Break out electric fans and warn readers to schedule cool-down periods: Houck cranks the love-o-stat up another notch.
In this sequel, the hypersteamy romance kindled in Tiger’s Curse (2011) between American teen Kelsey and immortal Indian were-tiger prince Dhiren flares into epic bouts of agonized soul-searching, inane lovers’ games and “hot, melty, smoldering” (but still chaste) make-out sessions. Kelsey also has multiple opportunities to measure her chiseled “warrior-archangel,” her peanut-butter–loving “golden-bronze Adonis” against not only several mortal would-be boyfriends but Ren’s own nearly as hot and certainly more libidinous younger brother Kishan, also a were-tiger. The actual plot gets under way when, at length, Ren is captured by malign sorcerer Lokesh. Kelsey and Kishan flee from Oregon to India, then set out on an extended journey through hidden Shangri-La and other realms of myth in search of magical weapons to mount a rescue. Putting her background research to thorough use, the author punctuates Kelsey’s narrative with Hindu endearments and cultural information, plus encounters with such supernatural entities as the goddess Durga, fairies, wood nymphs, sirens, a gigantic snake (“I ssseennsse your purposssssse is not malicccioussssss. Perhapsssssss you will be succccessssssful”) and Odin’s ravens. A shocking, heart-rending, soul-tearing, dolorific, tear-starting, hanky-soaking development sets up further barriers to fulfillment in the next episode (due out in Fall 2011).
Perhaps best read as a sendup. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)