Until Lara Calladine was 8 years old she lived in an ice cave with her great grandfather, two great aunts and her father. Her family life was as cold, if not colder, than the ice she was surrounded by. Her earliest memories were of her father ripping her arm open to drink her blood. Her great grandfather was even more evil and did horrible experiments on her father and killed her mother. Thankfully her aunts were there to give her love, knowledge and the chance to escape. Now, years later, Lara is back to find the cave and try to save her aunts.
Lara’s heritage is a rich one. Her mother and great grandfather were mage. She learned at an early age how to cast simple spells. Her father and aunts are Carpathian. This has kept them alive for centuries and her father from turning into a vampire.
Carpathians are very similar to vampires. Both drink blood to live and stay out of the sunlight. Both sleep in the ground. The biggest difference is Carpathians hunt vampires and kill them yet all vampires started out as Carpathian. Vampires no longer care about humans and their honor is gone.
Nicholas De La Cruz is a centuries old Carpathian. Usually he lives in the Amazon but he has important news to tell the Prince. He has decided that he is tried of fighting and after reporting his news, he will walk into the sun and burn to death, honor in tact. As he goes to enter an inn, he comes in contact with Lara and realizes that he has found his life mate. Thoughts of death are replaced with emotions that Nicholas hasn’t felt in centuries. The first thing out of his mouth is the Carpathian binding ritual, which binds Lara to Nicholas. Lara has no say in this and isn’t too sure she wants much to do with Nicholas.
Nicholas and Lara have many problems to overcome before they can truly be life mates. Lara doesn’t want Nicholas to drink her blood, which would further cement their bond. Lara doesn’t even want to know when he drinks someone else’s blood as it makes her sick. Nicholas wants Lara to obey and trust him in all things and isn’t sure what to do when she exerts her will. He also wants Lara to drink enough of his blood to completely become Carpathian and she’s not having anything to do with that idea!
A problem that the Carpathians as a people are facing is extinction. Their women seem to have problems carrying a pregnancy to term. Babies have major difficulties surviving the first few years and most children that are born are male. Currently, the Prince’s wife and daughter are expecting. Both are having problems keeping the babies from miscarrying. Lara has dim memories that might have the answer but finding the solution may be more than she can endure.
Plus Lara still wants to find and free her great aunts. To do this she must not only find the ice cave she was born into but also not alert her great grandfather that she is there. This ice cave is full of hidden traps and shadow warriors waiting to kill those that they can.
This is another excellent addition to Ms Feehan’s Carpathian series. Though each character must take the same steps in claiming their life mate, each couple does so a bit differently keeping this series interesting and full of life.
All of the characters are brought to life with depth and feeling. Several characters have been in the series since the first book like the Prince while others like Lara are new to it. Still, Ms Feehan is able to give you the feeling that you know each one and would recognize them if you meet them in town. Because you travel with each life mate into their mate’s mind, you get their history and their impressions on everything. When the Prince’s mate, Raven, expresses the wish to follow her unborn child in death, her pain and anguish are realized as is the horror of the other Carpathians who hear it.
The scenes are not described to the smallest detail; you get enough to be able to visualize your surroundings. The ice is described as having blue streaks and clear areas letting you know that all is not white. The ground is rich in minerals with some sparkling in the moonlight. She uses her words well and doesn’t have extras cluttering up the story.
The story is compelling. Lara was mentally and physically abused for her first 8 years, To reenter that world and to help the Carpathians figure out why they have problems with pregnancy, she has to face memories that have been blocked. What comes out is hope, understanding and the will to survive. As a subplot, there is a movement on the male Carpathian’s part to ban the few women who hunt vampires from hunting them. Both sides have strong feelings and views on this issue. Will they be able to come up with a compromise?
Lara Calladine is haunted by childhood memories of being held prisoner in an ice cave and kept sane by the whispered stories told to her by her imprisoned aunts. They instilled mage and Carpathian magic deep within her and then helped her escape. She has spent years searching for the cave in hopes of finding the answers to the riddle of her past as well as finding her aunts who may have given their lives saving her.
Nicolas De La Cruz has returned to the Carpathian Mountains--his homeland--on orders from his eldest brother, Zacarias, to bring news of a conspiracy to the prince of their people. He is weary of his long existence and plans to end it away from his brothers where they will be unable to stop him once he has fulfilled his duty.
Lara and Nicolas paths collide in an explosive adventure that rocks the Carpathian world.
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