Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince #1)
June 26, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
I’m a big fan of Jeaniene Frost’s books. Her Night Huntress series rocks my world – hello – it’s Bones, and he is just one of the best alpha heroes out there. But I will say, the past few Bones and Cat books haven’t been my favorites in the series. So when I sat down with Once Burned, the first in her new Night Prince spin-off series featuring Vlad (currently two books are planned) I was very excited for this one. I adore Vlad, who makes many appearances in her world. And I really enjoyed this book.
Before we get to Vlad, let’s talk about the heroine, Leila. As a teenager, she touched a downed power line, electrocuting herself. When she woke up, she had a scar that ran from her temple down to her right hand. But that was just the beginning. Now, If she touches someone with her right hand, she sends many volts of electricity through them. She also can see someone’s worst sin through a single touch and if she touches an object that someone else has touched, she can get a psychic impression of that person, sometimes in the past, and sometimes visions of the future. These odd abilities prevents Leila from living a normal life (in which she use to excel as a gymnast), which is how she finds herself traveling with a circus, performing in a sideshow using her acrobat abilities. Her good friend, and vampire Marty (who is all of four feet tall) can handle her electricity to an extent, allowing her to perform and touch him without fear.
Her odd abilities get noticed by the wrong type of person, and she ends up being kidnapped by not so nice vampires. They give her items to touch, demanding to know when in the future the owner of these items will leave his closely guarded fortress. When she touches them, and sees the owner, she doesn’t realize the powerful being she is connecting with. Vlad is a very old vampire, who has the ability to control fire, which makes him very feared. When Leila “looks in on him” he is able to communicate telepathically with her. Once she convinces him through speaking with him through her mind, that she is kidnapped and the baddie vamps are after him, Vlad soon comes crashing through the hotel room, causing much fire and taking Leila back with him to Romania. He knows the baddie vamps were just puppets for someone much more evil who will eventually try to nab Leila again. He keeps her with him to keep her safe, and uses her abilities to try to figure out who his enemy is.
Vlad, also once known as Tepesh the Impaler comes from a long line of Princes who have been slaughtered. He has kept his people safe for 500 years and for that, he has kind of earned his arrogant side, and yet is comes off as very sexy in this book. He is able to read Leila’s mind, so he constantly knows what she is thinking which is frustrating for Leila, but amusing for the readers. Vlad is a very cool dude. He has a temper and once someone starts to annoy him, everyone around him can usually smell smoke if he hasn’t already lit someone on fire. But around Leila, he plays it cool. He is enamored with her, and with all of his arrogance he knows she will eventually be in his bed.
Since Leila electrocutes everyone she touches, she has lived a lonely life. While she can touch a vampire, and he or she won’t immediately keel over, she can’t touch a regular vampire for too long, eventually harming that person. But Vlad is different. Since he can control fire, she can pump as many electrical volts as she wants into him, barely causing him to shudder. This opens a door for Leila, knowing that this sexy, yet dangerous man could be her lover. Vlad is so sexy in this book and I really enjoyed how their relationship unfolds.
I led my armies from the front, Vlad had said. The proof was all over his body, from the scars that adorned his skin in random white patterns to the muscles that flexed and bunched with his slightest movement. If he’d looked like one of those effeminate magazine models, I wouldn’t have felt such a powerful swell of lust, but there was nothing boyish or plastic about Vlad. He was devastatingly masculine, and all of that untamed sensuality was now mine to savor. The knowledge caused another rush of heat between my legs.
“If I didn’t want you so much,” he said in a deadly purr, “I’d let you keep fucking me with your gaze, but you make me impatient.”
My one disappointment is that we don’t get Vlad’s point of view, this book is only told in Leila’s POV. I don’t mind that with her Night Huntress series but I really wanted to hear Vlad’s voice and thoughts.
While Bones and Cat make a very brief appearance, we meet some new people in this book. Maximus is Vlad’s second in command and I really like him. He hasB&N a small attraction to Leila at the beginning of the book which plays out nicely. Vlad also has a group of humans living at his castle that have a small part. Marty, who is a father figure to Leila also has a role in this book.
As two books are planned (maybe more) for this series, this one doesn’t end with a completely settled HEA, which I’m glad for. These two, while they definitely have an attraction for each other, need to get to know one another a little better before love comes into play.
The villain is pretty evil and I also like that people die in this book. It is a dangerous world, and Jeaniene Frost allows that violence to come through. It is paired well with the sexy romance and humorous lines.
Very much looking forward to the next book.