Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.

AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Author:  Lora Leigh
Series:  BREEDS

This ongoing post was revised and updated on 5/10/2017 to include a review of Wake a Sleeping Tiger, the culmination of Cullen's story (Gideon's twin brother). That review appears first, followed by an overview of the series world-building and summaries and/or reviews of the previous 30 stories, novellas, and novels in the series.

            BREEDS 31 (novel): Wake a Sleeping Tiger            
     A Breed hides in the world of man—until a woman arouses the amused and wildly carnal animal within. Once, he was Judd—Bengal Breed and brother to the notorious fugitive Gideon. After Gideon disappeared, Judd was experimented on until his tortured body knew nothing but agony. 

     Now he is Cullen Maverick, serving as the commander of the Navajo Covert Law Enforcement Agency in the small community of Window Rock, Arizona. Despite his genetics, Cullen is able to pass as human because his Bengal traits are recessed. He lacks the ability to smell the emotions, bonds and fears that other Breeds take for granted. And he remains tormented that he wasn’t able to mate the woman he loved—at the cost of her life. 

     He’s no longer a Breed, merely a man. . . or so he thinks. But his tiger is about to be awakened by the one woman destined to be his—Chelsea Martinez. And their world will never be the same.

     When Cullen Maverick (aka Judd) arrived in the Navajo Nation at the age of 19, he developed a bond with a 13-year-old girl named Chelsea Martinez. Unbeknownst to both of them, that bond was actually a mate bond. At the time, Cullen's tiger was completely repressed and subdued due to his horrific torture in the laboratories of the Genetics Council. (See my review of Bengal's Quest for more on that family history.) Although Cullen remained good friends with Chelsea over the years and later hired her to work in his office, their mate bond never surfaced. 

     In fact, just six months after his arrival in New Mexico, Cullen married Chelsea's distant cousin, Lauren. That marriage turned out to be a sham because Lauren knew that she had cancer and believed that if she married Cullen that the mating bond would kill off the cancer cells and keep her alive. When no mating bond formed between them, she blamed Cullen for not loving her enough to save her life. Unfortunately, Lauren kept her cancer—and other dark secrets—hidden from Cullen before their marriage, which resulted in an extremely unhappy relationship. Chelsea, however is certain that Cullen is still grieving for his beloved dead wife—even ten years after her death.

     Over the years, Cullen trained Chelsea to be a fierce and competent warrior, but he never allows her to go out on field assignments because he's afraid to put her in danger. As the book opens, she is working as his assistant, and she is fed up. When she quits her job and defiantly turns her back on him, Cullen's tiger begins to stir and his Breed powers begin to kick in (e.g., greater strength, better tracking skills, and strong emotions—mainly jealousy). When Cullen learns that Chelsea is working undercover in some very sketchy bars, his tiger gets even more active. Then, when an unknown Coyote tries to kill Chelsea, Cullen begins building up into full feline alpha mode. 

     At the center of the plot is the mystery of who wants Chelsea dead, and why. Although Leigh keeps that mystery going for awhile, she gives us too many obvious clues, so you'll be able to figure out that answer well before it appears on the printed page.

     In a secondary story thread, Chelsea and Gideon become (separately) involved with a local Cartel family after Chelsea tries to save their daughter from some rogue Coyotes. That family's story line weaves in and out of the main plot, but is never fully resolved. I'm certain that Leigh will return to it in a future book.

     In a brilliant, shocking scene at the very end of the novel, a mysterious woman enters the story—one who appears to have a close relationship with Cassandra (Cassie) Sinclair. That means that Leigh must be getting very close to giving us the book that tells Cassie's full story. 

     If you are a BREEDS fan, you'll enjoy this book for several reasons. First, it doesn't have the meandering sentences and the repetition of the previous few novels. Second, it provides some darkly humorous scenes starring Gideon, who is one of my favorite characters in the entire series. The love story has the usual amount of angst, but not enough to make it unbearable. Chelsea gets a bit whiny at times, but she shows great courage and independence and doesn't have any TSTL moments, so I'll forgive her for her occasional brattiness. Naturally, there are plenty of Leigh's detailed bedroom scenes, more than enough to satisfy even the pickiest reader.

     Click HERE to go to this novel's page, where you can read or listen to an excerpt by clicking on the cover art for print or the "Listen" icon for audio.

     All of the BREEDS books revolve around the outcomes of the activities of the evil Genetics Council, which operated secret labs in which twisted scientists created genetic beings from a mix of human DNA and animal DNA. Their purpose was to create ruthless, disposable soldiers called Breeds. When the scientists found that they could not totally control the Breeds, they tried to destroy them all. The series begins after some of the Breeds escape and go public, creating an uproar among the populace and engendering a variety of responses from government officials. Each book tells the story of one couple’s journey from first meeting to soul-mate status, with explicit sex as their major activity. Each couple has one Breed and one human. 

