Ellora’s Cave, $6.99, ISBN 1-4199-0369-1
Fantasy Erotica, 2004
Eleven years ago, Sherra – no, no, not the Princess of Power; given that she is part-snow leopard, she’s more of a Catra – and Kane Tyler had a thing. Despite the fact that it was part of a breeding program conducted by the villainous douche canoes of the Genetic Council, she felt alive during that coupling… and a part of her wishes to experience that pleasure again even today, when she is free of the Council and is part of the resistance to take it down. She also hates him for making her feel that way, which is why she let him believe that she was dead all these years. Oh, and he’s the brother of Merinus and everyone thinks he betrayed them, so…
Who cares, right? We’re just here for the sex!
To be fair, there is a strong plot thread in Kiss of Heat, especially when compared to the previous three entries in Lora Leigh’s Breed series, and I am pleasantly surprised to find myself getting swept up the constant ambushes, attacks, assaults, and more. Mind you, the lore is still on the underdeveloped side, and half the time I’m just here for the ride without knowing what exactly is happening. Still, I’ve had fun, so it’s all good.
As for the sex, oh yes, hot as usual. Initially, Kane and Sherra come off poorly, with her being unnecessarily abrasive and he being annoyingly smug and slimy. As I turn the pages, though, I have a better understanding of what Sherra went through back then, so it makes sense as to why she wants to hate Kane so much. As for Kane, he abruptly switches personalities from full blown jerk-ass to a protective and occasionally sweet dude who says things like:
“I’m a strong man, Sherra,” he whispered, his breath caressing her neck as she felt his head lower toward her. “I’ve lived when I wanted to die without you. I fought for you, even when I thought you were dead. Do you really think it’s just biological? That any force short of death will keep me out of your body, keep me from fucking you until you’re screaming for me to stop.”
I normally don’t approve of abrupt changes of personality in a character, but this time I have no complaints about trading the exasperating asshole that Kane is in the first few chapters for this far more tolerable character. I know, I’m moving the goalposts, but this is my website and I have the right to channel my inner romance heroine now and then, okay?
An added bonus is that the author allows Sherra to still be kick-ass despite falling under the mate-mate-mate fog with Kane. She is as far from a damsel in distress as can be, and I like that.
So, why doesn’t Kiss of Heat get four oogies or more? Well, the balance between action and sex is way off. I’ve lost count of the number of times I cringe when these people are supposed to be doing action hero stuff only to drop trousers and shag. That’s not sexy – okay, it is sometimes… oh, alright, the sex scenes are hot, okay? At the same time, it’s also “Come on! What happens if the bad guys show up like you expect them to, and open fire on your humping rear ends?” kind of stupid.
The best way to enjoy this one, therefore, is to view it as a work of pure camp and try not to take it too seriously. This isn’t a bad thing in itself, but there is also enough base material here for this story to be even more slamming, fun, and still be taken more seriously… if only the sex scenes take place in a more sensible context, perhaps, and maybe if the author had more word count to flesh out the plot better. Still, I’ve had fun, so I guess I can’t complain too much!