On the Hunt is an anthology containing four short stories/novellas from Gena Showalter, Shannon K. Butcher, Jessica Andersen, and Deidre Knight.
In Ever Night by Gena Showalter, Rose Pascal is a swept into a dark, haunting world every year on her birthday – a world ruled by a warrior king who hunts her every kind. Neither of them can deny the passion that soon consumes the both. This is a fresh new entry for Showalter and it reminded me of what I really like about her writing – a quick witted but dark and dangerous hero and a kick ass heroine. For short story, there’s lots of conflict here and and Showalter chose a clever way for the story to span several years, since Rose can only come see Vasili, the King, each year on her birthday. As the years go by, Rose is pushed to become an independent and fierce woman due to the fact that her friends and family in the human world think she has gone crazy. All the while Vasili is turned on by the growth he sees in Rose each time she returns. Eventhough I thought Rose’s character was a little young for the ancient Vasili in the set up of this particular story, the overall story reminded me how much I enjoy Showalter’s writing.
In The Collector by Shannon K. Butcher, demon hunter Neal Etan sets out to acquire a powerful artifact, but finds much more in beautiful Viviana Rowan. The antique dealer’s touch strengthens his magic – and her life may be in Neal’s hands if they don’t recover the artifact in time. A short story set in Butchers series The Sentinel Wars, I think this is a great way for readers who haven’t read the series to see if they would like it. And for those of us who have read all of the series so far, I found this story to touch on what I really like about the series – the side stories and secondary characters. Because this is a short story instead of a full length novel, the plot moves quickly and Butcher does a good job of giving a brief overview of the life of a Warrior. I don’t think anyone would be lost reading this if they haven’t read the series. Neal is hot and your heart really feels for him as he has found the woman that can save his soul, but she may be resistant to help him. She’s a buttoned-up prim and proper kind of woman. I loved the way the two of them interacted with each other. While the two love interests resolved their issues quickly, I still felt satisfied considering it was a short story.
In Crystal Skull by Jessica Andersen, archaeologist Natalie Albright’s dig gets shut down amid rumors she has awakened the local demons. But when the terrifying underworld creatures attack, Natalie must team up with her ex to survive. As they fight the ancient menace, they discover a destiny that binds them together and threatens to tear them apart. This short story is set in the world of Andersen’s Nightkeepers series. I have not read any of the series, so I felt a little lost in the beginning, but I quickly caught on. While this story did keep my attention, I didn’t really connect emotionally with the characters. Natalie, the heroine, spent quite a bit time doing that “thinking to herself/self talk” sort of thing which after awhile got slightly annoying. JT, the hero, seemed to give in too quickly to his desires in my opinion as well. Something just didn’t mesh with me on this story.
In Red Angel, by Deidre Knight, Jamie Angel, leader of the deadly Nightshades, has tracked every kind of monster and demon that roams the darkness, but none of his experiences can prepare him for falling in love with one of the creatures he’s trained to destroy. Set in the south, this entry from Knight was an entertaining and almost light-hearted read. The southern style dialogue was quirky and fun and I could almost hear the southern drawl when I was reading it. I did feel there were a few too many secondary characters introduced for a short story that made it hard to follow a long in the beginning. But I quickly got over that when Sunny, the heroine, and Jamie, the hero, come face to face with each other and Jamie senses Sunny may not be human. The conflict is wrapped up nice and tight and quickly too. But I definitely enjoyed it. I have not read any of Knight’s Gods of Midnight series, which I believe is the world this story is set in. However, after checking out Knight’s website, I was reminded she wrote Butterfly Tattoo which I really liked and so I will definitely be checking out her other books too after reading Red Angel.
From Shannon K. Butcher’s The Collector:
His cock was throbbing and swollen, and the need to push her legs wide and rub himself against her was swiftly taking over all rational thought. He slid a hand up her thigh, feeling the silkiness of her stockings, then the even softer texture of her bare skin. Thigh-highs. Naughty girl under all that prim-and-proper.