ETERNAL KISS OF DARKNESS
Mencheres is a vampire who redefines the word "ancient". Over 4,000 years old, he has reached the point where life no longer holds any appeal. He's experienced everything. Seen everything. Felt everything. And with an enemy as old as he is intensifying a millennia old feud, Mencheres seeks the only out that will preserve his legacy and protect his line of vampires: final death.
He didn't anticipate, having lost his ability to see the future, that his death would be thwarted by a human. And a female one at that. Kira unwittingly stumbles into the vampire world seeking to follow her private investigator and personal creed of "save one life", not knowing the life she seeks to save wants the exact opposite. Her hero complex places her in further danger when Mencheres's enemy sees that Kira might mean more to him than a mere piece of property.
Mencheres must find a way keep Kira from enemy hands while ensuring that his greatest rival is deterred from launching his war. In addition to safeguarding his family of vampires, Mencheres is also forced to fumble with emotions he thought dissipated long ago, making him vulnerable and laying him bare as his enemy closes in.
This is an enjoyable story. The first in this spinoff series, First Drop of Crimson, was a little disappointing. Ms. Frost set the bar for paranormal romance so high with her Cat and Bones novels that the expectations I had for the spinoff series were almost guaranteed not to be met. The relationship between Spade and Denise in the first book lacked a romantic connection for me. I didn't feel they truly cared for one another as much as they proclaimed, and their passion was several significant notches below that of Cat and Bones.
The relationship between Kira and Mencheres is much more believable. Mencheres is often a side character in the Night Huntress novels, and in that role he's always been rather aloof. He exists with a veil of detachment, appearing emotionally vacant while being genetically superior. I was curious to see if that emotive disconnect would persist when he became a leading protagonist. I profess to being pleasantly surprised.
We get a peek into life as a Master vampire, a little slice of the loneliness that permeates his existence despite being surrounded by servants, friends, and humans serving as his property. His power and status among vampires naturally draws the power-hungry and aggressively ambitious, and he must deal with those who only seek out his company in the hopes of bettering themselves. Because of all the endless, monotonous enterprising, his detachment begins to make sense and we are able to empathize with his circumstances on a deeper and more thorough level.
Kira is as strong willed as they come. So strong in fact that she is immune to Mencheres's mind control, a capability he finds both exasperating and attractive. She isn't your typical damsel in distress who comes across a monster in the night and adamantly refuses to believe in its existence despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. She doesn't continually question what she sees, doesn't get swept up in a wave of denial, but rather accepts what she faces with a calm resignation. She can be a little too self-assured at times, her insistence that she's always correct a little grating, but overall she is a good match for Mencheres mentally and emotionally.
Though the plot isn't anything groundbreaking or astounding in it's creativity, it does move quickly in typical Frost fashion, leaving readers at the bottom of the last page wondering how they got there so fast. Her style of writing is as appealing as ever, and I always look forward to whatever she has in store for her fans. Here's hoping we get to see a little more of side characters Vlad and Ian in future installments.