     Here is Leigh's description of the World of the Breeds, which is included at the beginning of most of the novels: "They're not shifters or werewolves. They are experiments in genetic engineering. Created to be super soldiers and the advanced lab rats needed to research new drug therapies for the human population. They weren't created to be free. They weren't even created to live. They existed to serve the men and women who created them, tortured them, filled them with rage and a hunger for freedom. Now they're free, they're living and they're setting the world, and their mates, on fire." 

     Plots include attempts by various scientists and hunters to recapture individual Breeds and mean-spirited attempts to completely dehumanize the Breeds’ lives. By this point in the series, Breed scientists have come a long way in their study of the characteristics that make the Breeds different from humans (for example, the mating heat, the aging delay, immunity to disease, the long-term effects of mating on the female mates). One of the Breeds' primary problems is keeping all of these differences hidden from the general public. Many people already consider the Breeds to be animals, and if people discover these differences, huge problems could result. 

     Many characters appear in multiple books. Most of the Breeds appear to be more ethical, moral, and intelligent than the humans. In general, each soul-mate couple includes one very alpha male, one strong but somewhat subservient female, and lots of extremely graphic sex, which always includes one incredible male sexual characteristic that occurs only when a male Breed consummates his sexual relationship with his one and only soul mate. 

Publishers and Titles: In this post, I have included a chronological annotated bibliography (from Lora Leigh’s web site) of the first 23 BREEDS books, novellas, and short stories, along with the names of each happy couple and a brief summary of the plots. For books and stories 24-29, I have written full reviews. As Leigh notes, “the Breeds at one time or another have been separated by three publishers. I never imagined the series would be so popular or that it would go so far. Now that it has, we have a few discrepancies that I hope you’ll overlook....The BREEDS were originally written out of order chronologically, so that and a change in publishers is why there are chronological discrepancies in Jacob’s Faith and Aiden’s Charity.” Click HERE to go to a printable book list on Leigh's web site. 

     The first 23 books/stories are summarized very briefly, but I have written full reviews of #24 through #29. Scroll down past the 23 summaries to read those full reviews. Unless otherwise indicated, the female mates are human. 

1. Tempting the Beast: Callan Lyons (Lion) and Merinus Tyler
Merinus Tyler discovers a secret in the Kentucky mountains—that shape-shifting men and women were created in and escaped from the labs of their creators. Human, with the genetics of the predators of the world. Callan Lyons is a genetic experiment. One of six fighting for freedom and the survival of their Pride. Deception, blood, and the evil Genetics Council are hot on their trail. Callan will use his strength to try and save them both...and do all in his power to keep his woman in the process. 

2. The Man Within: Taber Williams (Panther) and Roni Andres 
Roni had once loved Taber Williams until he broke her heart and left their small Kentucky town amid the shocking news that he and his “family” weren’t exactly human. But he marked her before he left, and that mark now endangers her life and the dreams she had of finding love after Taber. Taber, part man, part animal, now has to face the fact that the woman he couldn’t forget knows exactly what he is.

3. Elizabeth’s Wolf: Dash Sinclair (Wolf) and Elizabeth Colder 
Elizabeth is running for her young daughter’s life, and losing the race. But when her daughter begins corresponding with a Special Forces soldier overseas and he learns the danger they’re in, all the fury of a Wolf Breed fighting for his mate is unleashed, and secrets are revealed that could destroy a child's life.

4. Kiss of Heat: Sherra Callahan (Snow Leopard) and Kane Tyler 
Sherra has kept the natural mating heat that Breeds and their mates experience under control for far too many years. It has been ten years since the lover she was torn from in the labs returned. Ten years that she’s been forced to confront him on a daily basis. And the heat is growing out of control. Her emotions and fears are tearing through her. Now, she won’t be able to run from her mate much longer as old fears and deceptions begin to fade away beneath the love and aching need she never forgot for one man.

5. Soul Deep: Kiowa Bear (Coyote) and Amanda Marion 
Kiowa was just supposed to watch the President’s daughter from afar. But when an attempted kidnapping nearly succeeds, he finds himself with much more on his hands than he ever imagined.

6. “The Breed Next Door” in Hot Spell anthology (also in Overcome, an anthology containing three previously published novellas)Tarek Jordan (Lion) and Lyra Mason 
Undercover breed enforcer, Tarek, is searching for a soldier who tormented Breeds in the labs. There’s a bounty on the man’s head, and the Bureau wants him, bad. His next-door neighbor is hindering that process—with home-baked bread, a tempting little boy, and more emotions than he ever dreamed he could feel. But when his mission endangers her, Tarek learns, there’s much more to those emotions than he could have ever imagined.

7. Megan’s Mark: Braden Arness (Lion) and Megan Marks 
When breeds start turning up dead in her desert, Deputy Sheriff Megan Marks is forced to confront Breed enforcer Braden as he tries to take over her investigation. And as desire that she hadn’t envisioned begins to sear them, she learns that love is just a heartbeat away in the arms of the most incredible man she’s ever known.

