Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Carson Locke is starving. After the murder of his family, he went on the run and he’s been without blood for ten days. For a vampire, that’s ten days too long. But Carson is a Tabula Rosa vampire and he knows he can never drink straight from a person. It would wipe their memory clean, leaving that person a shell of their former self. With no money, no other way to feed, and on the verge of death, Carson breaks into the blood depository—a crime that is punishable by death—and is caught red handed.
Commander Lincoln Samuels is called to the scene and immediately saves Carson from certain death. He takes Carson back to headquarters where he gets the medical attention he needs, but Carson isn’t healing well and Lincoln’s blood might be the one thing that can save him. Lincoln is a Sanatore vampire, and his blood has healing properties. But when Carson is given Lincoln’s blood, a bond forms between them, linking them together as mates.
Carson is scared and broken and clings to Lincoln as a lifeline. Carson begins to heal both physically and mentally, but Lincoln struggles with the bond. He was bonded once before and it didn’t end well. Just as they are beginning to sort themselves out, they realize that Lincoln’s blood also changed Carson into something else, something more powerful than the world has ever seen. A shaman named Jameson Merrick explains that Carson is meant to reunite the vampire world, to save it from corruption, and that this change was foretold long before Carson’s birth.
But Carson’s power is growing, and the higher ups in the NVJ—New Vampire Justice—think he needs to be put down. With the help of the doctor who treated Carson, and Tommy who is a commander in a neighboring office, Lincoln gets Carson out of headquarters and they go on the run. But Jameson shows up again, informing them that those they care about are being held, and that only Carson can save them. When the true villain is revealed, it becomes clear that Carson would be no more than a weapon, used to gain power. With the fate of the world in the balance, Carson has to step up and make some hugely difficult choices. He just may have to sacrifice Lincoln or himself to save the world.
I love a good vampire story, and this book certainly fits the bill. This is a story filled with well-crafted world building. Vampire are essentially human: they breathe, they have heartbeats, and they eat. The only difference is their need for blood and that some vampires have particular powers. Wallace lays everything out for us in a great way, letting us have the information we need as we need it. It never felt like an info dump, or that information was popping up out of nowhere. I was immersed in the world from the very beginning, and truly enjoyed the story the author crafted.
Carson has lived a sheltered life. Because of what he is, he’s been protected. He’s twenty-three years old and, until his family was murdered, he’d never left the compound that was his home, except for one horrific kindnapping where he was force to bite the boy he loved, therefore erasing his memory. That has haunted Carson and he’s never moved past it. He’s hurting inside and desperate when we meet him. Wallace does an amazing job portraying Carson’s emotions, and I felt for him from word one. He just wants to feel safe again and Lincoln provides that. Even before the bond forms, Carson is drawn to Lincoln, just as Lincoln is drawn to Carson. I like that we could see that, because it gave a more real feeling than if it was just the bond drawing them together.
Lincoln was bonded once before, and his ended horribly. Because of that, Lincoln doesn’t form attachments anymore. His sexual experiences are a string of one night stands, and though he has good friends, he never really lets people in. And because of his experience in the past, he’s reluctant to give his blood to help save Carson. I completely understood this, and I also understood why in the end he donated his blood. Lincoln is a stand-up guy who does what is right. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and doesn’t let emotion rule. I really liked this guy and thought he was a well-drawn character. He had all the qualities that one likes to see in a commander, but he also had layers that made him feel believable.
There’s a lot going on in this story, but Wallace does an excellent job of building the suspense and intrigue as the plot progresses. Each new twist and turn felt organic, and I really appreciate a story that does that. I never felt like anything showed up out of the blue, and that could have easily happened here. Thankfully it didn’t.
Where I had trouble though, was with the insta-love between Lincoln and Carson. It was easy to see their connection, and once they were bonded, I was able to take that leap with them into needing each other. But the love declarations came too soon, and that was harder to believe. Time was a bit of a slippery thing in this story. It seemed like it happened over a matter of days, even though there was a throwaway line or two about it being longer. It didn’t feel like that while reading though, and that made it harder for me to accept what they had was love instead of want, need, and lust.
I have to say, though, that I enjoyed this story a great deal. It’s the first of a series, and the author does a really good job of tying up all the plot lines he wove throughout this story. The ending of the book is a clear new beginning. I’ll definitely be picking up the next one. I want to know what happens next. And if you like vampire stories with an interesting twist, I recommend Dare To Love Forever.