A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry Series #1)
  • A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry Series #1)
  • A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry Series #1)

A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry Series #1)

4.3 844
by Laurell K. Hamilton

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My name is Meredith Gentry, but of course it's not my real name. I dare not even whisper my true name after dark for fear that one hushed word will travel over the night winds to the soft ear of my aunt, the Queen of the Air and Darkness. She wants me dead. I don't even know why.

I fled the high court of Faerie three years ago, and have been hiding ever since. I

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My name is Meredith Gentry, but of course it's not my real name. I dare not even whisper my true name after dark for fear that one hushed word will travel over the night winds to the soft ear of my aunt, the Queen of the Air and Darkness. She wants me dead. I don't even know why.

I fled the high court of Faerie three years ago, and have been hiding ever since. I ran as far as the land would take me, stopped only by the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and the fact that if I'd used my passport the Bureau of Human and Fey Affairs would have been notified, and they would have told my relatives. And my relatives would have killed me. As Merry Gentry, I am a private investigator for the Grey Detective Agency: Supernatural Problems, Magical Solutions. My magical skills, which are scorned at the courts of Faerie are valued in the human world. Even by human standards, my magic isn't flashy. Fine by me: Flashy attracts too much attention, and I can't afford that. Sightings of the Princess Meredith are now more popular than Elvis sightings. Rumor has it that I'm dead. Not quite. I am Princess Meredith NicEssus, and if you read that name after dark, you will call down a knock upon your door from a hand that can kill you with a touch. I have been so careful, but not careful enough. The shadows have found me, and they are going to take me back home, one way or another.

The running is over. The fighting has just begun . . .

Enter a thrilling, sensual world as threatening as it beautiful, replete with the consuming passions of immortal beings once worshipped as gods or demons. Full of earthly pleasures and dazzling magic, A Kiss of Shadows will hold you under its hypnotic spell.

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Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton steps outside her highly addictive Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books to introduce readers to a new series of intrigue. A Kiss of Shadows is a sensual novel of dark fantasy that will both entertain and unsettle. In a manner reminiscent of Roger Zelazny's Amber series, Hamilton draws the reader into the adventures of two violent worlds: one a perilous mortal realm, the other a place of disturbing and often deadly magic.

In this alternate reality, the mystical Fey have always existed side by side with mankind, though not always calling attention to themselves. Many nations of the mortal realm closed their borders to the Fey, but the founding fathers of the United States sympathized with the magical beings and so opened America to high levels of immigration. Situated in Illinois, the Fey lands are a main tourist attraction and exist as a kind of "reservation" of sorcery.

Beautiful Princess Meredith of the Fey has been on the run from the Unseelie Court for several years, having taken the human identity of Meredith (Merry) Gentry and working as a private eye who handles cases with a supernatural bent. During a case involving a bizarre cult and Faerie artifacts, Meredith is forced to use her magic. She is immediately noticed by her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, who resolves to have Meredith brought back to the Court.

The Queen sends her bodyguards to do the dirty work, but Meredith agrees to return home without a fight. The Queen seeks to find an heir to the throne because she feels her resentful and sadistic son, Prince Cel, isn't suitable to rule. She devises a strange contest between Meredith and Cel, decreeing that the first to bear a child shall have the crown -- and the loser will be put to death. Thus begins a violent struggle between the rivals that involves unbridled passions, malicious attacks, and bitter betrayals.

Hamilton has researched Celtic folklore in creating the Fey, but she has imbued these folk with a variety of personalities, from benevolent to psychopathic. This is an edgy, high-octane thriller filled with adventure and action; it's a deftly plotted tale that speeds from one imaginative story twist to another. Meredith is a unique and powerful protagonist whose humor and wit never hamper the strength of her resolve, moral fiber, and determination. With A Kiss of Shadows, Laurell K. Hamilton achieves new heights of stylish erotic fantasy with which to captivate and enchant her readers. (Tom Piccirilli)

Tom Piccirilli is the author of eight novels, including Hexes and Shards, and his Felicity Grove mystery series, consisting of The Dead Past and Sorrow's Crown. He has sold more than 100 stories to the anthologies Future Crimes, Bad News, The Conspiracy Files, and Best of the American West II. An omnibus collection of 40 stories titled Deep into That Darkness Peering is also available. Tom divides his time between New York City and Estes Park, Colorado.

