Deep Kiss of Winter (Duology)
Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter
Published 2009 426 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Untouchable by Kresley Cole:
Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice Maiden - the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can't be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure. Soon desperate for closeness, in an agony of frustration, Murdoch and Danii will do anything to have each other. Together, can they find the key that will finally allow them to slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?
Tempt Me Eternally by Gena Showalter:
Aleaha Love can be anyone - literally. With only skin-to-skin contact, she can change her appearance, assume any identity. Her newest identity switch has made her an AIR (alien investigation and removal) agent and sends her on a mission to capture a group of otherworldly warriors. Only she becomes the captured. Breean, a golden-skinned commander known for his iron will who is at once dangerous and soul-shatteringly seductive, threatens her new life. Because for the first time, Aleaha only wants to be herself...
Deep Kiss of Winter is a duology that contains two short(ish) novels by popular paranormal romance authors Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter. Marketed as “a holiday collection with bite”, initial worries of stories with overt Christmas messages of happy reunion and peace on Earth were quickly dispelled since both stories treat the Christmas theme with the lightest of touches.
At this point I feel compelled to point out that as a general rule I dislike Christmas stories. Like Christmas decorations in January, I feel that they have a short shelf-life. Frequently their Christmas messages of joy seem painfully forced and often they are just plain bad. (My “bah-humbug” attitude towards Christmas doesn’t help either.) Still it’s fair to say that whether (like me) you avoid the joys of the holiday season until the day itself, or you are filled with the spirit of Christmas from the end of Halloween – this is one Christmas collection that doesn’t suck. Yes, pun intended.
Untouchable by Kresley Cole is a part of her Immortals After Dark series. At 256 pages in length it is the longer of the two stories in this collection and makes a satisfying read. Fans of the IAD series have been eagerly awaiting this story ever since it was hinted in Dark Needs At Night’s Edge that Murdoch Wroth might have secretly found his Bride. Since vampires will stop at nothing to claim and keep their Brides (a Bride being the one woman capable of making their hearts beat again) there had to be a good story behind why Murdoch would keep his Bride secret. And there is, told in full, in Untouchable.
The clue to the major obstacle for Murdoch to over come before he can claim his Bride is in the name of the story, Untouchable. As part ice fey, Daniela can not be touched by any but other members of the ice fey race without it causing terrible burns. Another impediment to the path of true love is the fact that Murdoch maybe the only vampire on Earth who isn’t thrilled to find his fated Bride. This gives the couple plenty of relationship issues to work through and keeps the story moving forward at a fair pace. Daniela is a true Ice Queen, literally, and the amount of ice and snow in Untouchable goes along way towards giving the story a winter-wonderland theme, rather than an overtly Christmas one.
Untouchable goes back to the start of the IAD books, the events of The Warlord Wants Forever, and begins from there. Filling in Murdoch’s side of the events of that story, No Rest For The Wicked and Dark Needs At Night Edge. Perhaps because it is tying up the loose ends of these other stories, or maybe due to its shorter length, Untouchable lacks the exciting adventure sub-plots that have driven the action in previous books from this series. Missing high-octane action sub plot aside, the relationship development between Daniela and Murdoch shouldn’t fail to delight romance fans and established IAD fans should enjoy the chance to catch up with the Wroth brothers again.
Tempt Me Eternally is Gena Showalter’s contribution to the Deep Kiss of Winter duology. This 169 page story is part of her Alien Huntress series, which has a futuristic sci-fi setting – based on Earth but with aliens. There are also vampires in the Alien Huntress world, although there aren’t any vampires in this particular story.
Tempt Me Eternally is the story of Breean, an alien newly arrived on Earth, and Aleaha, who origins are unknown but talent to change her appearance at will may make her some sort of human mutation with shapeshifter abilities. This is a story of shapeshifter woman meets alien man, falls in lust and then in love. With its raunchy romance bordering on erotic fiction, this story doesn’t flesh out its sci-fi world setting very well or the relationship development between the characters either. As lightweight erotic romance it works well but true sci-fi fans will want to look else where for alien adventure. And while existing fans of the Alien Huntress series shouldn’t be disappointed by Tempt Me Eternally I’m not sure that this story will be enough to win over new readers.
All in all, Deep Kiss of Winter makes for enjoyable winter holiday reading. There is enough heart-warming romance in Untouchable and raunchy romance in Tempt Me Eternally to heat up even the coldest winter’s night.
Review rating: Untouchable is rated at 4.5 stars out of 5. Tempt Me Eternally is rated at 3 stars, giving an aggregated rating of 3.75 stars out of 5 for Deep Kiss of Winter.
LoveVampires Review Rating:
You can read an excerpt from this novel and find out more information about upcoming releases and the other works of Kresley Cole on her website. Visit Kresley's site.
You can find out more about Gena Showalter’s Alien Huntress series and other works at her website. Visit Gena’s website.