Kissing Sin (Riley Jenson Guardian Series #2)

Kissing Sin (Riley Jenson Guardian Series #2)

by Keri Arthur

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440336600
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/30/2007
Series: Riley Jenson Guardian Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 38,408
File size: 717 KB

About the Author

Keri Arthur first started writing when she was twelve years old, and to date, she's finished fifteen novels. Her books have received many nominations and prizes, including making the final five in the Random House Australia George Turner Prize. She has also been nominated in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards, received a 'perfect 10' from Romance Reviews Today, as well as being nominated for Best Shapeshifter in PNR's PEARL Awards. She's a dessert and function cook by trade, and married to a wonderful man who not only supports her writing, but who also does the majority of the housework. They have one daughter, and live in Melbourne, Australia.


From the Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


All I could smell was blood.

Blood that was thick and ripe.

Blood that plastered my body, itching at my skin.

I stirred, groaning softly as I rolled onto my back. Other sensations began to creep through the fog encasing my mind. The chill of the stones that pressed against my spine. The gentle patter of moisture against bare skin. The stench of rubbish left sitting too long in the sun. And underneath it all, the aroma of raw meat.

It was a scent that filled me with foreboding, though why I had no idea.

I forced my eyes open. A concrete wall loomed ominously above me, seeming to lean inward, as if ready to fall. There were no windows in that wall, and no lights anywhere near it. For a moment I thought I was in a prison of some kind, until I remembered the rain and saw that the concrete bled into the cloud-covered night sky.

Though there was no moon visible, I didn't need to see it to know where we were in the lunar cycle. While it might be true that just as many vampire genes flowed through my bloodstream as werewolf, I was still very sensitive to the moon's presence. The full moon had passed three days ago.

Last I remembered, the full moon phase had only just begun. Somewhere along the line, I'd lost eight days.

I frowned, staring up at the wall, trying to get my bearings, trying to remember how I'd gotten here. How I'd managed to become naked and unconscious in the cold night.

No memories rose from the fog. The only thing I was certain of was the fact that something bad had happened. Something that had stolen my memory and covered me in blood.

I wiped the rain from my face with a hand that was trembling, and looked left. The wall formed one side of a lane filled with shadows and overflowing rubbish bins. Down at the far end, a streetlight twinkled, a forlorn star in the surrounding darkness. There were no sounds to be heard beyond the rasp of my own breathing. No cars. No music. Not even a dog barking at an imaginary foe. Nothing that suggested life of any kind nearby.

Swallowing heavily, trying to ignore the bitter taste of confusion and fear, I looked to the right.

And saw the body.

A body covered in blood.

Oh God . . .

I couldn't have. Surely to God, I couldn't have.

Mouth dry, stomach heaving, I climbed unsteadily to my feet and staggered over.

Saw what remained of his throat and face.

Bile rose thick and fast. I spun away, not wanting to lose my dinner over the man I'd just killed. Not that he'd care anymore . . .

When there was nothing but dry heaves left, I wiped a hand across my mouth, then took a deep breath and turned to face what I'd done.

He was a big man, at least six four, with dark skin and darker hair. His eyes were brown, and if the expression frozen on what was left of his face was anything to go by, I'd caught him by surprise. He was also fully clothed, which meant I hadn't been in a blood lust when I'd ripped out his throat. That in itself provided no comfort, especially considering I was naked, and obviously had made love to someone sometime in the last hour.

My gaze went back to his face and my stomach rose threateningly again. Swallowing heavily, I forced my eyes away from that mangled mess and studied the rest of him. He wore what looked like brown coveralls, with shiny gold buttons and the letters D. S. E. printed on the left breast pocket. There was a taser clipped to the belt at his waist and a two-way attached to his lapel. What looked like a dart gun lay inches from his reaching right hand. His fingers had suckers, more gecko-like than human.

A chill ran across my skin. I'd seen hands like that before–just over two months ago, in a Melbourne casino car park, when I'd been attacked by a vampire and a tall, blue thing that had smelled like death.

