As a stand alone novel, DEADLY IS THE KISS made me terribly nostalgic. Despite the gloss of vampires and Otherworldy politics, this book is an brand of romance I haven't read in while. With the mearest fringe of plot, the hero and heroine spend all of their page time conjuring up trope after trope as they twine their bodies together. Unfortunately, none of these plot devices were presented in a new or clever way and the characters themselves were not any brand of archetype that I found appealing, leaving me finishing DEADLY IS THE KISS with a shrug and a toss.
The hero is unbearably attracted yet doesn't want to settle down with his soul mate, and his plan to have lots of sex and get her out of his system is a classic excuse for lots of sex scenes while maintaining the "we don't like each other" melodrama. Watching him slip "I can't help respecting you" moments into the story was neither surprising nor interesting, especially considering his Mary Sue soul mate. Julianna is a sweet, uncomplaining, virgin-enough martyr who plays strictly by the romance book. To readers who have anticipated Ashe and Julianna through past books, this wham-bam relationship was probably a thrill fest. As for myself, with little or no emotional interest in this pair, DEADLY IS THE KISS was a mechanical survey of the who-where-how of sex scenes interspersed with low self esteem and emotional missteps.
Don't let my cynicism fool you, this book is well written despite the shallow content. There were a few stiff instances where one of the characters has to announce a piece of lore or backstory for those of us who haven't read prior books (Ashe pausing at a critical moment to explain why he didn't need a condom was particularly tacked on), but on the whole Byrd does a good job with pacing, dialogue, and backstory. I'm a little interested in an earlier book in the series to see if the characters get more development (and therefore I enjoy it more), but I'm in no hurry.
Sexual Content: Several sex scenes.