The first book in the Tales Of The Sazi series, published December 2004.
Sue Quentin has reached the end of her rope – she’s desperate, and there’s only one way out: death. Her plan doesn’t include falling for Tony, the mysterious hit man she hires. He listens when she speaks and somehow convinces her that maybe her problems aren’t entirely insurmountable. He even thinks her little potbelly is sexy. So he’s a werewolf – everyone has flaws!
Sue enjoys being coddled by Tony, and, for his part, Tony likes the way Sue moans when he touches her. She begins to think she and Tony might have a shot at a future together, despite his unorthodox profession … and even though she doesn’t know his real name.
But when Tony’s enemies – not all of whom are fully human – decide Sue makes a perfect target, will Tony risk letting his darker side out during the day to save her?
This book comes with a recommendation by Laurell K. Hamilton on the cover and the back, and as I love her books, I had to read it. But I really have no idea what I think of this book. It sure is different from other urban fantasy or paranormal romance.
The whole book is told from the perspective of Tony, an assassin for hire. He was raised in the Family and is very loyal to them, especially Carmine, the boss. When Sue tries to hire him, to kill her, he is intrigued. He has only been a werewolf for a year now, and is still learning what it all entails. He likes how she smells, and so does his wolf. Tony agrees to listen to her story, for a fee. But not in this bar, he will take her to his hotelroom.
What he doesn’t realize, is that it is close to the full moon, and he will have to turn into a wolf soon. He wants Sue out before that happens, but she is stubborn, and totally not afraid of him, in neither form. She even takes care of him during the night, feeding him. The next morning he is surprised he did not attack her, he normally never remembers things from his wolf periods. But now snippets of memories are coming back to him.
Sue’s story is riveting, as she keeps telling parts of it. Her family has never appreciated her, cared for her, only used her. And since she has won the lottery last year, that has only gotten worse. They demand money from her, her mother doesn’t want her to have a life of her own, her sister stole her fiancée from her (weak man of course!) and they expect her to do whatever she can to make their lives more easy. Without any thought to her, or thanking her. And she is so tired of it. She bought her mother an enormous luxury apartment, but her mother wants to stay with Sue herself, so she injured herself on purpose, refuses a nurse, so Sue has no choice but to tend to her. Sue of course is a weak character, to allow that all to happen, to take the easy way out when she cannot handle it any longer.
Thanks to Tony, she is getting a backbone, with the help of some of his friends and a good therapist. But it is not easy, and she certainly does not change overnight.
In the meanwhile, the bond between Tony and Sue keeps growing, turning into a mating bond, and Tony has no idea what is happening, why he can see through her eyes, hear her talk to other people when he is miles away. And it is going both ways! Does he risk losing himself in her? But he also cannot deny her anything. He doesn’t need her money, he makes enough for himself being an assassin. And Sue knows what he does, it is why she sought him out in the first place. But can she really live with it, when she is a witness?
Only in the end, Tony learns about the world of shapeshifters, or Sazi, and that there are rules and laws to obey. And it is a very interesting world, I want to learn more about.
I have read this book in bits and pieces. It could not really hold my attention, but I also needed to read more. I still have no idea what to think of it. I could sympathize only a little bit with Sue, I find her weak, and I love books with strong female heroines. And for an assassin and mafia guy, Tony is too nice. He gives in to her, and her feelings, even when he has a job to do. So now I have finished the book, and I really have no idea what I think of it. It is an interesting world, I give you that. But I could not get real feelings for any of the characters. There are fun parts, which I like, and the world of the Sazi is interesting, and I want more of it. But this particular book? I don’t think I will re-read it.
I like the writing style, and the world building, and the idea behind it. Really strange to read from the male perspective.
For now, 6 stars.
This book meets my personal reading challenge, of reading one book a month that has been on my shelves for over a year.