Tour’s Books Blog

May 1, 2009

ROOK REVIEW: Nauti Intensions by Lora Leigh

Nauti Intentions is the fourth book in Lora Leigh’s popular Berkley Publishing series.  Berkley also publishes her best, if somewhat uneven, series the Breeds books.  The Nauti books are all tied together by the extended Mackay family.  Thru the first three books, brother and sister Dayle and Nadine were not only incestuous and deranged, they were also leaders of a homegrown terrorist group.  The truly evil duo met their end in Nauti Dreams.  Dayle’s brother, Ray, and his two adult sons had nothing to do with Dayle and Nadine, and for years Ray did all he could to protect his niece Janey and nephew Natches – Dayle’s two children.  In previous books this ugly story unfolded as Ray’s sons, Dawg and Rowdy, found their women and inevitably ended up tangling with their crazy aunt, her apparently normal son, and the vicious Dayle.   Natches, a Special Ops sniper, appeared in several books, as well as having his own story – Nauti Dreams.  It’s threats from Natches that kept Dayle from hurting Janey until …………….

The prologue opens the story when Janey, who is terrified by her father and aunt, gets called home to Kentucky from college in California. Natches has taken a lot of beatings over the years protecting her from her father and she’s struggled with her guilt and fear, so obeys her father to protect Natches.  Janey is drugged by her aunt and subjected to Nadine’s ‘attentions’ while Daddy Dayle enjoys the show.  He has his own plans.  All is thwarted by the timely arrival of her brother Natches and his Spec Ops group assigned to the Department of Homeland Security under Timothy Cranston.  The head of the group is Major Alex Jansen, a man much too old to feel the way he does about Janey.

Six months later Janey is running the family restaurant, now a sought after, high end eatery with a great chef and waiting list for tables.  Janey always loved the restaurant and hated how her father ruined the business and used its profits to fund his domestic terrorism group.  The people in the county might vie for reservations, but some never forget Janey is the daughter of a ‘traitor’ and many suspect she had a sexual relationship with her deeply perverted father.  None see past the brittle shell she shows the world to survive.

Janey thinks she’s got her game face on till Alex Jansen and his latest blond and beautiful date arrive for dinner.  The woman is inexcusably snotty and rude to Janey.  Alex apologizes and takes his soon to be ex-date away.

Alex has been fighting a war with his attraction to Janey since she was 17.  It has not gone unnoticed by Natches who warned him off.  That wouldn’t stop Alex, but it’s his age that bothers him – he’s 14 years older than Janey – especially since she’s the sister of a friend.  Janey isn’t unaware of his attraction, she’s just tired of being alone and unloved.  She feared her father too much to even consider having a boyfriend.  Besides, it’s always been Alex that drew her like no one else could.  At 23 she’s still a virgin and given her history, she has trust issues, but this dance with Alex has to end.  It’s driving her crazy.

Alex comes back that night after closing and apologizes again.  Janey tries to drive him off by telling him she’s still a virgin, thinking that would stop his interest.  It just increased it.  They end up in a passionate clinch and Alex promises to make her his.

Zeke Mayes, the local sheriff, knows his friend Alex has been watching Janey’s apartment at night.  He stops at his truck and finds he has to make a decision.  Alex is on medical leave, but still technically seconded to DHS, so Zeke shows him the nasty threatening notes that Janey has been getting.  Janey made Zeke swear to not let any Mackay, especially her brother Natches, know about the threats.  Alex is not a Mackay, but he knows damn well he’ll tell Natches and the Mackay’s about the problem.  Zeke is worried.  There’s something very wrong about the notes and wants Janey watched more closely than he and his men can do.

Much to Janey’s annoyance, the Mackay men, collectively and individually overbearing Alphas, decide to protect her.  Alex will be watching her at night to keep her safe – staying in her apartment.  Being that close to what they both want leads to getting what they want with each other.  Whoever is watching them immortalizes their amorous activities, taking photos from the empty building across the street and sending them to Natches.  The threat ratchets up again when Natches gets streaming video of them engaged in anal sex interspersed with screaming distorted voice making treats.  Alex and Janey just miss getting killed when a bomb comes thru her bedroom window.  The bomb was designed like a terrorist weapon with nails as shrapnel and Alex is injured.

