Avenger’s Heat by Katie Reus
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ORDER A COPY: Avenger’s Heat: A Moon Shifter Novel
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: February 4, 2014
Paperback: 328 pages
Rating: 4 stars
To truly have her, he must free her from her dark secret…
Enforcer Erin Flynn has dedicated her life to protecting her kind. But keeping her heart safe from Noah Campbell, the smoking-hot shifter who saved her life last year, is more difficult. The deadly beauty would love to sink into his arms and become his mate, but she knows she can’t—he must never know about her dark past.
When Erin is sent to investigate the disappearances of pregnant shifters in New Orleans, Erin and Noah find themselves involved in a mystery more sinister than anyone expected. And as Erin delves further into the crimes, chilling information about her own past is revealed. The people who wanted her dead in the first place are trying to finish the job, and Noah wants nothing more than to shield her from harm. But can Erin truly trust Noah and let him see the wounded beast she’s hidden for so long?
Erin is in New Orleans on her first solo assignment as an Enforcer for the North American Council of Lupine Shifters. Becoming an Enforcer is an accomplishment to be proud of but add to that is the fact that it was not long ago that Noah had found her nearly beaten to death and left behind a dumpster like trash. It took her some time to recover and even longer to learn to trust again. Even at her most afraid, she never felt fearful of Noah. But right now, she is kind of annoyed at him since he insisted on coming with her on her assignment. Oh, he used the excuse that his father is Alpha of New Orleans, but Erin knows he is just trying to keep on eye on her.
As far as assignments go, this is an important one–pregnant shifters are going missing. No one put it together right away, since the first missing females were feline and the various cat shifters don’t have a council to protect them like the wolves. Once wolf shifters started disappearing, the Council sent Erin to find out what’s happening.
When the kidnappers make a mistake and one of the women gets away, she is able to tell them about the blindfolds and the cages and how they drained the women’s blood. Erin brings in the Fae investigator Brianna and a vampire investigator, Ian, to help figure out why someone would be draining the blood of pregnant shifters.
Erin’s investigation begins to uncover not only a disgusting ancient ritual being practiced behind closed doors, but it’s beginning to look like shifters are behind the kidnapping of their own kind. As she closes in on the kidnappers, Erin realizes that their scents are very familiar, and this case is going to reawaken the nightmare from Erin’s own past.
I haven’t read anything from Katie Reus that I haven’t loved. Her characters are just wonderful and in this story, the investigation was captivating.
As always, I am a sucker for the friends to lovers story and this is no exception. Noah has been protecting Erin since the night they found her near death. He knew from that moment that she would be special to him and even though she learned to fight back and become an enforcer, he still has this need to keep her safe.
They have developed quite a bond between them, and although Erin believes the secrets of her past are too much for them to have a future, Noah ruins all her pained lamenting by letting her know that he’s not letting her go for any reason.
It was a really good story and although I haven’t gotten to the first two stories of the Moon Shifter series yet, these books work fine as stand alone stories, especially this one where Erin and Noah are working away from the pack.
Receive an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A very tall male with dark auburn slicked-back hair stepped into the clearing wearing a long. black leather coat that rippled in the wind. It matched the rest of his all-black clothing. Seriously? He might as well tattoo I’M A FUCKING VAMPIRE CLICHÉ across his forehead. At least the sword in his left hand was actually pretty bad-ass.
Erin tensed, placing her left foot slightly forward as she braced for an attack. Next to her, Noah growled low in his throat as he prepared to fight too.
When the new vampire twisted his sword back over his head and sheathed it somewhere below his jacket, Erin’s shoulders slightly loosened. The blond female—now fully healed—hissed angrily at Erin and made a move to leave the male pushing up off the ground, but the auburn-haired guy stopped her with a deadly look.
Oh yeah, he was definitely the leader.
“I apologize for my friends’ actions. We don’t wish to fight with you.” His voice was deep and there was more than a hint of an Irish brogue in it.
