Friday, February 24, 2012

In the Service of the King by Laura Kaye

Kael, Warrior King of the Vampires, loathes the Night of the Proffering. He needs the blood of either his mate or a human virgin to maintain his strength, but hasn't enjoyed the ritual since he lost his mate centuries ago. Kael doesn't want a new companion, yet his resolve is tested when he lays eyes on his new offering, Shayla McKinnon. He is drawn to Shayla's beauty and poise...and the submission she offers. She is eager to give him anything he wishes, including her innocence, to please him. Will Kael give in to their overwhelming desire—even if it means risking Shayla's life?

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**Warning - this review contains mild to moderate spoilers**

To call this book steamy is a bit of an understatement, though to my mind at least, it stops short of being full out erotica. This is primarily because while there is some very hot sex in here, the heat comes as much or more from the force of Shayla and Kael's attraction to one another. The sexual tension between them ignites practically from their first glimpse of one another, and only continues to grow, with the eventual consummation of their passion only stoking the flames into an inferno.

The book is fairly short, and as such, the character development is a bit limited, but still the characters all stand out as individuals. We likely only get to learn the most essential elements of their characters, but still, it seems enough to understand them and to keep from seeing them as mere stereotypes. That said, with what we learn of Kael at the first, his decision to finally let go of his fears regarding taking another mate seems to be made almost too easily. Yes, he resists, even goes so far as to send Shayla away briefly, but he relents fairly quickly after only a brief talk with (or talking to from) his "brother" Liam and calls her back. The rest, as they say, is history.

This book gives us a glimpse into a world that appears well thought out and developed. We get a real sense of the difficulties Kael and his warriors face, of the dangers that threaten them far too constantly. The focus remains firmly on Kael and Shayla coming together as mates, however, showing only the events of a couple nights - a joyous interlude in an ongoing war. In keeping the story so tightly focused, the author is better able to let her story of the coming together of these two lovers come alive far moreso than if she had tried to bring the war and the dangers more directly into the events here. I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, satifying romantic read, especially if you're looking for a heaping dose of steam as well.

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