Mistral's Kiss (Meredith Gentry Series #5)

Mistral's Kiss (Meredith Gentry Series #5)

4.2 519
by Laurell K. Hamilton

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I am Princess Meredith, heir to a throne of faerie. My day job, once upon a time, was as a private detective in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, princess has now become a full-time occupation.

My aunt, Queen Andais, will have it no other way. And so I am virtually a prisoner in faerie–trapped here with some of the realm’s most beautiful men to serve as…  See more details below


I am Princess Meredith, heir to a throne of faerie. My day job, once upon a time, was as a private detective in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, princess has now become a full-time occupation.

My aunt, Queen Andais, will have it no other way. And so I am virtually a prisoner in faerie–trapped here with some of the realm’s most beautiful men to serve as my bodyguards . . . and my lovers. For I am compelled to conceive a child: an heir to succeed me on the throne. Yet after months of amazing sex with my consorts, there is still no baby. And no baby means no throne. The only certainty is death at the hands of my cousin Cel, or his followers, if I fail to conceive.

Now Mistral, Queen Andais’s new captain of the guard, has come to my bed–defying her and risking her terrible wrath in doing so. But even she will hesitate to punish him in jealous rage, because our joining has reawakened old magic, mystical power so ancient that no one stands against it and survives. Not even my strongest and most favored: my Darkness and my Killing Frost. Not even Mistral himself, my Storm Lord. But because Mistral has helped to bring this magic forth, he may live another day.

If I can reclaim control of the fey power that once was, there may be hope for me and my reign in faerie. I might yet quell the dark schemes and subterfuges surrounding me. Though shadows of obsession and conspiracy gather, I may survive.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
The fifth installment of Laurell K. Hamilton's Meredith Gentry saga (A Stroke of Midnight, Seduced by Moonlight, et al.) is unquestionably the most unadulteratedly erotic novel yet to feature the sexy fairie princess.

In order for Merry (a mortal princess in the Unseelie Court) to become fey queen, she must "get with child soon" -- or at least before her insane cousin Cel impregnates someone. The first one to prove their fertility wins the throne -- and the other most certainly dies. With more than a dozen handsome immortal royal guards protecting her, Merry is, ahem, striving diligently to achieve her goal and save the diminishing Sidhe race; but after a particularly powerful encounter that includes (among others) Mistral, the queen's new captain of the guard, the impossible happens: Merry's men begin regaining their declining powers, and the long-dead gardens that were once the heart of Sidhe power start to spring forth with life! But in the midst of this awe-inspiring, realm-changing transformation, longtime enemies of Merry step forward at the worst possible time…

While previous Merry Gentry novels have been a relatively equal blend of supernatural suspense, romance, and dark fantasy, this one almost exclusively focuses on Gentry's more, ahem, carnal plot threads. But that isn't to say that nothing thematically significant transpires in Mistral's Kiss; on the contrary, there are several jaw-dropping twists that will irrevocably change the course of future installments. Featuring utterly unrestrained and graphically detailed erotic sequences that rival those in Hamilton's sexy Anita Blake series, Mistral's Kiss will appeal to romance and fantasy fans alike. A line from the novel concisely describes the book's dark supernatural charm: "One man's nightmare [is] another's fantasy…" Paul Goat Allen

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Meredith Gentry Series , #5
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Chapter 1

I dreamt of warm flesh and cookies. The sex I understood, but the cookies . . . Why cookies? Why not cake, or meat? But that’s what my subconscious chose as I dreamt. We were eating in the tiny kitchen of my Los Angeles apartment—an apartment I didn’t live in anymore, outside of dreams. The we were me, Princess Meredith—the only faerie royal ever born on American soil—and my royal guards, over a dozen of them.

They moved me around with skin the color of darkest night, whitest snow, the pale of newborn leaves, the brown of leaves that have gone down to die on the forest floor, a rainbow of men moving nude around the kitchen.

The real apartment kitchen would have barely held three of us, but in the dream everyone walked through that narrow space between sink and stove and cabinets as if there were all the room in the world.

