Stone Kissed

Stone KissedBy Keri Stevens

Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: December 27, 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Netgalley

When Delia Forrest talks to statues, they talk back. She is, after all, the last of the Steward witches.

After an arsonist torches her ancestral home with her estranged father still inside, Delia is forced to sell the estate to pay his medical bills. Her childhood crush, Grant Wolverton, makes a handsome offer for Steward House, vowing to return it to its former glory. Delia agrees, as long as he’ll allow her to oversee the restoration.

Working so closely with Grant, Delia finds it difficult to hide her unique talent—especially when their growing passion fuels her abilities.

But someone else lusts after both her man and the raw power contained in the Steward land. Soon Delia finds herself fighting not just for Grant’s love, but for both their lives…

Goodreads Summary

Delia Forrest has a talent that makes her uniquely qualified as a stone conservator: the statues she restores speak to her.  As the last of the Steward Witches, her unique talent kept her isolated in the small community she grew up in and it was a constant source of friction between Delia and her father, enough so that she left her beloved home.  Now years later, she’s received a devastating call: there’s been a fire at Steward House and her father’s in critical condition in the burn unit.  As tries to untangles his finances, she finds out her father’s let his insurance lapse and with his medical costs mounting by the minute, unexpected and unwanted help arrives in the form of Grant Wolverton, a man she’s secretly had a crush on since she was fourteen.

Grant had taken one look at the burn-damaged Georgian and knew it was the place he was going to call home; he just needed to get Delia out of it first.  What he didn’t count on was being inexplicably attracted to her, and after she signed his ridiculously exorbitant check, he found she’d be around all the time since she had no intention of letting anyone else oversee the restoration of Steward House.  There’s no question that he wants her, but there’s also no question that she seems to be up to something with her furtive behavior in her father’s warehouse.

The land Steward House sits on holds power; it’s what the statues of the Steward mausoleum mean when they tell Delia that she never owned Steward House, it owned her and it’s why when Grant went there, he felt that click that told him he belonged there.  Delia has a distant cousin Cecily who also wants to have that power; Cecily is a succubus, someone who can draw energy from men during sex.  She’s furious that Delia sold the house to Grant and now is going to do everything in her power to get it back from him.

I really loved Grant and Delia, together and separately.  Her personality was amplified by the statues she spoke to, especially the ones in her apartment.  I think I’ve read a pretty wide selection of paranormals lately (obviously not a huge, huge amount, given the influx), but I can’t recall one with talking statues and I liked the concept, especially when they started giving Delia advice on her love life.  I understood her reluctance to open up to Grant, this wasn’t a case of a heroine that was just being stupid and holding on to a secret longer than she needed to.

Grant was for the most part, a rarity: an open book.  He was man enough to just go for what he wanted, be honest about it and not say things he didn’t believe.  He thought Delia was nuts and while he didn’t exactly say it to her face that way, they both knew he didn’t believe her and he never tried to snowjob her into thinking he accepted that she really did hear the statues speak.  He was pretty patient with Delia, completely let her go with her vision for Steward house and I loved that he was so sweetly confused by his feelings for her.  I like a befuddled guy in lust.  It never hurts a story to have a hunk in it.

They get a new paragraph for their bedroom hotness.  They also have futon hotness.  It’s not overly graphic, but it’s enough that it’s yummy pages-worth of excellently executed deliciousness.  Enough adjectives?  I can come up with more, but suffice to say, the two of them have some very happy sweaty sheet time.

I admit, I was a little perplexed by the need to have Cecily be a succubus; it did work, plot-wise, but I wonder if just making her a royal pain in the ass would have worked too and could have been less confusing in spots.  It’s likely it would have lost some of the paranormal element though, so maybe it was just me.  There were also some bits of additional plot at the hospital where Delia’s dad was that sort of didn’t fit for me, but again, they worked with the Cecily story.

Ending on a positive note, there was a very tantalizing little tease involving Grant’s pretty and very interesting sister Miranda and his best friend Lars.  I sense a nice story to tell….

My Rating: B+



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