Title: A Hint of Frost: Araneae Nation Book 1
Author: Hailey Edwards
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Length: 193 pages
Hope dangles by a silken thread.
When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.
Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.
Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.
Warning: This book contains one mercenary hero with a biting fetish, one determined heroine who gets nibbled, and an answer to the age-old question, “What does dragon taste like?” Matricide and sibling rivalry are available upon request. The house special is revenge, best served cold.
Natalie Gibson's Review:
This book grabs the reader from the very beginning. It was a 5 star book from the super strong start. Lourdes becomes Maven of her clan when her mother dies in the middle of the night due to a mysterious poison. Her father's fighter family, sworn to protect her own weaker but rich one, has betrayed them in a grab for power. Lourdes must replace them quickly or fall victim to the other Maven, but the clan she brings in might be even worse. They are a cannibal tribe, feasting on the flesh of their fallen enemies. She binds herself to them through a betrothal with Rhys, not knowing if it is the best decision. The rest of the story is one of action that is carefully woven with the growing romance between them. The question: Is it a natural bond or the result of a strong chemical magic?
The clans are humanoid fae with spider-like attributes who live in a world divided between the two seasons, summer and winter, by a magical curtain and ruled by the two gods. Each clan has a different venom, some strong, some weak, some that bind and bring pleasure and some that can kill. They can all spin silky threads, but it comes easier to some. Some are war-like and some are peaceful farmers or weavers. They all must work together to survive and yet are very distrustful of each other. The setting was rich and well staged.
The romance felt real. There is very little sexual contact throughout the story and yet it was sexy in that virgin sort of way. There is one sex scene at the end after Lourdes and Rhys are properly married, and a scene of minor sexual activity in the middle, but they are tastefully done without the explicit description of erotica. Hailey Edwards manages to capture the fluttery stomach feeling of a first sexual experience and the wonder of discovering the body of the opposite sex in a way that seemed genuine and she made it highly erotic. Normally this romance of restraint is not the kind of book I give 5 stars, but I was finished with the read before I realized it was that type. That, to me, says it was a well written and expertly crafted story. It was fast paced but didn't feel rushed. The characters, even the secondary ones, were well rounded.
I would highly suggest this for fans of paranormal romance who are getting tired of the same old vampire, werewolf or witch type. Fantasy romance fans will find a new favorite with A Hint of Frost. It won't disappoint and I am looking forward to the rest of the Araneae Nation books.
A Hint of Frost is awarded 5 Satin Pillows.
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