Author: Laurie London
Plot Type: SMR
The primary villain is the DB's Seattle area sector mistress, Ventra Capelli, whom we met in the previous book. Ventra is a strong but rage-filled woman who is determined to prove her value to the Alliance bigwigs and work her way up to a position of greater power. Ventra played a role in the disastrous Xtark debacle that climaxed the previous book, and the Alliance holds her responsible for Xtark's destruction. Ventra has to show them that she can handle the leadership of the Seattle sector, so she goes all out in her plans to take down the Guardians.
This, for me, is one of the better books so far in the series. The protagonists are both smart and tough, but they're also vulnerable because of the pain of past events in their lives. Their love affair, though rocky, has lots of sexual tension and it moves along without having them drown themselves in emotional waves. The only eye-rolling part of their relationship is the ease at which Roxie uses massage, aromatherapy, and New Age music to change Santiago from a raging bull into Ferdinand the Bull. Click HERE to read an excerpt.
In the series opener, Mackenzie Foster-Shaw is a Seattle artist and professional photographer who stumbles on an injured vampire in an isolated country cemetery. That vampire is Dominic Serrano, who was injured in a fight with some DBs. As it turns out, Mackenzie is a Sweetblood, so when she tries to help the injured Dom, her blood is so intoxicating that he can’t stop himself from biting her. That incident sets the story in motion. Dom is a Guardian who works for the Agency, which is the legal arm of the Governing Council for the vampires. The Guardians are warriors who patrol the streets to keep the DBs in check.
Mackenzie’s family has had a tragic past. Many of her family members, including her father and some cousins, have disappeared without a trace, and she fears that she will be next. Although the focus of the plot is on the romantic relationship that develops between Mackenzie and Dom, there is also a story line about the search for the DBs who are kidnapping Sweetbloods, led by the villainous Pavlos, who murdered Dom’s parents, and Dom’s black-sheep brother Alfonso, who became addicted to Sweet and joined the DBs.
In this novella, former Army Ranger Finn McKentry is captured by a DB and forced to become a blood slave. Brenna Stewart is a vampire who wants to be a doctor. Bren and Finn dated in the past, and each cannot forget the other. Brenna had to break it off because Finn's sweetblood was too intoxicating and she was afraid she would kill him. Now, Brenna discovers Finn's dangerous situation and must try to free him. But what if he finds out that she is a vampire? Will he still love her? As of 3/12, this novella is available free from Harlequin. Click HERE to go to that web page for a download.
As the story opens, Guardian Lily DeGraff is worried that her tracking powers are diminishing. She can't seem to catch scents the way she used to, and she's afraid to admit that to her superiors. Meanwhile, Alfonso Serrano is back in town, and he's on the run from the Darkblood Alliance, which has sent an assassin to kill him and his loved ones. When the local DB leader kidnaps Kip, Lily's trainee tracker, Alfonso goes along on the rescue mission as Lily's partner. Strangely, Lily's powers seem to get stronger when she is with Alfonso, and Alonso develops new and stronger powers of his own. Hmmm...could that mean that they are Enlazado por la Sangre (bound through blood)?
The two have had a long and painful history. They were an off-and-on couple for many years while Alfonso was undercover within the Alliance, until Lily was led to believe that Alfonso had died in a fire. In reality, Alfonso was in hiding from the Alliance and was afraid that if he contacted Lily, the Alliance would kill her, too. A year ago, he told Lily that he didn't love her any more and has stayed away from her every since to keep her safe. (Honestly, are you as tired as I am of these macho paranormal alphas who are always making painful relationship decisions without explaining themselves to their true loves?) Needless to say, their lust explodes once again, and they must deal with the consequences. Other causes for angst for Alfonso are his estrangement from his brother, Dominic, and his guilt over his part in his parents' murders. Because Lily is the star of this book, she is presented as a very serious character and we don't get nearly as much humor from her as we did in the previous book. In fact, this book has hardly any humor at all—I'd rate it as a 1 or 2. Click HERE to read an excerpt.
This is my least favorite book of the series so far, primarily because the story line is one that has been over-used in many other series to the point that it is entirely predictable, from the identity of the human traitor (which is crystal clear about 1/4 of the way into the story) to the TSTL moment when the heroine goes off alone and gets captured by the bad guys. You know what's coming and you know how it will end. So...I'm hoping that the next book will take a fresher approach. Click HERE to read an excerpt.