Winter Kissed
by Michele Hauf and Vivi Anna, paranormal (2008)
Silhouette Nocturne, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-373-61799-9


Winter Kissed is an interesting collection of two stories revolving around mortals falling in love with immortals typically associated with winter. It is an interesting collection, but it is not necessarily a good one. Yes, there's a difference between being interesting and being actually good.

Michele Hauf's A Kiss Of Frost is the love story of a winter god-like creature, Vilhjalmur Frosti, and a human woman, Kate Wilson. Kate travels all the way to the cold northern regions of Minnesota on an unusual quest. Then again, Kate is no usual human, as Jal finds out when he receives his mission from the Old Man Winter to kill her. Jal's targets are normally men who pollute the earth, so he is puzzled as to the kind of Kate must have committed against nature to receive a death sentence.

Jal and Kate have a courtship that is full of unexpectedly tender and heartfelt moments. This relationship is as visceral as it is sexual - it is about two lonely souls who finally connect with each other despite the odds. Unfortunately, the romance is marred by the unnecessary inclusion of sequel hooks. The very choppy and abrupt last few chapters of this story do not help improve matters.

A Kiss Of Frost could have been a romantic take of the tale of Jack Frost (although here, the hero actually serves the actual Jack Frost), and it would have worked despite the odds, were not for the rushed conclusion and the pointless mugging by a sequel bait character.

Vivi Anna's Ice Bound is somewhat similar to the previous story. This time around, Dr Darien Calder is the human. He travels to Hokkaido, Japan, to study the effects of global warming on the ice shelf of the region. It isn't long before he comes across Koori-Onna, the Ice Maiden of legend who shows up to rescue him during a snow storm.

This is more heavy on the bedroom antics, which is rather odd considering how these scenes are not that explicit to warrant so much show and tell. I mean, if the author is going to steam up the cold winter, she may as well go all out, describe every gritty detail of the bedroom boinking, and send the story to an erotic anthology. As it is, this one is neither here nor there, with a not very believable romance featuring underwritten characters.

As I've said earlier in this review, Winter Kissed is an interesting collection because it attempts to romanticize Jack Frost and the Ice Queen, creatures in folklore normally associated with winter rather than romance. The authors try, but the execution falls short at the end of the day.

Rating: 68


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