Her Perfect Mate
Think you know shifters? Think again. In the world of the Department of Covert Operations (DCO – a secret agency within Homeland Security…kinda), shifters play an important role in keeping the country safe, but a)not by changing into cats or wolves or what-have-you and b)they aren’t the only ones.
The idea of shifters has been around for ages, from werewolves to skinwalkers, but what if someone was just a bit more in touch with their animal side? Ivy Halliwell is one of those people – her gifts don’t actually turn her into a cat, but her reflexes and hidden strength match what’s hidden in her DNA, and making working for the DCO a unique opportunity. Unfortunately, Ivy has also had to deal with partners who think that because she is a shifter, and because she is a woman, she is somehow less, leaving her open to ridicule and an attempted assault.
But Ivy has a new partner now, a Special Forces Captain – Landon Donovan. Who honestly has no idea what’s going on. Landon was pulled, quite literally, from his team during a mission, flown back to the States with no explanation whatsoever, and introduced to this tiny woman. Who proceeded to hold her own (i.e. came within a second of kicking his tush). Ivy doesn’t want to tell him about her extra abilities, but he’s no dummy – he knows something is different about her. And they both know that the more they work together, the more their attraction builds – not good when part of the contract states that Landon be prepared to kill Ivy if she’s captured.
The interactions between Ivy and Landon are quite wonderful – Landon is so easygoing about pretty much everything that he can basically sit back and wait for Ivy to trust him. Of course, the training exercises and the missions that they go on have basically given him all the information he needs to guess her secret, but I really liked how he didn’t push. Not that he was a doormat – he stood up for himself when needed – but there’s a line between what you want to know and what you need to know, and Landon had that under control. Ivy really appreciates the room he grants her, and so even with her trust issues, they are able to work together well, and Ivy grows to trust him much more quickly than I would have expected.
There’s a lot of action, and it is really well written – I find that action scenes aren’t always up to snuff in romance novels, but this particular author did them well. The speed of the action pulls the plot along quickly, making this a fast and fun read. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the romance.
There were, sadly, things that really detracted from my whole reading experience. First, I know that in the story, we are dealing with military and covert operations – and boy, do they love their acronyms – but I had a hard time following them in the beginning. Most of them are explained at some point, but it was still pretty frustrating. I am not a fan of having to go look something up if I don’t know what an acronym means.
Second, there is such a thing as inappropriate sexy times. Now, I know this is a romance novel. And I know that Landon and Ivy are attracted to each other, will end up having sex at some point, and get their happily-ever-after. Here’s the thing, though – THERE ARE MOMENTS THAT ARE JUST NOT SEXY! EVER! Let me give you an example:
You and your partner are searching for a bioengineer who may be working on the next big bioweapon virus. You find his lab/lair and search it for information as to what he is doing. Instead of documents or a handy test tube filled with his project, you find a (broken) freezer full of dead bodies. You may have been exposed to some sort of virus. As per protocol, your superior calls the CDC, who rush over there with a decontamination team. As you and your partner get brutally scrubbed down, you look over and think “Damn, she’s hot.” Your partner does the same. You both fight back your attraction, even though physical evidence (on your part) is letting the world know what you’d rather be doing.
Wait, what? You are in danger of dying from some horrible disease that definitely has no cure, and all you can think of is you want to bone your partner? THIS IS NOT THE TIME, MY FRIEND!
Seriously, each time something like this happened, I just sat back and stared at the book in horrified wonder. Landon, I’m glad you are attracted to Ivy, but perhaps you should wait until after the threat of certain death has passed. In fact, from what I understand, decontamination showers are borderline painful, with someone basically taking a scrub brush to your entire body.
Finally, overall I was astonished at how sexist Landon was (and most of the book was, really) when we have such a strong female lead. Looking back to the inappropriate sexy times, we also have a moment where Ivy and Landon are in the middle of the jungle on their first mission. They are soaked and exhausted, and need to catch a few hours sleep before they need to move on. Since their clothes are wet, they need to take them off (even in the middle of the jungle, things like that can make you sick. Or give you parasites). Landon’s response to the entire situation?
Now he understood why the Army didn’t allow women on the A-teams. To say they’d be a distraction was an understatement.”
Now, I get the plot reasonings behind this, but honestly? That was the moment I knew I wouldn’t be falling in love with Landon. His distraction is based on his attraction for this particular woman, and pushing the “fault” of that onto the woman infuriates me, to be quite honest.
I had a really hard time trying to decide how to rate this. As I said, I liked the story, I liked the romance, and I really enjoyed the concept – I know there are others that have mixed paranormal and military/covert operations, but I really liked the emphasis on the missions over Ivy’s abilities, even if those abilities are the center of the plot. However, I had some major personal issues with the content. If things like that don’t bother you, it’s a good read. I will probably try future books in this new series, to give it another shot, but I’m not holding out much hope.
On a side note, I’m wondering if the author intentionally referred to Ivy’s lady parts as her pussy during sex. She is, after all, a cat shifter. Get it? Cat?