The first book in the Dacians series, published November 27, 2012.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: dark, not sure I like him.
Shadow's Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament - to the death.
HE WON'T BE DENIED
Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people - striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself - until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore's most fearsome villains.
SHE'S BOUND TO ANOTHER
Desperate to earn her guardians' approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails - even though she's lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.
A BATTLE FOR HER BODY AND SOUL
Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina's heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium's worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away - or stoke Bettina's own desires to a fever pitch. . . .
Trehan Daciano is the master assassin who has kept Dacia safe and undetected for the last 900 years. He is vampire, cold and logic, and utterly ruthless. He will do his duty to the kingdom that is his only passion. So when the Deathdemon Caspion leaves Dacia after having gotten sanctuary, Trehan will hunt him down and kill him. Silent as the shadows, and never seen. If he is seen by someone, that person will die, or Trehan risk being banished from his own realm. Dacia will have to stay hidden and secret, a legend only.
But when he follows his target to the demon realm of Abaddon, something pulls at him. A lone tower in the castle with a single light in the window is beckoning to him. And when Caspion is frolicking in a whore house for what will probably be the whole night, and Trehan won’t kill him in front of an audience, he has the time to investigate. He did not count on meeting his Bride there though. The one woman destined to be his forever. The woman who makes his heart beat again, after it stopped many centuries ago, the one who will bleed him.
Bettina, Princess of Abaddon is half demon, half Sorceri. A while ago, she was brutally attacked on earth while out with some mortal friends, by some Vrekeners, and only her Guardian summoning her back home, safed her life. But not her Sorceri powers, which were stolen from her. Since then, she has been afraid, and she wants nothing more than to stop that fear from taking over her life, and have her powers pack. Her Guardians have promised her that. Her demon godfather has promised to hunt down those Vrekeners, and kill then, and her Sorceri godmother, the powerful Queen Morgana has promised to get Bettina her powers back. But she will have to agree to be the price in the tournament they will hold in her name. She wants to be protected? They will give her the greatest warrior in the Lore as a husband. And so she had little choice but to agree, and now she is horrified of her fate, as she sees the warriors gathering. Those are no handsome demons, gallants who want her hand in marriage. They just want her kingdom, and will take her in the bargain. They are hideous, and some are even deathly to her, let alone compatible in body. She has only one choice to get out of this deal, and that is to lose her virginity. So she has decided to seduce the man she has been in love with for ten years, her friend Caspion. But Caspion refuses, he has his own problems, an assassin is on his trail, and he will be death the next day. So why won’t he help her out? Or enter the tournament, as her Guardians has promised every contestant safety outside the Iron Ring? She will just have to make him drink too much and seduce him. But her plan fails, and she ends up drunk herself.
Thinking Caspion has come back to her, she eagerly embraces the man in her bedroom. Being a 22 year old virgin, she has no experience with men, but he makes her dizzy with his kisses. And Trehan is just pleasantly surprised that his Bride is so eager in his arms, and welcoming of him. Until she calls the wrong name, and it all falls apart. His Bride is in love with someone else? With his target? No, he cannot condone that! But he also cannot hurt her, and so he leaves her alone, to go back home to Dacia to think things through, as he always does. But his logic has deserted him, and he doesn’t know what to do. If he goes back to Abaddon and enters the tournament, thousands will see him. He will lose his home in Dacia, and for what? A Bride who doesn’t want him? A throne he is not interested in? Of course he would win the tournament; there is no better warrior than him. But can he win her heart? She would hate him forever for killing the man she loves. Or thinks she loves.
Trehan just can’t stay away from Bettina, and at the last possible moment he enters the tournament, just after Caspion has done it himself. Caspion got smart after all, and decided to take a chance on living a while longer and having Bettina for his bride, even though he longs to find his own destined mate and knows Bettina is not her. He is marked for death anyway. But at least he can safe Bettina the horrors of marriage to one of the other contestants who horrify her.
Trehan offers Bettina to kill those contestants in the first day of the melee, if she will grant him a boon. As some of those demons really horrify her, she agrees. And in no time, she owes him 5 boons, as he kills those she fears the most. And when he saves Caspion from some fire demons, she grants him 5 more. So how will he let her pay for those boons? He wants to spend time with his Bride, to learn everything he can about her. To find out why she is so afraid, and to kill any threat to her. She is his to protect now, his to cherish. Slowly Bettina gets to trust him, he won’t hurt his Bride, and she certainly likes his kisses and his body. But what will she do, when he will have to kill her beloved in the Ring? There can be only one winner of the tournament, and her hand in marriage.
This book started out strongly, and never let up. I devoured it, and loved every page of it. But why this is a spin off of the Immortals after Dark series, I have no idea. It really wasn’t anything different, and with a lot of the same characters.
I liked Bettina. She really came back from nearly being tortured to death, she was still feisty. She wanted Caspion, and she went after him, even if she doesn’t get him. She is so very much afraid, but brave enough to face those fears, and with some help of Trehan, to overcome them. Yes, I do admire her. She is also young, and a Sorceri, with the characteristics of one. I liked her interaction with some others in the end of the book. And then there is her passion in working with gold, designing and making gorgeous jewellery and especially jewellery with hidden weapons.
And Trehan, such a fierce fighter, such a softy where his Bride is concerned. So busy trying to protect her, to kill her enemies for her. So determined to win not only her hand but her heart as well. I really liked him, and cheered for him. He is honourable, and has given his all to his homeland for so long, it was time for him to choose something different. He loves his Bride, and he admires her artwork, weapons are something they have in common. He would never prevent her from doing something she loves doing.
What I hated is that the book ended when it did, when I would have loved to see them together a little bit more, to see how a vampire and a Sorceri would rule a Demon kingdom. Perhaps in the next books in the series I will learn more about them.
A trademark Kresley Cole book, which I loved from cover to cover. Hot scenes of seduction and of love, great fighting scenes, fabulous descriptions of the realms and the creatures in it, and of course a great sense of humor. Characters to love and to cheer for, both the main and the secondary. I am really looking forward to reading more books by her hand.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian