Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bayou Heat (Books 15 & 16) by Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright - Review

Author: Alexandra Ivy (Michel) and Laura Wright (Striker)
Publication Date:  June 9th, 2015
Publisher:  Self Published
Series:  Bayou Heat, books 15 & 16
Genre:  Paranormal (Shifter) Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:

Michel doesn’t trust Dr. Chelsea Young. Why should he? She willingly worked as a researcher for the humans who were using Pantera as lab animals. Unfortunately, his suspicions haven’t kept his cat from becoming obsessed with the need to possess the beautiful female.

Chelsea is determined to atone for her youthful mistakes. Even if that means working with the aggravating Michel who refuses to believe she now wants to help the Pantera. Together they must overcome their mutual animosity to track down her former boss, Stanton Locke, before he can commit the ultimate betrayal.

Dark, damaged and definitely gorgeous, Striker is all about the mission. And when the mission’s over? The Hunter is out of there. That is, until one of Locke’s lab rats is forced on him—a beautiful, pained female who needs sex to survive.

The lovely Twelve was abducted and taken to the labs several years ago. Used for breeding, she was given drugs that make her irresistible to males. It was a hellish, lonely life. But she’s free now, and determined to discover the truth about her past. If only the road to that truth didn’t involve the heartless male she can’t stop herself from wanting.

My Review:

I have really enjoyed this series since it began back in 2013 and am always so excited when the next two books are released and I get to head back to the bayou and Wildlands with the Pantera, Puma's that shift into humans or the other way around depending on how you want to look at it.  It has been a bit of a wild ride these past two years as we discover more and more about these shifters, their world, and the man who through greed for power and life is destroying the Pantera

The Pantera divide their society by their strengths,  (although don't misunderstand they are not divided as a whole, it is simply a way in which they classify themselves) The Suits ( Diplomats), The Hunters ( Law Keepers, Enforcers), The Healers (Drs, Nurses), and The Geeks (Technology, IT), they  mainly stay in communities out in the Bayou or Wildlands, but not exclusively.  These past few books have revolved around the kidnapping of Pantera and humans by a mysterious man, their rescue, and the hunt to catch and stop the man that is hurting the Pantera and his organization.

The books in this series always come out as two separate novellas, one by Alexandra Ive and one by Laura Wright.  They all tie in together so it is important to read them from book one through.  I enjoy that these are quick, action packed reads and that even though they are novellas we are getting this long full story about the Pantera and their struggles to keep their way of life (literally in most cases) and find love.  Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright do an excellent job of writing stories that interconnect but still keep to each writers personal voice and writing style.

For this book in the series the first story written by Alexandra Ivy focuses around the 'Suit' or Diplomat, Michel.  Michel is a different kind of diplomat, he's not much of a people person but he's likely the best spy that they Pantera have and he trusts practically no one, especially Dr. Chelsea Young and why would he.  Chelsea Young worked for the enemy, she experimented on Pantera and humans, yet here she is now in 'his home', helping heal 'his' people.  Why would they trust her, why should he trust her, more importantly why does it seem that his cat not only does trust her but wants her as his?  Despite his best efforts to stay away (watching her, only to keep an eye on a possible spy of course...) they are thrown together on a mission to find and infiltrate the enemies newest stronghold.  Will Michel find out more than he ever expected of Dr. Young?  Is she a spy for the emery?  Is she simple lost and trying to find her way in a new world, trying to rectify her past mistakes?  When he gets his answers what will he do with them?

I love that these two scarred souls are able to come together and find the love they have always deserved all while discovering new secrets and rescuing more Pantera.  There is one particular poignant moment where redemption occurs that I was so pleased to see.  I have been wondering how this would all play out, I knew that this particular enemy although having done terrible things was not as evil as he came across to be so it made me very happy to see him have that moment even at it's great cost.

