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Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers) Paperback – May 22, 2012
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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About the Author
Michelle Rowen is an award-winning, national bestselling author of paranormal books for both teens and adults. She lives in Southern Ontario. Visit www.michellerowen.com for more information about Michelle and her books.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"This is going to be an amazing night, Sam!" Carly shouted over the music blasting all around us.
"You think so?" I yelled back.
"Best night ever!"
Sure. My throat already hurt and we'd only been here for a half hour. So far it felt like every Friday night at Crave, elbow to elbow with other sweaty kids on the dance floor.
Don't get me wrong, as one of the only all-ages clubs here in Trinity, it was a decent place to hang outespecially with my best friendI just didn't think it was going to change my life or anything.
Anyone looking at us would think that Carly and I were the polar opposite of each other in looks and attitude. Carly Kessler was a curvy, flippy-haired blonde with a sunny personality whereas I was a skinny, nonsunny, long-haired brunette. And yet we were still best friends and had been forever.
After a few more minutes enveloped in the hot nightclub, Carly clutched my arm, her face flushed with excitement. "Heads up. Stephen Keyes is looking right at you."
I glanced over my shoulder and saw him standing at the edge of the dance floor. He was looking at me. Or, at least, he seemed to be looking at me.
I turned back around, my heart pounding.
Everyone has that one crush, the guy they can't stop thinking about even though it's totally hopeless. Stephen Keyes was mine. He was nineteentwo years older than meand utterly gorgeous with jet-black hair and caramel-colored eyes. We grew up in the same neighborhood, him two doors down from me. He mowed lawns in the summer. I watched from my bedroom window.
It was such a cliche, really. The weird, unpopular chick with the massive crush on the hot, older jock.
As far as I knew, Stephen was supposed to be at university in California, two thousand miles away. I'd even watched his parents help him pack up his car when he left town at the end of August. I wondered why he was back only a couple of months later.
Suddenly he wasn't just lingering at the edge of the dance floor looking distant and delectable. He was standing right next to me. Carly watched, her eyes widening as Stephen leaned close enough for me to hear him over the loud throb of the music.
"Can I talk to you?" he asked.
He nodded and smiled. And I, the girl who shunned and mocked romance in all its formsmovies, books, real lifewent weak for a hot guy I had a crush on. Whenever I'd really liked somebody in the pastwhich, not including Stephen, had been only twice before in my entire lifeit hadn't ended in true love. The two other boys I'd fallen for hadn't liked me in return and I'd ended up ignored, brokenhearted and humiliated both times.
However, that hadn't stopped me from liking Stephen.
Stephen didn't wait for my reply. Instead, he walked away, weaving through the labyrinth of sweaty dancers. Something wicked this way comes.
The line from Macbeth, our current read in English class, flitted through my head. The quote suited Stephen perfectly. He might be the boy next door, but to me he was also wicked. And dangerous.
I didn't do dangerous. Not anymore. Even little dangerous things tended to lead to big trouble. Six months ago, I'd been busted for shopliftingmy dumb way of psychologically dealing with my parents' divorcealthough I wasn't arrested for it, thank God. I'd learned my lesson in a very big way that sticking your hands in dangerous places would get them chopped off.
"Go," Carly urged. "This is so awesome!"
She wasn't much help. Carly would storm headfirst into danger if she thought it might mean that she'd have a good time. When she was a kid she'd stuck her hand in a beehive because she wanted to taste the honey. It hadn't turned out so well, of course, but I had to admire her for well, going for it, despite all the signs not to. She didn't second-guess herself. She didn't regret anything she triedeven the crazy stuff.
With a last look at Carly, I followed Stephen off the dance floor. I was insanely curious what he wanted to speak to me about. I mean, despite us living very close to each other, he didn't even know me.
He led the way up a spiral staircase to the second-floor lounge, which was surrounded by glass walls with thin, swirling frosted patterns on the otherwise clear surface. Up here, away from the crowd and deejay and loudspeakers, I could actually hear myself think. The lounge had a couple of pool tables and red couches and chairs. Stephen leaned against one of the couches and studied me. He wore a black button-down shirt and dark jeans. His hair was slicked back off his handsome face. My stomach fluttered.
"So " I began when he didn't say anything. "Do you come here often?"
Oh, God. I was normally proud of my smooth comebacks, my witty one-liners, and that was what came out of my mouth? I wanted a do-over.
Stephen grinned, showing straight white teeth. "I'm here every single night, lately. Even weekdays."
"Every night? Really?" I twisted my hair. "Cool."
Cool? Really? I was not handling this well at all. My brain and my voice weren't working in sync.
"Um, what are you doing in Trinity?" I asked. "I thought you were in university now."
