Posted in: Karen's romance novel observations, reviews
So the other day, I read Lora Leigh’s Coyote’s Mate.
I’ve followed her Breed books for what seems like forever, and I have to admit, even when I think I couldn’t possibly read another LL, I give in to temptation, and purchase yet another one.
You know that scene in Brokeback Mountain when Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) turns to Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and says “You are too much for me Ennis, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you.”? That’s just how I feel about Lora Leigh books. Sometimes I too wish I could quit her.
I’ve been reading her since circa 2005, and I’ve had a love/hate relationship with her Breed books ever since. I’ll read one book, and it’ll blow me away, and then I’ll read another, and I’ll wonder at the brand of mushrooms Lora was smoking when she wrote said book.
Anyway, it’s been quite a while since I visited the world of the Breeds, so I picked up Coyote’s Mate and read it last weekend.
OK, let’s start with the blurb from the back of the book:
He always knew he would betray her…
Anya Kobrin was only sixteen when she first came to Del-Rey Delgado – the genetically altered rebel known as the Coyote Ghost. For six years, they plotted to free a group of Coyote women in Anya’s father’s lab. As Anya matured into a woman, she and Del-Rey grew close…but on the day of the ambush, he broke his promise and shot her father.
Filled with rage over the betrayal, Anya discovers that an even stronger emotion is consuming her mind and body – the animalistic desire known as mating heat. Though Del-Rey feels it with the same intensity, Anya questions whether she can forgive him or trust him again.
As they stealthily manoeuvre to bring the freed Breeds to safety, one question reigns supreme: Can Anya and Del-Rey survive their own heat?
Hmm, slightly misleading blurb, but whatev.
One of the things I like about Lora’s Breeds books is the lack of complex world building. Also, if you write a book where I have to have a PHD to figure out who the good guys and bad guys are, I probably wont be in a rush to pick up your next offering.
The Breeds exist in the here and now, I’m not hit with ridiculously complicated names, and the plots are usually easy to follow too. All positive things in my book, because after all if I wanted War and Peace, I’d go and buy effing War and Peace, wouldn’t I?.
Coyote’s Mate embodies all of the above positive attributes, and a little bit more.
Unusually this was a book where I preferred the heroine to the hero. Probably not the ideal for Average Jane Reader, but for me, that’s usually a tester as to whether or not I’m going to love a romance novel, rather than just like it a lot.
One thing I’ve noticed with Lora Leigh’s heroines, is that they’ve improved by leaps and bounds. Her usual Heroine MO used to be limp-wristed, weak as crap, females, who seemed to lack the common-sense gene. I’ve noticed of late that her heroines have at last started to evolve and aren’t just part of the scenery in her books anymore. They have sensible thoughts and everything these days.
I would question what a sixteen year old girl was doing in the middle of the kind of war that’s being going on between the Breeds and the Breed-Haters for decades now, but seeing as I’m happy to believe that Breeds exist in this world in the first place, I’ll give Leigh a pass on having a sixteen year old heroine who’s an experienced freedom fighter.
I like that Anya had no hesitation in standing up to Del-Rey whenever he decided to indulge in assholic behaviour, something he seemed to do quite frequently. Her Heroine Likeability Factor stemmed from her refusal to be treated like a door mat, and I think that’s an attractive quality in a romance heroine don’t you think?
Towards the end of the book, Del-Rey betrays her in a way that undermines her position in the compound, and what I loved about this part of the story was that Anya dealt with the betrayal with a quiet strength that I have often found lacking in the early Lora Leigh heroine.
Del-Rey was a Coyote Breed, trained to be a cunning killer from birth.
During the book, we see the struggle between his humane side, and his Coyote killer instinct. Trust is something that he doesn’t have an abundance of, however, he’s an alpha who is 100% loyal to those he cherishes. Although, his desperate need to protect those he loves often leads him to keep them at arms length. A trait which Anya despairs of ever changing.
Del-Rey was a likeable hero, but even for a self-confessed Alpha Lover, his behaviour towards Anya at times were more than a tad annoying, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book nevertheless.
As with the other Breed stories, as well as dealing with the Dog-Knotting mating heat phenomenon and the conflict between the heroine and the hero, Coyote’s Mate also focuses on the struggle to keep the Breeds alive and free from oppression from rogue Breed-Haters, and the Genetics Council, who although are dwindling in numbers, still pose a dangerous threat to the Breed’s livelihood and their way of life.
I must mention that Coyote’s Mate is the first Breed book that I’ve read where the heroine successfully petitions for a separation from her mate.
Anya seeks the petition after Del-Rey seemingly breaks a fundamental promise, by attempting to kill her family.
I think I’d be pretty pissed too, if my boytoy tried to shoot my father. Talk about anti-social behaviour.
Anyway, the petition is approved, and Del-rey has to stay away from Base for at least year.
Del-Rey obviously comes back to Base, but the Anya he left a year ago, isn’t the same woman who greets him when he returns. She’s still angry, but understands his motivations a little better, and although trust is hard to come by, between the two of them, the mating heat is still as strong as ever, and it’s up to them to find a way to be together without each losing their own identity.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Coyote’s Mate.
Leigh is a damned good story-teller. Her plotting was good, I loved the heroine, and the hero didn’t make me want to take a hot rake to his genitals too much. I also liked her use of past and future Breed heroes and heroines. I’m looking forward to Jonas Wyatt’s story, and I’m pretty sure Lora has plans for Cassie Sinclair (little girl in Elizabeth’s Wolf) too.
Her books may not be everybody’s cuppa, but I don’t believe for a second that her status as a New York Times Best-selling Author is an accident. The lady can really spin a jolly good tale.
Breed Books Reading Order:
Tempting the Beast
The Man Within
Kiss of Heat
The Breed Next Door
In a Wolf’s Embrace
A Jaguar’s Kiss
A Christmas Kiss