Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Review: Wilder's Mate by Moira Rogers

       Title: Wilder’s Mate
              Bloodhounds 1
       Author: Moira Rogers
       Release Date: March 8, 2012
       Publisher: Samhain Publishing
       Category: Steampunk, Alternate Wild West, Paranormal Romance
       Type: Kindle
       Moira Rogers Website

Think a vampire-hunting bloodhound is dangerous? Try threatening his woman.
Bloodhounds, Book 1
Wilder Harding is a bloodhound, created by the Guild to hunt down and kill vampires on America’s frontier. His enhanced abilities come with a high price: on the full moon, he becomes capable of savagery beyond telling, while the new moon brings a sexual hunger that borders on madness.
Rescuing a weapons inventor from undead kidnappers is just another assignment, though one with an added complication—keeping his hands off the man’s pretty young apprentice, who insists on tagging along.
At odds with polite society, Satira’s only constant has been the aging weapons inventor who treats her like a daughter. She isn’t going to trust Wilder with Nathaniel’s life, not when the Guild might decide the old man isn’t worth saving. Besides, if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that brains are more important than brawn.
As the search stretches far longer than Wilder planned, he finds himself fighting against time. If Satira is still at his side when the new moon comes, nothing will stop him from claiming her. Worse, she seems all too willing. If their passion unlocks the beast inside, no one will be safe. Not even the man they’re fighting to save.
Warning: This book contains a crude, gun-slinging, vampire-hunting hero who howls at the full moon and a smart, stubborn heroine who invents mad-scientist weapons. Also included: wild frontier adventures, brothels, danger, betrayal and a good dose of wicked loving in an alternate Wild West.

“If you brought me with you intending to have a warm body during the new moon, I’m not unwilling.”
Wilder’s jaw clenched. She didn’t think much of him, if she thought he’d plan to take that sort of liberty without asking. “Takes a damn sight more than ‘not unwilling’ to heat my blood, girl.” He grinned because he knew it would fluster her. “I like my women enthusiastic.”
Color rose in her cheeks, but her eyes glinted with stubborn challenge. “It’s a wonder you find any, unless you take care not to speak to them first.”
“Funny,” he murmured. “I’ve never had a problem, discussion or no.”
“I was wrong. Thirty pounds of ego, and I pity your poor horse.”
Wilder laughed. “He’s accustomed to my insufferable bullshit.”
“I suppose he would have to be. Do you think we’ll be able to rescue Nathaniel and return before the new moon, then?”
Despite her light tone, she was eyeing him with unmistakable interest. Perhaps her questions about the moon phase had less to do with her low opinion of him and more with her own curiosity. “If not, I’ll make arrangements,” he told her.
“I see.” She rubbed the palm of one hand against her dusty trousers, a nervous gesture that matched the quick way her gaze jumped away from him to her horse’s ear. “I’ve never crossed the border before. Nathaniel took me out to the Deadlands a few times when I was younger…”
“But not after you…blossomed?” It was the most polite way he could think of to refer to her considerable curves.
Satira looked like she wanted to cross her arms over her chest again, but she only shrugged. “He said it wasn’t a good place for a young woman.”
Wilder had seen women traded and sold there, either as whores or meals, and not enough of them had been willing participants in the transactions. “He’s right.”
“I know. I’ll do what I have to do, just like anyone.”
She would have run off, unaccompanied. She’d planned on it. The knowledge made Wilder’s gloved fingers tighten around his horse’s reins. “Remember what you agreed to, honey. What I say, when I say it.”
“I remember.” And she sounded grumpy about it too.
The afternoon sun gilded her pale skin, and a hint of breeze ruffled the golden strands of hair that curled around her face. She’d burn without a hat or bonnet, but something told him she wouldn’t appreciate him pointing it out.
They made it out of town before she spoke again, glancing at him with both eyebrows raised. “The plan isn’t to walk the horses the entire way, is it? I can handle a hard ride.”
Leading words, ones she’d meant to make him think of fucking. Of sweat and bare skin and the delicious, wet grip of an eager cunt around his cock. “Hope to hell that’s true, sweetheart.”
He urged his horse into a gallop without turning or waiting to see if she could keep up. If she wanted to play dirty, so could he.

