Hunter of the Heart by Vanessa Jaye
Blind faith. We’ve al exercised it. Sometimes saying ‘what the heck, count me in’ is a no brainer, other times it’s really feels like your stepping out on a ledge. With reading, suspension of disbelief, that blind faith in a story not yet read, is almost a given as soon as you crack the spine open. And when that story has a paranormal twist? Well baby, hold on for the ride.
But what about the characters within the story? There has to be some sort of conflict there for them. Something at stake for them to achieve in the end, with the reader rooting for them all the way. There should be a point in the story where the H/h will have to take a leap of faith. Or maybe several.
In Hunter of the Heart, the heroine has the phenomenal task of believing that creatures such werewolves exists. What’s more she has to have faith that the one of those creatures, the hero, can keep her safe from another murderous shape-shifter.
One the other hand the hero, who’s already lost his wife to a murdering shape-shifter, meets the heroine who could not possibly be what all his senses tell him she is: his mate. After all werewolves can only mate in lifetime. Even if it were possible, he’s a man eaten up with grief, burning with for vengeance, and battling a deadly curse. How can he believe he’s worthy of being loved?
Here’s a scene between the hero and heroine where the question of faith and trust comes up:
They’d reached the central foyer and Nate came to an abrupt stop, head tilted back as he slowly turned. Other passengers looked at him oddly, then looked up to see what had caught his interest. They needn’t have bothered. He wasn’t interested in anything up there. He was scenting prey.
Who knows what he’d do, what he was capable of, when he caught up with Rod?
“We’re going to be late to meet Mitch and Angelica.” She tugged on his arm again. “I mean it, Nate. I want you to drop this. Rod didn’t hurt me.”
“But he would have,” Nate snarled, his voice a guttural tangle of constants and vowels. “He frightened you.”
“You frighten me,” she said quietly.
“Even after last night? And today? You made love with me. Slept in my arms. Not the actions of a frightened woman, Tessa.”
Instantly, he whipped up torrents of heat around them, battering her with images of them together—the grunts and moans, wet and hot, pain and pleasure. Her knees went weak and she grabbed on to him more firmly.
But she resisted the spell he wove, because now she identified the vague disquiet that had been hounding her since she’d woken pressed against Nate’s solid heat, her limbs deliciously heavy and body still hungering. It was a feeling that couldn’t be completely swept aside with kisses and caresses then, or cowed by intimidation now.
“You’ve shut me out.”
Nate didn’t acknowledge her statement by word or motion.
“I can feel your anger, but I can’t read what you’re thinking. And that’s what scares me. You’re really, really upset about this, more than you should be. So why don’t you tell me what this is really about, Nate?”
Tessa held his gaze. Outside she was all calmness, but inside he sensed her turmoil. Her clear-sighted logic pierced the black fog surrounding him and he realized that she was right, this was more than the natural reaction of a wolf when his mate was threatened. More than the residual guilt he’d never be rid of for failing to protect his first mate.
A hunger churned inside of him. Not just to hurt Rod, but more. He wanted to make fear sing in his veins, to see the whites of his eyes bulge in terror and hear the sweet racing beat of his pulses grow faster and louder until that first bite—
No! He would not give in to this. Nate fought for control while his heart thudded against his ribs, filling his head with a staccato echo. And that echo said, Tell her. No. Tell her. No.
Tessa might accept what she thought she knew of him, the man and the wolf. How would she feel about the monster?
Nate became aware of his surroundings again, the milling humans, the long concierge desk to one side, the sweeping stairs and bank of elevators on the other and the doors behind Tessa that led outside. The fresh sea air helped clear his head further.
Then his focus, his world, shrunk down to Tessa herself, staring up at him with concern and absolute trust. She was waiting for answers he couldn’t give her, so he did what instinct told him to. He drew her into his arms and kissed her as if the questions were all his and she held every answer. And she did. She held the key to his heart and to his humanity. He couldn’t lose her.
“Promise me you’ll always believe me, Tessa,” he whispered urgently. “Even if—” He broke off and kissed her again, as if this kiss alone would convince her of the inherent goodness inside him.
At some point his mission had changed from revenge to reverence, from gaining justice to holding on to something greater. Their lips parted with a shared gasping breath.
The silence was uneasy and Nate felt his insides shred under her searching gaze.
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