First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, #1)by Jeaniene Frost Published 09 Feb 2010
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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 dark 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 craves 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 demon nightmare together…
Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.
"First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, #1)" Reviews
5 Demon Dodging Stars
First read 2/24/2014 Reread 11/24/2015
"I know you have vampire hit men, so why wouldn't you have vampire private investigators, too?" she flared back. "I can't just run an ad with Nathanial's description on it titled 'Have you seen this soul welsher?'"-Denise
"No." She blinked. "No?" "I understand your confusion," Spade said smoothly, "since it seems you don't hear that word often, but allow me to explain. It means I'm not your employee. It means you'll need to do what I say in order for me to find your greedy relative, and it means your personal preferences in the matter aren't my concern. Quite clear now as to its definition?"-Spade and Denise
First Drop of Crimson is the first book in the Night Huntress World series, which is a spin off that ties to the Night huntress series. This book's plot happens between Destined for an Early Grave and This Side of the Grave. Although it can be read as a stand alone novel.
Villains of the world, beware! I can eat you under the table AND gross you out with my monster paws!-Denise
Here is the list of the reading order from the author's page:
HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE
AT GRAVE’S END
DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE
FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON
ETERNAL KISS OF DARKNESS
THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE
ONE GRAVE AT A TIME
UP FROM THE GRAVE
BOUND BY FLAMES
OUTTAKES FROM THE GRAVE (releasing December 2015)
INTO THE FIRE (releasing summer 2016)
Ian grinned at her, trailing a pale hand down his chest. "Luscious, aren't I, poppet? Go on, stare. I don't mind." Denise tore her gaze away, but not because she'd been transfixed in admiration. Sure, Ian had an abdomen that could double as a washboard and his face was eerily handsome, but he also had monster written all over him. Couldn't those women sense the menace oozing off him? If she'd met Ian in an alley, she'd run like hell, no matter how much beautiful skin he showed. "You look like a Dracula porn movie reject," she managed.-Ian and Denise
"Fuck you," she spat. "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you I'm leaving, and you're not following me. Period." Spade's eyes glinted dangerously. "Try it. See how far you get."-Denise and Spade
If you have read any of the first four books of the Night Huntress series then you have met the H&H of this book. Spade is Bones's best friend and Denise is Cat's best friend. In this book Denise is in trouble. A demon has killed her aunt and two of her cousins, he was going to kill her but he found out she knows vampires making her useful to him. The demon tells Denise that a relative of hers named Nathanial that sold his soul to him and for power then ran. So now the demon is killing every member of his family until he gets him back. The demon believes that Nathanial is hiding with vampires and he tells Denise that if she brings Nathanial to him he will let her and her mom and dad live. Then he brands her with his demon brands which lets him track her and gives her his powers. Denise tries to get a hold of Bones and Cat but can't reach them so she calls Bones's best mate Spade. Spade knows Bones and Cat have a lot on their plate right now so he is going to do what he can to help Denise. Can Spade and Denise find Nathanial in time to save her family and keep her from becoming a demon?
As soon as she did, she shoved him away hard enough to make him take a step backward. "How dare you laugh at me on the way down!" Spade held out a conciliatory hand, but that amused expression didn't quite leave his face. "Now, Denise - " "Don't you 'Denise' me," she snapped. "I don't care how old, powerful, or strong you are. If you ever do something like that again, I'll stab you in the heart. Son of a bitch, I can't believe you threw me out of a plane!" Spade still looked like he was fighting back his laughter. "I didn't throw you out. I jumped with you. Very different."-Denise and Spade
"There's nothing casual about my feelings for you, Denise," he whispered. His voice deepened. "And I have no intention of letting you go anywhere tomorrow, or the next day, or the next."-Spade
The thing I really love about Jeaniene Frost, is that she writes these amazing, realistic, in-depth, and very likable characters that just draw you in. Both Denise and Spade are fun, brave, loyal characters. I love that Denise fights even though she has been through hell. Spade is patient, and caring. He helps Denise heal from the murder of her first husband and she brings him back to life. Neither is perfect, but the whole time I was reading I just kept thinking, If that was me I would do the same thing they did. When you can relate to a character like that, if makes you connect. Denise and Spade when they got together were so hot. Man can Jeaniene Frost write some killer sex scenes!! And OMG there is this one scene where Spade is seducing Denise secretly by making enough noise when he gets into the shower to wake her up. The bathroom in right by her bed in the hotel so he leaves the door open and gives her a peep show. He even makes sure to use cold water so there is no steam to block her view. Sneaky vampire!
