Title: Prey: A Novel
Author: Linda Howard
Publisher: Random House, Inc
Narrator: Abby Craden
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Three years ago, Dare returned home to rural western Montana and opened a hunting business to rival Angie’s. Complicating matters is the fact that Dare has asked Angie out (not once but twice) and has given her a gift of butterflies in the process. Angie has no patience for butterflies. They only lead to foolish decisions. And now the infuriatingly handsome Iraq war vet has siphoned away Angie’s livelihood, forcing her to close up shop.
Before Angie is to leave town, she organizes one last trip into the wilderness with a client and his guest, who wants to bag a black bear. But the adrenaline-fueled adventure turns deadly when Angie witnesses a cold-blooded murder and finds herself on the wrong side of a loaded gun. Before the killer can tie up this attractive loose end, a bear comes crashing through the woods - changing the dark game completely.
Luckily, Dare is camping nearby and hears the shots. Forced together for their very survival, Angie and Dare must confront hard feelings, a blinding storm, and a growing attraction - while being stalked by a desperate killer and a ferocious 500-pound beast. And neither will stop until they reach their prey.
A woman in her early thirties, Angie Powell is an interesting contradiction as a leading character. Independent, stubborn and strong minded, she's also whinny, insecure and vulnerable. Blaming the pending failure of her hunting business and the forced sale of her family home on a business rival she's attracted to, Angie plans one last trip into the wilderness for a previous client and his guest, who wants to hunt a black bear. I'll admit that it was a little difficult for me to like Angie at the beginning, her habit of trying to deflect responsibility for bad decisions was very annoying but as the story progressed and the plot unfolded, I began to understand her behavior and I even began to like her.
Dare Callahan is the quintessential Alpha male lead character and is quite yummy. A veteran of the armed forces, he's a few years older than Angie and had come back to their small and quiet Montana town in order to start a business and build a life. Attracted to Angie, he wasted no time in asking her out only to be ceremoniously turned down, twice. Determined to get to the bottom of Angie's dislike for him, he's surprised when he discovers she's put the family home up for sale and becomes determined to purchase her property. When the real estate agent asks him to keep an eye out for Angie on her last guide trip, where she'll be alone with two strange men, Dare reluctantly agrees. I really liked Dare's character, his personality was straightforward, he was responsible and even though Angie rejected him twice, he was still interested in her more than enough to think about her future and her safety.
When things go downhill for Angie with her two "guests" and one ends up killing the other, Angie finds herself not only having to outsmart a man who wants to kill the only witness to his crime but also finds herself having to avoid a Black Bear who has gotten a taste for human flesh in the middle of what has become a severe spring storm. When one thing leads to another and things are looking really bleak for Angie, Dare manages to find her. Unfortunately for both of them, their horses have run off, they're both soaking wet and the weather isn't letting up. Forced to seek shelter together, Angie finds herself in close quarters with a man she's been trying to avoid and who she must now depend on for help. I really liked the scenes with the two of them together, as they start to get to know each other they both realize that their attraction isn't going to go away.
When the storm lets up and Dare and Angie decide to make it down the mountain and alert the authorities, they will have to watch out for both a murderer and a wild Black Bear. Do Dare and Angie stand a chance? Will their relationship go beyond being friends? You'll have to read Prey to find out.
As an audio book the narrator's performance was not what I was hoping for with this book, I found her voice to be somewhat grating on my nerves and it took me until almost halfway through the book to get used to her verbal reading style. Overall, I did enjoy the book but I think I would have preferred a different narrator for this book.
My Rating: 3 of 5 Crowns