Review: Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed series novel #2), by Lara Adrian

TLDR recap:

Destined to be together, yet both cursed with “gifts” they do not want, Dante and Tess enjoy a steamy chemistry but struggle with seemingly incompatible lives.  Tess’ healing touch for her veterinary patients is immediately at odds with Dante’s violent calling, but just as the Breed war stops for no one, the couple’s intense bond leaves no room for negotiation.  This second novel in the Midnight Breed series is more fast-paced than the first, and brings in new characters and starts new story arcs.

    • Title: Kiss of Crimson
    • Series: The Midnight Breed – book #2
    • Author: Lara Adrian
    • Prominent Characters: Dante & Tess, Sterling Chase
    • Recommended reader age: 17+
    • Sexual content level: Moderate

Note: This review may contain some very small spoilers, mostly involving new characters and the abilities used by the marquee couple: no major plot devices are given away in this post.


Dante and Tess both have personal challenges to overcome, not the least of which being that Tess is now pursued by Rogues & Minions (if those terms don’t make sense to you, go back and read Kiss of Midnight first!) that she doesn’t even know exist and Dante is haunted by his own impending death.  Having unwittingly bonded them together, Dante must keep Tess alive & safe without pushing her away by what he is, and Tess must overcome her fear of her extraordinary Breedmate talent.


I enjoyed this one more than the first in the series, Kiss of Midnight.  That’s probably partly because I liked Dante’s personality better than Lucan’s, Dante being the good-natured younger kick-ass warrior with a sense of humor.   I also liked Tess a lot.  As a vet running a clinic in a low-rent part of town, with clientelle who can’t always pay, Tess’s financial woes and dedication struggling to keep the clinic open were genuine, and there are so many unsung heroes like that in our own society that I was glad to see it get face time, even if it’s just in a fictional story.  Wow, that sentence was loooooong.

Tess’s Breedmate talent of healing is not really a revelation (nor very much of a spoiler, given how early in the book it’s implied) since it makes sense that the Order would need a “doctor” of some sort going forward in the series.  I am honestly trying not to make comparisons with the BDB (Black Dagger Brotherhood) as I read through these Midnight Breed novels, but there are so many parallels that it’s really tough!  For example, Tess’s healing reminds me of Doc Jane and Dante’s visions obviously bring the brain around to Vishous… and since Doc Jane and V are also paired up, it really cinches the comparison.   It’s sort of like reading Harry Potter for the first time and seeing all the references to other literary works that are woven into it – still enjoyable, just more comfortably familiar for the similiarities.

This novel brings in a new story arc with the character Sterling Chase.  I really liked him throughout the entire book, through all his stress and troubles, and I liked the possibilities that he brings to the overall flow of the series.  There was one part that seemed a little inconsistent to me though… In the first book, Gabrielle showed signs of Lucan’s bite long enough for her captors to see and recognize it, but when Dante first bites Tess, the mark disappears before she has a chance to even see it in the mirror.  In no other part of the book does Tess seem to have any extra self-healing powers, but maybe it’s just implied?  In any case, the chemistry between Dante and Tess is strong and their scenes together were enjoyable and had a lot of character to them.

Memorable quotes:

I’m the world’s perfect predator.  Wait, does this mean you sparkle? 

“Your kind?” she asked, growing very weary of his game.  “Okay, I give up.  Just what is your kind?”

“I am a warrior.  One of the Breed.”

“Right, a warrior.  And breed, as in… what kind of breed?”

For a long moment, he just looked at her, like he was weighting his answer.  “As in vampire, Tess.”

Holy Moses on a pogo stick.  He was beyond crazy.

If you like…

If you like Kiss of Crimson, you will very likely enjoy the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward.  The similarities are many, but there are enough differences to keep the stories from feeling like carbon copies.  I tend to recommend the same series over and over, so I’m not going to say “read Cat & Bones” (although you should) or “Cassie Palmer is great” (even though it is), so I’ll just sneak in some links at the bottom for you if you want to check out any additional reviewer-recommended series.  *grin*

Final thoughts:

So far, this series is off to a good, strong start.  I still feel it could be a little stronger, but having just finished #3 (Midnight Awakening)… arg, I’m seriously behind on the reviews!… I know it’s about to get even better, so I’m excited to keep reading.   For the BDB I always tell new readers to stick it out past the second book (Rhage & Mary’s story, Lover Eternal) before they decide to keep reading or quit.  For the Midnight Breed series, I’m going to recommend reading all the way through the end of Midnight Awakening (#3, Tegan’s story) before deciding.  I think that’s really where the series is going to pick up momentum and come into its own.

4.25 fangs: BITE IT!

Related links:

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About DaVinciKittie

Sue Brown-Moore is a freelance developmental editor specializing in romantic fiction. Sue is a passionate feminist and has always been a champion of romance—in her past life, she ran a review blog and a podcast—and believes that every body deserves a happy ending. She loves chatting about books and is always looking for excellent new recommendations. Reach out to Sue on Twitter and Instagram @davincikittie, Facebook @TheRomanceEditor or join her Patreon group, The Romantics (@TheRomanceEditor), for editorial insight and author coaching. Find Sue online at: The Romantics on Patreon Instagram Facebook Twitter The Infatuated Podcast Gravetells Romance Blog View all posts by DaVinciKittie

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