Review – Moon Kissed by Aline Hunter

Moon Kissed cover image

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

Claiming your mate can be murder…
Bitter memories have kept Wolfe Trevlian away from New Orleans, but an alpha’s call for help has him reluctantly returning to the Big Easy. His tasks sound simple: Keep an eye on things, and initiate a truce with the pack’s enemies by killing a local pest.
His target turns out to be the last creature on earth who should be his mate. His instincts insist otherwise, even after she fills his hide with silver and warns him to leave her alone.
Arden Moran looked into the mind of her dying friend and saw the face of a killer. Vengeance has brought this half human, half vampire to New Orleans. Nothing will stop her from nailing her target, including the bossy, sexy werewolf who stirs both fear and desire within her.
Wolfe’s never been one to back down from a challenge, but saving, and then claiming, his female is easier said than done. Particularly with a mate who’s pissed off every supernatural creature on the planet—and is walking around with a price on her head.
Product Warnings:
Contains a reluctant substitute alpha who didn’t sign up for complications, a wary half-breed vampire who’d love to take “no” for an answer—especially since it’s her “no”—and friends who refuse to interfere, figuring it’s more fun to sit back and watch the fur fly.

This blurb came from the author’s website.

I was browsing the list of upcoming Samhain releases and this blurb contained several elements I thought I would enjoy. It included enemies to lovers, vengeance, a half-human/half-vampire, werewolves, and other supernatural beings. Unfortunately, the end -esult was disappointing. I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a series so a lot of the world-building and character back-story was glossed over or left out leaving me feeling like this story was lacking the depth needed to care about the characters. I spent a significant amount of time and energy re-reading sections because I thought I had missed something on my first read only to discover it just wasn’t there.

Arden was a very experienced bounty hunter. She killed supernatural being who broke the law and was not very considerate to anyone who was in her way regardless of their reasoning. She was not welcomed in either the human or the supernatural communities so aside for a few trusted individuals and her impressive arsenal of weaponry she didn’t have much in her life. Therefore when one of her friends was brutally killed she went on the hunt for her killer and stumbled upon a very stubborn werewolf. I liked Arden’s loyalty towards her friends and her ability to kick some serious ass. She was also capable of inspiring loyalty from the few individuals she allowed to get close. I enjoyed watching her spar with Wolfe but I really wanted to know who she was and what started her on this particular path.

Wolfe, whose name caused me to raise an eyebrow, was back in New Orleans after years in self-imposed exile. He was emotionally scarred, really didn’t like vampires or their flunkies, and couldn’t back away from a challenge of any sort. So when a well-meaning friend told him to stay away from a certain woman because she would kill him without thinking twice, he had to prove his friend wrong. While in New Orleans, Wolfe was temporarily leading his former pack as a favor to its current alpha. Wolfe also had a complex back-story that was provided in a combination of scattered hints and an partial infodump explaining why he was able to do what he did during the climatic fight scene of this story.

While I enjoyed the “meet cute” and the subsequent fight, chase, escape, chase, work together, and pretty hot sexual tension between Arden and Wolfe, the set-up of the meet cute caused me a few issues. One of Wolfe’s tasks was to broker a truce between the pack and the local vampires as a result of some events involving the alpha. Those events were crucial to the set-up of the “meet cute” but made me feel like I was in the middle of a series because they were mentioned as a reminder and without any details. Likewise Wolfe’s abilities towards the end of the book and the implication those abilities would have to the pack and its Alpha which were never discussed.

Hunter had a great premise filled with promising elements in Moon Kissed but the execution did not work for me. I found this to be much more tell instead of show and yet still rather shallow so I never felt much for her characters and what they went through. I really needed more world-building and character back-story in order to make this story seem three-dimensional.

I give Moon Kissed a D

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