Review – Veiled Target (Veilers #1) by Robin Bielman

Veiled Target cover image

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: 22 Jul
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

Never take Fate along on a date. The kiss goodnight could be deadly.

Tracking down Veilers—non humans—is only a sideline for Tess Damon. Vengeance for her fiancé’s murder is her reason for living. But with two botched jobs on her record, if she fails to eliminate her next mark, she’s dead. She’s not afraid to die, but not before she gets even. Too bad fate has a really bad sense of humor.

Hugh Langston, a wolfen half shifter, lives to keep both humans and his pack safe. But when rogue humans kidnap his apprentice, his rescue mission is compromised by a hot-as-hell, kick-ass woman who makes him think only one thing: mine.

Tess tries to ignore her feelings, but temptation trips her up. Especially when Hugh figures out he’s her next target and forces her into an inconvenient alliance that tests all the laws against their attraction. Now, with the line between good and evil getting blurrier by the minute, it becomes clear Tess’s only hope of living to see another day—and finding a murderer—lies with the one man she’s supposed to kill.

Warning: Contains one obscenely hot alpha and the woman who wants to love him before she kills him. Look out for a blind date, scorching sex, humor, lies, and untamable attraction.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I picked this up because as you might already know I have a weakness for assassins, I like shifters, and I have a thing for fate mucking things up. I am also always on the look-out for new Urban Fantasy (UF) or Paranormal Romance (PNR) books. This first installment of Bielman’s Veilers series started out a bit rough but as I continued reading, it developed some depths which made me keep going from more than curiosity.

Tess was a rather private wounded person, at least internally. Externally she was full of bravado, willing to do what it took to get her mark, and incapable of giving up. Tess lost her parents at a young age and grew up in foster care, eventually she joined P.I.E. **giggle**, which provided some stability and also the perspective of most Veilers being if not actively evil just waiting for the opportunity to develop. This belief was reinforced by the need to avenge her dead fiancé, killed by a wolfen. His murder and the need for secrecy regarding her job and the existence of Veilers resulted in Tess developing an irrational hatred towards most Veilers. Yet, after so many years of eliminating targets, Tess was getting tired of the constant death suspicion, and as a result lost her perfect record and was in danger of losing her life.

Hugh was a bit less complicated. He was dedicated to protecting not just his people but everyone in general. I would say he had a bit of a hero complex and could not say no if someone needed help regardless of the cost to him personally. He also seemed to believe the best of just about everyone and was a perpetual optimist. While those traits served him well most of the time they also proved to be a weakness because he was never expecting betrayal.

I enjoyed watching Tess and Hugh spar with each other. Tess’ façade of bravado cracking and being patched up as she started to learn that not every nonhuman entity was evil. She also learned about some Veilers she didn’t even know existed and began to wonder about the insistence for Hugh’s death. Hugh on the other hand really wanted to find his missing apprentice and wanted to keep an eye on Tess as well as figure out his unusual attraction to a stubborn human who refused to stay put. And there was the simple matter of trying to figure out who was setting him up for death one way or another.

Both Hugh and Tess had friends but the bulk of the story revolved around the two of them. I missed the ensemble cast playing significant roles as well as learning more about P.I.E., the wolfen society, and their friends. It was almost as if I saw deeply into a narrow window of Tess and Hugh and only caught shallow glimpses of anything else. The mystery/suspense piece was slightly heavy handed because I had identified my likely suspect(s) in the first half of the story. So I ended up reading to see if my thoughts were accurate and if so what the motivation was. I had a successful prediction and my guesses about the motivation were also almost entirely accurate.

I found Veiled Target an interesting if flawed first installment. I did really like how Hugh and Tess turned out different from what I expected and how they dealt with things didn’t quite fall within the typical alpha male/kick ass alpha female. I also enjoyed the humor of their “interrupted” attempts at sexy times. However, other aspects as I mentioned earlier were a bit too simplistic. I am hoping in future installments character development and the external conflict are more balanced because I think Bielman has created a very fascinating world and population, I just want more. As a result I will be giving the next one a try.

I give Veiled Target a B-/C+

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