Kiss of Temptation by Sandra Hill

KISS

Kiss of Temptation by Sandra Hill
Publisher: AVON Books/HarperCollins
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (229 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

IS IT LUST?

Ivak Sigurdsson is dead…well, sort of. Guilty of the sin of lust, he’s been given an unusual penance: spend eternity as a Viking Vampire Angel, or Vangel, fighting Lucipires, Satan’s vampire demons on earth. Now sequestered in Angola Prison as a “spiritual advisor,” Ivak is finding all these centuries of celibacy depressing, to say the least. But then, along comes southern belle Gabrielle Sonnier. Is she a reward for his good deeds, or a temptation sent to rattle his lustsome brain?

OR IS IT LOVE?

Gabrielle, a lawyer, begs Ivak to help get her brother out of prison. Aided by the Cajun LeDeux family and their chief looney bird, Tante Lulu, Ivak reluctantly agrees. And while he alternately tries to seduce and save Gabrielle before the Lucipires run rampant, they both begin to wonder if it’s really only lust, or something more.

What do you get when you mix a matchmaking Cajun ninety year old lady named Tante Lulu with a Viking vampire angel and a sex deprived lawyer? A very entertaining read and it’s all found in Ms. Hill’s latest masterpiece, Kiss of Temptation .

With Ms. Hill’s Cajun romances, Tante Lulu was always there as not only an effective stirrer of the plot using charming hijinks, but her character was always a guarantee that there’d be laughter at the most unexpected times. Imagine my delighted shock when I found out that this author, with her knack of tickling the most stubborn funny bone, decided to toss in a little of that generational humor and a lavender ‘longcar’ towards a hapless Viking whose sin was lust.

The author set up the story by first giving a reader insight as to the worst possible outcome of unbridled lust. There are consequences and Ivak learned it the hard way. And he’s still learning. Although the hero tries to walk the straight and narrow, he has too much naughty humor and tactless quips to share that drive the warden of the prison nuts. He’s wise to the world and yet all his experience hasn’t taught him how to deal with real emotions, true feelings and the difference between love and lust. In this book, he figures it out. His journey is well worth reading.

Gabrielle is a woman on the edge of despair. She’s worked so hard to help her brother be released from prison. When I first met her in the story, I got the impression that she was starting to see enemies and liars in every corner, that everyone was a foe – which is the beginning of the end of hope. However, she made one last stab at trusting a person and that choice opened up whole new avenues and adventures. In fact, I think she not only ended up finding true love, but she found a family and a sense of belonging that totally filled the dark spaces in her heart that she didn’t know she had. The things that Ms. Hill had her do to realize both being in love and being loved is what made this novel so fun to read. One of the more amazing things is the heroine finding out that who she viewed as a person being profoundly against her ended up being one of her most fervent supporters – in a quiet sort of way. It was that tying up of an emotional loose end that made me appreciate Ms. Hill’s storytelling talent all over again. The author has the ability to throw something innocuous at a reader in the beginning without us ever knowing how large a role it would eventually play. Those are cool surprises.

Jasper, the villain and sexual sadist, is back. Hugs to Ms. Hill for giving me just enough detail and descriptions to make me squirm in discomfort, but not enough gross stuff to make me want to walk away from the book. The villain is not a redeemable character and that belief is reinforced in each book of the series. He’s vile, twisted and a major pain in the Vangels’ very delicious tushes. His minions are disgusting and equally perverse but rest assured, once again, good triumphs over evil. Mostly.

As much as I enjoyed and was entertained by the novel as a whole, there were a couple of parts that seemed rushed. There were some minor conflicts that came across as being too easily solved and Ivak’s path seemed smoothed over by the lack of detail and closure. It was like a narrator came in to hurry the characters along so readers could get to the good stuff – the romance. I’m not complaining because I really liked the ‘good stuff’, but, I did notice the change in storytelling. I can even understand the why of it because if the author delved too much into those scenes and let them lead her, I suppose the book would then have been more about the conflict itself than the romance between Ivak and Gabrielle. Another thing that struck me as ‘off’ was the guard. Ivak and his nose should have figured out long before what he was. Heck, even his brethren should have gotten a whiff. But none of them did. It allowed for a conflict to occur that I guess was integral to the story, but I don’t believe for one minute that they couldn’t have averted that particular situation. I think that was the only truly weak point in the whole book.

Once again, St. Michael the Archangel is on stage and I loved how Ms. Hill had him be …wrong. It reinforces the understanding that angels, even an Archangel, are messengers, helpers and interpreters of God. They are NOT God however because only He knows everything. Which means St. Michael got a shock of his own. Not only was it adorable but it provided another fascinating aspect of Vangel life. I have to wonder though, what’s next?

Secondary characters abound in this novel and they contribute flavor, ambiance, plot hilarity and surprises. All of them enhance the romance growing between Ivak and Gabrielle and it’s all good.

Don’t resist reading a Kiss of Temptation because if you do, you’ll be missing out on a fun adventure of romance and mayhem from the talented Ms. Hill. There is so much to like and enjoy that I could not cover it all in this review. I didn’t even get to cover the naughty dream sequences! Check out for yourself why I believe books by this author are worth spending time with. Bet they’ll make you smile.

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