Judith’s review of Falke’s Captive (Puma Nights #2)by Anna Leigh Keaton & Madison Layle.
But her research is a threat to the Falke family secret. When Kelan, in cougar form, is captured, that secret comes closer than ever to being revealed. He escapes, but not before Beth draws a blood sample, and analysis shows this is no ordinary mountain lion.
Kelan and Reidar cannot deny the powerful attraction they feel toward Beth. She might just be their destined mate. But if they reveal themselves to her, will she embrace who they are or see them as just another science experiment?
A graduate student working in animal genetics, Beth Coldwell is in town to track and tag big cats in the wild. Her prospects for the summer only improve when she meets Kelan and Reidar Falke and decides the sexy brothers are the right pair to fulfill her other, less than scientific, desires…
The mountain community in the Pacific Northwest which is home to the Falke family are well accustomed to seeing one of the brothers in cougar form. The family has been creative and careful in keeping their secret identity as shifters under wraps–until now. Alex & Gunnar Falke are happily mated with Dakota and they are expecting new little Falkes soon. Now Kelan and Reidar (pronounced “rider”), the two younger members of the quadruplets, are moving through their days, enjoying being bachelors, meeting and bedding beautiful women, loudly proclaiming they are nowhere near ready to settle down. They are totally unprepared for their own inner responses to a night of passion spent with a graduate student, one who is a threat to their hiddenness. Of the two brothers, Reidar is already becoming tired of the easy conquests, admitting that he wants to wake up with someone he knows loves him and for whom alone his hearts beats. Kelan seems unwilling to open himself to that possibility and even when he becomes aware that his responses to Beth are far more than just physical attraction, he fights those feelings with anger, distance, and work.
Beth is a woman who is willing to put herself in hock up to her eyeballs in order to achieve her educational goals. But from the outset, she is troubled by her mentor’s willingness–his penchant for taking over her research and discoveries and claiming them as his own. Perhaps that is why there is a sense that she is dragging her feet, a reluctance to submit her evidence to the university. It is this reluctance that will become critical as the story progresses as well as her growing awareness of her deeper feelings for these two sexy men.
This second novel in the series is a bit more tied up in knots and has that sense of impending trouble for the brothers and their family more than in the first book. It is certainly a paranormal romance and there are some kinky stuff, too, but all in all it is about a developing love relationship. But the road to true love is definitely not smooth for these three, littered with the presence of a co-worker who is critical of her personal relationship with the brothers, a mentor who is suspect in his ultimate goals, the possibility that Beth’s academic plan will derail their future life together, and censure of Alex as alpha of their family. There is an underlying uneasiness present in this novel that was not present in the first story, and some readers may not like that. This is no simple boy-meet-girl story. And while there is fun and humor and bickering among the brothers that is reminiscent of all large families, it sometimes seems that a happily-ever-after won’t be in the cards for these three.
I like this writing team and the stories they create. So I enjoyed this story a lot. It has an edgier feel than many of their stories but I felt that the tension between the romance and the scientific endeavors added to the relational tension from the very beginning. Add in the rather unsettled minds of the brothers as to their future family plans, and you have a novel that seems weightier than most paranormal stories. I have to admit that this quality was a plus for me. I think this is a terrific read, a very good sequel to book one (although it is a stand alone book in every sense), and a worth the time and effort to read.
I give it a rating of 4 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.
This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.