The need to get out of this road hit like a punch to the stomach, leaving me winded and trembling. But I couldn't run, not yet. Not until I knew everything this man might be able to tell me. There were too many gaps in my memory that needed to be filled.

Not the least of which was why I'd ripped out his throat.

After taking another deep breath that did little to calm my churning stomach, I knelt next to my victim. The cobblestones were cold and hard against my shins, but the chill that crept across my flesh had nothing to do with the icy night. The urge to run was increasing, but if my senses had any idea what I should be running from, they weren't telling me. One thing was certain–this dead man was no longer a threat. Not unless he'd performed the ritual to become a vampire, anyway, and even then, it could be days before he actually turned.

I bit my lip and cautiously patted him down. There was nothing else on him. No wallet, no ID, not even the usual assortment of fluff that seemed to accumulate and thrive in pockets. His boots were leather–nondescript brown things that had no name brand. His socks provided the only surprise–they were pink. Fluorescent pink.

I blinked. My twin brother would love them, but I couldn't imagine anyone else doing so. And they seemed an odd choice for a man who was so colorless in every other way.

Something scraped the cobblestones behind me. I froze, listening. Sweat skittered across my skin and my heart raced nine to the dozen–a beat that seemed to echo through the stillness. After a few minutes, it came again–a soft click I'd never have noticed if the night wasn't so quiet.

I reached for the dart gun, then turned and studied the night-encased alley. The surrounding buildings seemed to disappear into that black well, and I could sense nothing or no one approaching.

Yet something was there, I was sure of it.

I blinked, switching to the infrared of my vampire vision. The entire lane leapt into focus–tall walls, wooden fences, and overflowing bins. Right down the far end, a hunched shape that wasn't quite human, not quite dog.

My mouth went dry.

They were hunting me.

Why I was so certain of this I couldn't say, but I wasn't about to waste time examining it. I rose, and slowly backed away from the body.

The creature raised its nose, sniffing the night air. Then it howled–a high, almost keening sound that was as grating as nails down a blackboard.

The thing down the far end was joined by another, and together they began to walk toward me.

I risked a quick glance over my shoulder. The street and the light weren't that far away, but I had a feeling the two creatures weren't going to be scared away by the presence of either.

The click of their nails against the cobblestones was sharper, a tattoo of sound that spoke of patience and controlled violence. They were taking one step for every three of mine, and yet they seemed to be going far faster.

I pressed a finger around the trigger of the dart gun, and wished I'd grabbed the taser as well.

The creatures stopped at the body, sniffing briefly before stepping over it and continuing on. This close, their shaggy, powerful forms looked more like misshapen bears than wolves or dogs, and they must have stood at least four feet at the shoulder. Their eyes were red–a luminous, scary red.

They snarled softly, revealing long, yellow teeth. The urge to run was so strong every muscle trembled. I bit my lip, fighting instinct as I raised the dart gun and pressed the trigger twice. The darts hit the creatures square in the chest, but only seemed to infuriate them. Their soft snarls became a rumble of fury as they launched into the air. I turned and ran, heading left at the end of the alley simply because it was downhill.

The road's surface was slick with moisture, the street lights few and far between. Had it been humans chasing me, I could have used the cloak of night to disappear from sight. But the scenting actions these creatures made when they first appeared suggested the vampire ability to fade into shadow wouldn't help me here.

Nor would shifting into wolf form, because my only real weapon in my alternate shape was teeth. Not a good option when there was more than one foe.

I raced down the middle of the wet street, passing silent shops and terraced houses. No one seemed to be home in any of them, and none of them looked familiar. In fact, all the buildings looked rather strange, almost as if they were one-dimensional.

The air behind me stirred and the sense of evil sharpened. I swore softly and dropped to the ground. A dark shape leapt over me, its sharp howl becoming a sound of frustration. I sighted the dart and fired again, then rolled onto my back, kicking with all my might at the second creature. The blow caught it in the jaw and deflected its leap. It crashed to the left of me, shaking its head, a low rumble coming from deep within its chest.

