This is the second installment in Lisa Kessler’s Moon series. It could hold up as a standalone, though reading Moonlight will give you a better idea of the backstory between the hero and the heroine. Back in book one, Sasha did some serious damage to Aren’s pack. She was working for the evil Nero organization. She ruined Aren’s ankle and was at least partly responsible for the death of his father. That doesn’t exactly scream mate-material. But that doesn’t change fate. She is Aren’s intended.
For what it’s worth, Sasha isn’t a bad person. She was turned into a jaguar shifter against her will. She was only working for Nero because they promised her a cure. But the promises were lies. Sasha knows that now, all too well. Nero wants her dead and they keep sending assassins to kill her.
Aren has resigned himself to the fact that Sasha is his mate and he is dedicated to keep her safe, even though he knows his pack will never understand. He has been picking the bad guys off, one by one. Sasha finally confronts him after he is hurt during one of the kills. She tries to get him to back off. After all, how could he wish her anything but ill will after all she has done? Yet, deep down, she knows he is a good man, and when she realizes Nero is targeting her sister, she turns to him for help.
From there, Aren and Sasha team up to fight the latest assassin on her tail. Aren wants nothing more than to claim his mate. He has already put their past behind him. But Sasha fights the attraction. She has been burned by love before. The last time she trusted a man, she lost her humanity. She won’t make the same mistake again. But she can’t resist the good, loyal, sexy man in front of her, and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks down her walls.
Books like this are PNR comfort food. It’s predictable and familiar. From the beginning of the story, you know how the relationship will play out between Sasha and Aren. You know it the moment he makes the stupid mistake that will come back to haunt him. It all follows the path you expect, but it works. I think I would have liked a surprise or two in there in the relationship development… something to shake things up. But at least there were some unexpected developments in the action-part of the story.
If you are looking for some comfortable werewolf shifter romance, this one will probably hit the spot. As an added bonus, Aren is a strong, capable hero who is not an alpha-hole. He is patient, open, and good –without ever being a doormat. Before it’s over, we’ve got a setup for book three. This one will be Nadya’s book. But will the hero be Jason or Gareth? My money is on Gareth. There is some good tortured hero potential there.