Cara Paulsen does not give up easily. A scientist and a single mother, she’s used to doing whatever it takes to protect her daughter. But “Whatever it takes” has never before included a shotgun wedding to a dangerous stranger with an attitude problem…
Sure, the mysterious Talen says that he’s there to protect Cara and her daughter. He also says that he’s a three-hundred-year-old vampire. Of course, the way he touches her, Cara might actually believe he’s had that long to practice…
First, I’m going to take you on an interesting side trip. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this book. I had it on my Amazon Wish List for a while but kept cringing at the thought of paying nearly $9.00 for an e-book. Something about spending more for an electronic book than a standard paperback just seems wrong to me. Anywho, when it came time to pick a book for this week’s blog, I couldn’t decide so I downloaded sample chapters from several, including FATED. I got no further than the first page before I said, “I know this book. I’ve read this before.” Sure enough, as I continued on, the storyline was very familiar to me. I knew without a doubt I had judged the opening of this book in one of many contests throughout the years. That sealed it. I had to read this one. After I was done reading it, I searched my files and found it (it was an electronic entry so it was still on my computer). I’ll admit as a contest judge, I tend to be a bit heavy-handed with the comments and I made a lot on this entry. I noted that the author did a great job with the action and sexual tension but her craft needed work. She used way too many sentence fragments, making the entry very choppy. She would often have a character finally react to something that occurred several paragraphs earlier. She also had a problem with the sequence of events flowing in a natural manner. I made lots of suggestions, even going so far as to rearrange many of her problem sentences for her. Imagine my surprise to discover that she used probably 90% of my suggestions word for word in the published book. Do I think I helped her get it published? Heck no. After all, I only critiqued the first 20 pages. But it warms my heart to know that she trusted my comments enough to use them. It makes the time I put into judging these contests seem worth it. Now, on to my review…
The opening hits the ground running. Craft problems aside, I liked it a lot when I read it as a contest entry, enough that it stuck in my memory. I liked it just as much or maybe more reading it in published form. There’s plenty of action and sexual tension right from the start, which I love. I couldn’t put the book down until I got to chapter 12.
Sagged a bit for me. I’m not sure why Talen and Cara chose to stay with the cougar pride for so long. Sure, the cougar shifters helped them out when they needed it but the good vamps are at war with the bad vamps, so Talen should be eager to get back to his own people to help defend them. Plus, I’m a mom. You’d have to weld my feet to the ground to keep me away from my 4-year-old daughter for 5 weeks. This is where the book fell into the territory of the hero rescuing the heroine, hiding her away at a compound/safe house while he goes out and saves the world. A lot of paranormals with groups of supernatural beings living together do this and I’m not a huge fan of it. I like the heroine to be active in her own destiny, not sitting home doing a lot of nothing, waiting for the hero to return each night for a booty call.
The main thing that kept me going in the middle were the scenes with Cara’s 4-year-old psychic daughter. She charms her big, bad vampire babysitters to no end and she has a very intriguing relationship with a boy in her dreams. I’d love to read more about how they come together when they grow up.
Picked up the pace nicely. Cara finally becomes an active participant and puts her life on the line for her sister. Is it a wise choice? Maybe not, but she’s desperate and can’t wait for Talen to come to the rescue. I believed her motives and actions at this point.
The Steamy Stuff:
Talen and Cara go at it pretty quick. The first sex scene is borderline forced seduction and some readers might have a problem with this, but I chalked it up to the mate bonding thing with a little vamp glamour/persuasion thrown in. And speaking of mates. Talen calls Cara that a lot. “You will submit, mate.” It got to the point where I was hearing an Australian accent in my head every time he spoke. Then there’s the submitting thing. Talen is very arrogant and forceful, using sex to exert his dominance and sometimes as punishment with Cara. They definitely took on dominant/submissive roles in the bedroom. If that’s your thing, you’ll like this pair. My only problem is Talen never seemed to learn and grow in his relationship with Cara. He was always trying to make her do things his way. He never learned the meaning of the word compromise, at least not until the very end and by then it was a little too late. I would have liked to see him change as the story progressed, from viewing Cara as a sexual mate to seeing her as an equal.
Major Speed Bump:
I never quite understood the whole Treaty thing between the bad vamps and the good vamps where they both agreed to stay away from the human population. In Zanetti’s world, vamps (good and bad) can only mate and produce children with an enhanced (i.e. psychic) human female. What male in his right mind would agree to stay away from humans for 300 years, knowing full well that his destined mate is going to be a human woman? She could be born, grow old and die and he’d never meet her. A truce to not fight and kill each other? I got that. A truce to not interact with human women? I didn’t understand the reasoning there.
The ‘IT’ Factor:
What sold this book is the first 11 chapters or so, where the sexual tension is high and the hero and heroine are on the run. Very action packed. And of course, vampires and shifters are hot sellers right now, and Zanetti has a whole cast of them she can write spin off books for.