Sigh. Just what I need. Another author to glom.
The Breeds are a secret genetically engineered species combining animal predators and humans, and 20 years ago the truth of the Breeds came out. Since then, they have fought for their rights and struggled against the prejudice still rampant amongst humans, while some humans support and even mate with the Breeds. Cassa Hawkins, a reporter who has always supported Breed rights, was part of a rescue effort to free 25 Bengal Breeds from a laboratory 11 years earlier. Her husband betrayed the mission to an anti-Breed group who massacred all but one of the Bengals, Cabal St. Laurents. Just before the rescue team arrived, Cabal drove a spike through the traitor and claimed Cassa’s life for his own.
Cut to the present and Cabal is screwing his way through Breed groupies and doing the dirty work for the Breed Bureau’s director, while Cassa has continued her fight on behalf of the Breeds. Both feel the mating bond set in place 11 years earlier, but neither will admit it to the other. The two are brought together when a rogue Breed in West Virginia is murdering members of a human group who hunted Breeds for sport two decades ago. Cassa knows the Breeds are covering up for the serial killer, an instinct confirmed when Cabal comes after her and stymies her investigation at every turn. But there is more to the story and both will have to confront their past and present if they want to survive.
This was my first Breed novel and I’ll hand full marks to Ms. Leigh for telling a damn good series story that made total sense to a new reader since I was utterly sucked into the world. The suspense plot managed to combine various threads evenly and harmoniously and the revelation of the killer presented some satisfyingly grey areas.
Where the book doesn’t quite succeed lies in several areas. The author has a habit of interspersing dialogue with exposition, a disjointed style that breaks the conversational flow to the point where someone would reply and I’d have no idea to who or what they were talking about. Secondly, I’m not exactly Miss Dominatrix, but after four consecutive sex scenes following the same recipe, I’d either like a little variety or a diet, thank you very much. Finally, there are waaaay too many names in this novel; when I encounter four names that start with “Wa” on one page, the author either needs to cut some out or invent new ones.
Now for the good stuff, and that can be summarized in one word: Cassa. She’s going up against a lot (those darned possessive animal species), but she doesn’t take any crap from Cabal and fights for her prerogatives as a person, a female, and a mate. She’s been feeling guilty by association for her part in the massacre of Cabal’s family and has been hiding from him out of the justifiable fear of his rejection. This guilt has added a reckless sheen to her natural impetuosity, so I found some of her dumber actions totally understandable. Cabal is a little more difficult to understand because he’s a total caveman and Ms. Leigh never fully explains his reasons for staying away from Cassa (who, by the way, calls him a “whore-mongering tomcat’ to his face – you go girl!) until the very end. By then it felt like an afterthought, and all I could think was, you dumbo.
Still, their relationship progressed reasonably and credibly, and I thought the resolution to the suspense very satisfying. (Plus, there are some interesting…barbed discoveries to…lock into.) I liked the world-building, I liked the plot, I liked the characters, and even if I don’t favor the author’s prose or the repetitive sex, I can deal with them. So, Jonas Wyatt, here I come. I can’t wait till you get what you deserve.