Cleopatra Vorenus is a skilled assassin and stubborn woman; tough on the exterior, she doesn’t allow her soft side and huge heart to surface all that often. Internally she struggles with feeling like an outcast for two specific reasons. First, she carries the heartache and guilt of loosing her unborn child (during battle) leaving her unable to bear future children. Second, she doesn’t possess special powers like other Sicari. Adding to her anger and feelings of inadequacy, Cleo’s mother has now revealed to her a secret she has kept from her for her entire life. Marcus, present Sicari Lord and husband to Atia, is her birth father. While Cleo attempts to process this revelation, she focuses the majority of her energy in her next mission. She is determined to rescue her friend Marta (Lysander’s sister) who is being held hostage in a convent run by Practiorians. Although Cleo doesn’t possess healing powers or telekinetic abilities, her strength lies in her survival instincts and determination to fight to the death for the Order, her friends and above the children that are powerless against the Practiorians. Her bravery and clever persistence is a constant presence as a fighter against the enemy, or in pursuit of Dante Condellaire. Dante is an extremely disciplined leader. He is compassionate, kind but above all loyal to his position as Tribune even while tempted by Cleo’s exquisite beauty and candid flirting. Cleo’s initial forwardness towards Dante leads to insecurity when he denies her advances on more than one occasion. She determines that her inadequacy in not being a “true” Sicari is what stops Dante from acting upon their desire for one another. What Cleo does not know is that Dante has vowed an act of celibacy and duty to the Sicari Order since the age of fifteen. Given his age, it was a nonbinding agreement but not to Dante. As current Tribune and the future Sicari Lord, Dante believes that he cannot let any woman or any thing obscure his thoughts or devotion in preparing for his role once Marcus steps down as leader. Initially Dante chooses duty over desire; however his oath crumbles once he realizes he has not only a telepathic connection to Cleo’s feelings but also an emotional connection to her heart.
Inferno’s Kiss had a slower start than the prior two books, however once the action evolved, it gained my full attention until the end. The story is set in a mythological world of mystery, adventure, sword fighting, scroll deciphering while providing intense physical battles and fiery romances. The primary romance is between Dante and Cleo, but the secondary romance of Cleo’s parents rebuilding their relationship as marriage partners is just as prominent. As the reader, I found myself immersed into not only the Sicari world but the potent chemistry and sexual desire of both couples as they struggle in fighting their feelings for the other. Atia and Marcus were one of the best-written middle-aged couples I have read to date. Although Atia was primarily the one to repeatedly bring up the fact that they were no longer young lovers, it did not deter from her passion that still burned for Marcus or in how she showed it. Their history and remembrance of when they first fell in love made it all the more sweeter when they succumb to their feelings of love and forgiveness. And when Dante finally gave into his vow of abstinence and could no longer contain his desire for Cleo; it was as if a dam had broken to the passion he had denied himself for so long. I adored how Dante, being a virgin, was not ashamed to ask Cleo how to pleasure her and was diligent in doing so. Her erotic images of them engaging in sexual pleasure prove to be all the tutoring Dante needed in succeeding as a new lover! Once a couple, Cleo and Dante continue the fight to bring piece to the Sicari world and face an added obstacle as a traitor is discovered among their own. The outcome of this betrayal is unexpected but provides a satisfying ending to this exciting series.
Inferno’s Kiss is the third installment of the Order of Sicari series. It can be read as a stand alone, but readers will enjoy and have a better understanding of the Sicari world if they start from the beginning. Engaging action and sizzling romances in a lush, fantasy setting, this series is one any adventurous romance reader should not miss.
“She frowned. Somehow Dante didn’t seem like the type who’d easily fall into bed with just any woman who crossed his path. If anything, he seemed a little uptight. Although she had to give him major points for having the kind of voice that could give a woman an orgasm without even touching her.”