Review: Bite the Hand That Bleeds & Blood Guard by Megan Erickson (Mission #0.5-#1)

Note: The full-length ARC was provided by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The short story prequel is a personally owned copy.

Lesson for the day: Megan Erickson can write paranormal romance about shifters AND vampires, and she does it freakishly well. The proof is in the pudding, or in my case, in the perusing of the author's first novel in her new Mission series, Blood Guard. It's a modern-day story, with majority of humans seemingly oblivious to the fact that vampires are very real. One of those humans happens to be Tendra Parrish, who is still mourning the death of her beloved mother and the only family she had. When she's abducted by a vampire who introduces himself as her blood guard, she's soon informed of her role as Sanguivita, or the human destined to be the sole provider of blood for the king among the Gregorie clan. The clincher? Being Sanguivita essentially means Ten will be the king's wife.

Athan Gregorie was groomed and trained to be exactly what he is, given that he was younger than his brother Idris, the future king of their clan. He takes his responsibility as blood guard seriously, but he wasn't wholly prepared for how drawn he would be to Idris's future wife. Ten is both frustratingly stubborn yet enticingly guileless. Taking her away from Mission City is one thing; getting her to safety and presenting her to his brother is a test to both his abilities as a blood guard and as a vampire who craves one particular human. The more time they spend together, the clearer it becomes that Ten and Athan are finding it difficult to resist their need for each other. But is Athan willing to risk his family and people, especially his brother's love, for a woman never meant to be his?

Goodness but how this series starter was so intoxicatingly fabulous! Ten was every bit as kickass as I hoped a heroine could be and Athan wasn't this overly domineering presence demanding this lowly human bow down to his vampiric greatness. Nope, these two were equals through and through, and while it may seem that the time they spent together wasn't all that long, with everything they had to go through and overcome, it was as if they had been together for far longer. In that amount of time, trust and respect was bred alongside the love that was festering, even though Athan wanted nothing more than to remain loyal to his duty as blood guard and as his brother's right hand. Do you choose your feelings for a human female or everything you were taught as a vampire?

The underlying sexual tension between Ten and Athan simmered and then smoldered and made for the fantastic slow burn romance that Megan Erickson gave us. Add to that action and intrigue in the form of rival vampire clans and betrayal and treason from those Athan would never have thought possible of such acts. That twist in the story makes for perfect fodder as the Mission series moves forward, and that epilogue certainly has me itching to find out what awaits Idris Gregorie as he heads into Mission City. There are also a couple of other supporting characters that have piqued my interest and I certainly wouldn't mind if Erickson gives them their own stories in 2018, but Brex was my favorite. You'll have to read Blood Guard to figure out who Brex is, but you won't regret it. Five stars. ♥

As for Bite the Hand That Bleeds, it's a free prequel that the author has offered to her readers. It can be enjoyed absolutely separately from Blood Guard. Dru and Roxy's story can serve as a primer of sorts before heading into the world that humans and vampires co-exist in. A lot of the action takes place in Bite, which is a club owned by the Gregorie clan and where their members can feed off willing and able humans for a fee. The same club is in the first full-length novel. The exchange between Dru and Roxy helps to explain how a human can remain as such even after a vampire drinks from them. You can choose to read this before or after Blood Guard, and as it stands alone, it was a wholly entertaining love story and look into the world that awaits us for the rest of this series. Five stars. ♥

Release Date: 12 September 2017

Date Read: 11 September 2017

Learn more about Megan Erickson.

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