Blood Bound by Melanie Atkins

Blood Bound by Melanie Atkins
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (193 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer — a calculating predator who binds books with human skin. Dani Barrington, the newest member of the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster’s known victims. Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani’s strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive nature makes her the killer’s next target. He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.

Does Dani have the courage to truly live her life, or will she settle for surviving?

Dani is a very striking character. A vicious attack when she was in college changed her life forever. Determined to never be a victim again, Dani learned to defend herself and even carries a gun. I admire this proactive attitude, but the thing I like most about Dani is her compassion for other women. Dani demonstrates incredible strength and empathy by working with women who have been brutalized the same way she was. The way she protects and guides woman who come to her for help is commendable. She makes the victims needs the priority and does her best to ensure that they have the opportunity to begin the slow process of healing.

Dani thinks she has her life under control. However, it is very clear that fear rules much more of her life than she is willing to admit. She has very few friends, no social life, and has not dated anyone since her attack. Dani’s situation is heartbreaking. When Dani meets Sam, she is surprised to find herself attracted to a man after so many years of keeping her heart and body closed off. When Dani finally admits her growing feelings for Sam, she has a tough choice to make. Will she continue to let fear rule her life, or will she allow herself to love and be loved in return?

Sam’s soul is almost as damaged as Dani’s. He has suffered great personal loss, and, like Dani, has closed himself off to everything except his job. When he meets Dani, he is touched not only by her strength but also her vulnerability. I truly believe Sam is just the right man for Dani. He is incredibly patient with her and knows when to gently nudge her forward, and when to hold back. I loved watching Dani and Sam slowly open up to each other. Their connection is beautiful and touching.

As much as I admired Dani, I must admit that I was annoyed by her behavior at times. Sam desperately wants to protect her from the serial killer that claimed his fiancé, and sometimes he comes across as stubborn and a bit pushy. Even though she knows he means well, Dani chafes under Sam’s protection. Consequently, she makes a few choices that put her in harm’s way unnecessarily. I could understand her making a mistake once and learning from the experience. Unfortunately, Dani made several mistakes. I was incredibly frustrated with her at times. If she would have used her brain and listened to Sam’s logic, she could have saved herself a lot of grief.

Readers sensitive to descriptions of rape definitely need to be aware of some graphic content in Blood Bound. The monster stalking Dani is truly terrifying and his crimes are very violent. I found the sections where he reminisced about his past victims and planned what he wanted to do to others extremely disturbing. While Ms. Atkins doesn’t go into too much detail, she provides enough to make my stomach turn and to give me goose bumps.

Blood Bound is so much more than a romantic suspense. It is a story of two people finding the strength and courage to live their lives. I truly enjoyed getting to know Dani and Sam. They more than deserve a happy ending.

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