I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Cross Breed by Lora Leigh
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction
Published by Berkley on September 25, 2018
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Twin Passions, Shattered Legacy, Intense Pleasure, Knight Stalker, Enthralled, Secret Pleasure, Rule Breaker, "The One", Nauti Angel, Nauti Seductress, Wake a Sleeping Tiger, Collision Point
Twenty-third in the Breeds paranormal romance/science fiction series. It’s been 18 years since the world learned that scientists, for over a hundred years, created and tortured humans who were genetically altered before conception with the DNA of beasts. The couple focus is on Cassandra Sinclair and Dog.
It’s about time Cassie got her day! It’s the usual: true love, er, mating, conquers all. Eventually. Once you get past all the sex that Leigh ties together with a story…and I do give her credit for having a story. It’s the usual story arc of two people discovering they’re mates and dealing with their various baggage. All wrapped around the series arc of the Breeds working to find out who is on that Council of warped, evil men.
Yeah, okay, I know Cassie is this mix-up of animal DNA and human, so I’m supposed to take it on faith that she’s wild in the sack, even though she’s a virgin? And I highly doubt she’s ever been left alone long enough to make out with a boy.
I will give Leigh credit for keeping me in suspense…and knocking me for a loop. Leigh starts out telling us that Cassie is highly revered, and later we discover the lie behind it. Jesus. It doesn’t help that Cassie was a child when she let it slip about her extra powers, but still… What is wrong with these people…ack…it just goes to show that every group has its morons. Oy.
Hmmm, I didn’t know Cassie had a brother. Nor do I know why another Breed would want to mate with someone he holds in contempt.
Cassie and Dog do surprise each other: Her with her passion and intellect, and him with his intellect and political savvy. Even more surprising, considering how many people view the Coyote Breeds.
It’s a third person global subjective point-of-view, even though it is mainly from Cassie’s and Dog’s perspectives. The thing is, we also experience events that don’t include them as well as the thoughts of other characters. The Major for one! Jonas, Dash, Graeme, Lobo, and so many more.
That switch Leigh suddenly makes near the end of the story felt like she’d chopped out a chunk for some reason. All of a sudden Dog is regretting that he must leave her. That he won’t be around to see Cassie mature. WTF? It does become clear later, but there should have been some kind of a lead-up. Not this remorseful leaving as she sleeps before we even realize the climax of the story is here. This is the only big scene that leaves information out, but there are quite a few sentences I had to read over several times to try and makes sense of it. Sometimes, that didn’t help. Contradictions that made no sense.
The sudden reveal of that voice that has been guiding Cassie for so long was a surprise. A very convenient one. And, of course, there’s that cliffhanger ending with Graeme deceiving Khi, setting her up with the man she despises. The man who never acknowledged her bruises, ignored her disappearances and every pleading look she’d given him to make it stop.
To save the twin she doesn’t know, Cassie makes a bargain with a Council Breed only to discover too late that she’s his mate. A situation that triggers multiple catastrophic events.
Years of risk in compiling files and identities of Council leaders and associates…undercover agents in jeopardy…Breeds still being created…children killed for parts…
Worse, Cassie is at risk. All she’s done for the Breeds is nothing, for they’ve abandoned her. Unless… Unless she’s willing to accept a different mate.
Cassandra Sinclair is unique (and twenty-four years old) — a combination of wolf, coyote, and human — and a hybrid, the only natural female alpha — a woman who knows she will die soon. She is/was the head of the Breed Underground Information Network. Dash Sinclair is her real father, a Wolf Alpha. Elizabeth Sinclair is her mother (Elizabeth’s Wolf, 3). I think Daniel “Dane” Colder is the supposed father. Kenzi is the twin Cassie didn’t know about.
Who is Lizette?
Cainis, a.k.a., Cain, Dog, is a Coyote, and a hybrid, who works for the Council. Mongrel and Mutt are Dog’s partners. Carson had been his Navy SEAL dad. Angel was what Carson had called his wife.
Major is his enemy. Chet is the resentful bodyguard who had been part of Carson’s SEAL team.
The Bureau of Breed Affairs
Jonas Wyatt (lion) is the director (Lion’s Heat, 15); Rhyzan Brannigan (coyote) is the deputy director. Callan Lyons is the Prime of the Lion Breeds and preparing for war (Tempting the Beast (Feline Breeds, 1), 1), as are the Wolf and Coyote Breeds. Tanner Reynolds is the spokesperson (Tanner’s Scheme, 8). Rule Breaker, the director of the Western Bureau of Breed Affairs, is planning on formal protests (Rule Breaker, 20).
Graeme Parker (Bengal hybrid) represents the Navajo Nation. His mate, Cat, is always with him, calming him (Bengal’s Quest, 21). Cullen is Graeme’s brother and mated to Chelsea Martinez who is part of the Underground Network (Wake a Sleeping Tiger, 22). Tobias had been Chelsea’s bodyguard. Khileen “Khi” Langer, Lobo’s stepdaughter, will be in Cassie’s wedding party. Graeme claims Tiberius will be returning with his mate to become Lobo’s second-in-command. Her traitorous mother, Jessica Langer Reever, is dead; Lobo had been her husband. Troy Rain and John Kodiak are curious about that failed window. Loki.
The Wolves are…
…based in Haven with Wolfe Gunnar as the Lupine Leader (Primal Heat: “Wolfe’s Hope” (Wolf Breeds, 1), 8.5). Styx Mackenzie (wolf) is mated to Storme (Styx’s Storm, 16). Lobo Reever is the newest Wolf alpha (Enthralled: “The Devil’s Due”, 19.5).
The Coyotes are…
…based in Citadel. Del-Rey Delgado is the Coyote Coy; Ana is his Coya (Coyote’s Mate, 13). Ashley works with Cassie. Mordecai is an Enforcer.
Dr Nikki Armani is a Wolf Breed specialist; Dr Katya Sobolova is the Coyote specialist. Seth Lawrence of Lawrence Industries is mated to Dawn Daniels, a cougar (Dawn’s Awakening, 11).
The First Leo has a son, Dane Vanderdale, a hybrid breed whom everyone believes is merely a Breed benefactor and philanthropist. Dane’s mother has been doing research on Mating Heat.
The Genetics Council is…
…the organization which began and funded the Breeds program. There are twelve members on its board.
Senator Aaron C. Ryder hates the Breeds.He also despises his granddaughter, partly because she isn’t a male of his line.
Thirteen years ago…
…Terence Grange is a drug lord who shot Cassie’s supposed father.
A Primal goes beyond alpha, “a creature spawned by determined strength, rage,” and let out only in the most extreme circumstance, never to be closed down again.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a light royal blue night sky, glittering with stars as seen through the bare silhouettes of trees. It’s Cassie in a denim tank top and jeans, one knee bent, arms crossed, her body facing forward but her eyes, her long hair blowing in the breeze, looks to the side, as does the white wolf behind her. An info blurb at the top and the series info at the bottom is in a neon yellow with the slightly transparent white of the author’s name across the top and the title at the bottom.
The title is about more than just Cassie, for more than one is a Cross Breed.