For review of all books in this series: Go here
Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: Shape-shifting Leopards, Mobsters and Love - A weird combination right? Well, it's worth reading on those lazy days or to bring you out of any kind of dull mood.
Burning Wild is the third book in the Leopard People Series by Christine Feehan published in April of 2009. The plot revolves around Jake Bannaconni – a billionaire shape-shifter with a flame of vengeance riding him – and Emma Reynolds – a victim of one of many Jake’s sins perhaps. Christine Feehan had put the third book five years after her second book in the series. I wonder what made her take such a long break during a series. If I get a chance to meet her again will definitely ask her this.
The entire Leopard People Series focuses on humans who have ability of shape-shifting to leopards. Each plot covers one couple that are destined to be mated in this lifetime just like so many lifetimes in the past. And surrounding this couple the plot expands on this species of leopard shape-shifters, their advantages as being so, their perils and how their lives move along in this 21st century. All of the plots are either set in Borneo Rain Forest - coast of South East Asia - and New Orleans in USA or eventually lead there. These leopards come from very hard and cruel lairs, but they come out on their own, find their mate, infiltrate the mobs and acquire the territories taking over them.
Jake Bannaconni, a ruthless billionaire, has a childhood that left him with a vacuum for emotions. His shape-shifting abilities craved by his parents family and their friends had put him in path of their treacherous plans. Yet on one such encounter when he chooses to save Emma Reynolds, a by-stander and a victim of Jake’s parents cruelness, little does he realize that she would be his savior, his salvation all rolled in one. Emma Reynolds, coping from a recent tragedy, works her way into healing while taking care of Jake’s son Kyle. Will she heal Jake in the process? Will she really be his salvation? How will Jake’s childhood and his past affect their relationship?
Although we had glimpsed a few of the leopards who have lived in Florida, USA in Christine’s previous book Wild Rain (My review of the book here) where she introduced Elijah Lospostos and Rachael Lospostos who were raised in Florida, this is the first plot that is completely set in United States, specifically in Texas. As for Jake, there was no pre-introduction of him in the previous books but she had few others from those books in this plot as well – Drake Donovan with his limp leg and inability to shape-shift anymore; Joshua Tregre with his demons hidden and Connor Vega with his share of personal tragedy – all coming from the forests of Borneo seeking refuge with Jake and at the same time teaching him the way of leopard people life.
The friendship that builds between Jake and Emma while they are healing through a tragedy becomes something more and Christine portrays it very beautifully. I thoroughly loved the chemistry between them – human and leopard both. The romantic sparkle between them is dynamite and they perfectly complement each other – one who is jaded emotionally and one who has wealth of feelings to share. No one needs Emma as much as Jake needs and Christine shows it to readers in her explicit erotic content too. I also like the fact that even though Jake considers himself emotionally void, Christine gives us glimpses of those hidden feelings when he gathers all the strays under one roof and takes care of them in his own way, even though he is boss to all of them.
If one has missed reading the hidden fact of “cat has nine lives” concept in the first two books, there is no mistake in missing that in this plot. Christine begins the plot with that very core fact. Christine also gives the reader more insight into how the shifters came to be in US, so very far off from Borneo forests. As well we get the first glimpse of how she would take these leopards from saving rain-forests to taking over of mobster families - meaning what would be her path to that end goal. Book being published in 2009, it was amusing to find mention of VHS tapes and pre-smart phone era. Brought back a lot of memories although it was not that far ago in the recent past. I have to add though that I missed Elijah Lospostos in this book, but Drake Donovan started to grow on me. With so many of the leopard people on Jake's ranch whose stories are unfolded a bit more, I wonder whom will Christine pickup next although I am waiting for Elijah's story the most.
Christine Feehan spins another erotic tale filled with perils to the Leopard People in this third book. Although we don’t see a lot of social evils or global threats being handled, with this plot she has clearly set a platform for the Leopard People to further their cause. A good book to pick up if you want to continue the series.
1) Plot Reveals:
a. Christine talks about bone graft being provided for Drake Donovan with his injuries that would cause him to be unable to shift anymore. I didn’t know about bone grafts until I read it here. Seems to be it is a legitimate medical procedure that is getting more and more common now. More about it here.
b. Other non-leopard people that Christine introduces in this plot:
i. Susan Hindman, Senator Hindman’s daughter, is introduced in this plot. Christine makes her character as brilliant, sharp and fast-learner at a very young age. Will Christine make her a shape-shifter in a future plot is something one has to wait and see but all signs point towards that for me.
2) Sub Plots:
a. Christine introduces us to her future heroes of this series who are yet to be mated as of this book:
i. Drake Donovan – hurt during a mission and now healing while living on Jake’s land in Texas, USA.
ii. Joshua Tregre – I have already read his story in the 10th book Leopard’s Blood. My review of the book here.
iii. Connor Vega - we get to see a little bit more of him in this plot.
iv. Shilo – a female Leopard being protected by the leopard people in Borneo Forest.
v. Elijah Lospostos – Rachael’s brother whom we met in Wild Rain (My review of the book here)
vi. Evan and Jerico - security / ranch hands all rolled into one at Jake’s property
3) Grammatical / Historical / Character / Logical / Geographical Errors:
a. On Pg. 137, third para, fifth line, there is no need to have “Jake,” at the beginning of the line.