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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne

This romance had me swooning in all the right places! Solid hero and heroine with a wealth of emotions behind it, it just made me fall in love!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: February 2, 2016

They're rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards--dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster...

A scandalous proposal...
Christopher Argent lives in the shadows as the empire's most elite assassin. Emotion is something he tossed away years ago, making him one of the most clear-eyed, cold-hearted, wealthiest, and therefore untouchable men in London. But when his latest target turns out to be London's own darling, Millicent LeCour, Christopher's whole world is turned upside down. Overwhelmed by her stunning combination of seduction and innocence, Christopher cannot complete the mission. She has made him feel again. Now, he will do anything to save her life, even if it means risking his own...

A perilous passion...
When Millie learns what Christopher was hired to do, she is torn between the fear in her heart and the fire in her soul. Putting herself in this notorious hunter's arms may be her only path to safety--even if doing so could be the deadliest mistake she's ever made. But how can she resist him? As the heat between her and Christopher burns out of control, danger lurks in the shadows. Is their desire worth the risk? Only the enemy knows what fate has in store...

This book had me at assassin! Yeah, that was what got my attention. Basically the story is about elite assassin Christopher Argent and his target-turned love interest, Millicent LeCour. Christopher is one of the best at what he does, not to mention rich, powerful, practically untouchable but when he meets his target he doesn’t want to complete his mission, instead he wants to save Millie. Millie on the other hand is torn between her fear of Christopher because he was hired to kill her, and her attraction to him. Meanwhile since Christopher has decided to protect her instead of kill her, the two face a dangerous enemy who isn’t pleased that the formerly ice cold assassin has turned into a thinking, feeling man.

Author Kerrigan Byrne did not pull any punches when it came to showing Christopher’s background because it was crucial to understanding why and how he became such a proficient assassin. Mission accomplished I’d say. He was born in prison, saw his mother die in prison, grew up in prison, and so he saw and experienced the worst of humanity. It was a wonder he even had it in him to care about someone!

All that aside, he was one of the most interesting characters in the book and it had to do with how Byrne told the beginning of his life. He elicited such sympathy all while being skeptical about how his past would ultimately shape his future. I mean, he did become wealthy and powerful by essentially murdering people for money. It was a tricky line to straddle for this character that could have easily been beyond redemption in readers’ eyes. He was blunt, even with Millie which I loved because the situation was what it was and there was no use in “prettying it up” for her. I appreciated that trait in him but what I loved most was his internal conflict of what he was contracted to do and what he wanted to do which ultimately lead to some drastic character growth for him. All in all he was just fascinating.

Millie was no slouch either. Rather than a typical vain, jaded actress, the author made her into such a warm, giving character that had beauty, brains, and strength. Her background wasn’t an easy one either and the author made sure that was duly noted. Still, even with tragedy in her past, Millie was focused on the future and on staying alive. Her own internal conflict was just as interesting as Christopher’s because she found herself attracted to the very man sent to kill her and he wasn’t just any man, he was the most prominent, richest, most untouchable assassin known. She wasn’t stupid enough not to be afraid of him but she had some pretty strong instincts about him that gave her the edge she needed not to just curl up and die. I loved her compassion too because it enabled her to save not only herself at times but others around her too. Towards the end she showed an admirable strength and spirit in her that just made love her. She was a fighter in the best sense and she proved she wasn’t going to wait for someone to save her; she was going to save herself or die trying. The best kind of heroine.

Christopher and Millie made such a great pair. There’s a bit of insta-lust and fascination on both parts but the love comes gradually and after many obstacles, most of them internal. As Millie became less and less afraid of Christopher she really gave him a run for his money and he was so baffled by it that I found it endearing. Some of their interactions are pretty funny too with Christopher sometimes speaking to and expecting Millie to cower and do his bidding and Millie putting her foot down, telling him off, and sending him away with his tail between his legs (There’s a scene where he tries to wake her up at what she considers an unreasonable hour that just made my day). She really did turn his life upside down in the best way possible and their relationship was something beautiful even with the limited amount of actual sex between them. In fact it made it better that they weren’t physical right away or all the time. There was a lot of heat between them that didn’t end in clothes flying but instead with personal revelations that made the difference between Christopher carrying out his contract and falling for Millie.

Definitely one of the highlights was Millie’s son Jakub. Now I normally don’t care much for children in romance because they tend to take up too much time and attention from the main focus of the romance but in this case Jakub brought some much needed emotion and perspective to both Millie and Christopher’s personalities with his quiet observations. He was an intelligent child, not prone to hissy fits or over the top cute behaviors that took away from the real story here. Overall, I liked this kid a lot and could see why Christopher bonded with him quicker than with Millie. He was just too interesting to ignore and had such a brave soul for such a young age.

Final Verdict: The Hunter was dark and full of suspense and that’s really what kept me reading once I began. There are so many twists and turns and combined with the gut wrenching scenes, sexy chemistry, and bright spots of humor it made this story one of the best I’ve read this year. I haven’t read the previous book in the series but I’m definitely putting it high on my To Do list as well as keeping an eye out for the next book.

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