The fourth book in the Leopard People Series. And a great series it is!
Called on a dangerous assignment, leopard shifter Conner Vega returns to the Panama rainforest of his homeland, looking every bit the civilized male. But as a member of the most lethal of the shifter tribes, he doesn’t have a civilized bone in his body. He carries the scent of a wild animal in his prime, he bears the soul-crushing sins of past kills – and he’s branded by the scars of shame inflicted by the woman he betrayed.
Isabeau Chandler is a Borneo shifter who’s never forgiven Conner or forgotten him. The mating urge is still with her, and when she crosses Conner’s path again, passions run like wild fire. But as Conner’s mission draws Isabeau closer, another betrayal lies waiting in the shadows – and it’s the most perilous and intimate one of all.
A year ago Isabeau met Conner when he was on a mission in the rainforest. He used her to get to her father, who was passing information to a group of terrorist. They used this information to abduct and murder people, asking ransoms from their family.
This time Isabeau is gathering medical information about the plants in the rainforest of Panama, when some children of the tribe she is staying with, are kidnapped. Others are killed. A very cruel woman called Imelda Cortez is head of the drugoperations in the area, and she wants to use the tribesman to carry her drugs through the rainforest to the next country. And by holding their children hostage, she won’t even have to pay them! But the tribe’s elder is no pushover. He trains Special Forces in jungle survival skills. So when Isabeau tells him of the dangerous men she met last year, he knows how to find them. And even recognizes Conner from the sketch Isabeau has drawn of him, because Conner grew up near the same village with his mother.
Isabeau knows nothing about the men being shifters, or being one herself. She is coming close to her own first shift, and her cat is getting into heat. So when she meets Conner again, she is as drawn to him as she was then. Even though she is furious with him, for using her to kill her father, she cannot stay mad at him. After all, they are mates, reunited again. He and his team mates learn her about the Leopard life, she shift, and every thing she will have to know.
And even though it will kill something in both of them, they know Conner will have to seduce Imelda to get close to the kids. Especially when he finds out one of them is his own half brother, also a Leopard shifter, but only 5 years of age.
But Conner is not the only leopard shifter around interested in Isabeau. Two of Imelda’s bodyguards are rogue shifters, having betrayed their existence to Imelda, and are recruiting even more Leopards as her guards. So Conner will have to fight them for his right to be Isabeau’s mate. One of them taunts him, beats and claws Isabeau to mark her for himself, driving Conner mad. Isabeau is not a pushover, even though she is fairly innocent. She recovers, and both she and her leopard choose Conner as their mate. They will do anything to aid him.
I really loved this story. Okay, it could do with a little less description of the sexual tension between Conner and Isabeau, and less love scenes, and a bit more action perhaps. A big part of the book is devoted to that. But the rest of the story is so good. The elderly people living in the valley, the tight knitted community, how they arrange Conner and Isabeau’s wedding with joy, just because they knew and loved his mother. Both Conner and Isabeau are great characters, build realistically, bit by bit you get to know them better and care for them. The young Leopard they encounter, and who they take into their midst.
Also great was to read more about the previous characters in this series, and to become curious about who the next book will be about.
As always, Christine Feehan is autobuy for me, I love her books. I even will have to use a second shelf now to hold them all. Yesterday her latest book, Dark Peril, came out. Can’t wait to get my hands on that one too!