We were having cookies because we’d just had sex and it was hungry work, or something like that. The men moved around me graceful and perfectly nude. Several of the men were ones I’d never seen nude. They moved with skin the color of summer sunshine, the transparent white of crystals, colors I had no name for, for the colors did not exist outside of faerie. It should have been a good dream, but it wasn’t. I knew something was wrong, that feeling of unease that you get in dreams when you know that the happy sights are just a disguise, an illusion to hide the ugliness to come.

The plate of cookies was so innocent, so ordinary, but it bothered me. I tried to pay attention to the men, touching their bodies, holding them, but each of them in turn would pick up a cookie and take a bite, as if I weren’t there.

Galen with his pale, pale green skin and greener eyes bit into a cookie, and something squirted out the side. Something thick and dark. The dark liquid dripped down the edge of his kissable mouth and fell onto the white countertop. That single drop splattered and spread and was red, so red, so fresh. The cookies were bleeding.

I slapped it from Galen’s hand. I picked up the tray to keep the men from eating any more. The tray was full of blood. It dripped down the edges, poured over my hands. I dropped the tray, which shattered, and the men bent as if they would eat from the floor and the broken glass. I pushed them back, screaming, “No!”

Doyle looked up at me with his black eyes and said, “But it is all we have had to eat for so long.”

The dream changed, as dreams will. I stood in an open field with a ring of distant trees encircling it. Beyond the trees, hills rode up into the paleness of a moonlit winter’s night. Snow lay like a smooth blanket across the ground. I was standing ankle-deep in snow. I was wearing a loose sweeping gown as white as the snow. My arms were bare to the cold night. I should have been freezing, but I wasn’t. Dream, just a dream.

Then I noticed something in the center of the clearing. It was an animal, a small white animal, and I thought, That’s why I didn’t see it, for it was white, whiter than the snow. Whiter than my gown, than my skin, so white that it seemed to glow.

The animal raised its head, sniffing the air. It was a small pig, but its snout was longer, and its legs taller, than those of any pig I’d ever seen. Though it stood in the middle of the snowy field, there were no hoofprints in that smooth snow, no way for the piglet to have walked to the center of the field. As if the animal had simply appeared there.

I glanced at the circle of trees, for only a moment, and when I looked again at the piglet, it was bigger. A hundred pounds heavier, and taller than my knees. I didn’t look away again, but the pig just got bigger. I couldn’t see it happening, it was like trying to watch a flower bloom, but it was growing bigger. As tall at the shoulder as my waist, long and broad, and furry. I’d never seen a pig so fuzzy before, as if it had a thick winter coat. It looked positively pettable, that pelt. It raised that strangely long-snouted face toward me, and I saw tusks curving from its mouth, small tusks. The moment I saw them, gleaming ivory in the snow light, another whisper of unease washed through me.

I should leave this place, I thought. I turned to walk out through that ring of trees. A ring of trees that now looked entirely too even, too well planned, to be accidental.

A woman stood behind me, so close that when the wind blew through the dead trees her hooded cloak brushed against the hem of my gown. I formed my lips to say, Who? but never finished the word. She held out a hand that was wrinkled and colored with age, but it was a small, slender hand, still lovely, still full of a quiet strength. Not full of the remnants of youthful strength, but full of the strength that comes only with age. A strength born of knowledge accumulated, wisdom pondered over many a long winter’s night. Here was someone who held the knowledge of a lifetime—no, several lifetimes.

The crone, the hag, has been vilified as ugly and weak. But that is not what the true crone aspect of the Goddess is, and it was not what I saw. She smiled at me, and that smile held all the warmth you would ever need. It was a smile that held a thousand fireside chats, a hundred dozen questions asked and answered, endless lifetimes of knowledge collected and remembered. There was nothing she would not know, if only I could think of the questions to ask.

I took her hand, and the skin was so soft, soft the way a baby’s is. It was wrinkled, but smooth is not always best, and there is beauty in age that youth knows not.

