by Selah March, futuristic (2008)
Red Sage Publishing, $2.99, ISBN 978-160310-198-1
Selah March's There Came A Killing Frost - nice title, eh? - is set in 2123 when Texas is now a Sovereign Republic. I don't think I should say what I want to say here or I'll never hear the end of it. The Killing Frost in the title is our hero Kit Frost's moniker. He's a do-it-all type of guy if you can afford his services and his marketing shtick is that he's actually a cowboy. His latest assignment is to deliver Lourdes Carterro, from all accounts the moll of a nasty type of fellow that you won't want to cross, to the nasty fellow in question, DuSourde.
Lourdes had been running away from DuSourde when she was captured and delivered all trussed and drugged up to Kit and you can bet that she's going to try to run away again when the opportunity arises. As a well-trained submissive, perhaps she can use some of the tricks she has up her sleeves to seduce Kit into complacency. Guess what happens between the two of them.
Kit isn't who he seems to be, and that is perhaps the biggest flaw of this story. Who is Kit? He's supposed to be this killer who had taken a vow of repentance, but his portrayal in this story is considerably tame to the point that I can't even picture that guy killing a gerbil. It must have been one amazing epiphany that he had when he decided to walk the straight and narrow path, I suppose, like one of those epiphanies that would turn a debauched hedonist into a religious zealot. On the other hand, Lourdes is exactly the kind of heroine with a past that would make some readers flinch, although I find that the explanation given with regards to her relationship with DeSourde more of a cop-out than anything else. I get this feeling that the author has tried to clean up her characters to make them pretty for genteel readers to the extent that the characters' current behavior and their supposed backgrounds sometimes don't gel well.
On the bright side, the pacing is fine and the sex scenes fit well within the context of the story. The characters are likable types who also display ample intelligence. The chemistry is sizzling and the love scenes are hot. The romance is pretty believable for one in a short story.
While I have a pretty good time with There Came A Killing Frost, I can't help thinking at the same time that it would make more sense for the story to have a more menacing antiheroic vibe for the main characters. Kit, especially, should have been darker and more dangerous so that he will come off more convincingly as this mean and bad killer-type person.
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