"Once Burned" is Jeaniene Frost's first novel in the Night Prince novels. This is her second spin-off series based on her wildly popular Night Huntress series.
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all--but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him - a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.
I think most of us Night Huntress fans can agree that we have long been awaiting Vlad's book. He's one of those dark, mysterious characters that just begs you to find out more about him. Vlad is one of the most deadly and ruthless vampires and yet we got to see a little of his softer side with Cat in previous books. While we didn't get quite as much of his wry humor I was looking forward to, it was still there. Sometimes just with a cleverly placed smirk but it was there.
While this is a spin-off, it can most certainly be read as it's own series. There are references and an appearance or two from some of the old characters and while this was fun for me (as a huge Cat and Bones fan), it certainly wouldn't take away from anyone who hasn't read that series.
Leila starts off a little like our typical heroine in distress, but quickly grows into much more. We start out with her trying to hide her powers into what Vlad helps her become... and no it's probably not what you might be thinking. I like that this wasn't a love at first site relationship as well. I certainly would have thought less of Leila if she could have felt that way knowing how ruthless Vlad is and what he's capable of. The same could be said for Vlad. He didn't become this cold, calculated killer without a reason and it would have been rather unbelievable if he immediately fell in love with her.
This is certainly more of an urban fantasy than a paranormal romance, with lots of action and a riveting story line. Don't get me wrong, there's some romantic scenes as well but that's not the only focus of the book. I love that Jeanine Frost can write these amazing books that you might read for the romance but care about the suspense and action part of it just as much. I had a hard time setting this one down to go to bed. It was a great book and I'm looking forward to the next one! If Vlad and Leila continue at this rate they just might give Cat and Bones a run for their money.
Shhh... Don't tell Bones I said that last line ;)