8. Harmony’s Way: Harmony Lancaster (Lion) and Lance Jacobs 
Lance, Megan’s cousin, finds himself enmeshed in a manipulation and a desire he can’t resist when the director of Breed Affairs assigns his own sister to the sheriff’s office, in an attempt to save her from Breed law. Assassin Harmony has been alone, wild and free for too many years and filled with too much rage. Council members are dying unsanctioned and those deaths are being laid at her feet. But when Breed opponents in Lance’s county begin showing up dead as well, Lance knows Harmony has to be innocent. There’s no other choice, because she’s stolen his soul, and he can’t allow anyone or anything to harm what is his. Complicating this is the information Harmony holds, that her enemies want—information that get them both killed.

9. Tanner’s Scheme: Tanner Reynolds (Bengal Tiger) and Scheme Tallant 
After the Feline Breeds’ main base is attacked, Tanner wants revenge so he kidnaps Scheme, the daughter of a one-time high-ranking member of the Genetics Council. But when Tanner discovers that Scheme herself is a target of her father’s ruthless mission, his vengeance takes a back seat to saving the life of the woman he hopes to claim as his mate.

10. Wolf's Hope in Primal Heat anthology: Wolfe Gunnar (Wolf) and Hope Bainesmith 
Hope believed Wolfe was dead, but he was only waiting for the right time to claim her. The scientist who created him, Hope’s mother, has forced his hand. She wants her creation back, and she wants any children he may breed on her daughter. He is a man whose DNA was altered, infused with the genetic code of the wolf. His unique genetic makeup has created a male unlike any other and will make itself known in the most surprising ways. Now Hope must convince her mate she hasn’t betrayed him, and they must defeat the plans of a scientist gone mad.

11. Jacob’s Faith: Jacob Arlington (Wolf) and Faith Chance (Wolf)
Jacob left Faith six years before, unaware that the mark he left on her also left her in an agony of sexual heat that never dimmed. Now Jacob and Faith are together again, but surprises lurk around every corner and dangers as dark and deadly as their very creation surround them in more ways than one.

12. Aiden’s Charity: Aiden Chance (Wolf) and Charity Dunmore 
The forces of survival and destruction swirl in the darkest corners of men's minds. The nature of the beast cannot be harnessed, and survival is the purest of all instincts. Survival of the species itself goes soul deep. But can the human heart accept and adapt as easily? Can Charity bestow the love and the acceptance that has always been a part of her, to the man whose very survival depended on the hardening of his heart, of his soul? And can Aiden maintain that cruelty now, in the face of the sacrifices she made? Only time and nature can tell.

13. “In a Wolf’s Embrace” in Beyond the Dark anthology (also in Overcome, an anthology containing three previously published novellas): Matthais Slaughter (Wolf) and Grace Anderson 
Grace had no idea the man who rescued her from a mugging was a Breed assassin, until she catches him in the act of assassinating a known Genetics Council member. Now Matthias has kidnapped her, but rather than threatening her, rather than harming her, Matthias shows her a love she could have never imagined, and the true horror of the Council catches up with them, nearly destroying the life she dreams of having with him.

14. Dawn’s Awakening: Seth Lawrence (human) and Dawn Daniels (Cougar) 
The runt of the lab she was created in, Dawn endured years of torture by her pride brother and the Council soldiers. Finally freed from her torment, she’s now a Breed Enforcer, in control of her own life—until she’s assigned to protect the one man destined to be her mate and realizes that it’s far too easy to lose total control.

15. “A Jaguar’s Kiss” in Shifter anthology (also in Overcome, an anthology containing three previously published novellas)Saban Broussard (Black Jaguar) and Natalie Ricci 
Natalie is hired to teach Breed children. She wasn’t aware the job came with the all too sexy, too exasperating Breed bodyguard, Saban. Saban is Cajun and too hot to handle, but once his kisses fill her senses, she’s lost in the man she’s learning he truly is.

16. Mercury’s War: Mercury Warrant (Lion) and Ria Rodriguez (Lion/human)
Someone has been slipping the Sanctuary’s secure information to a pharmaceutical company. Now it’s up to Ria to pose as a clerk and uncover the leak. Yet she has no idea of the danger she’s about to encounter—or the passion she’s about to ignite in one of the greatest Breeds ever created.

17. “Christmas Heat” in The Magical Christmas Cat anthology: Noble Chavin (Jaguar) and Haley McQuire 
Haley has witnessed a spy in Sanctuary and now her life is in danger. Now it is up to Noble to keep his mate alive as death and destruction follow her every move.

