Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck
We are back in Oregon with Kelsey after her whirlwind adventure with cursed Indian prince, Ren. She has returned after forcing Ren (who appeared to be desperately in love with her) to let her go so he could explore his options (aka sow his wild seeds or some such nonsense). Upon her return to Oregon she found a duplex that she could live in, an awesome car for her to drive, a bunch of new clothes, her college classes picked out and paid for and anything else she might possibly desire (like classes in the martial art of wushu). She was going to school, taking wushu classes, casually dating and ferociously missing Ren (so much so that she bought a stuffed white tiger to sleep with).
With Kelsey's fondest wish that Ren forget her and move on to more princely diversions she decides to really start dating and decides that her wushu instructor, Li, is the best choice (after going out with some real duds). Her heart isn't really in it, which is good, because on Christmas Ren shows up in Oregon to tell Kelsey enough is enough and he only wants her. But, still, that isn't good enough and because she can't commit, Ren and Li decide that they need to have a competition on who can date Kelsey the best (and they lay out rules). Finally, Kelsey picks Ren as the winner (after torturing him to break one of the rules which was only she could instigate a kiss) and they live happily ever after--for about two weeks.
Ren's brother, Kishan, shows up with news that their long time enemy, Lokesh (the guy who put the tiger spell on the brothers), was getting close to finding them in Oregon. The prepared for d-day and when the hired thugs showed up they raced through the woods to their getaway vehicle. Along their way to the truck Ren was hit several times with tranquilizer darts and we find out that Kelsey can summon lightning from her hands. Ren encourages Kishan to take Kelsey and get her away, sacrificing himself to the enemy (and lots and lots of torture). Kelsey and Kishan return to India where they go on the next leg of the journey to remove the tiger curse from the princes. Instead of only in India this search takes them into Tibet and the Himalayan Mountains.
Ok, my summary of the book makes it sound much worse than it actually was. This was a good follow-up to the first book of the series--if only the author had stuck to enhancing the story with the folklore from India, Tibet and China (there was even some Shakespearean faery lore that popped up)which you know is something I really enjoy in any book I read. Fortunately there was enough of that to keep me reading until the end because, OH MY LORD, the emotional drama! The entire time Ren was being held captive and Kelsey and Kishan were off on their adventure it was, "Oh, I love Ren, I need to save him" (Kelsey) and "I love you, just like I loved the last girl my brother had and I won't stop teasing and touching and kissing you until you return my feelings" (Kishan) and "Well, maybe Ren is too perfect for me and maybe I should see what Kishan can offer and if Ren dies then at least I'll have some other guy already waiting in the wings" (Kelsey) and "Ugh! Quit torturing me!" (Ren and me). It was almost to the point that I couldn't finish the story because Kishan was so disrespectful of his brother's feelings towards Kelsey EVEN AFTER being the one to encourage Ren to go to Oregon after weeks and weeks of moping. I mean, I can understand some animosity between siblings but out and out trying to convince a girlfriend who keeps professing her love for his brother that she should love him instead? That was a bit ridiculous--especially since said brother had been captured and was being tortured to SAVE THEIR LIVES. And Kelsey, with the ten thousand bajillion times she stated that she loved Ren every once in a while she would think about what if he dies while being held by the crazy madman who turned the princely brothers into tigers in the first place then at least I know that Kishan is ready to step in and be my man. Gah! It so detracted from the very interesting aspect of the folklore and food and traditions described in their journeys through India, Tibet and China. Besides having a fondness for books that contain aspects of folklore or fairy tales, exotic (or less popular) locales in books is another plus in my opinion for a fun read. Those two aspects saved this book and got me to the end, but just barely. I really started to dislike Kelsey and Kishan at the end. We'll see if I can bring myself to read the third book and if it will redeem the series.