The Hunters: The beginning comprises the stories; ‘Declan and Tori’ and ‘Eli and Sarel’. The plot; Torrance McAdam is a P.I. her latest client is a lap dancer who claims that she was attacked by a vampire and is now in fear for life. Tori doesn’t believe in vampires, but on investigating the person who attacked the dancer finds that not only do vampires exist, but now the vampire is after her. She manages to hurt the vampire and get away, but knows that when he comes after her again, she is unlikely to get away, especially since he has a score to settle because a mere human managed to not only shoot him, but also resist his attempt to thrall her. When the vampire tracks her down, his punishment is to drain her and leave her to die from massive blood loss. Tori manages to make it to the home of Declan Reilly, a police officer, who she trusts and is attracted to but never acted on the attraction because he’s a cop and she never wanted to get involved with one. It turns out that Declan is also an Inherent, which is a type of werewolf which can resist the pull of the full moon, and transform into wolf form at will.
Knowing all about vampires, he assists Tori and his blood provides her with her first ‘meal’ allowing her survive the transformation from human to vamp. Elijah Crawford, Declan’s vampire friend helps Declan and Tori in breaking her hold on the vampire who turned her. Elijah falls for Tori and is tormented by the fact that Declan has what he has spent an eternity searching for – a mate. This has all the potential to be a really engrossing story, unfortunately Ms Walker was so busy writing all the sex scenes that the plot is very much secondary, which is a shame. It’s not at all like me to complain that there is too much sex in a book, but that was definitely the case with this one and the undeveloped plot suffered because of it. Yes, any erotica should have hot, frequent sex, but what makes one piece of erotica differ from another is a good plot. It’s a great pity, that the plot in this book appears to be an afterthought to the sex.
The second story, ‘Eli and Sarel’ is Elijah Crawford the vampire’s story. He has been a vampire for 300 years, and is weary of life. He’s more than halfway in love with his best friend’s wife, and is lonely. An attempt is made on his life that nearly succeeds if it were not for Tori Reilly’s blood which keeps him alive enough to find the witch who poisoned him. Sarel believes that Eli murdered her sister and tracks him down and leaves him for dead. When she finds out that he is not her sister’s murderer but her rescuer, and that her sister is alive, she cancels the spell to save Eli’s life. As part of her atonement, she agrees to go to school for the next 5 years to learn how to manage and control her magical gifts. This story is really badly written, the reader is supposed to believe that Eli falls in love with a woman who he meets when she tries and nearly succeeds in killing him, he barely knows her for all of a couple of days, and she goes away to school for 5 years, during which they have not contact, and all he can think about in those five years is jumping her bones. After her schooling, the Hunters council, pair them up with each other and Eli takes Sarel’s virginity on the floor of a limo (smooth!). Now as a reader, I’m not convinced of this grand passion, the reader barely knows anything about Sarel except that she is a very powerful witch and that she’s sorry she tried to kill Eli. The whole point of trying to kill him was to avenge her sister, but Shiloh Walker doesn’t bother trying to show us Sarel’s relationship with her sister at all even to show us more of Sarel’s character.
Eli goes from unrequited love with Tori to full blown love with Sarel, which is illustrated solely by how badly he wants to bed her. Again, there’s lots of sex, including yet another 3 way (pointless to the plot and Lora Leigh writes that kind of stuff much better) there’s no emotional development of the characters nor real romance. As for the barely there plotline of them being hunters and fighting against the bad guys, it isn’t explored nearly enough. If I want action, adventure, hot sex and real romance, I’ll stick to Sherri L. King’s ‘Horde War’ series.