I held the crone’s hand and felt safe, completely and utterly safe, as if nothing could ever disturb this sense of quiet peace. She smiled at me, the rest of her face lost in the shadow of her hood. She drew her hand out of mine, and I tried to hold on, but she shook her head and said, though her lips did not move, “You have work to do.”

“I don’t understand,” I said, and my breath steamed in the cold night, though hers had not.

“Give them other food to eat.”

I frowned. “I don’t understand . . .”

“Turn around,” she said, and this time her lips did move, but still her breath did not color the night. It was as if she spoke but did not breathe, or as if her breath were as cold as the winter night. I tried to remember if her hand had been warm or cold, but could not. All I remembered was the sense of peace and rightness. “Turn around,” she said again, and this time I did.

A white bull stood in the center of the clearing—at least that’s what it looked like at first glance. Its shoulder stood as tall as the top of my head. It must have been more than nine feet long. Its shoulders were a huge broad spread of muscle humped behind its lowered head. The head raised, revealing a snout framed by long, pointed tusks. This was no bull, but a huge boar—the thing that had begun as a little pig. Tusks like ivory blades gleamed as it looked at me.

I glanced back, but knew the crone was gone. I was alone in the winter night. Well, not as alone as I wanted to be. I looked back and found the monstrous boar still standing there, still staring at me. The snow was cold under my bare feet now. My arms ran with goose bumps, and I wasn’t sure if I shivered from cold, or fear.

I recognized the thick white hair on the boar now. It still looked so soft. But its tail stuck straight out from its body, and it raised that long snout skyward. Its breath smoked in the air as it sniffed. That was bad. That meant it was real—or real enough to hurt me, anyway.

I stood as still as I could. I don’t think I moved at all, but suddenly it charged. Snow plumed underneath its hooves as it came for me.

It was like watching some great machine barreling down. Too big to be real, too huge to be possible. I had no weapon. I turned and ran.

I heard the boar behind me. Its hooves sliced the frozen ground. It let out a sound that was almost a scream. I glanced back; I couldn’t help it. The gown tangled under my feet, and I went down. I rolled in the snow, fighting to come to my feet, but the gown tangled around my legs. I couldn’t get free of it. Couldn’t stand. Couldn’t run.

The boar was almost on top of me. Its breath steamed in clouds. Snow spilled around its legs, bits of frozen black earth sliced up in all that white. I had one of those interminable moments where you have all the time in the world to watch death come for you. White boar, white snow, white tusks, all aglow in the moonlight, except for the rich black earth that marred the whiteness with dark scars. The boar gave that horrible screaming squeal again.

Its thick winter coat looked so soft. It was going to look soft while it gored me to death and trampled me into the snow.

I reached behind me, feeling for a tree branch, anything to pull myself up out of the snow. Something brushed my hand, and I grabbed it. Thorns cut into my hand. Thorn-covered vines filled the space between the trees. I used the vines to drag myself to my feet. The thorns were biting into my hands, my arms, but they were all I could grasp. The boar was so close, I could smell its scent, sharp and acrid on the cold air. I would not die lying in the snow.

The thorns bled me, spattered the white gown with blood, the snow covered in minute crimson drops. The vines moved under my hands like something more alive than a plant. I felt the boar’s breath like heat on the back of my body, and the thorny vines opened like a door. The world seemed to spin, and when I could see again, be sure of where I was again, I was standing on the other side of the thorns. The white boar hit the vines hard and fast, as if it expected to tear its way through. For a moment I thought it would do just that; then it was in the thorns, slowing. It stopped rushing forward and started slashing at the vines with its great snout and tusks. It would tear them out, trample them underfoot, but its white coat was bedecked with tiny bloody scratches. It would break through, but the thorns bled it.

I’d never owned any magic in dream, or vision, that I didn’t own in waking life. But I had magic now. I wielded the hand of blood. I put my bleeding hand out toward the boar and thought, Bleed. I made all those small scratches pour blood. But still the beast fought through the thorns. The vines ripped from the earth. I thought, More. I made a fist of my hand, and when I opened it wide, the scratches slashed wide. Hundreds of red mouths, gaping on that white hide. Blood poured down its sides, and now its squeal was not a scream of anger, or challenge. It was a squeal of pain.