"You might want to shower first," Denise said, shivering at the flick of his tongue under her ear. "I'd offer to join you, but it's so small, you might not even fit." A low laugh ticked her. "You can always watch...again." She was confused, then understanding bloomed about that night in Vegas. "You knew?" Another laugh, infinitely more wicked. "I wanted you to watch, so I stomped around the room to wake you before I got into the shower. Didn't you wonder why the light was on? It wasn't for me, I can see in the dark. And then I kept the water cold so the glass wouldn't fog." "With your body, that should count as entrapment," -Denise and Spade
"Lucifer's bouncing balls, that's why you're acting like a nutter! You've gone and fallen in love with her. Bloody hell, if I didn't see it on your face myself, I wouldn't believe it."-Bones
We get to see Bones and Cat in this book, and a lot of Ian. I have to say I really like Ian. He is suppose to get his own novel or novels coming sometime in the next year and I can't wait. It was nice seeing Denise get a new HEA after reading her husband's death in a previous Bones and Cat novel, and Spade was perfect for her! A great read and a kick ass start to the spin off series!
"You'll always love him," he said, as if he'd read her mind. "That doesn't die just because he did, or because you now love me. Your love for him is part of who you are. It's a beautiful part, Denise. Don't be sad of it, and I will never be jealous of it."-Spade
5+ stars – Vampire/Paranormal Romance
If I’m ever stuck on a deserted island or in a remote, isolated castle somewhere, my three survival fantasy essentials would be Bones, Spade, and a Twister Board Game ‘cause I think the possibilities would be endless...certainly enough to last for a wicked eternity. *Bones and Spade high-pitched fan girl squeal and naughty grin!*
This is a devilishly sexy, witty, fun, and smokin’ hot addition to the awesome Night Huntress series, and I loved it, loved it, loved it!! Bones is still my top #1 darling bad boy vamp, but Spade is a verrry close second place!
Here are some of my favorite funny lines/scenes (beware possible spoilers ahead).
Denise on Spade’s appeal:
“Put Spade in a Calvin Klein ad and women would be tempted to lick the page.”
Spade teasing Denise about her aversion to his eating habits:
“You’ll be pleased to know you slept through my breakfast.”
“You eat the room service employees every time?” Denise asked shocked.
“Of course. But don’t fret on their behalf. I always tip well.”
Spade jesting about Denise’s silly attempt to keep him at bay using garlic:
“And while I’ll confess it was fun watching you choke yourself on garlic the past few days, you need have no fear of me biting you. As for things going further than kissing, you need not fret about that, either,” he went on, raking her with a gaze. “I don’t lack for bed partners, so I don’t need to scrounge for unwilling scraps.”
Denise’s response to Spade on whether she’s okay after freaking out in the middle of a vampire party:
“About three miles from Crazytown with my foot on the pedal, I’d say.”
Spade internally berating himself on his attraction to Denise:
“Fool, he lashed himself. He wasn’t doing this out of pity, obligation, or honor, as Denise might believe. No, he’d just recommitted to helping her for the staggeringly witless reason of not wanting to let her go yet. Even now, her scent and nearness tantalized his senses. It was the height of stupidity to be tempted by a woman he could neither bite nor shag. Perhaps for his next brilliant notion, he’d take up shaving with a chain saw.”
Denise commenting on Ian’s attire at a goth club:
“You look like a Dracula porn movie reject,” she managed.
