Hunter, a second-generation vampire from the Moonbound Clan, is about to be mated. Long ago..."The chiefs, guided by visions of war between tribes and an invasion of white men, had summoned a demon they 'd believed to be a god. Samnult had promised them unmatched strength, speed, and immortality in exchange for allegiance, obedience, and the firstborn child of every mated first- and second-generation vampire."* If the child is not given up, it will cursed to die a horrible, miserable death. Hunter is not willing to give up his firstborn and so he summoned Samnult to ask if there was a way to have the curse lifted.
"If you want to be released from the bargain I made with the twelve chiefs, you must first negotiate a series of tests. (...) Before your trial can begin, you must choose one of the twins to accompany you. You can't pass through the membrane into my realm without either your intended mate or her sister. It doesn't matter which, since their veins run with the same blood. But consider this." He paused his finger's downward path just above Hunter's navel. "No Matter who you choose, you will die."*
Regardless of whether or not Hunter goes on the quest, he's told by the demon that he will die before winter ends, but there is one hope...
"Both twins will be the death of you. (...) But only one of them will choose to bring you back."*
Now Hunter must decided which of the sisters will accompany him, but will either be willing to put their life on the line for that of an unborn child? ShadowSpawn's vampires are not known for their compassion but rather for their cruelty. Hunter only agreed to the marriage to save his people from the bloodshed and war that would have ensued had he not agreed. With the humans stepping up their attacks and hinting something big is coming, the alliance may be the only thing that can save them. Locked in what appears to be a no win situation, Hunter is the type to make the best of a bad situation. The question is will he and his unborn child survive?
* from Bound by Night by Larissa Ione
If you've never read one of Larissa Ione's books your in for a treat. Her books are slightly more steamy than most in their romantic content with some colorful language which includes the occasional f-bomb and other colorful verbiage. Her stories, however, run deep and are so skillfully written that I find myself time and time again awaiting the next installment of her series. If I had to sum her writing up in two words, I'd say it's sinfully delicious. Whether or not her books cross the line into the erotic is up for debate. I feel they do, but I've known others who have insisted they don't. I guess erotic is in the mind of the reader.
While I enjoyed Bound by Night, I loved Chained by Night. The book focused less on humans enslaving vampires and more on how vampires came to be. In this story, we get a first hand look at, Sanault, the demon who created them. While humans are still in the overall picture, they're more in the background. I will admit, however, at one point I found myself thinking, "Those darn pesky humans." and started cracking up as I realized what I'd just thought. lol
I found the trial that the Moonbound clan chief, Hunter, participates in is rather surprising. To me it seemed a bit like an extreme case of team building only kicked up a couple of notches to the monster edition. Each task helps to bring Hunter and the twin he chooses to accompany him closer. In order to survive they need to trust one another and work together to accomplish each task that is set before them. I liked how temptation was mixed in with everything else which added to the suspense of it all.
I enjoyed the contrast between Aylin and Rasha. For identical twins, they were as different as night and day. Aylin has the heart of a warrior but her disability--a twisted thigh bone which causes a condition called in-toeing where the foot of one of her legs is to turned inward--has caused her clan to treat her as a second class citizen. She's been scorned her entire life for it and treated like a leper--as if her condition might be catching. While some would grow to hate and resent those who treated them so poorly, Aylin surprisingly managed to grow up to be a sweet, loving, and carrying individual.
Rasha, on the other hand, has been spoiled and treated like royalty because she was the first born of her clan's chief. She's been raised to be a leader and is treated with the utmost respect. Over the years, she's gained a reputation for being a fierce warrior. While Rasha loves her sister, she's bought into the inferior twin idea and treats Aylin harshly when she feels Aylin's overstepped the boundaries that one of such a lowly status in the clan would have. Aylin's opinions and observations, no matter how intelligent, are deemed irrelevant.
I couldn't help but give this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I love how Larissa is able to capture the essence of a character on a page and make them seem real and life-like. I loved the inner struggle and situations which develop when Hunter realizes that he's attracted to the wrong twin. I thought this a nice twist on the star crossed lovers theme. While the marriage may be an arranged one, Kars, Aylin and Rasha's father and ShadowSpawn's chief, is unlikely to allow a switch. The loyalty of the two twins toward their father is as different as their personalities. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol If you're looking for a hot and steamy romance you might want to check this one out. It's definitely going on my keeper shelf.