Pros: Tons of raw emotion; sizzling sex scenes; fun characters; good pacing
Cons: Somewhat overdoes the growling, alpha-male rednecks
Rating: 4 out of 5
A quick series note: Nauti Dreams is book three of a series (after Nauti Nights and Nauti Boy); I haven’t read the first two books. I found a little of the opening chronology hard to follow at first (presumably as it accounted for a couple of events as they related to the events in the first two books), but otherwise the lack of background wasn’t really a problem. Author Lora Leigh did a great job of including characters from the other books while allowing this one to stand alone.
Natches Mackay wasn’t just any Marine sniper—he was one of the best. When he rescued kidnapped agent Chaya Dane from a terrorist camp, he never imagined just how much his life would change. Even when she returned stateside to continue her work and he returned home to his cousins, neither of them could stop thinking of the other. There was too much in the way, however, for them to simply go to each other for comfort. The people Chaya had trusted most had betrayed her. The person she’d loved the most was dead. And the ones responsible for those events were still out there, still free.
Her latest assignment sends her back to Somerset, Kentucky, where she knows she’ll have to face Natches again, however much she might prefer to avoid him. Her manipulative boss has her poking around and asking questions, and even she doesn’t know who he’s after—but she can tell it has something to do with Natches and the extended Mackay family. And the questions are bound to stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble—one aimed right at Chaya and Natches.
The strongest part of this book by far is the sheer level of raw emotion poured into its pages. You can feel by turns the grief, rage, fear, love, and lust of its characters. You won’t need to get all the way to the end of the book to get choked up over the things that have happened to these scarred people.
The characters are interesting, with plenty of pig-headed personality to go around. I’ll admit that one of my quibbles with the book is the somewhat over-the-top alpha-male redneck mentality, complete with way too many growled-out statements (I was seriously starting to wonder whether these characters were actually from Leigh’s Breed series instead, complete with big cat DNA, for a little while there). That said, much of that same mentality also makes for plenty of personality, conflict, and entertaining events. Also, one of the things I love about Leigh is that she tends to make her heroines equal matches for their fierce lovers—able to stand up to them and meet them on their own terms.
The sex scenes are, as always with Leigh’s books, absolutely sizzling. (Usual adult material warning: explicit sex and raunchy talk.)
The thriller part of the novel follows up on a plot that I gather was from the earlier books, regarding a home-grown terrorist network stealing arms from the military and selling them elsewhere. It appears that the group in question is larger than originally thought, and Chaya’s in town to smoke someone out into the open. There are definitely some twists and turns, although it didn’t take too long to figure out who would ultimately turn out to be the bad guy, and there are some great tense moments. The romance part is absolutely front and center, but the non-romance plot certainly holds its own.