First Drop of Crimson
I was anxiously awaiting ANYTHING from this author, considering how much I love her Night Huntess series, and was thrilled her spin-off was about Spade, the “best friend hottie”.
While it was worth the read, and I did enjoy it thoroughly, I didn’t latch onto the “love story” part as much as I did with Cat and Bones. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazingly tender moments with Spade, and he proves to be a very steamy male, but his emotional connection to the heroine happened so easily (almost too easily).
Denise, Cat’s human best friend, lost her husband (also human) during a preternatural battle. Wanting to avoid that world, Denise severs all ties with every non-human she has met, including Cat. Still mourning her husband’s death a year later, she also loses her aunt and two young cousins to “heart attacks”. Followed home one night by a demon, she is informed that one of her ancestors (who basically made a deal with the devil), has gone missing, and it is up to her to find him. If she does not, more of her family will perish. Their lives in exchange for her handing the ancestor over.
“Your ancestor Nathaniel backed out of a bargain with me.” Raum’s voice felt like phantoms in her ear. “He managed to lock me away for quite some time, but I’m back and I want my payment.”
Denise shook her head to clear the awful images from it. “How can I do anything about that?”
“Because he must be hiding with vampires or ghouls,” Raum purred. “I can’t go into their world, but you can. Find him for me. Bring him to me, and I’ll leave you and the rest of his spawn alone.”
Side note: that whole part was super creepy, and my electricity went out just as I got to it. Sitting by candlelight, without a sound in the house, and my tiny book light on my e-reader, the part when a little girl comes knocking at her door….eeeeeeeeeeek!! Don’t do that part in the dark!
Okay back to the book:
Not having a clue who she is looking for (other than the horrifying images the demon has supplied her), she attempts contacting Cat and Bones for their help. Unable to get a hold of them, she reluctantly turns to another vampire acquaintance (Spade), who obligingly comes to her rescue. Of course, his very nature freaks her out (considering all the slaughter she had seen barely a year ago):
“Ah, you’re awake,” Spade said, closing his cell with a click. “Ordered you breakfast, considering you didn’t touch your food last night.” His mouth curled in a grin. “You’ll be pleased to know you slept through my breakfast. Perhaps now you’ll be able to keep your appetite.”
“You eat the room service employees every time?” Denise asked, shocked.
“Of course. But don’t fret on their behalf. I always tip well.”
Spade, determined not to care for the human (he’s suffered in the past from doing that very thing), explains that to keep their cover as they investigate, she must act as his “property” (following his commands, not questioning him in public, act as his lover – hey wait..that one sounds too convenient – haha!)
Forced back into the supernatural world, she begins experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (at his vampire gatherings no less), and his all too caring reactions to her, start raising eyebrows. After he seats her to his right at his table (instead of behind him as “property” should be seated), allows her to argue with him publicly, comforts her during a panic attack, and then calmly escorts her to their car after she vomits into his designer shirt…
My dear Denise, you have no idea. “It changes things,” he said at last. “No one would believe you’re merely my property after tonight.”
As they grow closer as friends, they have no choice but to acknowledge the undeniable attraction that has been plaguing them since they first met:
Spade’s voice was very soft. “Get up and walk away from me, Denise, or I will take you up on your offer.”
His gaze pinned hers, that green glow penetrating. She knew he wasn’t using his power on her, because her mind felt clear, but she was drawn in nonetheless.
She had to end this bewildering attraction she felt for him. Now, before it got any stronger. If she was lucky, she’d have a PTSD attack on the spot.
“Go ahead, vampire,” she replied, equally soft.
Spade’s mouth was on her throat before the last word left her.
However, they struggle with a few new issues. The demon has infused Denise with his essence, causing her some physical changes that throw a monkey wrench into the whole situation (and let’s just say that while human blood is tempting enough to a vampire, Denise’s blood is pure ecstasy). While they hunt for her ancestor, and dodge the demon, Denise now carries a secret that puts her whole life (and their future) in question.
Lots of action in this book (typical of this author’s storytelling). Good vs. evil, emotional struggles, wanting to protect the protector, jealousy, sizzling hot passionate interludes, funny quips, even Cat and Bones, it’s all here!
Oh and Ian (their other friend) got even sexier in this installment…alas, his book in this spinoff series is not the next one, but that’s okay. As long as Ms. Frost continues regaling us with their world, I will read everything with gusto!
Interested in the series? —> Jeaniene Frost – Night Huntress Series Reading Order