First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

Night Huntress World, #1

Source: Purchased rating

The night is not safe for mortals.

Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows – her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield – and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s dark past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness – and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who craves a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human – even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the demon nightmare together…

Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.

“Any situation was better faced with an empty bladder, a clean body, and a lack of morning breath.”

First I'm getting the cover hate out of the way because, well, I hate this cover and can't move on until I mention it, simple as that. It's cheesy, but as Anne said in her review, is his neck actually broken? Bad photoshop?

Moving on to the actual book, this is the first of the 'Night Huntress World', an offshoot for the popular and long-running series similarly titled 'Night Huntress.' Denise was seen in a previous book and Spade has been a series backup regular.

In this novel, Denise needs help when her cousin is killed in front of her and a big-bad nasty is involved, but with Cat and Bones out of the country, help comes via Spade. It's a paranormal romance, which isn't my favorite genre by far, but this one keeps it steady with having a storyline first. Spade and Denise have to hunt down leads to find a certain someone who they can trade off for a break from an agreement with a demon. There's different cities, different fights, and we get the return characters we all know and like (Ian, Bones, Cat, etc.) who help along the way. Of course the two leads have their own personal sets off issues too, especially widowhood, prejudices, and all that depressing stuff.

First, I actually really liked Denise. Her personality just completely synched with me. She comes across realistic enough, has compassion that's not nauseating and is just convincing. She's funny at times but mainly not since she's in serious overkill right now. Her hang-ups made sense but she didn't have angst, and that was a worthy nod to Randy's death. I also liked Slade, who waited a reasonable amount of time for an actual good reason and not silliness, but when he knew what he wanted he pursued it the right way.

Their relationship worked as a refreshing change for this type of PR because it wasn't silly/instant stuff, it evolved based on mutual things, and it didn't become dominated by cheesy love-fest stuff.

The plot is layered well enough - the demon is freaky, the brands are intriguing, Denise's changes are nerve-wracking, Ian is funny, there's some brief fights that are predictable but didn't overtake the story to where there's boredom, Frost's writing is easy flowing and quick to read. I'm surprised I liked this one as much as I did - it took only one day to breeze through.

Some fans of Night Huntress, Cats/Bones, didn't seem to rate this as highly, but I think one reason is they go in expecting something similar to the books they already know and love, but this one is pretty different stuff. Denise is the opposite of the tough-as-nails and sarcastic, brutal Cat in a lot of ways. Spade has the mild possessive side and the dedication, but he isn't the wickedly sarcastic Bones. Still, I liked them both and enjoyed the storyline enough, but it's hard to predict what other readers of the series will think. Like the series characters, either there's chemistry or there isn't. Also, no Vlad this time around.

   Book Quotes:

“You look like a Dracula porn movie reject”


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