In an attempt to become more familiar with the paranormal phenomenon sweeping romance, this past year I sought to read a number of these books to better understand what all the excitement is about. That said, there are many reasons beyond the paranormal aspect that should have kept me from enjoying Kissing Sin. First there is the violence and suspense that seems to be a prerequisite for these scenarios. And then there is the fact that I have never been much of a fan of vampires or werewolves either. So color me surprised when I discovered that within the pages of this book I had to deal with both vampires and werewolves, as well as the fact that the story is told in first person and that there is no defined hero, no HEA, no conclusion, a continuing story from the first in the series, and the very big fact that the heroine is promiscuous – to the extreme. Well, this must be some very talented writing indeed and, believe me, – it is.
Half vampire and half werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin, Rhoan, are uncommon even among the many non-human races occupying the earth side by side with humans. Both twins work for the Directorate of Other Races, an entity that serves to protect humans from non-human races, with Riley serving in an administrative capacity and Rhoan as one of the select few guardians. With their ability to dispense justice as well as police, life as a guardian is both dangerous and deadly and Riley finds herself frequently cast in the guardian role. Rarely does a day pass that Riley’s life is not threatened in some manner and she honestly can’t fathom why she is the center of so much attention.
It is obvious that someone with a lot of power and extensive resources wants Riley to serve in the capacity of lab rat. In the opening pages the action begins immediately when Riley awakens to find herself held in some unknown facility and remembering nothing about the circumstances of how she got there. As she searches for a way out, she comes across another captive, a horse shifter by the name of Kade, and the two work together to escape the strongly fortified compound. The action is non-stop with only a few pages between action scenes and I was amazed that each action sequence held my interest and I found myself looking forward to the next one! And I don’t ever choose action books.
Before reading Kissing Sin, I wisely read AAR’s review of the first in this series, Full Moon Rising and was able to gather some of the background necessary to find a footing. Let me state clearly that this is not a stand alone book. Unfinished storylines from the first book are likely to remain unfinished after this book as well. And being the diehard romance reader that I am, I kept attempting to determine just who the hero was to Riley’s heroine and, although my initial guess was Quinn from the first book, it was never clear to me. Maybe that is because this is not a romance no matter how hard I tried to fit it into that mold.
There are numerous male characters to keep track of and that task will be much easier for the reader who chooses to read all of the series books in order. I missed the importance of Kade’s introduction in the opening pages, but it looks as though he joins the growing cast of characters including Rhoan; Quinn, Riley’s sometimes love interest; Jack, her boss; Kellan, an alpha werewolf who is sexy beyond description; and Misha, one of Riley’s former mates. None of these characters are insignificant and a number are involved in some sort of sexual relationship with Riley. Since Riley is half werewolf she must regularly calm the moon fever that burns within and, thus, her view of sex differs greatly from humans. She stews to herself once, “I was a wolf, and sex was only sex. As I’d said to Quinn more than once, it was merely an act that meant nothing more than enjoyment until real feelings were invoked.” While I had prepared myself for Riley’s numerous frolics, it remained awkward reading at times especially one particular day wherein she has numerous sexual encounters with three different partners.
Although Riley can be a very dangerous woman when seeking justice, I would describe her more as having an air of kindness when she is off duty rather than the hardened character I expected. Conception for Riley will be difficult if not impossible and her emotions run high when she considers how badly she wants a child. This desire for motherhood helps soften Riley’s character further. Plus, Riley really wants to find her mate for life. I needed to see the vulnerable side of this tough woman and enjoyed her character all the more because I was granted permission to do so.
Since I don’t have much experience with this type of book, I can’t compare it to the likes of Laurell K. Hamilton’s books, but I hope my favorable opinion as a novice carries weight for those of you who, like me, have been hesitant to try books like this one that are clearly not romances. So, although there was no identifiable hero, no monogamous relationships, and no HEA, there remained a moving story that contained a number of intriguing characters, a highly likable heroine, and even a portion of the story that brought tears to my eyes. And no, it’s not what I would normally pull of the shelf at the bookstore but yes, I am going to check out the rest of this series.