Publication: 29th April 2014
From New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks comes the next adventure in the Love at Stake series, featuring a Master vampire and his love affair with a woman of many secrets . . .
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 newfound love survive . . . even if their passion means the destruction of her world?
I received this ARC from Avon through Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.
Revisiting the universe created by Ms. Sparks was a complete pleasure. I met new characters and spent some time with the old ones and had lots of fun!
The story starts Zoltan and his castle in Transylvania[I’ll touch on that and Romania later *sigh*]. He’s feeling dissatisfied with his life, everything is running together, he works, holds court for the Eastern European Coven, he protects humans from Malcontents and other supernatural threats, but all in all he’s very bored. Imagine his surprise when one of his friends, Russell, comes for supplies and has an arrow that is almost the same as the one that killed his father [that’s why he turned, to solve the mystery]! He tries to convince him to talk, but no luck. Seeing that, Zoltan latches on his arm as he teleports and ends up in Tibet. Without him knowing, that’s where the arrow came from.
He starts investigating, and by sheer luck enters a magical valley run by Amazon-like warriors. They really hate men so they start looking for him. He’s found by Neona and her pet, the snow leopard[I want one!]. They fight and she bests him, dirty tricks were involved :D, and ties him up. She then remembers the conversation had by her friends and decides that she’ll use him to get pregnant[seriously]. That doesn’t go as she wants, after kissing her Zoltan teleports. He milks the leopard for info[he has this cool power of talking with mammals] and decides to return the next night.
One of my favorite scenes happens when he gets home :D
“Where did you go?”
“It’s Friday night. You’re not the only one who had a date.”
Howard scoffed. “You said earlier you didn’t have a girlfriend. And what kind of date leaves you with a bloody wound on your head? If you have an enemy stalking you, I need to know about it. Where the hell were you?”
Zoltan tamped down on his growing frustration. These people weren’t going to leave him alone till he answered. “Fine. I was . . . fighting an Amazon warrior in Tibet.”
Elsa’s eyes widened.
Howard stared at him blankly for a few seconds, then snorted. “No, really. Where were you?”
I liked both characters, they were brave, smart and, most of the time, didn’t make stupid decisions. Neona lost her twin a few weeks back, but that didn’t stop her from questioning her growing attraction and attachment to Zoltan. The author did a great thing showing that they didn’t hook up together because of loneliness, but because they really loved each other. Zoltan, initially, went there to find about his father, but he didn’t jump to stupid conclusions and started accusing her of murder or other atrocities, he actually asked her and believed in her[unlike some other male characters, I wanna murder those].
All in all they meet a couple of times, insta-love insures, her mum kept trying to kill him, he discovered what the women protected, war ensured, some things blew up, fun times :D It was a wonderful addition to the series and I really like how Ms. Sparks introduces new supernaturals. She doesn’t let her world get stale, she keeps it fun and fresh, even though sometimes is a bit repetitive.
PS: The leopard is my favorite character! He’s sneaky and knows how to play nice to get what he wants =)) he cons people to feed him repeatedly and he’s funny.
Addendum: I really wish authors would research before writing inaccuracies: He owned the old castle and surrounding area in Transylvania and a great deal of real estate in Budapest, Hungary, and Sofia, Romania. Bucharest is the capital of Romania, Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital *headdesk* A 1-minute google search would have totally saved the day.