I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Bayou Heat by Alexandra Ivy, Laura Wright
Series: Collection One
Published by Self Published Genres: Paranormal
Raphael / Parish
Ashe Pascal seems that she has spent her entire life taking care of her mother and as she got older, paying off her debts. Right now, Ashe is both a bit scared and confused as she is pregnant and has no idea how or who the father is, but she has had a few flashes of a hot night with an unknown man—a night and a man she does not remember.
Raphael is a suit, one of the Pantera’s diplomatic people. Yet right this minute, Raphael is shaken as he just figured out that the woman he spent an erotic night with is pregnant with his child. This is something that should not have happened as she is human, yet he knows what he smelled. Now his only instinct is to track her down and figure out how to convince this woman to be with him and to have what will become a miracle child to his people.
Ashe isn’t sure that she believes what Raphael is telling her, but seeing is believing and so is almost being killed. Now Ashe has moved into the Panteras’ secret home and hopes that she has made the right decision for both herself and her unborn child. While most of the Pantera is welcoming to Ashe and their child, it seems that someone, or a few someones, doesn’t believe that this child should see the light of day. Just when Ashe has come to accept not only the love that Raphael shows her, but that she is having a magical child, an attack on Ashe risks everything that she and Raphael were hoping for their future.
Parish Montreuil is the leader of the Hunters for the Pantera. When Raphael asks him to find a doctor to help his mate, Ashe, and their unborn child, Parish heads out to do just that. Unfortunately, his way of doing so places things in jeopardy and now the entire Pantera is holding its breath on what this doctor will do—stay and help or tell the world about them.
Dr. Julia Cabot is just ending her rounds on her last day of a job she loved, all because of a doctor whom she trusted. Julia isn’t sure what her next move is going to be, but first she has to finish this last day and leave the hospital. However, the next thing she knows, Julia is waking up in a strange place and surrounded by people she does not know. That is when she learns about the Pantera and about the woman and unborn child who need her help.
Parish is fighting his inner self and the instant attraction and protectiveness he feels for Julia. Maybe he didn’t go about his job as the diplomats would have done, but he did find the best doctor for the job and brought her back. Now he also wants to bring her to his home and his bed. Julia is faced with wonders every time she turns around in this new place and one of those wonders is the very man who kidnapped her in the first place. Julia has very little to go back to in the “real world”, but will she find what she needs to convince her to stay in this new and magical world and with Parish?
Bayon / Jean-Baptiste
Bayon is a Hunter who just received the job to track down those who attacked Ashe and tried to kill both her and her unborn child. They need to find out just what they did to her. Several clues have the Pantera wondering if an ancient enemy has arisen again, and Bayon is out to find out this answer. Yet as he tracks down those he seeks, what he finds both shocks him and warms his heart at the same time.
Keira Montreuil at one time was the leader of the Hunters then she was captured and has been held for years. Keira actually has no idea how long she has been held and lately she fears that her time is almost up. Keira has fought to keep her sanity and her inner self together by living day-by-day. Then one night her cage is opened by a man she never thought to see again.
Bayon loved Keira since they were youths and has thought her dead for many years now. Finding her alive and bringing her home is something he knows will bring joy to more than just him. Then Keira makes a request of Bayon that he knows will put him at odds with his current boss, but he just can’t say no to Keira on it. Together, Bayon and Keira work to get back her memories and find out who was behind her capture, because they both know that somehow and someway she walked into a trap and there was something about it that caused her brain to ‘forget’ what she saw. When the truth comes out and Keira reveals herself, the Pantera will realize just what has targeted them and learn the ramifications.
Jean-Baptiste is a Nurturer for the Pantera and a sexy one with piercings and tattoos. Just about all of his people believe that he is just laid-back and likes to live away from everyone, but the truth is that he has almost lost control of his inner Puma. Only a very talented witch and a tattooist have been able to help Jean-Baptiste keep his control. Now he has been teamed up with a buttoned down diplomat and asked to bring this same witch to their home in hopes she can help Ashe.
Genevieve Burel was born to be a diplomat, but recently she began a very special and secret job—one she believes will keep the home and people she loves safe. Genevieve is one of the few who knows firsthand that their homeland is losing its magic and soon they will be revealed to the world. Genevieve heads out on a mission, but her mission is exactly the opposite of what her partner’s is. It would be much easier lying to him and everyone else if she wasn’t intensely attracted to Jean-Baptiste.
