He always knew he would betray her...
Anya Korbin was only sixteen when she first came to Del-Rey Delgado - the genetically altered rebel known as the Coyote Ghost. For six years they plotted to free a group of Coyote women kept in Anya's father's lab. As Anya matured into a woman she and Del-Rey grew close...but on the day of the ambush, he broke his promise and shot her father.
Filled with rage over the betrayal, Anya discovers an even stronger emotion is consuming her mind and body - the animalistic desire known as mating heat. Though Del-Ray feels it with same intensity, Anya questions whether she can forgive him or trust him again. As they stealthily maneuver to bring the freed Breeds to safety, one question reigns supreme: Can Anya and Del-Rey survive their own heat?
Lora Leigh continues to reign supreme! I fall more and more in love with this author and her amazing writing with each novel she releases. 'Coyote's Mate' brought forth within me a surge of emotions while satisfying my insatiable need for great erotica. While humor is easy to open within me, bringing tears to my eyes is a much more difficult endeavor. At first I feared that I was going to have to grade 'Coyote's Mate' really low because the hero, Del-Rey, really pissed me off on several occasions and in all honesty I don't believe that he groveled enough for his heroine. Maybe I should revoke my assigned A grade status...? Nah, this book made me cry! It deserves an A. Besides, emotion in the reader is what authors hope to inspire and Lora Leigh did her job splendidly.
Anya Korbin is a familiar character in Leigh's large collection of heroines. Young, beautiful, and of course - terrified of the strong and abundant sensations brought upon her by the hero. But Anya was the first heroine, to my knowledge, to truly show the hero what he was losing by way of his ignorance.
Raised in the Council Labs by her father, head of security and Breed training, Anya befriended five Coyote females. In hopes of their rescue, Anya contacts the Coyote Ghost, a.k.a. Del-Rey Delgado and Coyote Alpha. At sixteen, first contact is made. It's not until six years later that Anya's hopes finally come to fruition but at a price. Del-Rey's previous promises that he would not kill or harm Anya's father and three cousins unless the outcome of the exraction necessitated it, is tested. Yet when all hell breaks lose, Del-Rey breaks the trust and faith that his previous pledges instilled. Instead, Del-Rey not only unnecessarily shoots Anya's family, not to kill but to wound, but he also kidnaps her and forces her to accept his hormone laced kiss. Plunged ruthlessly into foreign sensations, Anya can't refuse when Del-Rey acts upon the lust riding them both so hard, leaving Anya cold afterward.
Now, in the U.S. and at the Wolf compound of Haven, Anya petitions the Breed tribunal for separation from her mate, Del-Rey, a petition that has never before occurred. Claiming that not only can Anya not trust her mate, but that her emotions and willpower have been raped by the mating heat and thereby taking away her rational. Granted: Anya will receive one year to acclimate to her new role as Coya to the Coyote Breed and mate to Alpha Del-Rey Delgado.
Now eight months later, Del-Rey misses his mate and is ready to fully claim her. The agreement never stated in writing the full amount of time for acclimation. Back at Base, Del-Rey has arrived to claim what's his whether Anya is ready or not.
The hurt of Del-Rey's betrayal has receded for the most part over the last eight months and Anya's heart no longer feels like it's breaking in two. Except the ever present cold that had seeped into her bones since Del-Rey's enforcer position had taken him away from her has become more than she can bear. Reconciled to the fact that they needed to work things out, Anya stays on Base for Del-Rey's arrival as opposed to transferring to Haven each time before.
Del-Rey and Anya's first few confrontations are as hilarious as they are entertaining. Del-Rey loves to get a rise out of his little coya by purposefully igniting her temper with sarcastic little endearments such as cupcake or cuddle bunny. Here's my favorite involving cuddle bunny:
"Fine, I'll sleep in your bed with you." He shrugged. "Either way, you're gonna be my cuddle bunny for a week. It gets damned cold at night for some reason, Coya. You can keep me warm."
His what? His cuddle bunny?
"Oh, you are so reaching," she said scathingly. "Warm your ass on a brick, because it's not getting in my bed."
And of course when these two get heated up they scorch the sheets in bed. Del-Rey is quite the lover and he certainly makes up for the pain of their first time. But his arrogance soon seeps into their burgeoning courtship. Bound and determined to protect Anya at all costs, Del-Rey feels that by publicly rejecting Anya as his Coya he will keep assassins at bay. It's a known fact that the high ranking wives and lovers of the Breeds are the most targeted. Of course he'll be sure that in private Anya knows her true place and that she will slowly come to understand his decision and agree that her protection is what's most important. Boy does his plan backfire and it's very outcome brought this reader to tears.
Publicly rejected, Anya becomes known amongst the Breed as Del-Rey's whore. His systematic rescission of all rights and duties once held as the Coya allows suspicion and separation to brew within the Coyotes at Base. Left only to be a glorified housekeeper, Anya's bright light within her soul has begun to grow dark with pain. And as disrespect is thrown her way and tempers snap, Anya soon finds herself in a very dangerous situation and a physical altercation takes place with one of Del-Rey's Coyote soldiers. Del-Rey's ignorance had created a conspiracy of betrayal within his ranks against Anya for surely no Coyote Alpha would reject his mate unless she had done something truly wrong to deserve it.
Broken hearted once again and physically hurt, Anya flees with her bodyguards to finish one last task that will probably leave her locked in cell forever. Going against her Alpha's express orders, Anya has gone behind his back to contact two Council scientists that she worked with in the Russian labs. The genetics of the Coyote Breed are just different enough from Wolf to make treatment of them difficult and sometimes life threatening. Thinking ahead and the possibility of a child, Anya wants to make sure that Base and the Coyotes have their own qualified medical staff. But this is something that Del-Rey can't allow because the only thing that he hates more than humans is human Council scientists. Having put a bullet in every previously known Coyote scientist, Anya, fearing their lives, asks Alpha Wolf Gunnar to grant them asylum and housing at Haven. Asylum granted. But when personal contact is made by Anya, a traitor shows himself and his plans aren't pleasant.
Some of my favorite characters in 'Coyote's Mate' were Anya's hilarious but brutally loyal female Coyote bodyguards, Sharone, Emma, and Ashley. While as Breeds, one would assume that one of their kind would hold the rank as leader, but it's the little human Anya that leads this pack of fierce ladies. But it's not only her leadership that the girls need, it's Anya's companionship and sheer light that she's brought to their lives. Horribly abused in the labs, Anya promised the then young girls dressed in rags, that she would make sure that one day they would wear pretty clothes, have nice beds to sleep on, and good food to eat. It's the fact that Anya kept her promises even though those very same promises could have brought upon her death.
On the other hand, Del-Rey is not my favorite Leigh hero, but in the end he did make sure that things were put to rights again for his mate. Oh, and I forgot, he does get down on his knees at one point. But still, he was cruel in his complete ignorance of what Anya needed. Some of this was of course due to his Council lab upbringing but he really did piss me off a number of times.
Ms. Leigh does dangle the bait for this obsessed reader at the end of the novel with a glimpse of our next hero: one very sexy Bengal and his mate Cassa, a journalist. His story, 'Bengal's Heart', is scheduled to release this August.
'Coyote's Mate' was a fabulous addition to Lora Leigh's Breeds and I can't wait for the next installment.
Interested in Lora Leigh's Breeds? Check out my reviews of 'Mercury's War', 'Dawn's Awakening', and 'Aiden's Charity'.
Bored with paranormals? Check out my reviews of Leigh's contemporary romances, 'Wild Card', 'Killer Secrets', and 'Nauti Dreams'.
Visit Lora Leigh for more details and excellent excerpts.