Christine Feehan, Author . Jove $6.99 (371p) ISBN 978-0-515-13682-1

Feehan has a knack for bringing vampiric Carpathians to vivid, virile life in her Dark Carpathian novels, and in this new book, which builds on her short story "The Awakening," she focuses on a different kind of sensual predator—a half-human/half-leopard species of shapeshifters. Mysterious freelance paramilitary operative Rio Santana is a member of this breed, but he's been banished from his clan and lives in a solitary rainforest dwelling. Enter Rachel Lospostos, who has marooned herself in the jungle to escape a group of murderers. Blood runs hot between the two, both emotionally and literally—their first meeting is a near-terminal cat fight that leaves Rachel bedridden with a mangled leg and a broken wrist. As Rio cares for her, it becomes clear that their relationship is fated, but it may soon be cut short if they don't figure out who wants Rachel dead. Suspense often takes a backseat to the protagonists' romantic feelings, but Feehan handles both elements skillfully, drawing villains who are sufficiently threatening and creating a romance that feels both destined and believable. Readers whose fantasies center on untamed wilderness and on untamed heroes who are as sensitive as they are strong will be seduced by this erotic adventure. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/26/2004
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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