A Bloody Good Secret (Secret McQueen #2)

A Bloody Good SecretBy Sierra Dean

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Author

After cheating death twice in one night, confessing her true nature to her werewolf soul mates and being asked to kill one of her closest friends, Secret took a much-needed vacation. By running away.Now she’s back in town—dragged kicking and screaming—determined to clear Holden Chancery’s name. Right after she finds out what he’s accused of. It shouldn’t be hard—Holden has a habit of using their new and scintillating psychic bond to break into her thoughts and dreams at some very, shall we say, awkward moments.

Just a few things stand in her way: a secretive Tribunal leader, a group of would-be vampire slayers and two werewolf boyfriends who refuse to let her operate in her customary lone-wolf style. Even less amusing are the terrifying creatures that someone is using in an attempt to gain control of the council. Even for this out-of-the-ordinary bounty hunter, it’s a challenge with potentially deadly teeth.

Warning: Contains an ever-plucky heroine with no shortage of weapons, super-hot mind games, an ever-complicated love triangle and one hell of a creepy amusement park

Goodreads Summary

Vampire Council assassin (or bounty hunter, as she likes to be called) Secret McQueen’s days of hiding out in Canada from her latest assignment are brought to an end when a trio of unlikely allies conspire to drag her back to New York. The Council’s patience with her has run out and Sig, the head and the one member who is usually her obvious supporter, is on her doorstep taking a very personal interest in her completion of this particular order to kill her mentor, Holden Chancery. Her own gut instinct, what she knows about Holden and something about the way Sig’s acting convinces Secret that not only can’t she follow her orders but she has to find out what he’s accused of and prove him innocent.

When Secret left New York, she wasn’t just leaving behind the Council job, she was running away from the complications of her bonds with werewolves Desmond and Lucas. Now that she’s back, she has to face the fact that she left them holding a mess – not only did they just learn she had a vampire half, she inadvertently caused a power void in Lucas’ pack and as Desmond’s lover, she hurt him deeply with what he saw as a desertion of a mate. Her reunion with Lucas is prickly – he’s not the same man he was when she left – but she and Desmond manage to patch things up horizontally pretty well until Secret starts getting flashes in her head of Holden while having happy times with him.

Holden is very interested in getting in touch with Secret, and he’s doing it through their warden/ward bond. He knows she’s been assigned to kill him and not only wants to stop her but expects her to investigate, especially when he hears about Sig’s interest. With Holden, Lucas, Desmond and Sig all dogging her heels and wanting something from her, she’s a busy woman. She has to run down clues, evade the Council, deal with Holden popping in and out of her head and apartment, handle not one but two werewolves who expect her to make a commitment to them and handle her own new ward, the bubbly, impulsive and slightly ditzy Brigit. Oh, and there are some really nasty vampires and their servants who want her dead – badly.

I liked Something Secret This Way Comes but I had some doubts about where some plot threads were going and the purpose of some characters. I may not know where things are ultimately going, but a few books in, I think I have a better idea of who these characters are and I am seriously enjoying this series. Secret is fast becoming one of my favorite UF heroines.

For the first time it seems, Secret is in the position of having to run an investigation on one of her assassination orders rather than just going at it with her trusty gun or katana. Without her usual resources of Keaty or Holden, she’s stuck depending on people she doesn’t know and ferreting out information until she has something to take to Sig and Holden. Of course there are elements who don’t want her to save Holden, who would be happy for him to just take the fall for whatever it is the Council thinks he’s done. I really didn’t have any idea who was behind the plot but when the villain was revealed, they wouldn’t have even been on my radar until close to the end of the book when I only had a few options. It was still a shock and once I thought about it, I had to go back to the first book and look for clues that may have led to this development. There’s a really impressive layering of motives, hints of history between characters and definite reactions to Secret that will carry over even beyond into the next book when it’s discovered who’s behind the treachery.

With all the man candy in her life, it has to happen that I start choosing a favorite (or a not-favorite) sooner or later, and I’m afraid I’ve already done it. I kind of hope I’m not jinxing the rest of the guys in the series, but I just am not really in love with Desmond. He seems too beta for Secret, who can roll right over him. As Lucas’ Second, he just doesn’t feel right for her to me and as much as her werewolf side says she is supposed to be with both of them, I just don’t see it for her. It’s taken me a few books to warm to him (has it actually been that many?) but I am really, really starting to like Sig. I have no idea if he’ll ever be a love interest for her, but I loved the way he interacts with Secret. She keeps finding out that she’s under his protection for the most part but there’s always a little bit of an edge of fear with him, like maybe she’s not really sure how much she’s worth to him. I sort of think it’s sexy. So maybe I’m a little weird.

Holden is still in the running with me though (and not just because I cast Gabriel Aubrey as him in my head). He and Secret have a little uneasy chemistry leftover from the “first” book – first in quotations because it was the second book technically but was set before the second..you know what I mean. They shared a very, very explosive kiss which makes his intruding during her activity with Desmond all the more awkward, especially when the reasons why he can do it get explained more completely. I’m not really sure where the two of them will go. Their relationship seems like it’s going to only get more complicated because he was promoted right before she was ordered to kill him and let’s just say this book ends on the same sort of bang as the last one did which is to say a giant one. I’m going to stay firmly on the fence about Lucas, partially because he was a bit of a different character in Something Secret. He initially seemed like he took it for granted that Secret would be thrilled to bond with him and wasn’t that worried about her feelings. Now that she’s taken a place in his pack (however inadvertently), taken his blood (ditto) and tried to run away from him, he’s decided to get serious and go after her. It makes him about a hundred times more attractive to me. I don’t know if it beats Sig and Holden, but I’m willing to keep him in the running.

My Summary: The way this story layers in people and plot pieces from past stories and the other books really strengthened this one for me. I love the voice the author’s given Secret, the world of the Vampire Council and the glimpses of Lucas’ pack that we’re beginning to get. The villains are very scary but Secret needs to watch herself around the nice guys too – it makes me wonder what on earth is next for this woman and how soon I’ll get to read about it.

 My Rating: A

Barbara

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