OK. I've been waiting for this book. I glommed onto this series, tearing through each story, in the hopes of getting to the romance between Kane and Sherra. Lora Leigh has been dropping little scraps for us since the very first book. Unfortunately, after all of that anticipation, I can't say I was happy with the end result.
So the backstory on these two: Kane was the first man Sherra ever had sex with. She was locked up at the time and being studied for being a Breed. Kane was one of the soldiers. She fell in love with him and he promised to get her out... but he never did. Instead, she was raped by the guards and almost killed when she miscarried their baby. She had no idea he had been attacked and was nearly killed himself, rendering him unable to save her as he promised. She thought he used and betrayed her --and when she finally escaped her prison, she let him believe she was dead.
As this chapter of their story begins, both Kane and Sherra know the truth about what kept them apart. And they also realize that their night together turned them into mates. But Sherra was too young (?) to deliver the mating hormone in her kiss, so they aren't in the same kind of mating heat we saw with the couples in previous books. That doesn't mean she's not suffering, though. Once a year, she goes into heat and endures misery for a month until it passes. Kane wants to make their mating real. He wants to ease her suffering with sex. Sherra shoots him down at every turn.
I've read commentary from some readers that Sherra annoyed them in this book, because she is constantly turning her back on Kane, giving him the cold shoulder. My problem, however, was with Kane. He is a constant dick to her for three books and much of this fourth one. He mocks her and the other Breed members; he is domineering; and he does not pay enough respect to what she has been through. You can't bully someone into getting over a gang rape, or the loss of a baby, or the anguish of 10 years of believed betrayal. Yet that is what he tries to do.
Even worse, I feel like he forced himself on her. The victim of rape. In their first time together he say, "I can't force you." Then, just a couple of pages later, the scene plays out like this:
"Don't." She tried to jerk forward, a last weak protest before he could bend to her.
His eyes narrowed for long seconds, darkening further as she watched angry determination begin to build in his expression. He pushed her back until she reclined once again, moving closer to her, his cock aiming for the convulsing entrance of her pussy.
"For now. Just this for now." His voice was consumed with lust. "I'm not taking," he panted roughly.
"I'm giving. See, kitten, watch me give."
Her eyes dropped to her splayed thighs, widening as the head of his cock parted the slick lips of her pussy.
He later contemplates his actions.
He had forced her into accepting the mating heat. Had taken her kiss, knowing she would have no choice after the hormone was shared between them. Was he any better than the guards who had raped her in those labs?
This isn't the first time I took issue with consent in this series, but it is the first time where the heroine was already a rape victim.. And in the setup for the Dawn/ Seth relationship, it looks like more of the same could be on the horizon. This is a problem for me.
I also had a problem with inconsistencies with the world-building, like why Kane wasn't in the mating heat even after a shared kiss and sex. That's less than it took for the other couples. It left me confused --and had me re-reading scenes to make sure I understood what was going on.
And when all was said and done, I still feel like I should know more about what happened between Kane and Sherra all those years ago. Why did he come to her in the first place? Was he ordered to? Why would he take her virginity in front of those cameras? Did he know her before they slept together? Some flashbacks were in order. Or something.