I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Nightlife #2
Published by Independent on February 23, 2013
Genres: Erotica, Fantasy
Vampires, Aaron Pilan and his master Michelle, live by one rule - no bloodslaves. EVER. Aaron breaks that rule when he meets Anastasia. All Anastasia wants is to be loved and cherished, but the predatory men she’s attracted to bring her only pain and abuse. Escaping one train-wreck relationship for another, she finds happiness with Aaron and Michelle as a bloodslave, a 'pet'.
When Aaron uses his telepathy to win thousands at the gambling tables, he attracts the deadly attention of the Colombian Cartel and Aaron and Michelle are 'disappeared'. Addicted to the bite of her vampire lovers, Ana is desperate to find them. But, Las Vegas isn't ready for vampires mixing heroin, sex and vengeance. Ana is trapped in the spiraling chaos.
Find out what happens in the second novel of the Nightlife Series.
My Initial Reaction…
I had mixed feelings about picking up Las Vegas after the conclusion of New York and as it turns out, I probably should have trusted my gut. The series has just become too brutal for me.
The characters were a particularly disappointing note for me in Las Vegas, since so much of what I’d liked about both Aaron and Michelle in New York disappeared in this book. Aaron had been this very caring, almost gentle soul. There was so much about him that showed how he cared for other people. This was all but gone in Las Vegas. I was worried that this might happen because of the events of the last book, but underestimated how much it would bother me. At some level, I think I was supposed to believe that he loved and truly cared for Anastasia – his new “pet” – but the very fact that he took her as a pet in the first place exposed how untrue that was. Being inside his mind wasn’t the same as it had been and I found a predator who looked at humans only as play things instead of a vampire who truly wanted to use his skills to treat people well.
Michelle, too, changed. Not to the extent that Aaron did – since we saw a bit of her viciousness in New York – but she’d had a conscience before and I felt like it completely disappeared in Las Vegas. The woman who’d once been so careful and scolded Aaron so harshly for making the mistake of drinking too long now seemed to have no real qualms about taking on a pet. Yes, she – like Aaron – cared for Anastasia, but again it felt very superficial.
Anastasia (or Ana), as a whole was a very flat character for me. She was brutalized as a child and basically turned into your stereotypical victim. There was such potential in her – not only in her background, but also in her being a gypsy with supernatural abilities, that just wasn’t developed. I mean we heard she had the abilities at the beginning and then nothing really becomes of it, as she becomes nothing more than a cherished sex slave. One of the most interesting elements presented in New York was the idea of a blood slave – which Ana becomes – and that also just fell kind of flat for me. Being a blood slave basically was nothing more than being a drug addict, but your drug is vampire venom and sex.
Ok, so I’ve just been really harsh about the characters – so why am I giving this two stars? Because of the story and the way it lived up to expectations for an erotica. First of all, the sex was mostly really good. There were points where it crossed over from sexy to way too brutal and savage for me – the lines between erotic rough sex and violence got a bit too blurred for me. And I really don’t have any taste for sexual punishment or brutality (I’m not talking consensual D/s, but actual sexual brutality), even if it seems “justified” (I guess in my book it’s NEVER justified…). But when we were safely within those lines, I found the sex scenes fairly enjoyable. Adding Anastasia to the mix did create some, uh, interesting scenarios.
There was an actual plot too – which sometimes there isn’t in an erotica. Aaron used his mind reading abilities to gamble VERY successfully and put them on the wrong people’s radar. Enter violence, drugs, and of course more sex. Most the plot was pretty predictable and obvious, but there were a couple of surprises – partly because I didn’t see things going that way and partly because I just don’t think quite that viciously. It got pretty graphically violent at points.
Unfortunately this will be it for me and this series. I have a pretty high threshold – IMO – for gore and violence, but it just didn’t work for me in Las Vegas.