Title: Midnight Hunter
Series: Execution Underground #3
Author: Kait Ballenger
Format: Kindle Edition
Published: September 1st 2015 by HQN Books
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Hunters of the supernatural, The Execution Underground are an elite group tasked with protecting humanity…but can dark temptation destroy good intentions?
Occult specialist and witch hunter Dr. Shane Grey is called upon to investigate a string of crimes that bear all the hallmarks of black magic. But he can't take on this daunting assignment for the Execution Underground alone. He'll need the help of Vera Sanders, a witch with a dark past—and a woman who disturbs him as much as she intrigues him.
Vera is determined to ignore the dangerous chemistry between herself and Shane so she can prove her loyalty to his cause; otherwise she risks the wrath of the Execution Underground once again. If she can't make Shane trust her, they won't stand a chance in hell of defeating the evil that's terrorizing their city. No easy task, considering old habits die hard…and Vera may be the very person responsible for luring Shane into a killer's trap.
A tiny cage of butterflies suddenly buzzed around the inside of her gut. Her superhot professor wanted to take a nighttime stroll with her and he was offering her his jacket. Before she could decide whether she wanted to be the type of girl who did that sort of thing with her professor, which was clearly inappropriate, she grasped the leather jacket in her hands and slipped it on. Aw, shucks, who was she kidding? She totally was that kind of girl.
MIDNIGHT HUNTER by Kait Ballenger marks the much-anticipated return of Kait's fantastic Execution Underground (EU) series! It's been almost eighteen months since the last installment and this entry abates the hunger pangs ...for a short while. MIDNIGHT HUNTER is a paranormal romantic thriller. It's fast-paced with witches, wicked warlocks, the entire swoon-worthy EU team, lots of action, suspense and messy crime scenes.
In MIDNIGHT HUNTER, it's Dr. Shane Grey's turn to find his special someone. Shane's expertise is in the occult. He's a witch hunter; Guess who he'll be paired with!
Vera Sanders is a witch. Her father gained notoriety as one of the most accomplished black magic warlocks ever. Vera wasn't really interested in practicing her father's dark magic so she was ostracized by her family. Even so, she is addicted to the high she gets from dabbling in dark magic. She tries to stay away, but the lure is too tempting. Vera is also one of Shane's religious studies students. She's shocked when her sexy professor asks for her assistance with one of his EU cases - one that involves the darkest spectrum of magic: necromancy.
I really liked both Shane and Vera.... though I wanted to shake Vera a few times. Shane's a sexy, pony-tailed nerd. I can just picture him with his glasses on reading away. He's strong, loyal and smart as can be. He's determined to be on the up and up so he does his best to ignore his attraction to Vera. After all, a professor cannot date one of his students.
Vera works for her low-life uncle bar-tending at his strip club. She had made some bad choices in the past and has suffered for them. She's cute, smart and caring but most people don't get past the way she dresses and presents herself. She's insanely attracted to her super hot professor - but, then, so are every one of Shane's female students.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes:
She pointed a finger at him. "Smart men don't comment on a woman's eating habits, regardless of how many brownies she can shove in her mouth at one time."
He laughed. "In that case, I guess I'm not as smart as you think I am."
There was something about decapitating an already dead woman, only to follow up with shared brownies with a witch he wasn't sure he trusted and simultaneously wanted to do the horizontal tango with, that drained the energy from him.
He frowned. "Naked baby photos should be outlawed."
She closed the photo album. "So tell me, do you still have those cute dimples on your ass?"
There's loads of humor in this installment, too. I caught myself laughing out loud quite a few times. One of my favorite amusing scenes involved another hunter's EU case starring a squirrel-shifter.
Trent pumped his arm as if he'd just hit the jackpot. "Thank God. If I had to hear about one more incident with that squirrel-shifter, I was going to shoot myself."
"Squirrel-shifter? Are you fucking kidding me?" Jace raised an eyebrow in a look that said, Do I even want to know?
"Some half squirrel, half man has been showing up naked in people's backyards out in the suburbs. Soccer moms tend to be a little alarmed when a nude man nibbling on acorns is perched near their child's window. I'm not sure whether he's a shifter who's unable to hold his animal form for long or just a garden variety nut."
Even though MIDNIGHT HUNTER is the third installment in this series, it works well as a standalone if that is your preference. There is a continuing theme and interconnected characters, but a reader could jump into the series at any time as the danger element and the romance are fully contained within this story. Both Shane and Vera have appeared in a previous EU book, but have no fear, Kait fills in what you need to know.
I bet that once you read one of the books that you'll then want to read them all. I like that the series doesn't focus on just one paranormal species. Each EU hunter specializes in one area, such as vampires, demons, or in Shane's case, the occult. The hunters work individually on their cases but the team is always there when needed for support so each book offers a wide range of the paranormal spectrum.
Kait's writing is superb, as always. I was introduced to Kait's EU series with the anthology, AFTER DARK, in which Kait's SHADOW HUNTER was paired with Gena Showalter's THE DARKEST ANGEL. I loved SHADOW HUNTER - even though it ended with a cliffhanger to top all cliffhangers (AAAGH!) - and have been hooked on the series ever since. I hope we don't have to wait so long for future EU installments! I highly recommend MIDNIGHT HUNTER and the entire EU series to anyone who enjoys original, suspenseful, action-packed, paranormal romances!
Recommended reading order:
• SHADOW HUNTER, EU 0.5
• TWILIGHT HUNTER, EU 1
• IMMORTAL HUNTER, EU 2
• MIDNIGHT HUNTER, EU 3