Now Striker and Twelve.  I think that these two are by far my favorite couple of the series to date.  Striker is a brooding, dark, damaged ( I mean when don't I go for the 'bad boy'?) Pantera, who has been hurt in such a terrible and painful way that he has closed himself and his heart off from everyone.  He does what he's asked to do with no feeling, simply getting in and getting a job done.  He's as cold as ice and he doesn't want it any other way.  That is until he is directed to 'help' a newly rescued Pantera who was heavily experimented on and used in the attempt to breed more Pantera.

Twelve's mind is long gone, she only craves what her body is forced to desire.  Even though she knows deep in her locked mind that she is free from her kidnappers, the drugs that filled her with still pump through her veins, her mind refuses to accept that she is safe, refuses to releases the memories it's hidden away in the effort to protect her.  That is until Striker, this Pantera sent to help her, sent to bring her back from the darkness.  In his arms she feels safe to open her eyes and see the world she was so brutally taken from, to let down her defenses, question is can she ever convince Striker to let down his?

I loved these two broken characters, their beginning while 'unusual' is one of my favorite love stories.  It was so easy to fall for these two and to really feel their connection.  Striker's pain was palatable and  Twelve's strength, simply amazing.

Both stories have set us up to continue the Pantera's journey to freedom and peace and I am quite looking forward to more.  Please keep in mind that these are novella length stories, although you are getting two at once so it feels more like a full novel.  While they won't leave you hanging off a cliff, the stories continue to grow as we go on.  So we get our HEA, but we also get left with questions and openings for new books.  These are insta-love stories, but they are wonderfully done and any para-normal/shifter fans will really enjoy the Bayou Heat series.

~ Happy Reading ~

About the Authors

I'm not exactly sure when I fell in love with books. Probably on my mother's knee listening to her read Dr. Seuss to me. I do remember that I was barely old enough to cross the street by myself when I discovered the delights of the local library. Could anything be more wonderful than spending summer days surrounded by stacks of Nancy Drew mysteries? Over the years I fell in love with Victoria Holt, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien just to name a few. I read poetry, essays, biographies, and plays. In fact, I read anything I could get my hands on. 

Years later (no, I'm not admitting how many) I'm still an avid reader, and my tastes are still as varied as they were in my youth, which I suppose helps to explain why I enjoy writing regency historicals under the name of Deborah Raleigh, as well as my contemporary paranormals as Alexandra Ivy. For now that is enough to keep me busy, but who knows what the future might hold!

I do have a few other loves in my life besides reading and writing, the most important being my unbelievably patient husband, David, and my two sons, Chance and Alexander. Without their constant support and belief in me, I never could have been able to follow my dreams. They are truly my heroes.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of Mark of the Vampire, Bayou Heat, Cavanaugh Brothers series, and Wicked Ink Chronicles.

Unlike many of my peers in the writing world, I wasn’t a writer or a reader until I left high school. During my youth I was into theater, song and dance, commercials and boys. I loved romance surely, but I had never read a romance novel until my late teens. With that said, I remember the day I did like it was a moment ago - my aunt gave me the Jude Deveraux novel, Knight in Shining Armor and I couldn’t put it down until the very last word. Then I went straight to the library and got another – then another until I’d read everything she’d ever written. After that, it was McNaught, Howard, Schone, Kleypas, and the Silhouette line, Desire. I instantly loved those emotional, sexy reads, so much so that I began to carve out ideas for my own stories, themes that were unique to me and moved me. In 1997 I enrolled in UCLA extension writing classes, met my mentor and critique partners and since have never stopped writing. I was committed then and I still am now; the need to tell my own romantic stories a full on obsession. My first manuscript was rejected, and though the second one was as well the editor who’d rejected it wanted to see something else from me. I had something (note to authors; always keep working, even after you’ve sent in a proposal) and sent it right away. The day I got the call telling me Desire wanted to buy Cinderella and the Playboy was the best day of my life. That is until I married my husband, and had my two beautiful children. But I must say, writing is much like motherhood – tough, grueling, surprising, delicious and for me, a dream come true.

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