18. Coyote’s Mate: Del Rey Delgato (Coyote) and Anya Korbin
For six years Anya worked with Del-Rey—the genetically altered rebel known as the Coyote Ghost—to free a group of coyote women kept in her father’s lab. As Anya matured into a woman, she and Del-Rey grew close…but then he broke his promise and wounded her father. Now she must deal with her animalistic desire for the one who betrayed her.

19. “A Christmas Kiss” in Hot for the Holidays anthology: Hawke Esteban (Wolf) and Jessica Raines 
After Jessica is caught betraying the Breeds, she is arrested and awaiting her fate. Hawk has to find a way to clear Jessica’s name as mating heat scorches them both.

20. Bengal’s Heart: Cabal St. Laurents (Bengal Tiger) and Cassa Hawkins 
Cabal has to deal with his mate in a very interesting way. Reporter Cassa is investigating a series of murders suspected to have been committed by a Breed. Six of the rumored Deadly Dozen, a hunting party that once preyed upon escaped Breeds, has been murdered. The crime scene photos suggest a Breed killer. The problem is, those crime scene photos are the only evidence that a murder was ever committed. Someone is drawing Cassa and Cabal together in the small town of Glen Ferri, West Virginia, and they don’t have mating on their mind. The past is on their mind—a past rife with spilled blood and the horror of a death that still screams out for vengeance. Cassa’s voice could very well be added to those screams, unless Cabal finds a way to save her.

21. Lion’s Heat: Jonas Wyatt (Lion) and Rachel Broen 
The story you’ve been waiting for. It’s time for Jonas, that bad boy Lion, to be brought to his knees. Or at least forced to have weak knees. Would he tremble for his mate? Would he bow before her? Is there anything or anyone that could actually be considered a weakness for our arrogant Director.

22. Styx’s Storm: Styx Mackenze (Wolf) and Storme Montague 

To save innocent young Storme from the claws of Breed slave traders, Styx is forced to claim her himself—on the condition that Storme will no longer be a virgin by night's end. And though Storme's defenses are up, Styx will free her—in ways she never expected. 

23. "Primal Kiss in" Primal anthology: Creed Raines (Lion) and Kita Engalls 
When the bad-boy Lion Breed, Creed, crashes the family cabin while Pharmaceutical CEO Horace Engalls' daughter is vacationing, he sets off a series of events that even Creed couldn't have imagined. Mating Heat blows sky high—hot and overwhelming and reminding him of all the reasons he had fought to avoid it. Especially with the shy, though incredibly stubborn, decidedly willful, much loved and cherished Engalls Princess, Kita. Click HERE to read my review of Primal, the anthology in which this story is included. 
               BREEDS 24 (novel)Navarro's Promise               
Soul Mates: Navarro Blaine (Wolf) and Mica Toler 
     This novel tells the story of Navarro Blaine, a wolf Breed with recessive Breed traits, and Mica Toler, a young human woman who has grown up among the Breeds. (I always love Leigh's characters' names.) The plot is foreshadowed by a vision that Mica's friend, Cassie Sinclair, has in the Prologue:

     Cassie sees that Mica will achieve contentment, "but it was a potential contentment. A maybe thing. One of the many paths Mica could take. And beside that path was deceit and rage, to the other side was agony and heartache. The path would depend on too many things. It would depend on Mica and on a Breed....Mica was Navarro's mate, but her friend's happiness would lie in another Breed's hands. A Breed other than her mate." (pp. 18-19)

     Although this is the typically steamy soul-mate romance story one expects from this series, I was disturbed by the huge number of typographical and editing errors (particularly in continuity) that turned up again and again. For example, one momentous scene begins with Navarro and Mica, fully clothed, confronting each other in a subterranean hallway and ends with them naked in their bedroom a few paragraphs later, never having left the hallway or cast off their clothing—at least not to the reader's knowledge. Missing pages? Editing error? Careless writing? Whatever it was, something definitely went wrong here. 

     The plot also has a few holes in it. For example, why were the bad guys so intent on capturing Mica that they sent multiple heavily armed teams of men to search Manhattan for her? Who really knows? (Not the reader, that's for sure.) And why don't Navarro and Mica ever talk through their problems—just once? Never happens—even after they decide that they love each other. The "love thing" just falls into place with absolutely no discussion whatsoever.

     Another problem is the unbelievability of the climax. I was reading along, came to that part, and said, "Huh?" (I might have said something a bit stronger.) It was as if Leigh had to wind it up quickly so she threw in...well I can't tell you what she threw in or I'd spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that it's the kind of hokey scene you'd find in a Nancy Drew mystery, like The Hidden Staircase, for instance. Anyhow, Leigh still writes the best erotic sex scenes in paranormal fiction, so if you love that earth-shattering moment when the mating heat takes hold, this one's for you.

