BENEATH A RISING MOON - Keri Arthur
Ripple Creek Werewolf Series, Book 1
Dell
ISBN: 978-0-440-24649-7
reissued August 2012
Paranormal Romance (Shapeshifter)

Ripple Creek, Colorado

Neva Grant, a beautiful and somewhat psychic werewolf from the golden fur pack is on a secret mission, one of her own choosing, but so secret she has not even told her overly strict parents of her plans. She will infiltrate the silver fur pack, spearheaded by the Sinclair family, during their moon dance to obtain as many clues as possible as to who attacked her twin sister, Savannah, a werewolf Ranger. Someone is assaulting and killing women, and the clues point to someone from the silver fur pack, maybe even one of the Sinclairs. Neva figures her best chance of breaching the security of the pack is through Duncan Sinclair, who has recently returned to the stronghold and is not a suspect. The best way of obtaining information is by seducing Duncan, and she does exactly that, unknowingly binding herself to the man for the remainder of the moon dance, which will last several days and nights.

The very first night of the moon dance at the Sinclair mansion, another woman is found dead. Neva tries to be surreptitious about her own investigation, but it doesn't take Duncan long to figure out that Neva has her own agenda and, understandably, he thinks the worst of her. He tracks Neva down the following day to her family's restaurant and makes it clear that she is bound to him—essentially as his mate—for the remainder of the moon dance. Duncan is drawn to Neva from the start, and although disappointed at the thought that Neva has been hired to obtain information about the Sinclairs regarding the murder investigation, he cannot keep himself from admiring her sweetness. However, his moods vary from moment to moment while he tries to figure out what Neva is up to and why. Neva is similarly attracted to Duncan; a bad boy with a bad reputation, who has come back to Ripple Creek after ten years. Although Neva does not suspect Duncan, he is making it difficult for her to develop more leads in the investigation, and at the same time he is intentionally making her look bad in front of her straight-laced parents who think the Sinclairs are beneath them.

BENEATH A RISING MOON was originally published in 2003 (Savannah's story follows in BENEATH A DARKENING MOON out in 11/2012) and has just been reissued after the tremendous success of Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen series. This story has all the elements of a perfect romance with paranormal and mystery elements thrown in. There's nothing boring about this book, although I admit that I found Duncan too alpha for my taste, especially in the beginning of the book. As the relationship between Neva and Duncan developed, I began to like them more as the relationship changed from a lust driven romance to a more friendly, respectful, intelligent AND lust driven romance. The suspense aspect of the tale is pretty easy to ascertain, but no matter, it still adds good fun to the story and keeps it from being just another romance. In fact, I'd say the least developed part of the story is the paranormal aspect. All the characters are werewolves, and we get a feel for the different packs and the fact that there are some psychic elements involve, but it seems almost incidental to the romance and the mystery.

All in all, BENEATH A RISING MOON is perfect for those who like a little bit of everything, and then some, in their romances. For you Arthur fans who started with the Jensen series, pick this one up; you won't be disappointed.

Astrid Kinn