Dialogue Highlight:
Satira braced her hands on her hips and managed to look prim. “My mother always told me there’s nothing flattering about a man’s desire, since he possesses an unlimited supply.”
“That we do, sweetheart.” Better if she didn’t take his admiration too personally.
She looked like she couldn’t tell whether to be relieved or disappointed. She brushed her fingers over her skirts in a self-conscious gesture and looked away from him. “We’ll be renting a carriage, I hope?”
“You can’t sit a horse in that getup.” She didn’t look like a prostitute anyway. She looked like… “What’s the story you cooked up? You’re on the make for a bloodsucker? A consort?”
Color darkened her cheeks. “Polly thought it best. I doubt I’m a gifted actress, but she thought I could pretend not to speak much English. Or any, really. I don’t—I’ve never been skilled at lying.”
“Well, I’m damn good at it. You just stand there and look pretty, and I’ll do the talking.”
Juliet circled the bar and looked Satira up and down. “You’ll do, child. Wilder, I’ll have the groom fetch your bags and transfer your belongings into something more fitting for a wealthy lady. He can bring them down to the coach station while you secure passage.”
“Thanks, Juliet.”
“I owed you this one. Run along, the pair of you.”
Wilder held out his arm to Satira. “Ma’am?”
She hesitated before curling her fingers around his arm, clearly uncertain. “No one will expect me to act a proper lady, will they?”
“Honey, they won’t know what to expect.” He patted her hand and tried to explain. “For all they know, you could have gotten rich last week and not have a damn clue how to act, or you could be goddamn European royalty and just not care. Either way, you’ll be fine, even if you fuck up.”
Satira nodded and let him lead her out onto the creaking steps. “I feel foolish,” she admitted under her breath as soon as the door swung shut behind them. “I look foolish.”
It was the last word that came to mind as he stared at her. In fact, words didn’t really come to mind at all. “You’re fine. Stop fretting.”
Her mouth twisted into a wry little smile. “These aren’t the assets I planned to utilize in my daring rescue.”
Wilder flashed her a lascivious grin and glanced at her cleavage. “If you ask me, you should use those bountiful assets more often.”
Her eyes rolled skyward, though she seemed to have gotten past the urge to blush. “Let us hope the men we wish to distract prove to be as taken with them as you are.”
“Not a man, alive or dead, who won’t be, Satira. I can promise you that.”
A team and buggy clattered by, kicking dust into the air as Wilder led her away from the brothel. The stagecoach station sat at the end of the street, a sleek building with two squat, odd-looking steam-powered coaches lined up next to it.
Satira perked up as they drew close, fingers tightening on his arm in her excitement. “The one on the right is the new model. You can tell because of the wider wheels. They help accommodate the shock absorbers.”
“If you say so, honey.” Wilder nodded to the coachman and helped Satira climb the carpeted steps. “All I know is these things are supposed to make for a mighty smooth ride.”
“How do you manage to make everything sound obsce—oh.”
The outside was ugly and plain, but inside was ostentatious luxury. Deep, thickly cushioned benches lined each side, so long that Satira could have stretched out on one. Everything was polished and gilded far past the bounds of good taste, and Satira seemed at a loss for words. “This is—”
A laugh bubbled up, but she dug her teeth into her lower lip. “I suppose I’m to wait here while you secure passage?”
“It’ll only take a minute.” Wilder leaned against the edge of the doorway and blew a silk tassel away from his face. “Got a name you want me to give ’em? Something impressive?”
She plopped onto one of the seats and shook her head. “Make something up. You’d know what would work, I’d wager.”
“I’ve got an idea.” Something that would limit questions, but generate plenty of gossip to precede them.
“I’ll trust your good judgment then. In this.” Her gaze dropped to her dress. “Which might indicate that my judgment has been rendered questionable.”
Only one thing would put her back on comfortable footing—clear and sincere irritation. “Who needs good judgment when you’ve got tits like that?” Then, whistling, he headed for the coach station.

So Satira is a young woman who is knowledgeable in many things. Part because she is wicked intelligent and has been working as an apprentice under an inventor for The Guild. This is not generally acceptable because Satira is a woman but because of her ties to a Bloodhound, she is given the opportunity to learn, knowing nothing more can come of it. She has known intimacy, but craves a connection she has yet to experience. Ever attracted to the “bad boy” or in this case, Bloodhound, she knows exactly what she wants with her first glimpse of Wilder. But he resists in an effort to keep the distraction to a minimum during their rescue mission. Unfortunately, his resistance triggers an old insecurity with Satira, causing her to question her ability to elicit desire within a Bloodhound ~ or a man for that matter.
A couple of questions you may have. What is The Guild and what is a Bloodhound? The best way I can describe The Guild is that they are a type of society that are enemies of vampires. They act only in their best interests and take whatever steps necessary to eradicate the vampire population. Enter the Bloodhounds. Once men, now werewolves  of sorts. These powerful beings typically work for The Guild as vampire hunters. I say werewolves, but they are not actually a werewolf per say. More like a man with superhuman strength. With a full moon he can transform into what could be called a werewolf, but with the new moon his sexual appetite peaks, making him insatiable and in need of someone who can handle his lusty needs.
Wilder is a Bloodhound. Satira knows a lot about Bloodhounds because her mother used to be the mate of one. Having lived under the same roof as one, she understands and accepts more than the average person would. Wilder knows Satira is not a typical female, but neither does he understand the power her acceptance will wield over him. Not one to think about permanency in any way, Satira soon has his world well and truly rocked with Wilder more than protective over her. But beyond the feral need each holds for one another lurks a powerful vampire threatening to destroy all. Satira and Wilder must come away victorious if they are to have any hope of saving Nathaniel (Satira’s mentor) from the bloodsucker’s evil clutches.
While I have described the gist of this book, I don’t feel that I have adequately covered everything that is encompassed within. I was enthralled throughout the entire story. It is a novella so is a fairly quick read, but really packs a punch. It starts off with a bang and ends with another, never faltering in between. The world built by Moira Rogers grasps the reader from the beginning and continues to suck you in. Many aspects were familiar to me such as vampires and the old west, but this world is nothing if not a very different version of everything I thought I knew. For example, ghouls and Bloodhounds, paired with an “alternate” western setting. I truly enjoyed the different take this author had on both the familiar and the unversed. My only problem was that there was so much information that I felt I could have used a bit more explanation. The Guild, for example, I really do not have a clear grasp on. Exactly who they are, where they came from, and so on. And the ghouls ~ are they zombies or something different and how did they come to be? This story could have easily been a full length novel had everything been drawn out and explained a bit more thoroughly.
That said, Satira and Wilder were a lot of fun getting to know. Their relationship begins with almost playful banter that quickly evolves into double entendres that leave no doubt as to the meaning behind the words. Satira is both witty and brutally honest in expressing what she wants while Wilder is gruff and crude, with a protective streak and caring side hidden just below the dangerous exterior. And oh my goodness! The sex was crazy hot! Like CRAZY hot! For those of you who like your stories somewhat familiar as far as components, but outside the box as far as imagination, Moira Rogers is an author you will want to check out. This was my first book by this talented author and it will definitely NOT be the last!
(eBook copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review.)

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