Eternal Kiss of Darkness
I LOVED it! In fact, I would have easily pulled an all-nighter, but my iPad quit before I was ready to (husband didn’t recharge it for me after his day of playing with it). But it held up well. I started the book late Friday evening and read straight through until 4am. It kept me captivated, on the edge of my seat, and I *sighed* my butt off throughout.
There was just something about this couple that sucked me right in, and they felt *right*. It was tense, exciting, chilling and heartwrenchingly sad – but incredibly and believably romantic. It had just the right amount of angst. I didn’t roll my eyes once! I know I’m *feeling* the book when my reading automatically slows down and I absorb and revel in the moments – does that ever happen to you? Conchita, you had it right! It WAS to be “savored slowly like a decadent desert” 😉
But…I’m going to make a slight admission here, and I hope I don’t scandalize some too badly with this comment – because I DO love Cat and Bones (they are one of my favorite book couples): Cat and Bones show up a few times in this one, but incomprehensibly, they somewhat irritated me! I found myself wanting to get back to Mencheres and Kira. This couple gave them a run for their money.
So here’s how it goes (but I’m going to keep it limited) because really, you need to experience this one for yourself, in all of it’s glory.
Mencheres is an old vampire. Very old. Ancient even. And he’s sick of “living”. After years of battling the one woman he truly loved – his evil wife Patra, and years of battling every other enemy out for his power, he’s ready to hand over the reins to someone else, and leave his seemingly meaningless, loveless “life” behind. His “visions” no longer coming to him, all he sees is darkness when he looks into the future. He deduces that his time has come. He’s tying up loose ends, and then he’s letting go.
“I am weary,” Mencheres said. In that moment, he felt the weight of all his years pressing on him; the countless strife, guilt, and toil swelling with merciless relentlessness. Suddenly he wanted Radjedef to know that his schemes for an elaborate vengeance would never come to pass. “You should have struck at me before, old friend. When I still have the desire to give you the fight you sought.”
Something passed across the Law Guardian’s face, as if he just now realized Mencheres wasn’t feigning his apathy.
“You would never abandon your people, Menkaure.”
Amidst his mental exhaustion, Mencheres felt a glimmer of satisfaction. Did Radje finally grasp that his chances for revenge were slipping away?
“That is true, which is why I gave Bones the gift of my power when I merged my line with his.”
One evening, as he is being attacked by ghouls in an abandoned warehouse, a human female (Kira Graceling) hears the commotion, and her law abiding, “save one life” mentality decides that she must help. Trained in the police academy, and toting a gun, she strides in ready to apprehend. Her world changes forever when she realizes the monsters she is seeing are real and unwittingly becomes a part of a vicious paranormal attack that no mortal can possibly live through (and she almost doesn’t).
Mortally wounded, she bleeds out, changing Menchere’s plans when he realizes he must abandon his original intentions and save her. He gives her his healing blood, and takes her to his home to recuperate, intending to erase her memories once she wakes. Problem. It’s not working.
“Look into my eyes, Kira. Nothing happened this morning. You never went to the warehouse. You never saw me. You went home, fell asleep, and nothing else happened…”
His voice deepened until it vibrated with something more than his usual accent. The pressure in Kira’s mind intensified, but her head didn’t feel like it was about to snap off her shoulders. Maybe he wasn’t trying to kill her. It hadn’t taken this long for him to kill the others at the warehouse. After several more moments staring into his impossibly bright eyes, Kira tried to reason with him again.
“That’s exactly what I’ll say. Whatever you are, whatever they were, I don’t want to know about it. I just want to forget about it.”
A frown creased his features. “Impossible,” he muttered. His eyes brightened even more. “Nothing happened this morning. You walked home, you went to bed…”
“Got it,” Kira said, blinking. Looking into his eyes was like staring into two green spotlights.
He was on the other side of the room before her next blink, looking at her with the same wary speculation she’d bestowed on him before.
“You are immune to my power.” A short laugh came from him. “This is a memorable day indeed. Perhaps it’s because I gave you my blood to heal you. That could interfere with my mesmerizing you now. Once you get it out of your system, you will be susceptible again.”
He chalks it up to his powerful blood in her system, explains the whole situation to her, and tells her to give it a week with his promise of release once he can mentally “undo” what she knows about the paranormal world. After an unsuccessful (but funny) escape attempt, she concedes.
During that week, she realizes that despite being held captive, her captor is extremely charming, respectful and treats her wonderfully. She has full run of the property, can use the phone, and essentially feels like she’s on vacation. She meets his human “donors”, his associates, and even somewhat gets to know him. And although she is suspicious of what he actually does with his “mind” techniques, she finds herself undeniably attracted to him.
A funny little moment when she finds him in his pool, and she mentions something that prompts him to leap out of the pool, panicked and shush her with his finger:
Kira’s eyes fastened there, widening. Oh. My. If the vampire hadn’t still had a finger to her lips, she would have licked them in reflex.
“Some things must never change,” a deep voice noted, as his finger left her lips to raise her chin.
Kira reluctantly tore her gaze away to meet Mencheres’s dark eyes. They were devoid of his former anger, and the corners of his mouth twitched. Her distracted mind finally translated that he’d repeated her earlier chastising remark, and she laughed.
“Guilty,” she admitted, resisting the urge to drop her gaze again. No wonder the vampire didn’t wear swim shorts.
Intent on not being a “Stockholm Syndrome” victim, she resists her feelings. She finds her attraction deepening, however, when on her last day with him, he helps her with something incredibly important in her life, and then releases her, trusting her to keep quiet, despite her knowledge of his world.
“Does this mean…that I’m never going to see you again?”
Kira’s voice cracked faintly as she asked, causing pain to slice through him. Did she feel something for him as well?
But by now, her world and her heart has changed forever and she finds herself unable to simply return to her previous life without him.
Despite its being several days since he let her go, Kira didn’t seem to be able to get Mencheres out of her mind.
It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. In the six days she’d been with Mencheres, he’d shown her that two other species existed alongside humanity, saved her life, saved her sister’s life, fascinated her, tempted her, bitten her, and against the best interests of his kind, released her. Why wouldn’t she be thinking about him? Every time she saw or spoke to her sister, Kira was reminded of Mencheres, let alone every time she walked past the warehouse on her commute from the subway to her apartment. His impact on her life had been enormous, and now that he was gone, Kira felt an acute sense of loss.
She begins taking steps to find him (his location and how to contact him – she never learned), and with these attempts, she lands herself in some serious hot water!
And THAT, my friends, is where the story begins! You thought that whole first part was fun and intriguing…HA!
From her attempts to locate him, to the dangerous situations which force Mencheres to make rash and life altering decisions, to revelations that open a whole new world for both of them, this book is a thrill ride of peril and romance.
So that’s it. If you thought you weren’t at all interested in Mencheres and his story (like I found myself thinking when I heard his book was next), think again! I’m certain you will love him. There are TONS of parts that I wanted to quote (his thoughts and his deep emotions that connected me to him so deeply) but again, I don’t want to give it away. I’ll let the author’s genius slow buildup of who he is, his charm, and his sensitive and sensuous side work it’s magic on you. He feels real and alive and he easily stole my heart.
Interested in the series? —> Jeaniene Frost – Night Huntress Series Reading Order