Awakened - Virna DePaul I did read the first book, but since each book features a couple, it can be read as a standalone. While I did get introduced to Barrett in the first book, it was only a slight introduction so the information I gathered from the first book wasn't major. And while I had some problems with the worldbuilding in the first book (what is the Belladonna agency... exactly?) I didn't get answers here either. I still feel that the books are slowly building to those answers as we keep meeting couples in this world. I am confident that the agency's secrets will be revealed in time.

I did enjoy the characters in this book. Barrett is all determined to rescuing a friend's daughter from a sex/blood ring for vampires. I also liked Nick and even though he was taciturn at the wrong moments, still managed to correct the oversight and tell Barrett how he felt. She took more time in that area, however. It was nice seeing the female as the one who had commitment issues. LOL I also ended up liking Jane, the victim whom they were trying to rescue. I'd like to see her in later installments kicking some arse because of her experience here. I think she has the personality for it.

While I did enjoy how these characters were put together, I did find a bit of a problem with the bad guy. He had such potential in becoming part of a story arc where he is a thorn in their side. However, in the end he just seemed too easy to defeat. I also felt that the main story could have been tightened up a bit and perhaps which would then leave more room for secondary character development... or at least tell us more about the various FBI agencies who seem to be involved. If that is to remain mysterious then I would like to know more about born vampires. I just need more worldbuilding!

I give this book 3 stars. I recommend it to those that enjoy a PNR with a bit of action. Be prepared to be at a bit of a loss with the worldbuilding. ;)