        BREEDS 25 (story):  “An Inconvenient Mate” in Tied with a Bow       

Soul Mates: Malachi Morgan (Coyote) and Isabelle Martinez 
     First Sentence: "She couldn't keep her eyes off him." Ah, yes, lust is definitely in the air, because this is another fiery Breed romance, with the mating heat blazing just as hot as it always does. This time, the lucky lovers are Malachi Morgan, a Coyote Breed, and Isabelle Martinez, daughter of the head of the Navajo Council. The two fall instantly in lust as the Breeds visit to the Navajo Nation in search the elusive Gideon, who is intent on getting his vengeance against the Genetics Council in an up-close and personal manner. The major villain of the story is Isabelle's wannabe suitor, a human who just won't take no for an answer. If you aren't familiar with Leigh's BREEDS series, this is not the place to begin. BREEDS is one of the all-time greatest paranormal romance series on the market today, with a complex mythology and some serious sexual shenanigans, so do yourself a favor and start at the beginning. Click HERE to read my review of all of the stories in Tied with a Bow, the anthology in which this story is included.

                 BREEDS 26 (novel):  Lawe's Justice                 

Soul Mates: Lawe Justice (Lion) and Diane Broen 
     The events in Lawe's Justice overlap those in the novella, "An Inconvenient Mate," in Tied with a Bow anthology. Lawe's Justice begins with a prologue that finds Lawe Justice, a Lion Breed, and his brother, Rule Breaker, in the cages of Phillip Brandenmore's "scientific" laboratories, listening to the dying screams of their mother, Morningstar Martinez, as she is being vivisected. Flash forward to the present and we have Lawe and Rule working for Jonas Wyatt and the Bureau of Breed Affairs. Lawe is now second in command to Jonas. He has pulled out of active field work because he has discovered that he has a mate, and mated Breeds generally take behind-the-scenes jobs so that they don't risk death to themselves and their mates. 

     Lawe's potential mate is Diane Broen, the human niece of Phillip Brandenmore, who died in a previous book after spending many years capturing and experimenting on Breeds. Diane has been working as a mercenary commander for years, lately for Jonas and the Breeds. Neither Lawe nor Diane want to complete the mating bond. Lawe keeps remembering his mother's screams as she died, and he doesn't want to put Diane in danger by becoming her full mate. If he does mate with her, though, he wants her to quite her job and stay at home. Diane, on the other hand, sees herself as a warrior, and she's afraid that Lawe will force her to live in the Sanctuary, barefoot and pregnant, as the saying goes. All through the book, they agonize over this problem in endless interior monologues and argue it out in many verbal battles.

     The secondary plot line involves Gideon, and this is the plot that is related to "An Inconvenient Mate." Gideon is the Breed suspected of going feral. He was driven mad by Brandenmore's experiments and has been tracking down Brandenmore's scientists, mutilating each one before he kills them. He is also trying to find three Breeds who escaped from the cages with him, one of whom infected him with her blood when she gave him a transfusion to save his life before leaving him behind. Gideon believes that her blood is the cause of his feral fever, and he's determined to punish her for what she did to him. (I'm thinking that the odds are pretty good that she will turn out to be his bond mate.) As the tension builds, both Gideon and the not-so-happy couple wind up on the Navajo Reservation shortly after the events depicted in "An Inconvenient Mate." At that point, a climactic scene resolves the mate-bond situation between Lawe and Diane, but leaves Gideon's task uncompleted. 

     Once again, this book is filled with editing errors. Sometimes I actually felt that paragraphs were in the wrong order or that sentences were missing. Other times, the narrative was so jumbled that I found myself going back to re-read a page or two so that I could understand exactly what just happened. In addition, the repetition of information drags down the narrative—and the action. I found myself paging past these scenes, anxious to get on with the action. For example, in one two-page segment of a lengthy internal monologue, Gideon feels the need to tell us three times that he has identified the traitor on Diane's team of mercenaries, including twice stating that he discovered the traitor's identity in the past 24 hours. I truly believe that the average reader understood this after reading it once.

     Diane and Lawe are typical SMR protagonists. She is feisty and smart, demanding her independence and fighting against the protected life of a Breed mate, but relatively submissive in the bedroom. Lawe is an über-alpha, refusing to compromise his belief that Diane belongs back at Sanctuary away from the front lines. For awhile, she runs away and he follows, but eventually, they talk it out and come to a détente. The bedroom scenes don't begin until well into the story, but when they do, they're just as steamy and over the top as usual.

                 BREEDS 27 (novel):  Stygian's Honor                 

Soul Mates: Stygian Black (Wolf) and Liza Johnson 
    This novel begins the culmination of a plot line that started several books ago. Here is the situation as this book begins: Twenty years ago, four people—two men and two young girls—escaped from Phillip Brandenmore's horrific Council laboratory. One of them—Gideon—was injured, and one of the girls shared her blood with him to save his life. When Gideon went feral, he blamed it on the girl's blood and has vowed to kill all three of his fellow escapees. More recently, the daughter of Jonas Wyatt (head of the Bureau of Breed Affairs) was injected with a deadly concoction developed by Brandenmore. Now that Brandenmore is dead, Jonas needs to find the four escapees because he believes that they have information that can save his daughter's life. At this point, three groups are looking for the escapees: Gideon, the Genetics Council thugs, and Jonas's Breeds. The escapees are being protected by the Navajo Nation, which, for decades, has been running a "witness protection" program for Council victims—either getting them back to their families or providing them with new identities. Jonas is sure that the Navajo leaders know where these people are, but they will not tell him the names of anyone in their database.

