Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
Leila's psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn't sure what the future holds. If that weren't enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she's also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won't admit that he loves her.
Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity...
Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.
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This book sees Vlad and Leila's relationship tested as well as solidified. Also tested are the loyalties of several of Vlad's top men and closest friends. Some pass the test, some don't, but what's clear almost from the beginning that things will never quite be the same again in Vlad's household. For many, the changes they go through make them stronger, and this newfound strength is at times to be seen in unexpected places. Others, however, seem to diminish in character, and rarely is it easy to tell who can and cannot be trusted. By the end, answers to some questions that lingered at the end of the first book have been found, but those answers mostly just give rise to new questions.
Leila seems to be quickly becoming an old hat at making difficult decisions, starting with having to decide whether or not she can remain with Vlad when it seems increasingly clear that he isn't going to give her any more of a commitment than he has thusfar and will continue to be emotionally unavailable as they say. A disastrous misunderstanding eventually makes her decision for her and she ends up traveling back to Florida to try to pick up the threads of her old life once again. But as the saying goes, you can't go home again, and Leila quickly discovers that she won't be able to pick up where she left off when she was so rudely abducted in the first book. She's not the same person she was before, but this is mostly all for the good as it helps her keep her wits about her when she becomes an unintentional danger to herself, let alone to others. While she stumbles a time or two along the way as is to be expected given her youth and relative inexperience at swimming with sharks so to speak, she mostly manages to make the right decisions when it matters the most.
Vlad is somewhat surprising in this book, but then again, not really. He had seemed to almost be turning a bit soft in the first book, tempering his usual swift and vicious paybacks to a degree that was sometimes surprising. He's back to his old ruthless form here, but at the same time manages to find a way to open up more regarding his emotions, at least to Leila. What is surprising is that his declarations to her are at times made in public, something that the old Vlad would never have done. In typical Vlad form though he often manages to find a way to be truly frightening at the same time as he's admitting to certain (so-called) weaknesses. He becomes even more permissive with Leila in some ways, but more and more there is a "catch" to it. He shows that he's willing to cede to her on some points, but increasingly requires with implacable resolve that she likewise cede to him on another.
As is likely obvious from my comments above, their relationship is more tumultuous than ever in this book. And yet, it's obvious from the start that these are exactly the sorts of growing pains the relationship needs to go through. It's also even more obvious that Leila is the perfect mate for Vlad because he needs someone who can and will stand up to him the way she does. He would never be able to respect, let alone fall in love with, a woman that he could dominate and order around the way he does everyone else save for a very select few. They do seem to have found some sort of workable equilibrium between them by the end, though it is far from a stable one just yet and I've little doubt that things between them will continue to be stormy for awhile to come. But then what do you expect when fire and lightning come together?
Yet again in this series and universe I have nothing but glowing recommendations for this book. Definitely read the first book before reading this one, however, for you really do need the understanding of the characters you gain in the first book to fully understand and appreciate some of the subtleties in this one. 5 solid stars.