Series: Love at Stake #15
Published by Avon on April 29th 2014
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Vampire Zoltan Czakvar is on the hunt for the truth about his father’s death. He’s been searching for a very long time—since 1241, in fact. And he is not about to give up, even when he’s attacked by a woman with striking blue eyes and a hell of a right hook!
Neona is also on the hunt. She’s looking for a mate, and she thinks muscled Zoltan will work just fine. After all, men are good for only one thing. Soon, though, she realizes there’s more to this handsome vampire than just sexual prowess. But she’s keeping a secret from Zoltan, something so big that it will rock the vampire world.
Can their new found love survive . . . even if their passion means the destruction of her world?
Zoltan Czakvar has been a vampire and Coven Master for over 800 years, and his day to day has become so routine…meetings, castle tours. The only excitement in his life right now is Howard’s wife, Elsa and her crew are renovating some of the more rundown areas of his castle in Transylvania.
Even though he has always known about vampires (it is Transylvania, after all), Zoltan never aspired to become one. It was only after his mother died, and his father was killed, that Zoltan sought out his sire. He needed to find who had killed his father, but after years of searching, he hadn’t found any answers and he needed to stay strong, young and healthy until he had some answers. That was in 1241. Zoltan is pretty sure whoever the assassin was is long dead, but he still stares at the arrow on his wall and dreams he would someday find an answer.
When Russell shows up at Zoltan’s castle carrying an arrow that has the same markings on it, Zoltan follows Russell back to Asia. But Tibet was the last place, he expected to find his father’s killer. Zoltan spent his time searching most of eastern Europe, but never expected someone to come halfway around the world to kill a man in Transylvania.
What he finds in the small village in the hidden valley in the Himalaya creates more questions than answers, including why do some of these warriors have the ability to talk to animals just like Zoltan and his mother could. This small group of warrior women are protecting some secret. Something important enough to kill anyone getting close enough to their valley to protect. When Zoltan tries to approach Neoma outside of the village walls to get some answers, she attacks him, but not with plans to kill him…at least not right away. Neoma wants Zoltan to father a child for her, and then she promises to release him after he gets the job done. As a vampire, Zoltan can’t father children, but he is not sure that this is a good time to mention that little bit of information. Not if he wants to live another day.
And Zoltan needs to survive if he wants to solve the mystery of what these women are protecting and what they had to do with his father’s death. As Zoltan starts to lose his heart to Neoma, he is begins to fear that she might have had been responsible for his father’s death…800 years ago.
I can’t explain to you how much it pains me to say bad things about one of my favorite authors, but I didn’t like this story at all. I read several glowing reviews of the story so maybe it is just me. Once I thought about the series, I find that the stories I don’t like as much involved other mythical creatures rather than just the vampire/human, vampire/shifter and shifter/human romances. Among my non-favorites are Connor’s story with the fallen death angel; Howard’s story and although I like Elsa’s job on the renovation show, I wasn’t into her and the Aunt’s and their mystical powers, and now Zoltan and his warrior girlfriend.
Things I found distracting about the story included the fact that although Neoma was taught English at some point in her life, it has been decades since she spoke English with anyone, and yet she had no problem jumping right into a conversation with Zoltan. Plus, she was born and lived in this hidden valley for a long, long time, but she had no problem following slang and not being freaked out by Zoltan’s sat phone, etc. They still cook over an open fire in a single clay pot but she didn’t question him making a phone call? I know that I am reading a vampire book, but characters and the story plot need to be conceivable within the world she created.
Without ruining the plot for anyone, I was bothered by a big “what comes first: the chicken or the egg” problem with the story plot and the ending leaves some big questions for the future of the series.
So after weeks holding onto my ARC copy until this popped to the top of my TBR list, I was so disappointed in this story. So after I have a good cry for saying mean things about Kerrelyn Sparks’ hard work, and I am going to sneak in a re-read of Roman’s or Gregori’s story (my favorites) to remind myself why I like this series so much.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
He eyed the woman. She was sitting quietly beside him, biting her lip. Nervous. That was a good sign. He didn’t want to think that she did this sort of thing often. “Did I hear you correctly? You want my seed?”
Her cheeks flushed slightly, but she looked him in the eye. “Yes.”
“Was this your plan all along? Knock me out, tie me up, and rape me?”
She winced. “It’s not rape.”
“What else would you call it when you forcibly plan to take my seed?”
“I figured you would be willing.”
“To be raped?”
She grimaced. “It’s not rape as long as you agree.”
“What if I don’t agree?”
She looked dumbfounded for a moment. “I thought men always were agreeable.”
His hands fisted tightly around the rope as an unexpected surge of anger skittered through him. How many agreeable men had she found over the years? Probably plenty. What red-blooded male wouldn’t agree to letting a beautiful woman ravish him in the woods? Dammit.
He took a deep breath. Stay in control. “Before I can consider your offer, I have to know exactly what you expect of me.”
Her gaze drifted to his groin. “I thought it was obvious.”
“On the contrary, there are numerous issues that must be addressed.” Thankfully, her gaze returned to his face. He didn’t want her to notice the growing bulge in his pants.
She frowned. “Issues?”
“Yes. For instance, how long will I be required to performed? Will I receive compensation for any injuries incurred during the act?”
Her eyes widened. “Injuries?”
“It happens. I’ve been known to get terribly wild. Fortunately, you appear to be in excellent health, so you should survive the ordeal. Do you mind signing a waiver?” He enjoyed the growing expression of horror on her face. “Which position do you want to use? Or do you prefer multiple positions? How many times to you wish to climax?”
Her mouth dropped open. Then she shook herself and glared at him. “Ten.”
He blinked. Was she calling his bluff? “Ten what? Positions or climaxes?”
She hesitated a second, then lifted her chin. “Both.”
He stifled a laugh. She wasn’t letting him get the better of her.
Jerk, the leopard grumbled. Stop playing cat and mouse with her.
Zoltan glanced up and spotted the cat lounging on the branch of a nearby oak tree. You were supposed to leave.
It thumped its tail on the branch. I’ll leave when I feel like it.
Does she jump men like this every night? Zoltan asked.
What do you think? The leopard narrowed its eyes. Look who’s jealous now.
I’m not— Was he? Zoltan pushed that thought aside and turned back to the woman. “Are you sure you can handle ten climaxes?”
She shrugged. “Are you sure you can deliver?”
He smiled, enjoying the way she stood up to him. “I’ll do my best. But it might take an hour or so, depending on–“
“Oh, no!” We must be quicker than that. No more than five minutes at the most. In fact, we had better start right away before Freddie and the others find us.”
Another jab of anger shot through him. “Freddy? Who the hell is he?”
“Not tied to a tree, is he? Was he last night’s five-minute conquest?”
Her mouth dropped open.
How jealous can you get? The leopard eyed him with disdain.
I’m not! Shit. He was. Jealous of the unknown lovers of a woman he’d barely met. He must be going insane.
This book jumped the shark. I’ve enjoyed her series, but this one was too much WTF-ery. I’m done.
I’m not ready to leave yet but I was so disappointed. Glad I wasn’t the only one. So many glowing reviews I thought I missed something.
I get that I have to suspect belief with a paranormal but I think in this case it’s because she’s spun out of control with her world building. It seems like she’s adding in on a whim whatever is catching her interest – vampires, angels, demons, superhumans, dragons, were-creatures, eternal youth/life. But it doesn’t fit the world that she carefully built in the first few books. By the time the story got to the dragons, I was just rolling my eyes. Dragons that everyone seemed to know about. Worst kept secret ever, apparently.