Kathy Davie's Reviews > Kiss at Your Own Risk

Kiss at Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe
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's review
Jul 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, funny, urban
Read from July 19 to August 11, 2011

First in the Soulfire paranormal romance series set in an alternate Boston about a quartet of men who have been enhanced to withstand the numerous tortures rained down upon them by a witch determined to make them into the ideal men…for women.

My Take
This is too funny, waaaay too funny. I mean, how can you not help laughing at lines like the following in the midst of battles to the death:
"'You're like one of those mosquito zappers. You should rent yourself out for garden weddings.'

'I'll think about it. There's something really appealing about the idea of becoming a lawn ornament.'""…Nigel had painted an artistic rendition of the witch's death on the bandana. 'Nice accessory.'"

Nigel flipped the ends…'It inspires me…'

'Maybe it's the way the blood spatters look like smiley faces. Sets a friendly tone.'"
I've always enjoyed the "witty banter" of men in battle, but Rowe just takes it to a new level, combining the girly talk of color value and perspective when painting or the loveliness of the texture of certain embroidery flosses with spitting blades and fireballs. Yup, Rowe has definitely taken it up a notch!

I was also impressed with how she solved all the kill–don't kill issues. I am very much looking forward to Touch If You Dare.

The negatives…hmm…I don't understand why the Triumvirate doesn't just ask Trinity for help??? Then there's that girly talk. I wish Rowe had put a little more emphasis on it. For a while, I wasn't sure if it was on purpose or bad writing.

The Story
It's a break-out! Four hot bad boys are finally putting their escape plan into effect. After 150-some years being tortured by an angry, abandoned witch, Blaine, Nigel, Jarvis, and Christian are battling their way out of Angelica's lair, the Den of Womanly Pursuits.

In the meantime, Trinity Harpswell has almost made it. It's been four years and 51 weeks…and she hasn't killed anyone…woohoo! If Trinity can hold out for one more week, she'll be rid of the black widow curse forever!!

So, naturally, Trinity is set up by the Triumvirate, the Otherworld's "ruling body of arrogant, over-sexed men and women who got to make rules and ruin lives". Part of Trinity's curse allows her to see how to kill anyone, anything, and the council has a vicious chameleon running loose killing people. Everyone they've sent out after it has failed.

A little extortion will force Trinity into helping, if only she can fulfill a few requirements.

The Characters
Trinity Harpswell is a Black Widow. Taken from her parents when she was four-months-old, Angelica injected her with the curse, forcing her to kill any man with whom she falls in love. Countering her deathly skills, Trinity works at the Jamboree, a women's shelter intent on helping women take charge of their lives and learn self-love with appliances…seems to be the counter to Angelica's Den of Womanly Pursuits.

Trinity's parents are Elijah, a sculptor, and Olivia, intimate with Mother Nature, which allows her a number of benefits.

Blaine Underhill is a master at cross stitch; he's also a human torch using fire to heal himself, burn through anything, and throw fireballs. He has also found it pretty handy to superheat the air to cushion a fall or to power up a leap.

Nigel Aquarian loves to paint when the blades popping out of his fingernails don't get in the way and has a healing energy.

Jarvis Swain can't be killed; he chooses to suck at knitting, and his special weapon is a samurai sword that can kill or incapacitate as well as absorb energies.

Blaine considers Christian Slayer his best friend, and he is determined to rescue him from Angelica…no matter what. Christian can cause his skin to mutate into a solid metal skin or millions of tiny scales poisonous to the touch.

Angelica was brutally abandoned by her husband some 320 years ago and has been building herself back up while imparting the same strengths and tools to young girls she kidnaps while torturing young boys into being the man she wished Napoleon had been for her.
"For a psychotic bitch, she was as impressive as hell."
The Den of Womanly Pursuits is…
…intended to teach men to get in touch with their feminine side: embroidery, painting, foreplay while, at the same time, she tortures them for every "misdemeanor" and experiments on their bodies to enable them to survive the tortures she forces them to inflict on each other…the disemboweling, the enhanced critter attacks… Mari is Angelica's right hand girl, caught between her love for Christian and Angelica's tutelage.

Death is Angelica's grandson. A hot lad with ever increasingly expensive suits and a bigger diamond stud in his ear every time Gram sees him. Caught up in his soul delivery, his harem, and figuring out more and more ways to make money out of his death delivery business. Reina Fleming is one of Death's assistants and BFF's with Trinity.

Napoleon is a premier assassin for the Triumvirate. He's also the asshole husband who abandoned Angelica some 320 years ago, taking off with two bimbos in his Lamborghini…makes ya wonder just what year we're in now if there was a Lamborghini back then… Oh. Shit. It's Augustus! Looks like a wizened old man, smells like rotting bananas and is Napoleon's rival for the title of top of the food chain, assassin-wise — his kills are in the seven figures, using pink stars to dust people into returnable oblivion.

The Cover and Title
The cover promises pain and passion with its flaming bottom and the tattoo of a horned skull gracing the left pec of a major hottie…and I don't just mean the flames.

The title is accurate as kissing Trinity is to Kiss at Your Own Risk.

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06/23/2017 marked as: read

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