Have you tried the Bloodhounds by Moira Rogers series yet? I recently glommed the series and burned through all of the books currently published. I really liked the paranormal-western setting. There were bloodhounds (like werewolves), vampires, and high tech weapons, all mixed in with the traditional hard living of the old west. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
One of my main complaints about the first book in the series, Wilder’s Mate, was the lack of depth in the world building. It wasn’t what I was used to from this author. By the time I got to Merrick’s Destiny that didn’t bother me as much it originally did. It’s not that the development became substantially richer, I was just used to the setting by then and knew what to expect. Also, I connected with the characters more so that helped distract my attention from it. I just wanted to mention my initial problems with it so that any new readers will go in with their expectations set accordingly. Besides, the world-building isn’t the strength (or focus) of this series. Instead, Rogers focuses primarily on the attraction between the leads and the bond that develops between them. That sounds simple, I know, but I enjoy it.
We first met the hero of this story, Archer, back in Wilder’s Mate. Initially it wasn’t easy to get a good read on him. His behavior had me uncertain about whether he was a good guy or whether he was a bad guy. We got to know him a bit more in the second book, Hunter’s Prey, and what I saw of him intrigued me. He was always the one to push the boundaries and go out of his way to irritate the other bloodhounds into seeing whatever it was that was right in front of their face. I liked that about him.
Archer shows up in Crystal Springs at the worst possible moment for the heroine, Grace. He was sent by the Guild to assess and clean up a reported situation about vampires continually attacking the town, and she’s thankful for him arriving, but she was indulging in a moment of what she saw as cowardice, so she was unnerved by him witnessing her weakness. Considering the fact that very few townspeople were left, I think she was entitled to struggle with her fear of staying. Of course, she judged herself much harsher than I did, but I understood where she was coming from after the author revealed her past and what being accepted by Crystal Springs meant to her.
Right away Grace and Archer had chemistry. They both had shady pasts, although Archer was much more settled about his, and seemed to recognize a similarity in each other. Grace was very different from the other bloodhound mates we have met so far. Despite her past she felt more innocent and easily wounded than any of the others. She had never been with a bloodhound and she tended to shy away from violence. Not necessarily the easiest pairing for a violent bloodhound, is it?
I liked that Grace was so upfront with Archer about her reactions. He was so careful and nervous around her that any drawing back on her part could be easily misinterpreted. She was always careful to make sure he understood that her bad reaction was from the violence or fear instead of from fear of him. I really like the way Rogers played out the romance. I was expecting something different from Archer (like more swagger) based on what I saw of him previously, but Grace brought out an unexpected tender side. It was nice to see that layer of vulnerability to him.
If you haven’t read this series before, you should know a few things. The stories are shorter (maybe category length?) and they have plenty of steam. I enjoyed Grace and Archer together and thought the sexy scenes were verra nice, but I winced over the use of the word “cunt.” That is just not sexy to me. Ever. That word pops up in other books in the series, so be warned if that’s a particular pet peeve of yours.
Although I enjoyed the book, I didn’t connect to it quite as well as I did the last book, Hunter’s Prey. It wasn’t for any particular reason, given that I quite liked the hero and heroine, I just felt that I needed a bit more time to really settle my ‘liking’ into ‘loving’. That’s really my only complaint about the book, other than the aforementioned comment about the world-building. Rogers introduced an unexpected new character in this book. I’m very interested to see what develops there, although I already have a good guess about what’s coming.
”When this is over you’ll still be a hero and I’ll still be a liar. I’m selfish to want you at all, much less forever.” He’d been a liar since before she was born. “Trust me, sweetheart, the heroics are recent—and more limited than you know.”