I scrambled to my feet, and fired the last of the darts at it. Movement caught my eye. The first creature had climbed to its feet and was scrambling toward me.

I threw the empty gun at its face, then jumped out of its way. It slid past, claws scrabbling against the wet road as it tried to stop. I grabbed a fistful of shaggy brown hair and swung onto its back, wrapping an arm around its throat and squeezing tight. I had the power of wolf and vampire behind me, which meant I was more than capable of crushing the larynx of any normal creature in an instant. Trouble was, this creature wasn't normal.

It roared–a harsh, strangled sound–then began to buck and twist violently. I wrapped my legs around its body, hanging on tight as I continued my attempts to strangle it.

The other creature came out of nowhere and hit me side-on, knocking me off its companion. I hit the road with enough force to see stars, but the scrape of approaching claws got me moving. I rolled upright, and scrambled away on all fours.

Claws raked my side, drawing blood. I twisted, grabbed the creature's paw, and pulled it forward hard. The creature sailed past and landed with a crash on its back, hard up against a shop wall. A wall that shook under the impact.

I frowned, but the second creature gave me no time to wonder why the wall had moved. I spun around, sweeping with my foot, battering the hairy beastie off its feet. It roared in frustration and lashed out. Sharp claws caught my thigh, tearing flesh even as the blow sent me staggering. The creature was up almost instantly, nasty sharp teeth gleaming yellow in the cold, dark night.

I faked a blow to its head, then spun and kicked at its chest, embedding the darts even farther. The ends of the darts hurt my bare foot, but the blow obviously hurt the creature more, because it howled in fury and leapt. I dropped and spun. Then, as the creature's leap took it high above me, I kicked it as hard as I could in the goolies. It grunted, dropped to the road, and didn't move.

For a moment, I simply remained where I was, the wet road cold against my shins as I battled to get some air into my lungs. When the world finally stopped threatening to go black, I called to the wolf that prowled within.

Power swept around me, through me, blurring my vision, blurring the pain. Limbs shortened, shifted, rearranged, until what was sitting on the road was wolf not woman. I had no desire to stay too long in my alternate form. There might be more of those things prowling the night, and meeting two or more in this shape could be deadly.

But in shifting, I'd helped accelerate the healing process. The cells in a werewolf's body retained data on body makeup, which was why wolves were so long-lived. In changing, damaged cells were repaired. Wounds were healed. And while it generally took more than one shift to heal deep wounds, one would at least stem the bleeding and begin the healing process.

I shifted back to human form and climbed slowly to my feet. The first creature still lay in a heap at the base of the shop front. Obviously, whatever had been in those two darts had finally taken effect. I walked over to the second creature, grabbed it by the scruff of the neck, and dragged it off the road. Then I went to the window and peered inside.

It wasn't a shop, just a front. Beyond the window there was only framework and rubbish. The next shop was much the same, as was the house next to that. Only there were wooden people inside it was well.

It looked an awful lot like one of those police or military weapons training grounds, only this training ground had warped-looking creatures patrolling its perimeter.

That bad feeling I'd woken with began to get a whole lot worse. I had to get out of here, before anything or anyone else discovered I was free.

The thought made me pause.

Free?

Did that mean I'd been a prisoner in this place? If so, why?

No answers emerged from the fog encasing the part of my brain that held my memories. Frowning, I continued down the street. The road banked sharply to the left, then fell away, revealing the lower half of the complex. Partially built houses and shops lined the rest of this road, but this time they were interspersed between lush gum trees. At the end of the street stood a formidable-looking gate, and to one side of this, a guard's box. Warm light seeped out of a small window at the side of the box, suggesting someone was home.

To the left, beyond the partial buildings, there were concrete structures lit by harsh spotlights. To the right, a long building that looked like stables, and beyond that, several blocky concrete structures and lots more trees. And surrounding the whole complex, a six-foot wire fence.

"Any sign of Max or the two orsini?"

