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Friday, September 14, 2012

Panther’s Prey by Leah Brooke

Panther’s Prey by Leah Brooke
Black Panthers Book 1
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (312 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Bailey Knox knew the good price she paid for her new bar came with consequences, but she didn’t count on nearly getting killed before she could even move into the place, which was also her new home.

Waking up to the two complete strangers who have saved her, she’s alarmed at her overwhelming response to both of them. Marcus Brand and James Archer are different from any men she’s ever met, but she didn’t realize how different. Shape-shifters don’t exist. Then they tell her something even more remarkable. She is their mate.

She fights the emotional pull, even while reveling in the passion that only seems to grow stronger, passion that just can’t be ignored. Neither can the attacks. When black panthers save her life once again, the trio must hide the truth from the rest of the world while struggling to come to grips with their own destiny—and overcoming the danger surrounding them.

There’s an undeniably intoxicating scent blowing in the wind that can mean only one thing to a pair of black panthers, their mate is near and she swings a mean bat!

I’ve always enjoyed a good shifter story where the hero (or heroes) find their fated mate. There’s just something infinitely sexy about the idea of knowing your true love, your destiny, by an unmistakable scent, very much like a pheromone. That mysterious and undeniable draw is the foundation of this first book in author Leah Brooke’s new series. I use the word “foundation” because, as the first book in the Black Panthers series, it sets the tone and direction for the books that will follow.

Ms. Brooke sprinkles in bits of the panther’s history throughout the book but it’s obvious she isn’t revealing her whole hand in this first story. Someone attacked the panther pride when the boys (I met nine total but there may be more) were all very young. If it hadn’t been for Ed and Alice Tremaine they would have been massacred along with their parents.

Ms. Brooke’s writing is so sharp and vivid. The story morphed from words on a page to a movie in my mind within a few pages. This book is very character driven. Bailey and Marc are both struggling with the idea of not having a choice in the matter of the “fated mate” bond. They enjoy, and I do mean thoroughly enjoy, the effects of the mating but simply can’t accept that it means more than sexual attraction.

Bailey is terrific as the female lead. Her history gives her an automatic distrust of anyone trying to bend her to their will. This is a perfect foil for two dominant men who go to great lengths to protect their mate.

James and Bailey connect on a level that she and Marc have a harder time finding. James realizes pretty quickly the difference as well as the trigger. It was one of those sweet “aww” moments when he and Bailey discuss it.

Marc is determined and stubborn to say the least. He and Bailey are constantly butting heads and those high emotions inevitably lead to a bed. I could totally empathize with his desire to have a choice in the whole mating thing but at the same time I was relieved when he finally understands the choice was his all along.

The supporting characters round out this story nicely and do their job (supporting without stealing the limelight) flawlessly. Ms. Brooke pairs off and sets up the future books in this series with the introduction of the other “brothers” in the pack. Together they offer Bailey the one thing she missed growing up and the one thing she thought never to have, a family.

If you love getting in on the beginning of a series, you won’t want to miss Panther’s Prey. Ms. Brooke is known for her world building and it’s easy to get absorbed in this book as well. The panthers are just learning the extent of the power in mating and it’s an adventure I’ll gladly join them on again and again.

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