     The book is set in Window Rock, New Mexico, where Jonas has moved temporarily to be close to the action and where he is becoming more and more frustrated with the Navajo leaders. He is sure that he is close to finding the escapees, but the Navajo won't cooperate or share information. In the meantime, more and more Genetics Council thugs are gathering in Window Rock, and they appear to have their sights set on the daughters of two of the Navajo leaders: Liza Johnson and her friend, Claire.

     This book tells Liza's story as she comes to terms with her inner self and falls in love with a Wolf Breed—Stygian Black, who was created in the labs from a combination of DNA from Attila the Hun and a Haitian voodoo priestess. Stygian realizes almost immediately that Liza is his mate, but she has heard stories about the mating heat and is not willing to give up her independence. Their romance is fraught with the usual amount of high drama, graphic sex, and long, anguished interior monologues. By the end of the book, we learn the identities of both of the escaped women (although we guessed their identities several books ago), but the second woman's story is still to be told.

     Like other recent books in this series, this one has many copy-proofing and continuity errors. Sometimes a character will ask a question, and another character will give an entirely unrelated answer. For example, at one point Liza asks, "Is Claire okay? Was she hurt?" Jonas answers, "She did." (p. 124) Huh? This kind of disconnect happens over and over again, forcing the reader to go back and reread paragraphs and conversations, desperately trying to make sense of it all. I hate to say it, but perhaps after 27 books, this series has gone on too long. The overworked mating-heat love scenes, which used to be mesmerizing in the early books, are now so mechanical and repetitious that I find myself paging quickly through them to get back to the action. The current plot line (i.e., Gideon and the escapees) is way too thin to have been spread over multiple books, and it still isn't completely resolved. So...we're in for more of the same in the next book, which will probably pair up Claire (aka Fawn) and Gideon.

        BREEDS 28 (novella):  "The Devil's Due"  in Enthralled anthology         
Soul Mates: Devil Black (Wolf) and Katie O'Sullivan (human/Wolf/Coyote)
     Here is Devil's description of Katie at 16, the first time he saw her: "She was all wild Irish red hair, big emerald eyes and soft peaches-and-cream skin....She was tough as hell, but she looked as delicate as a red rose." This is the mating story of Devil Black (Wolf Breed) and 23-year-old Mary Kathleen (Katie) O'Sullivan, who is a rare, lab-produced composite of Human, Wolf, and Coyote. Katie has been living as a human in Ireland, but now her Breed genetics have kicked in, and the European authorities want to drag her in for testing. In order to prevent this from happening, all of the big-wig American Breeds' leaders come to Ireland and manage to smuggle her out of the country to Lobo Reever's compound on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.

     Devil is the hard-hearted, fierce Breed enforcer whose job is to be an executioner—to go after Breeds marked to die. He has always believed that he would never find his mate, but when he first saw Katie back when she was sixteen, he never forgot her. Now, the two fall immediately into mating heat, and you know what happens next.

     There are also appearances by Rule Breaker, who is masquerading as Graeme, the security expert on Lobo's compound. Cassie and Dash Sinclair also turn up in supporting roles.

     This is a typical BREEDS romance, with plenty of sex and a side order of dramatic action, although the action part of the plot is rather light. If you're not familiar with the series, you might be confused by some of the references. Click HERE to read my review of all of the novellas in Enthralled, the anthology in which this story is included.

                  BREEDS 29 (novel):  Rule Breaker                      

Soul Mates: Rule Breaker (Lion) and Gypsy Rum McQuade
     To understand what's going on in this novel, you'll need to be familiar with at least the past two novels: Lawe's Justice (#26) and Stygian's Honor (#27). I am not going to summarize the action-plot lines in this review, but you can read my reviews of 26 and 27 (above) for an overview. Without providing any spoilers, I will just say that in Rule Breaker, most of those interconnected story threads are untangled and resolved. 