The sharp voice came out of nowhere. I jumped a mile, my heart racing so hard I swear it was going to tear out of my chest. Wrapping the cloak of night around myself, I melted back into the shadows of the shopfront and waited.

Footsteps approached, their leisurely manner suggesting the missing Max and orsini weren't yet causing concern. Though considering I'd probably just killed Max and seriously damaged the missing orsini, that lack of concern would very quickly disappear.

A figure appeared out of a small lane just ahead. He was human–had to be, because anything else I would have sensed. He was dressed in brown, and like the man I'd killed, had brown hair and eyes. He stopped, his gaze sweeping the street. The spicy scent of his aftershave stung the night air, mingling uneasily with the reek of garlic on his breath.

He pressed a button on his lapel, then said, "No sign of them yet. I'll head up to the breeding labs and see if Max is there."

"He was supposed to have reported in half an hour ago."

"Won't be the first time he's slacked off."

"Might be his last, though. The boss ain't gonna like this."

The guard grunted. "I'll give you a call in ten."

Ten minutes wasn't much time, but it was better than the two it would take him to walk up the road and discover the knocked-out beasties.

"Do that."

I waited until the guard came close, then clenched my fist and let rip with a blow to his chin. The force of it sent a shockwave up my arm, but he was out long before he hit the ground. I rolled him into the shadows of the fake shop's doorway, then scanned the road ahead.

With the main gate guarded, I'd have to try and climb the wire fence. The best place to do that was in the shadows created by the stable.


From the Paperback edition.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The action and sex come fast and furious.... Strong world-building, vivid personalities and the distinctive cultures of each of the various paranormal strains combine for a rich narrative, and Arthur's descriptive prose adds texture and menace." —-Publishers Weekly

