Reviewed at Hearts on Fire Reviews
Every once in a while I come across a book that makes me want to go back and re-evaluate some of my 5-star ratings. Cold Front is one of those books. I am already familiar with Ann Somerville’s work, having read the fast-paced and gripping Interstitial and its equally engaging sequel, Impedimenta. My only complaint about these two stories is their short length. Cold Front consists of two novellas, “One Brief Encounter” and “A House is Not a Home” followed by the full-length novel, “Cold Front”. This book satisfied my need for a meaty and lengthy story. It focuses on the relationship between the two main characters, Dek and Ren, but there is also an engrossing mystery, paranormal elements, erotic romance, a lot of conflict and drama, emotional intensity, and a well-drawn cast of secondary characters, some good and some downright evil. I loved these stories like I love a full moon, strawberry sundaes, and walking in the rain. This is definitely a keeper and I look forward to reading anything Ann Somerville writes.
One Brief Encounter
31-year-old Dekan hon Cerimwe den Tsikeni is a Defence Force Officer who is scheduled for police training and looking to spend a quiet night at a bar. The most gorgeous man he’s seen in 10 years just happens to be there. 28-year-old Rensire hon Parmin den Vizinken is also out for a quiet night and happens to be on the Force too. The two men are instantly drawn to each other, and though Dek’s military bearing and discipline demands he behave sensibly, Dek yields to his desires, boards the back of Ren’s two-wheeler and they head to a hotel.
Ren is a Level 2 empath. His ability to share others’ emotions and feelings causes him a great deal of stress at times, so in order to relieve his stress, he likes his sex a little rough and prefers to be controlled. Dek feels perfectly comfortable taking charge, and Ren willingly goes along with it. Their sex is scorching hot – lashings, restraints, and loving domination.
It’s just too bad that Dek and Ren are going back to work and won’t be seeing each other until Dek’s training session the following year. They agree to meet up at that time, but Dek is badly injured while he and his fellow officers are sent in to break up a prostitution ring. Oh, well. Fraternizing with other police officers is against the rules anyway. Still, Dek can’t quite get Ren out of his mind.
When Ren applies for a job in forensics at Ren’s station, both men explore that connection that started two years before, but are now faced with dealing with the stressful demands of their jobs and Dek’s painful past.
A House is Not a Home
Ren is now Dek’s partner at work and is well-liked by the majority of his co-workers. The two men are starting to develop strong feelings for each other, but there are still regulations and Dek’s grief over his dead wife to contend with. Ren patiently uses his empathic ability to lessen the intensity of Dek’s painful emotions while keeping his good feelings and memories intact. Dek’s acute suffering and Ren’s talent put to good use made this a very sweet and emotionally intense story.
Ren and Dek are now regular lovers. They work together to solve a series of gruesome murders of young girls. Their bodies are found mutilated and their bodies dumped in random locations. When an empath is found murdered, Ren believes the cases are connected, but they are ordered to focus on the girls’ murders. This is a very dark and satisfying murder mystery with plenty of twists and turns and lots of gritty forensic details. They are dealing with a deranged and sadistic killer who gets pleasure out of torturing his victims. It’s a tough case for the detectives, and time is running out when Ren goes missing. This is a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching story that left me a teary-eyed mess. Though it ends on a hopeful note, and Ren and Dek have a strong relationship, there are still lots of problems to be resolved.