11th Hour
Despite its modern setting, A Kiss of Shadows has all the elements of a traditional dark fantasy book: a throne to win, an evil prince to defeat and a generous smattering of enchanted objects with cool names. Its darker aspects include powers that turn the flesh inside out, various members of the Host, and one of the guards has a few extra surprises. The Unseelie Court is simply not a place that gives you the warm fuzzies. Overall, A Kiss of Shadows proves Ms. Hamilton as an exceedingly imaginative story-teller who does her job well in setting the stage for her new series.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Erotica is fantasy, but it rarely gets as fantastic as this. After nine novels featuring Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (Obsidian Butterfly, etc.), Hamilton launches a sizzling new series that blends supernatural fantasy with detective adventure and hot sex. Here, the world is populated with various magical faerie races along with humans. The most supreme of the fey are the immortal sidhe, so beautiful and powerful they were once worshiped as gods. The fey are not only lusty but incredibly accomplished lovers; those of the royal sidhe bloodline are literally addictively sexy. Full-blooded fey are, for the most part, intolerant of cities, metal and technology. They seldom live for long among humans. Mixed-blood Princess Meredith NicEssus, however, has fled the faerie world to pass for three years as Merry Gentry, a human with some fey blood who works in Los Angeles with a detective agency that specializes in supernatural problems and magical solutions. Suddenly outed as the missing princess and fearing that her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, will kill her, she makes a desperate run aided by her detective pals. The queen does want her, but not in the way Merry expects. Ultimately, Meredith must fulfill the queen's designs for the future of her court, even if it means having to bed the most beautiful studs in the universe. Through constant danger and adventure, Meredith finds herself in a variety of sexual encounters that make it easy to see why her ancestors were so worthy of worship. As wild as the novel's premise is, memorable characters and wicked wit make it all delicious, ribald fun. 8-city author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
This is a new dark fantasy from Hamilton, author of the popular "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series (e.g., Obsidian Butterfly). For three years, Meredith Gentry has been hiding in Los Angeles from her aunt, the wicked Queen of Air and Darkness. Part human, part sidhe (fairy), Meredith is abruptly summoned back to the Faerie Court with the captain of the Queen's guard as her escort and personal bodyguard. What does her aunt want from her? Forging alliances with powerful, immortal men and exploring her newfound magical powers just might keep Meredith alive long enough to figure it all out. Hers is an edgy story of sex, violence, and magic that manages to be both disturbing and entertaining. Highly recommended for all public libraries.--Laurel Bliss, Sterling Memorial Lib., New Haven, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Carolyn Cushman
An intriguing start to a new series, if even more of a guilty pleasure than Hamilton's previous series.
Kirkus Reviews
The stylish creator of nine Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, novels (Obsidian Butterfly, 1999, etc.) launches a charmbearing new series in erotic dark fantasy.

From the Publisher
Praise for Laurell K. Hamilton and A Kiss of Shadows
“One of the most inventive and exciting writers in the paranormal field.”—Charlaine Harris
“Sexy . . . Merry’s adventures are engaging and keep the reader turning the pages.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Stunning . . . steamy . . . an exciting and original world.”San Jose Mercury News
“I’ve never read a writer with a more fertile imagination.”—Diana Gabaldon

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Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Meredith Gentry Series, #1
Edition description:
Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hrs.
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

TWENTY-THREE STORIES UP AND ALL I COULD SEE OUT THE WINDOWS was grey smog. They could call it the City of Angels if they wanted to, but if there were angels out there, they had to be flying blind.

Los Angeles is a place where people, those with wings and without, come to hide. Hide from others, hide from themselves. I'd come to hide and I'd succeeded, but staring out at the thick, dirty air, I wanted to go home. Home where the air was blue most of the time and you didn't have to water the ground to get grass to grow. Home was Cahokia, Illinois, but I couldn't go back because they'd kill me if I did, my relatives and their allies. Everyone wants to grow up to be a faerie princess. Trust me. It's overrated.

There was a knock on the office door. It opened before I could say anything. My boss, Jeremy Grey, stood framed in the doorway. He was a short, grey man, four feet eleven inches, an inch shorter than me. He was grey from his dark Armani suit to his button-up shirt and silk tie. Only his shoes were black and shiny. Even his skin was a pale uniform grey. Not from illness or age. No, he was a trow in the prime of life, just a little over four hundred. There were some lines around his eyes, along the thin mouth, that made him appear mature, but he'd never be old. Without the aid of mortal blood and pretty serious spell, Jeremy might live forever. Theoretically. Scientists say that in about five billion years the sun will expand and engulf the Earth. The fey won't survive that. They will die. Does five billion years count as forever? I don't think so. Though it's close enough to make the rest of us envious.

I leaned my back against the windows and the thick, hanging smog. The day was as grey as my boss, but his color was a cool, crisp grey, like clouds before a spring rain. What lay outside the window felt heavy and thick like something you would try to swallow, but you'd never get it down. It was a day to choke on, or maybe it was just my mood.

