Friday, August 17, 2012

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

(Night Prince, Book #1)
by Jeaniene Frost

Genre: Dark Fantasy | Paranormal Romance

She’s a mortal with dark powers…
After a tragic accident scarred  her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a  person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of  solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out  with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

He’s the Prince of Night…
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest  vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most  feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against  him – a beautiful mortal with powers to  match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them,  threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop  an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.


Since young, Leila (aka Frankie) has shied away from the normal public. Anywhere that she can fit in with her special "condition" is where she yearns to stay, so when the traveling circus needed more performance acts--she readily jumped at the opportunity as their trampoline/gymnastic performer. In hopes of a better lifestyle in which she does not feel like the odd-one-out, Leila unfortunately continues to be treated by her fellow Carnies with caution and avoidance. And, after years of struggling with loneliness, she still burns inside while witnessing simple displays of affection (ex. holding hands, small caresses, etc.)--something that she both begrudgingly lacks and longingly craves. Yet, when Leila's shocking abilities become known by the wrong crowd, she finds herself dragged into a darker reality than she ever expected--full of vengeful vampires, gruesome deaths, and a well-known historical figure. As much as she may desire to escape this sinisterly attractive vampire's grasp, Leila quickly discovers a strong physical connection with him that she has never shared with anyone. But, can she live up to this Legends expectations of love and war?

If I touch someone--or an object with a strong emotional essence on it--I catch glimpes of things. If the glimpes are in black and white, they're from the past. If they're in color but hazy, they're from the future. And if I concentrate, I can trace someone's essence from an object to find that person in the present, which looks clear and normal to me. That's how I found you.

Vlad is as famous as he is feared and most significantly can control fire--a trait developed from his long-lost vampire sire. He can also be strongly egotistical, frightfully dominant, outrageously sophisticated and to some extent amusingly charming, especially toward his newest captive who he finds both fascinating and intriguing. But when he comes to Leila's rescue after a cruel kidnapping, he inadvertently draws her into his mysterious world of danger and death. When sparks literally fly between the two, Vlad makes a decision to take things further with no plans of emotional attachment. Yet, Leila's feisty spirit and persistent curiosity continues to peak his interest, especially in regards to her growing power which can be very fatal towards vampires. And, when his past comes back to haunt him with vengeance, Vlad tries his hardest to keep Leila clear of the action...unsuccessfully.

That's when the fire swarmed me, forming out of nowhere. It climbed up my legs in coiling, merciless bands, making me scream from the sudden blast of agony. I tried to run faster, but that only made the fire climb higher. I flung myself onto the floor next, rolling, every nerve ending howling with anguish, but the fire still didn't extinguish. It kept growing, covering me with ruthless, hungry waves, until a roaring blackness rushed up and consumed me. The last thing I saw as I floated above my lifeless body was the dark-haired vampire still walking away, his hands now lit up by flames that somehow didn't scorch his skin.

If you are a big Jeaniene Frost fan, like myself, you will highly enjoy the beginning of her new (blend-over from the Night Huntress) Night Prince series. Vlad is as hot as ever and the underground opulent world created around him really adds to his sizzling appeal. Leila is a complex character with a lot going on in her life that really pushes her towards her current predicament. Together they instantly complement each other; Vlad helping to boost her confidence while Leila slyly begins to soften his sharp edges. Their relationship was heated and pleasurable overall, but almost predictable with the male lead not wishing to "love" again because of a tragic history...a subject repeated throughout many books in this genre. Throughout the tale, the reader is treated to past favorite characters (yes, that includes Bones) as well as some new rather interesting ones. Plus, the story by and large flowed smoothly, but the ending was not quite as emotionally thrilling as I had hoped...yet...that will not discourage me from checking out Book # 2 in the series, Twice Tempted, coming out March 19th, 2013.

Likes: The sexual tension in this story was very nice. Not too overwhelming or forced, with just enough spark to keep both characters on their toes and the reader excited about where their relationship was headed.

Dislikes: For me, Leila's "unusual abilities" were all over the place with no real similar connection between them (ex. telepathy, divination, retro-cognition/clairsentience, electrocution, etc.). It would have been nice for her to have maybe one main talent and slowly grow into the others, because she really came out with so much at once that it was overwhelming to keep track in regards to who could do what when during the action sequences.

Chapter One/Paragraph One:   I parked my bike in front of the restaurant, wiping the perspiration from my upper lip. It was unseasonably warm this January, but sweating during a Florida winter was better than freezing in a Northern one. I twisted my hair into a knot, my neck cooler once the long black swath was off it. With a final swipe at my forehead, I entered the restaurant, ignoring the tables in favor of the patrons seated at the bar.

Favorite { Scene, Character or Setting }: Scene

     Gotcha, I thought, torn between relief and dismay at finding him in what I knew was the present. 

'd only seen him before through the grayish tones of past memories, by spying on him in the present was different. No one else was in my head by me. Free from other people's perspective, I took my time studying the fire start.
     At first, he looked like a normal, well-built man in his thirties, but then hints of his uniqueness showed. His espresso-colored hair was past his shoulder--longer than most men dared, but on him it somehow looked supremely masculine. Black pants and an indigo shirt draped over muscles that appeared far harder than a gym membership usually accounted for, and though no flames clung to his hands, they were crisscrossed with scars that looked like former battle wounds. His high cheekbones were accented by stubble somewhere between five o'clock shadow and a beard, yet instead of coming across as unkempt, it was rugged and enticing. I hadn't seen a man pull off that look so well since Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, and his eyes...     

     Opened, a rich copper shade encircled by rings of evergreen. I would have thought they were beautiful, but at the moment, they looked as though they were staring right into mine.

     It unnerved me, but I reminded myself it was only coincidence. No one ever knew it when I used my abilities to establish a link. I could be the world's biggest voyeur if I wanted, but my most fervent wish was to know less about people, not more--
     "Who are you?"

     I jumped. If I hadn't seen his finely shaped lips move, I would've thought I'd imagined the words. Coincidence, I reminded myself again. Any second someone would come into my line of vision and I'd see who he was really talking to--

     "I'll ask a second time," his deep, slightly accented voice said. "Who are you, and how the hell are you inside my head?"

     That scared me into dropping the link at once.

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