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Kissing Sin (Riley Jenson Guardian Series #2) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 364 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is book two. Full Moon Rising is book 1. I enjoyed the first book, but it didn't end. I was anxious to get book 2 (this one). It did not pick up where the other left off. In fact, it started all over again. The main character Riley has sex with so many people! ICK! She's half werewolf and goes into 'heat' during the fullmoon--orgies, etc. Heck, she has sex outside the full moon--with anyone. I read ahead and saw that this book doesn't end either. I won't read anymore from this author--too trashy for me, doesn't end and NOT a romance.
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
One thing's for sure, when I pick up a Keri Arthur book I have a difficult time getting anything else done! The storylines are so complex and engaging that I am totally enthralled the whole time I'm reading. This series is definitely full of "adult" content, but is a must-read for those who love paranormal romances! Be sure to start with "Full Moon Rising." Another great paranormal read is the "Nightcreature" series by Lori Handeland (Blue Moon is the first book).
RavenousReaderTS More than 1 year ago
Keri Arthur does not disappoint ! This is an action packed, emotionally endearing, lust filled joy ride for all who love the paranormal. I'm up to Book #5 and I find, that I can't read fast enough..!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel like the story gets lost in all the gratuitous sex. It fails to illicit any sense of anticipation or suspense when it comes to romance. The author had a good idea, but I feel it wasn't executed very well. I didn't have that " I can't put this down" feeling and I'm not all that interested in reading the next one.
Ericactdcj More than 1 year ago
These just keep me wanting more.....I've been reading one a day and thats still not enough Riley and Quinn! LOL.
lewispike on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Continuing the story and themes of Full Moon Rising. Riley is on the out with Quinn, in trouble, meets a cute guy, is back on the in with Quinn and manages to sort out some of the problems that have been besetting her.There's more sex, albeit not hugely explicit still, fighting and intrigue, continuing the formula from book one whilst developing the story.Extra twists? Well the desire for kids enters the equation, and Riley becomes more obviously guardian material, even as her choices start to become rather more limited.
thehistorychic on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This series is one of those that I want to see how they work out the overall story arch but I am getting a little tired of the Riley/Quinn arguments every 3 pages. That is a bit of an exaggeration but it is getting to the point that I want to just skip the parts that they are in but can't because I might miss story points. I felt like this book moved the overall story along but left you wanting to know who the big bad behind everything is. I think the mystery part is the best part of this seri...more This series is one of those that I want to see how they work out the overall story arch but I am getting a little tired of the Riley/Quinn arguments every 3 pages. That is a bit of an exaggeration but it is getting to the point that I want to just skip the parts that they are in but can't because I might miss story points. I felt like this book moved the overall story along but left you wanting to know who the big bad behind everything is. I think the mystery part is the best part of this series. The romance is really lacking---mostly because I am not sure Riley (the lead character) is ready for it yet
tdfangirl on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The second book in [author:Keri Arthur]'s Riley Jenson, Guardian series, [book:Kissing Sin] continues to build the mystery surrounding Riley. She wakes naked in a strange place with no memory of the past week, and quickly discovers that she's been kept in breeding pens for supernatural people. With the help of a stallion shapeshifter, she escapes and dives headfirst into the dangerous game of cat and mouse that is the only way she can find the person responsible for the horrible crossbreeding program and her own abuses.In this book, we have lots of angst thanks to Quinn (who is quickly gaining the nickname of "Whiny Vampire"), some fun with Kade, the horse shifter, and some nice development of Riley's relationship with her twin, Rhoan. There is, of course, a lot of sex, and the sex in this book might put off fans of more traditional romance. The werewolves are very casual about sex; sex does not always require emotion for them. Riley has lots of sex with multiple partners, even sleeping with her perceived enemies in order to get information. I don't mind this, though the utter nonchalance with which sex of questionable consent is very hard to get used to. Riley is more angry about being used for breeding purposes than the rape itself. This might make some readers uncomfortable.Overall, I think this series is a great twist on the typical supernatural urban fantasy. Riley is a reluctant hero who does possess special powers, but she's not annoyingly powerful in the way Anita Blake has become a giant Mary Sue. I hope that in the next books, Arthur keeps Riley as likeable as she is now.
ToxicMasquerade on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I cried at the end! It was so sad. I could really feel Riley's pain. I loved the character Kade. He was sweet. And Quinn is still Quinn just with more attitude. I recommend Kissing Sin to anyone and everyone.
Calisandria on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I like this book.. Riley is crazy with the sleeping with strangers, you never know who u are sleeping with!!
SunnySD on LibraryThing 5 months ago
When she wakes up naked, crouched over the body of a dead man, werewolf Riley Jenkins is pretty sure she's not going to have the best day ever. Especially since she's lost an entire week. And that's only the start of the bad news...Australia, home to vampires, shapeshifters, and secret agencies devoted to policing things that go bump in the night? Stranger plots have happened.
1983mk on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is the second book of the Riley Jensen Guardian series by Keri Arthur. In "Kissing Sin" Riley is continuing to aide in the investigation of who has kidnapped her as well as attempted to murder her, and others, multiple times. While attempting to solve the mystery and avoid becomming a guardian, Riley is caught in a love triangle with a werewolf who wants to get her pregnant, a vampire who doesn't want to share her, and an alpha wolf who may just be her soul mate.I am eager to start reading the third novel. There are two more and I am interested in seeing how Ms. Arthur keeps the story fresh.
