Series: Love at Stake
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: October 1, 2010
Wanted: Bride. Must love children. Mortals need not apply.
Carlos Panterra is looking for a mate, a woman who will love and care for the young orphans he's recently taken under his wing (or paw, as the case may be). When the shape shifter spies the beautiful Caitlyn, it's like sunshine amidst the darkness. At last, he's found the perfect woman, except...
Caitlyn Whelan is mortal. Worse, her father is the head of a CIA agency bent on hunting the undead. Still, Caitlyn knows that Carlos is the man for her, shape shifter or not. So she jumps at the chance when her sister offers her a job to work with him, determined to show Carlos their attraction is more than just animal magnetism. But danger lurks in the night, and their unleashed, untamed passion might just get them both killed...
This is the first book by Kerrelyn Sparks I've read, and I guess it won't be the last, because I loved it. It had humor, it had romance, it had vampires, shape-shifters, suspense, hot lovin', suspense, and drama.
But what struck me most of all—I didn't hate the heroine. I loved her to bits, actually (though her I'm-not-good-enough fears grew a little tiresome). Who needed some screws tightened in this story was the hero with all his I-want-her-but-can't-have-her, I-have-to-save-my-race-even-if-I-have-to-marry-a-skanky-were-panther, my-young-stepchildren-will-have-to-save-the-race-if-I'm-not-able-to mentality. If I were the heroine I'd grab him by the head and slam it into the wall. Repeatedly. I'm so glad she didn't give up. Maybe he didn't really deserve her, but she didn't give up. Loved it.
And the book had a nice dose of humor to go with the main dish of shape-shifter/romance/suspense plot. You gotta love an author who doesn't take herself too seriously and has (obvious) fun writing her stories and characters. Especially her heroine that, despite aiming for the chest every time, hits her targets (a little bit) lower.
"There's no bright side," Phineas objected. "The man's got no gonads."
"But she hit the target," Carlos said.
"The man has got no gonads," Phineas repeated forcefully.
"It was an accident." Caitlyn set her gun on the counter. "I was aiming for his chest."
"You blew his pecker to Connecticut," Phineas muttered.
She grinned. "I think you have issues, Phineas. It was only a paper pecker."