In this dazzling follow-up to Hunter's Salvation, national best-selling author Shiloh Walker tells the story of another unique hero at the heart of a terrifying story...
Duke is bitter. A shapeshifter betrayed by the psychic powers of Analise Morell, he cannot forgive her for putting him in the clutches of a feral vampire, but he also can't shake his desire for her. And when she needs a Hunter, Duke must face his demons - and hers...
Desperate voices are battering Ana's psychic shields. A serial killer with extraordinary powers is about to strike again, and the tormented souls of his previous victims are screaming for her help. But Ana can't understand why they want her...
THEIR INSATIABLE DESIRE
After what she did to him, Ana is sure Duke must be using her...but so be it. Ana can't fight her longing for him or the desire that's haunted her for years. Every fiber of Duke's soul - both the man and the cougar within - yearns to protect and possess her...
It's true, I'm a total Shiloh Walker fangirl, and I was absolutely thrilled to get an ARC of this book (Shiloh is so good to me *g*). I actually thought this was #10 in the Hunter series, but now I'm not so sure, as she's had several novellas and spin-offs in the series. Here is a list of the Hunters so far.
Ana knows the Hunters hate her for what she did to Duke, how it lead to him being tortured, even though she did what she did to protect her younger brother Brad. And she knows Duke hates her most of all. She's at Excelsior to try and figure out how her psychic gifts work, and because Brad also has incredible gifts of his own. But it's useless. She's not strong, and her powers are useless. Tired of feeling like an outsider, and knowing it will be better for Brad if she leaves, Ana says good-bye to her brother and takes off for parts unknown.
And ends up in Alaska. Here she's found a place of beauty and solace, where she can just "be". Over the next year she finds a job, and though she might not be exactly happy, she's found a place where she doesn't have to feel like such a useless freak.
Until one day, her good-hearted nature introduces her to an evil that's been around a very long time. By helping a kind homeless man, Ana starts to get strong feelings about some killings in their area, some that go by years. One in particular, the death of Marie, the homeless man's dead financee', won't let her go. Ana senses Marie's presence so strongly that it drives her to look into her death. She even goes as far as to visit Marie's family members. But still, despite all the investigating she does, she's frustrated because every lead comes to a dead end. She needs help, and though she's reluctant to do it, she contacts Excelsior.
Duke has been restless a long time, but even moreso after Ana leaves Virginia. Yet when she calls asking for help, he blows her off, figuring that no matter how much he wants her, it's better if he stays far away from the woman who was responsible for the torture he suffered at the hands of a feral vampire. However fate intervenes and he ends up going to Alaska to help Ana, and once he's there, the animal inside him senses an evil, but despite his best efforts, he cannot locate where it's coming from.
But he's got more pressing needs. Unable to resist Ana any longer, he uses her attraction to him to seduce her, and they are both lost to the intense pleasure that they experience. Duke is drawn to Ana, despite her betrayal, and he can't keep away from her. Ana loves Duke, has always loved him, and though it's going to hurt something fierce when he leaves, she'd rather have these few moments of happiness than nothing at all.
As Ana becomes more involved in solving the crime, the spirits of those who died are pressuring her to find the killer. It's too much for her to handle. However both her and Duke know it's only a matter of time before he strikes again, and in order to stop a killer and avenge the deaths of so many innocents, Ana must let herself trust in her powers and not be afraid to face the horror of a mad and obsessed brutal killer....
Another winner from Ms. Walker. Shiloh has this amazing talent of always adding just enough emotion to draw me in while mixing in suspense, extreme sensuality, and characters with extraordinary gifts. I love the intensity of her stories, and though sometimes it can be hard to read, that she sometimes writes about good people who go through very difficult and tragic circumstances, but never in a gratuitous manner.
Ana is stronger than she realizes, because she knew that a lot of people would end up hating her for what happened to Duke, however her sole concern was her younger brother Brad. How can you not admire a woman who puts her sibling before herself? She wasn't a coward; it took strength to do this and risk the aftermath. And if she had to do it all over again, there's no doubt she'd do exactly the same thing.
Despite Duke's treatment of Ana, he's never been able to forget the way she mesmerized him the first time he sees her. Though he understands why she did what she did, he still holds a grudge. Knowing the kind of man Duke is, this makes complete sense, and I could accept his feelings. Once he goes to Alaska and spends time with Ana, his feelings slowly begin to change. He sees how proud she is, how determined she is to make it on her own without anyone's help, even while knowing she doesn't believe she has any gifts. And as they race to stop another innocent woman from being killed, he witnesses firsthand her strength, her bravery, and her generous, selfless heart. It doesn't take much for Duke to realize that Ana is the woman he's been waiting for all his life.
This is a heartbreaking story, one that I don't think was fully explored, at least there were a few things I still had questions about. But they didn't bother me enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story. One of my favorite moments is at the end when Ana finally realizes that Duke really does love her, and she laughs from sheer happiness. She's suffered so much, and to finally discover she means the world to the man she loves is a moment of joy that is very lovely to witness.
Rating: ****1/2 out of *****
Labels: reviews, Shiloh Walker