Author: Moira Rogers
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Southern Arcana (Book 1)
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
Format: eBook, 394 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781605044590 (Samhain)
Reviewed by: Sheila
To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life…and her heart.
Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.
New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.
When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.
With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.
This book contains devious schemes, epic battles, forbidden love between a shapeshifter and a spellcaster, nosy secondary characters, furniture-endangering sex and a woman fighting to choose her own destiny.
Quick & Dirty: A gut twisting tale of destiny versus free will, love versus duty, and fighting for individual rights compared to the greater good.
Opening Sentence: ”Nicole Peyton, as I live and breathe.”
Crux is about a woman unknowing of her past and her destiny. But Destiny is a funny thing: Is it our fate to follow this pre-ordained series of events or do we have the free will to start down that path to begin with? Mackenzie doesn’t know about her heritage or her supposed destiny. She is unaware that she is a rare were-cougar that has been bred specifically to save her race. All she knows is that she is being hunted by a very scary man that spouts off the most crazy things (supernatural stuff is all hooey, right?) and has shown a tendency to kill those that get in his way. So when Mackenzie finds a place and people that make her feel safe, what is she willing to do to keep it?
Jessica “Mackenzie” Evans has been on the run for so long now; she no longer remembers what it’s like to feel safe and secure. When she starts bartending for cash under the table in a bar in New Orleans, her employer asks a friend to discreetly make sure she is okay. Jackson Holt’s involvement starts a turning point in Mackenzie’s life. She is naturally distrustful, but seems to trust Jackson anyway. Her character has suffered tremendous stress and suffering. But she doesn’t let it completely ruin her. She finds a way to open herself up, even though her past experiences have taught her to fear strangers. By overcoming her adversity, she is able to not only find a place to call home but open up her heart to love. With the help of her friends and lover, Mackenzie is able to help to ruin the plans of a very dangerous man with his radical and extremist ideals: Thereby taking a hand in her own destiny.
Jackson Holt is a private investigator that agrees to look into the life of one of his friend’s employees, Mackenzie. What he finds out about her situation, it makes him what to help her out. Not because he is extremely attracted to her sexually, oh no. He just wants to help out his friend that owns the bar with her employee, that’s all. Sure. Jackson is a man with a strong morals and ethics. He uses his magic to help out those in need. He even tries to squash his desire for Mackenzie because he knows that she is not ready for it. The man is a true knight in shining armor; well in all fairness, the shining part could just be another neat spellcaster trick Jackson uses to impress the ladies. His easy charm and strong resolve help ground Mackenzie while she struggles to understand a whole new world that has opened up to her. A man like that is hard to find, supernatural world or otherwise.
Charles Talbot and Marcus Foster represent a whole bag of jacked up ideals that seem to plaque the supernatural community, both the were-cougars and the Council. The Council is the ruling body for the supernatural community and the head of the council is also the Alpha of the werewolves.
The underlining theme in this book is about equality. It is referenced time and again when it comes to citizenship rights of bitten weres, but also the elitist attitudes that are prevalent among the Council members. The stigma against bitten werewolves is evident everywhere you turn, even so far as to stop two people that love one another from being together. Regardless of past precedent, Charles wants the small and declining were-cougar community to survive at any cost, even going so far as ignoring the free will of its members.
I truly enjoyed this book with its many social and ethical layers. Of course, if you don’t care for those sorts of things, the love story is just as good. It is a combination of love, strife, and overcoming one’s fears that make Crux a wonderful weekend read.
The idea of freaking out was appealing, but it wasn’t the best use of her time. Instead she rested her forehead on his shoulder. “I think I’ll make it.”
“Good.” He brushed her hair away from her face. “Wouldn’t want Steven to think seeing him naked is that traumatic.”
“I heard that.” Steven’s voice drifted from behind her, and she hid her smile against Jackson’s shirt. “I’m going inside. You two take your time.”
She felt the chuckle rumble up in Jackson’s chest. “Don’t feel too bad for him. The bastard knows he has no business looking as good as he does. Damn shapeshifters, making the rest of us look bad.”
Mackenzie felt her smile grow as she slid her arms around his waist. “I don’t think you need to worry about looking bad.” She trailed her fingers absently up his back, savoring the strength and warmth she felt even through his shirt. Simply touching him was soothing in a way it shouldn’t have been, a way that had nothing to do with the sexual tension that had sparked between them the first moment they’d met.
“Yeah, tell me that in twenty years, when you still look thirty. I’ll be pushing fifty and looking every inch of it, unlike our friend, Steven, there.”
“Oh, quit whining.” She made a face at him. “Fifty-year-old men bag thirty-year-old women all the damn time.”
“Amen.” He gave her a warm grin.
The Southern Arcana Series:
2.1 A Peyton Family Christmas
2.5 Zola’s Pride
3.5 Two Weddings
FTC Advisory: Samhain Publishing graciously provided me with a copy of Crux. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payments I receive are hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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