"You look gloomy, Merry," Jeremy said. "What's wrong?" He closed the door behind him, making sure it shut. Privacy, he was giving us privacy. Maybe it was for my benefit, but somehow I didn't think so. There was a tightness around his eyes, a set to his thin, well-tailored shoulders that said I wasn't the only one in a bad mood today. Maybe it was the weather or the lack of it. A good rain shower or even a good wind would have cleared out the smog and let the city breathe again.

"Homesick," I said. "What's wrong, Jeremy?"

He gave a small smile. "Can't fool you, can I, Merry?"

"No," I said.

"Nice outfit," he said.

I knew I looked hot when Jeremy complimented my clothes. He always looked impeccable even in jeans and T-shirt, which he only wore if he absolutely had to be undercover. I'd seen Jeremy do a three-minute mile in Gucci loafers once, chasing a suspect. Of course, it helped that his dexterity and speed were more than human. When I thought I might have to actually chase someone, a rare occasion, I got out the jogging shoes and left the high heels at home.

Jeremy put into his eyes that look a man gives you when he's appreciating the view. It wasn't personal, but among the fey it's an insult to ignore someone who's obviously trying to be attractive, a slap in the face telling them that they'd failed. Apparently, I hadn't failed. I'd woken up to the smog and dressed brighter than normal to try and cheer myself up. Royal blue suit jacket, double-breasted, silver buttons, a matching blue pleated skirt that was so short, it was only a fringe across my thighs underneath the jacket. The outfit was short enough that if I crossed my legs wrong, I'd flash the tops of my black thigh-highs. Two-inch patent leather high heels helped show off the legs. When you're as short as I am, you've got to do something to make your legs look long. Most days the heels were three inches.

My hair was a deep rich red in the reflections of the mirrors. A color more red than auburn, a color that had black highlights instead of the usual brown that most redheads had. It was as if someone had taken dark red rubies and spun them out into hair. It was a very popular color this year. Blood auburn it was called in the high court of the fey royalty. Faeroe Red, Sidhe Scarlet, if you went to a good salon. It was actually my natural color. Until it became popular this year and they finally got the shade right, I'd had to hide my true color. I'd gone for black, because it looked more natural than human red with my skin tone. A lot of people getting the dye job made the mistake of thinking that Sidhe Scarlet compliments a natural redhead's coloring. It doesn't. It's the only true red color I know of that matches a pale, pure white skin tone. It's the red hair for someone who looks great in black, true reds, royal blues.

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What People are saying about this

Diana Gabaldon
I've never read a writer with a more fertile imagination.
Jayne Ann Krentz
She blends the genres of romance, horror, and dventure with stuning panache.
Jayne Ann Krentz
She blends the genres of romance, horror, and adventure with stunning panache.
Alice Borchardt
A wonderful excursion into the magic of desire.

Meet the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton is the author of the Meredith Gentry novels and the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. She lives in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, with her family.

Brief Biography

St. Louis, Missouri
Date of Birth:
February 19, 1963
Place of Birth:
Heber Springs, Arkansas
B.A., Marion College