Spade laughed, but Ian winced. “Let’s not speak of him. Like the devil, Vlad might appear if we do.”
Bones reacting to his best mate Spade’s feelings about Denise:
“Lucifer’s bouncing balls, that’s why you’re acting like a nutter! You’ve gone and fallen in love with her. Bloody hell, if I didn’t see it on your face for myself, I wouldn’t believe it.”
Denise and Spade having a little lover’s quarrel:
“What the devil? Oh, good one, Spade. Har har! Well, it’s nothing you need to worry about anymore, is it? Thanks for your time. All your time, but really, the farewell fuck was unnecessary. A vibrator can last all night, too, vampire.”
Spade cooing to Denise (in cat form) to try and have her shift back:
“Denise,” he said low. “If you can hear me, I very much need you to come back. Don’t resign me to the fate of being one of those crusty old vampires who only live with their pets.”
I’m talking to a bloomin’ kitty, it occurred to him. He might as well dig a hole and cover himself up with his grave dirt now.
“Come now, darling, I can think of far better ways to spend time in bed with you than this,” he continued in a low voice. “You make a right fetching feline, but really, there are limits to the things I’m willing to try.”
I’m sorry to say but: this was NOT good. I gave this 2,5 stars and I'm still wondering whether it isn’t too generous.
Was this really Jeaniene Frost? What happened to the woman who wrote such a fresh and exciting book with Halfway to the Grave?
Granted: I wasn’t the biggest Night Huntress series fan. So many nice ideas but nothing really fleshed out (minimal world building, thin plot, flat secondaries, etc.) But I came into these spin off series expecting a PNR novel. The only thing important to me was a remotely believable plot and a likable h/h couple.
I got none of that.
The whole story was one huge plot hole. Out of left field, unbelievable and convenient are words that come to mind.
And Denise deserves a new acronym: TFATL (Too F*cking Annoying To Live). Pardon my French but you’ll excuse me for it after you’ve read the book. Could she be any more stupid?
I really don’t get how Spike #2 ... I mean... Spade could have fallen for her. And not because I hated her guts, but really: it isn’t explained! At all. Why did they have such a connection? What was the attraction based on? What do they like about each other?
I have already accepted that creating an engaging and unpredictable multilayered plot isn’t one of Frost’s strong points. But until now she did manage to aptly describe the attraction between her h/h couple. This time however, the attraction was unfounded and the angst was forged to make the love story ‘more exciting’.
First Drop of Crimson was a bunch of PNR clichés and a stupid heroine put together.
Denise sighed. “I’ll be twenty-eight on my next birthday.”
“I’ll be two hundred and fifty-seven on my next birthday,” Spade replied.
Spade aka Charles aka Baron Charles DeMortimer is Bones best friend. And has been a widower for a few hundred years. He did not love his wife.
Denise is Cat’s best friend. And has been a widow recently. She loved her husband.
Spade wants Denise and Denise wants Spade
Spade brushed her hair back with a light, caressing stroke. She wished his fingers felt lifeless and cold, but they didn’t. They felt strong, supple, and knowing. Like he realized exactly how she was reacting to his touch.
His voice was so deep, and the breath he’d used saying her name touched her cheek in its own caress.
Denise closed her eyes. Everything in her wanted to turn toward Spade and abandon the last, thin thread of control she had.
But Denise resists because she still loves her husband and because he was killed by supernatural beings. The last thing she wants is to be with a vampire.
So, Spade will do everything that he can to seduce her without forcing himself to her, because he is a good guy and he has already lost a human girl that he loved before by a few bad guys. He wants to live something real and he is truly in love.
“I wanted you to watch, so I stomped around the room to wake you before I got into the shower. Didn’t you wonder why the light was on? It wasn’t for me, I can see in the dark. And then I kept the water cold so the glass wouldn’t fog.”
“With your body, that should count as entrapment,” Denise muttered, feeling her face heat.
“No, darling.” His voice was husky. “It’s seduction, and I have no qualms about that. I intend to seduce you every chance I get.”
