Title: Dark Taste of Rapture
Author: Gena Showalter
Rating: * * * * *
Review: Boy, was I surprised to open this book and find that we were much earlier in the series timeline than we left off on in Ecstasy In Darkness. It was a good thing, though. Not only did we get to see an earlier glimpse of Ava and Noelle’s friendship, we also got to see the intriguing back story between Noelle and Hector. I’ve got to say, even after reading this last book, I had no idea they had that kind of history together.
I really enjoyed Ava and Noelle in Ecstasy In Darkness. They were violent, crazy, and hilarious. We get much less of them together in this one because Ava is on her honeymoon for a large chunk of it. It made me realize that I enjoy the Ava side of the pairing a lot more than the Noelle side. Ava’s more apt to get pissed and then kick some ass, while Noelle’s more apt to bitch and whine and then get violent. It’s okay in small doses, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that she grated on me after a while.
I liked how sneaky and manipulative Noelle was. She always had a plan to improve her situation and didn’t hesitate to throw her money into the occasion to grease the wheels. The main thing that bugged me about her was how whiny she was about people thinking she was an airhead. She went out of her way to play stupid, knowing that it would give her the advantage if people didn’t know how smart and capable she was. If you do thisdeliberately and never break character when those people are around, then why are you mad when they buy your act and think you’re stupid? Do you want the plan to work or not? It’s as simple as that. So, needless to say, her pity party got old.
There was quite a bit of heat in their relationship. They had a whole “forbidden lovers” thing going for them, which added an awesome layer of tension to the relationship. The back and forth got old, I’ll admit, but I could understand why it was so hard for Hector to attempt getting close to Noelle. It’s not like his experiences to date had inspired any confidence. He was a very tragic character—not just the nature of his power, but his past and what we learned about his brother. Very sad. Poor Hector didn’t even trust contact with himself, let alone contact with another person. His resistance did make it a bit sad to watch Noelle throw herself against that brick wall again and again, but this was slightly redeemed by the fact that the tables were turned and he had to pursue her in the end. That poor girl definitely deserved some effort by that point.
“With one caress, he can give unforgettable pleasure . . . or unending pain. . . .
Hector Dean is shaved, tattooed, and totally ripped—and he has a deadly secret. He is a walking weapon, capable of killing with a single brush of his fingertips. Little wonder he’s determined to remain on his own. But Noelle Tremain is a temptation like no other. She is beautiful and rich, with a party girl smile that hides a shocking vulnerability, and from the beginning his sizzling attraction to her is undeniable. For the first time,his stone-cold resistance is tested. But to be with her, he risks destroying her.”
When a wealthy businessman is murdered in New Chicago’s seediest district, the two are partnered, and there’s no escaping what they both want: each other. Yet neither Hector nor Noelle knows what to fear more—the killer case, or their own lethal desires. . . .
When I first saw this cover, I had to wipe the drool off my desk… holy hotness!!! Add to that my love of Gena Showalter and I knew I was in for a treat. I hadn’t read any of the Alien Huntress stories. (wait – I lied – I did read the one she did with Kresley Cole in theDeep Kiss of Winter Duology) After reading this, I am for sure going to go back and read the series in its entirety!
Hector is sexy, broody and the keeper of a deep, dark secret. Once his emotions get the best of him, the skin on his arm goes wild and he has the power to kill with just one touch. He’s never met anyone who has tempted him before – until Noelle walks into his training class. Noelle is a free spirit, wild and a little crazy. She wants Hector more than anything, but after he rebuffs her time and again, she knows it time to move on.
A year later they are partners on a case and things heat up on the streets and in the bedroom. They both are having problems fighting their attraction, but don’t know how to handle Hector’s small “problem.” When they are faced with their worst nightmare, will they be able to come out on top – together? Or fall victim to a deadly crime ring?
Showalter is – in my opinion – one of the best at world building; such imaginative and unique worlds. The Alien Huntress is no exception, I love the concept of aliens here on earth, some good some bad, and the elite men and women who police them. Although this book is sixth in the series, I never felt lost or out of touch. In fact, I felt immersed into the world from the first page, and wanted nothing more than to stay in it, even once the book was finished.
Poor Hector was such a tortured character. His past was rough and harsh and nasty in every possible way. Yet despite it all he was able to come out on top and make himself into something. Then, add in the small issue of killing people with just a touch and he finds himself separating from society. The only thing he has going for him is his job and love of it. He was portrayed as such a strong character. Always wanting to do the right thing, take care of others, be the better man, but never knowing how to do so. I feel in love with him right away.
Noelle came across as flighty and even ditsy at first. I wasn’t sure I would be able to enjoy her, but she quickly showed her depth. I loved that she was one hundred percent dedicated to her bestie Ava, but how she came to realize that becoming an agent was the best thing to do for herself as well. I loved all her moments with Ava, the two together are hilarious, and can’t wait to go back and read Ava’s story for even more of the two of them together. But I liked her serious side as well (although those moments are few and far between). Noelle cared so much for Hector, wanted to be his everything, it was super sweet.
Their romance didn’t move as quickly as is typical with Showalter. They danced around each other for the majority of the book, and even once they did get together, they had to learn how to BE together without setting off Hector’s power. But I loved it. The tension was thick and steamy and so angsty. VERY well done!
Although the case moved quickly and kept me engaged, it wasn’t the big focal point of the story for me. Even now, a week or so later as I’m writing this, the case itself doesn’t resonate with me. It just was… To me the humour and romance stood out so much more than anything else, and because of that I found yet another Showalter book for my keeper shelves.
All in all I was so glad I picked up the Alien Huntress Series. I loved the quirky and sarcastic characters, the humour throughout and the smoking’ hot romance. Showalter proved yet again why she is a powerhouse in the paranormal romance genre!
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