Formats available: ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Moon #2
Length: 340 pages
Publisher: Entangled Edge
Date Released: October 21, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance
Sasha’s future was stolen from her the moment she was bitten. Now she’s on the run from the Nero Organization that transformed her from a human detective into a shape shifting jaguar assassin.
When a rogue bounty hunter threatens her younger sister, she’ll be forced to fight, and with nowhere else to turn, Sasha will need to trust the one man who has every reason to want her dead.
Aren is a werewolf with a secret. While protecting his twin brother and Alpha of the Pack, he found his one mate for life. Sadly she’s also the jaguar assassin who tried to kill them both. Now Aren is struggling between his animal nature to love and protect her, and his loyalty to the Pack.
Hunter’s Moon is a more than worthy successor to the first book in Kessler’s Moon series, Moonlight (reviewed at Book Lovers Inc.). In fact, any author who is thinking about using the fated-mate trope should check out this series for an example of using that otherwise tired trope in a way that is definitely NOT a short cut to romance and is still filled with both loads of romantic and suspenseful tension.
The story of Hunter’s Moon picks up a few months after Moonlight, and is a bit dependent on some knowledge of the previous story. It took me a bit to remember “where we left our heroes” but I think there was more depth to the family relationships in the story because I did remember. Your mileage, of course, may vary.
In Moonlight, Sasha tried to kill Adam and Aren and capture Lana in order to get the mysterious Nero Organization to give her a cure for the unfortunate case of jaguar shifter that she had been infected with.
Several problems in that scenario. First, there ain’t no cure. Second, Nero is so damn evil, they wouldn’t give it to her if there was. And third and fourth, well, third and fourth turn out to be the point of the story in Hunter’s Moon.
In the big brawl that ended Moonlight, Sasha head-butted Aren. While this does not sound like the beginnings of even a beautiful friendship, it was skin-on-skin contact, even if it did make Aren see stars. It was enough for wolf-shifter Aren to recognize Sasha as his mate.
Yes, we have fated mate trope again. Aren-the-person doesn’t even have to start out liking the person his wolf wants. He’s still stuck. And for life, at that.
But Sasha doesn’t know, doesn’t care, and even when informed (much, much later), doesn’t have to acknowledge that such a thing exists. She’s a jaguar shifter, and jaguars do NOT mate for life. This is his problem, not her problem.
Aren not only has to win her over in some version of the old-fashioned way, he has to do it in spite of the fact that they have really bad history together, and that his entire Pack has really bad history with her.
In Moonlight, this problem existed but it was impersonal. Wolves didn’t like jaguars in general, not necessarily Lana in particular. With Sasha, it’s very personal. She really did bad acts against the Pack.
Sasha can’t figure out how or why Aren is able to put it behind him. She’s certain that the rest of the Pack never will. But she needs their help, because the Nero Organization has sent a rogue werewolf to hunt her down and kill her.
And he’s planning to use her little sister as bait. Or a snack.
Escape Rating B+: The story in Hunter’s Moon is a bit darker than the one in Moonlight. The stakes seem higher and the dastardly plots seem that much more nefarious, even though the Nero Organization is less obvious in this story than they were in the first book.
There’s an awful lot of sub-plot in this one about family, and family has a way of twisting people up more than almost anything else. The pack is “family you make” and they are a tight knit bunch. Adding Lana and Sasha into the mix, along with the strain of the constant attacks because of them, creates a lot of stress that some members are handling less well than others. There are lots of explosions waiting to happen.
Adam and Aren’s long-lost uncle shows up, and turns out to be working for the other side. Well, one of the other sides. Maybe.
But the whole thing hinges on Adam’s need to protect his wife and children, set against Aren’s desire to protect the woman who is the only chance he’ll ever have at a wife. While Sasha believes that the only way that she can protect herself and her sister is to never depend on anyone but herself.
There’s even more major tension in this story related to family, including revelations about the Nero Organization.
One of the things about evil organizations that never ceases to amaze me, they always go the supersoldier route, and it never ends well. Not for the soldiers and not for the organization, but they keep making the same mistake.
But the different ways they screw it up are what make books about them so compelling.
Lisa Kessler is an award winning author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book.Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.
To learn more about Lisa, look for her at http://Lisa-Kessler.com