The city is blanketed by council coyotes with one goal. They’re to capture Mica Toler, best friend of the heavily protected wolf/coyote breed, Cassie Sinclair. Mica’s security is breached and she’s escaped her kidnapped but hasn’t reached safety by the time wolf breed Navarro Blaine ditches his assignment and gets to her side for protection until transport’s arranged or mete out punishment.
Safety is a temporary illusion as the coyotes are resolute and single-minded in locating Mica, interrupting the interlude with Navarro. The coyotes are successful in separating the elite breed force from their principal but Mica has Navarro and his recessed genes do nothing to stop his determination to protect his woman. The coyotes are just as determined to get the upper hand at the expense of the human.
For the reader it’s been more than a dozen outings since Mica interacted with breeds so this outing with Navarro, supposedly rekindling a desire they’ve been fighting comes across as false. Snippets of remembering childhood antics, glimpses of teen-aged crushes and a stolen kiss before sex gave the read a pedophilic vibe for my taste. An insta-lust relationship would have felt more honest.
Storme Montague is on the run from the Breeds & the Council after her scientist family is killed by a Coyote Breed as she looked on in terror. Now she’s trapped and her only escape is accepting help from her mortal enemy in the form of charming Scottish coyote enforcer Styx Mackenzie. Storme knows accepting help from Styx doesn’t mean she has to trust him or fall for his charms as she holds onto a secret that could shatter the entire Breed community.
For this readers taste, 75-80% of the read wasn’t enjoyable and felt like a betrayal with the lack of continuity; leaps of logic; bigotry; snits & mediocre storytelling. I found Storme more exhausting than dislikable and Styx’s smarm – I mean charm got to be wearing within four pages (I swear I got that he had blue eyes and liked chocolate the first 50 times I was told in this poor outing).
reasons this outing even made Storme dizzy.
Luckily I learned survival skills at 14 (driving a car, fighting & shooting, etc.) that have helped me elude the Breed and Council people looking for me over the last 10 years. During my time on the run, I’ve joined a pure-blood/breed hate group but I don’t know if my enemy is Breed or Council.
I’ve also learned to hack computers so I can find all the Breed and Council secrets, even the ones my Council buddies don’t tell me. I even have the names of the spies at Sanctuary but I haven’t had time to learn to read this pesky chip from Dad. Dad did always like Breeds best but I’m traumatized by witnessing his death at the hands a Coyote Breed.
My father was afraid of the council people he worked for and his last wish was to free breeds. With his last breath, he gave me a chip to give to someone and said they’ll have a code phrase so I’ll know he sent them.
More headscratchers? My inept past lovers didn’t do a good job and Styx will know I’m still a virgin. What braintrust knows the phrase and led a team chasing me for 10 years thinks the only way to gain my cooperation is either bully or screw it out of me? (WTF?)
Lion Breed Jonas Wyatt wasn’t certain if Merinus had brought him heaven or hell when she hired her pregnant best friend, Rachel Broen as his assistant of Breed Affairs. Merinus knew Jonas was treading a very fine line to being eliminated even though he didn’t and brought Rachel onboard to stop it. Grudgingly, Jonah accepts Rachel and tries to ignore the signs of mating heat.
Months later, Brandenmore goes too far to get what he wants by beating Rachel and taking her daughter hostage in exchange for files in Jonas’ possession. What Brandenmore didn’t know was although Jonas had not claimed Rachel as his mate he’d claimed her daughter while Amber was still in the womb and put their lives ahead of his own.
Cocky in his scheme Brandenmore proves to be as manipulative and diabolical as his adversary. Hhe uses Amber to bring Jonas to heel and takes a path of no return that alters lives. Brandenmore escapes to ground unaware he has a traitor in his midst. Still a man of many secrets, Jonas calls in his ultra lethal and secret Ghost team, the elite of breed guards and assassins, to protect his mate and child.
With the revelation of Rachel as Jonas’ mate, Sanctuary shifts priorities while they await the inevitable spy to surface. Unknowingly identified as a breed mate and being held prison gives Rachel reason to be irate as she continued to fight the attraction that bloomed for Jonas the moment they met. Soon the effects of Brandenmore’s elixir affect Amber fueling Jonas with an unprecedented urge to kill.
Someone’s framing Breeds for a series of murders and they seem heavily invested in keeping Breed advocate and investigative reporter Cassa Hawkins (I so want to say cub reporter) involved. Cassa’s source regularly feeds evidence that the original dirty dozen of mastermind breed creators and torturers are dying using their own perfected methods used on the breeds..
