My rating: 4 of 5 flames
Once upon a time, a vampire prince named Nicolai was an arrogant seducer of anything with breasts. He lived happily, frolicking with his brothers and sister, learning to fight, to control his temper, to use his powers, to heal…until one day, an evil sorcerer attacks. His parents, the king and queen, are slaughtered, and with their dying breaths, each casts a spell. His mother sends all 4 of her children to safety, while the king instills a need for vengeance against the Blood Sorcerer. Unfortunately the queen’s spell sent her children to different places in their world. Nicolai finds himself naked in the sex slave market of Delfina, “a kingdom without time or age.”
He escapes and is captured by the princess of the witches, Odette. She and her sister Laila have his memory erased and Odette forces him to become her sex slave.
Meanwhile, in a place far, far away, a cabin in the human realm, we find our heroine, Jane. Jane is recovering from a horrific car accident. A drunk driver hit her car and killed her family, paralyzing Jane, crushing her from waist down. After a long torturous year, she is up, walking, jogging every day to keep her muscles from stiffening, and she is dreaming of a chained vampire. Oh yes, she knows the hero’s a vampire because she used to work in a research facility that interrogated the “others.” She’s a scientist who has been trying to send things over to Nicolai’s realm-and she’s succeeded with inanimate objects. But one day she finds a book on her doorstep. Opening it up and reading it, she can not only picture Nicolai, the vampire who wrote the lines, but she can see him as if she knows him. Does she?
Next thing she knows, Jane is transported into the Princess Odette’s life. Everyone who sees her, sees Odette. Everyone, that is, except Nicolai. He convinces her to free him, and she is whipped by her “mother,” the queen, but our hero, in a fit of rage tears through everyone to get to his woman. And that is really just the first 60 pages or so!
But never fear! Once they escape, danger is constantly dogging their heels. Jane is captured by *ahem* very lusty ogres. Even in her fat, ugly, Princess Odette disguise, they want her anyway. She does a good job of fighting one off, but more grab her, and unfortunately Nicolai fought them until he was incapacitated with some of his memories rushing back. Each time he gains more of his memories, it’s painful and he loses time. Finding Jane is a priority, but his memories force him to re-live them, and each is a debilitating memory. But as his memory returns, so do his powers, and luckily he’s able to find Jane each time.
The two of them find amazing amounts of danger! But I enjoyed watching Nicolai learn that he couldn’t just use Jane to escape-he began to care for her, and respect her. The sex came pretty early on, and as we all know Showalter, that woman can write some steamy naughtiness. But I liked it. The world-building wasn’t hard to follow, but the memory stealing was. I had a hard time remembering whose memories were stolen and by whom. And the ending was a bit abrupt. But other than that, it was a fun ride. I liked seeing the trademark Gena Showalter sense of humor and I really enjoyed the way Nicolai got possessive over Jane, but didn’t like it, or understand why. For those of you who are rolling your eyes at the love at first sight bit, stop right there-it wasn’t. There’s a sneaky little twist in there that lets us know they’ve met before. They were friends, but something happens that takes that away.
I liked it, I was confused a few times, but I am really looking forward to the next installment (which is actually written by Jill Monroe. And Jessica Andersen and Nalini Singh have the 2 after that. This looks to be an intense series.
**eARC courtesy of netgalley.com