This anthology is a pretty mixed bag of mostly paranormal romance. It features a few stories from ongoing series… none of which I was familiar with. Here’s a breakdown:
“On the Hunt” – This is my first story from Alexandra Ivy, and served as a pretty good introduction to her Sentinels series. She clearly lays out the basics of the world from the beginning, so I never felt lost and it was easy to focus my attention on the romance.
Mika is a Sentinel, a warrior trained to defend the world’s “high bloods,” essentially beings with magical powers who live apart from the human world. It’s been 10 years since the last time he saw Bailey, the lovely healer who he thought he was going to marry. You see, Mika is dedicated to his calling. He lives in the Sentinel compound and embraces all that comes with that. Bailey wanted freedom, though. She chafed against the rules and the limitations, ultimately choosing to leave so she could live life on her own terms.
Now a tracking job has landed her back in Mika’s path. Of course, neither has stopped loving the other. Time and distance has only made them more appreciative of the bond they share. So this is a second chance at love story, and it’s put together well. I felt like Ivy did a good job of making me understand these two, establishing their feelings in these hundred pages or so. The only thing that bothered me is ultimately, one of the characters has to turn their back on the feelings and wants that were enough to separate them in the first place. Yes, the romance works out, but it didn’t feel balanced. Even with the little surprise at the end, only one of these characters is really having to sacrifice for the sake of love. That’s not cool.
“Scorpius Rising” – Argh!!! I was so CLOSE to loving this one. Then, just like in the last story, the heroine is forced to bend! Why does the heroine always have to give up what matters to her? It just makes me so mad.
(*Deep breath*) The story started out really good. Nora is a super-smart scientist who has been divorced from her husband Deacan for the past eight years. As the story begins, he is on board a military plane which snatches her from her vacation to work on a top secret government project. A bacteria from a meteorite has infected a handful of people, but it’s deadly and it’s spreading fast. From the get-go, it’s clear that Deacan wants her back. He regrets the man he was, who drove her away and he is trying to change his ways and settle down for her.
The virus outbreak and plot surrounding its containment is very well done. So is the sexual tension between Deacan and Nora.
I really am a fan of Rebecca Zanetti. It was her name of the cover that made me pick up this book. But in the last 10%, this story really got my dander up. I did not like situation Nora was forced into and I didn’t buy that all the things that she couldn’t endure before, she’d be able to just live with now. And why should she? Grrrrrrrrrr.
Rating: I don’t want to talk about it.
“Phantom Embrace” – This story is part of Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians series and it felt very obvious I was jumping into a story in progress. Best I can tell, this story happens at the same time as the events of Night Unbound, book 5 in the series, just told from the POV of a different character. As a result, there were times I felt like Duvall was trying to put too much in the story that a new reader would not understand… and at times summarizing events that probably played out over time in the other book. That was tough for me, as someone unfamiliar with the series, but based on how it all played out, this would probably be a great addition for people already familiar with the books.
Yuri is a Guardian who helps protect the world from evil vampires. He can also see ghosts, including the lovely Cat who haunts the home where he has been staying. At first, she has no idea that he can see her, but he finally reveals his ability and the two fall in love. There aren’t many ways that a love story involving a ghost can have a HEA, so expect a bittersweet ending. I liked this one fairly well, but I think it would have been much better if I had read the series leading up to this point. (Side note: I liked this story enough to go on to read the other books in the series –and I ended up totally loving them. Then, I read this one again and enjoyed it even more.)
Rating: B on the first read/ B+ on the second
“Stake Out” had a definitively different feel from the other stories in the anthology. While the first three were romances, this one was not. While it wasn’t a bad story, it was very out of place among the others. It was more a quirky contemporary UF about a vampire fashionista whose models are turning up dead on Fashion Week.
The main character is from Hannah Jayne’s Underworld Detection Agency. But this works fine as a standalone. There is a love interest here but it’s very secondary to Nina’s obsession with “winning” Fashion Week and stopping her newly turned vampire model from a killing spree. A little too glib for me and the tone too light from what I like in my Urban Fantasy.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
On the Hunt
by Alexandra Ivy, Rebecca Zanetti,
Dianne Duvall, and Hannah Jayne
Release Date: August 25, 2015