Burkhart, J.S. The Bloodgate Warrior. [Publisher's Blurb] As the Mayan hero Técun lay dying, a sorceress cast a spell tying her bloodline to him, so that one day he could return and avenge their people... Following a near-death experience, Cassandra Gonzales is haunted by erotic dreams of a mysterious man. As the dreams intensify, she is compelled to travel to Guatemala in search of him. There she learns that her blood has opened a gate--and she is the only one who can bring the great warrior back from the afterlife. Once faced with Técun in the flesh, Cassie fears the need he stirs within her. She aches to submit to the pleasure he promises, but first she must learn to trust in him, and in her own desires. Their time for sensual exploration is brief--Técun's killer has escaped, intent on sacrificing Cassie and wreaking havoc on the world. Now, only Cassie's complete and willing surrender to Técun will give him the power to defeat the demon once and for all...
***I was gifted an ARC - I am not related to the author, I do not personally know her, and I am not paid for this review. I was simply asked to post a review after reading - nothing else.*** My initial impression with this story: It's a good one, it's told really well. I'm bummed that it's short, but I'm a greedy reader. ;-)
Fortunately, JSB doesn't write about whining, sniveling heroines. (Thank heavens.) Here, Cassie (the h) is a seemingly ordinary young woman with a seemingly ordinary life, until one day she's involved in an accident and very nearly drowns. Her best friend Natalie pulls her out, but from this point forward Cassie begins to dream. And wowza!, what a dream! She's dreaming of the H, Técun - essentially a being the Mayans worshipped as a god, but from what I can gather, he's been around a lot longer than the Mayans. And she's dreaming that he's trapped, and only she can set him free. Amongst other things. (This is, after all, an erotic romance.) Finally, afraid that she's losing her mind, she tells her grandmother about these dreams. Her grandmother is apparently very non-plussed, and simply hands Cassie a journal that has been in their family for centuries - and starts with a Tlaxacalan Princess. Suddenly, Cassie's reading the story of the man appearing in her dreams, and is no longer able to reject her dreams as fantasy - or this man. Not quite as ready for the straight-jacket and padded room combination as she'd previously thought, she finally lets go of her preconceived notions of what "is" and "can't be" and goes to Guatemala to find her dream lover and set him free.
Pros: I really enjoy this story. I'm highly likely to read it again - especially when I need a break from all the New York City-based stories that inundate the market. Once I returned to the story with a clear head, the story was easy to read, highly entertaining, and there weren't any gaping holes in the logic of either the plot - or the h. (I admit I did a little happy dance. All too often authors "fix" problems in their stories by simply using their magic pen. And for those of us who read, that's a very annoying habit. But JSB doesn't do that, and I celebrated.) The suspense and danger was there, and it was clear. I liked that we didn't know until almost the end exactly why the villain was able to come back in the first place. (Cool move, that.) And, of course, introducing stand-alone characters for the next in the series - good move. I don't mind continuing characters, but sometimes it's purely gratuitous (*cough*cough* that'd be K.A. *cough*); this wasn't.
Cons: It was shorter than I'd like -a "mere" 40k words. (*rollseyes*) Again, I'm a greedy reader.
I'd recommend this to anyone who's in the mood for a new setting, a well-told story, and ***doesn't mind erotica.*** OH and Best Of All: just like every other JSB story I've read, it's been spell-checked and edited. Bless you, JSB. For that alone you have earned my gratitude; but your stories moved to auto-buy ranks because you also tell a great story.
Overall, I'm happily giving this one a solid 4.5/5*.