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 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.
Like many of you, I'm one of those crazy obsessed fans of the Night Huntress series - it's something that I practically live on on these last few years, especially when it comes to literature. I mean, we're talking about Cat and Bones here people! How can you not have read at least one book of Jeaniene Frost's . . . she's like an urban legend in adult paranormal romance and an author who gives you winner after winner with her books along with some unbelievably sexy and complicated vampires! And like with the infamous characters, Cat and Bones, I've also been a big fan of the character Vlad and ever since I found out the author was going to give us the full story on him - a whole book all to himself - I just couldn't resist reading it and Frost sure doesn't disappoint us!
Before meeting Vlad once more, in ONCE BURNED we are quickly introduced to the new and totally kickass heroine, Leila. As a teenager, she touched a downed power-line which had electrocuted her and as a result she woke up to find a nasty scar on her temple that ran straight down to her right hand. Only . . . that's not all she finds. In fact, when she touches someone or an object with that right hand, she can not only read a person's worst sins, see impressions of people in the past and/or future, and heck, even see which object belong to whom, but she can also send volts of electricity through people within a single touch and some can even be killed by it. Living with these dangerous abilities of hers, Leila cannot help but not live a normal life nor form any sort of intimate relationships with people, which then forces her to travel with a circus, performing as a sideshow act that puts her acrobat skills and her "looks" to good use. But when someone begins to notices her abilities and sees potential in them, Leila is kidnapped by a group of men - vampires no less! - and she soon crosses paths (accidentally of course) with the great and powerful vampire named Vlad Tepesh (the Dracula himself) who comes to her rescue but with a price in tow. The question is . . . will Leila be able to pay up?
This book totally rocked for me - everything from the action, the romance, the emotion, the despair and the raw intensity was nailed in every single shape and form in this book! Sure, it wasn't as EPIC as I found the Night Huntress series to be, but it still had just enough elements to get excited on this new adult paranormal series and I can't wait for the bloody next sequel! Like with all of Jeaniene Frost's books, ONCE BURNED starts off very strong and keeps up the pace until the very end, until we are left with our mouths wide open. In all honesty, the only thing that really affected my overall rating would be that I needed or rather wanted some of Vlad's own perspective in some of the chapters, even little ones. I do realize that Leila was the main character that we would be focusing on, but since this series is all about Vlad and as we get to see a completely new side to him, I just 'kind of' wanted to see inside his head for once, but I guess that's part of the mystery and the allure of him, right? Other than that, I simply loved this book!
What I also loved was Leila herself. She was such a great heroine. Personally, I like my heroines who are tough as nails in protecting themselves and have an attitude, while also having that small vulnerability about them which the love interest or those closest to those heroines end up bringing out to the main character as the book goes along. I just love those types of gals and Leila was so that from the start for me. Both sometimes-frustrating and sometimes-just-completely-adorable, Leila was someone whom had suffered from many terrible things in her teenage years - including having a not-so-great family life and not to mention possessing uncontrollable powers that continue to help in closing herself off from the world - and in the end I enjoyed seeing into that life of Leila's and learning how to become a great woman that she is destined to become.
Then of course there's the leading man himself, Vlad! Known for being the comic relief of the Night Huntress series (which we're all aware of from the previous series), fans will be quite surprised when they get to see a completely new side to Vlad in ONCE BURNED. Now unlike the Vlad we know him well for, he is pretty serious in this new series of his, especially when it comes to people wanting to kill him and his new love interest, Leila, whose chemistry is just off the hotness charts! Seriously . . . it was! Some say they'd preferred the banter-throwing Vlad and missed him as that, but to me he's still there people cracking a few one-liners here and there, and truth be told I actually liked this serious Vlad. It just radiated his powerful vampireness and it only showed to us readers what lengths he is willing to go in order to protect himself and those he cares most about . . . after all he's supposed to be the Impaler himself! And as far as his romantic relationship goes, with none other than Leila, even though he stated that he doesn't and will never actually love someone as love was lost to him long ago, however whenever he is with Leila . . . it's fair to say that they are the perfect match and test each other on so many levels, and boy oh boy . . . do I love them together! They are so sweet and complicated! Vlad is your typical protective Alpha male character and Leila is your strong-willed woman who is used to closing herself off from others. Seriously . . . I want more from these two characters!
Overall, ONCE BURNED is yet another delicious vampire tale coming from one of my absolute favourite authors Jeaniene Frost! I still can't believe I have to wait until 2013 to see where else Vlad and Leila takes us to next! 2013?!?!?!
4 1/2 / 5 stars