"The Man Within, Feline Breeds 2" by Lora Leigh

Pros: Sizzling sex; tender & passionate character chemistry; enjoyable plot
Cons: Hand-wavy “science” and some confusing perspective shifts
Rating: 4 out of 5

Just a few days ago I reviewed Lora Leigh’s Tempting the Beast, Feline Breeds 1. It’s an erotic romance (romance novel with plenty of explicit sex) centered around the unusual relationship between Callan, a man who is the product of genetic experimentation (a mix of human and feline DNA), and Merinus, a human journalist who wants to protect him. Book 2 is its own, separate story, but it does pick up shortly after the first book left off. In it, Taber, one of Callan’s Pride, discovers that Roni, a young woman from his past, is his own destined mate–and she’s in a great deal of danger from the people who created him. Her attachment to him has been exposed on national TV, and he has to get to her before anyone else does. And that’s the easy part.

Then he has to figure out why it is that she seems to hate him, even though he left her alone at her own behest, and explain to her the overwhelming changes that are sweeping through her as a result of their biochemical bonding. Complicating matters is the interference of her father, who would do anything for a buck–including sell out his own daughter–and who works for some very unsavory people.

As I mentioned in my review of the first book, despite the military and genetics aspects of the plot, this isn’t science fiction–it’s a paranormal romance. The “science” is hand-wavy plot device stuff. That said, it’s no more flimsy than you’d see on your average entertaining Saturday night horror flick, so unless you’re a stickler for believable science in your plots, I don’t think it’s a problem. It isn’t the front-and-center focus; it’s the background to the rest of the novel.

In most trilogies book two is the slowest and has the most problems; in this case, I like it better than book one. Taber and Roni have great chemistry, and there’s a tenderness to their relationship that I enjoyed. The sex scenes are even better in this one–same warning though, they’re far from tame in content and language, so they aren’t for prudes. As the publisher’s rating system explains, the “love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable.” While the sex does get a bit rough, one of the things I love about Leigh’s stories is that the men & women hold their own with each other very well–in and out of bed.

The writing contains a few perspective shifts that confused me as to whose thoughts were being explored at the moment, but other than that it’s good. While the story itself stands alone, I highly recommend reading the series in order as sub-plots and character threads continue throughout.

If you’re looking for a high plot-so-sex ratio, or restrained, tame sex scenes, this book and series are not for you. If, however, you like things wild and crazy and don’t care if the premise takes a back seat to the sex, this is a searing hot book in a fun series. I’m looking forward to reading book three!

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