I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vampire's Cursed Kiss by Kristen Painter
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Published by Sugar Skull Books on June 24, 2019
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audibles
Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, City of Eternal Night, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, All Fired Up, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Vampire's Mail Order Bride, The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Dragon Finds Forever, The Vampire's Accidental Wife, The Reaper Rescues the Genie, The Detective Wins The Witch, The Vampire's Priceless Treasure, The Werewolf Dates the Deputy, "When Birdie Babysat Spider", Miss Frost Ices the Imp, Miss Frost Saves the Sandman, Miss Frost Cracks a Caper, "The Werewolf's Christmas Wish"
Second in the Shadowvale cozy and humorous paranormal romance series and revolving around the small town of Shadowvale in the Carolinas that never sees sunlight. The couple focus is on Andromeda Merriweather and Constantin Thibodeaux.
How can you not love The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss? It’s about a book shop of the latest and sometimes the oldest books. Constantin’s biggest problem is restricting his desire to take them all home. I can so understand that, lol. Although . . . he doesn’t carry romances. Hmmm . . .
Painter has created an interesting town, one where vampires can daywalk because Shadowvale is always overcast.
Andi has had some interesting experiences . . . well, besides being cursed into a book about nuthouses. Her sister has set up some nasty requirements before Andi can be released from her curse, and Andi is doing her best to not scare off her might-be rescuer.
Painter uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Andi’s and Constantin’s perspective, so we hear every thought they have and experience every feeling they have.
There are two conflicts: Andi being temporarily released with her doing her best to escape the curse completely, without telling Constantin what has to happen. We also learn the value of wings for sprites. Eeek. Her character arc finds her evaluating her past behaviors and coming to understand what’s wrong with some of her actions while appreciating others. Her sister has her own arc, coming to terms with her negative feelings about Andi and why. Constantin’s issue is his envy of his brother and his broken heart over his ex-fiancée. Andi and Cassi have the same problem, which is slowly revealed in the story. Very slowly . . .
It’ll lead to an interesting swap of perspectives, inspiring the other. Advice we could all use.
Painter is such a tease about what ticked Cassi off. Arghh. I do like Andi’s response to Miranda’s nastiness. Hee-hee. That Painter sure does come up with some alarming scenarios. Hidden threats and challenges.
Painter also picks away at bigotry noting how safe Shadowvale is for the supernatural. Everyone can be who they are.
There’s low-key action with lots of character-driven angst among the primary characters. Both parties have lessons to learn and understandings to arrive at. Painter keeps to the point, although all the angst can be a bit much.
“A life of apathetic leisure didn’t really give you the fulfillment of accomplishing anything.”
Andi sure got lucky when she was finally released from her bookish prison! She was even luckier when Constantin freaked out when Valentino invited him to Club 42. To see his ex-fiancée sing.
He can’t. He simply can’t let Miranda see how much he still loves her, and he asks Andi to be his temporary girlfriend. Oh yeah. It fits right in with Andi’s plans.
But what happens after a surprisingly fun evening creates brand new problems for both of them?
The well-traveled party girl, Andromeda “Andi” Merriweather, a sprite, came out of The Hidden History of Insane Asylums in 19th Century Europe into which she was cursed. Cassi is an event planner based in Paris. Their mother was a flighty woman; their grandmother is the one who raised the girls. Rolph had been Cassi’s boyfriend . . . until Andi.
The nearly 200-year-old Constantin Thibodeaux is a vampire who owns the Gilded Page, a book store. Chloe is Constantin’s puffy white fluff of a cat. Fletcher, another vampire, is his only employee. Gracie Evermore is his bookkeeper.
Valentino is Constantin’s flamboyant brother who runs Club 42, a jazz club. Juliette is Constantin’s sister who lives in town; the rest of his family lies in Bayou Orleans — a little bit of home. Daniella is another sister who works her greenhouses. Their mother, Josephine, can be stunningly brutal; their father, William, tempers her moods. Sounds like William is a good architect as well. Great-uncle Pasqual had been Amelia’s inspiration for Shadowvale . . . until he done her wrong.
Cousin Isabelle sings at Club 42. Another singer has been invited to temporarily replace Isabelle, Miranda Moore, Constantin’s ex. Brin and Zane work at Club 42.
Shadowvale is . . .
. . . a small town created by Amelia Marchand, a very powerful witch. Beckett is Amelia’s majordomo. Thoreau is the tiger who wanders around Amelia’s estate. Nasha Black owns the Black Horse bakery that also serves up great coffee. Nasha’s dad is Famine of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Emeranth is a barista at the bakery. Parks & Main is a clothing boutique where Lydia Parks works. Stella owns Stella’s Bargain Bin, which is Andi’s preferred shopping venue. Della is Stella’s twin sister. The Sunshine Diner is a great place to get a sunlight fix. Davey is a waiter at the diner. The Creamatorium has some fantastic sounding ice cream. Finding Nemo is owned by Nemo, a merman, with great food. The Table is another good restaurant. The Amethyst Inn is a Victorian B&B.
Arnie delivers to the Gilded Page. Lena Scott, a witch; Emeranth Greer, Amelia’s niece; Nala Gallagher, a bored banshee; and, the boring Reston Bellwether are some of Constantin’s many customers. Snow White prefers to be called Bianca Wynters (and she’s a vampire!); she runs the Red Apple Bed and Breakfast. Rico Martinez is the alpha of the werewolf pack. Sirena, a mermaid, owns Bombshell’s Bath & Beauty. Dr Jekyll is the local practitioner.
Chuck had been Andi’s roommate in Paris. A “neighbor” in the bayou is Brutus, a humongous gator. Marcus, a centaur, is no longer Juliette’s boyfriend.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a deep blue background that includes the greenery with its purple flowers behind an antiqued gold sentient gate against a glowing turquoise opening. In front of the gate is a small vignette of an old red leather book, a key, and a spooky looking lock in the center of the book. At the very top is an info blurb in turquoise. The author’s name is right below that in white. At the bottom, under the book, is the title in a prismatic blue and purple. The series info is worked into the filigree of the gate.
The title is what Constantin sees as The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss.