Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Despite having a coven queen for a sister, Tomislav “Tomi” Vugrin feels anything but powerful himself. Considered young by vampire standards, Tomi has unusual powers, like telekinesis, that he can’t control and run in his family, making Tomi a freak of nature in the other vampires in his coven. Disliked and taunted, Tomi spends his days reading, watching tv or getting into trouble. But nothing prepares him for what happens when he finds a lost cellphone during a walk in the woods.
Stone Marik, the new Alpha werewolf of the East Pack, is out looking for his brother’s cellphone in his Pack’s territory. The cellphone happens to have an incriminating picture of Stone taken when they were much younger and Stone wants the picture erased. But first he must find the phone. Then he smells something wonderful and traces the aroma to a young vampire in possession of the lost phone. The instant lust tells Stone that the vampire is his mate, something unheard of between two species separated by culture and law.
What follows the mating of Tomi and Stone is nothing anyone could have expected. Will the mate bond and love be enough to hold Stone and Tomi together or will the centuries of prejudice and laws bring destruction down upon them and the East Pack.
Bloody Love Spats is the sequel to Sebastian’s Wolves and it picks up the story in the aftermath of the battle for the East Pack and the death of its corrupted Alpha. Now Stone Marik is Alpha of the East Pack and has been busy trying to rebuild the pack and its wolves. But the years of pain and torture have left a pack cowed and broken and Stone is unsure of his ability to rebuild not only the structures that house them but make the pack into a cohesive strong unit they have the promise to be.
Heart delivers a different book and characters than the one we read in Sebastian’s Wolves. Instead of dwelling solely on the wolf shifters and the pack structures, she adds the politics and relationships of a vampire coven to the wolf shifter universe she has been building to turn it into a combustive mixture of primal animal needs versus an ancient vampire culture so rigidly structured that all they have left to amuse themselves are with internal gamesmanship and alliances borne of self interest. It is those political and social “headgames”, ones that potentially could end up in lashes and confinement for decades for breaking the vampire laws and social strictures that garner most of our attention, mostly because Tomi so often breaks them.
With her characterizations, Heart also deviates from the types of characters we originally met in Sebastian’s Wolves. Unlike the older, experienced Sebastian who is just part of the pack, here the reader is given two completely different yet younger characters to connect with. Alpha Stone, with his Beta brother Tait, are younger wolves than Sebastian. Stone is less experienced but also an Alpha who feels responsible for his new pack and the amount of rebuilding needed for the Pack’s infrastructure and emotional needs as well. By his very nature as an Alpha, Stone’s universe is much larger than Sebastian’s. We meet individual pack members as well as the adorable young pup, Naji, who he has adopted as his son. And almost in tandem, we have Tait, Stone’s brother who is both incorrigible but also loyal. I loved Stone and thought he and the East Pack could have used their own book, so huge are the issues they are dealing with at the moment, nothing less than an entire restructuring of the pack, from the buildings they live in to the manner in which the pack will live and deal with each other.
Then we have Tomi. He is a young vampire, by vampire years and by personality. Tomi has been cosseted by his sister, the Vampire Queen. She has kept him insulated inside the castle, insulated by proximity but not isolated enough that he is not aware that the rest of the coven not only actively dislikes him but considers him a freak of nature because of the other powers he possesses but cannot control. Tomi is childlike, he presses against the vampire society’s boundaries, he tests his sister’s patience and the Ancients laws which she can’t always protect him against. He is adorable, quixotic, and a character anyone can relate to, especially if you are familiar with teenagers at their most exasperating. He wears a hoodie, watches The Big Bang Theory and drives a Smart car. How could you not love him?
It’s their mating that starts an explosion of cultures and ancient laws with a bloody back history Valentina Heart only hints at. I expect the following books to fill in the missing parts of the werewolf/vampire shared history and the reasoning behind the mutually agreed upon need to keep separate. A separation that Stone and Tomi has just destroyed by their mating and continued existence.
I think those who loved Sebastian’s Wolves and thought they were getting an continuation of that character and story might be disappointed when they get something different in scope and tone in Bloody Love Spats. Even the title gives the reader a hint that something quite different is to follow. The format also might take some getting used to. It alternates pov between Stone and Tomi so we understand each person’s internal insecurities and feelings towards each other. It will also bring one of the character’s pain home in bloody detail.
I really enjoyed this story and the characters of Stone and Tomi. Certain characters from the original book make an appearance or two and new characters are created as a bridge to the next story and the battle of the species. I can’t wait to see where Valentina Heart will take this series next. I am sure it will be just as unexpected as the two books she has given us already.
Cover art by Maria Fanning is gorgeous. I love that model and its perfect for the story.
Among Wolves series consists of:
Bloody Love Spats