Stone Cold Seduction by Jess Macallen begins the Set in Stone series; it is due to be released on September 6 2011. This urban fantasy offers readers a new world and set of characters that are well built and entertaining. The combination of independent, but previously abused, heroine with three hot guys on a quest to figure out what the world has in store for them in the future leads to a fun and interesting story that left me wanting more.
The heroine of Stone Cold Seduction is Elleodora Fredricks, or Elle, who owns her own scent shop called Emmaline’s. She loves her work and feels like she has finally gotten away from the father that made her live hell through her teens. Occasionally, with the help of her best friend Teryl, she steals from her father and sells the good to help the people that have been hurt by her father’s actions. One night she steals some jewels from her father, and her understanding of the world is shattered. Balanced on a windowsill five stories up Elle is almost caught, but her newest employee Jaxon comes to her aid, and they get to safety. However, maybe she was the one that did the saving? Jaxon talks about shadowing and powers, soon Teryl joins the conversation and the mysterious Macleon joins the fray. Elle’s life is not as simple as she had hoped. Her father is the king of the shadow elves, and more evil than Elle ever imagined. Her memories have been tampered with and the only way to figure out what is really going on it to access her fate, which is much harder than it sounds because the only people that currently hold her fate are the oracle that originally read it and her father.
The world building in Stone Cold Seduction is great, blending the feel of real with the supernatural elements seamlessly. The characters drew me in and made me care about Elle and Teryl immediately. The interaction and complications that arise between the characters felt real, with no moments that felt forced or artificial. Occasionally in the first book in a series the story gets lost in the set up for the rest of the series, this was not true here, but I was extremely frustrated at the end since I want to read more about what will happen to Elle and her friends. While I know this is intentional, to hook readers in so that they will keep reading, it always makes me cranky. Particularly so when I know it will be around a year before I can get a hold of the next installment of the story. However, once I got past my obligatory crankiness, I am happy to say that there was just enough of a conclusion at the end to keep me from being completely unhappy with the ending. Although I do wish that I had the sequel ready and waiting for me.
Stone Cold Seduction had strong characters, of both genders. There is humor, complicated love story, some hot scenes and just enough snarkiness to keep me happy. Elle never accepted a pat on the head and being told what to do. She wanted the all the facts and a part of the planning in the choices that would affect her life and the lives of those she cares about. Even when she agreed to do what someone else wanted, she was always thinking about what would be best for everyone, not just herself, and does her best to make it happen. I recommend Stone Cold Seduction to fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Particularly readers that enjoy heroines that think for themselves even when overwhelmed and outnumbered.