One of my favorite vampires from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost now has his own series!! Once Burned is the first installment of the Night Prince series starring the conceited and hot (literally) Vlad Tepesh, or as I like to call him, the Vladiator:)
Leila was in a bad accident involving a downed power line when she was thirteen that left her with a few side-effects. She now has electricity flowing through her body and nobody can touch her without getting zapped. She also has psychic abilities. If she touches anybody or anything with her right hand she sees visions from the past, present, and future. Leila makes the best of the hand (no pun intended) that was dealt to her and she now works as a traveling side-show freak with her friend and vampire, Marty.
But after she stops a husband out for revenge from killing his wife thanks to a vision she saw, everyone now knows her abilities are the real deal since it made the newspapers. The widespread knowledge ends up getting her kidnapped by a group of vampires that are hunting the infamous Dracula aka Vlad.
But Leila never expected for Vlad to be able to hear her in his head when she linked to him through items her kidnappers gave her. She is able to relay to him where she is all through thoughts and he comes to her rescue, only to rush her off to his castle in Romania.
Leila and Vlad are on a mission to discover who hired Leila’s kidnappers so that they both can be safe. Leila will never be able to live in peace until the person that wants Vlad is disposed of and Vlad is not about to let someone after him to keep walking the Earth.
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. It gave me the same I can’t put this book down feeling I got when I read the first Night Huntress book, Halfway to the Grave. It was a welcome feeling that I haven’t felt while reading a book in some time.
But I must say that it was a good thing that I already liked Vlad from the times I met him during the Night Huntress novels because he was so cocky that I’m not sure I would have liked him otherwise. If I was Leila I would have avoided him from the moment he declared she’d end up in his bed, no matter hard it was to resist. But by the end of the book I’ve come to enjoy his conceited ways and know that it’s just who he is.
Also, I like Vlad because he’s not a copy of Bones. I remember reading Frost’s short story, Happily Never After, about Chance. I enjoyed the story, but Chance was so much like Bones that I had to remind myself it was someone else. He would even say some of the same things that Bones says, including calling his love interest ‘luv’ all the time. So I’m happy to see that Vlad is completely his own person and the conflict between him and Bones makes this new series that much more enjoyable.
Leila was an OK character. I wasn’t too hip on the electric girl hooking up with fire boy because it seemed a little too matchy-matchy where I’m more of an opposites attract kind of girl (if only I could get that Paula Abdul song out of my head now). But in the end the two of them work out pretty well, despite the fact that Vlad won’t admit his feelings even though we all know what they are. And, the sex scenes are smoking hot….heck even that premonition Leila had of Vlad was steamy!
“I was sitting cross-legged in bed, trying without success to pretend I’d misunderstood the image I’d glimpsed. Yeah, right. Because Vlad had been between my legs looking for a set of keys he’d lost.”
Like I previously stated, this was a book that I devoured and could NOT put down, I just loved it that much. Until the ending that is. I felt everything was building and then it just dropped over a cliff all of a sudden. I was expecting so much more so saying I was disappointed is a vast understatement. You know that Vlad and Leila are going to be together and have their HEA (happily ever after), but it was postponed with this mediocre conclusion to this book. I would have been much happier if the epilogue had just been completely omitted and we ended with Vlad saving Leila with his aura. We could always wait to define their relationship later, but then we could have walked away carrying a happy loving feeling with us… not a ‘Vlad, I will have you one way or another’ witch cackling feeling I got from Leila’s end statements.
But overall this was still a great start to this exciting series and I can’t wait for book #2, Twice Tempted. In the meantime I think I need to go look up the real Vlad on google and read up on the character that this Vlad was based on…..a book making me want to read history….you know something is wrong there. It’s a sign of a really good book in my world!