Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Barb's Book Review... Once Burned

Once Burned (Night Prince, #1)
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.

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A book series all about Vlad… bwahaha... I love it. Dudes seriously he is one of my favorite characters from the Night Huntress Series (besides Bones and Cat of course). And I like the fact that the narrator on the audio book does his accent perfectly. Its just right. And as usual.. she nailed it in this one. The characters from NH are in this one as well and that makes it all feel like its home. If that makes sense. (But for the best results I suggest reading it along with the Night Huntress Series/Night Huntress World books as they all intertwine. It will make it all easier)

***small spoiler alert***

We meet “Frankie”, a girl with special little powers. She is part of a traveling circus. Why not, she is a freaky little thing so she goes with it. But after she makes a scene in the diner after a confrontation with a couple and an article in the newspaper she is.. kidnapped. (laughs) Like that was going to scare her.. but then she realizes they are vampires. That is not a good thing. Her friend and caretaker, Marty, (who was a vampire) had always warned her to not show fear since they can smell it. The fact that they are vampires grab her so fast she is covered in darkness. When she comes to she is in a hotel room surrounded by the four assholes that kidnapped her.

Apparently they had seen the article in the paper and wanted to see if she was the real deal. They gave her things to touch. And when she got the visions of what had happened they got giddy. Damn fuckers. They wanted her to track down the vampire she saw in her visions setting the vampire of fire. Vlad of course. Where was he now? The moment she slipped into his mind in the present he knew she was there. Of course he could hear her thoughts. And then she gets a good plan in the works. Wondering if that connection goes both ways. It does because she (Layla) is able to talk to him. And she tells him about her kidnapping and kidnappers. And its the massacre… I um mean rescue.

But the rescue goes a little askew when Marty pops up and then attacks Vlad because he thinks he is part of the gang that took her, I guess. Cray Cray. Vlad was half on fire, I’d have stayed far, far away. But Vlad has Layla’s attackers taken care of and one in tow to try to get answers out of. He whisks them all off to his private plane and off they go to Romania. This whole time Layla thinks Vlad is just playing that he is Vlad. Not an original name but just an act. Thought that all changes once they get to Romania and she finds out Marty at some point was hurt, impaled by Vlad's order. Even though he is alright, now. To say she loses her temper would be putting it lightly.. she gets down right pissed and has a face off with Vlad. It takes him slapping a ring in her hand so she can “see” exactly who and what he is. To say she is shocked would be putting it lightly.

Seems Vlad had a little torture session with Marty in order to make sure he was not in on her original kidnapping. She would never have thought he was, and he wasn’t but Vlad was no dummy. He always makes sure everything is sorted for safety reasons, of course. Vlad is cocky, we all know this but he is for a reason.. but Layla is not in the mood to deal with an ego the size of Romania. She also isn’t in the mood to let her feelings for him show. He’s hot, what’s not to like, ya know? Layla and her visions decided to have a little get together when she handed Vlad back the ring he handed her to prove he was who he was. Skin to skin makes them live and in color so to speak. Needless to say she say them in bed and her falling apart at his touch. She refuses to admit it. But the fact that he lights her fire pisses her off. So, unlike any other time that night at dinner he tells Maximus, his right hand vampire (one of them at least) that Layla is free to be sought after if anyone would like. of course that is if she is okay with it. Usual house rules do not apply.

Maximus tries, but even spending hours with him she doesn’t feel for him what she does when she is with Vlad. Poor fucker, he ain’t got a chance. After a sleepless night Layla is full of energy, not in a good way. She can't.. rub one out like she normally would to ease herself so she decides to get a workout. There is a gym here after all. While in the gym the humans of the house come in and she gets to meet them but the fun doesn't last long as after using her powers to “see” one of their “sins” she collapses. Vlad is the face she sees when she comes back around. He sends the humans away and its then that he figures out what is going on with her. A call to Marty confirms it. Seems Marty has been feeding a little of his blood to Layla once a week to keep her going. She is dying. All the power in her is too much for her.

Vlad is not happy he kept this from him. Or her. Poor girl had no clue. Vlad of course gives her some of his blood, that will heal her for now. But there will be further talk about it all I am sure. But the intimate moment between them after Layla drinks from him is interrupted when Maximus barges in. Seems they have guests. Bones, Cat, Mencheres and Kira are there. Vlad tries to get Layla to stay in the gym but she of course tells him in no uncertain terms that isn't happening. And when she hits the door.. the gusts are there. And Bones looooves that she puts him in his place. Cheeky bastard. That night Maximus came to her room and informed her that she would be partaking in dinner alone. Vlad was unavailable and the other guests had left. She also learned what it meant to have had him offer his blood to her.

And yes she was pissed off, again. (laughs) The next few days she was still told he was not available. So being the woman she is. She gets dressed to go out, goes to Ben and the other humans and asks to go out with them. Once its been cleared (of course that meant they called Vlad to see if his little woman could go out and play) the driver and Maximus drove them all to the club in town. they’d not need any money since, as Ben said they were Vlad’s “Plasma kabobs” Layla lived it up. She drank, danced and for the first time in years actually enjoyed herself. That fun however.. is short lived when the club is attacked and vampires try to take her. She fights back, Hunter (the vampire limo driver) is killed trying to save her and Maximus is attacked by three men while another strikes out at Layla. Layla fights back with her power and is slung through a wall into the coat room where she stays with broken bones and the smoke of the fire getting to her but Vlad literally flies in and scoops her out. Just in time.

With a little investigation (touching bones left in the rubble of the fire) Layla sees who is after her.. and he is really after Vlad. Someone that Vlad killed years ago. So, more looking… and when Vlad digs up the bones of the man he killed (Szilagyl)… its not him. Its someone else's bones. He was tricked. As soon as Vlad figures this out he pulls her father and sister in. Apparently he has had eyes on them since she came to Romania. This tidbit makes her replay why the man after Vlad would go after her family.. to get to her. But she figures Vlad would have done the same and of course she is ten shades of pissed. But by the time her family arrives she is… simmered, still mad but simmered. Her sister and father are both asses when they arrive and its not going to be a fun time in the castle. (I’d have locked them both in a dungeon... because they are assholes… but that’s just me.)

As the plans to find Szilagyl after Vlad and now Layla grows the determination to get him fills Layla. They start a mission of searching the closest homes to them now. For some reason Layla is determined to make this all better. (laughs) All was quiet on her part. It seemed Vlad was sending her (along with Maximus and Shrapnel) to places that didn't seem to be as dangerous to her. People he really thought he could trust.  Vlad’s allies, Tolvai’s place was a different story… he was not happy that they were there to ‘search’ his place for links to the ones causing Vlad issues. As Layla searched his place she came across Szilagyl’s essence. It was so strong she was linked to him in no time. Thinking fast she told him she was ready to switch sides. A previous talk of him trying to persuade her to change side and come to him replaying in her mind. Vlad had veto's her idea of faking Szilagyl out by going to him and then letting Vlad find her. But here was her chance to get him.

She wouldn’t tell him where she was (because she feigned a need to not be caught going to him because of Maximus and Shrapnel.) He seemed to think it over and gave her one week to come to him, or Marty died. After she broke the connection to him she kept looking around trying to find out which of Tolvai’s people was behind Szilagyl’s essence being here… but as she did this things go from quiet to mass chaos in no time at all. The house is swarmed. Layla is taken captive by Tolvai in order to keep her safe for Szilagyl. The vampire that she had struck with her gift was there to retrieve her a little bit later. When she woke up again she was in a barn stall, naked, save a horse blanket covering her. Her arms were tied to wooden posts. The vampire from the club, silver haired as she called him was there to make sure she was really there to switch sides and not there as a double agent. What did that mean… torture.

It was then that Marty made himself known by yelling at the vampire to leave her alone. When silver hair started in on her she asked his name. Rend. His name was Rend. He apparently was out by Vlad for breaking his rules not too long after he was changed. To say he held a grudge said a lot. (snorts) Needless to say, after hours of torturing Layla and getting no where he moved to Marty. But what Rend hadn't counted on was the fact that Layla had ingested almost a pint of vampire blood during this. Because how can he torture her and not heal her so he can do it again. She is human after all. Having that much vamp juice in her made her powers grow. The fact that he was in the stall across from her threatening Marty didn't help her anger either. The two together are a deadly combination... which Rend finally found out.

Once Layla’s anger and need for revenge take over she easily dispatches Rend and the other two vampires that were there. She uses Rend’s phone and calls Vlad. He thinks its a trap and tells her to contact him her way. So she drops the phone and uses her mind to find his essence so she can speak into his mind… Marty tells her he knows where Szilagyl is. Castle Poenari. Vlad's former home. Vlad tells them to wait, he will find someone to get them. But after some time and another vision they take Rend’s car and head to Castle Poenari. There is a secret entrance.. and they (Layla and Marty) use it. They just need to find Maximus and Shrapnel. When they find them she and Marty start to pull the silver spears out of them. But they are interrupted by Szilagyl popping up.

When Layla turns… Szilagyl is standing there a gun pointed at her and one at Marty. But before he could do anything, or before she could… Vlad drops down in front of her. She slips back and finishes freeing both Maximus and Shrapnel. After a moment Vlad looks them over and tells them to get out. When Maximus tries to grab Layla to get her out she refuses. The vampires leave and its just Vlad, Szilagyl and Layla. Then.. as he had before Szilagyl pushes a plunger and blows the castle. But thankfully Vlad is fast enough to grab her, coat her in his aura and flies them out of the place. She is hurt but not burned or dead.

He is mad she showed up but he seems to understand how she felt. Maximus and Shrapnel had gotten taken trying to protect her. It was her right to save them. Vlad has her taken home and then they search for Szilagyl’s body. When he returns home they were still searching for the body they will find it or she will use her gift to see if he is actually dead. But Layla (who has her hand in the fireplace) looks worried at him. His aura is still wrapped around her.. but that’s not all. Her gift of trailing someone's essence when she touches something… is gone… hopefully it will return once his aura has left her.

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