Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Darkest Kiss and Deadly Desire

"Dark secrets. Dangerous seduction. It all begins with a kiss...With a werewolf's uncanny instinct for danger - and vampire blood coursing her through her veins - Riley Jenson is an officer for the Directorate of Other Races, an organisation created to police supernatural beings. Now she's hunting for a killer who is targeting the rich and the powerful of Melbourne's society...But for Riley the case takes a chilling turn when a second killer - a crazed young vamp - starts leaving a trail of mutilated bodies of his own. Riley knows she's got the skill and cunning to catch two serial killers at once, until one of them strikes inside her own tight-knit clan - and a sexy beast of a vampire re-enters her life to aid in the hunt. His name is Quinn. He's lived forever, shed blood and shared pleasure - and he's the only man over whom Riley has absolutely no control..."

The Darkest Kiss is the 6th book in the Riley Jenson series by Keri Arthur, and it's my favourite so far (including Deadly Desire which follows it). It's a much more subdued Riley we find here, still hurting from her split from Kellen a couple of months before, and more than a little wary of being involved with anyone else, new or old. But Riley still has her smart mouth on her, and she's getting on with her job. She doesn't spend a lot of time whining as can happen in other books, so she's still a great character to read.

The plots through this had me hooked and it moved at a great pace. I guessed who the person within her group that got hurt was early fairly early on, but it didn't detract much from the tension. There isn't much seen of Rhoan, Riley's brother, until near the end which is a little unusual, but again, it didn't take anything away from the story. I've never been a big fan of Quinn, and I wasn't sure about having him reappear in Riley's life, but I actually found myself almost warming to him by the end. But Riley's desire to not have her heartbroken again has her staying away from the wolf clubs, and it means there isn't any sex in this book til near the end, and much less flirtation than normal as well. The book almost felt lacking for it, but down to it being unusual for there to be so little in a Riley book rather than it being odd for there to be so little sex in a book.

For me, the development of Riley through this book is what's made her a favourite for me, something she hasn't been until now. She's developed slowly to a more serious person, without losing her sense of humor or desire for fun. She's still talking back to those she shouldn't and doing things her own way to others frustration, stopping the books from becoming too dark. Overall, a really great read and the series is worth the not so good first few books to get here.

"Guardian Riley Jenson always seems to face the worst villains. And this time's no different. For it's no ordinary sorceress who can raise the dead to do her killing. But that's exactly what Riley expects to find at the end of a trail of female corpses used - and discarded - in a bizarre ritual of evil. With pressure mounting to catch the fiend, the last thing Riley needs is the heat of the upcoming full moon bringing her werewolf hormones to a boil - or the reappearance of a sexy bounty hunter, the rogue wolf Kye Murphy. Riley has threatened Murphy with arrest if he doesn't back off the investigation, but it's Riley who feels handcuffed by Kye's lupine charm. Torn between her vamp and wolf natures, between her love for Quinn and her attraction to Kye, Riley knows she's courting danger and indulging the deadliest desires. For her hunt through the supernatural underworld will bring her face-to-face with what lurks in a darkness where even monsters fear to tread."

I had the unfortunate luck of being accidentally spoiled on the outcome to this book, which admittedly did stop me enjoying it as much as I should have done. Reading it was different to if I'd gone in blind. But it was still a good story and had me wanting more. But even if I had read it without knowing the twists that came at the end, I still doubt I would rank it better than The Darkest Kiss.

I love the introduction of Kye. He appeared briefly in Embraced By Darkness, but we really get to know him here. The attraction between him and Riley is pretty funny to read because they both feel it, yet neither wants to, making it a dare as much as anything else. He's a pretty dark guy, a hired gun and he doesn't care what others think. He's not your average werewolf though and he's got his own secrets to hide.

I liked Quinn more in this book, probably really liking him for the first time. He and Riley seem to have a better, stronger relationship for all the trouble they've had in the past. Still not an easy one at times, and it certainly has it's flaws, but it was more enjoyable with this book.

The past two books have introduced a few other new characters, some who are around more than others, but they're all adding to the series. This book itself doesn't feel quite as solid, the plot not quite as strong as the previous one, but it kept me wanting to read it none the less, but without the same intensity. Some parts of this book almost make it seem more of a filler between this and the next one. Certainly certain things are just being set up for the rest of the series, and they left me wanting more. Overall, not the best book in the series, but still a great read showing the continued development of Riley and still with her sassy nature. Looking forward to the next with a lot of anticipation.

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