Cross Breed (a Novel of the Breeds)- Lora Leigh
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Synopsis: The Breeds are humans altered before conception with the DNA of the predators of the earth. But although they all carry the genetic material of beasts within them, Cassandra Sinclair stands apart. A unique mix of wolf, coyote and human, she is revered by many--but preyed upon by others. She is fiercely protected by her community...but no one manages to stop her when she slips away one day to offer her body in exchange for her sister's safety.
The man she succumbs to surprises her by unleashing her inner animal in ways she never dreamed possible--and provokes her deep, furious rage. To Cassie's shock, he is the mate she has long awaited. She may never be able to forgive his deception. Still, as dangerous enemies track her, and as the threat of all-out war between Breeds and the humans who despise them hovers in the air, they must join forces and hold fast to each other.
But the passionate union between them holds a potential that could change the world--and some will do anything to stop it..
Longtime readers of Lora Leigh's Breeds series first met Cassandra Sinclair in Elizabeth's Wolf as a young girl with seemingly psychic talents for knowing things. Over the series she has grown into a woman who can argue Breed Law better than anyone alive. In Cross Breed, Cassie finally gets her own book- and a surprising mate.
Teasers for this book have been careful not to tell readers who Cassie's mate is, making this the first (rather unavoidable) spoiler: it's the Coyote Breed known only as Dog. Believed by most to be loyal to the Council, Dog is considered 'rogue', an enemy, and a cold blooded killer. Not who loving parents Dash and Elizabeth Sinclair were hoping for their beloved daughter! But as with all Breed novels, there are circles within circles and deceptions hiding truths. Dog is a double agent, working with Jonas Wyatt to shut down more Council atrocities against Breeds. Cassie doesn't know this at first, but she senses there is more to Dog than others believe, and is willing to give him a chance.
As a romance story, Cross Breed is pretty good. There's an enormous clash and adjusting period as Cassie and Dog work to figure out their relationship, how to overcome his supposed loyalty to the Council, and how to work together as a unit in the face of constant threats and challenges. Both are passionate people experiencing these emotions for the first time and discovering themselves along the way. Cassie in particular has a lot to learn and accept about herself. We discover early on that she has a difficult time accepting she's a Breed at all, let alone a hybrid- and she doesn't accept her Coyote genes at all, calling them evil.
As a mystery, suspense, or plot driven continuation of a long running series, it has its defects. Although not as repetitious as many of Leigh's books, Cross Breed repeats certain things more than enough to be annoying (there are only so many times we need to hear that allowing negative emotional scents to be picked up by others is an insult before you feel insulted to keep being told). A major conflict builds up between Dog, Cassie, and another Coyote named Rhyzan who suddenly wants to push the idea that he might be Cassie's mate. Rhyzan complicates things left and right, petitions a formal hearing for the chance to have Cassie reconsider who her mate is, then as soon as everyone is in court he drops it to try questioning Dog about something else. When that gets blocked we find out Rhyzan is playing a deeper game and willing to use Dog, Cassie, and anyone else to get the information he needs- but then Rhyzan pretty much disappears from the book. There were other, smaller things that had me questioning whether I had missed reading something, had forgotten a throwaway line from an earlier book in the series that was suddenly important, or wondering why a plot line seemed to be just dropped.
Although not Leigh's best book, Cross Breed will appeal to longtime readers of the Breeds novels who have been looking forward to Cassie's book for a long time. Readers new to the series will enjoy the Cassie/Dog story and the chemistry between them, but will probably be lost for the plot lines outside the romance. A quick read, Cross Breed is entertaining on a surface level, but could have been one of Leigh's best books with a little more work.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review