REVIEW: Where There’s Smoke by Karen KelleyTuesday, May 15, 2012 1:00
This is actually my first Karen Kelley book. I like the premise of the story, so thought it would be a good book to review. While I like the handsome and immortal cowboy hero – who wouldn’t want a cowboy for forever? – and the sex is hot and steamin’, there’s a couple of pet peeves that kept me on edge in between the sexy voice and grins that cowboy tosses around and the play of heaven against hell, stealing souls, and trying to do the right thing.
Destiny is a demon in training. She kinda messes up on occasion, so she’s been kicked out of hell to steal that one last soul to move her up to full demon status. Once there, it’s smooth sailing, she’ll finally have everything she’s been promised by the demon who turned her all those years ago. So she’s hunting for that next lucky – or unlucky, depending on how you look at it – soul, and she stumbles upon an uber sexy cowboy in a bar. Her first thought is not stealing his soul, it’s of sex – can’t blame her on that one! – which she hasn’t had in quite a little while.
The product of an angel and a human woman, Chance is a nephilim, a demigod, if you will. He’s immortal and, thus, has certain powers to go along with that status. His current mission is to save Destiny’s soul, convince her she can start again and have a better life than the one before, including her time in hell. Only thing is, she affects him as no other woman has. But he refuses to compromise his work ethic of saving a soul and then engaging in sex, if that’s what is desired. Sex first is the way his brothers in arms work, but not Chance.
What he doesn’t have a problem with is getting Destiny off any other way he can, and he does that quite deftly and often. This leads to the first of my pet peeves. For the first six chapters it’s Chance and Destiny coming together for their respective goals, only to have Chance work Destiny over to the point of boneless satiation so she forgets what she’s about. He then takes off because he won’t let things go any further. She gets pissed, promises to be in control next time, and then it starts all over again. Yes, there’s interaction between Destiny and the humans she befriends, as well as Chance and his brothers. Thus another pet peeve: we learn about these two characters’ lives and whatnot from this type of interaction and not from their interaction with each other. In the beginning all we get from them being together is plenty of foreplay.
Now, I like sex and all its variations in my romance books as much as the next reader – and, yes, I realize this is an erotic romance – but I also like a little story to go along with it. We get some basics in these six chapters, but that’s about it. Destiny isn’t allowed to fraternize with humans, but she’s suddenly overrun by neighbors in the apartment she “borrows.” Chance is still trying to keep his attraction to her at bay and discusses it over with his brothers, trying to do things the right way. Nothing new crops up until Destiny begins to care for her neighbors and Chance finally throws caution to the wind and the sex scenes ramp up a notch or two. But this is all too long in coming, too much redundancy for me in those initial chapters.
Once Chance and Destiny do the deed, though, the story begins to move along a little better. I enjoyed Chance’s use of magic, giving her romantic places to make love to her while they dance around one another trying to do their jobs. I also like Destiny’s shift in her attitude toward humans. She begins to really like this menagerie of quirky neighbors who invade her space every chance they get. Of course, the good times can only last so long before Destiny is reminded why she’s back in the land of the living. Her demon steps in with a heavy hand to show her the error of her ways in getting friendly with mortals. He also plants doubt about Chance, and Destiny then grabs hold again of her original mission to steal a soul so she’ll finally have everything she deserves. I waffled on whether I like the idea of Destiny throwing everything that she’s gained in the past few weeks to the wind, especially when she tells herself she’s not seen one thing promised to her in all the years she’s served in hell. But she talks herself into staying with what she knows. It’s when she sees the end result of her actions that she truly begins to see what she wants and needs in a different light.
The strong point of this book for me is Chance. I mean, how can you not love a sexy cowboy angel? I’ve yet to read one, so this is fun for me. That he has to go through his own hell and face an old adversary – all because of and for Destiny – makes him that much more appealing. Destiny herself had to grow on me, so she’s the weak link in my mind. At times she comes off a little too whiny, but she does redeem herself in the end. I think a little less with the secondary characters and more between Chance and Destiny would have played much better, especially once they begin to know each other, other than in a sexual way.
Though what doesn’t work for me may work for you. I’d be interested in hearing what you think!
When sexy wannabe-demon, Destiny Carter, is kicked out of Hell, she lands in Ft. Worth, Texas with one week to corrupt a soul. Or else. She slips into a slinky red dress, and heads straight for the delicious, corruptible looking cowboy at the bar.
But Chance Bellew has his own agenda-saving souls. He’s not your typical angel. He’s a nephilim, to be exact. Centuries ago, angels came down from Heaven and mated with mortal women. When the women bore children, a new race was created. Immortals with powers—demigods, nephilim.
But the children don’t live by the same rules as mortals, or that of the typical, robe-wearing, bright light-surrounding-them angels. Hell, most of the time the nephilim are breaking the rules, and making up new ones as they go. As long as they don’t cross over to the dark side, everyone pretty much stays out of their way.
But sometimes a demon-in-training, who looks like Destiny, comes along and all Hell breaks loose.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: