Series: X-Ops #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 6 May 2014
Reading Challenges: 2014 Mid Year COYER
Feline shifter Ivy Halliwell is sick of being stuck with loser partners at work. When Landon Donovan arrives at the Department for Covert Affairs, she’s convinced that he will turn out like all the others. The two attempt to resist their attraction for each other while they track down baddies.
I like shifter romances and I especially like them when I get a genuine partnership between two strong characters. Unfortunately that didn’t quite happen in this book as Ivy quickly devolved from this kick-ass shifter into a crying emotional (but apparently hot) mess. Her shifter abilities quickly became a hindrance when she ‘zoned out’ and put her life and others in danger. I found it a little hard to believe that her former partners never they tried to undermine her with this little titbit. Ivy struggled to rein in her animal nature and was plagued with page after page of crippling self doubt so it wasn’t surprising that she relied entirely on Landon.
Landon irked me because he was just so gosh-darn it good. He didn’t bat an eyelid when Ivy told him she was not exactly human, was so strong he could go head-to-head with a pissed off male shifter, was so handsome Ivy went into heat and was universally loved by his subordinates. Even his violent past was told in a way that made him seem like a hero. I felt like Ivy got all the weaknesses and Landon got all the strengths. This might not bother some people but I wanted a genuine flaw so that I could relate to him on some level.
The romance goes from sniffing and ogling to ‘I love you’ very quickly. Ivy was apparently starving for male attention which was odd as she was best friends with a shifter who desperately wanted her. Landon’s attitude though was a little more surprising as he was willing to throw everything away for her after such a short space of time and had such a difficult relationship with his mother and sister. I suspect that he fell for Ivy because he felt could take care of her and make all the boo-boos go away.
The world building was a little sketchy as the shifter origins weren’t explored properly. Ivy and one of her sisters inherited their feline DNA from their grandmother or great-grandmother (she changes her mind after a few pages) but the rest of her family is human. Beyond this, we don’t get a lot. Are they a big secret that no one knows about? If so, how did the government find out? Why did the agency make their human operatives agree to execute their shifter partners if they looked like they were going to be captured? Surely the humans wouldn’t have the strength or skill to do this and then you would just have a very angry shifter to deal with. Why didn’t Ivy’s former partners try killing her and then claiming it was ‘justified’?
The novel’s premise was interesting but the execution just didn’t quite work for me.