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A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 844 reviews.
8149 More than 1 year ago
The first in an ongoing series; this book was simply amazing. Hamilton's imagination is astounding. This book, as well as its subsequent parts, is definitely for the adult reader.
The story is very unique and very action packed and definitely sexy! Some say that her Anita Blake series is better but I find this series to be so imaginative that it blows everything else out of the water. (mind you all of her books are good!)
This book lays the ground work for all of the rest and the story just keeps getting better and better! A MUST read if you enjoy Paranormal Fantasy Romance!
MaGicAllyGeNuisJ More than 1 year ago
My twin sister got one of her books from the library. And she was telling me about what kind of author she was. And at first I thought her book was going to be lame, and about vampires. And it wasn't, it was totally different then what I aspected. I really enjoyed this book,but a WARNING for anyone who never read her writings before. If you do not like erotica books. DON'T GET IT!!! This book is a non stop read. LOL. I read ths book in 5 days, I would have read it quicker. If it wasnt for me working. But if you have low expectations about this book. Please give a shot and try it out. Because believe me, I thought the same thing.
preciselyjen More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of hers that I have read, but I know much about her others series. I am hooked completely on this author now! She combines fantasy with sex so beautifully. (It's the mystical lusty sex that all women dream about!) :O) On top of that the story line is very good, and keeps you wanting to know more. Can't wait to progress further in this series and soon the 'Anita Blake' series also!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can read these books over and over!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a lover of paranormal/horror/and romance, I love the books. I tried this series after reading the Anita Blake novels, which I love more. I am far from a prude, but there is a little too much sex with too many different people even for me. (That is why it is a 4 instead of a 5) I'd rather she just stick with one or two. The story line, and the characters, though? I love them. Her Aunt "The Queen of Air and Darkness," is horrifying and demented. Laurell K. Hamilton is some author! She has quite an imagination! (I'll bet she's pretty open-minded, kinky, and has some dark fantasies in real life!) P.S: If you like this you will like the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels. And there is at least 20 of them!
Enjoys_Paranormal More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Laural K Hamiltons Anita Blake series and thought I would check out her less complicated (as in lead character) Merry Gentry series. I was plesantly surprised. It started off a little bit slow for me but I think that was only because the Fey vs Vamp differance. It didn't take me long to get hooked. It has the adventure, death threats, crazy family, and wonderful sexual tention. I highly recommend this book.
flowersophelia More than 1 year ago
Kiss of Shadows, the first book in the Meredith Gentry series, starts out a little slow. You have to get a few chapters in before it really starts to pick up but it is well worth it. The series is great fun. Every book has humor, and I mean laugh out loud humor, at least once in it, usually several times spaced through out. The sex is graphic, but so much a part of who the characters are that it is all just part of the story being told. I recommend this series to anyone looking for a good time, but keep away from children. LOL Enjoy!
msuchoas More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because I was dying for more or LKH Vampire Books. I thought it was very well written and engaging. She is a very creative writer no matter what the topic. The characters are great, the plot is imaginative and I will definitely pick up the next book.
Peekajinx More than 1 year ago
I found this book while surfing the shop on my nook and the title sounding interesting, so I thought I would check it out. I was pleasantly surprised and found that I could barely put my nook down while reading this book. I really enjoyed Laurell K. Hamilton's writing style. It did seem odd that the story completely twisted away from what I thought it would be after the first couple of chapters, but it was still a very fun read. I hope to read more from this series, and have already added them to my ebook wishlist! I certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for a break from the ordinary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read over 50 paranormal romance books. I have been making my way reading all the different series in this catagory. I did all the Anita Blake books, the first 6 or so were good, then went down hill fast. I was leary to read the Gentry series and was very suprised, it was original.I tend to look for vampire/were stories, this is all about the Fae world. I felt the books were far more "thought out" and put together better than the birdwalks that Blake had. Hamilton seems to write with purpose in this series. Merry is far more likeable than Anita, and her world is colorful. I must say I couldn't wait for the kids to go to bed to pick it up every night. This series shows a softer, more sweet side of Hamilton.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
There are over 300 reviews for this book already, so my review will be brief. I've never read anything from this author before but decided to take advantage of the free download from Kindle. Even though I'm sure some of the complaints concerning Laurell's writings have merit; I let a lot of the negative reviews surrounding Laurell's books get in the way of me discovering a fantastic author. If you are disturbed by multiple sex partners or frequent sexual activity, I don't recommend you read this book. This book was a very exciting, creative, dark and dangerous fantasy that completely delivered. I enjoyed this book so much; I greedily devoured it and could hardly put it down. I am always looking for dark urban fantasy books that involve the fae and cater to adults, and I very pleased to be able to add Laurell's Meredith Gentry series to my short list. I highly recommend this book to dark urban fantasy readers and look forward to reading the next book A Caress of Twilight.
3monstersmom More than 1 year ago
I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this series. Being a fan of Hamilton's Anita Blake series I was familiar with her writing style and thus wasn't shocked by the amount of sexual context. It's not a series for the prudish or squeamish, if BDSM freaks you out you might have trouble seeing past it and to the entertaining plot line. I highly enjoyed this series and can't wait for the release of future books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OMG!!! This is AMAZING! I can't stop...I finished this book in 1 day! i was just soooo into the story and the SEX!!! WOW! I better stop and breath now. LOL. Am defenectly Hooked on this one, am going to start the second book right now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put this book down for a second! Normally im a fast reader and can read a book of about 600 pages in 2 days, but this book of about 470 pages i read in one afternoon! It was that great. I usually dont go for the books that have real settings, but this was just too great a book to not read. Youll have a lot of fun reading this because of merry's character. and some of you will be panting over the guys, i know my friends were. even the straight guys were. this was a great read!
Anonymous 13 days ago
I end each book in the series dying to know what's next! !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved getting caught up in the story, great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in high school and it was my first read by Laurell K Hamilton. After the first chapter I knew I was hooked. I couldn't put it down, and I couldn't stop reading just this book. I had to read them all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A different type of Fairytale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointing in the extreme. She stopped any pretense of plot or character development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago