Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark #16) by Kresley Cole
Sweet Ruin is a fantastic read with sweet, sweet, sweet, sexy-hot sex and a storyline to die for - literally and figuratively.
Once upon a time, a phantom-vampire and a demon-fey-mix met, traced all over the universe, bit and fed, drew blood runes, fought Valkyries, lusted after one another, came to terms with their respective pasts and lived happily ever after...but only after some kicking-of-ass, almost losing each other and lots and lots of breathtakingly, achingly hot sex to finally fall deeply and madly in love.
The backstory for our heroine is a tad odd. Josephine Doe, also known by mortals as Lady Shady, is a young woman of 25 who is still figuring out her powers and the extent to which she can control them. Found wandering the streets of the USA holding a newborn, even though she was just an eight year old, both Josie and her brother were put into foster placements that she would break them out of until they met Mz. B, a librarian with a heart of gold, who tried to take them in. Josie, always the rebel, somehow knew she didn’t belong amid the domesticated bliss Mz. B and her husband offered, found her place and comfort on the streets.
Josie becomes something of a protector of the down and out, so when she is shot dead by the neighbourhood gang leader after interfering in his business one too many times, it comes as no real surprise. What does come as a surprise is when she sees herself rising from her body in the morgue and begins the journey of the discovery of her powers. A dozen or so years later in New Orleans (because the rule of romance novels seems to be that everything bad that happens, has to happen in the original city of sin, of course) we find Josie beginning to find out that there are other ‘freaks’ like herself. She is no longer alone.
Rune Darklight. 7000 years old and nearly seven feet of muscle wrapped around narrow hips and green eyes. A douchey name to say the least, but made more acceptable after our heroine nicknames him ‘Ruin’. Rune is also known as ‘Rune the Baneblood’ (his black blood is poisonous to everyone but his mate - hence how he knows a female is his mate is if she doesn’t die in agony after they fuck). Rune has been training for millennia as an archer for the Morior, a group of super-powered fantasy realm creatures who are trying to save the world.
Rune’s main job is an assassin who gathers information using his larger-than-fist-sized circumference dick to help loosen the lips of various females around the universe. Rune’s past was quite tragic, having been born the bastard son of a King, his stepmother sold him as a slave the moment his father died. He spent many hundreds of years as a whore serving both men and women in a brothel before being saved by the leader of the Morior, Orion.
Here is where Ms. Cole shows her skill as a writer - she weaves various plot lines for this particular story with the plotlines for the series as well as the personal challenges each of the protagonists face and are dealing with. Jealousy, loyalty, love, lust, and fighting for the right side, are all major themes of Rune and Josie’s relationship. Though their mating happens fast and furiously, the fantasy elements only heighten the sexual and emotional connection of these two very strong, very alpha characters.
So when Josie tries to get Rune to be monogamous with her - well - let’s just say it’s on! The sexual chemistry goes off the Richter scale. They tease each other, doing all kinds of delicious touching and squeezing and sucking and licking and biting (more on that later) but no intercourse!! A person could sure get an easy case of blue balls reading this part of the story. Of course there is digital and lingual penetration, but alas, no coitus. This, it appears, is the act that Josie wants for herself and herself alone. She is willing to give him all of herself for eternity, but only if Rune will be her one and only, because she is convinced they are meant to be mates.
Rune on the other hand, easily becomes addicted to the great intimacy of Josie biting and feeding from him. To him, it is a sexual pleasure and one that he does not wish to share with any other, even though he sees intercourse as a tool he uses to gather information. So on and on the sexual sparring and teasing goes, until they consummate the relationship and monogamy seems to be the outcome...or so Josie thinks. While the rest of the novel is somewhat formulaic - Rune and Josie fight, part, reach the realizations that one or more of them has been selfish and/or wrong and so must try to win back the other’s love...the fantasy elements serve to blur the generic feel of this section and keep the book moving.
I wouldn’t have put money on the fact that I would like a book where a vampire bites and feeds on the blood from a rock hard cock while giving head, (and actually enjoy the scene for its eroticism), but I absolutely did, and you will too. The magicky bits are all believable and while the opposing sides of the ‘otherworlds’ take a bit of time to straighten out, you will enjoy this book and get a glimpse of the larger world Ms. Cole has created. I guess the best compliment I can give this novel is that it has interested me in visiting more of Kresley Cole’s writing to see what else I can find to enjoy.
This book rates a solid 4.5 out of five stars.