From the BLURB:
The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows - her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield - and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family's past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness - and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who lusts for a taste of her.
He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human - even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together . . .
Because once the first crimson drop falls, they will both be lost.
This is the first book in Jeaniene Frost’s spin-off ‘Night Huntress’ series.
I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t overly excited to read this book (*gasp* *egads*!). Reason being that I was sort of indifferent to Spade as a protagonist. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Spade – it’s just that I find Mencheres, Vlad, Tate, Juan and Ian more interesting than him. I was also pretty ‘meh’ about Denise as leading lady – once again, nothing against her character but I’ve never really paid much attention to her over the course of the ‘Night Huntress’ books.
So I went into ‘First Drop’ with low expectations, and finished the book with a slight smile on my face.
The book delves into Spade’s past; as a Baron-born nobleman who ended up on the First Fleet bound for Australia’s penal colony. Spade has a very interesting background, perhaps even more interesting than Bones’s prostitute turned bounty-hunter (if that’s possible?). Spade also has a very sad story to tell, about how he lost the love of his life during the Napoleonic Wars. I really appreciated all of the history on Spade, considering he’s always been in the background of the Cat & Bones books. Frost does a great job of feeding bits and pieces of information on Spade – making him into a puzzle piece for readers and Denise to figure out.
Denise is a mediocre leading lady. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t love her either. I think it’s a case of if you compare Denise to Cat – who is so vibrant, self-deprecating and wisecracking – she pales in comparison. Denise sometimes had a witty comment to make, but they were far and few between. I didn't expect Denise to be a very interesting heroine, and I think I was right in my presumption.
I did like Spade and Denise’s romance – especially considering the romantic history of these two and the various prejudices/heartaches they each had to overcome. That being said, I think Spade’s feelings for Denise were a little rushed. We learn early on that Spade, having previously met Denise, did find her attractive and was ‘drawn’ to her. But it felt like after only 60 pages or so Spade had made up his mind to turn Denise into a vampire so they could be together forever. It really felt like he came out of left field: in one moment protesting his feelings for a human and then suddenly deciding to spend eternity with her.
Regardless of the rush-job, I was rooting for Denise and Spade – and they are quite a sweet Night Huntress couple;
“Ready?” he asked softly, but also with irony. “Life never waits until you’re ready. I wasn’t ready to turn into a vampire, but I did. I wasn’t ready to lose someone I loved a long time ago, but it happened. You weren’t ready to have your husband murdered, but he was. You certainly weren’t ready for a demon to brand you, but he did. And neither of us might be ready for what we feel for each other, but that doesn’t make those feelings go away.”
Spade leaned closer, his voice lowering. “Here we are, Denise. Ready or not.”
There is smut. But to put it in perspective so that Frost fans can gauge the level of smuttiness – I’ll just say that the sex scenes in ‘First Drop of Crimson’ are not as smutty as the (now infamous) chapter thirty-two of ‘One Foot in the Grave’.
One complaint I had with this book was the lack of Mencheres. His book (the second Night Huntress spin-off) is ‘Eternal Kiss of Darkness’, and will be released July 27th this year. Because Mencheres’s story is up next, I thought Frost would whet reader’s appetites and have him in a lengthy cameo. Not the case. Mencheres is in a ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ appearance toward the end. If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed that Ian would be the next Night Huntress spin-off story. I love Ian, and I was very pleased that he has such a lengthy cameo in ‘First Drop’. I think his story will be amazing, especially because his character is a bit of an enigma – at once sleazy and power-hungry, but absolutely loyal to his friends and willing to help when needed. But I also love Mencheres, and I was disappointed that he didn’t play a bigger role in ‘First Drop’. I’m actually frustrated because Ian did play such a big and great role in this book, but Frost doesn’t know if she’s going to write a spin-off for him!
One more small complaint - the various international settings are superfluous. Spade and Denise go jet-setting in this book; from St. Louis to England and Monaco. But whereas Frost spent time depicting the city of New Orleans in 'Destined for an Early Grave', she completely skips over the finer points of these cities in 'First Drop'. There's no descriptions and therefore no sense of 'place'. She could have just as easily kept the story in St. Louis and it would have made no difference.
I didn't LOVE 'First Drop of Crimson'. I liked it. I'm more looking forward to 'Eternal Kiss', purely because I think Mencheres is a fascinating (and sexy) character. And I am really hopeful for an Ian book.