He drew away, letting his hands slide from her grip. “I’ll be taking that shower now.” His brow rose with meaning. “And I’ll leave the door open.”
A demon has trapped Denise because one of her ancestors did a bad deal. This is the main reason these two ended up together. Denise did not know who to ask for help and Bones’ best friend was a good choice. While they run away from the demon and they survive; they will also fall in love.
A very nice addition to the Night Huntress world. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
There were moments that Spade is even hotter than Bones. And the fact that Denise resists makes the story very interesting and different from the main series’ books.
I've been feeling less and less enthusiastic about the Night Huntress books with each new instalment I've read and sadly this one just continued that trend. There was nothing overly bad with the story. It was just very dull.
We took a break from Cat and Bones and got the story of a couple of their friends pairing up. It was Spade, Bones old vamp buddy, and Denise, Cat's human best friend. Denise has been trying to avoid the paranormal world since her husband got murdered by vampires in one of the earlier NH books but finds herself sucked back in when a demon starts killing off her family members! One of her ancestors had reneged on a deal and the creature was not exacting vengeance on the rest of the family. With Cat and Bones half the world away Denise calls Spade, the only other vamp she knows, for help. This is PNR so it will not be a shock to hear the pair fall in love along the way!
I feel like I should have enjoyed this as it had most of the stuff I usually like in a PNR but for some reason I was always just a little bored while listening to the story. Both Denise and Spade were likeable enough and they even seemed a good match for each other but I just could not work up any enthusiasm for their tale. It probably did not help that the pair felt and acted exactly like Cat and Bones!
I think I'm done with the NH world. It is a shame as I liked the first few books and was hoping a break from Cat and Bones would rekindle my enthusiasm for the world and the secondary characters.
Rating: 2.5 stars. I'm rounding down to 2 as it was a bit of a chore to finish this one.
Audio Note: Even Tavia Gilbert sounded a bit bored while reading this one.
Wow, well, this is the first book in the Night Huntress World (spin-offs from the Night Huntress series) and focused on two characters that Frost's other novels have only touched upon briefly: Spade and Denise. Spade is your centuries-old, English (and, of course, sexy) vampire and Denise is the recent widow of Randy, a man killed by forces of the dark and supernatural world. Needless to say, vampires aren't often dinner guests at her home.
What I found most apparent about this book is that Frost had again returned back to the heavy on the sexy/naughty/kinky and light on the plot development. In my opinion, the story was weak. Some demon wanted revenge on one of Denise's long-lost relatives and was taking it out on various members of her family. But, Frost writes banter and lust in a way that can somehow override the need for a brilliant story - she is one of the few writers I know who does that well. She creates characters that you love and feel like you know, so despite whatever stupid demon-whatever-thingy is going on I always find myself interested because the characters are all important to me - even these two which had previously remained on the sidelines.
Frost has a gift for the small and funny but memorable moments. To compare, I would say look at the MacHalo scene in Faefever by Karen Marie Moning, you can't help but remember that moment. I felt the same when Ian, normally rather sly and cunning, came home 'pissed'[drunk] and singing Gilbert and Sullivan's 'I'm the Very Model of a Modern Major General' from 'Pirates of Penzance'. Hilarious.
And Spade, well, he was a lot sexier than I thought he'd be. Especially seeing as he had Bones to compete with. Granted, he will never be Bones in my eyes but the shower scene was fun! Denise was likeable but less impressive because I'm used to the spunky and brave Cat. She did improve throughout the novel, shedding a lot of her timidity that I suppose can be excused after her husband got ripped apart by a zombie.
I will definitely read Eternal Kiss of Darkness about Mencheres. I'm even more keen to read it after finishing Destined for an Early Grave, simply because we saw a lot more of him and his sense of humour:
Mencheres: Then you remember the dream. That bodes ill.
Cat: Hey, Walks Like An Egyptian, how about for once you drop the formal stuff and talk like you live in the twenty-first century?
Mencheres: The shit’s gonna splatter, start buggin’, yo.