Author: Lora Leigh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 2, 2008
Someone has been slipping the Sanctuary's secure information to a pharmaceutical company. Now it's up to Ria Rodriguez to pose as a clerk and uncover the leak. Yet she has no idea of the danger she's about to encounter, or the passion she's about to ignite in one of the greatest Breeds ever created.
Years ago, Mercury Warrant—who, according to his file, is one of the greatest Breeds ever created—thought he lost his mate, and he's had to live with the idea that he'll never know true bonding. Then he's tapped to protect the mysterious Ria—and finds himself falling in love.
But Ria is a woman of many secrets, and she fears being consumed by her feelings for Mercury. Little does she know that she has every right to be afraid. Because the woman believed to be Mercury's true mate is back from the grave, and she's not about to let Ria—or anyone else—get in her way...
Enforcer Mercury Warrant is said to be the greatest Breed ever created, more beast than man. Unfortunately, the beast had been drugged into oblivion years ago, after Mercury's enraged violence after the death of his mate.
He's been off the drugs for years now, but the advantages of his unique genetic makeup are long gone and so is the beast...Until Gloria "please call me Ria" Rodriguez shows up in Sanctuary with the mission to evaluate if the Leo's money is well spent.
The paper-pusher act is just a cover, though, and Ria is really there to discover who's been selling Breed secrets to a pharmaceutical company. And despite her obvious attraction to Mercury, she's determined her stay at Sanctuary will be strictly business related. She wants it all, but since he's lost his true mate, she knows there will always be something missing...But Mercury's long-suppressed beast has another agenda and both Mercury and Ria will soon learn there is more to the mating heat than mere genetics.
Hell, yeah! This was one heck of a ride of a book (does this even make sense?). It had everything I'm looking for in a book and more. There was drama (some serious drama in fact), wonderful characterization, great suspense, two perfect leads, and page-burning scenes.
I loved Ria. IMO, she is the epitome of a perfect heroine. Both strong and vulnerable, down-to-earth and dreamy, selfish and selfless all in one tight little package with some serious bitchiness in the morning. She took a while to "get it", but it was worth the wait, since she never whined, but shone with a quiet acceptance that was almost humbling...And when she let loose her inner animal. Oh boy. I would've loved to see that cat fight. You go, girl!
Ms. Leigh struck gold with Mercury Warrant. For a man with such a dangerous and violent beast inside, he was (almost) the perfect opposite of his animal side. Quiet, gentle, almost unaware of his own worth and importance in the community and in the eyes of his friends.
It was bitter-sweet reading about his struggle with the lack of mating heat between him and Ria, how he wanted for something to be there, and when he finally realized the most important lesson, that it mostly is all about heart, I melted. And when the lion made his triumphant comeback - at the most inopportune moment, if I may say so - whew! Tinglies!...It also cleared up the "inconsistency" from Tanner's Scheme. You gotta embrace you inner beastie for the mating mojo to work its magic. Interesting.
The suspense was an added bonus in this book. It was so simply done it was quite easy for the reader to point the finger at the wrong Breed. And it made it quite easy to "hate" the said Breed despite all the support and kindness said Breed showed in the previous books. The mind is a fickle thing, I guess.
I also liked the small glimpsed in Jonas Wyatt's tender side. First the little info on him playing matchmaker in Dawn's Awakening. Wasn't that sweet? I turned into a manga drawing with little hearts in my eyes at that one. And then in the epilogue he showed us for sure that despite his manipulative tendencies he's a true FGP at heart. ;)
A definite keeper, close second to Dawn's Awakening (that's still my favorite, can't top that one), and owner of My Favorite Scene in the Series Award for…
He walked away from them all then and allowed the animal driving him freedom. It had been confined, so deeply hidden within him that even he hadn’t known it still lived.
It wasn’t confined any longer, and it was going for its mate.
As he stepped outside the mansion and moved for the Harley, he inhaled deeply.
He could smell them now. Knew where they were. Each living, four-legged lion that wandered the grounds, protecting its two-legged cousins, following them.
He roared out into the night, the animal and the man announcing their presence, their strength. And the calls came back to him. A symphony of animal screams, roars that filled the mountain, the acknowledgment from the animals that all moves to be near him, in triumph.
He was aware of the Breeds guarding outside, watching him warily now. The sounds of the lions called back to him, roaring out their greeting, their challenge, the echo of the fury they heard inside him.
He roared out again, filling the night with a sound he’s never known he possessed. His head tipped back, rage and triumph and the call for his mate tearing from vocal cords that were now more animal than human.
And the animals answered. He felt their response, felt them moving toward his destination. They were his pride and they would protect what was his. His woman. His mate. Their alpha female by choice and by nature.
The Breed that brought him the Harley stood back, wariness and respect filling his gaze as Mercury strode to him.
The Breed was awed by the sight of him. Eyes so blue they could rival a summer sky, the thick mane of hair flowing back from his savage features, his shoulders appearing broader, his body larger, than ever before.
The Lion Breed male saw something that both terrified and awed him, because this vision was a true Breed. The pure merging of lion and human. And he was enraged. That roar had been one of pure fury, and in it, it had held a message. A message so primal, so demanding, that the Breed himself nearly followed it.
Protect Mercury’s mate.