Cassa knows what lines she can’t cross without losing her coveted access. Jonas is well aware her investigation threatens to spill a few secrets that cannot be aired in public. But her most closely guarded secret is one that notorious Bengal Tiger playboy, Cabal St. Laurents shares as well, that they’ve been unclaimed and unacknowledged mates for over ten years.
Though eavesdropping Carra heard enough to know it was a great story and when corroboration landed in her laptop, she knew she had to follow the lead of a lifetime to shape the story for the Breeds if nothing else. But Jonas is wily, bored and determined, he got the information as well, albeit not as straightforwardly and sent Cabal to keep his mate in line by whatever means were necessary.
For this reader’s taste, neither Cabal nor
Lois Lane Cassa did well under the pressure of a star turn and it’s possible a cape on him wouldn’t have been out of place. This couple took the traditional “F***” or Fight method of communication to the extreme. It was both tedious and exhausting! This pair has an HFN not a HEA and will snipe until one is so exhausted they’ll murder the other to stop it.
Also, for my taste the romance piece would’ve been better appreciated as a novella or a secondary romance rather than the main event. He was uncharacteristically tame and she was insufferable! The mystery piece of the assassin’s identity, visits from a few recurring coyotes, a huge hint to Jonas’ comeuppance and if enforcing doesn’t work out the comedy duo of Rule Breaker & Lawe Justice can get an agent.
Bold and sassy Anya Korbin tries to secure freedom for a number of Russian Lab female coyotes with by working with Del-Rey Delgato, the notorious Ghost Coyote. Having noted Anya’s woman’s body and his body’s reaction, Del-Ray’s determined Anya will be in his life and in his bed for quite a while. Working as a team they’re successful until Anya feels betrayed when Del-Rey shoots her father.
Angry and ashamed, Del-Ray agrees to a year-long separation from his mate, Anya. Meanwhile, Del-Ray undertakes a dangerous assignment while he works through his guilt and lust. Del-Ray’s investigation of top pharmaceutical companies and the development and distribution of a drug that found its way into the Sanctuary staff with terrifying results uncovers an even more horrifying picture.
Del-Ray ends the separation period early and quits the assignment to be with his mate. His outwardly indifferent behavior toward Anya hides the man within and underscores the vulnerability of the proud, resourceful Anya as she feigns an anger she’s long past. This seemingly opposite couple complemented each other despite their troublesome history as they alternately frustrated this reader.
An early chunk of this first full length coyote outing is covered from Aidan’s Charity forward. Hopefully the standout bodyguards will be seen again. Cameos of feline and wolf breeds make a show of solidarity in the coyote quest of being the third major breed group. New ground portrays the coyote breeds as more than mere mercenaries and opportunists and breathes freshness into the series.
Originally read November 2011
When the scientists and trainers laughed as they told him his potential mate was dead, Mercury Warrant went berserk and the laughers died violently. More than ten years later Mercury still resented his own existence, that he was different from the other breeds. He didn’t fit, he coped. He didn’t have his lion, he wouldn’t feel mating heat.
Dr. Ely warned Jonas that assigning Mercury to Vanderale’s auditor, Ria Rodriguez was a mistake. Ely argued Mercury was a danger to himself and everyone at Sanctuary, there were sign of the same feral displacement that fueled his killing rampage when his mate died. Jonas ended the argument by countering she was over reacting and Mercury could be the first breed to have two mates.
Mercury the man only seemed unaffected in Ria’s presence, Mercury the lion looked up, sniffed and purred knowing he’d be loose soon since his mate had arrived. Ria’s scent convinced Mercury he wanted mating heat and he wanted to belong with and to her. The moment Mercury’s flesh was visible to her eye line Ria wished she’d worn something prettier as her girl parts fluttered.
Working for the Leo wasn’t always easy, working with Dane never was and this was Dane’s secret project. Ria reasoned she’d tamped down her secret femininity to avoid the pointed end of resentment, if others saw her as a threat she’d never be able to get her task done. As Ria worked on her project, she and Mercury move closer to the sexy lion-breed bodyguard covering her body with his own.
This outing is deceptively layered and Mercury’s lion was sly enough in his musings to be a separate and distinct character in a small but pivotal role. Mercury’s portrayed confused angry and betrayed very well and Ria was sometimes irritating but not unpleasant. Ria’s work uncovered a new plot as two council driven villains were introduced while Dane spent time at Sanctuary and proved how much he and Jonas were alike.