The ‘evil leprechaun’ Timothy Cranston of DHS shows up.  He even willingly helps in the restaurant.  Alex also has two former Rangers from his unit that to live together in the area to provide extra manpower.

Someone wanted her dead.

Pretty much the story of her life, she decided, as she opened the bathroom door and returned to Alex.  Someone wanted to own, control, or take the life she envisioned for herself.

Just as Dayle had wanted to do.

Her Stalker had taken his place.

The ending is well done, but the who is not very shocking, or it wasn’t for me.  No spoiler on who or why of it here though.  The story of that person’s decent into madness gets told through the journals of one of the people involved.

Our hero and heroine manage to resolve their differences with a surprising minimum of drama.

In Nauti Intentions, the ‘ick’ factor, usually generated by Dayle and Nadine in previous books, is minimal and limited to the prologue and flashbacks.  I found the whole storyline less complex and edgy than first three installments.  I had credibility issues with the removing nails from Alex’s arm – borrowed from Eraser (where Arnold Schwarzenegger saves Vanessa Williams from the shrapnel grenade when her home is invaded by the bad guys) and the voyeuristic camera placement.  The description of the images and the placement of the cameras didn’t agree.  (Ok, I know I’m the only one who is drawing three dimensional diagrams in their head.  I can’t help it.  It’s the engineer in me that immediately says, “How the hell could you do that?” and then promptly tries to work it out.  And before you ask, yes, sometimes I say things like, “How many rounds of ammo are in that gun?” and “That can’t happen,” out loud at the movies.  I can be quite annoying.)  But the ‘Arnold’ moment had me grinning.

Alex, other than being much older than Janey and sharing the universal Lora Leigh hero fetish for anal sex, is actually pretty normal.  His biggest issue is he believes can’t love.  Janey has her fair share of emotional baggage thanks to her depraved Daddy, but is also more normal than the average Leigh heroine.  She does not run away to danger from a safe situation just because the men piss her off.  She does not simper and she is not ‘too stupid to live’ or insanely self sacrificing as some are.  They are both very likable characters.  Unfortunately the tension between them isn’t very intense.  Other than the obvious threat to Janey, its Alex’s inability to ‘love’ and Janey’s very deep need to be loved and accepted for once in her life that is emotional center of the story.  He tells her point blank she ‘owns him’ and will always be faithful and good husband and father.  But when it comes to love, Alex says, “Teach me how to love, Janey.”  That’s about as exciting as it gets.

Nauti Intentions lacks a lot of the intensity and punch of Lora Leigh’s other Nauti books, but her legions of fans will be happy.  There’s plenty of sex, enough action to keep things moving, a better than average supporting cast and a rather simple, straight foreword storyline.  I did not feel my intelligence was insulted.  I thought it readable, though not especially exciting.  A lot of Leigh’s seduction/sex scenes are stock variations used before, but that is hardly surprising.

The lack of creativity might be the result of Ms Leigh writing so many books in a year.  She has 4 or 5 new titles this year alone.  It’s really surprising that she’s maintains the standard she does.  Recently, several well respected romantic suspense and historical romance authors just regurgitated entire chapters (in some cases MANY CHAPTERS) when doing a trilogy release in a short time span.  Ms Leigh’s fans might get the same character types again and again, and many sex scenes might feel like replays, but they do get a different story and overall a better quality than some mainstream authors are producing.  And in all truth, when it comes to the same character type being recycled, that seems to suit fans just fine, so she’s giving them what they want.

Odds are good Lora Leigh’s next Nauti book will be about Sheriff Zeke Mayes and Rogue, the redhead biker friend of Janey’s.  Timothy Cranston is fleshing out as a character and I expect we’ll see more of him as he’s finally become integrated into the Mackay family.  Another character we should see more of is Natches’ adopted son, Faisal, who is heading off to college.

My Grade: C (3*) NOTE: The fan reviews on both Amazon and Barnes and Nobel rate this book 4.5-5*

Who would enjoy this book: Lora Leigh fans will eat this up, and fans of Annmarie McKenna, Trista Ann Michaels might enjoy it.  My rating is NC-17 to X.

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