UNCHAINED by Helen Hardt

UNCHAINED

From the "Blood Bond" series, volume 1
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A vampire who’s recently escaped unknown captors has an inexplicable link to an emergency room nurse in this erotic thriller.

Vampire Dante Gabriel was 18 years old when he suddenly awakened in captivity. His masked abductors tortured him while a female vampire consumed his blood and forced him to drink hers. Upon somehow escaping, Dante returns to his New Orleans hometown and, desperate for sustenance, raids a hospital blood bank. It’s there he meets nurse Erin Hamilton, and the two have an undeniable bond: He’s drawn to her, and she trusts him but can’t explain why. Dante resists their mutual lust, fearing he won’t be able to control his vampiric tendencies. Reconnecting with his vampire family, Dante confirms what he already suspected: He had been missing for nearly a decade. He also learns his father and uncle went looking for him and never returned. Dante is plagued by memories of his trauma, sometimes hearing the voice of the mysterious female vampire, who called herself his queen. His indecision over Erin is a continuous struggle, as he initiates sexual encounters with her but retreats before either is sated. At the same time, secrets surrounding both of them slowly come to light. In her saga, Hardt (Misadventures with a Rock Star, 2018, etc.) avoids piling on vampire lore, wisely concentrating on the human element. In fact, the story debunks some supernatural conventions, including lethal sunlight and vampire immortality. The book, a collection of three seamlessly connected novellas, persistently teases the couple’s inevitable sex. But interactions without fulfillment are no less steamy, as they’re brimming with bulges, groans, and “wet kisses.” The concurrent mystery is surprisingly sharp, with questions about the enigmatic queen, the couple’s bond, and even how Dante managed to escape. Likewise, intermittent perspective from the queen adds suspense: She’s undoubtedly still watching Dante and, it seems, waiting for something. Unfortunately, there’s no climax, at least regarding the plot, as most questions are left unresolved. But as this installment is the first of a trilogy, answers should follow in later volumes.

An enthralling and rousing vampire tale that will leave readers waiting for the sequel.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-64263-012-1
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Waterhouse Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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