By Keri Stevens
Published December 27th 2010 by Carina Press
Courtesy of NetGalley
When Delia Forrest talks to statues, they talk back. She is, after all, the last of the Steward witches.After an arsonist torches her ancestral home with her estranged father still inside, Delia is forced to sell the estate to pay his medical bills. Her childhood crush, Grant Wolverton, makes a handsome offer for Steward House, vowing to return it to its former glory. Delia agrees, as long as he'll allow her to oversee the restoration.Working so closely with Grant, Delia finds it difficult to hide her unique talent—especially when their growing passion fuels her abilities.But someone else lusts after both her man and the raw power contained in the Steward land. Soon Delia finds herself fighting not just for Grant's love, but for both their lives...
Delia Forest is from a long line of Stewards, where every few generations a witch is born with special powers. Delia can talk to stone statues and with her gift, they talk back.
But because of her parents treatment of her and her ‘delusions’ she hides her powers (though everyone seems to know anyways) and is a bit of a wallflower. She left her hometown and leads a quite life as a stone conservator in D.C., restoring statues and conversing with those who are more family to her then her own flesh and blood. But when a fire destroys her ancestral home and badly injures her father she must return to Steward House.
Upon her return she find mounting hospital bills, a father that will need constant care if he survives and a house in disrepair. Her small business and her father’s lack of upkeep & finances will no way cover everything and she is forced to accept Grant Wolverton’s, who swoops in like a vulture, offer to buy the house. She’s able to work herself into the deal though by overseeing the restorations to the house and this way she doesn’t have to totally give up her home.
These two butt heads right off the bat, Delia thinks Grant is a cold jerk and he thinks Delia is a disillusional liar, but there is an instant attraction between them as well. When the sparks start to fly it leads this couple to really good and erotic love scenes. Their relationship was well developed and realistic, though I would of loved to see the author spend more time establishing Delia’s feelings for Grant into ‘adult feelings’ instead of Grant being the childhood crush she harbored from their one meeting when she was a teenager, fancying herself on love after that. I did admire her strength in their relationship and outside of it. Grant on the other hand was a well-developed character. He started out distrustful due to an even worse upbringing then Delia, but was attracted to her nonetheless. He eventually succumbs to his physical attraction but is still weary and then after time and revelations he comes to fully trust and love her.
A whacked-out succubus, Delia’s cousin Cecily, is the villain of the story; committing murders to feed and wanting Steward House's power and Grant's wealth and hawt body for herself. And she will take down anyone who stands in her way.
The end result of her victim’s squeed me out a bit, but I wonder how she was able to turn bodies to globs of mess when she was through with them? She is truly evil but I also question how, living in the same small town together their whole lives, did Delia not know the existence of her cousin until this point?
Numerous scenes with the statues provided comedic relief and I really enjoyed their part in the story line. I did feel that the story jump around at some points and it left me a bit lost, as if I missed some explanations somewhere and a big portion of it did move slowly for me. But towards the end the author seems to find her groove and the book ends nicely on a happy note. Though I was confused as to who the narrators were in the epilogue and was left with A LOT of unanswered questions.
Stone Kissed is a nice little dive into a quirky small town world of romance and magic. Not a bad read, very imaginative, but didn’t quite capture my attention. I would be interested to see what this author comes up with next though.
Rating: 2.5 - Okay