I wrote out a whole review and then my computer froze. Gah!
Anyway, 4.5 stars for this one. This is the first "off-shoot" book of Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series and it features Spade and Denise, two characters introduced in earlier books of the series.
I've been a Spade fangirl since the moment of his introduction in the first book of the series, Halfway to the Grave. *pauses review to high five Rane* He's a wonderful character, incredibly loyal and sexily charming. Chivalrous as only a two century old earl can be. He's truly lovely.
Denise was introduced in the second book. She had become Cat's good friend after the latter rescued her from a vampire attack. Denise met and married a man named Randy who was, coincidentally, Bones' friend. It shouldn't come as a spoiler to anyone by this point that Randy didn't make it through all four Night Huntress books. It was a heartwrenching event and it's been given it's due respect in this book, which is important.
I love that Denise doesn't come to see all Randy's flaws the way a lot of stories handle the new HEA. She doesn't entertain delusions of a life of solitude because she'll never love again, either. She's practical. Grieving heavily, but getting on with her life. She wasn't ready to fall in love yet, but that doesn't mean she'd shut off the possibility for the future. But she definitely doesn't want to spend any time with, much less fall in love with, a member of the undead.
Then she needs Spade's help to save her family from a demon. And the discomfort begins! She's been staying away from all things supernatural for months, even letting her friendship with Cat lapse, and Spade's vowed never to become seriously involved with a human again. Oh, silly characters.
They are both intensely attracted to each other and the sparks really fly with them. When they finally consummate, it's a good idea to have a fan handy. They're very good together.
I wasn't sure I was going to like Denise, but I did. My love of Spade was never in doubt. I really like them together and I look forward to seeing them in future books.
I'm a little ambivalent about the ending. Denise is demon branded forever? I understand that, but I'm just not all that happy about it. And is Nathaniel reformed enough to keep his fool mouth shut about the Red Dragon blood she's pumping. I assume there's been a mind meld, a compulsion to never tell that secret, but they can't trust that every other person who knew is dead. I feel like Denise is going to go through eternity with a target on her.
I would like to see her use her shape-shifting abilities in battle in the future. That would go a long way toward making me accept this arrested transformation.
I think Frost is becoming a better writer with each book. Not that she was a slouch to begin with, but her last two books have been very emotionally engaging for me. I've really enjoyed them. Mencheres is next in the Summer and I can't wait. For those who haven't tried Jeaniene Frost, I feel pretty confident recommending her books.
(edited for clarity)