Loves Prey by Meg Xuemei X

Fire and ice. Light and dark. Love and hate. These are the ties that have held the universe together throughout the history of human existence. One of these things cannot exist without its paring. And in return neither could mankind. We have come to discover that we crave the warmth of the fire but when we get too close, yearn for the snap of frost. We want our lives to be lived in the light, with our sprits free to be what they were destined to become, but when too much is revealed of our sins which always swiftly follow the discovery of our victories, we so wish to cloak ourselves in the darkness we once loathed. We yearn to love, yet find it so much easier to hate. For when we have tasted love, the real, unfathomable core of love that only comes to the luckiest of us, we cannot stand to face what life would be like should we lose it. So we choose to hate, for hate is what protects us. At least this is the code by which Xirena has lived her entire life.

Xirena never smiled. In fact, she could count the years on both hands that have come and gone without her smile gracing their presence. See, Xirena didn’t have anything she felt worthy of that gesture of happiness because she herself, and the life around her, were completely devoid of the sentiment. Aptly dubbed the Ice Queen by her classmates, Xirena had no problem taking on the role that the moniker bared. Her looks emanated frost, stopping anyone and anything from getting in the way of her one and only mission in life, which was to get good grades and get the heck out of dodge. No complications meant no reason to stay, that is, until the good looking Kai stepped across her path and planted himself in the middle of it.

Kai was the town’s most sought after guy. He had his own studio, in which the door and the windows were always left open, allowing for anyone to come and go as they pleased. It was common knowledge that he was an artist; so many a model would sweep in and out of his painting studio so that he could create his masterpieces. He also had a knack for always getting what he wanted, and when he laid eyes on Xirena, he immediately knew that she was just what he was looking for.

Throughout the story Kai is determined to break Xirena out from the icicle she has incased herself in by offering her his friendship. But as they spend time together, with much reluctance on the part of Xirena, Kai’s insatiable need for her grows, and it becomes apparent to them both that this relationship will soon become anything but platonic. While still frosty as ever on the outside, Xirena, to her own surprise, begins to feel sparks in her heart and warmth in her chest at the site of Kai. She often finds herself gazing at him through her window, as his studio is just across the way and in plain view. She is able to account for all his comings and goings because as he frequently liked to point out to her, he was an open book, and therefore so was his home. That is until Xirena and Kai begin to meet alone in his studio. When Xirena is present, he finds himself compelled to close up the studio, realizing that he is doing so because he wants her all to himself, and Xirena discovering within herself that she didn’t quite mind that this is how he felt. But she assured herself that she would never let him know that he was slowly thawing her heart. She was absolutely sure she was keeping up her façade, until she discovered she was smiling at him.

 Author Meg Xuemei X does an extremely seamless job at telling a tale that could easily have replicated so many before hers. She does not simply play into the love affair and the happy and warm moments, but rather leans into the moments of withdrawal, uncertainty, insecurity, and distrust that come from an encounter with your first love. Xuemei aptly displays the conflicted heart of a girl who once yearned to give her heart away, but after it being revoked over and over again decided to incase it in ice, so that no one could ever hurt her again. It is a universal theme that all women experience at some point. We all see our inadequacies instead of our worth. We shy away when we feel we are entering into something that while yes, could be wonderful, will probably be a flame short lived, and tamper with the idea that maybe it is better to not have loved at all, than to have loved and lost.

The dynamic she creates between her characters is electrifying, so much to the point that you can feel the static seeping in through your fingertips. Every page is laced with passion and high stakes emotions, emotions that at times you find yourself feeling right along with the pair. There are moments where your heart will soar at the thought of their happy ending, and then feel as if it is being pulled out of your chest at the stench of possible betrayals, miscommunications, and the potential loss of a pure love.

It also should be noted that Xuemei has created a female lead that does not need saving. She is capable of saving herself and does not once look to Kai to be her savior. She only craves to be his equal and his partner. While he gives her the priceless gift to see herself as she truly is, and not what she has been conditioned to see herself as by the naysayers of the town and her family, she does not rely on him for her freedom. Because of his assurance in her worth, she sees that she is worthy of a life equal of that to the beauty that she not only displays on the outside, but possess on the inside. He is her avenue toward freedom, but it is Xirena who walks that avenue with the intent to change her life.

The use of fire and ice is also something that separates this story from that of the dime a dozen romance novel. Xirena had held on to her coldness in pride, until she comes across Kai who is all fire, blazing bright for everyone to see. There is an inner turmoil that arises in her because she knows that his fire will destroy her chill, and she must decide which one she will sacrifice for the other. Just as darkness must be sacrificed for light and hate sacrificed for love. The journey to that discovery is full of pitfalls and mountain peaks, but in the end it is always realized that it is a journey worth the climb. I give this book 5 out of 5 morals. I appreciated the connection I was able to make with the characters and the life that Xuemei breathed into them. It is well worth the read and is a story that will stick with you long after the last page is turned. 

Amazon Purchase Here

Goodreads Here