The vines tightened around it of their own accord. The boar’s knees buckled, and the vines roped it to the frozen ground. It was no longer a white boar, but a red one. Red with blood.

There was a knife in my hand. It was a shining white blade that glowed like a star. I knew what I needed to do. I walked across the blood-spattered snow. The boar rolled its eyes at me, but I knew that if it could, even now, it would kill me.

I plunged the knife into its throat, and when the blade came out, blood gushed into the snow, over my gown, onto my skin. The blood was hot. A crimson fountain of heat and life.

The blood melted the snow down to rich black earth. From that earth came a tiny piglet, not white this time, but tawny and striped with gold. It was colored more like a fawn. The piglet cried, but I knew there would be no answer.

I picked it up, and it curled up in my arms like a puppy. It was so warm, so alive. I wrapped the hooded cloak I now wore around us both. My gown was black now, not black with blood, but simply black. The piglet settled into the soft warm cloth. I had boots that were lined with fur, soft and warm. The white knife was still in my hand, but it was clean, as if the blood had burned away.

From the Hardcover edition.

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4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 513 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Amazingly enough, I enjoyed MISTRAL'S KISS. After the farce that has become the Anita Blake series, I was worried that the Meredith Gentry series would inevitably take the same downhill dive. Thankfully, that wasn't the case.

This book is enjoyable, and does actually contain a plot. There are some negatives, of course, the first of which is the length of the book itself--or, more accurately, the lack of length. At only 212 pages, this story is 100+ pages shorter than the other books in the series. It would have made much more sense to make MINSTRAL'S KISS another 10 chapters or so in the previous book, A STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, rather than a stand-alone book.

Also, the book only covers a few hours, from midnight until dawn following the assassination attempt on Merry's life that came about in A STROKE OF MIDNIGHT. I had noticed with the Anita Blake series that the time frames for each book were becoming shorter each time, and such now seems to be the case with this series, as well.

The sex doesn't bother me in this series, either, since the entire "background" of the main plot line is that Merry must become pregnant before her cousin Cel impregnates someone to take the throne. Although the first 70+ pages of MISTRAL'S KISS are a sex scene, with yet again multiple partners, it does actually make sense to the story.

My biggest complaint about the book, by far, is the fact that there is a major, major, MAJOR development at the end of the book that is only given a passing explanation. In less than two paragraphs, a huge event takes place, and yet Ms. Hamilton only devotes a few words to it--almost as an afterthought. Logically speaking, this should imply that the next book in the series will expound on that event, but if you've been following either of the author's series lately, you'd know by now that Ms. Hamilton doesn't always seem to write logically.

