Into The Mist
by Maya Banks, paranormal (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-069-X

The first twenty or so pages of Maya Banks' Into The Mist are so hot that I could have read this story under a torrential rain and still won't realize that anything is amiss. At least, until my PC short-circuits, that is. Normally I'd say that starting the story with a sex scene is something best left to the professionals since this would cut short any build-up in a relationship, but I believe Maya Banks can be considered a professional since, baby, this one is hot, hot, hot.

Eli Chance suspected from the start that something is not right when he picks up the deliberately anonymous hot woman for some mind-blowing sex, and he's right when he catches her afterwards in the act of rummaging through his things when she believes that he's in the shower.

He reached for her arm, and to his surprise, she allowed him to take it. Then she exploded in a flurry of movement.

She rotated into his body. His head snapped back as she connected with her free hand. She went completely kung fu on his ass, and in the next second he landed on the floor with a thud, staring up at the ceiling in shock.

She gave him no time to shift back. She was out the door in a split second. Crazy bitch had given him the fuck of his life, then laid his ass out on the floor.

Heh, heh, heh. The "shift back" part of the excerpt refers to the fact that Eli is an "elemental shifter". He's not a lycanthrope; he can, for example, transforms his body into millions of water particles, sort of like the male sibling of the Wonder Twins, I guess.

The crazy bitch in question, Tyana Berezovsky, is member of the covert group called the Falcon Mercenary Group. They even have an island HQ so you know these people mean serious business when it comes to kicking rear ends. A while ago, their leader Damiano "D" Ruiz was on the same team as Eli in a rather... unusual, let's just say, mission that ended up with Eli running off while D was left for dead. D didn't die, of course, but he ends up with a condition similar to Eli's. The only thing is, D cannot control his abilities. Actually, the other team members all contracted various X-Men type of abilities but they are clearly meant to be heroes in their own stories so I'll just focus on D and Eli for the purpose of this review. Unlike Eli, D shifts into animals, and D and his FMG comrades worry that with every uncontrollable shift, D may lose more and more of his humanity.

The rest of the FMG crew want Eli dead for his perceived betrayal of D, but Ty believes that Eli is more useful if he's kept alive. She hopes to find a way to "convince" Eli to help show D how to control his new abilities, hence Ty's mission to hook up with Eli. Only, things didn't go as planned and Ty ended up in bed with Eli instead of merely drugging him out, so it's now time for Plan B. Er, what's Plan B again? She has better think of something because Eli is definitely coming after her. Meanwhile, someone wants Eli captured and the FMG, needless to say, will soon to be dragged into his mess.

At first, Ty seems like a silly kind as she seems to rush headlong into danger because from all appearances, she's blinded by guilt about D's condition. But if you exercise some patience and keep reading, you'll be pleasantly surprised like I am to realize that Ty is actually a pretty smart cookie and she definitely doesn't trust the bad guy. I like Ty because despite having the usual baggages like guilt to give her otherwise tough cookie personality a vulnerable side, she remains a kick-ass heroine without having to cry or go emotional to make up for her take-no-prisoners nature. Eli is a really sexy hero. No, really, this is one guy who lives on the edge, has a pretty ruthless streak in him, and yet gets so sweet and tender with the heroine when he's fallen hard for her.

And oh my, their love scenes are really too hot for words. I need something cold to drink. In fact, I'm going to go out of a limb and risk being branded a sleazeball to say this: there aren't enough hot sex scenes in this story. I think this story needs another 200 pages of non-stop sexual marathon in order for the world to become a much better place.

Into The Mist is a really fast-paced story full of chases and explosions as well as red hot sex scenes, so this is one really enjoyable ride of a read. There are some rather dodgy moments in the plot such as, for example, the heroine getting too easily tracked down by various people, but the author covers her rear end nicely by having the heroine commenting that clearly, she and the FMG are becoming too predictable if they are so easily tracked down. Call me easy, but really, as long as Ty and Eli keep working their NC-17 magic voodoo in and outside the bedroom, I am willing to overlook any irregularities in the plot.

Now, where is my cold drink?

Rating: 88

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