Keri Arthur’s ‘Riley Jenson Guardian’ series is rather too smutty to count as romance or adventure, there is a plot but over the course of the nine books (Full Moon Rising, Kissing Sin, Tempting Evil, Dangerous Games, Embraced by Darkness, The Darkest Kiss, Deadly Desire, Bound to Shadows and Moon Sworn) the plot got a little farfetched – which is saying something given Riley is a vampire/werewolf hybrid who lives in a world where there is “moon heat”, where the week before the full moon all werewolves need to bonk A LOT.
(Photo from the internet – this cover is the one that I have and it really doesn’t give away the amount of bonking that goes on! So I was a bit surprise when it happened again and again and again…)
Frequently Riley did resort to bonking seemingly anything male that moved regardless of the time of the month, including a horse shape-shifter, although she did decline to do the dirty with a cat shape-shifter who had a barbed (censored). Sometimes there was a vaguely plot-related reason for the bonking, other times she bonked and THEN found a plot-related reason!
None of the characters in the series were particularly likeable and Riley was occasionally a really doozy cow who, frankly, could have done more to avoid getting into certain situations which oh-so-surprisingly turned out very badly.
(Photo from the internet – If I had seen this cover then the sheer number of bonking partners wouldn’t have been such a shock!)
However the series was perfectly readable in non-taxing more-than-slightly-trashy way, so when I found a non-Riley Jenson Keri Arthur book in a bargain bin I thought I knew what I was getting into!
The book in question was ‘Circle of Fire’ and the back-blurb sounded like a slightly tamer version of Riley.
Maddie Smith is a recluse who has psychic abilities and is scared of her own shadow, but she is forced to come out of hiding when her nephew goes missing. There have been sixteen teenagers who have gone missing and eleven bodies found – without a drop of blood.
(Photo from the internet – the cover is much better than the rest of the book)
Jon Barnett works for some group of paranormal investigators known as the Damask Circle, in a private detective sort of capacity and is a shape-shifter. He and Maddie join forces after a slow and contrived series of events and things muddle along from there.
The main trouble is Maddie is a wet hen with no common sense and no discernible personality. Jon’s backstory is vague and he comes over as a misogynist, which makes him rather dull and very unlikeable. There is no spark between Maddie and Jon, you could probably soak them in petrol and stick them near an open fire with no risk of spark, flames or anything much except Maddie having a whine.
When the bad guys do bother turning up to relieve the boredom they are clichéd to the extent that they would be rejected as vintage Bond villains.
I think there was a sex scene but it was forgettable and badly written, just like the rest of the book.
There is a spoiler below the picture
After the boring conclusion of the book (where the bad guys proved that talking too much isn’t a good tactic!) Jon lets Maddie walk away. Then in an epilogue set 18 months later he turns up and says how much he loves her.
18 months with no contact at all?!? I know exactly where a self-respecting woman should be tempted to tell him to go after that period of time! Plus it transpires that she sold her house (as she couldn’t afford the upkeep on her own) to his boss, who bought the house on Jon’s behalf and “it belongs to us, and our children.”
Which isn’t creepy and stalker-behaviour at all. Gosh I want to spray Jon in the face with mace so much. Even Riley’s horribly graphic encounter with the horse shape-shifter was more romantic that this drivel.