pacey1927 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Buried deep among the pages of random, casual sex with strangers and enemies, is a story that actually has a plot. Its this plot, as few pages as it actually fills, that keeps me reading Keri Arthur¿s ¿Riley Jensen, Guardian¿ series. Riley is not a likable character. I understand that Riley is a werewolf and werewolves haven¿t go the same `moral boundaries¿ as humans, but that just feels like an `excuse¿ for being able to put Riley into these casual sex with anything willing situations. (Much like Anita Blake¿s `ardeur¿ gave L.K. Hamilton a straight pass to porn). In this book alone Riley does it with a stranger, who is a shapeshifter, Kellen, a werewolf she `ran into¿ at a club awhile back, her kinda boyfriend Quinn (annoying beyond belief in his own right), and her ex who is now her enemy. I¿m not a complete prude and I don¿t mind some hot! Hot! To my books, but these scenes aren¿t hot, often they are just gross. Women in general dislike easy women and so it should come as no surprise that I find Riley unlikeable. But the plot, once you go through all the muck to get to it, is interesting. The action is intense, sometimes thrilling. Someone (or group) has kidnapped Riley for cross breeding and gene research. She escapes and works with her government run agency to attempt to figure out who took her and how deep these labs go. Bodies start showing up and Riley always finds herself in the middle. I enjoyed Riley¿s disguises, and watching her try to figure out all the mysteries. It is fun seeing her try to outwit and banter with enemies. I enjoy seeing all the glimpses of information exchange between them. When they get to exchanging bodily fluid instead, I go from excited to bored in about two seconds flat. The action in ¿Kissing Sin¿ is much better than in the first book. There are a lot of gems in this story. Keri Arthur has done a great job in that I really want to know who is behind these labs and what `baddies¿ they have created along the way. Since I already have the next several books (bought them as a lot somewhere), I know I will continue reading. But this is coming from a reader who still hasn¿t quite given up on Anita Blake either.
samantha.1020 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Give a brief summary of the book:Full Moon Rising finds Riley lying naked in an alley, unable to remember how she got there or the previous days that have obviously passed by. She figures out all too soon that she needs to escape, and escape fast, as someone is after her and won't be happy that she is free. Once again, Riley is up against an unknown force that is trying to create the perfect breed of species and they want her as one of their test subjects.Likes?I liked everything about this novel and this series so far. This was a fast-paced novel that I couldn't put down as I was constantly trying to figure out what was going to happen next. And who was behind everything that is going on...I flew through this book. Riley is a great main character. She is strong and sure of herself and doesn't make apologies for the way she is. As the reader, I can't help but like her. Especially as we see her struggle with the possibilites of becoming a guardian and the killing of others that will be involved. I also like the mix that makes her both werewolf and vampire. Keri Arthur made it even more interesting in this book as she gives Riley new talents that she is just beginning to discover. Definitely a series that I will continue following!Dislikes?Hmm...I can't say that I have any real dislikes. I will say that I have a hard time relating to Riley when it comes to having multiple sexual partners all of the time. Which is going to sound odd unless you've read this series. Suffice it to say that it is an integral part of being a werewolf and while I understand that...well, I just have times where it is a bit too much. But it doesn't make me like the story any less if that makes any sense. Probably not :)Additional Thoughts?I'm finding after reading this 2nd book that I really, really like this series and am eager to pick the 3rd book up. I'm curious as to where the author will take the next book and am also curious as to how Riley will grow. I'd recommend this series (start out with the 1st one though) to paranormal romance lovers and those who enjoy urban fantasy. But be prepared to not want to set this book down once you start it!
shelleyraec on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is the first I have read of this series - and loved it. Great pace - plenty of action, great attitude. Looking forward to reading more of them. Similar to the Anita Blake series
teharhynn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
God Awful Smutty. I love these books, but they're the kind that you have to read in a place where people won't look over your shoulder. They're hot, but it almost doesn't take away from the story! I will read more.
bookwormteri on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Riley Jenson delves deeper into the labs that are creating monsters from clones and everything else they can get their hands on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't see how there are so many 5 star ratings for this author. The story for this book are stupidly simplistic, and the sex scenes are very unimaginative. If you are going to put so much sex for the charactor then they could be more interesting and less than a repativve retelling of the mechanics of the sex act. I do not reccomend this book and wi?l not be buying any more from this author. Thankfully I only bought two of her books based on all the rave reviews.
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BookfiendNY More than 1 year ago
Fast Read with interesting character, but don't like the idea that each book continues where the other leaves off. Would like to see the character handling other events and situations. Perhaps the author will change the pattern as I continue with the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the series. I finished this book within a day like the rest of the series. Keri Arthur is one of my favorite authors. I have the first five in the series but I have read them all. I even have her spin off series of these. The Dark Angels novels. Riley is still on the quest of find the breeding centers in this book like she is in the rest of the series.