Sunday, March 24, 2013

ARC Review: Hunter


by Jacquelyn Frank, Jax (Pseudonym)


This can’t be happening to her. A random break down…an isolated mountain road, a seemingly chance meeting with a hotter-than-hot stranger. Tatyana is a modern gal who can handle any crisis, but before she knows what’s hit her, she’s sensing a hideous threat, not to her but to this man who draws her like a moth to flame. Hunter.
“I know things…I saw it.”
When the attack comes, she is his protection from a diabolical enemy, even as he initiates her into a startling world of magic, sorcery and sensuality. For in a moment of terrifying danger a spark has been struck, and neither can escape the erotic fire to come…


Wow! For anyone who has ever read anything written by Jacquelyn Frank, you won’t be disappointed with this story written under her pseudonym, Jax.  Never having read any of her stories under this pseudonym I was afraid it would be vastly different from her normal writing but I can honestly say I was happily surprised. Hunter is a great story, full of rich characters, imaginative takes on magic, and the age old struggle between good and evil—both internal and external.  Being a witch myself I found Frank’s take on the witches in this story extremely interesting and very much a respectful portrayal of the Craft.
Tatyana has finally decided she’s had enough of her brother dodging her for the past months and she is going to make the trip to his new home and force him to see her.  Heading into the snowy Catskill Mountains she is amazed when her car suddenly betrays her and leaves her stranded and cold on the road.  But refusing to give in to the bad luck that’s weighed her down all week, she heads on foot the rest of the way to the mansion, never knowing that she is heading into the future of her life and the changes fate has set into motion to lead her to her true destiny.  
Hunter has finally returned home, facing his family after ten long years of running from them and the mistakes of his past.  He has heeded the call of his High Priest and best friend to return to the Coven and resume his rightful place as Sentinel.  And he arrives just in time. When Tatyana stumbles into his life—literally—he is more than simply attracted to the fascinating sister of one of the Coven’s newest members.  He instantly feels a deep connection with her.  But only when faced with an attack by warlocks does the true path of their now shared destiny reveal itself, throwing Tatyana and Hunter into an intense battle for their lives and their future happiness.
Tatyana was one of my favorite heroines in a Frank novel, reminding me a bit of Bella in her Nightwalkers series.  She was sassy and in your face, which I guess one might expect from such a strong willed woman, but she pulls it off so well and maintains her sweetness and innate goodness even when faced with death and destruction all around her.  She faces her new life head on and is determined that she will be a well respected addition to the Willow Coven.  Even when Hunter hurts her and tries to deny the deep feelings developing between them, she maintains her calm resolve, determined to make Hunter see how food they can be together.  Her cleverness was another draw for me; as her presence in the Coven brings her closer to her new family, she adds her quirky sense of humor and her out-of-the-box thinking to their plans to defeat the evil that has been stalking them for years.  And I have to tell you, I don’t think I could have written anything funnier than how she reacts to finding out that the interesting new people she’s just met are really witches with supernatural powers fighting evil warlocks out to kill them.
Hunter is a great character in his own right of course, though sometimes his nobility and sense of honor (though sometimes misplaced) gets him into trouble with Tatyana.  He is strong minded as well as being sexy as hell and seriously who doesn’t want to meet a man who would kill to keep you safe. It was interesting to find out about his past and see how it shaped him into the mature and magical man meant to be Tatyana’s mate.  It is highly possible that if I ever meet a man like him in person I will be keeping him handcuffed to my bed forever. He is the quintessential alpha male with a soft teddy-bear inside just waiting for the right woman to bring out his softer side.  Though the softness is thoroughly disguised behind the immense sexual heat that burns through him every time Tatyana is even within his eye line.  Though I was a bit frustrated with his continued denial of the sensual draw between them and his frustrating insistence that he not give in to their driving needs.  I mean really who wants a guy that hot to deny his sexual need? :)
This was a great story but there were a few issues for me, though small.  Firstly, as you read this book you’ll find yourself wishing that it wasn't the first one written in the series.  You have to play a lot of catch-up and are left salivating for the chance to read about the months before this story: Dimitre meeting Annali, the attacks on the Coven, and Ryce’s struggle with his decision to call Hunter back.  If that story was written I really think it needs publishing, NOW! Secondly, I will say that some of the darker moments when we are in the POV of the warlocks are just a little too dark, even for me.  I know there are some perverted and sick minds out there, but I was kinda squicked out by the sex scenes particularly.  But keeping an open mind I guess it was important for us to see how twisted Braen was in every aspect of his life, including his relationships with his lover.
Those two issues aside, I really enjoyed every second of this book.  It was hot and steamy in all the right ways, and there was a great plot as well, making it a great combo of Erotica and PNR.  Tatyana and Hunter were so obviously meant for each other, but it was great to see them work through their problems as a couple along with all their epic battles, reminding us that even Witches are just humans with all their foibles and dramas. The twists and turns the plot takes were intriguing and well written without being too predictable. I haven’t yet read a story by Jacquelyn Frank that I haven’t thoroughly loved, but this was a surprisingly wonderful addition to her bookshelf and I hope that there are more coming in this series—maybe even a little prequel with Annali and Dimitre’s story…wink wink nudge nudge. If you are looking for something fun and a little bit different, I recommend this story to fill your need.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Rose Rating: 
*eARC provided by publisher for the purpose of an honest review. Publication Date: April 30, 2012. 

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