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Kiss of Crimson: The Midnight Breed Book 2    by Lara Adrian order for
Kiss of Crimson
by Lara Adrian
Order:  USA  Can
Dell, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When veterinarian Tess Culver discovers a man more dead than alive hiding in her clinic, she has no idea how that single moment in time will change her life. Initially she believes the bullet riddled stranger a criminal; why else would he insist she not rush him to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment? Before she has time to react further, however, the desperate man goes for her throat and with dawning horror, she realizes he's after her blood.

Breed warrior Dante considers himself lucky to have survived this latest Rogue attack. If not for Tess Culver's timely intervention, he'd have been a dead man and his Brethren would be spreading his ashes to the four winds. What he finds damnably unlucky about the whole situation is that Tess is a Breedmate. If he hadn't been close to death and desperate for blood, he would have recognized the mark on her wrist and never have touched her. But it's far too late for recriminations - they've shared blood and are forever bonded. For a man who's sworn never to take a mate, Tess is a complication he doesn't want or need - especially now that the blood war between the Breed and their mutated brethren, the Rogues, is escalating and drawing more human involvement to their otherwise secretive existence. Including special humans like Tess, who has an amazing gift of her own, and whose alluring image Dante can't seem to get out of his mind.

While it's not as tightly written nor the plot as convincing as that of her debut novel, Adrian still tells a gripping and multi-layered story in Kiss of Crimson. Readers drawn to dark, tortured heroes will find that Dante and his fellow Breed warriors fit those criteria - and then some. Tess is a well-drawn character and her struggle to accept that she's a Breedmate and to acknowledge the man who's so dramatically altered both their lives, is well told. Adrian has also gone an extra step and created a fresh, intriguing and complicated mythology for her vampires, which will be appreciated by readers looking for something a little different from what's currently offered on the paranormal menu.

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