He shrugged a shoulder. "I'm taking a bit of a break, trying to decide what I really want to do with my life. Thought I'd come back here for a while."
I just nodded and tried very hard not to say "cool" again.
"You come here every Friday, right, Samantha?"
A flush of pleasure went through me. I was totally okay with friends calling me Sam, but I liked hearing him say my full name.
"You like it here?"
I looked around. There weren't many people in the lounge tonight. It was the first time I'd even come up here, myself. A couple on the far couch glanced over at us every so often as if curious why Stephen Keyes was talking to me. The majority of kids were downstairs on the large dance floor and at the bar area, both visible through the glass wall that circled the lounge. I could even see the top of Carly's blond head from where I stood.
"Yeah, it's okay," I said.
I shrugged and rubbed my dry lips together, turning to face him. My lip gloss from earlier was long gone. "Some nights are better than others."
Stephen reached out a hand. "Come here."
If he hadn't made it sound like a charming invitation, I might have resisted. But I walked closer to him, until I was a few feet away. There was something strange in his gaze as he studied me. I couldn't put my finger on it, but a chill slid down my spine.
I cleared my throat. "You said you wanted to talk to me about something?"
"So you're the special one, are you?"
That was the last thing I expected him to say. "Special?"
"That's what she said. That's why she wants me to do this. I normally wouldn't, since you're so young."
She? She who? I frowned at him. "I'm seventeen."
"Exactly. That's young."
"No, it's not."
"Trust me, Samantha. It is."
He slid his arm around my waist so that his hand rested at the small of my back, and he drew me closer to him. His touch sank into me, cool against my hot skin.
It was suddenly difficult for me to breathe. "Who said I'm special?"
He didn't answer. When I looked up at him I realized he was leaning closer to me, closer and closer, and then his lips brushed against mine. I gasped and he pulled back a little.
"Is this okay?" he asked. "May I kiss you?" My cheeks warmed. "I um "
He spoke softly into my ear. "I should warn you, it's a very dangerous kiss. It'll change your life forever, so you have to want it."
If I wasn't feeling so flustered, I might have thought he was being cocky. I mean, please. A kiss that could change my life forever?
But I kind of believed him. And after months of trying to be a perfect angel after the shoplifting incident, I wanted to push the edges of my comfort zone just a little bit.
And this was speciala boy I liked who might like me in return. I couldn't just walk away.
This time I kissed him, tangling my fingers into his black hair and pulling his mouth toward mine as if I couldn't resist. I hadn't kissed many boys before, so I hoped I was doing it right. It felt right. In fact, it felt really right. My lips parted as the kiss deepened. His fingers dug into my waist. This felt like something out of a movieone of the romantic ones I never watched because they made me feel uncomfortable. I didn't want to try to relate to all of those emotions, those declarations of love and eternal devotion. I mean, spare me the drama.
"You're delicious," Stephen whispered before he kissed me again and my heart felt like it was pounding right out of my chest.
And then it got weird.
The cool sensation from his touch turned icy and spread to the kiss, and I shivered. That iciness slid down my throat to my stomach and branched out to my arms and legs, chilling my entire body. Goose bumps formed on my arms. Dizziness swirled through me. It was jarring, but I couldn't exactly say it felt bad. It was exciting, a rush, like being on a roller coaster in the middle of winter.
I lost track of time. Nothing existed for me except Stephen. His lips never left mineand I never wanted them to. Minutes, hours, I didn't know how long it was that he kissed me. All I knew was that I couldn't stop kissing him even if I wanted to.
But then, finally, he stopped kissing me. He held my face between his hands and stared at me for a heavy moment. His eyes looked very dark in the shadows up here. "Sorry, kid. Really."
Then he let go of me and walked away.
Time slowed to a crawl as he disappeared down the stairs, the dance music becoming a hollow echo in my ears. My face burned even though my chest now felt like ice.
The scent of sweat mixed with perfume slowly pulled me out of my daze. To my left I could see the multicolored lights above the dance floor. Even up here, the ground shook with the force of all the kids stomping down there.
Carly appeared at the top of the stairs and approached me, glancing back in the direction Stephen had gone. "Sam! What happened?"
I tried to find my voice. "Stephen Keyes kissed me." Her eyes widened. "Oh, my God! You're so lucky!" He'd kissed me. And then he'd called me a kid and walked away.
"Lucky," I repeated, just before my eyes rolled back, my knees gave out and everything went black.
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For some reason I haven't enjoyed some of the main characters that I've been reading lately. They've been very immature and annoying to read. I was so pleased that Samantha was not those things at all. She was a very believable main character that was so much fun to read because you were always on her side. She was a good person without being ridiculous. Her denial period was also much shorter than in most novels which I loved. Often when a main character finds out that there are vampire, werewolves, angels - insert supernatural creature here- they spend almost half of the book denying what is going on right in front of them.
