I am a big fan of Jeaniene Frost. Her Cat & Bones series is one of my favorites. So her name on the cover was a good enough reason for me to try the anthology Haunted by Your Touch.
Her contribution, “Night’s Darkest Embrace,” is a departure from her usual vampire fare. This novella features a partial demon, Mara. She journeys to the demon realm of Nocturna to avenge the death of her cousin. But while she searches for answers, she crosses paths with Rafael, the leader of Nocturna. She has been attracted to him for years, but knows that he keeps secrets about himself and his connection to the full blooded demons (who killed her cousin.) So she convinces him to bring her to his home on the pretext of sex. While there, she plans to search for answers. The only problem is, her feeling for him are too real to fake.
The chemistry between Mara and Rafe is off the charts. And Frost can write the heck out of her love scenes. There was a lot of world building in this short story, so you have to pay attention. But I really enjoyed it. When all was said and done, I was left wondering how Rafe managed to be a good guy with the lineage he has… but that lingering question wasn’t enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story.
The second novella, “Mated,” is part of Shayla Black’s ongoing Doomsday Brethren series. I’ve never read any of those books, but after this short story, I will definitely give them a try. Raiden is a wizard who has lived a life more interested in loving than fighting. But he is now part of the Doomsday Brethren… a group of seven guys who fight evil. He is in love with Tabby and got her pregnant (presumably in some earlier book in the series), but he doesn’t think he can give her the life she deserves, so he refuses to mate with her. He thinks he has put her out of his life, but an evil wizard kills her family and now Tabby is in terrible danger. Raiden needs to keep her safe, but can he fight his feelings now that he has her with him again?
I liked this story. Obviously, there is a lot of backstory, but it was fairly easy to jump in as a new reader. For some reason, I felt like the story was a little foreign. We had words like “knickers” and “bloody” floating around, but maybe it’s supposed to be set in Britain or something. Maybe that, too, will be explained by other books in the series.
The last novella was ”The Darkest Temptation,” by Sharie Kohler. It was the shortest of the three and I really liked this one too. Lily has been attacked by a Lycan and she thinks that killing Luc (who she is told is the pack Alpha) will keep her from changing. Luc catches her and can’t quite bring himself to kill her. The two have great chemistry from the start and I wish I had more of their story to read. My next stop will be to check out Kohler’s Moon Chaser books.
A great anthology. I enjoyed all three stories and discovered two new authors.
4 1/2 stars.
Haunted by Your Touchby Jeaniene Frost, Sharie Kohler, & Shayla BlackRelease Date: October 26, 2010Publisher: Pocket Star