She is theirs to claim. They are hers to save.
Zoey Blake is about as far down on her luck as she can get. A car crash took her parents, leaving her destitute and on the street. When she’s attacked by another homeless person, her lifeblood drains away as her fading vision is filled with the face of a handsome stranger.
Ian Kennedy, a century old Irish vampire, never could resist rescuing a stray. As a few drops of his blood heals Zoey’s wounds, he realizes she’s a sweet, tempting, flesh-and-blood woman. But there’s one problem. Connor, who made Ian promise decades ago: no more mortal lovers.
After another vampire murdered his soulmate, Connor O’Shea swore never to let amortal woman pay the price for loving him. Until he feels Zoey’s skin and tastes her lips.She makes him want to break that vow.
Zoey finds herself caught in their web of seduction. But as Christmas draws near andher grief deepens, happiness seems far out of reach. And Ian and Connor join forces to prove their love is sacred, special…and forever.
The Bite of Winter is an interesting combination of two super-hot vampires, sexy fun times, an erotic love triangle, and a sweet romance, all set during the Christmas season. When presented that way, I wouldn’t expect it to work. Yet Smith combined all those elements with a sad but sassy heroine and created a novella that I not only enjoyed immensely, but left me hoping that the next book in the series (and thank you for making this a series) will bring us more of the trio’s story.
Smith paints a very moving picture with the first scene of the book in which we meet Zoey, feel her hunger and depression due to her homelessness, and feel it all stripped away when she is attacked and fatally wounded by a would-be mugger, all within a matter of pages. As fate would have it, Zoey’s attack caught the attention of an almost 200 year old vampire who hasn’t been moved by humanity since his mortal mate was murdered 90 years ago. But something about Zoey calls to him and he takes steps to prevent her death without turning her into a vampire – a fact she is unaware of at the time. But her ignorance of his true nature is quickly shattered when his best friend and the man he considers a brother comes home expecting dinner and assumes that’s what Zoey is. Despite her fear over learning vampires are real, Zoey finds herself attracted to both Ian (her rescuer) and Connor (the diner) and finds herself unable to resist their attentions – and I can only say “THANK GOODNESS!” for that because that made for several steamy scenes between Zoey & Connor and Zoey & Ian and eventually all three of them. But when tragedy once again befalls Zoey, the men must make a life altering choice on her behalf or risk losing her forever.
What I liked about The Bite of Winter is that while there is a touch of insta-love, the relationship starts with attraction and affection and it is not until Zoey is nearly killed that any of the three admit their love. Even then, the “true mate” aspect on the vampires’ behalf makes the short time frame (less than two weeks) reasonable. And considering the circumstances under which they met and the care, tenderness, and affection the men have lavished upon her, it really didn’t feel rushed on Zoey’s behalf either as this is a woman who has been starving for love since the death of her parents. In fact, more than once Zoey purposely achieves physical distance between her and the men to allow herself the chance to evaluate her reactions toward them to insure it’s what she’s truly feeling and not a result of their (unintentional) glamour. There was a thread within the story that was not followed up on as I expected it to be – a potential threat to Zoey from Ian and Connor’s past – and I can only hope that this means the next book in the series will be a continuation of the trio’s story. I shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, I expect I will reread The Bite of Winter this holiday season when I need a little something to warm me up.