Jaguar Pride (Heart of the Jaguar #4)
by Terry Spear
JAG Special Forces operatives like Golden Claw agent Melissa Overton and her partner, Huntley Anderson, are trained for the most dangerous missions in the harshest environments. These hardened jaguar shifters can handle any variable, even . . . babies?
When Huntley and Melissa find two jaguar shifter cubs snoozing in their jungle hut while on assignment, they have to keep the cubs and each other safe from ruthless poachers, bringing these partners closer in ways they never expected...
Themes: shifter, paranormal
Rating: 3.75 stars
Returning to the jungles and rainforests of the world, places that many of us will never see in this life personally, Spear allows us to experience the beauty and untamed fantasy of Jaguar shifters as they work to prevent poaching of other shifters and their animal cousins. This series has kept my attention from the beginning, not merely because of my intense love for all shifters, but because Terry Spear has such a way with her characters, bringing their humanity and their emotions into the story in such depth that there can be no doubt that the shifters are more humane than their human counterparts. This story came with the added twist of seeing two characters that have been physically attracted to one another coming to terms with their changes in their personal and professional lives while have to deal with the ultimate battle… raising cubs—even just for the time it takes to save the twins parents. I immensely enjoyed seeing Melissa and Huntley find inventive and hilarious ways to keep the kids safe and entertained, not to mention just keeping them alive and fed, and cannot help but hope that they have cubs of their own we can meet in the near future. Though I have not yet become quite as emotionally invested in this series as Terry’s Heart of the Wolf series, I love each story more and more and I can see myself hooked for many books to come, but if you haven’t read the others in the series I can promise you will still love each book as it comes out.
Melissa and Huntley’s story begins the way any good romance story should, with both of them leaving the relationships that have been keeping them a safe distance apart as they’ve partnered on cases, and finally being able to explore the explosive and sensual chemistry they have been denying for one another. Returning for the jungle after an intense case, Melissa finds herself temporarily homeless and Huntley offers her a place to stay in his recently re-bachelorized home. They soon find themselves back in the jungle, now with a new chance to be lovers as well as partners, but things become complicated when they become temporary guardians to twin shifter cubs, completely dependent on two people that really have zero experience with children—let the antics ensue! As their case progress, it becomes clear that they have to risk it all to have a way for them to be together and complete their mission, rescuing the cubs’ parents and reuniting the family in safety. In the end, their trust in one another is the only thing they can count on to save them all.
Oh, what can I say about Huntley except that he’s hot as hell, sweet, and hilarious all rolled up in a package that could bring down the world to keep his woman safe. While I generally might throw around a term like alpha, Huntley doesn’t fit into that mold, mainly because while he is certainly take-charge, he treats Melissa as an equal in their personal and professional interactions and truly seems to appreciate her and really understand her needs. That being said he still has all the desirable qualities of a good alpha male: sexy, strong, willful, intelligent, witty, and arrogant, but he thankfully lacks the nasty side effects of the alpha gene, mainly a stubbornness and assuredness that he is always right and a woman should follow his direction. This makes him the perfect mate for Melissa who on her own could be described as alpha, and she even has a bit of that stubbornness that makes you mad, but hers has more to do with her doubts leading her to make incorrect assessments of personal situations. I loved seeing her take Huntley in hand and work alongside him, while still being able to appreciate his sweeter side. The obvious balance, even with a bit of push and pull here and there, is what makes Huntley and Melissa’s relationship completely believable and obviously one that will last for a long time.
Jaguar Pride is one of those stories that touch on so many different themes within a good romance, from action and drama to love and family, and even then, to the dangers of being caught unaware in any environment no matter how familiar it is to you. It was great to see Melissa and Huntley work together and even better to see them finally have a chance to enjoy the heat between them, even as they worked to keep two little girls safe and rescue their parents. The obvious dedication Melissa and Huntley show to their work shows the true natures of two people that have spent many of their adult years pushing away family and responsibility in favor of serving their kind as officers and saviors. Melissa was a true warrior and seeing her kicking butt right alongside the men reminds that some strong female characters are appreciated for their skills. I also loved that she was just as clueless as Huntley when it came to children/cubs, because let’s face it some women just don’t have that instinct contrary to popular mythology. Huntley on the other hand seems to be a natural with the cubs, once he gets some tips from his mom (which I laughed about heartily), but his true skills obviously lie in his work—and the bedroom of course. The passion these two shares is evident even in the very beginning when they are both taken, but once those barriers fall the fire burns brightly and strongly, but it’s obvious the fires will burn for a long time. In the end, this book was actually my favorite since the first and I am looking forward to more in the series possibly even Huntley’s brother getting one, but whatever comes next I can’t wait to read more about these sexy cats and the trouble they always seem to manage to get into in the most interesting locales.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.