     But let's not worry too much about the action plot because in this series, it is always the romance that has center stage. This time around, the soul-mate lovers are über-alpha Rule Breaker (brother of Lawe Justice) and Gypsy McQuade, a 24-year-old human woman who hides her undercover spying activities behind a sexy-party-girl facade. As is almost always the case, our heroine had a horrific experience in her teen years that has emotionally scarred her forever. When Gypsy was 15, she sneaked out of the house to go to a party. When her beloved brother and loyal protector, Mark, followed her, both were captured by a vicious gang of Coyote Breeds. Mark was murdered as Gypsy was forced to watch, and she has blamed herself for Mark's death ever since—and so have her parents. Breed enforcers arrived in the nick of time to save Gypsy's life, and that was the moment that Rule Breaker first saw Gypsy, thus beginning an unspoken and unfulfilled attraction that has continued for the past nine years. Just a side note here: The given names in Gypsy's family are ludicrous: Her parents are Hansel and Greta; then we have Gypsy Rum and her sister, Kandy Sweet. Only Mark somehow got away with a normal name.

     Rule has always vowed never to be trapped by the Mating Heat. At the very first sign, he plans to run away from his potential mate—as far and as fast as possible. When they were children, Rule and his brother were imprisoned in the Genetic Council's labs, where they were forced to witness "not just his mother's mate be dissected alive, but also his mother, because of the Mating Heat and the scientists' determination to view the effects of it on the living body." (p. 96) Rule believes that the only way to protect his own potential mate is to avoid the actual Mating process, which would bind them together forever. Although Rule is greatly attracted to Gypsy, neither one of them has the Mating Heat scent, so he believes that he is safe in starting a sexual relationship with her. Oh boy, is he ever wrong about that!

     The love affair and the action plot intersect when Gypsy is suspected of being a spy for the Unknown, a mystical—and supposedly mythological—Navajo group. In this novel, there are so many different small groups working for, against, and alongside each other that if you aren't familiar with the origin of the various conflicts and the characters in each group, you'll be completely lost. I have read all of the books and I still got lost sometimes in the convolution of story lines.

     On the good side, this is a great, if tortured, love story, with an emotionally scarred heroine, an all-too-arrogant hero, scum-bag parents, and lots of twists and turns near the end (although it's pretty easy to spot the traitorous villain). Everybody gets into the act by the time the epilogue rolls around so—once again—you will need to know who's who.

     Rule is just as dominant in the bedroom as all the rest of Leigh's BREEDS heroes are, and Gypsy is just as submissive. This aspect of the series has always bothered me because no matter how intelligent and feisty the heroines are in the action scenes, they melt into little puddles of sexy submission the minute they hit the sheets. The story lines of the BREEDS romances are so familiar after 29 times around the block, that I was actually disheartened about what Leigh had to say about future books in a blog interview (2/5/14) on Literary Cravings: "I have about 35 additional titles and ideas listed in several different notebooks. Sometimes, it feels never-ending, but the ideas keep me excited and keep me writing as fast as my fingers can move across the keyboard to attempt to catch up with all the characters begging for their turn." Personally, even though I enjoyed the earlier books, I'm not looking forward to reading 35 more stories that follow basically the same romantic plot.

     In that same interview, Leigh describes the next novel in the series: "Next is Gideon’s book, the Bengal that’s shadowed Jonas and his step-daughter Amber as Jonas has fought to save the child’s life. If you think Jonas is manipulating, I can’t wait until you see how manipulating Gideon can be. He’s sworn he’d kill the woman-child whose blood forced him to live and, in his mind, drove him insane. What he didn’t realize was that it was his Bengal driving him crazy. His mate was far too young to Mate, and the animal inside him knew it. It drove the human side of his psyche slightly crazy to ensure that the man kept the distance needed to keep the animal in check. Breeds are equal parts of human and animal. Always in conflict, fighting for dominance, until they come together once they find their mate and the solace they’ve sought for so long."

            BREEDS 30 (novel): Bengal's Quest
     This novel resolves a story arc that began several books ago. The featured mates are Gideon (aka "G", aka Graeme Parker) and Cat (aka Fawn, aka Claire Martinez, aka Catarina Graymore). The two have known one another for more then a decadeall the way back to the years they spent in the horrific laboratories of the Genetics Council. This early part of their story has been told and retold in past books, but I will quickly summarize it here:

     Gideon and his brother Judd (aka Cullen) are original Breeds, genetically engineered with Bengal tiger DNA before conception. Their creator didn't realize that they were twins, so Gideon received all of the Breed power, while Judd's tiger remained dormant (and still does, but that's a story for a future book). Gideon is a scientific genius who survived the Council's agonizing experiments and went on to be trusted by his master (Dr. Foster) to work in the labs. When Gideon was 11 years old, he was given a dying four-day-old infant (Cat) and told to figure out a way to save her life through Breed experimentation. Gideon infused Cat with Bengal tiger DNA and put her through some extremely painful treatments to ensure that she lived. At that point, saving Cat's life was the only thing that kept Gideon sane. Twelve years later, Gideon escaped, planning to go back and rescue Judd and Cat. But during the escape he was shot and badly wounded. No one would tell Cat why her beloved Gideon suddenly disappeared from the labs, so she assumed that he had been killed by the Council, and she grieved for him. 

