One consistent thing I've noticed in Hunter's writing that sets her apart from her contemporaries, is her ability to make setting a living, breathing,One consistent thing I've noticed in Hunter's writing that sets her apart from her contemporaries, is her ability to make setting a living, breathing, almost tangible element of her stories. We were first introduced to Cambio Springs in book one, Shifting Dreams. Now in book two, Hunter takes us back to a desert town with a secret, making us all wish we could load into the car and drive out there today.
Ted, a complex, feisty, prominent member of the cat shifters, isn't about to just fall for Alex McCann's trick again. She's been there, done that, and doesn't believe he'll stick around in Cambio Springs any longer than he has to. She isn't the only one whose teeth are flashed when the alpha heir apparent in the wolf clan comes traipsing back into town. Neither Alex nor Ted's family are keen on the two of them being involved, worrying it will cause a shift in the balance of power between the clans.
Alex has two missions, the results of which are in his mind inextirpably tied: completing the building of a resort spa on the edge of town, and winning back the heart of the woman he loves. When one of the town's native sons and project managers is found murdered at the build site, a mystery of who and why unfolds, forcing the site boss, Alex, and the town's doctor and default coroner, Ted, to work closely to unravel the mystery. What they discover about the murder and about each other will alter the course of their lives and Cambio Springs forever.
As usual, Hunter excels at not just crafting a romance with plenty of heat, but with a finely-tuned sense of intimacy between the lovers. Every touch, every embrace between Alex and Ted courses with raw, powerful, simultaneously restorative and destructive emotions. Love scenes are true to their title. It's more than just sex with her characters, it is a sensual expression of deeply-rooted emotions. Alex is only going to get Ted back with a good amount of wooing, and Ted is only going to allow herself to love him if she lets go a little of her rigid control and her grudges. Meanwhile, the political complexities of Cambio Spring's shifters population challenges the couple's prospects, but ultimately allows them an opportunity to strengthen the town's close-knit community.
It can't be ignored, either by the characters or the reader, that Cambio Springs is threatened, an outpost of an old world that could easily blow away in the wind if it doesn't begin to root in supply lines from the outside. The resort Alex is building will both supply the town with jobs, and bring in income. However, it will bring with it a number of outsiders. Going forward in Cambio Springs will require a delicate balancing act of privacy and publicity. Together with the seeds of a romance that Hunter will explore in the next novel, a tease of which is included at the end of Desert Bound, this slow-boil tension and the need for more will have readers clawing to get their paws on book three the moment it's released....more