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Review: 'Tracker's Sin' by Sarah McCarty

I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley.com and the following blurb is courtesy of Netgalley.  I tried to check if this is the official Harlequin blurb, but the Harlequin site has neither a cover nor a blurb available for this October 1 Spice title.

        "WED BY NECESSITY…JOINED BY DESIRE

        Before his trade became his name, “Tracker” Ochoa was a scrawny Mestizo runaway. Now as fearsome as he once was frightened, he’s joined the notorious Hell’s Eight...and they have a job for him.

        He must rescue kidnapped heiress Ari Blake and deliver her safely to the Hell’s Eight compound—by any means necessary. Turns out that includes marrying her, if he means to escort her and her infant daughter across the Texas Territory. Tracker hadn’t bargained on a wife—especially such a fair, blue-eyed beauty. But the erotic pleasures of the marriage bed more than make up for the surprise.

        Tracker’s well-muscled bronze skin and dark, dangerous eyes are far more exciting than any of Ari’s former debutante dreams. In the light of day, though, his deep scars and brooding intensity terrify her. But he’s her husband and she’s at his mercy. With the frontier against them and mercenary bandits at their heels, Ari fears she’ll never feel safe again.

        Tracker, too, remembers what fear feels like. Though he burns to protect Ari, to keep her for himself always, he knows that money, history—and especially the truth—can tear them apart."


Unfortunately, this summary has extremely little to do with the actual story and even contains one glaring error.  I find it rather annoying when blurbs are so far off.

That said, I spent an enjoyable afternoon reading Sarah McCarty's fourth entry in the Hell's Eight series, Tracker's Sin (after Caine's Reckoning, Sam's Creed and Tucker's Claim).  Before I started reading, I was rather concerned how McCarty would manage the heroine's horrific past within the confines of the story - after all this is published in an erotic romance imprint - and I'm pleased to be able to say that this part of the story worked pretty well for me.  The device McCarty employed to make Ari's reaction to Tracker possible seemed plausible.

Overall, there weren't any too outrageous or eye-roll inducing events (until the very end), but I very much miss the intensity of McCarty's earlier writing.  Both Sam's Creed and Caine's Reckoning just grabbed you by the throat and didn't let go.  While I read Tracker's Sin in one sitting, I never felt the same way about these two characters, which is particularly sad, as Tracker was the character who literally leapt from the pages for me in the first Hell's Eight book I read and I couldn't wait for his story. 

The secondary characters in the form of Ari's adoptive parents never became more than ciphers and their motivations seemed nebulous, but the climax to the mystery of who had been after Ari and her sister was used splendidly to set up the next book in the series.

I'm not sure I'd call this book erotic romance even with the less than mainstream sex scene thrown in at the end.  I feel a bit perverse for seeming to complain about this, in light of the fact that I would have not been able to suspend my disbelief if there had been any more 'easy' sex than there was considering Ari's extremely serious earlier trauma.  I'd still have to say the hotness factor of the book was fairly low and I really question the inclusion of the last sex scene which seemed not only tacked on, but outright perfunctory and only there because author and publisher seem to think readers expect this kind of behavior of the heroes in this series.

Pleasant story with some flaws, C+.

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