Erin snorted as her gaze flicked around the blood-covered group. “You don’t want to fight us, huh?”
Next to her Noah shifted back to his human form, his giant body making her feel dwarfed. She glanced at him to make sure he was okay and she held back a smile when she saw he did the same to her, his eyes quickly tracking over her body.
“Who the hell are you and what were you doing near that dead shifter?” Noah snarled, his voice coming out gutteral. His wolf still lurked very close to the surface after his change. No doubt was still amped up on adrenaline as he tried to tame his beast.
It was one of the reasons she tried not to shift during a fight. Getting control of her wolf was harder for her and she could fight just as well in human form. Erin’s eyes narrowed as she eyed the tall vampire. “You like to feed on a dead shifters?” Sick fuck.
The man let out a sound that sounded a lot like a growl. “No. I’m hunting a group of feral vampires and we tracked the scent here.”
Scent? Erin hadn’t picked up on anything. She frowned and wiped the blood from her now-healed cheek. “Okay, who are you and why are you hunting ferals?” It wasn’t out of the goodness of his heart—that much she was sure of. If he was hunting anyone, it would likely be on someone’s orders.
“My name is Ian and we all work for the Brethren. We’ve been dispatched to hunt and destroy a newly turned group of vampires who has gone feral. They never should have been turned in the first place. I apologize for my team. They are newly formed and should not have gone on the offensive.”
Erin eyed him warily, wondering how much truth was in his words. Even if she didn’t trust him, she needed to make introductions. “I threw the first blade so no worries. My name is Erin Flynn and this is Noah Campbell.” She motioned with her hand.
The blond male grunted rudely as he sized up Noah who was naked. “You let your female speak for you?”
Noah growled and she expected him to snap at the other male, but a slow grin spread over his face. “My female took your ass down in seconds. Could have decapitated you if she wanted. And last time I checked this was the twenty-first century, dick. She can do anything she wants.”
Erin chose to ignore the “my female” comment, even if his words did make something warm spread throughout her body. And when she noticed the short vamp with black hair checking out Noah’s entire, very naked, body with no shame, her inner wolf didn’t snap as much as she normally would have at seeing another female eyeing him.
Ignoring the chauvinistic vamp, she focused on the leader. “As I was saying, this is Noah and his father is Alpha in this territory. I’m—“
“The newest enforcer for the North American Council. I recognize your name.” Ian watched her thoughtfully for a moment. “Why are you in New Orleans?”
She thought about keeping the information to herself, but now was the perfect time to catch these vamps off guard. Gauging their reaction to her next words should be enlightening. “If you’re here you must know that pregnant shifters have been going missing.”
Ian’s eyebrows slightly drew together as he shook his head. “I haven’t heard that.”
He didn’t stink of lies, but she wanted to be sure. “So you didn’t know about it when you arrived in town?”
Ian shook his head again. “We are here for the ferals.”
Okay, so maybe he was telling the truth. That didn’t mean he didn’t know anything about why shifters were being taken. “Why would anyone want shifter blood?” With her question she gave away the fact that she knew what was happening to the kidnapped victims, but she had to pursue this avenue. They were vampires and might know something she didn’t.
The leader glanced at his people. “Leave us. Now.”
The short female looked like she might argue, but they all disappeared into the woods. The vampire reached into his jacket and Noah snarled.
“I’m just getting a card.” Ian held up his free hand then pulled out a white card. He covered the distance between them in seconds, earning another growl from Noah who grabbed it from his outstretched fingers.
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Erin took it from Noah and glanced at it. It was a simple cream-colored card, made of thick stock, with the name Ian on it—no last name—and a phone number. She tucked it into one of her pants pockets.
“I wasn’t lying when I said we’re here for the ferals, but I don’t like that pregnant shifters are going missing. I’ll reach out to my contacts and be in touch if I find out something. And now you have my number if you need me beforehand,” Ian said.