Jess's Reviews > Once Burned

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
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's review
Jun 22, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: for_review, paranormal
Read from June 15 to 16, 2012

Review posted: Happily Ever After - Reads
Blog rating: 4.5/5

…“Vlad Tepesh, former voivode of Wallachia and the most arrogant, deadly, frightening man I’ve ever met.”

His lips curled with disdainful amusement. “Compliments won’t sway me any more than the word please, Leila.”

“You take those as compliments?” Gretchen was incredulous.

“Of course.” His smile bared his fangs. “She named all of my best qualities.”

Leila’s leading a very solitary, lonely life, as a circus performer. I mean really, how can you not smile and like her a little bit right off the bat? After a childhood accident resulted in her being electrocuted, she’s now able to zap people with electricity, whether she wants to or not. Also, with one touch she can sense a person’s past, find them in the present or sometimes see their future. These freaky gifts haven’t allowed her to get close to too many people. Her best friend and father figure, Marty, a vampire, is her partner in the circus and her closest friend. After one incident that forced her to use her abilities outside the cover of being a circus performer, her abilities get out to the public and she’s captured by a group of vampires wanting to use her gift (or curse) of touch to find a very powerful vampire. She inadvertently connects mentally to the vampire while touching an object of his, and it’s her first introduction to Vlad.

Vlad helps her escape and keeps her with him in order to figure out who sent these vamps after her in order to locate him. The book centers around this search and takes place primarily at Vlad’s home in Romania. We’re introduced to the people in Vlad’s inner circle, which consists almost solely of his staff. He doesn’t keep close friends, Cat and Mencheres are probably his closest and he is completely and utterly arrogant A badass. Ruthless. Unapologetic. And the best part, he doesn’t change one bit from page 1 until the end. I loved that.

I found Leila as a heroine to be so charming. She starts the story with this curse of an ability that put her in the “freak” category when she was growing up, including a long scar from her face down one arm. She never got close to anyone, she’s on the outs with her family, and living and working with the other performers is the only place she feels somewhat accepted. She’s avoided touching people for most of her life, but Vlad doesn’t hear of that. He wants her touch, demands it and makes his home more “touch” friendly for her while she stays with him during their time together. She stands up to Vlad, even though she acknowledges how stupid that is, but she can’t help it. Their conversations when they’re mentally linked had me laughing, along with the fact that Vlad didn’t hide the fact that he constantly read her mind. Leila has no thought filter and I was smiling throughout at not only her thought process but knowing that Vlad was hearing it all too, since most of her thoughts were sarcastic and about him. I liked seeing her progression from not accepting what her touch can do to fully embracing it and even learning what can enhance it.

Vlad. What a sexy man. For as much as I liked Leila’s growth throughout the book, on the flip side, I liked how Vlad’s personality didn’t change. He wanted Leila, and in some ways he softened a little where she was concerned, but if someone needed impaling, then, they got impaled. He made no apologies for how he lived and his actions. He does what he needs to do to keep the fear of him in people. But I will say, the reason my rating is 4.5 and not 5 is because I still don’t feel like we know Vlad. It makes sense in a way because he’s a man not to be messed with and he won’t give out any information to anyone. Period. What we do learn about him is mainly through Leila and the objects of Vlad’s she touches. We get glimpses of his past, his most devastating moment, bits and flashes from people he’s murdered, but we don’t know him. I hope that’s one focus in book 2, Vlad on a more personal level…if that’s even possible.

He stalked over, his eyes glowing with emerald highlights. Now that I got my first look at him, I saw that his cuffs were undone and the top buttons of his black shirt open, the V of hard flesh entrapping my gaze even as I backed away. The most I’d seen of his skin before was when he rolled up his sleeve to give me his blood. I found myself wondering if his chest had the same crisp dusting of hair as his arms, or if the hint of darkness I glimpsed was from the firelight’s shifting shadows.

His teeth bared in something too predatory to be called a smile. “You’ll soon find out.”

I stretched out my hands as if to ward him off. “Not yet. I want to know what your end game is first.”

Another flash of teeth, this time showing his fangs. “To have you screaming my name within the hour.”

Vlad wants Leila and so he claims her. She doesn’t just fall into bed with him, but he knows it will happen and confidently tells her so. Of course it does and it’s just another small way that Leila starts falling in love with this man. Vlad states flat out that he will never love and even though his shell might be cracking ever so slightly where she’s concerned, the ending is certainly not a happily ever after, yet. Normally, I can’t wait to see the hero fall head over heels for the heroine, and I just don’t see that, or really want that happening here. I think it’s obvious that Vlad cares deeply for Leila, and it’ll be very interesting to see just how far this man falls and if he lets himself go completely in an emotional way for her.

I really enjoyed this opening book to Vlad’s series. I’m glad he’s getting more than one book. I don’t think there’s any way a deep relationship could have been formed and believable in just one story. It’s going to take time for these two to really come together, and I’m all for a nice long set up. It makes their relationship have deeper meaning and leaves me wanting more.
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Reading Progress

06/15/2012 page 1
06/16/2012 page 210
55.0% "Vlad is a badass. Completely!" 5 comments

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Dorsey aka ❤️ Wrath Lover and KA Addict ❤️ GREAT review Jess, I can't wait to read this!!!

Jess Dorsey wrote: "GREAT review Jess, I can't wait to read this!!!"

Thanks :) You'll have to let me know what you think!

Monique ~ Sinfully Great review Jess, thank you for whetting our appetites for Vlads book....I can't wait until the 26th now!!!..only 4 days to go...;D

Jess Yay it's so close now! Vlad will be worth the wait *g*

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