A Stranger's Kiss
by Kimberly Raye, paranormal (2001)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52462-7

At first I thought A Stranger's Kiss is some sort of parody. You know that sort? Dark, supposedly bad hero, an innocent (read: roadkill) heroine who is so pure that she does not seem to be contaminated by any earthly desires (or brainpower, for that matter), and lots of italics/empathic/psychic/soulmate/yaddayadda mumbo jumbo.

It's a pretty excruciating read.

Our hero Alex Daimon (how's that for subtlety?) is an incubus. He sleeps with women so that his Evil Master can possess them. I mean, you can't get any more blunt that that, ie sex = slut = Satan's whore. Or something close to that. Our heroine Callie Wisdom (an attempt at irony, I'm sure) is a pure, sweet, innocent virgin who is the descendant of that woman who caused Alex to turn all slutty/evil in the first place.

Also, Callie has the Sight! It's a Curse, she believes, because the Sight ruined her parents and now, as her Daddy is dying from some Curse, she breaks into great granny's tomb to find a book that will break Daddy's curse. In comes Alex, who must seduce Callie within a week so that when her great granny takes over her body at that time... er, do you really want me to go on? There's also some halfbaked attempt at serial killer mystery.

Actually, this story could have been interesting, if the author isn't so intent on sabotaging her own story. Alex may be a slut demon, but he is one of the most unsexiest, unlusty heroes I've ever read. As for Callie, she is a plot device, poster girl for brainsucked Vestal Virgins minus divine wisdom. Pure, naive, innocent, Bambi Barbie high on blind trust and uncritical mental faculties, she is painful to follow. Any similarity to a human being is coincidental, as she is more white rag that realistic character.

Since this is a plot that has Alex not wanting to destroy Callie (remember, sex = evil), the whole story soon revolves around a circular want/not want/want/not want mental angst that redefines the meaning of acute boredom. Don't look for much hot, sexy love scenes here, by the way, the author is out to rediscover her Inner Artemis by vilifying sex and orgasms. It's just too bad she does it all wrong and inadvertently gives virginity instead the finger.

Rating: 42

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