Desires and loyalties clash when a sensual assassin and an intriguing enemy agent must fight together in this exciting debut by Ada Harper.
For Olivia Shaw, the danger of her assignments as a deadly Whisper agent is matched only by that of her hidden status: Liv is one of the caricae, extremely rare women capable of bearing children and therefore controlled by the Syndicate’s government. When her handler sends her into the Quillian Empire, her mission is complicated by stumbling upon a kidnapping in progress.
Liv is drawn deep into political upheaval when her hostage is revealed to be the infamous Red Wolf, Galen De Corvus, brother of the Quillian Empress. Worse yet, he is an altus, more sensitive than most to the pheromones of caricae. If he realizes what she is, he could expose her secret to either government and doom her to a life as breeding stock.
Quillian nobleman turned operative Galen never planned to involve himself with a citizen of the cold, cruel Syn, but Olivia entices him more than she should. As they work together to protect his royal sister from a violent coup, the passionate bond between them proves to be more than mere biology. And Liv must decide if that bond is worth dropping her guard for both an enemy and an altus.
She turned her back on her people and shifted her allegiance to the very Empire she was sent to betray
Now head spymaster, Lyre’s loyalty lies with Sabine, the Empress she has loved since childhood. But when Sabine visits the secretive Cloud Vault, the floating citadel home that Lyre betrayed, Lyre’s elaborate web of lies starts to untangle. Her very presence threatens Sabine’s future, and Lyre will do whatever it takes to protect her lover…even if that means sacrificing herself.
Empress Sabine Corvus has lived a life of service, pushing aside her own desires for the greater good. With the Empire teetering on the brink of war with the traitorous Syndicate, she cannot afford to show weakness. Although Lyre’s spymaster skills are her greatest weapon, their bond is Sabine’s Achilles’ heel. Regardless of the price, she will not give Lyre up.
While most of Maria, New Mexico is getting into the holiday spirit, coyote shifter Diana Shapely has more pressing concerns. For one thing, the due date of her twin niece and nephew is rapidly approaching and she needs to find them the absolute perfect welcome-to-the-world gifts. For another, the girlfriend she ghosted a year ago just showed up out of the blue.
Lanie Chappell is a tough cookie who knows how to take "no" for an answer, but she also knows there's something off about Diana's rambling rationale for dumping her. Diana claimed she merely wanted to protect human Lanie from the dangerous world of shapeshifters, but Lanie had never asked to be coddled. She didn't spend more than a decade in the Army hiding from challenges. Furthermore, if there's anyone who needs her back watched, it's Diana.
The truth is that Diana was terrified that Lanie would realize Diana didn't stack up. After being told all her life that she'd never make anything of herself, Diana decided that she'd rather cut her losses than be the one who gets left.
Steady Lanie is the soothing counterbalance to Diana's wilder spirit and the champion she's always wanted. But if Diana can't shake off the deep-seated insults of the past, she'll never be able to claim the mate she deserves.
***This Masters of Maria novella stands alone and can be read as independent of the rest of the series.***