Human Lily Haven lost her entire family in a terrible vampire rampage two years ago. Or so she thought, until human Harris Kiernan claims that he will return her son, if she binds herself to a vampire in order to find the extinction weapon he seeks. Not to just any vampire, but Ancestral worthy Adrien who is currently imprisoned. Kiernan gives her a blood-bond chain created with Adrien's blood. Lily is known as a locator and is told that their connection will create a blood tracking bond of great abilities.
After a year of torture, as well as considering his hatred of humans, how is Lily supposed to control this very powerful vampire? If either of them breaks the blood bond after it's made, they will both die. After two years of thinking that her son is dead, Lily will do anything, including becoming the lifeblood and sexual partner of a vampire she hates.
Lily and Adrien feel a connection, even before they are bonded by the blood chain. After they're bound by the chains, they become more in tune with each other's thoughts, feelings and abilities, eventually able to speak telepathically.
Lily and Adrien's attraction for one another is fueled by hate and need in the beginning. Since they're controlled by the chains that bind them, they cannot ever really be sure how much of what they feel for each other is real and what is enhanced by the chains. Will they die in a fight for their lives and their individual race, without ever knowing what they really mean to each other?
Adrien is very alpha and animalistic at first. As he is soothed by Lily's more nurturing nature, he becomes more sensitive. In all parts of the novel, he is consistently protective of Lily, even when he isn't sure if he likes her. Adrien isn't necessarily likeable as he can be quite cruel, until he grows into the man he's meant to be.
I don't feel as if I know Lily, other than who she was when she was with Adrien. She had strength, but I wasn't sure if that is something she gained out of desperation, or if she always had it. I was left wondering what her life had been like with her family before tragedy struck. Was she a stay-at-home mom or a professional outside the home? Did she have hopes and dreams? When the reader is first introduced to Lily, we meet her two years after her family's tragedy and she seems hardened by it all and yet, still very sad. I also wondered what it was in her past that helped her transition to what she experiences with Adrien. She seemed to waver between subservient and dominate yet, always a determined survivor. Maybe we'll find out more in book two.
For me, the characters didn't always behave in the way I expected. Sometimes Adrien was a bit too understanding when I expected his rage. Other times, Lily was more aggressive when I expected her to be more passive. I liked both characters and the plot, which kept me reading, but I just didn't always understand their motivations.
BORN IN CHAINS, book one of the MEN IN CHAINS series, is erotically charged, incorporating BDSM elements and sex clubs. BDSM is part of the plot, but I didn't feel it was done to increase the kink because it had a believable reason behind it. With so many books incorporating the BDSM element, it can often be off-putting to readers, but I don't feel that its inclusion should hold you back on this one. This is a very adult book without the language being too overt, but the visualization is often very graphic due to the violent nature of the villains. If you enjoy a book that's driven by the characters' sexual need, aided by the plot's use of an attraction neither character wants but cannot deny, then BORN IN CHAINS may just be the unique blend that you're looking for. The MEN IN CHAINS series has potential and I'm curious about the fate of both sides of this entwined world when we meet them again in book two.