Author: Eden Bradley
Release Date: October 20, 2009
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Category: Erotic Paranormal Contemporary Romance, Menage
Three wings means I generally find enjoyable. I am probably not likely to re-read the book and there are likely at least a couple of flaws that interfere with reading enjoyment.
Two vampires, one woman, an eternity of love and desire…if only she’s strong enough…
Midnight Playground, Book 1
London 2069 For as long as Nissa has known about Midnight Playground, the most exclusive of a world-wide network of vampire sex clubs, she has yearned to gain entrance—and to become one of them. Orphaned and alone from a young age, she has nothing to lose and nothing to stop her from indulging in her darkest fantasies.
Hex and his maker, Aleron, have enjoyed many play partners at the club and have often shared in the euphoria of the Seeking Kiss, that sensual blood exchange between vampires and their lovers. But Nissa’s beauty, intelligence and strength is a siren call he can’t resist.. His desire for her and her willingness to let herself be drawn by their mental pull compels Hex to consider offering to her something he’s never given another mortal– the treasured Turning Kiss.
The beautiful vampire pair entice Nissa into an intimate sexual realm beyond her wildest dreams—and she revels in it. But when she finds herself falling for one of the powerful duo, it could mean the end of her deepest fantasies. Or a new beginning she never dared to imagine…
Warning: Three-way vampire sex, voyeurism, exhibitionism, anal sex, oral sex, simultaneous anal and oral sex (oh, yes, it’s possible!), drinking blood, drinking blood while having sex, political unrest, and a hot French accent. Keep a fan and some holy water nearby!
The old Palace Theater stood like an elegant fortress of red brick and arched windows, surrounded by high, intricate, iron gates to keep the rabble out. Nissa pulled in a breath, ignoring the London stench. She was here. At the most exclusive vampire club in London. The most exclusive sex club. There was a Midnight Playground in every major city in Europe: Berlin, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Moscow. These places were nearly impossible to get into, and they never accepted anyone over thirty into their membership. At twenty-nine, Nissa was close to being excluded forever. But she’d managed it, finally. Or her friend, Ilana, had managed it for her.
She moved in, tucking her stunstick into the pocket of her coat and clipping it into its harness, then flipping open the hidden pocket that held her identification and invitation as she approached the gates. The bouncers were a pair of hulking, bald figures in black leather trench coats, arms crossed over massive chests.
She nodded to them. “I have an invitation.”
Holding it out, she pinched the heavy velum between her fingers, running her fingertips over the raised lettering, and the embossed Celtic dragon’s head logo that matched the design in the center of the towering iron gates of the club.
“Let’s have a look.” One of the bouncers held his beefy hand out.
Nissa narrowed her eyes, looking for the telltale tinge of pink in the skin. Human. She supposed a vampire wouldn’t have to work as a gate bouncer. Vampires were an elite society, revered, feared. Desired.
She shivered even thinking about it. Thinking about them. About the inherent sense of power that radiated from the few she’d ever come upon.
“Identification,” one of the enormous men demanded, and she handed it over. He glanced at the other man, held the invitation out for him to peruse, as well as her ID.
“Is there a problem?”
Her heart thundered. Both men turned to her. One held her identification up to the lamp mounted on the gate, then gave a sharp jerk of his chin. “You’re in, girl.”
Her heart lurched as the gate opened, and she stepped through.
He smiled once more, his face hard and frighteningly beautiful, but his blue gaze soft on hers. “This is right, Nissa,” he told her. He took her hand and lifted it, brushed his lips across the backs of her knuckles in a gentle, old-world gesture. “You are taking nothing from me I am not entirely willing to give, I promise you. I will be with you. I will help you. And you will always have a part of me, as I have a part of you. There is no need to be sad. I am never alone, if I choose not to be. And there’s the Midnight Playground. All the pleasures of the world await me there. And I am enough of a sensualist to appreciate such a place.”
His smile widened into a wicked grin, and she couldn’t help but smile back.
“Shall we prepare you for your journey into this new life, Nissa? Are you ready to come to us, to be one of us?”
Her heart was racing, hammering in her chest like the powerful roll of thunder. But she had never felt so certain of anything in her life. Other than her need for Hex. Her love for him.
“Yes, I’m ready.”
So I read The Seeking Kiss probably in September. Come to think of it, it may have been the first ménage story I had read. Sounds kind of ridiculous now because I have seen sooooo many ménage stories since then. They are very nearly what I would describe as a normal read. Not that I am knocking ménage. I enjoy these stories as much as any other story at times. I just don’t like when I am overwhelmed by crazy amounts of ménage. I suppose, as the first of my ménage reads, The Seeking Kiss was a bit of a shock and awe read. At first I was like, woah! Don’t know if I can read this. But I stuck it out and was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it.
Ms. Bradley has a talent for describing hot, erotic ménage that leaves very little for the reader to visualize. In other words, Ms. Bradley would be hard pressed to describe the erotic scenes in the book any better then she does. My problem with this story lies in the fact that it is a novella. I love novellas. They are a great way to kill a couple of hours. But the issue with novellas is that the author has a lot to accomplish is a short amount of time. With such constraints, novellas are often left lacking substance and character depth. The problem with The Seeking Kiss is that everything occurs so quickly. The characters transition into new roles without so much as a second glance at how quickly everything has happened. SPOILER ALERT! (Skip this next paragraph if you prefer not to know the details in a nut shell.)
So Aleron is a vampire, quite a few centuries old, and a mere ten years ago he changed Hex. Hex has been Aleron’s companion for the last decade. Aleron once had a great love but lost her and since then he takes only lovers that are meant to be temporary. Nissa has nobody left and has been drawn to Midnight Playground and the possibilities of everything that takes place there. She wants to “play” with the vampires within, desires a “Seeking Kiss” (allowing the vampires to drink from her), but ultimately covets the “Turning Kiss” (in which they offer to turn her into a vampire). When she sees Hex in the club there is an instant connection. And from there, everything happens so fast. Aleron knows that Nissa is for Hex and that his time with Hex has come to an end. Within the space of a few days, she loves Hex and Aleron, but Hex in an all-consuming way. They have tons of sex from the time they meet right up through the ceremony to turn Nissa. Aleron takes his leave and Hex and Nissa begin their new life together; both vampires.
So, that is the long and short of it. I think that this book could easily have been another hundred pages and I would have still been entertained. The M/F, M/M, M/F/M scenes were extremely hot and well written. I think my biggest dislike was that there was absolutely zero conflict. I wasn’t sure really what was bothering me about the story when I started this review. I liked the story well enough, but was annoyed by something about it. And now I realize that my issue was not in the story, but the absence of conflict. Everyone gets what they want and no one has to work toward a greater goal. The HEA is wrapped up very nicely with a pretty bow and set on a silver platter. Not so much what I generally look for in a read.
The Seeking Kiss is a hell of an erotic read with vivid detail written into the scenes. This book is not sexy, it is just plain full of sex. If that sounds like your cup of tea, thrown in with a couple of vampires, then you will fly through this short story and likely enjoy it. But those of you who crave a bit more effort prior to reaching an HEA will probably not appreciate this story as much. One thing I can say for sure – I want to read one of Ms. Bradley’s full-length novels to see the difference between erotic scenes, character depth, and (hopefully) conflict, if there is any. I hope to be entertained just as much as I was with The Seeking Kiss.
(Kindle purchased from Amazon)