Release Date: June 1, 2012
The Underbelly Chronicles #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
The secrets she’s uncovering will be his to keep…
Centuries ago, when their ship crashed to Earth, paranormals of all types settled secretly into our world, quietly going about their business with humans none the wiser. Self-ruling and careful to stay below humanity’s radar, all is threatened when Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger and her werewolf geologist partner Gabe Lupinsky in advertently draw evil attention to Earth and its treasured natural resources.
As the threat intensifies, Lorin and Gabe struggle to contain the chaos they’ve unleashed, and to resist their explosive mutual attraction…
In the part of our world belonging to the paranormal species that keep themselves hidden from human knowledge, Lorin Schlessinger is practically royalty. Her mother is the representative of the valkyries on the various species’ ruling body, and Lorin is her second. More at home in the woods than in the boardroom, however, she’s no princess, and she’s used to calling all the shots.
Gabriel Lupinsky has worked hard for his promotion within the ranks at Sebastiani Labs. A werewolf and gifted metallurgist, he’s happiest in a laboratory, where he has access to good coffee, uninterrupted electricity and Internet access, and indoor plumbing. But, when something goes wrong at the company’s remote archaeological dig, he’s sent in to take charge of the situation. That is, if he can work alongside the gorgeous, tough valkyrie who hates him with a passion.
One thing I really like about The Underbelly Chronicles is that Ms. Hogan successfully incorporates quite a few species into her stories, rather than just one or two. With werewolves, vampires, fairies, incubi and succubae, sirens, and now aliens in the mix, Chase Me could easily begin to feel overcrowded, but doesn’t. Each character’s species’ traits are a part of their overall personality, but they by no means overshadow them as individuals.
The only part of Chase Me that I had a difficult time with was the role of the “bad guy” in the story, Beddoe. While alluded to in the previous novel in the series, Taste Me, the introduction of alien spacecraft and additional lifeforms threw me. The use of them as an explanation of the origins of the novel’s species would have been an interesting twist on its own, but Beddoe has a separate conflict that he’s dealing with, as well as his involvement in the established story happening on Earth.
Chase Me is not only a fun story, but a smart one, as well. Lorin and Gabe are intelligent and quick-witted, and they jab at one another with the ferocity of two teens vying for rights to the same video game. Yet, for all their posturing, the heat between them, so carefully hidden behind their mutual loathing, is deliciously naughty. As a valkyrie, Lorin has needs, and she is both surprised and delighted to find that, beneath his lab-geek exterior, Gabe has got some dangerously satisfying skills.
All told, I liked Chase Me a great deal. Ms. Hogan doesn’t let her characters slack off, but gives each one a position of responsibility within their world, as well as the ability to stand their ground when necessary. Despite some limited reservations about certain parts of the story, I loved Lorin and Gabe. I enjoyed both their inner turmoil and outward bantering, but took the most pleasure from watching them fall for one another. Chase Me is a solid, sexy addition to the Underbelly world, and Ms. Hogan definitely has me hooked.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
Reviews in the Series: