Blood Submission by L.E. Wilson
Deathless Nights, #5
Released: April 4, 2017
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote:“Are you going to run, little mouse? Or are you just going to stand there and squeak at me?”
Unless you are going to commit to reading the books preceding this one in the series (#5), you may not get much out of or like more than half of this paranormal romance. The half that focused on Dante and Laney- superb. Arresting and me likey. However, when the danger/main plot comes into play- no…just nope.
Dante Gabor has survived many things since becoming a vampire, but jumping from a plane and crash landing in the desert without a parachute was pushing it, even for him. To survive the relentless sun, he buries his broken body in its own sandy grave. But healing is painfully slow, and he’s forced to rise and hunt for larger prey. Half mad with thirst, he’s brought to his knees by the seductive taste of a lone female whose sweet blood heals his body, but leaves him craving still more.
Laney Moss loves the Mojave desert that surrounds her home and hikes the upper trails often, prepared for anything she might run across. But nothing prepared her for the monster that comes with the setting sun to stalk her. In the moments before he attacks, one word crashes through her terrified mind — Vampire. She manages to get away, but he tracks the call of her blood and ignites a passion in her that frightens her nearly as much as it thrills her.
Full disclosure. I am partial to assholes, possessive, high-handed, short-tempered, damaged anti-heroes. Seldom do I come across a romance novel where I get this in spades. I don’t mean the hero who is kind a of douche and you can see his hidden heart of gold a mile off. No. I’m talking about a damn near villain. A man so bad that his actions shock me and shock me again! I was completely unprepared for Dante. He was an anti-heroes- anti-hero. BAD to the fawking bone and I was equal parts horrified and memorized by his dark and snarly nature. Sure, it’s paranormal romance and there will be an HEA but dammit it was a long way off and in the moment, well, I was too busy reveling in Dante’s absolute ruthlessness and unapologetic and bad-assery to be too concerned with his redemption.
Lifting his face to the wind, Dante scented the male. His parched throat immediately began to burn in response. In less than the space of a heartbeat, he crossed the expanse of the courtyard and stood in the human’s path. Without thinking twice about it, he swung out with his right hand and broke the human’s neck, then yanked the body toward him and sank his fangs into the warm flesh. He’d have to drink quickly, before the heart stopped beating completely, but that had never been a problem for him. Dante managed to take only three large swallows before he dropped the corpse at his feet.
Dante is a very old, vampire, practically an ancient and one of the oldest of his kind. No glittery skinned day walking, human protecting, fangs-feel- like-a-caresses vampires in this world. After sustaining many injuries from jumping from a plane after his abduction, Dante is barely surviving in the Mojave desert when he happens upon Laney, who is out alone enjoying the cooling desert dusk. Laney is not your average human and knows exactly what has attacked her in the night, miraculously she is able to put up enough of a fight to get away from the weakened Dante and escapes to her home. Only, Dante has had a taste of her blood and her life force is like a heady elixir, he simply can not get enough, her blood singing to him, drawing his obsession and brutality like a moth to a flame.
And it was glorious
There was no soul behind those eyes. And that menacing tattoo twisting up the side of his throat, decorating the edge of his left cheek and temple where it flared out to partially cover his shaved head, only added to his sinister look. “Are you going to kill me?” she asked. Surprisingly, her voice barely shook at all, in spite of the terror running through her veins. “Yes.” There was no hesitation in his voice, not one ounce of remorse on his ruggedly handsome face. “But not today, little mouse.” He gave her an ominous smile.
Laney is a great paranormal female protagonist. She is practical and full of fire and courage, yet, she shows fear and a healthy respect for Dante’s power. I can’t tell you how much I groan when some paranormal heroines are all exceptionally and illogically brazen and aren’t afraid of anything or any creature because- duh- hard as nails chick. The author depicts Laney in a perfect balance of having a spine yet knowing her life is at the very mercy of a being known for having none- and acting accordingly. There was just so much to like and respect about Laney!
It all would have been perfect had the story not strayed from Dante/Laney and opened a wider lens to a whole bunch of WTF. As I mentioned, there is zero to little world building. The world is built and you won’t know squat about it, unless you’ve read the previous four novels or give up and just go with the confusing flow. There seemed to be some god stuff here. Evil demons searching for their original blood to reanimate their bodies and unleash their own reign of terror. There are witches who are mated to Dante’s vamp buddies (military unit?) and there is a family unit among the vampires and their mates that was amusing, however, the writing in this aspect felt a little lazy, with some overdone, recycled troupe in the mix. I’d forgive the run of the mill, new age, vamp campy fiction “we all live in the same mansion/luxury apt building and cute,watch our mates bond and kick our asses” fluff, if a little more (any?) background would have been given, enough for me to care a little about any of them.
But alas is wasn’t so I didn’t.
So, back to Dante and Laney- which were all things awesome. As Dante began to thaw and bond with Laney, the depths of his damage were revealed and my heart ached for him. By then, I’d long
forgotten, forgiven Dante for his compunction-less slaughter from chapters gone by. He was having a breakthrough, after-all, no need to hold on to the old stuff! Character growth was not limited to the big-bad vampire either, Laney too changed and came to some realizations in her own right. Together, they were a match made in paranormal romance heaven. Each of their scenes deeper and more intriguing than the next.
His fingers tangled in her long, dark hair as his other hand gripped her lush ass and pulled her tight into his hips. He took her mouth in a hungry kiss, groaning with need when his fangs nicked her lips and her blood trickled into his mouth. His skin felt too tight, and not just on his swollen sex, but everywhere. He tried to pull her in closer still, and was about to roll her onto her back when she threw one shapely leg over his hips and pushed hard against his shoulder. He broke off the kiss and rolled onto his back, instantly missing the feel of her flesh on his. But he didn’t have long to wait. His little mouse climbed over him, straddling his hips as she had when she’d attempted to stab him.
Her hand reached through the darkness, searching for him, looking for reassurance. Like he was the one that would save her from the monsters hiding in the dark. It made something clench inside of him. He shook it off. She had no right to seek comfort from him. He was the monster. And he couldn’t save her from himself. Ignoring her hand, he took her by the arm again. “Come.” Hurrying down the passageway, he kept up a quick pace, dragging her along when she stumbled in the dark. Anger filled him. Anger at himself for being concerned about her and her feelings. Anger at her for touching the last remnants of humanity left inside of him.
Here and only here is where Blood Submission shined. I would have gladly read an entire novel following their relationship (surely a bump or two given Dante’s warring desires and Laney’s own awakening) without all the other “demons take over the world” plot devices that detracted from the reading experience. I am quite frustrated as one part of Blood Submission is all aces and the other is diving into “D” territory. So, it looks like the difference is split and overall – this is an average novel with wrongfully mitigated potential.
I recommend anyone who likes their paranormal romance a little more authentic and twisty, to give this a read. Even with its flaws, there just aren’t quality anti-heroes and heroines like Dante and Laney paired up that often- they are that good. The author, L.E Wilson has an amazing talent for complicated, villainous heroes and for that reason, I’ll likely read her works again.