Crystal Jordan always manages to weave together the fantastical and erotic without making the reader feel as though they are stepping too far outside of the romance comfort zone. In her latest book, Primal Heat, she gives a glimpse of an Earth that is an unwilling host to the Kith, whose emperor has come to claim his One. There are two novellas in this one book: Wicked Lord and Carnal Empress.
The first story does not shy away from the fact that on Earth the response to the unknown is fear and with fear comes death. Jordan has created believable characters in U.S. Sergeant Major Bren Preston and Lord Farid Arjun, who are not clichéd even though they initially reside on opposite sides of the Earthan/Kith divide. Using the antagonist of this story, Jordan works the absolute power corrupts absolutely track between bouts of screaming hot sex, that include her signature touch for writing an anal scene that makes even the reader flutter as they devour the book.
This theme continues into the second story, where a flourishing relationship is tested with infidelity. Jordan asks in this story: can a relationship bounce back from infidelity? Even if the physical relationship seems to go back to the status quo, is it possible to have time heal all wounds with an orgasm? Kyber and Jana prove that much more is at stake.
I would just like to say that each time I pick up one of Crystal Jordan's books I wonder which hard angle of an established relationship she's going to test. In her previous books she's tackled the death of a child (Carnal Desires, In Heat) and infertility (On the Prowl, Undeniable). I've come to respect her ability to walk the minefield of a relationship and bring both characters out on the other end whole. As I read this story, I found myself eyeing the small number pages and wondered if the conclusion would be rushed. Luckily, I was not to be disappointed. Jana and Kyber's story, was a maelstrom of personal strife and regret, but had a flicker of hope that Jordan delivered on.
There are many things to love about this book (which would also explain why I tore through it in less than a day), but my favorite was the wealth of male introspection. I've read many if not all of her books, and this was the first, where I felt that the male perspective overshadowed the female. I loved it! Watching Farid and Kyber work through their own emotions on paper created more depth in the characters. Often in romance the male protagonists thoughts are glossed over and don't really make an impression.
To sum it up, if you haven't picked up Crystal Jordan, do so. She's not afraid to poke a stick in the eye of the serious issues that can end a relationship, use hot sex to keep the bond established, and have her characters realistically resolve their issues by pulling them apart for the audience to see.