I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dancing with the Devil by Keri Arthur
Series: Nikki and Michael #1
Published by Piatkus Books on July 30, 2013
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy
Private Investigator Nikki James grew up on the tough streets of Lyndhurst and believes there's nothing left to surprise her. All that changes the night she follows teenager Monica Trevgard into the shadows-and becomes a pawn caught in a war between two very different men. One fills her mind with his madness, the other pushes his way into her life-and her heart. Nikki knows how dangerous love can be, but if she wants to survive, she must place her trust in a man who could easily destroy her.
Michael Kelly has come to Lyndhurst determined to end the war between himself and another brother of the night. For 300 years he has existed in life's shadows, gradually learning to control the life from death cravings of a vampire. Nikki not only breaches his formidable barriers with her psychic abilities, but makes Michael believe he may finally have found a woman strong enough to walk by his side and ease the loneliness in his heart. But will his love be enough to protect her from a madman hell-bent on revenge? Or will it drive her into his enemy's deadly trap?
Only together can they overcome the evil threatening to destroy them both. But the secrets they keep from each other might prove to be the greatest threat of all.
My Initial Reaction…
I read Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen series years ago, so I jumped at the chance to read this series. I was pleasantly surprised to find most of what I loved about Arthur’s style mingled with something somehow very different in Dancing with the Devil.
Nikki James is my favorite kind of heroine; she’s got a rough past that has left her emotionally damaged, but incredibly tough. As a private investigator with a psychic ability that packs more than a little punch, she lives a high-risk life and, when combined with nagging guilt from her past mistakes, she’s as dangerous to her enemies as she is to herself. Nikki doesn’t know the meaning of “can’t” or “no” and I love her for it. But that’s all part of her tough exterior; she’s much more complex than she’d like you to know. At one point in my reading, I wrote in my notes “man! she is a kick-ass chic, hot seductress, and trembling child all rolled into one.” And that pretty much sums up the complex character that is Nikki James.
Nikki may have a rough exterior, but that does little to fool Michael Kelly, who has some psychic gifts of his own. The story switches periodically between his and Nikki’s point of view, but even when in his mind there’s so much mystery to him – clearly we’ll have to get to know him better in future books. I think what comes through most clearly about Michael is his internal conflict; he’s had to conquer a lot in his past – that much is clear – and it’s left him unwilling to attach himself to anyone, even Nikki, to whom he has an immediate psychic connection. We learn so little about him in Dancing with the Devil and I for one can’t wait to learn more about this mysterious and oh so sexy vampire.
I couldn’t leave this section of the review without giving a quick shout out to Jake – Nikki’s boss and father figure. He’s a character that grows on you instantly. He’s so fatherly toward Nikki and, despite having no supernatural abilities of his own, he’s holding his own. He get’s caught in the crossfire and refuses to be the victim; he looks out for Nikki – not just as a boss or friend, but like a father – and that wins him serious bonus points in my book.
Dancing with the Devil opens with Nikki working on her current case, trailing Monica, the rich, spoiled brat of her client, when she lands herself into something much more dangerous than she even knew existed. Suddenly tracking down Monica is more than a job, but about saving innocent lives, including her own. Thankfully fate has inexplicably dropped Michael into her lap to help her. If only she knew more about him, why he was there helping her, and his history with the vampire behind all the trouble – James.
Dancing with the Devil is everything I want from Urban Fantasy – high paced action, kick-butt heroes/heroines, and that little bit of sexual tension that drives you bonkers. The action scenes are pretty great, especially since Arthur is playing with psychic abilities that pack a serious punch. More than a few times I drew in a breath of marvel from something the characters were able to do psychically. And Arthur is incredibly gifted at those teasing moments between Nikki and Michael. She really utilizes their psychic bond to heighten the sexual tension in all the right ways.
I wish I could say I was hooked from beginning to end, but I can’t. Unfortunately it took me longer than I would like to get invested in the characters and the plot. For one, I felt like the world building was a bit haphazard and some crucial information about that world came later than I would have liked. And I rolled my eyes a few times at the instant trust that Nikki has for Michael – which became even more infuriating later in the book when he’s challenging her to trust him. She went back and forth on the trust way to fast for me – I think I got a bit of whiplash! But the last 50% at least had my glued to the page, so it’s worth the wait and occasional whiplash.
Overall Dancing with the Devil didn’t disappoint. I loved the action and the Arthur shocked me with her ability to tease and drag on that sexual tension so artfully (considering her Jensen series was NOT about the tension!) I’m looking forward to the next book!