When human Seth Lawrence began showing signs of mating heat for cougar breed, Dawn Daniels ten years ago, her male friends made sure Seth understood her past. They stressed Dawn’s trust issues especially with men since she’d been a favorite target for cruelty and rape in the labs and intimidation by Dayan, a pride brother before Callan killed him. Cassie said Dawn wasn’t ready, Seth walked away.
In the ten year span, Dawn’s avoided Seth when he was at Sanctuary but a visit from Cassie lets Dawn know she can’t hide anymore. Seth’s life is in danger and requests a breed detail but when Dawn’s assigned to lead the detail Seth withdraws the request. Realizing Seth’s her mate, Dawn reaches to touch him and is shocked to discover she can’t sense signs of mating heat arousal from Seth.
Seeing Dawn confused Seth since she knew he couldn’t commit to another. Callan, Jonas and Dash told Dawn Seth had moved on. That she was too fragile for a mate and should let go. Dawn felt fury and betrayal toward her breed brothers, especially when she learned they’d shared her past and warned Seth away. But Dawn was determined, Seth was her mate and she was unwilling to give him up.
Spirituality, salvation, sexuality, survival and second chances were huge themes in this emotional roller coaster of a read. For my taste, the secrets revealed and the tantalizing new mystery alone is worth the price of admission on this outing. Seth’s in the understandable but not forgiven slot (maybe later, he’s made a valiant effort with soaps and stuff), intentionally or not Dawn came into her own, a vibrant woman to be reckoned with not so accepting of fate because her breed brethren overstepped their bounds.
Careful not to betray himself or his pack mates to the cruel scientists in the Mexican lab, Aiden fought his desire for Charity. He refused to do Delia Bainsmith’s bidding and begged Charity to let him die. Trying to save Aiden’s life, Charity did what was necessary against his will. Aiden swore vengeance as he felt the change and hunted Charity when the lab exploded and the workers were reassigned.
Years later, Aiden found Charity near death, bleeding and crawling through the rubble of the freshly raided South American lab. Charity had been unmasked months ago as a council traitor for smuggling information and freeing winged breeds. She became an experiment when they realized she was mated to Aiden. Furious, Aiden wanted his sworn vengeance despite what his senses screamed.
This outing wraps the Mexican lab wolf pack establishing a far and separate sanctuary from the felines in the East. This outing is stronger than its predecessors of this arc to my taste, with more suspense, action and answers, in addition to new information from the labs and exciting new breeds and characters.
To expand their spy’s information on breed mating, the council’s Mexican lab has plans for their wolf pack. Delia Bainsmith orders Jacob to mate their sole female, Faith, after over dosing her with aphrodisiacs and locking her in Jacob’s cage. Meanwhile, Wolfe is ordered to mate Hope awhile Faith’s brother Aiden undergoes a different torture under Bainsmith’s direction.
Faith had a crush on Jacob as long as the pack could remember and he didn’t want to do this. He couldn’t let her be handed to the guards as a plaything plus she smelled so good he couldn’t resist. Drugged and immature, Faith didn’t understand what was happening, Jacob knew what happened between them but had little chance to correct it when the lab was exploded and the pack scattered.
Six years later, Jacob returns to help the pack ensure their Alpha finds his mate but disappears again. Sharing information with the feline sanctuary, Wolfe quickly sees a solution to a problem and sends pack liaison, Faith on a mission to locate remote enforcer Jacob. Wolfe realized Faith and Jacob’s mating was incomplete and forced them together to resolve their issues.
Clear but fumbling rationalization for character actions, deja vu and a somewhat limp story didn’t help the barely there leads for my taste. This reader was also disappointed by the possibilities left unexplored, the first breed mating, a new clan being established, a species thought to be dead, first time in a lab, etc.
Delia Bainsmith is the lead scientist of the Mexican lab for the dreaded council in charge of imprisoning and experimenting on the Breeds they’d created. When Wolfe kills a guard to protect Delia’s daughter, Hope, Delia surmises it’s the trigger for the mating bond and orders Wolfe to impregnate Hope for the next phase of the council’s plan.
After the explosion that destroyed the lab, Delia spent years trying to locate the breed wolves or proof of their death. Meanwhile she kept an eye on Hope’s reactions to the mating bond and taunted an increasingly irate Wolfe with untruths once he learned his whereabouts. Wolfe summons the pack to help him retrieve Hope from the council’s clutches.
For this readers taste this outing was much too short to revisit Breed history. There was little space left to Hope and Wolfe’s relationship with each other or the reader except the sex. What’s here is complete and fairly good and works for the series but feels extremely rushed.