Mencheres is a millennia-old vampire who was once the Pharaoh Menkaure. He thinks he’s seen a vision of his own doom and now has something of a death wish. One night, he’s intentionally losing a fight against some ghouls when a human woman intervenes to help him.
That woman is Kira Graceling, a thirtyish private investigator. Kira is brave, selfless, and maybe a bit of a martyr. (For example, in one early scene, Mencheres offers to help Kira’s terminally ill sister for a price, and Kira doesn’t even wait to hear what it will be, instead jumping to conclusions and offering something much steeper than what Mencheres was about to demand.) Kira hears Mencheres’ cries of pain and wades into the fray. This eventually leads to a relationship that changes both Kira’s and Mencheres’ lives, and puts them in danger when Mencheres’ eternal enemy realizes he can use Mencheres’ affection for Kira against him.
The plot doesn’t break much new ground in the field of vampire romance; the jaded ancient who finds love and regains his joie de vivre is a classic trope of the genre. Jeaniene Frost builds a fun and sweet novel around that trope, however. Eternal Kiss of Darkness features a tender, sexy love story and just the right amount of horror/violence elements. Then there’s the comic relief. Several scenes in this novel are hilarious, such when a vampire confrontation ends up posted on YouTube and garners critical comments about the acting, and pretty much anything Vlad Tepesh ever says. (As in many vampire novels, ol’ Vlad makes an appearance, and Frost’s version is one of the best I’ve seen. With his wry sense of humor, he steals every scene he’s in.)
I really enjoyed Eternal Kiss of Darkness. It’s a breezy, quick-moving read that’s perfect for a hot summer weekend. While it’s a spin-off of the NIGHT HUNTRESS series, no prior knowledge of those books is required. In fact, Eternal Kiss of Darkness is the first Jeaniene Frost book I’ve read, though I liked the brief appearances by Cat and Bones in this book and will probably go back and begin reading their story soon.