“Love is sending someone away because you would rather hurt than hurt them. Love is fighting beside them, bleeding along with them and putting their well-being above your own. Love is trembling at their touch so much that you do not notice that they are trembling at yours.”
“I’m not trembling.”
“I am,” he whispered and kissed me.
Reviewed by Tori
Dorina Basarab is a dhampir–half-human, half-vampire. As one of the Vampire Senate’s newest members, Dory already has a lot on her plate. But then a relative of one of Dory’s fey friends goes missing. They fear he’s been sold to a slaver who arranges fights–sometimes to the death–between different types of fey.
As Dory investigates, she and her friends learn the slavers are into something much bigger than a fight club. With the Vampire Senate gearing up for war with Faerie, it’ll take everything she has to defeat the slavers–and deal with the entirely too attractive master vampire Louis-Cesare…. (Goodreads)
Dory is once again tossed into the fray with little more than a prayer and some help from her friends. Currently living with her bestie Cassie who has her own issues, Dory is experiencing more activity from her twin, Dorina, the dhampir side of her personality. The increasing flashbacks and blackouts have Dory scared that Dorina will eventually take over her body. She is also helping Olga and the other trolls find the slavers and rescue Olga’s nephew while trying to stay alive since being “elected” to the North American Vampire Senate and keep her lover, Louis-Cesare, a master vampire and fellow senator, safe from her craziness.
“Why are you here?” I asked wearily, looking up at him.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Because, when you hitched your wagon to the crazy, it wasn’t this crazy?”
For those not familiar with this series, it is a spin-off of Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series. This series revolves around Dorina (Dory) Bashabas who is a dhampir and the daughter of Mircea; a significant player in the Palmer series. I have been a long time fan of this series and have waited six years for this novel. Having not read the novella in between books 3 & 4, I left off after Fury’s Kiss and wow what a ride THAT was. As always, Chance jam packs her novel with action, suspense, intrigue, and violence while softening the never-ending blows with plenty of humor, wit, and some very nice romance scenes. It starts out with a bang and you are forced to hold on for dear life. Some may find the pacing slightly chaotic as we not only see Dory’s POV as expected but we also experience scenes from Dorina’s POV and are gifted with scenes from the past that highlight Dorina’s father’s actions- a nice addition because it goes far in explaining what happened to lead Dorina and Dory to this point. Dory is fighting on multiple fronts and she is tired and scared. Scared of losing her friends, family, lover…and now herself.
“Someday she would take over…then what would happen to me?”
I love Dorina. She is the definition of Urban Fantasy. Strong, snarky, vulnerable, and over 500 years old, she is the bogeyman that vampires fear. Born to a master manipulator who was cursed into being a vampire by a witch, she was ignored by her father for safety purposes and used by the Vampire Senate for centuries. Stronger and more secure in her life, Dory is slowing coming into her own and has enough powerful friends that any attempts to harm her will bring about serious consequences.
“What did you do to my car?” Blondie demanded, from the driver’s seat.
“Is there a problem?”
“You know damned well there’s a problem! It won’t go!”
Purple Hair didn’t say anything, just stood there, all daytime dominatrix in black leather jeans and jacket, and a low-cut silk shirt the same shade as her hair. She checked me out, in my ratty sweats, and her eyes narrowed in judgment.
Or, you know, because I hadn’t bothered to arm myself, and she was wondering why.
“That’s a shame,” I said, glancing at Claire, who had come out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a flour-dusted apron. “I wonder what’s wrong with it.”
Claire just smiled. It wasn’t a particularly nice expression. But Blondie didn’t seem to notice. “Damn it! This is brand-new,” he told us furiously. “If you’ve fucked it up—”
A scaly arm reached through the window and jerked him out because Claire was suddenly beside the car. I blinked. I hadn’t even seen her move.
I guess the vamps hadn’t, either. Because Purple Hair’s hand twitched, in the general direction of her jacket. I tensed, prepared to jump her, but she paused the action, probably realizing that she was about to make things worse.
She had no idea.
So both of us just stood there, watching Blondie kick his heels several inches off the ground because Claire is a tall drink of water. One who suddenly had a wealth of iridescent purple scales covering one arm. And three-inch talons, shading from black to maroon to milky white, on the newly armored hand.
“My car now.”
After a moment, Purple Hair looked at me. “The car we wrecked. It was hers?”
“Ah.” She looked at Claire. “Your car now.”
Vampire politics and fairy tales make for strange bedfellows and this book pounds that point home. The past features heavily in here; from the decisions Mircea made to try and save Dory’s life when she was a child to the ongoing war between the species and a long forgotten fae legend. All of it running together, flirting with one another until they collide with a bang, leaving Dory with an impossible decision to make.
Lots of new faces and old ones keep the story from becoming too bogged down. I found myself laughing at most of their antics. Ray, one of my favorite characters and Dory’s sidekick of sorts features heavily in here. He sees Dory as his new master and nothing will deter him from his new position.
“What?” he demanded.
“You’re as much as a trainwreck as I am. And soon as the war’s over, someone else will have my seat anyway. You think they’re going to keep a dhampir on the Senate one second longer then they have to?”
“Well, not with that attitude.”
Cassie remains an integral part of Dory’s life. As her bestie and a magical null who helps to keep Dory’s psychotic nature in check calm, she remains a constant but her own dual nature is beginning to show itself in some interesting ways. I can’t wait to see where this plot line goes. Olga and her boys are a hoot and definitely the muscle Dory needs. Meeting Dorina was a highlight of the book. Always there but never heard or seen, tucked away like a bad secret, it was enlightening to see things from her perspective. I found her scenes bittersweet as she tries to find her own footing as she tries to make Dory understand what is really happening while doing what she can, in her own homicidal way, to keep Dory safe.
… there’s a truth about pain that most people never learn unless they’re really unlucky. Or really long-lived, long enough to have felt almost every kind there is. Pain has a signature to it, a type, a song. The first time you experience a new one, it’s a bright, white-hot, cutting edge; or a searing, brain-twisting burn; or a shattering, soul-crushing thud; or any of the thousand other forms it takes to torment you.
But the second time? Or the third? Or the fiftieth? No. It’s still terrible, still rage inducing, still debilitating, but it’s not the same shock as at first. You know this song, all its terrible highs, and dismal lows; you can hum it with your eyes closed because it’s just that familiar. Not like a friend—never that—but like an old enemy you’ve grown to know as well as to hate, his weapons and his limits.
You know what he can do to you.
But you also know what he can’t.
As for Mircea…it’s a love/hate relationship. You’ve no doubt he loves Dory; he sacrificed much to obtain the means to save her life. But as always, there is a price to pay whenever he helps and unfortunately, Dory always seem to be the one who pays it. He’s a meddlesome dad who happens to be immortal. OY VEY. The real treat though, as always, was the time spent with Louis-Cesere. A Disney-esque prince (Dory’s own words) who is strong, intelligent, battle fierce and deeply in love with her and she can’t seem to accept it or understand why. But she is beginning to. There are some gauntlets they have to run and some issues that must be dealt with eventually but in the end, love triumphs and alls well that ends well.
“…when you’re part of someone else, you don’t get to make that call,” I told him quietly.
And then felt like cursing, because the damned man still didn’t get it.
I could see it in those shimmering blue eyes: confusion, awkwardness, more than a little fear. He, who wasn’t afraid of anything, was afraid of this. Of me. Of being sent away.
And there was one really good way to solve that problem, wasn’t there?
I felt my fangs pop. “I’m proprietorial about my things,” I snarled and bit him.