Review – To Mate an Assassin (Lost Alphars #1) by Ceri Grenelle

Reviewed by: E

Love is her enemy…until his beast sets her free.

Cymbeline Kendall’s life is quiet, solitary—until a letter appears in her P.O. box. Then she becomes an Incendiary, a human chosen at birth to be trained to strike like lightning to take out the most dangerous of the Werekind, then fade back into the shadows.

She is a weapon only to be used by the leader of North American shifters. But when she learns the Alphar was unseated three years ago, she sets out to find who’s been pulling her trigger.

Kerrick Masterson has borne the burden of leadership for only a short time, yet he already feels the Alphar power tempting his soul toward the insanity that destroyed his predecessor. He has no time for the woman who breaks into his compound claiming to be his Incendiary, but his beast insists he make the time—for his mate.

In one searing, soul-consuming breath, everything Cymbeline was taught to believe is ripped away. Yet the mystery of who’s been sending her orders remains…and finding the answer could lead to all-out war.

Warning: Contains an assassin who doesn’t tolerate those who hurt the weak, and a shifter leader determined to unlock his new mate’s repressed emotions—even if that puts his balls at risk. Explicit sex, violence, and references to abuse that could be rough on sensitive readers.
This blurb came from Goodreads

More months ago then I like to think I was perusing a list of Samhain releases and this caught my eye. I have a weakness for assassins and shifters so the combination of those two here along with a mystery and romance all I could think was “yes please.” Happily To Mate an Assassin lived up to its promise and promptly sent me looking for the author’s backlist in hopes of finding more paranormal romances, this appears to be Grenelle’s first.

Cymbeline appeared with a lot of energy as my introduction to her started with her in the execution, bad pun I know, phase of her job. Something wasn’t quite right with her target, one of a series, so Cymbeline asked some questions and after discovering the Northern American Alphar had been replaced 3 years ago she decided to go looking for answers. In rather stark contrast to Cymbeline, Kerrick, the new North American Alphar appeared calm and settled, well at least in the beginning. As the story progressed, Kerrick showed he had just as much of an aggressive, violent, and protective nature as Cymbeline.

I enjoyed the sparks Cymbeline and Kerrick struck off each other on multiple levels. While their sexual attraction was intense I thought the way Cymbeline never let Kerrick just have what he wanted and how she gained and kept everyone’s respect was a lot of fun. She wasn’t afraid to be hands on in either regard and openly enjoyed doing it. I also liked how confident she was in her skills and her abilities even as she denied being worth or having the ability to care about others. Watching her interact with others also contradicted what she had been taught but she never lost her dangerous edge.

As much as I was captivated by the main characters, I found the supporting cast great fun. Their interactions with Kerrick, Cymbeline, and each other really fleshed out the story and made me want their individual stories. I especially loved Kerrick’s cousins/family and their combination of skills, temperament, irreverence, and affection were great to see. I did wish the Alphas of the different species had more on page time because the little glimpses I received made me think their species quirks were also going to be entertaining. Not to mention the tension between Kerrick and his mother.

While this story did have some familiar aspects when it came to shifter nature and vampires, I really enjoyed how Grenelle built her world. The special tension and struggles the Alphars face were very intriguing and a nice counterbalance or price as they gained abilities needed to fill the role as Alphar. The origin and training of Incendaries was also interesting and made me wonder how many were left undiscovered and untrained. I would have preferred some sort of explanation about how other than the Alphar, so many different species managed to live/work together without any sort of deadly tension. With the tension that was present, I have a couple of characters in mind for future pairings *crosses fingers*. Despite my quibbles, they did not noticeably detract from the story.

To Mate an Assassin was an enjoyable introduction to Grenelle and this world. I liked how some of the initial questions or problems were solved while the expanding world created others. The variety of characters and personalities along with the mix of action, romance, intrigue, and a sprinkle of magic with a variety of different uses and I was hooked. I am looking forward to the sequel.

I give To Mate an Assassin a B

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