Title: Once Burned
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Series: Night Prince (Book 1)
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
ISBN-10: 006178320X (HarperCollins/Avon)
ISBN-13: 978-0061783203 (HarperCollins/Avon)
Reviewed by: Kristie
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.
Quick & Dirty: Oh Vlad how I lust for thee… Action-packed and intriguing characters, you just can’t go wrong with a Jeaniene Frost novel.
Opening Sentence: I parked my bike in front of the restaurant, wiping the perspiration from my upper lip.
Leila Dalton has one heck of a problem on her hands. She can electrocute someone just by touch but her right hand is a real troublemaker. When a woman accidentally brushes her hand, Leila sees the woman’s murder. Always wanting to do the right thing Leila stops the murder even though she knows she will be seen as a freak but being a freak is something she can handle ever since she touched a power line. She has the scars to show for it running from her right temple down to the all-seeing right hand. Leila knows she is in for some trouble when her heroics make the news.
In order to hide her secrets, Leila travels around in a carnival performing gymnastic tricks with her vampire partner, Marty. (Marty is more like a father figure to Leila.) Unfortunately it is the winter season, so no traveling for Leila, as she is kidnapped by a group of vampires while she is training. These vampires want to use Leila’s powers to track down one scary vamp in Vlad. But Leila already knows they will kill her once they have their information so when Vlad knows he is being spied upon Leila makes a deal with the devil. In this case, better the devil you don’t know than the devil you know especially when you know they will kill you once your usefulness is done.
Vlad flies in to the rescue, literally, wanting to know who is spying on him. He also plans to use Leila to find out the information. Vlad is surprised by Leila’s abilities and is intrigued by her. When Leila foresees herself in an intimate situation with Vlad, she wants nothing to do with him. She has been warned that Vlad will only break her heart, but she also knows how arrogant and self-absorbed he is, so she does her best to stay away from him. But when she finds that she wants to be in his company whenever he is around she cannot hide it anymore. It really doesn’t help that Vlad can read her thoughts so he knows exactly how she feels.
Leila gets torn into the vampire underworld, where two sides want her power. She has to decide whether being held by Vlad is really such a bad thing because either way she will never be free. She will always be hunted for her power. She doesn’t mind helping Vlad but she doesn’t like how her father, her sister and Marty have been turned into pawns for her cooperation. Vlad really only uses Marty against her but he makes her realize what could happen to her family. Leila decides to follow her heart and the path that will keep her with Vlad.
I am a HUGE Jeaniene Frost fan, so it didn’t take long for me to devour Once Burned. I love her characters and Vlad and Leila are no exception. Vlad is dark, self-obsessed and overly macho. He knows he is a big baddie in the vampire world and he does what is takes to keep his reputation. He wants to make sure everyone is scared of him. Leila understands Vlad’s act but she doesn’t want to believe it until it affects her. She is strong and impetuous, running into situations that realistically should have gotten her killed. Thankfully, tall, dark and handsome runs to her rescue.
The vampire world is revealed in small doses which is nice and refreshing for fans of the series so they don’t get dumped everything in the world but Once Burned doesn’t really show the complexity of the world that Jeaniene has created especially for new readers. I would wholeheartedly recommend reading the Night Huntress series first so new readers can see why fans of this series love Vlad so much.
Once Burned is told strictly through first person with Leila as the narrator. This is what throws this story, for me, from being paranormal romance into being more urban fantasy even though the setting isn’t in an urban area. The plot is action packed and gripping from start to finish.
Overall, Once Burned is a thrilling read. There is a bit of an open ending with the book regarding the villain but there still is a bit of a satisfactory ending. I absolutely can’t wait for the next book in the series Twice Tempted and know what is next for Leila and Vlad.
His hands left my back to weave in my hair. Then he leaned down until his face was very close to mine.
“I never set a standard that I won’t keep myself, and if you ever want out, you need only say the word. But mean it, Leila, because once I leave, I’m gone forever.”
Vlad’s eyes bled back to deep copper as he spoke, and though they were no longer glowing in that inhuman way, somehow, they were more compelling.
“Right back at you,” I said, matching his unyeilding stare. “Is that all?”
His lips twisted. “No. I can give you honesty, monogamy, and more passion that you can stand, but not love. That emotion died in me long ago, as I suspect you already know.”
I took a deep breath, fighting a twinge that made no sense because he was right. I had guessed that about him.
“Good,” I replied in a steady voice. “I was worried that you’d turn into one of those obsessed, emo movie vampires, and that would be embarrassing for both of us.”
His laughter rang out before changing into something rougher and infinitely more sensual. Emerald overtook his gaze once again.
“Enough talk,” he muttered, and lowered his head.
The Night Prince Series:
1. Once Burned
FTC Advisory: HarperCollins/Avon Romance provided me with a copy of Once Burned. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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