Title: A Hint of Frost
Author: Hailey Edwards
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Series: Araneae Nation (Book 1)
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Format: ebook, 193 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1609287566 (Samhain)
Reviewed by: Sheila
Hope dangles by a silken thread.
When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.
Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.
Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.
Quick & Dirty: A love story discovered within the binds of duty.
Opening Sentence: Fear kept my steps nimble.
Don’t let the title fool you, A Hint of Frost may start out a little cold, but the characters heat it up fast. It has a nice balance of sexual tension without dipping into porno territory. The two main characters, Lourdes and Rhys, are thrust into a marriage based on alliance rather than love. Though they did not choose one another initially, the choice to remain together is their own. It is a lovely tale of two people finding love within circumstances out of their control.
When Lourdes discovers the murder of her parents, she finds herself thrust into the role of ruler during a coup. In order to help secure her people’s lives, she pledges herself to the youngest son of a neighboring clan in exchange for security. In addition, her partisan, or her betrothed, will seal the alliance by finding the persons responsible for the deaths of her parents. Mutiny and conspiracy abound within the walls of the Araneidae clan and Lourdes must do what she can to insure survival for herself, her family, and her people; even if that means aligning with a clan better known for their mercenary tactics and barbaric practices. Can she learn to make lemonade out of lemons? Or will she falter under the weight of responsibility and doom her clan to subjugation?
Lourdes is an intriguing character. The burdens thrust upon her would drown any normal person. Her fortitude and strength of will translate into putting aside things, thoughts, and emotions that cannot help her and concentrating on making the best of her situation. When she agrees to bind herself to a man she had never met, she does so with the full understanding that it will not necessarily grow into a loving relationship. As luck would have it, she gets Rhys.
Rhys is more than what he seems. He is considered a ruthless fighter among a clan that prizes such talents. When he first meets Lourdes, she can only make assumptions based on his cutthroat reputation. As time passes, he reveals more of himself to her, allowing her to glimpse a much different man than he presents to the outside world. Rhys is a very stereo-typical romance hero. He comes off as an alpha, but is really soft-hearted and misunderstood inside. Usually, this ideal puts me off, but with Rhys, he never falters in his attentions with Lourdes. Like a man, he shows a different side with the one he loves than he does with everyone else. In this book, it seems that it is Lourdes’s character that is the one jumping to conclusions about Rhys while he maintains a more open mind about her.
Lourdes and Rhys have a lot to learn about each other. I appreciate going through this journey along with them. I liked “watching” the two of them grow to respect one another. That leads to them appreciating one another’s qualities, which leads to affection. And finally, observing their reactions to discovering that love has blossomed between them. It is this journey that allows me to relate to them on a more emotional level. I found myself sighing when they finally realize that they love each other. Love found within political machinations is something that appeals to the romantic within me.
Though the love story is prevalent, there is another overall plot taking place. Not only are there those that would see the wealthy Araneidae clan fall, but those that would take advantage of the apparent weakness presented. How can Lourdes maneuver through these shark-infested waters when she is uncertain of former alliances? Can she even trust in Rhys’s clan to uphold their end of the bargain to keep her people safe while she looking for her lost sister?
A Hint of Frost combines the passion of romance with the power of paranormal in a new and wondrous world. It is packed full of new political and supernatural flavors that will keep a reader coming back for more. Though I would have liked a flow chart to refer to each of the clans and their specialties, the story does not become needlessly complicated without it. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of this new and exciting series. Hailey Edwards is definitely someone that I will be watching from here on out.
Closing the distance between us, he stalked me with deliberation. “No more gowns.”
I was breathless. “I can’t make you any promises. I must dress to fit my new station.”
“I agree.” His fangs hadn’t receded. “As my wife, you should wear pants or gowns spun from a fabric my sword has some hope of slaying. Your silk is beautiful, but it…frustrates me.”
“I don’t know,” I teased him. “I think a little frustration looks good on a male.”
“I can tell.” Humor laced his tone as his voice lowered. “I like the look of you now.”
“I’m almost naked.” I cast a suggestive glance his way, then let my gaze slide toward the bed. “Perhaps I should find some cover?”
He caught my look and measured the distance from the bed to me. “Is that an invitation?”
“If it is?” My smile turned wicked as I canted my head. “Are you inclined to accept?”
The Araneae Nation Series:
2. A Feast of Souls
FTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of A Hint of Frost. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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