Release Date: August 23, 2011
Series: #6 in Alien Huntress
More Info: Amazon The Book Depository
Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter captivates with a dark, tantalizing world of humans, otherworlders, and a powerful AIR agent consumed by his desire for a woman he can never have. . .
With one caress, he can give unforgettable pleasure . . . or unending pain. . . .
Hector Dean is shaved, tattooed, and totally ripped—and he has a deadly secret. He is a walking weapon, capable of killing with a single brush of his fingertips. Little wonder he’s determined to remain on his own. But Noelle Tremain is a temptation like no other. She is beautiful and rich, with a party girl smile that hides a shocking vulnerability, and from the beginning his sizzling attraction to her is undeniable. For the first time, his stone-cold resistance is tested. But to be with her, he risks destroying her.
When a wealthy businessman is murdered in New Chicago’s seediest district, the two are partnered, and there’s no escaping what they both want: each other. Yet neither Hector nor Noelle knows what to fear more—the killer case, or their own lethal desires. . . .
This was my first Gena Showalter book. Although it is the sixth in this series, according to goodreads, or maybe the ninth according to her website, I never felt lost and I had no trouble following the story. While there were many references to previous events and characters, it worked well as a standalone or as an introduction to the series. I am quite intrigued by Dallas, one of the AIR agents and the only friend that Hector has. Dallas's friend Devyn was also interesting. I'd like to read more about both of them. I actually liked them more than I did the book's lead characters, Hector and Noelle.
Hector is your basic urban fantasy male - muscled, arrogant, a loner, a bad ass, short tempered, has no use for manners and had a horrible childhood. He came from poverty and even now earns a modest salary and lives modestly. He feels unworthy, on several levels, of being with Noelle. He feels like a freak because of his deadly ability and is worried about people finding out. He worries that people will want nothing to do with him and that government will capture him and make him their lab rat. Legitimate concerns, for sure.
Noelle comes from money and is used to having anything she wants, financially speaking. She's the family black sheep - treated like an irresponsible, useless airhead, she takes pride in living up to their expectations. But she's not as dumb or irresponsible (though she's definitely not a model of decorum or responsibility) as she likes to act and gets upset when people don't see through her act. Frankly, that got old in a hurry. I got tired very quickly of reading about how she's so much better than her family thinks she is and why can't they see past her act to the real, lovable Noelle. "Poor poor me, I'm so misunderstood." Uh huh, grow a pair and act like an adult. Then, if they still want nothing to do with you, walk away. But don't act like an airhead and then get all pouty because people treat you like an airhead.
They circle around each other, flirt, smash teeth (I stopped counting after the 4th time Showalter described their kissing that way. Personally, I don't find smashing teeth while kissing to be sexy or hot.) Hector pushes her away numerous times but Noelle can be stubborn and she keeps coming back for more. When they finally have sex, more than halfway through the book, it is one of the sweetest, tenderest love scenes I've read. Which was a pleasant surprise after the teeth smashing and some WTF? lines. Showalter veers between crazy, stupid or cheesy lines and dialogue and witty, funny, laugh out loud lines.
The story is long, well over 400 pages and could have easily been cut in half. It would have been a much better, more tightly written story if it had been cut. There's too much repetition and long stretches of nothing happening. It's a mix of science fiction, urban fantasy, romance and mystery and it works pretty well. That mix was what caught my attention and why I picked up the book in the first place.
This would be a book to borrow from a friend or get from the library.
I received this paperback from the publisher for review.