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Willaful Review: Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh

Sensuality Rating: Blistering, i.e. the one time I tried to read a Lora Leigh book in public, I almost had a stroke.

This was my choice for SuperWendy’s “TBR Challenge,” steamy reads category.  I’m kind of over the Breeds series, but I got this one because I was curious about the beginning of the saga. I should have known better: in Leigh’s most Diana Palmerish fashion (and sometimes I could swear they’re the same writer on different drugs) even the book that starts the series begins after the story has already started. We don’t get to experience any surprise or mystery in the discovery of the existence of the genetically engineered human/animal breeds, or even to see our hero and heroine meet for the first time.  At the end of chapter one, an obsessed Merinus Tyler has set out to track down lion breed Callan Lyons to get his story (and perhaps a little somethin’ somethin’…), and at the beginning of chapter two, they have “been playing an amusing little game for over a week, now. She pretended not to know him, who he was, where he could be found, and he pretended she wasn’t snooping around town asking questions about him and his deceased mother and where he lived.”

There isn’t much plot: Merinus’s family has found out about the Breeds, and Merinus hopes to convince Callan to go public and testify against the scientists and government officials who engineered them to be killing machines.  The two meet and are instantly overwhelmingly hot for one another, which turns out to be a hormonally induced “mating heat” that will only subside with pregnancy. They fight it for awhile because… well, I was going to say, because that’s what Leigh characters do, but it actually does make sense considering the tenuousness of the situation. And there’s some betrayal, and an unexpected bit of history between Merinus’s brother and another Breed, and a whole lot of sexxing.

Leaving aside my criticisms — which are legion — I actually did enjoy this. It is pretty much one sex scene after another, but though later books in the series seemed repetitive, this one felt fresh. The sex scenes are powerful, and an outlet for the characters’ strong emotions. There isn’t really any particular reason for them to fall in love with each other, but somehow Leigh made me almost not notice.  And I did pick up some background on the series, though I suspect I’ll never fully understand what’s going on.

On to complaints. The writing could definitely use more editing; it’s not tear-my-hair-out bad, but the grammar needs work. I was taken out of the story a few times by some baffling phrases that made it clear that the writer was on autopilot and not thinking about what she was saying.  And then there’s the oddly prissy attitude for an erotic romance: Callan refers to Merinus’s “unladylike” behavior several times, and another breed tells her, “Watch your mouth. Even Sherra and Dawn do not handle such language.” I would have thought that the female breeds Sherra and Dawn would have been too busy recovering from years of torture and rape to spend much time on pouring tea and lacing doilies.

And then there’s the big one. Merinus. Oh, Merinus. If a stupider romance heroine exists, I don’t want to know about her.  She’s the kind of character who makes you yell, “Don’t go into the basement!” at the movies. Surprisingly, she smartens up about halfway through the book and I ended up half respecting her for the insights she has into Callan’s tormented psyche.

So as a choice for a “steamy” read, this was quite decent; my TBR has done far worse to me. I give it 3 1/2 stars. You can buy it in multiple formats from Amazon here or from B&N here.

Published by Ellora’s Cave in 2008. Review copy obtained from paperbackswap.com.


  • Mireya
    August 15
    12:15 pm

    This was the book that got me hooked on the Breeds. I read it when it was first published, about 10 years ago I think. I always heard that LL’s work always required heavy edits. Sadly, she was assigned to an editor that I had on my list of “why the F is this woman an editor?”. Not going to name names, but, invariably, she was bad enough that whenever I bought a book from EC I checked the name of the editor and more often than not, depending on the author, I would just dump the book in my ebook TBR pile not wanting to have to deal with the hassle if the editor was the person I am talking about. Later on I believe they stopped including editors names in the books, though I am not sure as I stopped buying ECs books on a regular basis several years ago.

    I didn’t particularly like Merinus either, but I loved Callan. I actually feel that the original Breeds books (which were shorter as well) were more fun to read. I don’t read the series any longer as the latest ones were DNFs for me. Sad, because I truly liked the Breeds stories.


  • Michelle
    August 15
    7:38 pm

    What’s up with editing these days? Is this just the new normal?


  • The irony is that this small press book wasn’t nearly as bad as some her recent books with big, mainstream publishing houses.

    I think niche market authors tend to get a pass on many things. Unfortunately, so do big name authors.


  • The same author on different drugs comment had me LOL! I am so going to have to steal that…..


  • I have to admit that I could never really get into the Breeds [can’t get into Palmer either – so maybe you’ve nailed the reason right there! 🙂 ] This one does sound kind of fun, though.


  • @Lynn Spencer: If you wanted to try one, I think Dawn’s Awakening is the best. Seriously angsty.


  • Pat
    August 18
    2:22 pm

    I remember when this book came out and how I felt about it. I loved it. It was a new type of read, and probably, it started a new trend in paranormals because it was so successful – and at the time, nobody wrote hotter or kinkier than Lora Leigh. I give her a lot of credit for that.


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