Early Review: Twice Tempted (Night Prince #2) by Jeaniene Frost
*** This review is spoiler free. Read on with confidence! ***
Vladislav Basarab is not an easy man to love nor does he love easily, a situation starkly evident in Twice Tempted.
Ms. Frost takes no pity on her characters, particularly the heroines in first person point of view. That intensity, the feeling that the character just never gets a break, is what made the Night Huntress series so addicting. Well, that and the fact that Cat kicked some serious ass. The Night Huntress World books fell a little short for me, missing the mark with third person point of view and less plot insanity, and I wasn’t wowed by Leila in Once Burned. I’m not sure if it was the circus aspect or the fact that her abilities were more defensive than offensive throughout most of it, but in Twice Tempted, she really rises to the occasion. She’s stronger emotionally and psychically, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. Like with Cat, sometimes that comes across as impetuous and bull-headed, but that’s also part off the charm – watching Leila grow as a character and seeing her complicated relationship with Vlad work through all its varied and sometimes completely unexpected landmines.
Vlad himself is back in true form, merciless and cold save for the exceptions he makes for Leila. I’ve loved his character since he first showed up on Bones’ doorstep, annoying the smack talk out of him and charming his woman. It might have been tempting to write Vlad as uncharacteristically outwardly emotional or soften his mojo (har har), but Ms. Frost stays well within character and reaches down deep to give us glimpses of the man we’ve been hoping is entrenched behind all those shields. At first I was a little disappointed that we’re being exposed to more circus storyline, but getting to learn juicy little tidbits about Maximus’s background made it worth the sigh. There are also some rather unexpected turns of events throughout the plot that really keep you glued to the pages.
Vlad is lethal danger, ruthlessness, and determination all burned into a single focus – Leila – and when he turns that energy toward sex, it’s unrelenting and explosive. One of the great things about Jeaniene Frost love scenes is that they can be scorchingly sensual without needing to be explicit or technical. It’s not the where and when that sets the mood, but rather the how and why and what the characters feel. The love scenes in Twice Tempted are masterfully crafted, fierce and soul-deep with wild, animalistic, heated abandon. I’m pretty sure I have a (re)new(ed) crush on the Prince of Darkness.
“Don’t hide for anyone,” he stated, pushing my hair off my shoulder. “Only fools pity survivors their scars and you should never kowtow to fools.”
Vlad was cunning to the point of being a sociopath.
My whole body was drained, but the fight might not be over. Bad guys didn’t stop for time-outs and neither could I.
“I forgive you, but only because you said ‘please.'”Smartass, I thought. Then I groaned at the instant chorus of “Please!” mixed with cries for release from Vlad’s prisoners. No wonder he got so sick of the word.“I’m only merciful to one person a day,” he threw over his shoulder. “As the saying goes, today isn’t your day and tomorrow doesn’t look good, either.”
His hands slid down my arms while he looked at me in a way that made me think of rapturous cries and blood dripping off steel. Possessiveness was so trivial by comparison.
Rating: Twice Tempted