Bishop is Samantha's love interest (and something else but you have to read it to find out!). Michelle Rowen already gets major points from me for his rare name. Bishop was a fascinating character, the author gives us teasing hints about his past, but he's all the more interesting because he is more than he appears.
Michelle Rowen delivers a very unique and odd take on heaven and hell, your soul, and angels and demons. Some of it was a bit too much for me personally but it made for a very interesting and unexpected read.
I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the sequel, Wicked Kiss!
Be it electronic or paperback, I am glad I got into this saga.
Samantha. She is a typical seventeen years old girl and a realist. As any other teenager her age, Samantha treks her way through high school, dealing with her parents' divorce, friendship, teenage crushes, and just trying to get by. Everything was pretty average and normal despite her family issues ...until one night where it all turned upside down; and it involves her long time crush and a hot and dangerous kiss. She then meets Bishop, a normal looking eighteen years old with attractive blue eyes, and everything just gets even weirder. An inexplicable darkness has befallen the city, and it seems the mysterious boy with electrifying blue eyes knows something about it.
Angels, paranormals, and illicit love ... what else can a YA fanatic ask for?
As I was searching for more information on Michelle Rowen's Nightwatcher series, I was surprised to see Dark Kiss having such negative reviews (this is why I don't base my decision making on what book I want to read next, solely on the book ratings). Yet, I can also understand why there are those who do not favor this read. There were a few times where things just didn't seem to be moving forward, and rather than saying not enough was happening, it was more like things got repetitive. It however, did not stop me from liking the book.
If it is anything I like most about this novel, it's the characters. Michelle Rowen made sure to give all her revitalizing characters an unfortunate back-story. It was amazing to find myself hating a character one moment, and then having sympathy and pity for them the next.
Would I recommend Dark Kiss?
I definitely would recommend it, especially for those who favor the "angels" and "forbidden love" theme (I am a sucker for them), and because I got a sneak peak of book 2 Wicked Kiss and it was just grand!
Characters: The character of Samantha in this book is interesting. Usually in novels where a human and a supernatural being start some sort of adventure, the human is usually that, human, however this girl gets turned into a creature that can only be described as being like a succubus. However, in this book they are called Grays. Anyway, this interesting twist definitely added major character development for Sam fairly early in the book. Sam was a character that started out shy and timid but then quickly does a 180 in personality. There are still some shy and timid moments for her but for the most part she becomes an extremely fierce and strong character. This sudden change of character was both shocking and too quick. Even though I eventually got used to this change, it seemed slightly unnecessary. However in grand scheme of things it's didn't take away from the book. The other main characters, such as Bishop, Kraven, Carly, and Natalie are all great characters, however I feel that if I start talking about them I will give too much away.
Romance: Just like with most of the books I review there is a romance in this book. There really isn't any real love triangle in this book, though near the end there seems to be a hint at an upcoming one. I am greatly relieved when there isn't a love triangle in a book, at least for the start of a series because it will give me a break from reading about some hopeless girl or boy and their ongoing struggle of who to choose, even though the reader already has a fairly certain idea of who it will be. I liked the romance between Samantha and Bishop, because it wasn't some kind of passionate all consuming romance that started too quickly. It was slow and steady and in the grand spectrum, happened at just the right time.
Predictability: I would like to say that this book was completely predictable, but it wasn't. Even when I had clues to lead me to one conclusion, the author would twist the answer to catch you off guard, which was totally something I liked. The things that were left unsolved in the end was probably way too much. The answers that we didn't have, though a great pool to start speculating from left too much open. I know this is a series, but given that this is the first book I thought that there would be far less unresolved aspects. I appreciated the unpredictable nature that the author added to this book and I hope that she continues with it throughout this series.
Ending: It seems that lately the books that I read that are a first in a series have a sort of plateaued ending, as a opposed to the cliffhanger ending that leave me begging for the next installment as soon as possible. The ending wasn't bad in the slightest, and was actually a sweet and sentimental ending. Part of me is happy that this book had a plateaued ending, because the wait until the next book in this series is less aggravating and arduous. Usually I don't like plateaued ending because there isn't much left unsolved, so with this book, though here seems to be too much left unsolved, due to the nature of the ending, it's sort of cancels that out.
References: Just a quick thought on some of the terminology used in this book seemed similar to some of the things from the show Charmed. Things like "the Source" "the Hollow" and "nexus" may not be original to the show but are really fun to read in this book and made reading this book all the more fun to read.
Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend that you read it, but it's up to you whether you want to borrow it from your local library or go right out and buy it. I just want to thank Harlequin Books for giving me the chance to read this book and review it for them.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was original, entertaining, fun, and kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the book.Read more