Author: Lora Leigh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 7, 2007
After the Feline Breeds' main base is attacked, Tanner desires revenge. So he kidnaps Scheme Tallant—the daughter of a one-time high-ranking member of the Genetics Council. But when Tanner discovers that Scheme herself is a target of her father's ruthless mission, his vengeance takes a back-seat to saving the life of the woman he hopes to claim as his mate.
For the past eight years, Scheme Tallant has led a double life as the assistant to her father, General Cyrus Tallant, a member of the Genetics Council, and as a spy for the Feline Breeds. Only the man who recruited her, Jonas Wyatt, knows the truth and her cover doesn't make her a popular person in the Breed community...But now Scheme's life is at risk because her father has realized her game and ordered her killed.
Tanner Reynolds, the golden PR boy for the Breed community, has had his eye on Scheme for the past ten years, skirting the fine line between wanting to kill her and possess her, the latter prevailing by a long shot. So when he's conveniently at hand to prevent her assassination, he doesn't think twice in snatching her away.
When she wakes up deep in the belly of a mountain, Scheme has no option but to finally admit her attraction to Tanner. But that doesn't mean she trusts him. Her father has planted a spy in the Breed compound and until she knows for sure Tanner isn't it, she's willing to share her information only with Jonas...
I absolutely adored this book. The interaction between Tanner and Scheme was electric, their plays of cat and mouse fairly invigorating, and the attraction and passion between them combustible.
The whole close quarter setting proved to be integral in the development of their relationship and the characters themselves, and once again Ms. Leigh paired the perfect two individuals. They complimented each other, understood each other perfectly even when they were still "enemies", and they had an uncanny ability to see into each other's souls, uncovering secrets and hidden truths in a blink of an eye.
It was wonderful to uncover the beast within the seemingly easy-going Tanner. From what we've seen in previous books he didn't appear to have a serious, vengeful bone in his body, yet the entire perception changed with a snap of fingers. He's one of the most complex characters so far and Scheme was his utter equal in depth and complexity. What she's gone through, the knowledge of what a monster her father was, would've destroyed someone else. She's only gotten more strong and determined for it. And because of that strength and inner demons plaguing her, it was so much more delicious seeing her slowly lowering her guards under Tanner's tender determination.
The entire book had a little bitter-sweet feeling for me. Not the kind to induce incontrollable bawling, but the hands-on-chest-going-awww kind. Especially when Tanner was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice just to see to her safety.
Which brings me to the huge inconsistency in this story. So huge in fact it almost "destroyed" the whole idea of the Mating Heat as we know it. Sure, Cabal provided a rather plausible excuse (apparently it's an animal thing), yet from what we've learned so far, that was stretched so thin it was almost transparent...But it's what provided the story, so I ain't complaining.
It was great seeing a little softer Jonas this time. He was still a manipulative SOB, but at least he seemed to care. And little David Lyons was a riot. I love that kid.
But in the end it was Cabal that got the short stick and the awww-ing from before just got stronger and I really can't wait for him to have his HEA. From what he's done for his brother, he most certainly deserves it.
Ms. Leigh backed on the action a little bit in this one, concentrating on the story and the love-hate relationship between Tanner and Scheme, but what little action we did get in the end, was more than the adequate dose. Also, the envelope-pushing voyeuristic addition to the already scorching sex scenes was a nice touch, providing yet another subtle difference from the rest of the series.
A most definitely recommended read and since this book can easily be read as a stand-alone (if you don't mind being left in the dark with some tidbits) I'd recommend it also to those not yet familiar with the Breed series.
A truly wonderful and combustible read. A keeper if there ever was one.