Series: The Gray Court, Book 2
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 4053 Locations
Now We're Talking
Despite being swept away by the half sidhe, half leprechaun Moira Dunne as soon as he saw her, the sidhe Lord Duncan Malmayne wasn't as happy as he should be upon finding the mate he'd hoped for for five hundred years. In fact, despite being certain that Moira was his, he just couldn't seem to bring himself to complete the claim and exchange their vows. And Moira was starting to worry. Not only did she sense the spiraling depression in her mate, but she, too, felt something was not right. Some part of her heart still felt empty.
And she couldn't get thoughts about a kiss with the vampire Jaden Blackthorn out of her mind.
As members of the Malmayne clan conspire with the nefarious queen of the Black Court and plot to topple Lord Duncan from his position as head of the clan, it is Moira who figures out that Duncan and Jaden must accept that all three of them are meant to be together in a rare tribond mating before their separation kills them all and destroys everything they hold most dear. And she's got more than enough Irish in her to make her stubborn mates see the light.
Personally, I blame Jaden for this. See, I didn't like Dare to Believe, I'm sad to say (for reasons that can be found here). Despite considering myself a fan of Dana Marie Bell and thoroughly enjoying her Halle Pumas and Halle Shifters series, it just didn't work for me. I hadn't really expected to continue with this series after that first book. Then I found myself in a bit of a reading funk and started searching around for a light, sexy bit of paranormal brain candy to jolt me out of it. I was actually hoping there would be another Halle Shifters book out already, but when I looked I came across Noble Blood instead.
That's where Jaden comes in.
With his dark past and the sinfully delicious contradictions in his personality, not to mention his nature, he was my favorite character in Dare to Believe, and that book ended a bit grimly for him. Knowing that this one featured him poked, nudged, and niggled at me until I decided I just had to make sure he got his deserved HEA. So really, I blame Jaden. Because now I'm hooked on this series, too.
Bell writes the sort of fiction I most enjoy for my brain candy cravings: likable, sexy characters and a lot of fast, sarcastic, often humorous and sometimes sentimental dialogue. A heady mix of touching and touchy-feely. A little bit of yum and a lot of fun. It was just what I needed, and just what I got in Noble Blood.
The plot surrounding the characters is a continuation of events that were kicked off in the first book and the characters were introduced and fleshed out there, so I would recommend a reader new to the series start with that first book. Bell doesn't spend much time on exposition or world building here, and there really isn't much in the way of character description in this book, either. Instead the story and its characters hit the ground running and while I appreciate that from the perspective of someone familiar with the first book, that may not work for everyone.
As a book that's shorter than a traditional mass market paperback, Bell keeps the narrative of the story trim and the plot arc on the thin side. That style works for this sort of light, easy read, where conflicts rise and fall with relative ease and without an abundance of angst. What worked best for me in this book, though, is that while the plot does lean a bit towards the shallower end of the story pool, it's executed well, transitions smoothly, and evolves and expands through the book as it moves towards conclusion.
I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of Menage a trois romances. My romantic preferences lie in pairs instead of sets, regardless of gender. When I do read them, though, I prefer them to be like they were represented here, where each of the involved characters has an obviously deep and abiding love for each other equally, instead of a more two-on-one style. That may create a problem for some readers, though, as this book includes sexual scenes and discussion of the romantic relationship between Duncan and Jaden.
Every time I finish a book by Bell, I wish for the same thing. I wish they were longer. Even though I liked the book and love the characters (and I can't wait for the hybrid and the dragonness to get their story), a hundred more pages in Bell's fun, fast, ferociously imaginative world would have provided the opportunity for a more robust plot with added dimension and a deeper and broader evolution of the romance. Okay, so that's me being greedy. I know.
Like I said, I blame Jaden. Though Bell gets to take some of the blame for that, too.
Warning: This book contains a M/M/F Menage a trois relationship that may disturb some readers. M/F, M/M/F, and M/M sexual situations, including anal and oral sex, are included.