Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Legacy, #1
Publisher: Penguin Group
Hero: Craeg, son of Brahl the Younger
Heroine: Paradise, blooded daughter of Abalone
Date of Publication: December 01, 2015
Started On: July 21, 2018
Finished On: July 25, 2018
Blood Kiss, the first book in the Black Dagger Legacy series by JR Ward is closely linked with her infamous Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The events take place concurrently, alongside with those in the main series. However, I understood the need to create a separate “space” for these stories because it does delve into the lives of those who are not part of the Brotherhood themselves.
In order to prepare for future and emerging threats, it is the decision of the Black Dagger Brotherhood to recruit soldiers from civilians that sets the story going. Paradise, the blooded daughter of Abalone, First Adviser to the King, decides to enroll, even though her father would like nothing better if she were to continue along the lines of what is expected of her. As the daughter of an aristocrat i.e. the glymera, Paradise is not supposed to get her hands dirty, engage in combat, and save world. She is supposed to glide through life doing nothing more strenuous than keeping up with complicated social calendars of the rich, and then bear children to a male Vampire of her family’s choosing.
Paradise wants something of her own, something that she would own. She wants the freedom that would come from being able to make choices that are not made for her because of her birth. She pushes the norms, pushes her father by telling him that it is for her own safety, which is where Abalone decides to give in.
The initiation and the training that follows are the toughest and hardest days of Paradise’s life, but she revels in the challenge and excels at it. Not to mention, it brings her into close contact with Craeg, son of Brahl the Younger. The first encounter between the two takes place at the King’s audience house, from the point which Paradise yearns to know more about the male. However, Craeg is a male who has only one thing on his mind. His focus lies in honing himself into a weapon ready to kill, vengeance clearly being a motive that drives him when it comes to the way his father was left for the dead by none other than members of the glymera.
Craeg and Paradise’s union is an angst-ridden one, not only because of the vast differences between them in terms of social class and status, but because of the mission that Craeg is on, from which he would not be swayed. However, as with most best-laid plans, Craeg too cannot help himself when it comes to Paradise and the feelings that surge forth between them. Theirs is a union that cannot be denied even with all the hurdles in front of them.
Alongside with their story were details of Marissa and Butch’s union, a couple that I had not really warmed up to even when had initially I read their story. Something seemed to be lacking in the story (detailed in my review of the book), and I felt even then that Butch never treated Marissa as his equal. I am not saying that he was treating her badly, but the way he put her up on a pedestal like she is too good for him, that was something that did not settle well with me. Marissa also came off as a bit cold, that was the vibe I got from her, perhaps owing to the fact that she was betrothed to the King before Beth had come along changing that dynamic.
In Blood Kiss, we get to delve deeper into the psychology that drives both Marissa and Butch’s characters. And in the end, Ward makes both of them face their demons, which made me warm up to them considerably more than before. They might never be my favorite couple from the series, but at least now I can root for them and their love without feeling like an essential element was missing.
Butch also pointed out a major aspect missing from the Vampire society. Proper policing techniques that would serve justice for crimes committed. Crimes of the kind that takes place in this story and makes for an intriguing aspect to it as well. Hunt for killers within own species and how to deal with them. Butch outlined something that does not sit well with most vampires who are all about vengeance at own hands, but something that is required in a wholesome and functioning society.
I did enjoy Blood Kiss, but I guess it just was not the same as reading a Black Dagger Brotherhood book. Even though the Brothers were around everywhere in the story, there is a different vibe to their stories that just does not come off in this book. However, I am hoping that these tales do serve a purpose when bringing together future stories in the Brotherhood series.
Recommended for fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
Final Verdict: Veering in a slightly different direction, the debut novel in the Black Dagger Legacy series brings to readers stories of fighters recruited for a purpose, whose lives entwine with those that would become their future.
With a mere millimeter of anticipation separating them, he whispered, “Last chance.”
So he kissed her. The groan he let out was a combination of starvation and submission, and in the back of his mind, he became dimly aware that there was a new scent in the air, something that was part and parcel of the heat between them, but a revelation as well.
Whatever, she was soft and sweet and hesitant and strong. Everything he’d imagined her to be.
Brushing his mouth over hers, he extended his tongue and licked his way into her. And that was when the whole restraint thing went out the window—with a surge, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in tight to his body, letting her feel him—even at the hips, where, in spite of the two releases he’d given himself in a bathroom stall before she’d come in, he was raring to go.
“Get on your bed. Turn off the lights.”
“Okay.” She went over by the door and hit the switch—then she made her way back across and got up on the high mattress, kicking her shoes off and stretching out. “It’s dark.”
Try pitch black.
Craeg made a sound, something she couldn’t identify—and the experience was amazing. With the lights off, it was as if he were right next to her.
“You kill me in class,” he said in a guttural voice.
“Why?” “I can’t stop staring at you. I look at the nape of your neck.” That sound came again, and she realized it was halfway between a purr and a growl … clearly, he was utterly aroused already. “I have these fantasies of going up behind you and tilting your head back. I run my hands down your throat … under your uniform … onto your breasts.”
Paradise’s eyes fluttered shut. “Oh, God … you do?”
“All the time. Why do you think I couldn’t get up out of my seat tonight.” She had an image of him frozen in the back of the classroom, no expression on his face, his big body tense. “What are you talking about?”
“I was hard. And it would have showed.”
Craeg laughed, the deep, dark ripple thrilling her. “I want my mouth on there. I want to look up and watch you gasp when I lick at you, suck on you.”
For a male who didn’t say much, he sure could put a string of words together.
“I keep thinking about the clinic,” she heard herself say. “Your hand under the sheets. I remember exactly what it looked like, going up and down—”
“Rip the shirt in half.”
“Rip the fucking thing off your body,” he barked. “Put the fucking phone down and rip it in half!”
And God, that felt good, her torso arching up again as she tore the thing apart, the fastenings offering no resistance as she put her strength into the job.
As Paradise’s hands dug even harder into Craeg’s hair, she was riding a wave of high-octane pleasure that took her out of her body and grounded her in her flesh at the same time. The sensation of the rubbing, the friction, the heat at her core was unlike anything she’d ever known—and she still technically had her—
With a vicious jerking motion, he ripped one side and then the other—and her panties were no more.
And then the sensations were slick and hot, nothing separating his lips and his tongue and her sex.
Thanks to what they had done the night before, she knew what was coming, so when the orgasm hit she gave herself up to it, welcoming the pumping pleasure, jerking up against the mattress, knocking the pillows off to the floor.
“Take my vein,” he said in a rough voice. “If I can’t have you … take from me…”
Just like with the oral sex, it happened oh, so fast, her fangs descending, her eyes locking on his jugular with a dead-serious that she’d never felt before.
With a hiss, she lunged up and struck, sinking deep, nailing him with a greed that he submitted to completely. Hauling him to the side, she laid him out beneath her and straddled his abdomen as if he were her prey, sucking at him, his taste roaring its way down to her gut, filling her up from the inside out in a way that food and rest could not do.
She was dimly aware of him stretching his arms out and gripping the headboard, bending his torso toward her, moaning as his hips pumped and thighs jerked. He was orgasming and then so was she and everything got super-crazy, super-quick, as she moved her pelvis and felt that hard ridge right where she wanted it.
Craeg’s hips began to roll in and retreat, roll in and retreat, each time his erection going in a little farther.
And then he shifted her around, repositioning her pelvis. His fingers returned to her, rubbing in a circle as his body went curiously still. She was about to protest, but then the sensations were too much and her brain took a backseat as she started to come—
At that moment, in one strong, powerful thrust, he penetrated past a barrier that broke away with no pain at all.