In keeping with my pledge to read more debut fiction this year, I offer to you Bonded by Blood by debut author Laurie London. (HQN Books- pub date 1-25-11)
Marketing Copy-Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors. Now Guardian team leader Dominic Serrano will be forced to choose between the vengeance he craves and the woman he can’t live without…
Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she’s cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations— vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.
For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her…
The basic premise is that there are good vampires (the Guardians) and bad vampires (the Darkbloods). Our hero is a Guardian who discovers that our heroine is a Sweetblood...from a genetic line of humans whose blood is addictive and irresistible to vampires. All Mackenzie knows is that her family has a bad habit of disappearing--and dying young.
There is a lot to like in this book. The action is there, Mankenzie is vulnerable without being helpless and I enjoyed the twists and turns that were thrown at me along the way.
Laurie London does a good job painting with details. Her sense of place is impeccable-- when she describes her settings you feel immersed without getting the "clunked on the head" sensation that a writer with less skill might give you.
That said, this book is not without fault. The hero, Dom, must have volunteered to be part of a bad hypnotists show because he gets a boner every time the phone rings- or the wind blows- or the heroine touches him, or looks at him or he thinks about her looking at him. Again-- we could have a drinking game.
Also, this is the first in a series-- and it couldn't be more obvious. Many of the characters show up seemingly just to say they have been there. One character spends the first half of the novel being "the person who gives backstory that the reader otherwise wouldn't get" ( seriously. She even does a power point) Then for the second half of the book she gets to be "Look. There's more to me than meets the eye! Wouldn't it be crazy if I got my own book! Coming soon, book 2!!!!)
The sex is....well it is hard to say. Some was very good and the back story on the Makenzie is that she can't have kids so NOOOO baby talk (YAY!) But then there would be a little something here and there that would throw me for a loop. At one point she's sucking his cock and then she kisses him. He says something like-" I love the taste of me on you."
Took me right out of the story. I'm no prude. I'm all for M/M, F/M/M, F/F/M-- basically anything short of children or livestock* I'm okay with. But for some reason the notion of him reveling in his own juicy flavor-- no thanks. And I know I've read it the other way ( female commenting to male the same thing) and I had no problem with it-- It is a double standard. I'm a hypocrite. I'm okay with that.
I think that this is a series that will get better with time. All the elements are there, but she seems to be trying too hard to be smexy. If she focuses on the characters and what they are doing she will be great.
* And by livestock I mean all manners of animals-- unless, of course, they spend at least 51% of their lives in a human body
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