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Kissing Sin    by Keri Arthur order for
Kissing Sin
by Keri Arthur
Order:  USA  Can
Dell, 2007 (2007)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

When Riley Jenson wakes up naked, battered and with no recollection of what's happened to her, she has to rely on her fight-or-flight instincts to get her through this latest adventure alive. She quickly realizes she's being held prisoner in a laboratory where captive beings are bred in an effort to develop the perfect killing machine. Aided by a shape-shifting stallion, her twin brother Rhoan, her boss Jack, and a variety of lovers (both former and current), Riley has to figure out who's behind the plot to kidnap her.

But things get complicated when the two facets of her nature begin to cause an internal strife within her. As part werewolf and part vampire, the two aspects of Riley's being might as well be at war with one another. Although the werewolf part of her views intimate relations as nonchalantly as it regards eating or sleeping, she's also beginning to crave a mate and a family. Still, it's not easy for someone like Riley to settle down, especially since she's made a habit out of using her body as a means to get what she wants.

Kissing Sin is the second installment in Arthur's Riley Jenson series. Peppered with just as much internal angst, overt sexual escapades and paranormal adventure as the first, this book picks up nicely where the previous one left off. By far, the strength of the book lies in Riley herself. She's a wonderful heroine, with enough spunk and courage to carry the plot even when it begins to bog down in repetitive information and endless rehashed arguments.

Readers who persevere through these slow points are richly rewarded by a well-developed culture, an intriguing plot and plenty of smoldering sensuality. Arthur makes it clear that Riley is absolutely stunning and irresistible to males of any species. While this aspect may begin to grate after a while, it's handled with a deft touch and doesn't overwhelm the rest of the story.

I feel compelled to make it clear that this book is not in any way a romance. It doesn't follow the expected conventions of the genre, as Riley deals with a variety of intimate partners and the focus is on her adventures and personal growth rather than on a relationship. Fans of Christine Feehan and Laurell K. Hamilton will certainly enjoy Arthur's series.

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