, this book does not make the overlap. It wasn’t bad, per se – it just wasn’t good. I can find no fault with the writing, and while the dialogue sounded like a broken record (“I love you!” “No you don’t!” “Yes I do!” “No you don’t!”), there is nothing I can put my finger on as being wrong. I don’t know. It was so far outside the realm of things I like, I think the fact that I didn’t dislike it should probably be read as a ringing endorsement.
I’d read something else by Ms. Hauf. The world-building was pretty fantastic and I enjoyed living vicariously in the Minneapolis she created. I’d probably not want to hang out with those particular characters, but the world merits further exploration.