As a team, Jean-Baptiste and Genevieve seem to bicker more than work together, but as potential lovers, they steam up every room they enter. When the witch not only doesn’t agree to help, but also tells Jean-Baptiste that she won’t help him any longer if he pushes this, he must make a hard decision. Genevieve all but does a happy dance when the witch says no to them and then the unthinkable happens, and they both give in to the passion between them. When she wakes up from an erotic and loving night with Jean-Baptiste, Genevieve learns that her mission is in crumbles and that the witch is already in their home. Now Genevieve must decide if she can do something to keep her new job and undo what was done or if she must trust Jean-Baptiste’s instincts, faith, and his love. By the end of this mission either the Pantera and their home will be helped, or it will be destroyed.
Talon / Xavier
Talon is a Hunter who was just asked to keep the witch brought in to their home safe until she has a chance to help Ashe; that is if she will even agree to help her because all she wants is to leave their mists. Talon isn’t too happy about this, but then he meets her and discovers that her scent draws him in more than any other woman Talon has ever met.
Isi has been on her own the majority of her young life. Her magic is one that can skirt the line, but Isi has never bent her own internal rules and ethics. She wants to help out the sick woman and her unborn child, but something about this very land makes her sicker than she has ever been. Then there is Talon, the Hunter sent to keep track of her and in whose house she is living. Everything about him draws her in and, to top it off, somehow he takes away the sickness that Isi feels every moment of every day.
Talon is beginning to wonder what is going on. His own interactions with Isi tells him that she is not evil or bad, but rather sexy and passionate would be his terms—even when she fights with him. When Isi finally meets Ashe, they and the entire Pantera get a shock. It seems that past actions are coming to bite the Pantera in the behind. Once the truth is known, Isi is determined to help Ashe and to find out exactly what happened when they were so young. Talon also wants to know what happened back then, but even more important to him is convincing Isi that the passion they feel is real and their love will only be positive.
Xavier is the leader of the Geeks for the Pantera and right now his mission is to track down the human male that seems to be the key to unlock all of the answers on what happened with Ashe and Isi and why the Pantera can’t have children until Ashe’s pregnancy proved otherwise and to do so before their enemies can find him first. Xavier usually has a single focus when on this type of mission. That is until the night he finds his best friend’s little sister partying in a bar surrounded by all kinds of males, and she’s drunk. Xavier makes her come home with him and then forces himself to not to give in to his wants.
Amalie is a Hunter, and she also has the distinction of being the last child to be born of the Pantera. As such, everyone still treats her as a child, including the one man she has always loved and knows to be her mate. However, Amalie is a woman with needs and one night she decides to try and give into them. Who does she meet but Xavier. After yet another rejection, Amalie decides to stop beating against a wall and when she and another Hunter find the flower which brings a festival, she decides to dress up and go with him.
Xavier knows he shouldn’t give in to his feelings, but a man can only take so much, and watching Amalie be held by another man all dressed up is it. A single night of passion doesn’t solve all of their issues. In fact, it might have made them worse. When Xavier tracks down the man they are all searching for, it’s Amalie who is teamed up with him as a Hunter to help bring the man into the Pantera mists. What they learn that night is that their passion will never go away and that the very people that the entire Pantera looked up to for guidance might be the very persons who doomed them to extinction. Now that they all know what brought about the lessening of the magic and the childlessness, is there any way to turn the tide the other way?
Bayou Heat is a collection of six short stories where passion and love win the day each time, but what I found the most intriguing was the underlying story of past arrogance and misuse of power that has placed an entire people at risk. I loved watching the story slowly unravel as each couple found their happiness. However, because of the actions of the past and a disaster of a last ditch attempt to right the wrongs, I can tell you that this is just the beginning of the story and that all of the Pantera will have a long ways to go before they can live in peace and safety again. But I know that with each action taken, there will be couples like Rapael and Ashe, Parish and Julia, Bayon and Keira, Jean-Baptiste and Genevieve, Talon and Isi, and Xavier and Amalie who will team up and find an unbreakable love that will guide them until peace, love, and safety again rule their world. Bayou Heat is full of suspense, danger, passion, and love to the extreme, all of which help guide the underlying story which brought the Pumas of the Pantera to where they are now.