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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cynful by Dana Marie Bell

Cynful by Dana Marie Bell
Halle Shifters Book 2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: full Length (269 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

To save the woman he loves, he must push his gifts to the brink.

Halle Shifters, Book 2

Julian DuCharme, a rare Spirit Bear with legendary healing powers, is finally free from the threat of death, finally free to claim his mate—but she’s not having it. While his Bear screams it’s time to mate, the love of his life wants to date.

Holding his Bear in check while convincing her he’s not out to control her won’t be easy. She’s stubborn and a closeted geek—in other words, perfect for him.

Cynthia “Cyn” Reyes, owner of Living Art Tattoos, thinks Julian is the hottest thing on two legs. That doesn’t mean she’s going to roll over for his masculine charm. She watched her mother flounder when her father passed away, and she’s determined to never lose herself to someone else. Not even a man who would jump the moon for her, if she asked that of him.

When the women of Living Art are targeted by a killer, Julian doesn’t think twice about pouring out his last drop of power to keep Cyn safe. But it’s Cyn who’ll give up everything—her independence, even her humanity—to keep a terrifying vision from coming true.

Cynthia ‘Cyn’ Reyes hopes life settles down now that her friend has finally mated. And she knows that Julian DuCharme is more than likely just what he says, her mate and a rare Spirit Bear shifter. But sometimes, a girl just wants to be courted and wooed, not taken for granted. When folks just keep trying to kill her and destroy her Tattoo shop, she will do whatever it takes to protect those she cares for. Julian DuCharme, for all his strength and powers, is determined to give Cyn what she wants: a proper courtship with all the trimmings. At least that’s the plan, until Cyn and the others become targets. Then Julian is determined to claim his mate so she will be stronger and more able to survive if things get worse. The one question is, when Julian does finally turn Cyn, what will she be? Can Julian court Cyn to her satisfaction? Together, can they catch the ones targeting them?

Cynful is Dana Marie Bell’s second Halle Shifter book, and a fantastic follow up to Bear Necessities. I like that she's kept everyone from the first book together, and expands this world a bit more. She has also brought in some old friends, from the Halle Puma series, and I loved seeing them again as well. All of Ms. Bell’s characters are well defined, strong and charismatic. This world is one I love, and hope to visit often, filled with so many intriguing folks.

Cynthia ‘Cyn’ Reyes is a strong and independent woman. She's attracted to Julian, but hates the idea that her life depends on some fated mate. She wants to date and be courted, and I loved some of the things she put Julian through on their dates. She knows at some point he'll need to claim her and mate her, but she's determined to have it be on her terms, not Fate’s. She's smart enough to realize, when the attacks escalate, she needs the strength being Julian’s mate will provide. She'll be turned, but on her terms, when she's good and ready.

Julian DuCharme is hot, sexy and one of the rarest of shifters, a Spirit Bear. He has the power to heal, and he uses it in his role as a nurse at the local clinic. He knew Cyn was his mate the first time he saw her, and his frustration at the wait is driving him crazy. But he's willing to do things Cyn’s way, at least until the danger comes their way again. I love Julian’s determination, and his willingness to follow Cyn’s lead in this courtship. He won me over with his gentle nature when he works with the patients, and his fierce loyalty to friends and loved ones.

This is a fast paced and action packed story, with romance, danger and mystery around every corner. The secondary characters here are as strong as Julian and Cyn, and the addition of some of the Halle Pumas adds to the familiarity and fun. Of course, this has lots of Dana Marie Bell’s scorching hot sex, and the big surprise of what Cyn becomes is fantastic (and I’m not giving spoilers here on that). There's a happy ever after here, but it's hard won, and not without peril. This is for those who like humor with their romance, and a side of danger to spice it up.

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