Series: Deadly Kisses, #1
Aiden Grant has a killer kiss. Literally. And it’s not every reaper who gets to work with the Sixteenth President. Sure, Honest Abe likes to throw out history lessons with reaping assignments, but when you’re favored by the ancients, grim reaper life is pretty sweet for a newly dead seventeen-year-old.
Then things get messy.
Aiden is assigned to reap the soul of Bee, the only girl he has ever loved. When Aiden’s kiss of death fails, intertwining their souls, she is still very much alive and they are both in trouble. The ancients want Bee, who has special powers of her own, and they’ll do anything to get her.
Some rules are meant to be broken, even if that means Aiden must bargain with his own soul to save Bee. Who knew the afterlife could get so complicated?
Dying with regrets and not being able to let go of them is how someone becomes a grim reaper. At seventeen, Aiden became a grim reaper because he was full of regret and guilt for the accident that caused his death and that of his best friend, Sabrina, who is also Bee’s cousin. He was content enough to go on with his afterlife as a grim reaper (or rather a Reaperling in training) until he was “tested” with an assignment to reap the girl he loved in life, albeit an unrequited love. The reaping doesn’t go quite as planned and creates a dilemma that Aiden has to fix while also dealing with some ancient grim reapers who are after Bee. Aiden is willing to sacrifice anything to save Bee. I liked Aiden from the start. He had a vulnerable side that makes you want to pick him up and just hug him like a sad puppy, but at six-feet tall that might be a bit awkward ;) ...
Aiden--or Ad as he is known in his afterlife--works for Abe (as in Abe Lincoln). Abe doesn’t play as big a role in this story as I expected. I thought he would be a more quirky character who constantly was giving Aiden history lessons as alluded to in the blurb. This was only given limited attention. He pops in occasionally but I don’t think he added much to the overall story. A slightly deeper meaning to his role becomes evident later in the book, but I felt he could have been a much more interesting character and more involved in the plot. I also wasn’t crazy about his dialogue. It felt very stilted and part of that may be an intentional reflection on the era he lived in but it felt forced. I just didn’t really like Abe very much.
As for Aiden’s love interest, I was a little meh about Bee at first but she kind of grew on me. She definitely has some spunk and knows what she wants. I thought it was odd at first that she was never really too perturbed about all the grim reaper stuff until her own secrets are revealed, then it makes a little more sense. As the story progresses, more and more secrets about Bee's family and the town's history are revealed as well.
Bee and Aiden have a sweet romance. Aiden gets a second chance at love in his afterlife, but when you can't kiss someone without reaping them, it does create a dilemma. You could say that there was an HEA as boy does get girl in the end but this story is not neatly wrapped up and there is an overarching story being set up in this book. Story threads that I had expected to be resolved by the end are clearly left open to be picked up in the next book, Kiss From the Grave.
There were a few things I had an issue with in this book. Dialogue didn’t always suit me and didn’t seem to flow well at times. There were a couple of instances where there seemed to be some editing blips and there were also quite a few instances where things weren’t clear or didn’t make sense to me, leading me to ask myself why did that happen? Why would he say that? What does that mean? How did she know that? Wait, is he “nekkid” under that cloak? (heh, heh…just checking if you were paying attention. But seriously, I think he was).
I like grim reaper themes and so this story sounded interesting to me and I liked the cover art. It had some elements that reminded me a little bit of the short-lived TV series, Dead Like Me. The story started off good then went to just okay but then turned around again and suddenly got more interesting. At first I wasn’t that compelled to get back to it when I put it down but the more I read it the more it engaged me as the layers started peeling away and the plot became more interesting. When I think back on the story I remember the things I liked more than the things I didn’t like. Would I read the next book? Yeah, actually I would. I am interested in knowing where the story goes and what happens to Aiden, Bee, and even her brother Jaleb, who comes into the latter part of the story.
This story is told in first person from Aiden’s POV. It has characteristics of both Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance so I feel it falls a little on both sides of the fence.
“She had my heart long before I knew I had to reap her. But having her close to me and not being able to kiss her was my personal hell.”
"And I want you. We want what we want. The heart has its own agenda.”
Heat Level: Sweet
Word Count: approx. 50,000
Kindle locations: 3399 (story text ends at 98%)
ePub length: 183 pgs (story text ends on pg 180)
Print length: 265 pgs
Table of Contents included
Source: Review copy from author