Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3)Hunted by Rebecca Zanetti

My rating: 4 of 5 flames

A century ago, Moira, and Conn accidentally mated. In this series, the vampires are all males, and have only certain women they can mate with. When Conn and Moira spent a passionate night together, he accidentally marked her (think like a brand or tattoo). This is a problem because Moira is still young, and she is the Seventh. Her future position in her world doesn’t leave room for an overbearing vampire mate.

Conn never meant to mark Moira, but once it happened, he was able to admit to himself that it felt right. He wanted to be with the beautiful fiery witch fate had thrown in his path. But her family is less than thrilled. In fact, they make Conn agree to let Moira train for 100 years without his interference, so she will be prepared and fully trained in her position as the Seventh and one of the ruling members of the Nine. This is something Conn agrees to, he signs the contract, and he leaves Ireland because it’s just too hard to be in the same country as his mate, when he’s not allowed near her.

But their century is up, and Conn is ready to claim his mate.

I had issues with Moira. I felt that she kept protesting that in staying mated to Conn she would lose her identity as an Enforcer, as the Seventh, and as one of the future members of the Nine. BUT, here is my big giant problem: she never earned my respect as a reader. She worked her butt off to be respected, but then acted like a spoiled brat which IMO totally undermined her reputation. She never gave Conn the benefit of the doubt, even though she’d admit he never lied, and he’d especially never lied to her. I felt as if the conflict between them (all one-sided, mind you) was too forced.

Another problem I had was that she never once gave Conn credit for honoring the contract. She’s constantly thinking that he obviously didn’t want her because he never came to get her before their time was up. To which I wanted to shout in her face “YOU MADE HIM LEAVE YOU ALONE FOR 100 YEARS!!” Her family actually made him sign a contract enforcing their separation (all of this Moira was fully aware of).

In contrast, I really liked Conn. He was arrogant but it worked. He was one thing Moira was not-and that’s flexible. He was willing to compromise. He was overly-arrogant and very alpha male, but once he realized that his mate could take care of herself, he gave her the respect she had earned. I only wish she’d seen that before the last few pages. In fact while the ending itself was good, what led up to the ending made me just as angry as it did Conn. Moira tricked and lied to him.

I think that the storm brewing with the demons and Kurjans will break loose before anyone expects. And the key players seem to be lining up. The virus affecting the mates is progressing, but so are the vampires’ scientists. Hopefully they can catch up to the Kurjans in scientific advances, because once they realize what they have planned, the vampires are going to be in a world of hurt.

I love seeing all the previous couples working together, not just as a passing nod to the character, but as an active position in the plot. Oh! And the shifter subplot? So so good! I can’t wait to see what happens there!

I really liked this story, and I feel I need to emphasize that. I really like where the series arc is leading. I only wish I could differentiate my ratings from each other:
4 stars for the story, but fewer stars given to the bratty heroine.

***Review copy courtesy of Kensington

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