Author: J. Leigh. Bailey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Publication date: July 2, 2019
Length: 268 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Outfoxing their enemies will be a bear of a task.
Aspiring journalist and fox shifter David ends up with a target on his back after hacking the Moreau Initiative, the shifter world’s greatest enemy. But he won’t let that stop him from the campus tour road trip that’ll help him become the next Anderson Cooper… even if his family insists he travel with a grumpy grizzly bear bodyguard.
Buddy Brady is older, sexy, and too damn distracting for David, and as the sexual tension builds, so does the suspicion around the repeated attacks--first in Chicago, then in New York. Someone is tracking them, and all clues point to a traitor in the shifter ranks. Worst of all, they could be after David’s family....
David has lived in the shadow of his perfect brother and domineering mother all his life. Becoming a great journalist was his passion and his chance to prove to his family that he wasn’t just a screw-up who seemed to constantly get in trouble despite his best intentions. So it’s no surprise to anyone that David accidentally hacks into the mysterious Moreau Initiative while trying to help a friend track down his adoption records. The Initiative has been responsible for kidnapping shifter children and using them for experimentation—just how deep the organization runs is anyone’s guess but now David has put a target on his back and there are consequences he is not going to be happy about.
When David’s mother informs him he will have a bodyguard accompany him on his college interviews, David is frustrated and angry. When he meets the hulking bear shifter, Buddy (Theo) Brady, David must fight back an almost immediate attraction. He may be a little fox but his emotions run big and Buddy ticks every one of his boxes. Unfortunately Buddy is all business especially as one assailant after another happens to find David and puts him in increasingly dangerous circumstances. But David is determined to ignore the mounting evidence he is in danger and instead make the bear notice him and despite the crazy run the two men are on, the sexual tension explodes before long. Now both of them would like to explore just how deep their attraction runs but they have discovered there is a traitor in the shifter council and it may spell death for David and Buddy if they can’t figure out how to expose the person and stop their plans.
I think this Shifter U. series by J. Leigh Bailey just gets better and better. With the fourth book, Fox Hunt, just released, we once again return to the paranormal community in Cody, Wyoming and spend time with some new and some very familiar characters. I really enjoyed the pairing of the gruff and aloof Buddy and the flightier, determined David. David was very self-aware—on the cusp of really accepting that perhaps he had been wrong about his “perfect” brother and how that made him feel so inadequate. I liked how Buddy gradually opened up to David, going as far as revealing that all his life he had done what was expected of him and not necessarily what he wanted—from allowing others to call him Buddy and not by his given name, Theo, to running a café that he had no passion for at all. These two really were perfect for each other—Buddy helping David come to terms with his misconceptions about his family and his tendency to doubt himself and David showing buddy that it was time to start living for himself and creating a life he wanted as opposed to one that others forced upon him.
In the mix of this delightful romance was a mystery element that kept one guessing and the action moving non-stop. I do wish the author had been able to give a bit more background on the Moreau Initiative and exactly how widespread its influence was but I am guessing we may hear more about them in future novels. I also felt the mole in the shifter council was a bit underdeveloped—it would have been great to get more of their background and what caused them to be so willing to betray the shifter community. However, despite these limited plot points, the story was really quite good and the action was more than enough to keep this reader on their toes.
Fox Hunt is a sweet romance and another exciting view into the shifter world created by author J. Leigh Bailey. It is a great addition to the other books in the series and has certainly done its job in keeping me invested in watching for future installments of the series.
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