Review – Enigma (Southern Arcana #6) by Moira Rogers

Enigma cover image

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: 13 May
How I got this book: ARC from the author

Anna Lenoir has always fought. First to escape her broken childhood, then to prove a female shapeshifter can stand shoulder to shoulder with the men. Now she fights for money, and her reputation is as legendary as her stone-cold heart. She’s never met a man she couldn’t walk away from.

Until him.

Bounty hunter Patrick McNamara has a scary reputation of his own, along with mysterious powers linked to his many tattoos. On the clock, they’re the perfect supernatural-crime-solving team. After hours, she’s ready to rock his world. But Patrick won’t settle for just her body, and Anna’s better at breaking homes than making them.

When the heir to the Southwest council goes missing, their combined skills are the best chance of averting a territory war. But the hunt will drag them through the most vulnerable parts of their broken pasts. Daring to risk her heart might be the first fight she loses, and the stakes have never been higher.

Because Patrick will sacrifice anything for her. Even his life.

Warning: Contains cheap motel rooms, gas station chili dogs, supernatural politics and a literal flaming sword. Also, sex. Angry sex, dirty sex, sweet sex and thank-god-you’re-alive sex between a tough-as-nails heroine with a fragile woobie heart, and a dangerous hero who will sacrifice anything to love her.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

As I might have mentioned in the past if the name “Moira Rogers” is on something I am reading it. I won’t even look to see what it is before I start. Luckily for me Rogers tends to write more than one installment set in a particular world so I have a chance to get to know the characters and attempt to figure out who will end up together. This review will contain spoilers for previous installments in this series. Patrick and Anna have had a reluctant attraction for a while–Almost since they arrived on-page. But during their time as supporting characters they never moved their relationship beyond tension. As a result, I have been waiting for their story for quite a while.

I knew the relationship between Anna and Patrick would be a challenge because they were competitors in a professional sense, despite the differences between shifters and humans, alphas and not quite alphas. They were previously aware of each other’s reputation but had not worked together until things started escalating in the Southeast and involved others they cared about. I was not expecting the depths of emotional conflict, hidden wounds, and bone deep protectiveness from both Anna and Patrick but it really explained their choice of profession and apparent rootlessness.

Patrick was emotionally, physically, and magically wounded from the death of his brother and the damage he suffered tracking down and eliminated those who were responsible. He was good at covering up his inner emotions with a good-ole boy grin and a joke, except when he was around Kat–an empath–or on rare occasions around Anna. It was fascinating to see how much of his self-worth was wrapped in his protective tattoos, channeled magic, and therefore almost shifter-like speed and healing abilities. He was torn between others seeing he was vulnerable and actually reaching out for something he desperately wanted if not needed.

Anna on the other hand was so very sure no one would ever want her for her she struggled with developing even friendships. The Alpha part of her instinctively looked out for any submissives and as a result she would do anything required to provide what they needed but that was a different part of her. That was the instinctive built-in piece, not the pieces involved in an actual relationship or caring intimately about someone else. Those pieces were damaged by the continual actions of her parents so every time she reached out to anyone and was rebuffed it just solidified her belief that she was unlovable. She thought she was only tolerated because she handled, permanently eliminated, problems and would protect submissives.

Watching Anna and Patrick work together as they raced against time to solve a series of disappearances while dealing with their personal angst and mutual attraction was rather intense. It seemed like each time one or the other took a chance and reached out the other person was not receptive for reasons of their own (Patrick) or allowed the Alpha protective side to take over (Anna) and therefore they had a hard time moving below the surface. However, as cracks started appearing in their customary shields I loved seeing their professional ability to work together start to mesh personally.

I really liked seeing the manifestation of Anna’s Alpha protective self-combined with Patrick’s equally protective self-sacrificing nature. Both made their living through violence and therefore one did not have a monopoly on protection over the other. Their different dynamics in their relationship compared to other shifter and non-shifter relationships in this series was fascinating. I loved how the difference was one of the aspects that made them seem like their relationship was individual and not a variant on one already established. I also loved finding out what made them tick and what caused their internal scars.

Most of this review I have focused on the relationship because I think it was probably the most challenging out of the entire series. This is really saying a lot given the previous tangled messes in the Southern Arcana world. However, developments across the Southeastern region, the slow disintegration of the former Council rules, the huge influx of feral shifters, and other supernaturals testing the waters continued to move the overall world arc along. Disbanding the Council solved some problems but wasn’t the panacea to the world’s problems. I am very curious to see how many of the issues in other regions start to spill into the south-east complicating matters in future books.

While Rogers provided a different focus in intensity for Enigma, I think the shift fit perfectly given the personalities involved and the overall changes in the ruling superstructure. Once again the writing duo has demonstrated why they are on my auto-buy/auto-read list. I can’t wait to see what happens next even though I still have my fingers crossed that a certain someone will find more than contentment in her life.

I give Enigma an A-

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Comments

  1. says

    Amazing review E, thank you! You make me want to re-read the two books I have read ages ago, and read the rest of the series after that.

    ReplyReply

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