     Four months later, Judd and Cat managed to escape, and out of the blue, Gideon showed up to help them. But he was still badly wounded, so Cat insisted on infusing him with her blood. Gideon knew that this transfusion would set off his side of the Mate bond, and that Cat was still too young for Mating. So…he decided that his only course of action was to make her hate him so that she would stay away from him—at least until she is old enough to understand the whole Mating process. Cat was devastated when she heard the hateful words that Gideon screamed at her—that he never loved her and that she was just one of his experiments. Heartbroken, Cat went off with Judd, trying to hide from the Council's hunters who were hot on their trail. 

     Eventually, they met up with a group of Navajo mystics who transferred the spirit of a dying Navajo girl into Cat's body to protect her from being detected by the hunters. Since then, for the past 13 years, Cat has built up an emotional volcano of anger and hatred, despising Gideon for deserting her in her greatest moment of need. At this point, Gideon (in the guise of Graeme), approaches Cat to get their Mating process started, only to find that although Cat might succumb to his Mate lust, she vows never to trust him and refuses to give up her resentment and rage over the way he has treated her in the past. Whew! I left out a few details, but that's the basic story, which Leigh repeats in bits and pieces throughout this novel. At the very end, Leigh retells the lovers' whole story from beginning to end, adding in some previously unknown details, including facts about Cat's original genetic heritage and how she got to the labs in the first place.

     The love story is the heart of the plot, with Cat and Gideon/Graeme alternately hurling invectives at one another and then drowning themselves in lusty thoughts (although their first bedroom scene doesn't come until quite late in the book). The Raymond Martinez story line (which began several books ago) gets resolved in this book after he tries to sell Cat to the Genetics Council. Then there is the resolution of the story of Honor/Liza, who also received the spirit of a dying Navajo girl. (Her love story is told in BREEDS 27Stygian's Honor.) Simmering in the background is the long-standing enmity between Gideon and Jonas Wyatt, the arrogant and manipulative Breeds Director (whose love story is told in BREEDS 21, Lion's Heat).

     Although I enjoyed this book more than the last few, there were (once again) many problems with the narration. Too many lengthy, unpunctuated sentences began with one idea and then meandered around and ended with another, forcing me to re-examine them for their true meanings—often a futile task. Another problem is that Leigh keeps repeating the "historical" details of Cat's life. Time and time again, Leigh revisits the blood transfusion scene, Gideon's "I never loved you" rant, the heartbreaking stolen-teddy-bear incident, and Cat's painful lab treatments. And don't forget, many of these events were covered in some of the earlier books as well. 

     The aspect of this book that bothers me the most is Leigh's final step in the resolution of the Cat-Gideon romance, in which Cat has a major epiphany and then essentially brushes away 13 years of Gideon's 
abominable, evasive behavior and goes cheerfully off with him to their HEA. In fact, she even blames herself for Gideon's problems. This scene comes across as a belittlement of Cat's fully justified emotional trauma—a suggestion that the subservient female should have just trusted the big, bad alpha male to do what was best for her and should not have gotten all hysterical and angry at him for abandoning, belittling, disparaging, and demeaning her. At one point, she compares her bitterness to "a corrosive eating through her soul." Remember, the major focus of this entire book is on Cat's horrific emotional state, but then in one brief moment, it's like "Never mind." Not only is this scene perplexing, it is also insulting to Cat, and, by implication, to women in general.

     And one last nitpick: When 12-year-old Cat was transformed into the Navajo girl, Claire, she had plastic surgery in order to change her appearance to match the real Claire. But late in the book (under circumstances I can't describe for spoiler reasons), someone tells Cat that she looks exactly like one of her true biological relatives. These two details don't jibe; in fact, they are contradictory.

     Leigh hints at several new romances, so I'm guessing that the series is not yet at an end. In particular, Gideon's brother, Cullen, has to find his true Mate so that he can unleash his tiger, and Khileen (Khi) Langer has to decide which of the two wolfy Reever brothers she is going to choose. And then there are the winged Breeds, who have just discovered a female of their species. Who will mate with her? Will it be Cat's friend, Keenan?

     If you are a die-hard BREEDS fan, you won't want to miss this novel after watching the Gideon-Cat story play out through so many previous books. Click HERE to read the Prologue and Chapter 1, which include a flashback retelling of Cat and Judd's escape from the labs and an introduction to Cat's current circumstances.


  1. ¿Which the next books of Breeds? I cant´t find any news

  2. love breeds series! I want more books! especially Dane!

  3. The only other book that I need is a book for Dane. I understood that he loves Harmony and stepped out of the way so that she could be with Lancaster.

  4. I think everyone is forgetting a VERY important story line that was left on a HUGE Cliff hanger and never really spoken of again... Cassie Sincalire and her mate. We were left hanging since the end of 'Dawns Awakening' and I believe at least 18 books have been published since then! Such a travesty...