Overall, I did enjoy the story, much more so than the last Anita Blake novel. It won't take you long to read this (it took me less than two hours), and you won't see a whole lot of progression, but the editing is tighter with this book, and you'll definitely appreciate a dose of the faery world.
izzyKC More than 1 year ago
I love this series. The story line is so original. The way Hamilton writes is wonderful. It's hard to keep up with all the characters, but other then that its great. Can't wait to finish all of them
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the series but this book seemed to be insignificant, there didn't really seem to be any significant advancement in the over-arching plot of the series, it just seemed to stay in the same place. I still enjoyed the book but was left wishing that there was more to it. I'm looking forward to reading how this series is going to finish, hopefully it will get there soon
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mistral¿s Kiss is mythology masquerading as fantasy fiction. That Merry Gentry, the daughter of Essus, dead brother of the Queen of the Unseelie Court, and a part Brownie, part human mother, claims her powers through the Goddess, sexual magic, is a bonus for modern fiction. That she has to be impregnated before her deranged cousin Cel is released from his imprisonment to make his attempt to impregnate someone before she becomes pregnant is a bonus and her permission to have sex with as many of her guards as she can. Both the Queen of the Unseelie and her brother, the King of the Seelie Court, are the reason why faerie is dying, for both of them are infertile. The Queen knows her peril and has proclaimed that whoever can prove their fertility first will be her heir, either Cel, her son, or Merry, her niece. This novel takes place in one day, long enough to unlease the wild magic of faerie when Merry has sex in the dead garden of the Unseelie Court with both Abeloec, god of wine and revelry, and Mistral, the Queen¿s captain and a god of wind and storm. She is faerie¿s last hope for survival and very obviously favored by the Lady and the Lord. But, she must prove her fertility to the Court. Until she does, her life is in danger as are all who ally with her. Thus the plot is propelled from one confrontation to another, and one sexual bout to another. Through it all, Merry¿s innate generosity and honor as well as her humanity elevate her above her aunt and uncle. This is one of Hamilton¿s shorter novels, but not the least of them. While it may not be a conventional book with a conventional plot, it is pure mythology brought to life. It does make one wish that old magic could be loosed in the world. Although it may be a transitional book that moves a series from one battlefield to another, it can be read and enjoyed for the wild ride it is.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Laurel K. Hamilton has proven herself to be a deft author of fantasy novels with both the Anita Blake series and the Meredith Gentry tales. She offers a mix of imaginative plotting, suspense and romance that pleases readers/listeners of this genre. Actor Laural Merlington is another audience pleaser who unfailingly offers highly polished narrative performances. She has the ability to make fantasy seem real - all too real. Princess Meredith was once a detective in Los Angeles - a very human one with strong physical desires. Hence, since she's part human she's not at all popular with others in the faerie world. Nonetheless, she will inherit the throne once she conceives and if she does so before her cousin, Cel. Conception is a goal Meredith doesn't at all mind pursuing. She's surrounded by great looking men who serve as her bodyguards and lovers. Enter Mistral, the new captain of the Queen's guard. Their coupling ignites more than sparks as it begins a scenario of evil machinations, magic, and mayhem. If the paranormal spiced with love and lust is for you, sit back and enjoy 'Mistral's Kiss.' - Gail Cooke
harstan More than 1 year ago
Both the Seelie and the Unseelie courts of faerie are dying but Princess Meredith ¿Merry¿ Gentry might have the power to bring them back to their former glory. Her aunt, Queen Andes has made a contest with Merry and her son Cel. The first who is pregnant or gets someone pregnant is the next ruler. Right now Cel is being punished for trying to have Merry killed while Merry¿s new powers slowly bring back life to the unseelie court. --- Merry and her guards are in the gardens where once a world complete with sun, moon and weather existed. Also with her are the captain of the queen¿s guard Mistral and Abeloc. Through sex, they make the land come alive again but the Silth (fairy mound) isn¿t finished in reviving the Unseelie world. Merry finds herself in the Kingdom of the Straugh ugly creatures who hunt their victims until they collapse from fatigue. Their kingdom is dead too but when she has sex with its king, it comes alive. In gratitude the monarch hunts Merry, her guards and the rest of Faerie. --- There is a lot of erotic sex in MISTRAL¿S KISS but it is sex that brings life back to the kingdoms in the Silth. Merry is not accepted at the Seelie court because she is part Sidhe and part human but she also finds it too much to deal with the court intrigues and killings of the unsealie court. Through her magical gifts she makes the Unseelie court a prettier, brighter place much to the court¿s chagrin. Laurell K. Hamilton has written a powerful and entertaining adult fantasy that is so hot readers will feel the heat. --- Harriet Klausner
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I have enjoyed this series a great deal. However, there is a great deal of repetition of details from other books that becomes monotonous. I also feel that 7.99 is extremely expensive for an ebook. Even more so for one that is half the length of the other books in this series. Therefore, I believe I am sadly done with this series.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So short and was left wanting more, and even more of that Darkness. I got hooked on this series just recently, but ive been reading anita blake for years and there are a lot of similarities. Hope laurell coukd see them as entire direrent and more of this series will appear with more Darkness that its my king of choice overall.
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SilverTabby More than 1 year ago
I can't believe there hasn't been a new Merry book since 2007! I like this series better than the Anita Blake books. The last couple of those I swear was fan-fic. More Merry and The Darkness, Frost too!
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